Rock bottom cookies.

[CN: sexual assault “humor” as branding.]

So I saw this sign on the counter of a concession stand at a movie theater in Chelsea today. (I saw The Martian, by the way, which was freaking awesome. !) Now, it is true that I am one of those notorious Humorless Feminists™ you have undoubtedly heard a lot about, so you might want to keep this very important fact in mind here. But…



“Grabba Sweet Bottom ;D”? That’s your fucking trademark? May I politely suggest—as someone who has had her “sweet bottom” grabbed without her consent (by MEN of course) on too many occasions to count, much less recount—that these Sweet Bottom Cookie people just go right ahead and fuck themselves, and then go fuck right off? Yeah? Like, right now? Thanks, ever so much.

And I get the sweet bottom/butt joke, I really do. I think it’s boring and infantile and infantilizing, but yes I understand it. And I like butts! I like ogling butts, I like butt sex, I like butt porn, I even like butt jokes! I am a fan of The Butt. But see, when you add grabbing? To sweet bottom? It ceases to be merely uninspired humor, and moves squarely into the realm of rape culture. Butts do not exist for the grabbing, not without the butt owner’s consent. That is sexual assault. And you know what? It is not fucking funny. Girls and women do not need products marketed to them with the message that butt grabbing is normal and fun and funny and not harmful in any way. And believe me, boys and men certainly do not need that message reinforced, either.

Here’s some more clever marketing:

sbc3Oh hahaha! Geddit?

sbc2Freddie Mercury hates you too. Or he would if he were alive

This is who we’re dealing with here, people.


palacefuckyou(Extra FUCK YOU, just for Michele Lewis.)

You can contact this asshole here to inform her that a Humorless Feminist™ has nothing but bottomless (<—hahaha) contempt for her sexual assault “joke” shenanigans.

FYI: Now that Michele Lewis’s Sweet Bottom Cookie company has partnered with Nestlé, I’m sure you can look forward to a sexual assault “joke” on a cookie wrapper coming soon to a convenience store near you!

Recent reading.


Federal bust of long-running escort site leads to protests. Mullin, J., Ars Technica (Sep. 2015). [The Department of Homeland Security, people: Keeping Us Safe™ from the consensual gay sex terrorists. –Ed.]

Minister Louis Farrakhan Wants Jay Z To Keep Beyonce “Covered”. Robertson, I., Vibe (Sep. 2015). [HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! STFU 4EVAH, Lou. –Ed.]


Americans are leaving religion. Why are we still subsidizing it? Niose, D., The Washington Post (Sep. 2015). [Why indeed. –Ed.]


The Hypocrisy of the Anti-Muslim Bigotry Arrest of Ahmed Mohamed, in One Tweet. Levine, J., (Sep. 2015):

ahmedtexastweetThe tweet shows the younger Mohamed, left, in handcuffs as police led him out of his high school Monday. On the right are two white, gun-holding children who showed up with other open carry activists at a 2014 arts festival in Fort Worth, Texas, where the group had previously been banned. Neither the children nor other members of the group were arrested.


tysonaliens[Oh, I don’t know, Neil. I’m not surprised, why should aliens be? Have you met humans? –Ed.]

Here’s what happens when you try to replicate climate contrarian papers. Nuccitelli, D., The Guardian (Aug. 2015):

[T]here is no cohesive, consistent alternative theory to human-caused global warming. Some blame global warming on the sun, others on orbital cycles of other planets, others on ocean cycles, and so on. There is a 97% expert consensus on a cohesive theory that’s overwhelmingly supported by the scientific evidence, but the 2–3% of papers that reject that consensus are all over the map, even contradicting each other. The one thing they seem to have in common is methodological flaws like cherry picking, curve fitting, ignoring inconvenient data, and disregarding known physics.


Picture yourself as a stereotypical male. Michelle G., MIT Admissions (Sep. 2015):

As it turns out, there is zero statistically significant gender difference in mental rotation ability after test-takers are asked to imagine themselves as stereotypical men for a few minutes. None.

Similar findings have been shown regarding racial identities: for example, asking black students to indicate their race before a test both significantly increases their anxiety and lowers their test scores.


17 Genius Tweets from the Person who Allegedly ‘Sits Next to Kim Davis’. SheWired (Sep. 2015):


[LOL. –Ed.]

oscarwildetruth[They might kill you anyway. –Ed.]


30 military cadets hurt in West Point pillow fight. Yahoo News (Sep. 2015).

The brawl left 24 young cadets with concussions, The Academy told the paper, after reports that some stuffed their pillows with hard objects.

A total of 30 cadets were injured, and students reported that the list of wounds included one broken leg as well as dislocated shoulders.

No disciplinary measures have been taken against the cadets and there were no plans to end the yearly brawl…

[Shit mocks itself, really. –Ed.]


Why the Fuck you Lyin’, Carly Fiorina? Feminace, Seriously?!? (Sep. 2015):

You wanna end [Planned Parenthood]? Offer to be its CEO.

[BOOM. –Ed.]

shirleychisholmabortionJeb Bush would rather you forget that his grandfather helped found Planned Parenthood. Palma, S., Dead State (Aug. 2015):

the grandfather and father of the last two Bush presidents, Prescott Bush, was the treasurer of the organization in its early years.

Republican’s mind [sic] blown when witness tells him some Planned Parenthood patients are mothers. Gettys, T., Raw Story (Sep. 2015):

“How can they be the mothers of the children when children are aborted through Planned Parenthood?” Sensenbrenner said…“Well, I don’t think that there’s statistics that indicate that’s the case.”

[Here in reality—a place conservatives are only dimly aware of, I know—61 percent of women who seek an abortion already have at least one child. And yeah, “there’s statistics that indicate that’s the case.” FFS. –Ed.]

The War on Women is Over—And Women Lost. Redden, M., Mother Jones (Sep. 2015):

“Sometimes, I feel like I’ve gone back 40-some years,” [Renee Chelian, founder and CEO of Northland Family Planning Centers] says. “And I can hardly believe that.” Women trek hundreds of miles north from Dayton, Ohio, or east from South Bend, Indiana, for an abortion at one of her centers. Some are already miscarrying—probably after taking pills or herbal concoctions they got from the internet. A few have tried to open their cervix by digging into it with a sharp object.



