Recent reads, plus bonus whining.

library4Over the long weekend I took a break from Thea, Goddess of Pain, so I plan to enjoy this feeling of being rested and refreshed, for once. Until tomorrow morning anyway, when her cruel ministrations begin anew and I am once again forced to pit my mind and body against her wrath in a death match masquerading under innocuous sounding title of “fitness.”

theamercyThea.

While I am reckoning with my imminent death, here are some links. Enjoy.

__________

RULE OF LAW

U.S. indicts world soccer officials in alleged $150 million FIFA bribery scandal. Miller, M.E. and Barbash, F., Washington Post (May 2015). (“The Justice Department unsealed a 47 count indictment early Wednesday charging 14 world soccer figures, including officials of FIFA, with racketeering, bribery, money laundering and fraud.”) [The Palace eagerly awaits the Justice Department’s indictment charging the world’s most powerful banking and government officials with racketeering, bribery, money laundering and fraud on a scale that makes $150 million look like pocket change. Hahaha. As if. –Ed.]

ECONOMICS, EVIL

France loots Africa, liquidates dissidents. Cunningham, F., Collymore Over-Blog. (Oct. 2012). [Seems France has been running the US’s Latin American playbook in Africa. FREE MARKET CAPITALISM™, people. –Ed.] [h/t Ashley]

POLICE, RACE, SHITWEASELRY

FBI Says Racist Organizations Have Been Infiltrating Police Departments For Years. Wooten, S. and David, M., Countercurrent News (May 2015). [But not infiltrating the FBI? Weird. –Ed.]

Pseudoscience in the Witness Box: The FBI faked an entire field of forensic science. Lithwick, D., Slate (Apr. 2015). [The Palace eagerly awaits the Justice Department’s indictment charging the world’s most powerful police officials with perjury and fraud, and the release of and reparations to every person convicted thereby. Hahaha. As if. –Ed.]

ENERGY + ENVIRONMENT

We have met the wrong enemy. Golden, KC, Climate Solutions (May 2015). (“Let’s forgive ourselves for being part of the only system there is. But let’s change the damned system so we can do what we know is right, necessary, and possible: make the transition from fossil fuels to a clean energy economy.”) [Your semi-regular reminder that tasking individuals with overcoming systemic problems is futile at best, counterproductive at worst. –Ed.]

Fossil fuels subsidised by $10m a minute, says IMF. Carrington, D., The Guardian (May 2015). (“$5.3tn subsidy estimate for 2015 is greater than the total health spending of all the world’s governments.”) [Subsidies?! Noooooo that cannot be! Because FREE MARKET CAPITALISM™!!!11!! –Ed.]

US taxpayers subsidising world’s biggest fossil fuel companies. Carrington, D. and Davies, H., The Guardian (May 2015). (“In 2009, President Barack Obama called on the G20 to eliminate fossil fuel subsidies but since then US federal subsidies have risen by 45%.”) [Well, that Barack Obama sure seems legit. –Ed.]

ART, MUSIC

Bad Blood: Taylor Swift featuring Kendrick Lamar. [I can take or leave the record, but the visuals? Fucking badass. –Ed.]

RELIGION, RAPE, ABUSE

Royal Commission into sex abuse hears of suicide problem in Ballarat. Koubaridis, A., NT News (May  2015). TW: abuse, victim blaming. [The Palace eagerly awaits the Justice Department’s indictment charging the world’s most powerful religious officials with child sex abuse and fraud, seeking civil forfeiture on a scale that permanently bankrupts the Catholic Church. Hahaha. As if. –Ed.]

Gothard’s ATI and the Duggar Family’s Secrets. Benner, W., Homeschoolers Anonymous (May 2015). (“Growing up in an environment of fear, where questions are seen as rebellious, eventually makes children unable to speak up for themselves. They become unable to trust their own judgment of what is right and wrong. These children are the perfect targets for abuse; they do not know how to advocate for themselves.”) TW: abuse, victim blaming. [Christ, what a shitshow. –Ed.]

SCIENCE, HEALTH CARE

Snake Oil Superfoods? Solid scientific evidence for extra health benefits of certain foods showing tangible health effects. Information is Beautiful (Sep. 2013). [Very, very cool interactive data. See also its companion piece, Snake Oil Supplements? Scientific evidence for popular health supplements. Hey, does anyone have a recipe for something made with garlic, olive oil, oats, barley, honey, prunes and almonds? Asking for a friend… –Ed.]

An Alternative-Medicine Believer’s Journey Back to Science. Levinovitz, A., Wired (Apr. 2015). [Reminds me of a joke: What do you call alternative medicine that works? Medicine. –Ed.]

BLOGGING + WRITING

The Definitive Manifesto for Handling Haters: Anne Lamott on Priorities and How We Keep Ourselves Small by People-Pleasing. Popova, M., Brain Pickings (May. 2015). (“As I’ve said a hundred times, if people wanted me to write more warmly about them, they should have behaved better.”) [Conservatives, take note. Also: FUCK YOU. –Ed.]

IMPORTANT AND HELPFUL ADVICE

appreciatelife__________

Have a nice day.

Fiscal conservative/social liberals can f*ck right off.

I haven’t done a link roundup in a while, due in part to a near-lethal combination of busyness and laziness. While I do not deny that laziness has always been one of my many, many charming personal qualities (and seriously people, I highly recommend it), a good deal of my most recent malaise is directly attributable to Thea, Goddess of Pain. Thea, you see, pretends to be something called a “personal trainer.” But I am on to her. She is actually a professional assassin, hired by some right-wing political operative no doubt, threatened by my magnanimous free assistance to Governor Martin O’Malley’s pre-presidential pre-campaign. Thea’s mission is to brutally torture me (no, not the fun kind) at regularly scheduled intervals until she finally sucks the last drop of life out of me. Oh, and it gets weirder: Thea is a dead ringer for Jennifer fucking Lawrence:

jlawtheaLEFT: J-Law. RIGHT: Thea.

So for several hours every week, my life is quite literally The Hunger Games: David Barton Gym. I tell you, it’s fucking exhausting. I look at a dozen open tabs in my browser that I would very much like to compile here for your infotainment, and I just think ahhhh gaaaaawd itttt’s tooooo muuuuuch as my cursor drifts listlessly around my screen. Eventually I say fuck it, and just close the goddamn window. ACHIEVEMENT: UNLOCKED.

But I came across an important piece that I really want to signal boost, so I’ve had an extra cup of coffee and am getting down to business. Greta Christina, atheist author and Godless Pervert after my own heart, has a piece up at AlterNet titled 7 Things People Who Say They’re ‘Fiscally Conservative But Socially Liberal’ Don’t Understand. As my Many Tens of Loyal Readers™ well know, the Palace is home to the world’s preeminent research institution dedicated to the study of All Things Conservative®, in the hope of someday finding a cure. The fabulous Ms. Christina’s article is a handy resource, chock full of salient facts and sound reasoning, that perfectly captures the inconsistencies inherent in the supremely annoying fiscal conservative/social liberal position (“FC/SL”). It will make an excellent addition to our library.

