CPD in Asheville: a case study.

[CONTENT NOTE: misogyny, sexual assault “joke”, hostility to consent]

Last September a story out of Asheville made the rounds in the Twittoblogoverse about two d00ds who ran a coffee shop there. For those unacquainted, Asheville is an arty, foodie, decidedly liberal bastion, a colorful little gem of a town set in the gorgeous hills of Western North Carolina. Anyway, by day these d00ds, Jared Rutledge and Jacob Owens, were Members in Good Standing of the tight-knit, progressive Asheville community—but by night they moonlighted as pickup artists, and bragged about their exploits with local women in humiliating detail on podcasts, a website/blog and a Twitter feed. To be clear: the sexcapades were consensual. Well, at least some of them were, anyway: in one podcast, Owens muses about fucking a woman while she was a patient in a hospital. He refers to her, charmingly, “the two-vagina’d beast,” and then says:

“Hospital sex is weird, when she’s drugged,” he says. “It’s strange, but it’s really cool.”

“Could she give consent?” Rutledge asks. “Could she give consent, Jay?”

Owens then laughs while saying, “Uh oh. That’s my bad. That is my bad.”

“You might’ve violated some California laws,” Rutledge says. “Good thing we don’t live in California.”

HAHAHA. Good thing! Whew!

But even if all of their encounters were indeed consensual, the descriptions they gave of their partners were dehumanizing, objectifying, cruel and vile, obviously steeped in the misogynist manosphere and reeking of rape culture. (You can easily google them if you wish, but I won’t be posting quotes here.) Kayla Bott, a local video store manager, told the Asheville Citizen-Times, “The problem is not sleeping with people or talking about it. The problem is using women as things to boost your own ego. This is an act of dehumanizing women for self-aggrandizement and that is not a good reason or way to improve your own self esteem.” And while none of it was likely illegal, the women’s lives and relationships have suffered in the aftermath.

My friend (and self-proclaimed Loyal Subject™) SJ lives in the environs of Asheville, and we discussed the story back when it first blew up. My observation at the time was that the only thing remarkable about the story—and it was, and remains, truly remarkable—is that the community rallied around the women. There were boycotts, protests, rallies, petitions. “These are literally the women of the community that we live with,” Bott said. “These are our friends. These are our loved ones. These are our neighbors. There are mothers. We are taking this situation personally, and we are supportive of the women of the community.”

Fast forward a few months to 2016: Rachel Monroe did a follow-up on the story for New York magazine, which SJ just sent to me. I couldn’t help being struck by all the glaring symptoms of Conservative Personality Disorder (CPD) on display by Rutledge (Owens did not participate in the story), and in particular the interesting course such an afflicted individual’s life took in Asheville. Conservatives are deeply, hopelessly conformist after all; so what happens when their community’s norms embody progressive views of women’s sexual freedom and sexual morality? Well, as it turns out you still get exploitation, entitlement and abuse—except that instead of manifesting in the realms of business or government or “traditional” marriage, they manifest in dating.

Putting aside the explicit misogyny in Rutledge’s proclamations, here are some of the CPD flags from the new article (my comments in red):

Jared’s blog posts offered dating tips, braggy descriptions of sexual encounters [superficiality: braggart], angry venting about women who’d flaked on him [entitlement: feels inherently deserving of others’ time and energy], and pseudointellectual analysis of gender relations [limited dimensionality of thought: highly motivated to eliminate cognitive ambiguity by reducing complex real-world phenomena to discrete dualities]

a list of his sexual conquests, evaluated with a numerical score that ranked each woman’s face, body, and personality, as well as a brief description. [superficiality: fixation on appearance as an indicator of identity and character; boundary violations: outright rejection of others’ rights to privacy and personal autonomy]

“There are few things that give me more sadistic pleasure than witnessing the ever-increasing neuroses of a woman hitting the wall,” he tweeted. (“Hitting the wall” is manosphere-speak for aging.) [sadism]