Trying to follow what is going on in Syria and why? This comic will get you there in 5 minutes. Huber, A., UpWorthy (Sep. 2015).

Decoding the Current War in Syria: The Wikileaks Files. Ganesan, J., Global Research (Sep. 2015):

The US strategically schemed to cause unrest in Syria against the Bashar al-Assad government. Faced with the rise of ISIS, which the US was not only aware of but also encouraged, the US slides deeper into a complicated war it helped escalate in the first place…


Invisible War Crimes – The Corporate Media On Yemen. DC, Media Lens (Sep. 2015).

The overarching framework, Chomsky points out, is the so-called Clinton Doctrine, named after former US president Bill Clinton. The doctrine asserts that United States is entitled to the ‘unilateral use of military power’ to ensure ‘uninhibited access to key markets, energy supplies, and strategic resources’. This entitlement is dressed up as alleged ‘security’ or ‘humanitarian’ concerns.

Mosaic of Facts. Francis-Santiago, M., RT via youtube (Sep. 2015). (VIDEO).

Miguel Francis-Santiago delves deep to try to understand the intricacies of information war. He meets media experts and puts together the Mosaic of Facts, showing how public opinion is manipulated, not just over the Ukrainian Crisis but throughout the world.

[Behold: your liberal media. –Ed.]


Colorado Becomes First State In History To Collect More Taxes From Pot Than Alcohol. Taylor, C., Occupy Democrats (Sep. 2015). [Doooooood. That’s, like, sooooo freakin’ awwsummm? –Ed.]


The TPP Will Finish What Chile’s Dictatorship Started. Grandin, G., The Nation (Sep. 2015):

In the 1970s, socialism was, for many, on the horizon of the possible, with the principle of “excess profit” seen as a way for exploited countries to, in Allende’s words, “correct historic wrongs.” Today, forget nationalization, much less socialism. If the TPP is ratified and ISDS put into effect, countries won’t be able to limit mining to protect their water supply or even enforce anti-tobacco regulation.

This September 11, as the Obama administration makes its final push for the TPP, it’s worth taking a moment to realize why all those people in Chile—and in Uruguay, Brazil, Argentina, Guatemala, El Salvador, and throughout Latin America—died and were tortured: to protect the “future profits” of multinational corporations.

Swedish nurses experiment with 6-hour work day and efficiency goes up and turnover goes down. Einenkel, W., Daily Kos (Sep. 2015):

There are drawbacks to this. It costs some money and CEOs cannot make 300 times more than their workforce if they do this. You also may only be able to buy a new private jet once every ten years and not once every three years. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to live in a country where I can’t dream about owning more stuff than other people and then telling them they’re lazy…


PLZ NOTE: Acquisition of links for the fabulous Palace library does not imply 100% agreement with or endorsement of any content, organization, source or individual.

So let me get this straight.

ahmedmohamedBy now everyone in the world with an Internet connection knows the story: 14-year-old Muslim student Ahmed Mohamed was arrested at his Texas high school for the unconscionable crime of bringing in a home-built clock to show his engineering teacher. Teachers, administrators and police pretended the clock might be a bomb (because OMFG he’s a Muslim! HELLO?!!!), but of course they never for one second believed any such thing. Otherwise the school would have been evacuated immediately, and a bomb squad sent in. Instead, five regular cops showed up and proceeded to physically handle the scary, scary clock, search all of Ahmed’s belongings, confiscate his tablet, and then sit around with the principal interrogating the kid. When he was first pulled out of class to meet the officers, one whom the teen did not recognize leaned back in his chair and said: “Yup. That’s who I thought it was.” The principal threatened to expel him if he did not make a written statement.

“They were like, ‘So you tried to make a bomb?’” Ahmed said.

“I told them no, I was trying to make a clock.”

“He said, ‘It looks like a movie bomb to me.’”


Ahmed’s clock was decorated with a hologram tiger image on the front, which to me suggests a movie time machine, not a movie bomb, but what do I know? I am not a professional law enforcement officer trained to spot movie bombs (but not clocks).

Choking back tears, Ahmed was hauled through the hallways in handcuffs to shocked looks and gasps from other students and his guidance counselor. He was taken to a juvenile detention facility for processing: mug shots, finger prints, the whole deal—plus another round of interrogation by police, again with neither his parents nor a lawyer present. The ordeal ended when his parents arrived to pick him up.

Police have admitted they did not alert the bomb squad because, just like the teachers and school administrators, no one ever actually suspected Ahmed’s clock was a bomb. They arrested him because, they say, “he could offer no ‘broader explanation’ for his clock besides describing it as a device that measures time.”

I have to admit they’ve got me there. I am sitting here scratching my head, trying to come up with a broader explanation for a clock besides, you know, a device that measures time. But try as I might, I cannot for the life of me conceive of any other explanation. Any Ph.D. physicists among my Many Tens of Loyal Readers™ who would care to enlighten me? Because apparently the Irving Texas police department understands something about a broader explanation for clocks that I…I just don’t get. :(

So then the flaming asshole principal sent a self-righteous ass-covering letter to district parents, posing as the Great and True American Hero™ of this colossal farce:

In Irving ISD and at MacArthur High School, your child’s safety and well-being is always our top priority [unless your child is named Ahmed Mohamed, obviously] and we want to maintain open, honest and timely communication with you [and/or lie to you to cover up our comical negligence and overt racism and bigotry]. If there was ever an imminent threat to your child [again, unless your child is named Ahmed Mohamed], we would take immediate and necessary precautions [except for evacuating during a bomb scare], and we would inform you immediately. [Or maybe not: we might call the police instead, and then we’ll all sit around interrogating, searching and bullying your child.]

Irving Police Department responded to a suspicious-looking item [person] on campus yesterday. We are pleased to report that after the police department’s assessment the item [person] discovered at school did not pose a threat to your child’s safety [except if your child is named Ahmed Mohamed—then of course all bets are off].

Our school is cooperating fully with the ongoing police investigation [!!!?], and we are handling the situation in accordance with the Irving ISD Student Code of Conduct and applicable laws [which CLEARLY prohibit all clocks, watches and any other devices by which students might discover the time of day]. Please rest assured that we will always take necessary steps to keep our school as safe as possible [for those students who are not named Ahmed Mohamed. In case that wasn’t clear].