Because Greta is a much nicer person than I am (well isn’t everyone? EXCEPT THEA) she gives FC/SLs the benefit of the doubt: her essay is addressed to well-meaning, bona fide social liberals who for whatever reason have just not thought any of this through. And for those who genuinely care about injustice and oppression—and are open to persuasion by evidence and reason—Greta’s piece will be powerfully compelling. As in: case fucking closed, compelling. But in my experience, such citizens are vanishingly rare (although certainly worth reaching with posts like Greta’s).

As she points out, self-professed FC/SLs are depressingly common. And she notes right up front:

You can’t separate fiscal issues from social issues. They’re deeply intertwined. They affect each other. Economic issues often are social issues.

This is true as far as it goes, but I think these things are connected in another sense that warrants mentioning. Unlike Greta, you see, I operate under the assumption that the vast majority of those who claim to be FC/SL are not actually socially liberal, except on issues that either happen to suit them personally (e.g. legal weed) or don’t affect them at all (e.g. gay marriage). Instead, they are actually straight-up conservatives, with all of the reality-averse, empathy-deficient privilege denial and sense of entitlement this typically entails. Unsurprisingly, this view results in my taking a rather different approach to dealing with them than Greta does. Why, just the other night I could have really used a link to her piece, and thus spared myself the tedium of making the case, again, for why FC/SL is not fucking legit, to someone who will never, ever get it.

Allow me to set the scene:* My Amazing Lover™ and I were enjoying half-priced Martinis and dinner at a bar, and chatting it up with the bartender, a regular patron we know, and a semi-regular patron we did not. Semi-regular patron turned out to be the fiercely badass Karen Greenberg; it turns out I had met her at a 2010 conference I attended, The Constitution and National Security: The First Amendment Under Attack, at NYU’s Center on Law and Security—which center she founded and served as executive director until 2011. I had also come across her writing before, at Mother Jones and elsewhere. She is an exceptionally brilliant author (here, go read this, you’re welcome) and an accomplished legal expert on terrorism, national security and the rule of law. Karen had attended Chelsea Manning’s trial (!!!), so of course she was super impressed upon hearing about my national write-in campaign for Snowden/Manning 2016 on the FUCK YOU party ticket. To call our conversation interesting would be like calling Dick Cheney a little bit naughty. As great bar conversations invariably go, ours evolved and drifted through many topics on which we were all pretty much in agreement, including our terminally diseased media, racist police murders, poverty, disastrous US foreign policy, and—my personal area of expertise—the plague of conservatism.

At some point two young women sat down directly to my left and ordered drinks. When one of them went to the ladies room, the other (lets call her Roberta) took this opportunity to interject herself into our conversation with the breathtaking insight that “you know, there is another point of view.”

Not at this bar, there isn’t.

Roberta proceeded to ‘splain to me—while the amazing conversation to my right carried on without me!—that her generation felt strongly about the truly grave injustice of having to pay so much in taxes. Yep: here we were talking about the travesty of food insecurity among impoverished children in the United States and civilian casualties of drone bombings in the Middle East, when thankfully Roberta piped up to set us all straight about the truly important problem facing our world: her tax bill.

I took a big slurp of my drink while I sized her up. She was tall, conventionally attractive, apparently able-bodied, well-dressed, with perfectly coiffed hair, tasteful jewelry, makeup and manicure. I can generally spot a conservative in the wild from five blocks away, and lets just say that this one definitely pegged the meter. Now, I don’t normally argue with conservatives without an audience (except when I do); it is, as Loyal Readers™ are well aware, the ultimate exercise in futility. As I have repeatedly, thoroughly and conclusively documented, conservatives are constitutionally incapable of recognizing when they are flat-out wrong and changing their minds accordingly. Perhaps it was the scintillating discourse that evening that had me firing on all cylinders (Karen Greenberg!), although probably it was the second Martini kicking in, but I let out an exasperated sigh and rattled off a couple quips in rapid succession:

-You know, if you’re fortunate enough that you actually see fit to sit here and complain about paying too much in taxes, you’re doing way better than the vast majority of your fellow citizens.

-I happen to agree with Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, who said, “Taxes are what we pay for civilized society.”

-Unfortunately for the lower-my-taxes brigades AND for everyone else, there are certain functions a government can perform way more cost-efficiently and at a superior level than private industry can—like health care, for instance. But because of people like you, we all end up paying more and getting less rather than pay for things with taxes.” She started to say something about Obamacare (which I am sure I never ever would have heard before and which would have no doubt been stunningly insightful) but I cut her off. “Okay here’s another example: New Jersey’s roads are in such terrible disrepair that it actually costs drivers more in vehicles damage than it would to fix and maintain the roads by raising the gas tax. But nooooooooo, raising taxes is a political nonstarter, because waaaahhhh taaaaaxes. That sound you heard? That was your drive train being ripped off your car by a foot-deep pothole. But you saved fifty cents at your last fill-up! So, congratulations?”

*sluuuuuuuurp*

“Well I’m just trying to inform you about my generation’s different point of view, which you may not be aware of, and it’s about paying high taxes,” she replied. “From, you know, the corporate side, people who work. I mean I’m pretty liberal on most things, but…”

Oh, no. Now she’d done it: FC/SL.

“Okay, first of all, you don’t speak for your generation. Any more than I speak for mine,” I said—and yeah, with a derisive snort. Because holy arrogant shitweaselry, are you fucking kidding me? “And as for your truly unique and super-special perspective that I might be unfamiliar with—lower taxes, smaller government?—it is the exact same point of view relentlessly broadcast via every major media outlet in this country since at least the 1980s. In fact I don’t see how it’s even possible for anyone to escape it, try as we might. I mean, you are just so, so, flat-out wrong.”

*sluuuuuuuurp*

I started to turn away from her in the hope of rejoining the grown-up’s conversation (with My Amazing Lover™ and Karen Greenberg! Did I mention Karen Greenberg? KAREN. GREENBERG.). Alas, it was not to be: right at that moment Roberta’s friend (lets call her Kathy) returned and became instantly incensed with my irritated, weary tone and unvarnished disagreement with Roberta’s comically uninformed opinions.

“Wow, where do you get off talking to my friend like that?” Kathy practically spat at me. “You need to learn to tolerate other people who just happen to disagree with you!”