“All of my life I have looked for certainty and attempted to make sense of the world,” he said. [limited dimensionality of thought: anxious and unnerved by cognitive ambiguity, and highly motivated to eliminate it by reducing complex real-world phenomena to discrete dualities.] That search for an explanatory framework led him to the manosphere, where his tendency toward judgment was amplified and given direction. “It’s like a rut in your brain. I’ve had this my whole life, in different arenas. Anger and judgment. Road rage or being mad at a customer who annoyed me. The actual thing to fix is why do I feel the need to — mentally or verbally or on Twitter — punish someone with words because they slighted me. The root of it is the need to judge the world because it doesn’t meet my expectation.” [entitlement: arrogant; self-righteousness: judgmental, hypercritical, scornful and disdainful of  out-group “others”; emotionality: easily triggered outbursts; authoritarianism: punishment oriented]

he majored in philosophy and confidently told atheist friends they were going to hell. [irrationality: hyper-religiousness pervading all social interactions; self-righteousness: judgmental, pompousness]

[Rutledge’s comments in the next paragraphs on Game exemplify amorality: markedly unconcerned with the welfare or suffering of others, exploitative, Machiavellian]
 “I didn’t write those blog posts or tweets for women,” he said. “I wrote them for men. I wrote them for other men in this corner of the internet to validate me and make me feel good.” [entitlement: narcissistic]

the men issued ham-fisted apologies (Jared: “Most of my life I’ve struggled with insecurities around dating”; [self-righteousness: inability to sincerely apologize for personal wrongdoing]

But, said Jared, “Nobody reached out to us to say, ‘What do you need to heal, to be better men?’ [^#^%&^%&!!! DEAR GOD WON’T SOMEONE THINK OF THE POOR MEN?! Priorities!]

Okay, this is where I point out that the tiny number of narcissists who do go into therapy (usually at a major crisis point, at the ultimatum of others, or ordered by a judge) learn this from it: how to deploy in a calculated fashion its concepts and buzzwords to their own advantage. Quelle surprise

“If you’re going to say you’re a loving, supportive community and then just kick out everybody that does something fucked up — I think that’s wrong,” Jared told me. “You don’t get to say, ‘We’re loving and supportive and inclusive’ and not put in the work to be that. ” [Hahaha no. They didn’t kick out “everybody,” they kicked out a pretender and betrayer who deeply shattered a tight-knit community’s trust. That’s what healthy communities do. People who have been used and betrayed are not obligated to forgive, love, support or include those who have used and betrayed them (entitlement much?). Also, Jared didn’t just “do something fucked up,” he did it over and over and over, continuously bragging about his exploits on the internet, and after being caught and called on it is still making it all about him. Unbelievable. Except, no, not really. stunted self-awareness: insistence that self-created problems are entirely the fault of others or of circumstances beyond one’s control, minimization and rationalization of one’s harmful behavior toward others.]

He admitted repeatedly that what he did was wrong: “I used fucking nasty language. I used hurtful and violent language. I shared things I should never have shared about lovers and I objectified women and broke them down to box scores in a way that is objectifying and gross.” [Translation: I’m sorry I got caught saying what I really think about women.]

Still, having spent weeks in the depths of self-examination, he wondered when he’ll be able to reemerge in town as the new, humbled version of himself — and on what terms. [WHOLE WEEKS! “In the depths of self-examination!” This man has suffered enough, people.] 

I asked him if he still wanted to follow the plan he’d written about in his pre-reflection-and-repentance era: fuck around as much as possible until age 38, then marry a 24- or 25-year-old. “Yeah,” he said without hesitation. “Derek Jeter’s doing it.” I must have looked incredulous. “It’s kind of a double standard, right?” he said. “Because everyone’s okay with him doing it, nobody has a problem with that.”

“Why do you want to marry a 25-year-old?” I asked.

“Hotness, absolutely,” he said.

[Can’t you see he’s a totally changed man! HE’S JUST LIKE DEREK JETER! JFC. stunted self-awareness: superficiality; entitlement; + probably several more, but I’m too grossed out to be bothered.]

“I’m open to new information always. I think that’s where I got off the mark a little bit with this. I thought I had the answer — but the answers I thought I had hurt a lot of people and hurt me.” [Especially ME. Me, me, me. What about me, huh?]