If the principal were not a case study in Conservative Personality Disorder, the letter might have read something more like this one, at the blog Without Bullshit:

I need to run a school in a town with a community of Muslims and a few Muslim-haters, too. Please stop thanking me and the police chief for our vigilance. I know this looks bad. In the future, I’ll try to hassle students of all races and religions equally.

Have a conversation with your kids about making friends with people who are different from themselves. That’s the best way to make sure we all know what’s going on, and can tell a boy with a clock from one with an assault rifle.

Sincere but stressed, your principal

Yeah. And maybe include in that conversation with your kids the fact that “over the last three decades, 90 percent of high school or elementary school shootings were the result of White, often upper-middle class, perpetrators.” Which reminds me of this:

racistturbanwhiteguymovietheaterorschoolThe criminal charges against Ahmed were eventually dropped but the school still gave him a three-day suspension, presumably for being able to tell time on campus.

CPCCrPjU8AI_5bJThe upside for Ahmed is that the Twitterverse rose mightily to the occasion: he now has a personal invitation from our American Muslim child murdering president to bring his clock to the White House, an invitation from Mark Zuckerberg to meet with him at Facebook, and invitations from MIT and Harvard to tour their physics labs. An anonymous donor has paid for a scholarship for Ahmed to attend Space Camp. YAY.


Meanwhile, here is a story about another 14-year old boy, who built a fucking nuclear reactor in the lab at his school. Not a clock, mind you, and not a movie bomb (or even a movie nuclear reactor). No. AN ACTUAL NUCLEAR FUSION REACTOR. Not surprisingly, officials at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Energy took a keen interest, which is why his belongings were confiscated and he was arrested, searched and interrogated multiple times, without his parents or a lawyer present.

I’m just kidding. DHS and DoE offered that kid technical assistance, equipment and an invitation to submit a grant proposal. The kid paraded around with his fusion reactor at a bunch of science fairs to much acclaim, and won over $100,000 in prizes, a trip to Switzerland and a tour of the Large Hadron Collider.

Care to guess what color his skin was? Go ahead, guess. I’ll give you a hint: his name is Taylor Wilson.

Via Gawker, here are seven clock-building students not named Ahmed Mohamed “who got off scot-free for the heinous crime of DIY timekeeping, plus a bonus kid who brought an actual inert bomb to school.” He wasn’t even suspended.


Anyway, I fucking love this Ahmed Mohamed kid.

Fortunately, Ahmed has no plans to return to his shitty high school. “I’m thinking about transferring from MacArthur to any other school,” he says. Good thinking there, Ahmed. Perhaps you might consider transferring to any other country. I highly recommend Costa Rica! :D 

Ahmed Mohamed embodies everything that used to be great about this country: education, innovation, opportunity, ambition, optimism, freedom. Now, he represents what we have become: a fascist, racist police state.

Welcome to post-racial ‘Murikkka, people. Nothing to see here.


Have a nice day.


The art of awkward conversation.

[CONTENT NOTE: racism/White Supremacy, xenophobia (FROM AN IMMIGRANT…), fat shaming, food policing, general assholery.]

I mentioned recently that I had been traveling through the region of the country I call Pennsyltucky. I was accompanying My Amazing Lover™ to a conference in Dallas, TX, where I had occasion to take the hotel shuttle to the Dallas Galleria shopping mall. I know, I know: you simply cannot envision Your Humble Monarch™ ever gracing with her presence such a monument to base consumerism, labor exploitation and fluorescent lighting. But you would be wrong for at least three reasons, two of which are generally applicable and one specific to this particular point in spacetime:

  1. New Yorkers don’t really have malls per se, so an opportunity to partake of the same indoor shopping ritual so many of my fellow citizens perform on a regular basis is rare for us indeed. (Yes we have the Manhattan Mall, which is small and always overcrowded and no one I know has ever gone there more than once. WE DON’T EVEN SPEAK OF IT.) An argument could be made that excepting Central Park, the entire island of Manhattan is essentially one enormous shopping mall. But a shopping excursion here is an entirely different experience from mall shopping altogether. For example: weather is a factor.
  2. Cultural anthropology, people. Intrepid journalists and pontificating pundits (such as myself) must go forth from time to time and, horrifying though it may be, bravely gaze with our own eyes upon the suburban American zeitgeist. For instance, one might notice (and then ponder the implications of) the fact that the Dallas Galleria contains not one but two sports memorabilia shops, and not one single book store.
  3. During my travels, a very happy event occurred: the daughter of My Amazing Lover™ gave birth to a gorgeous and healthy baby girl, a few weeks earlier than expected. We wanted to meet her as soon as possible upon our return, and of course no envoy from the Palace would ever dream of doing so without bearing gold, frankincense and myrrh non-toxic age-appropriate gifts. Thus a trip to a shopping mall seemed in order. (Where, by the way, I totally scored some great deals on some cool stuff EXCEPT FOR BOOKS BECAUSE THERE ARE NO BOOKS THERE.) Perhaps somewhat relevant to the rest of this post is the fact that this beautiful child is biracial.

I sat on a bench under a shade tree just outside the entrance to a Banana Republic, waiting for the hotel shuttle’s return. I was soon joined by a middle-aged woman who spoke very good English with a distinct Russian accent. (Let’s call her Elena.) Elena asked if I was with the same group she was and headed back to the same hotel, and I said yes. We made small talk about the weather and the conference hotel and whatever. The rest of our conversation went something like this.


ELENA: The driver that brought me here was so rude.

IRIS: Huh. Mine wasn’t, he was nice and very helpful.

ELENA: Can you believe he had a big sign behind his seat, right in my face, that said “tips are appreciated”? For what? It’s only a five minute drive!

IRIS: Well I gave mine five bucks. Seemed worth it to me—a cab would probably cost more. Plus I have no idea what his pay is, so.

[A group of three young women pass us on their way into the mall. ELENA’s gaze follows them. IRIS ignores them and checks her phone for messages.]

ELENA: Did you know that by 2040 or 2050, white people will be in the minority in this country?

IRIS: [looks up. stares at ELENA.]