“No, I don’t have to do any such thing,” I said flatly. “See, people with opinions like your friend here are not just wrong about reality, they are destroying my country and making the world a lot worse. So no, I do not have to tolerate that.” Now I was actually becoming amused at all this ‘splainin, directed at me by two people I had never met and who don’t know the first fucking thing about me.

Kathy got even more torqued up, and said something about isn’t that what makes this country great, tho? that we can all sit right here and have a civil discussion even though we disagree, and how we can still all get along if we show each other respect and blah blah blah…NOPE.

“No, that is not what makes this country great—to the extent it even is great, which by the way I categorically dispute. And no, I do not have to or even want to get along with everybody. There is a lot of evil and suffering in the world, including on this very city block, so no, I do not have to respect people whose views and votes make things worse.”

“Are you calling my friend EVIL?! Wow! That’s just…so rude!”

All right, all right. I admit I was trolling them. A little bit. BUT I ONLY EVER USE MY ASSHOLE SUPERPOWERS FOR GOOD, PEOPLE.

“Well what I’m saying is,” Roberta chimed in again, apparently unfazed, “Is I just think when it comes to helping poor people for instance, that I should be the one to decide who gets my two dollars, not the government.” (Yes, she actually said two dollars. Jeezus.)

“Well, then your opinion is not reality-based.”

That really set Kathy off. “See? That right there? ‘Reality-based?’ That’s just rude and completely unnecessary!”

“Oh, is it? Well hear me out,” I said. “See, people have actually studied this method of individual charity and compared the results with centralized government programs that do the same thing, in the real world.” Kathy crossed her arms tightly and rolled her eyes. “And it turns out that, just like health care, it’s more efficient and effective for the government to do these things. By far. So when I say reality-based, that’s not rude, it’s data. This is information anyone can look up, if they cared to.”

“Listen,” I continued, “Your friend interjected herself into our conversation, with complaints about high taxes and other bullshit, so yeah, if I want to, I get to tell her why and how she is wrong. Disastrously, horrifically wrong, morally and factually. And you know what? If that’s rude, I really don’t give a shit.”

That shut Kathy up for a minute. “Oh. Well I didn’t realize that. I just came back in the middle of what seemed really rude…but okay, if she barged in and just started disagreeing with you, that’s different.” Why, I might even call it rude. You know, if I gave a shit.

And then the worst possible thing happened: Karen Greenberg came over to say goodnight. She was leaving! We hugged, thanked each other for a great night and said we hoped we’d soon cross paths again.

We got in touch the very next day, so all was not lost. Now we can plan to meet, or just see if one of us might be around when the other happens to be headed in the direction of those Martinis. Perhaps next time I will be free from the pestilence of ignorant conservatives who think they’re liberals setting me straight about what’s what.

As for Roberta and Kathy, things turned out all right there, too. After Karen Greenberg left, Roberta looked forlorn and stared morosely up at the muted TV. My Amazing Lover™, having lost his extraordinary conversation partner, saddled right up to her and they began chatting. I have no idea about what—I haven’t asked, he hasn’t volunteered, and you will not be at all surprised to learn that I don’t give a shit. There is nothing new about conservatives, or conservatism. Any of it. Ever.

Kathy, on the other hand, cheered right up immediately. As if a switch had been flipped, within no time she was acting as if I was her long-lost best friend, laughing up a storm and professing admiration for me?! Okay, player. Maybe there’s hope for you yet. I responded, “Pffffft. I’m nobody. You should have met Karen Greenberg.” We bought them a round of drinks, and they both hugged me on the way out, Kathy warmly and affectionately, then Roberta, stiff as a board.

I cannot always safely interact with conservatives as I did in this instance. Even when I can, I don’t always want to or have the spoons to do it. I am perfectly capable of diffusing, deescalating, or disengaging from such conversations at any time. But whether I engage because I am justifiably angered by a fellow citizen for holding forth as an unrepentant, inexcusably ignorant asshole and cannot in good conscience let it stand, or because I’m thoroughly enjoying myself—or both—it’s ultimately because I believe there must be a social cost for spewing this crap. As any social justice warrior will tell you, silence in the face of harmful speech, from rape jokes to racist slurs, is interpreted by both the speaker and bystanders as agreement and solidarity. While I do not think it is realistic to envision a future United States wherein conservatives have become enlightened, i.e. reality-based, in numbers significant enough to bring about anything remotely resembling an egalitarian social democracy, I do think it’s a reasonable (if daunting) goal to marginalize conservative views. To do that, we need to make social spaces conservatives have heretofore inhabited with impunity uncomfortable for them (for a change). If conservatism is as intractable at an individual level as racism and misogyny are—and there is every reason to believe that it is—then the best we can hope to achieve is a culture in which conservatives realize it is in their own best interests to shut the fuck up. After all, their own interests are pretty much the only thing that has ever motivated them.

But lefties will rarely confront conservatives on their bullshit directly, while the reverse is manifestly not the case. Liberals are more likely to take a live-and-let-live-go-along-to-get-along approach, to patiently explain reality when conservatives spout irrational nonsense, to cling to the barest thread of common ground when the whole fabric of society is burning, to be nice. And for better or for worse, this tendency is even more true of women and girls because of the way we are socialized.

Well I’ve come to the conclusion that nice is overrated. Good is where it’s at. Maybe, just maybe, Roberta will think twice before she pukes that tripe up the next time.

Tl;dr:

IRIS VANDER PLUYM:
MAKING THE WORLD
OR AT LEAST THE BARS IN THE WEST VILLAGE
A BETTER PLACE

ONE CONSERVATIVE ASSHOLE AT A TIME.

palacehappyface__________
*Although I have reconstructed it to the best of my recollection and without much embellishment, the conversation reported herein is not a verbatim transcript, given the time passed and the fog of Martinis. I will note that I almost certainly write more coherently than I speak in casual conversation, but this is the essential gist of the evening as well as I can communicate it.

BREAKING: Martin O’Malley announces announcement.

Governor Martin O’Malley has just announced an announcement, and also announced a website announcing the announcement:

Join me on May 30th at 10am on Federal Hill in Baltimore for a special announcement. http://omalleyannouncement.com/

omalleyannounceLoyal Readers™ will recall that Your Humble Monarch® has been selflessly volunteering her time and talents to help her BFF Martin O’Malley’s pre-presidential pre-campaign (while secretly working on a national write-in campaign for Snowden/Manning 2016 on the FUCK YOU party ticket).

At this time, however, all I am authorized to tell you is this:

SHIT’S ABOUT TO GET REAL, PEOPLE.

Have a nice day.

palacehappyface

 

Ask Iris: Why do women follow misogynist religions?

A Facebook friend posted this picture and comment:

jeezustruckIMAGE: tailgate of a pickup truck on which are hand-painted multiple crosses, a Jeezus fish and these words:

1 COR. 13:34
WOMEN SHALL BE SILENT
AND SUBMISSIVE
READ YOUR BIBLE

My friend snarked: “The Bible Belt has the worst figures in the country for abuse of women….I wonder why that is?”