If anything, [the women betrayed by Jared] said, it was Jared who wasn’t able to take the sex casually. Now they know that when a woman turned him down or canceled a date or otherwise didn’t live up to his expectations, he lashed out online. [stunted self-awareness: inability to recognize blatant hypocrisy in self, emotionality: temperamental, easily triggered outbursts; entitlement: believes he is inherently deserving of others’ time and energy]

When I asked her about Jared’s attempts to become a better man and be reaccepted by the community, she sighed and looked sad. “There needs to be time for the community to heal, and time for the healing within them … They needed a lot of growth.” [He’s already spent WEEKS in the depths of self-examination! Gosh, women are so selfish and bitter, amirite?]

Well that was a fun exercise. If nothing else, we see once again that atheists—our friend Jared here is an atheist—are just as capable of being misogynist conservative doucheweasels as Bible berserkers, Talmud toadies and Qur’an connoiseurs.

SJ helpfully suggested that I add some indication of just how incredibly ugly the manosphere is. If you want to learn about it in all its glorious grotesquery, I highly recommend reading We Hunted The Mammoth. David Futrelle not only tracks its terrible inhabitants, but mocks them—sublimely.

SJ also adds:

These are our sons and brothers and fellow citizens who pass for normal. These are the kind of people we are…at least a whole fucking large percentage of us.

Misogyny is the rule, not the exception.

Fuck this ugly, fucking conservative country.

^What SJ said.

Various and sundry.

[CONTENT NOTE: homophobia.]

I don’t know how other writers’ brains work, but sometimes I ruminate over a subject for a good long while before writing about it. Case in point: the water in Flint. I’ve been following this disaster for some time now, and frankly the post would write itself. I mean, I could just follow the template from virtually any of my previous rants about conservative governance, search and replace a few words, and voilà! Done. For example:

Conservatives ruining lives as usual, this time in Myanmar Flint.

See? Easy-peasy. Maybe that’s a big part of my problem, that these stories are always the fucking same. That is because there is nothing new about conservatives or the ways they operate, ever. All we can really aspire to do is discover the cause of this epic calamity and hope that this will lead us to the cure, and in the meantime of course we can find new and amusing ways of mocking it. Alas, here too I’m running up against my own limitations. I am so utterly saddened and outraged by the entirely predictable and preventable situation in Flint that I cannot find that angle on the story. Yet.

_________

Speaking of the cause(s) of conservatism

My friend (and self-proclaimed Loyal Subject™) SJ recently sent me a piece by Charles Simic in the New York Review of Books, entitled The Age of Ignorance. Simic laments what he sees as a dramatic uptick in ignorance and irrationality among the US citizenry over the past several decades, and the litany of specific delusions fervently believed by millions of conservatives: “Christians are persecuted in this country. The government is coming to get your guns. Obama is a Muslim. Global Warming is a hoax,” etc. He notes that:

The ideal citizen of a politically corrupt state, such as the one we now have, is a gullible dolt unable to tell truth from bullshit.

An educated, well-informed population, the kind that a functioning democracy requires, would be difficult to lie to, and could not be led by the nose by the various vested interests running amok in this country…A truly educated populace would be bad, both for politicians and for business.

At the root of all of this, Simic suggests, lies the destruction of public education and the failure of families to carry on a tradition of educating their young, with an able assist from a deceitful corporate media. He concludes that this might not be so bad, were it not for our lack of skill or even desire to verify whatever nonsensical bullshit the powerful vested interests are constantly feeding us. And all of that may be true: for example, a media literacy curriculum from grades K-12 would probably go a long way toward immunizing the populace from the worst excesses (which is precisely why it won’t happen).

But I think Simic misses the big, honking red-white-&-blue elephant in the room: faith. In fact, I think it’s pointless to discuss US conservatism without touching on it. I’m not talking about the specific dogmas of any particular sect—although those are plenty awful. I’m talking about faith as a way of thinking, the unfortunate habit of holding as truth any claim for which there is no evidence—and sometimes believing it all the more strongly when there is overwhelming evidence against it. I told SJ:

The very idea that you can “know” anything based on faith—and worse, that this is somehow indicative of an admirable character—leads to all manner of foolish gullibility and belief in demonstrably untrue nonsense. Conservatives actually fight at the school board level against the teaching of critical thinking (and its cousin, media literacy), for the same reason they gerrymander: because they and their toxic bullshit cannot win without doing so.