ELENA: The same thing is happening to Europe, too. [shakes head disapprovingly.]

IRIS: Good. We’ve certainly done a terrible job and made a HUGE mess of things.

ELENA: …well, I was…um…

IRIS: [*silence*]

ELENA:  …I read that, so…

IRIS: [*silence*]

ELENA: …I was just saying something about what I read…

IRIS: (aside)

wonkaminorityImage: Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka, smirking amusedly.

ELENA: …I was just making conversation…so…

IRIS: Yes. This is a conversation.

[Hotel shuttle arrives. ELENA and IRIS climb in and THE DRIVER, who appears black, pulls away.]

ELENA: So Iris where are you from?

IRIS: I live in New York City. Originally from Philadelphia.

ELENA: [points to the “tips are appreciated” sign, rolls her eyes exaggetatedly.] I live in South Carolina, but I’m Russian.

IRIS: Well. That’s quite a difference.

ELENA: Yes it is. You know I have to cook every single meal? Because Southern food is just awful.

IRIS: Huh. [vividly imagines buttered grits, biscuits & gravy, slow-cooked BBQ ribs, fried chicken, peach cobbler, pecan pie, banana pudding…]

ELENA: I tell you, we cannot even go out to eat! Everything at the restaurants is fried! It’s disgusting!

IRIS: It’s delicious.

ELENA: It’s why everyone is so fat!

IRIS: Is it?

ELENA: I cannot eat it! This food!

IRIS: [*silence*]

ELENA: I don’t need it. No one needs it!

IRIS: [*silence*]

ELENA: [stares out the window glumly.] Hmm.

[THE DRIVER soon parks the shuttle in front of the hotel.]

IRIS: [very cheerily] It was so great meeting you Elena! I’ll see you tonight at the cocktail hour!

ELENA: Uh, very nice meeting you too. Yes.

[IRIS makes a beeline toward the hotel bar.]



Hat tip to the amazing Captain Awkward, who frequently reminds me that whenever people say shitty things, it’s okay to let the horrid stench of their verbal poo linger in the air, without response or acknowledgement of any kind. This has a tendency to make them very uncomfortable, which when you think about it is really an ideal result.

Last month in mockery.

I was just going to plunk this into a link roundup, but upon re-reading it I like it so much I really want to highlight it. It has everything Loyal Readers™ crave: the appalling truth about how our government and media actually operate, witty snark, and a cudgel with which to clobber conservatives, all of it expressed by someone who clearly relishes the opportunity and/or understands the necessity of doing so.

A few weeks ago, a blogger at Daily Kos who goes by mtosner posted The Biggest Scandal in US History That We’re Still Not Talking About, based on this truly excellent 3-part work of investigative journalism by Scot J. Paltrow and Kelly Carr for Reuters from July.

That would be July of 2013.

Take it away mtosner:


The above is roughly what 8.5 Trillion dollars would look like… and those are $100 bills. Take another look and let that sink in for a bit…   I find it absolutely astonishing that the pentagon could lose track of this much money and for there to be no MSM coverage of this scandalous amount of mismanagement and fraud. Where is the demand for accountability? Why is the first question to ANY candidate for president not “What would you do about the massive fraud and waste at the Pentagon?”  Where are the hearings, nay indictments, that are warranted when a sum equal to 1/2 of our national debt can be sent to the pentagon to never be accounted for.

In an update, the author also notes the fact that since 1996, the Pentagon has been required by law to be “audit ready.” In the nearly 20 years that have passed since then, no real accounting systems have been implemented, much less actual audits. I have been traveling the last day or so through the part of our country I refer to as Pennsyltucky, with brief stops in Latrobe, PA, Lexington, KY and Memphis, TN (don’t ask), and I can attest that every television screen in sight is broadcasting Republican warmongers whinging about the Iran deal, and no one appears the slightest bit concerned with the mysteriously missing EIGHT AND A HALF TRILLION DOLLARS. Why just this morning, I caught my BFF George Pataki yammering on CNN about how the U.S. got “nothing” from the Iran deal. And here I thought “not going to war with Iran” would be less expensive in terms of blood and treasure than, you know, actually going to war with Iran. Silly me. I mean at this point, what’s a few more trillion dollars down the rabbit hole, plus thousands more dead and maimed soldiers, millions of dead, maimed and displaced Iranians, and yet another politically unstable country in the Middle East? “Nothing,” that’s what.

Of course $8.5 trillion worth of Pentagon corruption and/or incompetence (with no end in sight) affects virtually everyone across the nation, but soldiers and veterans suffer the worst of it by far. Just read the first part of the Reuters series to see what “supporting the troops” looks like in practice.

With all of that as backdrop, mtosner urges us to get our game on and work that $8.5 trillion into every political conversation we have, especially with conservatives*. To wit:

“What’s that? Body cameras for all cops will be too expensive? How bout we find 1/10,000th of the money we sent to the pentagon.”

“Oh really? There’s 500 million in provable food stamp fraud going to poor people how bout the 8.5 TRILLION the pentagon can’t account for?”

“Oh really? You think Obama care is going to cost us almost a trillion dollars over 15  years? How about the 8.5 Trillion that just disappeared into the ether at the pentagon? What’s you’re take on that?”

“Oh really, you’re concerned about deficit spending and the debt? Fully 1/3 of the national debt it is money we sent the Pentagon and they can’t tell us where it went. It’s just gone.”

“College for everyone will cost too much? You must be really pissed at the 8.5 Trillion, with a ‘t’, dollars the pentagon’s spent and can’t tell us where it went.”

Yes indeed.

Moreover mtosner is correct that the corporate media’s silence on this issue (among others) ought to require the modification of the oft-used term Military-Industrial-Complex to Military-Industrial-Media-Complex. Then again, when defense contractor GE owns NBC—including MSNBC, beloved by liberals who think Rachel Maddow is as leftist as it gets—perhaps it’s redundant. As mtosnter points out, “It seems for few hundred million in ‘be all you can be’ ad buys the MSM will keep it’s mouth shut.”