I snarked back: “Truly a mystery.”

He responded: “The mystery to me Iris is why women follow such a misogynistic book aimed at demeaning them as second class citizens at best!”

Here is what I think explains that mystery.

A: Usually they have no idea what’s in their shitty book. And like every other religious person, they believe that they personally have a line on what god is really like. (A lot like themselves, as it turns out. WHAT A COINCIDENCE.) Also women are and probably always have been the front line shock troops for patriarchy enforcement. It’s not irrational: they get something out of it, e.g. a means to have control over and feel superior to other women, physical and social protection, and various rewards from men with power.

Moreover, in traditional/religious families and communities, the church (or mosque or temple) often functions as the only socially sanctioned domain of activity outside of the home for girls and women. So of course they attend, volunteer, give their time and energy to the institution, and, as human beings are prone to doing, they inevitably bring purpose and meaning to activities in which they’ve invested so heavily and by which they derive their primary—or only—source of approval and support.

That is a very difficult thing for anyone to walk away from.

Add in all the indoctrination about sin and hell, and the lack of exposure to people with other (reality-based) points of view, and it actually seems downright miraculous that women ever leave. But indeed some do. And some of them go on to blaze a trail for others to follow. Vyckie Garrison and Libby Anne come readily to mind but there are many others—and they are having a positive effect. Pew reports:

“the religiously unaffiliated are growing among women at about the same rate as among men. Nearly one-in-five women (19%) now describe themselves as religiously unaffiliated, up from 13% in 2007.”

To which I say, rock the fuck on, ladies. Oh, and I’m pretty sure that d00d with the truck is single, so please try not to fight amongst yourselves or fall all over each other in a stampede trying to hook up with him.

Church sign disappoints; Iris ups her game.

Loyal Readers™ will no doubt recall the Palace’s noble mission to extract $82 billion worth of benefits from the Religion-Industrial-Complex on behalf of U.S. taxpayers, on account of our $82 billion yearly taxpayer subsidies to same. Our primary means of accomplishing this feat is amusing ourselves by regularly mocking a particular church sign in the small town where my mother lives. Sadly, this week the sign displayed nothing mock-worthy: it just announced a “love and hope gathering” or some shit on Friday night at the town’s little park. So it went ignored and I forgot about it.

Until, that is, I happened to be making my way to a pub across the street from that little park last night around 6:45. And wouldn’t you know it, just as we arrived at the front steps, my Amazing Lover™ had to take a phone call, so I wandered over to the edge of the park to give him some privacy and kill some time. Now I had assumed that whatever went on in Trinity United Methodist Church was just your typical liberal Christian, happy-clappy, hippie-Jeezus shenanigans. After all, from what I’ve observed the congregants seem friendly, the church runs a food pantry, and they at least try (but fail) to be cute and clever with the sign from which we have derived so much merriment. Imagine my surprise, then, to hear a rabid woman barking into a microphone all Palin-style: “When I was in high school, we prayed to god every day! And no one was killing each other! We need to put god back in our schools!” she shrieked. Enthusiastic applause erupted from the crowd of a hundred or so Whitey McWhitepersons, and the barking woman directed everyone to sign the petition being handed around.

Oh, boy, I said to myself as I leaned up against a post, wishing desperately that I had brought popcorn. This is going to be soooo fucking good.

Next up was a gregarious d00d in jeans and a bright blue t-shirt neatly tucked into his belt. He was introduced as coming from some other church, “and he drove an hour to be here tonight!” I thought that was weird, but people seemed to love it and clapped as he took the mic. His spiel turned out to be about…faith healing.

In the Year of Our Lard twenty fucking fifteen.

Oh, how he went on and on about personally witnessing cancer and brain tumors and all sorts of horrible maladies cured by the miraculous power of prayer. “And please, if anyone is having any kind of health problems, or anger issues, do not hesitate to contact me, or any member of the prayer team! We can help! Can I get an Amen?” He got about a hundred Amens. (Wait, anger issues…? I had a powerful urge to shout.)

The announcer said that some kind of musical skit would be performed next, and various people shuffled around the little bandshell setting the stage. I was sure this was going to be a once-in-a-lifetime spectacle worthy of a Christopher Guest mockumentary, but now I’ll never know because of what happened next.

It turned out that the faith healer d00d had parked his car right next to the post upon which my arse was resting. (A sign from the heavens! A goddamn miracle!) He loaded something in the back and was about to walk back to the gathering when I said, “Hey, are you the faith healer?”

“I’m one of them, yes,” he said, and came closer.

“Why doesn’t god heal amputees?”

“Excuse me?”

“I said, how come god never heals amputees?”

“He does!”

“No, he doesn’t. Have you ever seen it?”

“Well no, I haven’t personally, but other people have!”

“No, they haven’t. Humans don’t regrow limbs.”

“There is plenty of witness testimony, and you can find it online!”

“People say a lot of things online that aren’t true. They believe all sorts of stuff that just isn’t true. Like humans regrowing limbs, for instance.” Christ, had this d00d ever even been online?

“You just have to have faith!” he said, which was sort of a non sequitur, kind of like that drove-an-hour-to-be-here-tonight thing.

“But see, I want to know why god only heals diseases that sometimes go into spontaneous remission anyway. Don’t you think that’s a little convenient?”

“I have seen deaf ears opened! Prayer works!”

“No, it doesn’t. Nothing fails like prayer. You know, people can actually study whether prayer works, and they have. It doesn’t work.”

“I have seen deaf ears opened,” he repeated. “Have you?”

“Okay, ears don’t ‘open.’ That’s not how ears work. Just like regrowing limbs is not how humans work. And a lot of people, especially veterans, could really use god’s help. An octopus can regrow limbs, though! An axolotls! Not humans, though.”

He shook his head sadly, as if I deserved nothing from him but pity, and perhaps scorn. I got the feeling that no one ever challenged him on much of anything. He was quiet for a moment, then he looked like he was about to say something. But I was done.

“Good luck healing those amputees!” I chirped cheerily as I turned and walked back to the pub.

I wondered if he would even give a passing thought to our conversation. Then I giggled as the thought crossed my mind that maybe he got himself all worked up and figured me for Satan Herself, tempting him with sinful, delicious doubt, with many a sleepless night ahead of him. Shit, that’s the least these hardcore Christians deserve for terrifying little kids with stories of hell. But seriously, my sincere hope is that I planted just the tiniest seed of skepticism that would continue to grow and itch like a motherfucker until he finds the only balm to soothe it: the truth.

Because the truth is that people die, little kids die, for no fucking reason but belief in faith healing.