I linked to the abstract of a study (behind a motherfucking paywall goddammit) that appears to support my point. Researchers questioned 5- and 6-year-old kids about whether the central character in a story could be a real person. There were three scenarios: (1) “realistic stories that only included ordinary events,” (2) “religious stories that included ordinarily impossible events brought about by divine intervention” and (3) “fantastical stories that included ordinarily impossible events whether brought about by magic [or] without reference to magic…”. From the abstract:

 In realistic stories that only included ordinary events, all children, irrespective of family background and schooling, claimed that the protagonist was a real person. In religious stories that included ordinarily impossible events brought about by divine intervention, claims about the status of the protagonist varied sharply with exposure to religion. Children who went to church or were enrolled in a parochial school, or both, judged the protagonist in religious stories to be a real person, whereas secular children with no such exposure to religion judged the protagonist in religious stories to be fictional. Children’s upbringing was also related to their judgment about the protagonist in fantastical stories that included ordinarily impossible events whether brought about by magic (Study 1) or without reference to magic (Study 2). Secular children were more likely than religious children to judge the protagonist in such fantastical stories to be fictional. The results suggest that exposure to religious ideas has a powerful impact on children’s differentiation between reality and fiction, not just for religious stories but also for fantastical stories.

[emphasis added.]

The problem with “religious ideas” is not that they provide only a limited epistemology; it’s that faith-based thinking provides no way of ascertaining truth or reality at all. For some reason, more rational and reality-based people continue to scratch their heads at conservatives’ blatant hypocrisy, illogical contradictions and feverish falsehoods when faith-based thinking precludes none of that. It guarantees it.

odd

Of course the ruling class does not see any of this as a problem; quite the opposite, in fact. And you can bet that we will see no public funding for studies that build on such research, for the same reason the CDC is forbidden by law from studying gun violence: this knowledge is decidedly not in conservatives’ interests.

By the way, Simic’s piece was published in March 2012, but could just as easily have run today for the relevance it has to the Republican’s scary clown show. Nothing’s changed in 4 years, and I’m not even convinced anything’s changed much in 40. And that’s just it, isn’t it? It’s the same fucking story, always and forever Amen.

 __________

Speaking of new and amusing ways of mocking conservatives…

A friend on Facebook linked to this:

Pastor: ‘I would smear feces all over myself if my son married a man’

While speaking at the National Religious Liberties Conference last weekend, Pastor Kevin Swanson told the crowd that he was “not kidding” when he said he’d smear feces all over himself if his son were ever to marry another man.

“I’d sit in cow manure and I’d spread it all over my body. That’s what I would do and I’m not kidding! I’m not laughing!”

“I’m grieving!” Swanson screamed, tears of rage running down his cheeks. “I’m mourning! I’m pointing out the problem!”

Now remember kids: it’s women who are more emotional and irrational than men. FYI.

“It’s not a gay time,” he continued. “These are the people with the sores! The gaping sores! The sores that are pussy (sic) and gross and people are coming in and carving happy faces on the sores! That’s not a nice thing to do! Don’t you dare carve happy faces on open, pussy (sic) sores!”

Now how the fuck does one even mock that? It mocks itself.

If conservatives keep this shit up—and of course they will, because always the same fucking story—I’ll soon enough be out of a blog. :|

__________

Here is something cool:

New evidence suggests a ninth planet lurking at the edge of the solar system

Astronomers at the California Institute of Technology announced Wednesday that they have found new evidence of a giant icy planet lurking in the darkness of our solar system far beyond the orbit of Pluto. They are calling it “Planet Nine.”

Their paper, published in the Astronomical Journal, describes the planet as about five to 10 times as massive as the Earth.

Naturally, the question that immediately arises is: when can we launch the conservatives there? Now, I’m no astrophysicist, but I’m pretty sure the spacecraft can easily be powered by thoughts-‘n-prayers.

__________

belikejill

IRIS ♥︎ JILL.