I do have a few nits to pick with mtosner, though, who suggests that this exercise exposes conservatives’ hypocrisy. This is true as far as it goes, but conservatives are notoriously impervious to charges of hypocrisy no matter how blatant (just think of all the sexual shenanigans by the Traditional Marriage™ types). But my bigger disagreement with mtosner is the characterization of any of this as “scandalous,” as if it represented some kind of aberration in the way things ordinarily operate. It isn’t. It only appears that way if you buy into the illusion that we are living in anything resembling a constitutional democracy.

*Unless you are simply enjoying sharpening your fangs, I don’t generally recommend having conversations with conservatives, ever, unless there is an audience. In that case it’s your goddamn patriotic duty to mock them mercilessly and thereby, perhaps, enlighten your fellow citizens. It’s not like the corporate media is going to do the job for us, people.


Today in Mockery.

This week not one but two outstanding activist mockers managed to warm my cold little heart and ignite a tiny spark of hope for humanity, however fleetingly.

First via Raw Story, we learned of comedian Ted Androsky’s Twitter campaign to raise money for Planned Parenthood by taunting Sen. Ted Cruz in an effort to get himself blocked by the Republican presidential candidate. Cruz has promised to cut federal funding for Planned Parenthood if elected president, because like the True Conservative Christian™ he is, he really wants poor women to give birth to a whole lot of babies they do not want and to suffer from numerous preventable and curable diseases, all of which the state will have to pay for one way or another. In reality, of course—a concept with which conservatives are only minimally acquainted—it is already true that no federal funding can ever be used for abortion services, anywhere, precisely because of disease-loving Forced Birthers like Ted Cruz.*

After Androsky tweeted about getting blocked by the Church of Scientology, a friend dared him to target Cruz next by promising to donate $100 to the charity of his choice if the Cruz campaign blocked him. Game on.

What started with silly memes escalated when Androsky began urging supporters to use Planned Parenthood’s online form to donate directly, then “select ‘in honor of’ and use the name fields to make a joke about @tedcruz.” That led to screenshot captures such as gems such as: 

“On behalf of everyone here at Planned Parenthood, thank you so much for your gift of $10 to Planned Parenthood, in honor of Ted Cruz’s Minions bath toys.”


“in honor of that time Ted Cruz tried to pet a dog but it farted and he cried,”

and my personal favorite:

“in honor of the time Ted Cruz pouted for a week because his wife wouldn’t sleep in the garage when she was on her period.”

There are so many more on Androsky’s Twitter timeline, peppered with outraged anti-choicer rantings about Planned Parenthood’s terrible Nazism etc. Good times.

The comedian also had some insightful things to say about activism and this Twitter stunt specifically:

“I think the reason this has resonated with people is because this Republican field is so cartoonish. They’re monsters and they’re dangerous, sure, but it’s so over-the-top now that it’s so easy to push it into comedy. Activism is a serious thing, but online activism in many cases is so self-serious that it gets in its own way of actually doing anything. Being another white guy who just complains or makes jokes about injustice while my life isn’t under any threat felt hollow.”

“Ted Cruz is truly evil,” he explained. “Why not combat it with targeted silliness?”

Why not indeed.

When asked how much money he hoped to raise for Planned Parenthood, Androsky said, “My goal is to raise $2,294,642, because that spells out ‘bazinga’ on a phone keypad.”

Well played, Mr. Androsky.

Next up comes a speech from perhaps our greatest living mocker, Stephen Colbert. It’s from 2012, but we only stumbled upon it recently—and it remains just as relevant today if not more so. The occasion was a gala celebrating Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people, and among the honorees were Colbert and notorious supervillain and enemy of all life on planet Earth, David Koch. The whole speech is fantastic, but the section directed to Koch is some seriously primo shit:

Of course, all of us should be honored to be listed on the TIME 100 alongside the two men who will be slugging it out in the fall:  President Obama, and the man who would defeat him, David Koch. Give it up everybody.  David Koch.

Little known fact — David, nice to see you again, sir.

Little known fact, David’s brother Charles Koch is actually even more influential. Charles pledged $40 million to defeat President Obama, David only $20 million.  That’s kind of cheap, Dave.

Sure, he’s all for buying the elections, but when the bill for democracy comes up, Dave’s always in the men’s room. I’m sorry, I must have left Wisconsin in my other coat.

I was particularly excited to meet David Koch earlier tonight because I have a Super PAC, Colbert Super PAC, and I am — thank you, thank you — and I am happy to announce Mr. Koch has pledged $5 million to my Super PAC. And the great thing is, thanks to federal election law, there’s no way for you to ever know whether that’s a joke.

By the way, if David Koch likes his waiter tonight, he will be your next congressman.


It reminds me of a meme I saw on Facebook recently:

billlawHard to say whether this qualifies as mockery, straight up journalism, or just an ordinary page from a U.S. middle school civics textbook.

*Of course conservatives generally have no trouble at all funding the killing and maiming of brown babies and pregnant people on the other side of the globe with sanctions regimes, cluster bombs and drones. No word yet from the Republican presidential candidates on inflicting numerous preventable and curable diseases on these folks too, but we can assume statements from their respective campaigns on this important issue will be forthcoming shortly. I will promptly update this post when we have them.

Recent reads.



Immigrant Teens Less Likely To Commit Crime, Consume Drugs, Study Finds. Attanasio, C., Latin Times (Sep. 2015):

[T]he U.S. may have a criminalizing effect on immigrants, not the other way around.

Instead of immigrants “bringing drugs” and “bringing crime” to the U.S. — as the immigration analysis of Donald Trump has argued — the research implies that it is the U.S. that brings drugs and crime to immigrant youth.


Racial Injustice Fatigue: Coping with the Toxicity of Well-Meaning White People. Daroe, K., For Harriet (Sep. 2015).


AI robot that learns new words in real-time tells human creators it will keep them in a “people zoo”. Glitch.News (Aug. 2015). WATCH:

[OMFG. –Ed.]


Cheers Erupt As Guatemala Paves Way to Arrest School of the Americas-Trained President Perez Molina. Germanos, A., Common Dreams (Sep. 2015). (“‘Now that Guatemala has kicked open the door, set an example for the world, this trail of blood can be followed wherever it leads, including back to Washington,’ says journalist Nairn.”) [Hahaha. Sure. You know what I always say: Don’t count your incarcerated war criminals before they’re led off in shackles at the Hague. –Ed.]