I don’t really get many opportunities like this. (Hey, I live among the godless heathens of the West Village for a reason, people.) But rest assured that when I do, I fully intend to make the most of them.

$82 billion worth.

B.B. King, RIP.

bbkinglearning“The beautiful thing about learning is nobody can take it away from you.”
-B.B. King
(1925-2015.)

B.B. King was a beautiful person: his music touched so many, but really it was his very being that people so adored. Here are some quotes from a great, great man.

“I tried to connect my singing voice to my guitar an’ my guitar to my singing voice. Like the two was talking to one another.” (They was talkin’to me, B.B.)

“If there was no ladies, I wouldn’t wanna be on the planet. Ladies, friends, and music – without those three, I wouldn’t wanna be here.” (I feel the same way about great singers.)

“Everybody wants to go to Heaven, but no one wants to die to get there!” (Funny, that.)

“When people treat you mean, you dislike them for that, but not because of their person, who they are. I was born and raised in a segregated society, but when I left there, I had nobody I disliked other than the people that’d mistreated me, and that only lasted for as long as they were mistreating me.” (Whereas I dislike everyone who has ever mistreated me, since I’m fairly certain they’d do it again if given the opportunity.)

“I’ve been married twice. Most women would rather not be married to a traveling blues singer.” (Or to any traveling musician, frankly.)

“What don’t I want to learn? I have how-to books, history, nature. Ain’t nobody here saying, ‘You’d better learn this.’ But I still think I’ve got a head on my shoulders, and it pleases me.” (Words to live by.)

“When I do eventually drop, I pray to God that it’ll happen in one of three ways. Firstly, on stage or leaving the stage, then secondly in my sleep. And the third way? You’ll have to figure that out for yourself!” (OMG I wonder what it could be???)

“If T-Bone Walker had been a woman, I would have asked him to marry me.” (I would have totally crashed that wedding.)

“Touring a segregated America – forever being stopped and harassed by white cops hurt you most ‘cos you don’t realise the damage. You hold it in. You feel empty, like someone reached in and pulled out your guts. You feel hurt and dirty, less than a person.” (Shame on them. You were more of a person than any racist white cop will ever be.)

“I call myself a blues singer, but you ain’t never heard me call myself a blues guitar man.” (Well, I’m callin’ you a blues guitar man. Rest in peace, good man.)

Ask Iris: How can that happen?

I’ve been conversing in the comments on my seminal post on Conservative Personality Disorder with reader jim davis, who asks: “Why don’t progressives use facts and statistics to make their case?” He then provides irrefutable evidence—in the form of facts and statistics—that the (conservative) economic policies enacted over the past decades have utterly failed the American public and systematically devastated the middle and lower classes.

I responded that the utility—or futility—of deploying facts as a method of political persuasion depends on one’s target audience, and that unfortunately, for many of our fellow citizens facts are not only irrelevant, but exposure to facts can actually backfire. <—That article summarizes the research demonstrating that conservatives are especially prone to this effect, whereas liberals are more likely to change their minds when presented with new evidence and sound reasoning (i.e. reality-based).

jim davis responded:

How can that happen? Iris, I just read exposure to facts can actually backfire. I don’t buy it because all we have to do is change a very small percentage of peoples minds to tip the scales.
MLK, and a small group of activist did it in the 60’s and we can do it now, and we better begin before it’s too late.

I started answering in the comments, but instead I thought I would share my response here.

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How can that happen?

The short answer is that humans are not particularly rational creatures—although some are, or at least potentially can be, more rational than others. Unconscious biases and our physical and social environments motivate our actions and reasoning to a far greater extent than we generally like to admit. But for now, we don’t need to know how the backfire effect happens to observe that it clearly does. (See also reactance.)

Behold just some people you would like to persuade with facts and statistics:

Almost half of Americans believe that a god created humans in their present form within the last 10,000 years, and, except in the relatively rare case of extremist homeschoolers, it isn’t because they’ve never heard the facts about the age of the earth and evolutionary biology. We recently learned that the Governor of Texas ordered the state guard to monitor military training exercises based on widespread fears that President Obama is planning to invade Texas and declare martial law. Influential American Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke—a ranking member in perhaps the most patriarchal institution on Earth—blames the Catholic Church’s pedophile priest scandals on…feminists. Abstinence-only sex education is an unrivaled policy failure, and yet its proponents only double-down in the face of indisputable facts:

Officials with the Crane Independent School District are meeting to discuss their sex education program after nearly two dozen cases of Chlamydia were reported among the high school student body.

The school district’s superintendent, Jim T. Rumage, stands by his chlamydia-friendly strategy of telling kids to wait until marriage. “If kids are not having any sexual activity, they can’t get this disease,” he told the Express-News in a phone interview.

I recently wrote about conservatives in the Colorado legislature ending funding for a program that saves the state many multiples of its cost by providing long-term contraception to low-income women. Under that initiative teen birth rates plummeted, and abortions fell 42 percent among women aged 15 to 19. The legislators’ “reasoning,” if we can call it that, for ending the program is the (false) belief that IUDs cause abortions. In other words, in order to curb the horrifying scourge of fictional abortions, actual abortions are now going to rise—to the tune of about 42%. And I can guarantee you that these same legislators will insist without even blinking that they are fiscally conservative and fiercely anti-abortion. And they believe it.

So. For whatever reason(s)*, our society continues to generate a critical mass of highly illogical, willfully ignorant, stunningly selfish, aggressively petty, historically naive, self-righteous, shallow-thinking and empathy-deficient (when not actively violent) apes—i.e., conservatives. And I would argue that precisely to the extent one is conservative, one is an arealist at best, and anti-reality at worst. (Yes, I just coined that word “arealist.” Like amoral, or atheist. You’re welcome, people!)

And let us not forget for one single second that the power center of the Democratic Party—which includes Barack Obama—is economically conservative (“neoliberal”). That makes them arealist, too. (See?! It’s come in handy already!)

I just read exposure to facts can actually backfire. I don’t buy it because all we have to do is change a very small percentage of peoples minds to tip the scales.

I don’t understand your disbelief in the fact-backfire effect. As I noted in my first reply, whether facts can be persuasive depends on (among other things) one’s target audience. For conservatives, that approach is particularly counterproductive. The effect is real, and that article I linked does a decent job of reporting the solid research that backs this up.

Your contention that “all we have to do is change a very small percentage of peoples minds to tip the scales” is also a bit confusing to me, as I am not entirely sure what claim you are making. By “tip the scales,” do you mean “get people who are uninformed, misinformed, unmotivated non-voters to consistently turn out to vote for liberal candidates and support liberal policies”? Because that is a very different order than “get a small percentage of conservatives to vote for liberal candidates and support liberal policies.” The former is exceedingly difficult; the latter, nigh impossible.