__________

Via Glenn Greenwald on Twitter comes this link:

Diplomats, national security officials blast Sanders on Iran normalization, ISIL*

“Senator Sanders’ call to ‘move aggressively’ to normalize relations with Iran — to develop a ‘warm’ relationship — breaks with President Obama, is out of step with the sober and responsible diplomatic approach that has been working for the United States, and if pursued would fail while causing consternation among our allies and partners.”

OH NO NOT CONSTERNATION! From Saudi Arabia? Israel? My god. The horror.

The bloc of former diplomats called on Sanders to address issues with Russia, China, U.S. allies and nuclear proliferation, before concluding, “We need a Commander in Chief who sees how all of these dynamics fit together — someone who sees the whole chessboard, as Hillary Clinton does.”

The signatories include Ambassador Wendy Sherman, former under secretary of state for political affairs; Jeremy Bash, former chief of staff to the CIA director and defense secretary; Rand Beers, former deputy homeland security adviser to the president; Ambassador Daniel Benjamin, former U.S. ambassador-at-large; Ambassador Nicholas Burns, former under secretary of state for political affairs; Derek Chollet, former assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs; Kathleen Hicks, former principal deputy under secretary of defense for policy; retired Lt. Gen. Donald Kerrick, former deputy national security adviser to the president; James Miller, former under secretary of defense for policy; and Julianne Smith, former deputy national security adviser to the vice president.

Yes indeed: these are exactly the “sober and responsible” people we should all be listening to about our foreign policy that has been working so well.

____
*This news story political advertisement was brought to you by Lockheed Martin, Boeing, BAE Systems, Raytheon, General Dynamics and Northrop Grumman 4 Hillary PAC. HAHAHA I’m kidding! They don’t need a fucking PAC!

__________

doyouever

Ever? How about every day?

__________

Well, that’s all I got. We now return to our regularly scheduled malaise.

Have a nice day.

palacehappyface

Conservatives ruining lives as usual, this time in Myanmar.

rohingamuslimwoman

Rohingya Muslim Woman in Myanmar.
Photo: Ye Aung Thu/AFP/Getty Images

I’ve seen this story about Myanmar reported a couple places and thought I’d bring it to your attention, my beloved Loyal Readers™. And perhaps, you know, opine thereon. As far away as Myanmar is from the US on the other side of the globe and given the relative dearth of Buddhists here, see if any of this sounds oddly familiar to you.

Ma Ba Tha is a group of hardline, ultranationalist, racist Buddhist monks in Myanmar. The name Ma Ba Tha is an acronym for, roughly, “Association for the Protection of Race and Religion.” They are not the only Buddhist monks in overwhelmingly Buddhist Myanmar (also known as Burma), but they have seized an outsized amount of power and influence in the Southeast Asian country.

Buddhists in Myanmar make up 69% of Myanmar’s population, with the rest comprised of a diverse array of much smaller religious and ethnic minorities. Rohingya Muslims make up less than 3%. According to some historians (and the Rohingya people themselves), they are indigenous to Myanmar’s Rakhine State where most of them live; other scholars claim they mainly migrated to the region from Bengal during British rule (1824-1948). Regardless, Rohingyas are denied Myanmar citizenship and considered illegal immigrants, despite many of their families having lived in the country for more than three generations. Long-neglected economic conditions in Rakhine State have led to demonizing and scapegoating the Rohingya as the source of all their problems and a cultural threat.

The Rohingya people are routinely described by human rights organizations as one of the most persecuted minorities in the world. In recent years especially, they have been fleeing Myanmar by the tens of thousands to Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines, and to ghettos and refugee camps in Thailand and Bangladesh, often on crowed and dangerous boats. Many have died on these journeys after traffickers abandoned them at sea, while those that arrive at their destinations are repeatedly turned away. Rohingyas that remain in Myanmar are frequently confined to prison camps and not permitted to leave. They have also had much of their arable farmland confiscated by the military and given over to Buddhist settlers. (Ahem.)

myanmarmapMyanmar and surrounding region.
Image: The New York Times (via International State Crime Initiative)

Researchers from the International State Crime Initiative in London obtained leaked government documents, conducted an 18-month investigation and released a report (pdf) in October:

[D]etailed research found ample evidence that the Rohingya have been subjected to systematic and widespread violations of human rights, including killings, torture, rape and arbitrary detention; destruction of their homes and villages; land confiscation; forced labour; denial of citizenship; denial of the right to identify themselves as Rohingya; denial of access to healthcare, education and employment; restrictions on freedom of movement, and State-sanctioned campaigns of religious hatred.