U.S. Police Routinely Travel to Israel to Learn Methods of Brutality and Repression. Gardner, G., The Free Thought Project (Aug. 2015):

At least 300 high-ranking U.S. sheriffs and police from all over the country, as well as FBI and US Customs and Border Protection agents, have traveled to Israel to learn first-hand the most efficient means of subduing populations.  The purported reason is counterterrorism, but protests and crowd control methods are commonly discussed…The use of excessive or deadly force for crowd control is rarely questioned.

Israeli Police Brutality Is Out of Control, and the Media Is Still Silent. Moreh B.D.K. and R. Abraham, Counter Current News (Nov. 2014).

It’s Time To Admit It. Israeli Policy Is What It Is: Apartheid. Burston, B., Information Clearinghouse (Aug. 2015).


Arizona school district requires students to paste anti-abortion sticker in science textbook. Mother Mags, Daily Kos (Aug. 2015).

Consumer Reports calls latest Tesla best vehicle they’ve ever tested, right wing goes nuts. kos, Daily Kos (Aug. 2015).



Hispanic Or Latino? A Guide For The U.S. Presidential Campaign. Garcia-Navarro, L., NPR (Aug. 2015) [via Skepchick.]:

A quick test to see if you’re paying attention to the original question: What am I?

I’m neither Latina nor Hispanic because I don’t live in the U.S.

I’m a Cuban-Panamanian-Brit who speaks Spanish and lives in a Portuguese-speaking part of Latin America.

See, it’s simple.


Why one naturopath quit after watching her peers treat cancer patients. Belluz, J., Vox (Sep. 2015):

I had a lot of perception bias and self-fulfilling prophecies. I saw myself getting better, friends having healing experiences, that now in hindsight I realize was due to other things — self-limiting conditions, evidence-based medicine sprinkled in with the naturopathic medicine we were doing.

Put down the Emergen-C — vitamin C does not ward off colds. Guth, D., PRI (Public Research International) (Aug. 2015). [via Skepchick.]


POTUS at the Bully Pulpit. Coleman, A.D., The Humanist (Aug. 2015) [h/t Don Ardell]:

[A]s Goya wrote, the sleep of reason produces monsters. Religion, by definition, anesthetizes reason, and those who believe the application of compassionate reason is the best way to help others should point out such anesthetization whenever it occurs, especially when everyone’s watching.


Vintage Magazines Repurposed: Belgian artist Sammy Slabbinck. Skidmore, M., AnOther (Aug. 2015).

goingnowheresammyslabbinckGoing Nowhere © Sammy Slabbinck.


Despite Global Ban, Saudi-Led Forces Kill Dozens in Yemen Using U.S.-Made Cluster Bombs. Goodman, A. and Roth, K., Democracy Now, (Sep. 2015):

Dozens of civilians were killed or wounded, both during the attacks and later, when they picked up unexploded submunitions that detonated. Neither the United States, Saudi Arabia or Yemen have joined the global convention banning the use of cluster munitions.

U.S. launches secret drone campaign to hunt Islamic State leaders in Syria. Miller, G., The Washington Post (Sep. 2015).

A Syrian Photographer Survives to Show His Country’s Destruction. Schatz, B., Mother Jones ( Aug. 2015). (“Mahmoud al-Basha lost nearly all his photos when he was kidnapped. Here’s what’s left.”)

The Nuclear Deal. Chomsky, N., teleSUR (Aug. 2015). [FIVE STARS.Ed.]


These 7 Household Names Make a Killing Off of the Prison-Industrial Complex. Davidson, K., US Uncut (Aug. 2015):

“Insourcing,” as prison labor is often called, is an even cheaper alternative to outsourcing. Instead of sending labor over to China or Bangladesh, manufacturers have chosen to forcibly employ the 2.4 million incarcerated people in the United States. Chances are high that if a product you’re holding says it is “American Made,” it was made in an American prison.

On average, prisoners work 8 hours a day, but they have no union representation and make between .23 and $1.15 per hour, over 6 times less than federal minimum wage. These low wages combined with increasing communication and commissary costs mean that inmates are often released from correctional facilities with more debt than they had on their arrival. Meanwhile, big businesses receive tax credits for employing these inmates in excess of millions of dollars a year.

Drug Sentences Rise, While Time Served For Other Crimes Falls. Hayes, M., BuzzFeed (Aug. 2015). (“A new study finds that drug offenders are serving more time in federal prison while all other sentences are on the decline.”)


Half a million California children are homeless. Mclean, A., World Socialist (Aug. 2015):

More broadly, the gutting of federal programs for food stamps and the health care overhaul by the Obama administration have hacked away at what little is left of a social safety net, placing more of the burden on the backs of working people. The result of these policies has been the highest rate of child homelessness since the Great Depression. As the global economic crisis intensifies, the capitalist politicians will more and more seek to force the working class to pay for a crisis that it did not create. The impoverishment and homelessness of a large number of children in the US is a further symptom of this process.


Similarities Between Anti-Suffragette Posters and Anti-Feminist Memes: The more things change, the more they stay the same. Poland, B., Suite (Aug. 2015).

savecountry[“My” country? I think I see the problem… –Ed.]


PLZ NOTE: Acquisition of links for the fabulous Palace library does not imply 100% agreement with or endorsement of any content, organization, source or individual.

Drones vs. anti-drone laser cannons for fun and profit. UPDATED. UPDATE 2.


Loyal Readers™, prepare to be dazzled—if unsurprised—by my astonishing prescience.

Early last week I was dining with My Amazing Lover™, and of course the topic of drones naturally came up. We were discussing the article by The Washington Post’s Craig Whitlock that I had linked in one of my Recent Reads roundups; thanks to a whistleblower at FAA, we now know about the 700 near-collisions between planes and drones this year (so far).

“But don’t worry about it!” I scoffed. “Drone manufacturers will surely come up with a perfect solution to the very drone menace they created! Then our tax dollars will not only pay for drones themselves, we’ll also happily pay America’s Owners for the technology to neutralize them! WIN-WIN!”

We ordered another bottle of rosé. It was half-price bottle night! But let’s face it, we would have ordered another one anyway.