There is a key axiom that underlies all conservative ideology, namely: conservatism can never fail, it can only be failed. In other words, when conservative policies fail (and fail, fail, fail, fail, fail, fail, fail, fail…), well, this only proves that we obviously need more of it. It’s a cognitive cousin to narcissism: since they can never, ever be wrong about anything, it therefore follows that anything that contradicts their beliefs simply cannot be true. QED. This is why they cannot help but spin bizarre rationalizations, believe wacky conspiracy theories, and accept all manner of conveniently confirming bullshit as “fact.”

Relevant to the facts and statistics you presented in your comments, virtually all conservatives, all libertarians and an unconscionable number of Democrats have bought into the Just World Fallacy of the Free Market™ as a moral arbiter, i.e. that based on the inherent moral character and work ethic of the individual, the poor and the rich “deserve” their respective lots in life. Now obviously if this myth were even remotely true, Mexican day laborers would all be millionaires and the idle rich would be living on the streets. I mean, it doesn’t even hold up to the slightest empirical scrutiny. Nevertheless, the belief makes those who hold it readily susceptible to messages that we should further punish the poor until they get their goddamn bootstrappin’ shit together, and enact more tax cuts for all those wonderful wealthy job creators. The fact that the American Dream is now an empty promise for nearly everyone is either outright denied, or—contrary to all available evidence—blamed on liberals.

Likewise, if the middle and lower classes have had their income and wealth decimated for decades—and as you document, they certainly have—conservative economic policies simply cannot be responsible. Thus people are eagerly gullible dupes for messages that claim the source of our economic woes are our (inadequate) social safety net programs like Medicaid or food stamps that benefit Those Other Undeserving People at the expense of me and my own, and oppressively high taxes on rapacious corporations and wealthy individuals—and not, say, our absurd “defense” budget, or deregulating the banksters. It is simply a fact that over the past three decades 100 percent of income growth has gone to the wealthiest ten percent of Americans, and that this is the direct result of conservative economic policies. (And no, neither Bill Clinton nor Barack Obama are liberals on economic policy: they are neoliberal True Believers™). But good luck convincing the American people of that: conservative economic dogma so dominates our political discourse to such an extent that even people who are not particularly conservative by nature adopt conservative economic beliefs unquestioningly.

You will never, ever reason conservatives out of their wrong ideas. It is not just what people believe, but how they think that makes the task so daunting. That too, my friend, is just a fact. When it comes to the forces driving the economic status quo, Americans are among the most propagandized populations in the world, and the overwhelming majority cannot or will not interrogate the myths they have been force-fed since childhood. They have absolutely no fucking idea what their government is up to, or who it serves. And I am not convinced that even if they did, a sufficient number would be any more rational, compassionate, or motivated to do anything effective about it. There is something going on here that makes us uniquely irrational among Western nations.

Last, I would be remiss if I did not address this:

MLK, and a small group of activists did it in the 60’s and we can do it now, and we better begin before it’s too late.

Again, I’m not exactly sure what you are trying to say here, but facts and statistics did not drive the civil rights movement any more than reasoned argument got women the right to vote. As the brutal state violence visited upon peaceful protestors (including whites) was splashed across the nation’s TV screens, black activist leaders seized the moment and maneuvered politically to force the federal government to intervene. The FBI wanted Dr. King dead, and I am 100% certain that if a leader with the potential to upend the status quo arose today, the same would be true. More to the point, for all practical purposes blacks are still segregated in housing and education, legally lynched and discriminated against in ways large and small. Whatever gains the civil rights movement made, the backlash was swift, severe and continues to this day. Do you think Dr. King, if he were alive today, would declare victory for civil rights?

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*I have my pet theories on the causes of Conservative Personality Disorder. Religiosity is a likely vector: faith is antithetical to critical thinking and a reality-based worldview; it is no accident that the least religious countries are the most socially advanced. A permanent war footing is another: War on Drugs, War on Terror, War on Whatever Bogeyman is Coming Next, war, war, and more war. Presently, we are bombing at least seven Muslim countries; meanwhile we are bombarded with images of Islamic terrorism (not our terrorism, silly) that serve up easy justifications for our counterproductive state violence abroad and worse-than-useless mass surveillance domestically. Militarization invariably degrades the humanity and empathy of any citizenry, and that trend is only increasing in the US. Economic insecurity also spawns conservatism, and as your examples demonstrate there is certainly plenty of that to go around. And perhaps the greatest impediment to meaningful change is that this state of affairs suits some very, very powerful interests very, very well.

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I hope this edition of Ask Iris has been helpful. And I would like to thank jim davis very much for his comments and question.

In which Gov. Martin O’Malley heeds my campaign advice.

omalley2Well, well, well. It appears mah BFF Gov. Martin O’Malley is not only serious about a run for the presidency, he has quite obviously taken my campaign advice to heart. Loyal Readers™ may recall that after our meeting last year, I wrote about some of my concerns about his messaging, image and tone:

He does not have tight soundbites in response to direct questions; instead he takes the approach of a patient explainer. Think: Al Gore. Only hawt. That said, this occasion was part of a series of candid meetings with potential supporters, not a media appearance: between now and an official campaign launch, he will hopefully crystallize his responses. His messaging needs to be clear, coherent and consistent—even, or perhaps especially, when obfuscation is necessary.

Although O’Malley comes off as smart and capable, he needs a more fiery presence and populist stance to appeal to disparate swaths of Democratic voters in key swing states like Ohio and Pennsylvania…O’Malley is exceptionally good looking and fit, but he does not exude the personal charisma of, say, Bill Clinton. In short, and with the caveat that he will need to walk the line carefully: more rock star, less wonk.

omalley3The former Governor of Maryland at his own inauguration
actually playing Johnny Cash’s “Walk the Line.”

And what do you know, here we have Martin—that’s what I call him, “Martin,” because it sounds really classy in a Jackie-O sorta way—schooling the shit out of DC detritus Chuck Todd on decades of failed conservative policies:

Hahaha. Well done, Martin. I always knew you had it in you.

I agree with Egberto at Kos, who pointed out:

Chuck Todd once again allowed his program to be used as an Ayn Rand message conduit…[A] Democratic primary is necessary…to remind America that it has been living under a conservative biased agenda for north of thirty years. The catastrophic results surround us all.

Indeed. But I also have concerns about the role of Martin’s wife, Katie, a U.S. District Court judge who is barred from political campaigning. As I said, it is difficult to envision any successful presidential campaign without the ubiquitous presence of a candidate’s spouse. Unless and until she resigns from the court to hit the campaign trail with her husband, Martin will absolutely require the presence of a strong, politically savvy woman among his very closest advisers.