It also found compelling evidence of State-led policies, laws and strategies of genocidal persecution stretching back over 30 years, and of the Myanmar State coordinating with [local] ultra-nationalists, racist monks and its own security forces in a genocidal process against the Rohingya.

While Myanmar’s genocidal policies against the Rohingya began to emerge in the 1970s, the process has accelerated during its recent transition to democracy. Since 2012, the state’s terror campaign has only intensified and remains unrelenting. The report also notes:

The State’s persistent and intensified ‘othering’ of the Rohingya as outsiders, illegal Bengali immigrants and potential terrorists has given a green light to [local] nationalists and Islamophobic monks to orchestrate invidious campaigns of race and religious hatred reminiscent of those witnessed in Germany in the 1930s and Rwanda in the early 1990s.

All of reality notwithstanding, in an interview with a local magazine in Myanmar, Ma Ba Tha monk Ashin Wirathu referred to them as “the Bengalis that call themselves Rohingya, who are trying to seize control.”

monkassholesMa Ba Tha monks marching to denounce foreign criticism of Myanmar’s treatment of stateless Rohingya Muslims, May 27, 2015.
The banner reads “UK (something something) Rohingya, Boat People are not Myanmar.”
Photo: Reuters (via Human Rights Watch)

Not content to confine the Rohingya to destitution and squalor or drive them to their deaths at sea, Ma Ba Tha has rallied to enact four new laws, all of them designed to roll back women’s rights and harm the Rohingya.

Birth control law. The Ma Ba Tha monks are very concerned that the Rohingyas, who make up 3% of Myanmar’s population, are outbreeding them, presumably at a faster rate than they can imprison, exile or kill them. The Rohingyas were previously required to sign a statement committing to not having more than two kids; now the law permits local authorities to “organize” women to wait 36 months between births. The factors to be taken into account by officials include “a high number of migrants in the area,” and critics fear that it will be selectively enforced against the Rohingya.

Even assuming they want to comply, it’s a little hard to envision how people can limit and space their pregnancies without access to reproductive health information and access to birth control. Meanwhile, the activists in the region teaching fellow women about reproductive health have been subject to death threats, intimidation and public humiliation from the monks, who have declared them “national traitors.” One prominent women’s rights campaigner told The Guardian that she and others have seen their pictures, names and phone numbers on posters displayed at Ma Ba Tha monasteries.

Buddhist Women’s Special Marriage Bill. Buddhist women who desire to marry non-Buddhist men must register with government officials, who can deny them if they have “objections.” Human Rights Watch calls the law “incredibly dangerous” and says it is purposely designed to incite hatred toward the Rohingya.

Religious conversion. The law creates “Religious Conversion Scrutinization and Registration Boards at the township (district) level.” The way it works:

Anyone wishing to change their religion will have to be over 18 and will be required to file an application with a local board, including the reasons for the conversion. The applicant would be interviewed by at least five board members, followed by a 90-day study period for the applicant to examine the “essence of the religion, marriage, divorce, and division of property practices in that religion, and inheritance and parenting practices in that religion.” If the board approves the conversion, the applicant would then get a certificate of conversion.

The local board would forward all information it collects about the person to national religion, immigration, and identification agencies…[and] bars anyone from bullying or enticing another person to convert or deterring them from doing so. Punishments for breaching the law would range from six months to two years in prison…

No word on deconversion to atheism, but I’d hazard a guess that the monks no likee.

Monogamy Bill. Every married person in Myanmar (including foreign nationals married to Burmese citizens) as well as citizens living abroad are prohibited from “unofficially” living with another person, essentially criminalizing adultery. Violators are subject to sentences of up to seven years in prison and fines. Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch writes that “laws criminalizing consensual sex disproportionately impact women. For example, a rape victim may be deterred from filing a criminal complaint if the failure to win a conviction puts her at risk of prosecution for adultery.”

monkassholes2They seem fun.
Ma Ba Tha monks and supporters march to celebrate new interfaith marriage restrictions in Mandalay, Sept. 21, 2015.