And then lo and behold, on Wednesday morning Boeing debuted its new compact drone-blasting laser cannon!

dronelasercannonImage: Jordan Golson/WIRED

Isn’t it cute? It looks like the infant spawn of R2D2 and the girl robot from WALL-E!

ever2d2^These two are working for Boeing now, OBVIOUSLY.

The adorable little laser weapon is designed specifically for turning drones into flaming piles of wreckage. The device is controlled with a standard Xbox 360 controller, and no, I did not just make that up. (“If it breaks, just head to the barracks to get a replacement!”).

In the demo, Boeing used the laser to burn holes in a stationary, composite UAV shell, to show how quickly it can compromise an aircraft. Two seconds at full power and the target was aflame…the compact system is small enough to fit in four suitcase-sized boxes and can be set up by a pair of soldiers or technicians in just a few minutes.

Front_View_2kW_Session_1GIF: Boeing.

What could possibly go wrong shooting high power laser beams at drones buzzing around commercial aircraft? FLAMING WRECKAGE FTW.

And what a business opportunity! The market is huuuuge, and I’m not just talking about every single airport in the U.S. (and beyond), or even the military. Last month, drones chased away firefighting helicopters from burning cars on a California highway, which means that every municipal fire department requires a laser cannon, too. There has been a rash of drones dropping all sorts of contraband—weed, weapons, heroin, porn—into prison yards in Ohio, Maryland, South Carolina and probably other places where they went undetected. Boeing blasters on top of every guard tower, anyone? Hundreds of stadiums need laser beam drone exploders, amid growing concerns about all those drones flying overhead. Better to have flaming drone wreckage falling on football fans and players than take a chance on nefarious jihadi plots involving unmanned aerial vehicles, amirite? It would certainly make watching the games much more interesting, that’s for sure. Oh and remember last year when I told you about that 400 pound military drone that crashed landed at a Pennsylvania elementary school? There are a hundred thousand or so public schools in the U.S., and all of them now require an advanced laser weapon. And a working Xbox controller.

And why stop there? The Second Amendment surely guarantees that anyone in the market for a drone blasting laser cannon should be able to get one from Boeing. I’ll certainly need a few of these babies myself, stationed atop the Palace turrets. I’ll be a goddamned one-woman well-regulated militia, necessary to the security of a free state! Whoo-hoo!



Now that you are utterly in awe of my psychic prediction powers, here are some super fun facts about The Boeing Company:

droneattackBoeing’s Unmanned Little Bird H-6U drone under laser attack by Boeing’s new Compact Laser Weapon System.
(Artist’s rendering.)

  • Boeing paid no federal taxes from 2008 to 2010, instead receiving $178 million in tax rebates on profits of $9.7 billion. It spent $52.29 million on lobbying during the same period, when the Democratic Party controlled both houses of Congress and the White House.
  • In the 2008 presidential election, Barack Obama “was by far the biggest recipient of campaign contributions from Boeing employees and executives, hauling in $197,000 – five times as much as John McCain, and more than the top eight Republicans combined.”
  • Since 2008, Boeing has laid off 14,862 workers. In 2010 it increased pay for its top five executives to $41.9 million—a 31% raise.

Have a nice day.

*Okay, anyone with even a minimal understanding of how U.S. capitalism and government work would have predicted precisely this development. But My Amazing Lover™ sure seemed quite impressed with me as I jumped around the Palace animatedly, shrieking “Didn’t I JUST SAY this would happen?! Huh? Weren’t we JUST TALKING about this?!” All right, so maybe “impressed” isn’t exactly accurate. But it’s what I’m going with, people.


Two things pinged my radar after posting yesterday:

Just a little reminder, from the Palace Library archives:

A study conducted by a US military adviser has found that drone strikes in Afghanistan during a year of the protracted conflict caused 10 times more civilian casualties than strikes by manned fighter aircraft.


It turns out you don’t need a Boeing laser cannon to take down a drone after all: chimpanzees with sticks can get the job done quite nicely.

Plus, you have to admit it would be so awesome having a bunch of chimps hanging around all our airports, prisons, schools and stadiums.

IMAGE 5Boeing’s Unmanned Little Bird H-6U drone under attack by chimpanzees with sticks
(Author’s rendering.)

Anybody know whether the chimps have a lobbyist yet? Asking for a friend…

Barry Lynn Is a Kick-Ass Warrior in the Battle Against Creeping Theocracy


-A review of Barry W. Lynn’s new book God and Government, by Don Ardell.


I don’t think the Religious Right understands that religion thrives best where government takes no sides and offers no ‘help.’ There are two thousand different religious groups in the United States and tens of millions of Americans who choose no spiritual path. We all live in relative harmony. Look at Iran; look at Northern Ireland; look at Afghasastan  – state-sponsored religions and the wars against other faiths it engenders should teach us all that we have a pretty good thing going here. In fact, the separation of church and state is probably the single best idea that our two-hundred- year experiment in democracy has engendered.

Barry W. Lynn, “God and Government, p. 61.

Introduction: Barry W. Lynn

Barry Lynn once confessed, though not, I suspect, with heavy heart, that the Reverend Jerry Falwell does not like me. That was about as caustic and mean-spirited as Barry can manage but, oh my, how incisive, informative and entertaining he can be defending and advancing church/state separation. Make no mistake—this book is timely, for such a defense is vital at this time in the nation’s history. God and Government demonstrates as well as the landmark books by Dawkins, Harris, Dennett and Hitchens, if in a nice and velvet glove way, that secularists are in a serious battle against a home grown Right Wing ISIS-of-the-mind religionists whose passions extend well beyond denying evolution, science, climate change, women/gay and unbeliever liberties and the human right to be free from religion. They want what they have long and falsely claimed the founders of this country wanted America to be—a Christian nation.

Were it not for Barry Lynn and others like, if not quite the equal of him, we might be such a society already.

Mr. Lynn has for decades been the Executive Director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State (AU). I’ve listened to him in person on several delightful and inspirational occasions. (I refer to him with the Reverend deliberately omitted — I don’t care to utilize the Reverend prefix, even though he has earned and never abused it. I try to avoid use of all religious titles, including Father, Your Excellence, Your Holiness, Your Eminence and so on. If Mr. Lynn desired it, however, I’d make an exception in his case, and for other heroic figures with clergy credentials. I’m still a little flexible. For now, I prefer The Most Right Honorable and Highly Esteemed Sir Barry Lynn.)