Yes, my friends, you heard it here first: Your Humble Monarch™ has magnanimously volunteered herself to fill this critical role in Governor Martin O’Malley’s presidential campaign!

omalleycomp01Me and Martin, campaignin’ and shit.

omalleycomp03Oh, and hey listen: now I am counting on you guys to STFU for a while and don’t tell him about our national write-in campaign for Snowden/Manning on the FUCK YOU party ticket. I am just helping mah BFF Martin out, that’s all.

snowdenmanning2016

Conservative “values” meet conservative “logic” in Colorado.

babynotababyA helpful visual aid for conservatives.
Left: Baby.
Right: cute little 5-day old human blastocyst*
*
Important note: not shown actual size.

The Colorado Family Planning Initiative is a program designed to lower the state’s rate of unwanted pregnancies, and thereby lower the associated costs to the public coffers. The concept is simple: young, lower-income women, i.e. those at highest risk of unwanted pregnancies, would be provided with long-acting, reversible birth control—intrauterine devices (IUDs) and hormonal implants—at little to no cost. Originally funded by an anonymous grant, the expectation was that if the program succeeded, continued funding would be taken over by the state. Makes perfect sense, right?

And lo, it was wildly successful:

Between 2010 and 2012, the state estimates, 4,300 to 9,700 births to women on the state’s Medicaid program that would have otherwise occurred did not—saving Medicaid between $49 million and $111 million. The state’s abortion rate has also cratered, falling 42 percent among women ages 15 to 19 and 18 percent among women ages 20 to 24 between 2009 and 2012.

Colorado’s teen birth rate plummeted 11 spots in national rankings, and the state received an award this week from the National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association for outstanding public health access. OMFG you guys, it just makes so much (dollars and) sense.

The program would cost $5 million a year, and save many, many multiples of that in Medicaid costs and additional benefits the state would otherwise pay out. And that’s to say nothing of the benefits to young Coloradans, such as keeping them in school, in the workforce, and out of poverty. Back in February, a bipartisan pair of legislators in Colorado’s Democrat-controlled House introduced a bill to fund the program. The Republican-controlled state Senate took up the measure this week.

I am sure you can see where this is going.

On Wednesday, an all-male Senate committee voted to nix funding to the program, along a party-line vote of 3-to-2.

“But Iris!” I can hear you saying, “What the everloving fuckety fuck? That just makes absolutely no fucking sense whatsoever!” (I like to imagine that my readers are both exceptionally logical, and also like to swear a lot.) Oh, but there are “reasons,” you see:

At issue are some abortion foes’ beliefs that IUDs can cause abortions—the same

belief that led to [Hobby Lobby’s] lawsuit against the Obama administration’s requirement that employers provide insurance that covers contraception or pay a fine. Most scientists say IUDs primarily work by preventing fertilization. But some IUDs can occasionally prevent a fertilized egg from implanting in a woman’s uterus…But many conservatives who believe human life begins at conception consider preventing implantation akin to abortion.

As we know, there are many things conservatives fervently believe that are just plainly, demonstrably false. This is reason number 1,427,201 why we have made it our mission to marginalize them in society and politics, and put an end their devastating policies once and for all. Behold:

“By the time you get to that implantation point, we are not talking about a fertilized egg, we’re talking about a new individual that’s growing,” says state Sen. Kevin Lundberg, who serves as the Republican assistant majority leader and chairs the Senate’s health and science committee. He has vowed to fight the measure. “In Hobby Lobby, this was really the point there. They had no objection to contraceptive materials being funded through their insurance. But they had significant objections when it was an abortifacient.”

No, Senator Lundberg, they had significant objections when they falsely believed it was an abortifacient. It’s not. And even if it were, so what? See, no one is in the business of forcing abortions or indeed any form of birth control on conservatives who enjoy pretending that a five-day-old blastocyst is the same entity as a cute little baybee (except when that’s just too inconvenient, obviously). Conservatives, however, are very much in the business of ensuring that those who do not wish to be pregnant become so, and remain so. Because FREEDOM!!!11!!

Unsurprisingly, this Lundberg Luddite is confused about more than just IUDs and blastocysts.

“[T]here is a question of should we be providing long-term contraceptives to young unmarried girls. Are we saying, ‘Go ahead and have sex—just don’t get pregnant’?”

Unless a young unmarried person wants to get pregnant, THEN YES THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT WE ARE SAYING. Because out here in a wondrous place called “reality,” young people are having sex, and for the most part they do not want to get pregnant. That is exactly what the fucking Colorado Family Planning Initiative was implemented to address in the first place—and did. Jeezus.

He says the debate presents an opportunity to educate Coloradans, “because there is so much misunderstanding of what an IUD is”…

Apparently.

…and warned that “far too often young women die from the pill” too.

No, that is yet another plainly, demonstrably false belief. See e.g.: Hannaford et al, Mortality among contraceptive pill users: cohort evidence from Royal College of General Practitioners’ Oral Contraception Study, BMJ 2010;340:c927 (March 2010):

Oral contraception was not associated with an increased long term risk of death in this large UK cohort; indeed, a net benefit was apparent.
[emphasis added.]

And here is another fact—which yes, I realize is a thing conservatives tend to find utterly repellant:

The United States is the only advanced economy in the world with a rising maternal mortality rate.

That’s right: it’s giving birth that kills, especially where conservatives reign.

So to sum up conservative “logic”: we have ended this program because we refuse to allow fictional abortions, and now we can watch actual abortion rates go back up. Also: unwanted pregnancy rates, birth rates and death rates among lower-income women, and consequently exploding costs to the public. (Now why do I suspect they have in mind a really nifty fix for that problem, too?)

We simply cannot abide the Lundbergs of the world pretending to care about reality, or reason, or babies, or (gawdferbid!) women. Conservatives have long ago proven beyond any doubt that they are constitutionally incapable of doing so. Therefore, until we find the cure, it is imperative that we do everything we can to ensure they are never allowed anywhere near political power.

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Image credits:
Human newborn: Ernest F (Own work) [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons.

5-day-old human blastocyst: Copyright Zhang et al. (Pu Zhang, Marco Zucchelli, Sara Bruce, Fredwell Hambiliki, Anneli Stavreus-Evers, Lev Levkov, Heli Skottman, Erja Kerkelä, Juha Kere, Outi Hovatta, Transcriptome profiling of human pre-implantation development. PLoS ONE: 2009, 4(11);e7844 PMID: 19924284 | PMC2773928 | PLoS One) Published online 2009 November 16. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0007844.

Reads ‘n stuff.

library4

[NOTE: All links related to the uprising in Baltimore can be found here. I am especially heartened to see so much serious pushback against mainstream media coverage.]