Photo: AP (via Jezebel)

But who cares about women anyway? Certainly not the monks. FYI, there isn’t even a Burmese word for “vagina.”

The good news is that Aung San Suu Kyi’s NLD party overwhelmingly won the recent elections, despite the Ma Ba Tha monks running around for the past 18 months shrieking that “the NLD is the party of the Muslims,” and that Myanmar’s Buddhists face a grave threat from the 3% minority population of Rohingya Muslims who are desperately fleeing the country in droves. The NLD will now select the next president. The bad news is that under Myanmar’s constitution, ministers for defense, home affairs and border affairs are appointed by the head of the military, not the president—and the constitution cannot be changed without the military’s consent.

Governments and agencies in the wider world have condemned the four laws:

The international community, including the European Union in a statement in January and another in July criticizing the marriage law, and United Nations Special Rapporteurs, including the present rapporteur on situation of human rights in Myanmar, Yanghee Lee, have warned that the bills breach Burma’s commitments to international human rights treaties, including the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

The US has officially expressed its disapproval: in Myanmar in May, US deputy secretary of state Antony Blinken said about the four laws that he was “deeply concerned” they “could exacerbate ethnic and religious divisions.”

The countries that have not ratified or acceded to CEDAW are Iran, Palau, Somalia, Sudan, Tonga, the Holy See (Vatican) and the United States—a regressive outlier as usual. 196 countries are party to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, including every single member of the United Nations except one. Care to take a guess which country? Go ahead, I’ll wait…

No I won’t. I got shit to do, people. SPOILER ALERT: It’s the U. S. of A. Because no one’s gonna tell ‘Murikkkans that they cannot control their women and beat their children as they see fit—to say nothing of who we imprison, under what conditions we imprison them, and how we treat refugees and immigrants.

But by all means, let’s have the US ‘splain to Myanmar that its backward ways simply will not stand.

__________

So. Once again we see the problem clearly: it isn’t Buddhism (or Islam or Christianity or…), it’s conservatism. The pathological need to dominate and impose hierarchies, enforced by any means necessary, always harms women and minorities.

Conservatives, why you gotta?

palacefuckyou

The Condom Pope.

condompopeArtist Niki Johnson has created a portrait of Pope emeritus Benedict XVI (a.k.a. Joseph Ratzinger) fashioned entirely from 17,000 colored condoms. She says the work aims to “critique Benedict’s views while raising awareness about public health.”

Benedict’s views.

*snort*

In March 2009, Pope Ratzi ‘splained to the world that the AIDS crisis in Africa could not be mitigated with condoms, and that indeed condom use would only aggravate the epidemic and make the spread of HIV worse. Here in reality of course, condom use is actually “highly effective” in reducing the spread of HIV. Just FYI, in sub-Saharan Africa, 25.8 million people are currently living with HIV. Last year an estimated 790,000 adults and children died of AIDS and 1.4 million people became newly infected.

The Archbishop Archvillain of Milwaukee, where Johnson’s condom pope portrait is currently on display, well he no likee:

An artist who claims his or her work is some great social commentary and a museum that accepts it, insults a religious leader of a church, whose charitable outreach through its missionaries and ministers has eased the pain of those who suffer throughout the world, must understand the rejection of this local action by the believers who themselves have been insulted.

Apparently in the unique Catholic dialect of the English language, “charitable outreach” means lying to people about the efficacy of condoms and thereby inflicting early death upon millions of people, as well as the kind of unfathomable agony that makes Jeezus’s notoriously bad weekend seem like a holiday at a luxury spa resort by comparison. Also, “easing the pain of those who suffer throughout the world” explicitly excludes the pain and suffering of sub-Saharan Africans. Good to know.

And yes, clearly the Real Victims™ here are Pope Ratfucker and his fellow believers: they have been insulted, people. That’s, like, WAY worse than millions of people dying of AIDS.