Like millions of others, I’ve enjoyed Mr. Lynn’s articles and countless media interviews and appearances before Congressional committees. (His description of an encounter before a committee chaired by the god-addled Republican Congressman from Texas, Louis B. Gohmert, is hilarious. You can find that on page 289.)

Mr. Lynn is a lawyer and minister in the United Church of Christ. The latter background is, no doubt, a big boost for his effectiveness with Christians and others who still have some respect for faith-based thinking, despite the superstitions that attend the dogmas, grotesque policies and deviant behaviors professed and/or exhibited by many religious figures.

Real Wellness and Religion

Liberty is one of the four dimensions of REAL wellness: separation of church and state helps preserve our secular democracy. This is more important than ever now at a time when the Protestant Religious Right and the Roman Catholic hierarchy seek a Christian nation agenda. While I believe most Christian leaders favor an American theocracy, this goal is rarely expressed publicly. Of course, to a regrettable extent, America is already something of a theocracy, given In God We Trust on our money, in courtrooms, in the Pledge of Allegiance and with enormous tax exemptions for religions and on and on. If there were a god that controlled everything, as most Americans seem to think, I’d thank him, her or it for Barry Lynn, who among other stalwarts for secularism works tirelessly and effectively to keep American ununited in church and state. So far, they are succeeding, if just barely.

Religion and REAL Wellness Are Incompatible

Reason, the R in REAL wellness, and religion represent two distinct ways of thinking. One trusts in revelation (i.e., assertions based on authority); the other is found upon critical thinking, evidence and an objective search for understanding the true nature of reality. Religion does not blend well with democracy, freedom, human rights, joy, happiness, wellness orgasms or other states that secularists seeking well-being of the mind and body associate with quality of life pathways. Religion is antagonistic to reason. Religious authorities insist that the faithful submit their wills to a higher power (whose wishes only they can interpret). They demand belief in religious dogmas, adherence to rituals and respect for all of these things from the rest of society that has and seeks no part of any of it. They make a virtue of faith (aka believing what you know ain’t so, as Mark Twain put it) which, by definition, means lacking evidence or other rational bases. Religions have no use for such life-affirming, reason-based democratic principles as expressed in the Affirmations of Humanism, or in the U.N’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

While there is no connection with the A (athleticism or exercise and nutrition), the E (exuberance) and L (liberty or personal freedoms) dimensions are equally incompatible with the toxicity of religion. Thus, it seems entirely legitimate and reasonable if not imperative for REAL wellness enthusiasts to address religion in the context of describing the nature and dynamics of living a healthy, happy and meaningful life guided by reason and freedom that facilitates exuberance.

Thus, Barry Lynn’s God and Government could be and in my view is a REAL wellness worthy publication. One needs not be a history professor to know that religions have not displayed much enthusiasm for or tolerance of qualities associated any one of these three dimensions.

God and Government

Mr. Lynn’s latest work, published by Prometheus Books, contains ten chapters that represent a mix of his columns, testimony and speeches over the course of two and a half decades. The book contains extensive notes (references) and an index. Hundreds of the author’s encounters with Religious Right theocracy-promoting activists are described with wit and humor. Among my favorite sections are those dealing with these critical church/state issues:

  • School prayer and prayer everywhere else.
  • Taxpayer-subsidized vouchers for religious schools.
  • Creeping religious beliefs into the public sector (e.g., preventing end-of-life choices, promoting censorship and so on).
  • The imposition of religious beliefs by legislators into policies and laws.
  • Opposition to science in a broad sense and evolution in particular.
  • Attempts to proselytize by including religious content into public educational curricula.
  • Religion in the military, the court system and local governments.
  • Tax preferences for clergy; subsidies for chaplains, etc.
  • Criminal clerics.
  • Encounters with nice and strange famous people while fighting the battle of church and state.
  • Descriptions of historic events that shaped the current standoff so far preventing the loss of our right to freedom from religion.

Five Stars

I fully agree and endorse what comedian Lewis Black, author Frank Schaeffer (Crazy for God), Feminist Majority president Eleanor Smeal and filmmaker Jill Soloway wrote in blurbs for God and Government, respectively:

  • No one is more on top of the challenges facing the first amendment than Barry Lynn…with intelligence, wisdom, humanity and a devilish wit, Lynn makes the issues come alive.
  • This book is literally a defense of freedom against the theocratic illness.
  • Barry Lynn knows all the tricks, twists and turns of those who want to turn the clock back several centuries.
  • Barry Lynn has the extraordinary ability to demonstrate how religious fundamentalism poisons almost every public policy debate that matters.

To paraphrase Bruce Springsteen’s tribute to Robert Green Ingersoll, Barry Lynn’s God and Government demonstrates what he has done for equality, education, progress, free ideas and free lives, against the superstition and bigotry of religious dogma. We need men like him today more than ever. His writing still inspires us and challenges the ‘better angels’ of our nature, when people open their hearts and minds to his simple, honest humanity. Thank goodness he (is) here.

An Open Letter from a Black Man to His White Family in a Moment of Violence

Iris Vander Pluym:

Reblogging for my non-black readers, because you should read this eloquent, urgent and impassioned plea right now. If it makes you uncomfortable, good. Because that is a necessary first step toward examining exactly why that is—and then doing something about it.

Originally posted on RADICAL FAGGOT:

The name of the movement is Black Lives Matter. If you are not involved, I assume you take issue with the statement. The name of the movement is Black Lives Matter. If you are not involved, I assume you take issue with this statement.

To the white people I share home with,

I’ve gotten degrees. I’ve been published. I’ve spoken at academic gatherings. I’ve taught classes and workshops. I’ve built up a resume. I’ve gained employment in the acceptable fields of social justice. For years, you told me these were the things I needed to do in order to be listened to.

I’ve participated in direct action. I’ve been arrested. I’ve survived nearly three decades in a country that hates me. I’ve predicted the formation of movements, the swell of riots, months and even years before their occurrences. I don’t know what else I need to do to be legitimized, be validated, to be worthy of being heard and taken seriously.

I am exhausted from trying to get you on board with…

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