Austerity has been an unmitigated disaster, and this proves it. O’Brien, M., The Washington Post (Apr. 2015). [OMFG WHO COULD HAVE PREDICTED. –Ed.]

The jobs most likely to make you drink. Ingraham, C., The Washington Post (Apr. 2015). [Ooh! Ooh! I think I know this one! Is it…lefty blogger? –Ed.]

Ocean energy plus cybernetics can supply a quarter of the US’s power. Kishore, S., The Ecologist (Apr. 2015). [Yes We Can’t! –Ed.]

Not a Tea Party, a Confederate Party. Muder, D., The Weekly Sift (Aug. 2014). (“Here’s what my teachers’ should have told me: ‘Reconstruction was the second phase of the Civil War. It lasted until 1877, when the Confederates won.'”) [h/t PZ] [FIVE STARS. If you click on only one link here today, make it this one. –Ed.]

Trailer for Black Mass starring Johnny Depp as Boston gangster and FBI informant Whitey Bulger:

OMFG I CANNOT WAIT TO SEE THIS MOVIE.

5 Ways It’s Become a Crime to Be Poor in America, Punishable by Further Impoverishment: New report details perverse policies that are driving more people into hopeless, inescapable poverty. Starr, T.J., AlterNet (Apr. 2015). [Because bootstraps. Or something. –Ed.]

Countries free of religion are the most socially advanced, data show. Epiphenom, Patheos (Apr. 2015). [GTFO. –Ed.]

Sexism in science: Peer editor tells female researchers their study needs a male author. Feltman, R., The Washington Post (Apr. 2015). [I mean, is there anything that a d00d cannot improve? –Ed.]

The US Carried Out 674 Military Operations in Africa Last Year. Did You Hear About Any of Them? Turse, N., The Nation (Apr. 2015). [Nope. –Ed.]

Obama Compares Progressive Opposition to Trade Deal to ‘Death Panels’ as the Left Ramps Up Opposition. Garcia, E., National Journal (Apr. 2015). [Ahh! Reminds me of the ol’ days when the Obama administration called me an ungrateful fucking retarded drug addict. GOOD TIMES. –Ed.]

Report from the Field: On (Not) Reporting Sexual Violence. Glaviano, A., VIDA (Apr. 2015).

The Anti-Surveillance State: Clothes and Gadgets Block Face Recognition Technology, Confuse Drones and Make You (Digitally) Invisible. Burns, J., AlterNet (Apr. 2015).

antisurveillancehair&makeup

 IRIS CAN TOTALLY ROCK THESE LOOKS. FYI.

Sick anti-vax trolls attack grieving mum. Hansen, J., The Sunday Telegraph (Apr. 2015). [I hate humans. SO HARD. –Ed.]

Tug of War: We’re on the verge of the greatest public health triumph of the 21st century. Palmer, B., Slate (Apr. 2015). [Also FYI: guinea worms are ginormous assholes, almost as bad as conservatives. –Ed.]

Missouri Satanist: 72-hour waiting period for abortions violates my ‘sincerely held religious beliefs’. Gettys, T., Raw Story (Apr. 2015). [#allhailsatan. –Ed.]

Making Sense of Nonsense: A MOOC About Climate Change Denial. Plait, P., Bad Astronomy via Slate (Apr. 2015).

This:

[h/t Tony] [♥ ♥ ♥ !!! –Ed.]

The Pentagon Has No Idea What Happened To Over $45 Billion In Afghan Reconstruction Funds. Argueta, S., Occupy Democrats (Apr. 2015). [I know I just hate it when I lose track of $45 billion. –Ed.]

What does gun violence really cost? Follman, N., et al, Mother Jones (Apr. 2014).

Taking Back Detroit: Portraits of the Motor City by Wayne Lawrence. National Geographic (Apr. 2015).

Women Are Improving This “Beach Body” Advert With Their Own Body-Positive Messages. Warren, R., Buzzfeed (Apr. 2015).

beachbodyreadyfuckoffMy sentiments exactly.

School Develops ‘Safety Plan’ For 12-Year-Old Rape Victim: No Revealing Clothes. Prager, J., Addicting Info (Apr. 2015). (“When the unnamed child reported the abuse to  school officials in January, no phone calls were made, no reports were filed, and the girl was certainly given no measure of comfort and support. Instead, she was told that she needs to take steps to avoid enticing men to rape her.”) [What the everloving fuck. –Ed.]

The Numbers Are Staggering: U.S. Is ‘World Leader’ in Child Poverty. Buchheit, P., AlterNet (Apr. 2015). (“The callousness of America’s political and business leaders is shocking once you start looking at the numbers.”) [“Shocking?” Not to me it isn’t. –Ed.]

lipprintRed Lipstick and Rape Culture. Steph, Grounded Parents (Apr. 2015). (“These microaggressions marginalize women and girls and make us feel uncomfortable and small. And worse, we unconsciously participate in them because we are conditioned to accept them as a norm. They seem small, but the cumulative impact is huge.”)

‘Screw ‘em': Michigan man taunts neighbors with Confederate flag and nooses outside home. Gettys, T, Raw Story (Apr. 2015). [He seems nice. –Ed.]

Arizona hate preacher who tells women they deserve rape now harasses Mosque-goers. Jilani, Z., Raw Story (Apr. 2015). [He seems nice too. –Ed.]

Georgia Walmart Pharmacist Refused To Fill Woman’s Medication After Miscarriage. Gittleson, W., If You Only News (Apr. 2015). [Also nice! So many nice people! –Ed.]

Meet the Most Obnoxious Catcaller in New York City. McKay, T., Mic.com (Apr. 2015). (“‘How would you call a dog?’ Jones asks. ‘Same way,’ the man responds.”) [Meh. I’ve had worse. –Ed.]

Terrified ‘Tea Party Patriot’ realizes he could lose Obamacare if GOP wins in 2016. Edwards, D., Raw Story (Apr. 2015). (with VIDEO). [LOL. –Ed.]

The day I bought steak with my food stamps. Fisher, S., Patheos (Apr. 2015).

The pathological legacy of the Oklahoma City bombing. Blair, C.P., Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (Apr. 2015).

Forget Shorter Showers. Jensen, D., Orion Magazine (Apr. 2015).

 

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For the Quote collection:

“One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we’ve been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We’re no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. It’s simply too painful to acknowledge, even to ourselves, that we’ve been taken. Once you give a charlatan power over you, you almost never get it back.” –Carl Sagan [h/t Llewellyn]

“We can follow the example of those who remembered that the role of an activist is not to navigate systems of oppressive power with as much integrity as possible, but rather to confront and take down those systems.” –Derrick Jensen [h/t SJ]

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PLZ NOTE: Acquisition of links and/or bon mots for the Palace Library does not imply the Palace’s 100% agreement with or endorsement of any content, organization or individual.