A favorite quote from Madalyn Murray O’Hair comes to mind:

I’ll tell you what you did with atheists for about 1500 years. You outlawed them from the universities or any teaching careers, besmirched their reputations, banned or burned their books or their writings of any kind, drove them into exile, humiliated them, seized their properties, arrested them for blasphemy. You dehumanized them with beatings and exquisite torture, gouged out their eyes, slit their tongues, stretched, crushed, or broke their limbs, tore off their breasts if they were women, crushed their scrotums if they were men, imprisoned them, stabbed them, disemboweled them, hanged them, burnt them alive.

And you have nerve enough to complain to me that I laugh at you?

Personally, I think we should all do a lot more insulting of Catholic religious leaders. It’s obvious to me that if they really don’t enjoy being insulted, and their tender fee-fees are just so, so hurt, then they can stop behaving like horrible lying genocidal fucking shitweasels. Easy-peasy.

Until then, though…

palacefuckyou…they can simply go fuck themselves. With or without condoms.

Have a nice day.

palacehappyface

Iris has sex with Congresscritters.

[CONTENT NOTE: sexual objectification. By Your Humble Monarch™. On purpose. The images are fine; the text is moderately explicit = NSFW.]

A well-known quote attributed to various sources holds that “Washington is Hollywood for ugly people.” It sure seems intuitively true: whatever aesthetics may be on offer when they pose for their portraits in front of flags, successful politicians are a special breed with a very specific skill set, one that ultimately renders them repellant in the extreme: e.g. a propensity for spewing platitudes and weasel words without saying anything meaningful, a willingness to relentlessly hondle people for cash, and a narcissistic appetite for the spotlight and a captive audience without being anywhere near entertaining enough to warrant the slightest bit of attention. Now that I think about it, politicians are more like clergy than Hollywood actors—and let’s just say Loyal Readers™ will have no trouble discerning how revolting we find clergy ferchrissakes.*

All of which is why I was a bit miffed to find a link to Sexy Congress posted to my Facebook wall by my friend Tony (who else?). The site purports to rate members of Congress on their hawtness, which is problematic for reasons even beyond those I mentioned above. For one thing, the gender binary is alive and well: your menu choices of sex partners are restricted to “Women Only / Men Only / Both.” I suppose this is to be expected in a realm that is as deeply conservative, superficial and publicly policed as the US Congress: unfortunately, non-conforming individuals are all too easy to weed out in the electoral process by political opponents. I mean, can you imagine some congressman showing up at the Capitol on casual Fridays in a sundress and strappy sandals? Or a masculine-of-center congresswoman rocking a tux instead of a gown at a White House state dinner? Of course not. The public would have themselves a giant, collective shit, and the press would only be too happy to encourage it with great gusto. People suck.

But that is hardly my biggest issue with Sexy Congress. Sexualizing men (heteronormatively) adds to their existing social status and power, whereas sexualizing women diminishes theirs:

A recent study found that showing men pictures of sexualized women evokes less activity in areas of the brain responsible for mental state attribution—that is, the area of the brain that becomes active when we think we are looking at an entity capable of thought and planned action. Other studies have found similar results. When men see body shots of women as compared with face shots, they judge women to be less intelligent, likeable, ambitious and competent.

No one will reduce a powerful congressman’s entire worth to that of an incompetent, not-so-bright fuck toy because he is a hottie horndog, not even unconsciously. Women do not exactly fare as well, to put it mildly. Did I mention people suck? FYI: people suck.

So for all of these reasons, my immediate response to Tony was—and I quote—”EEEEEEEEW.

Apparently unfazed by my succinct and eloquent retort, Tony insisted that there were indeed many good choices (“I found 10 future husbands in the list”) and challenged me to find that number myself. And if I would show him mine, so-to-speak, he’d show me his.

Game on.

CAVEATS.

Now, I have an unfair advantage over Tony, because I am not limited to men with respect to people I find sexually attractive. And since this entire exercise is a fantasy about who I would have sex with—in an alternate universe where I could somehow get past all those repulsive clergy parallels, and My Amazing Lover™ did not exist—I am including women in my top ten. Yes, I understand I am Ruining Feminism®, and I take full responsibility for that. 

I am also sexually attracted to people who, regardless of gender, do not fit cultural standards of “conventionally attractive.” This probably has some relation to my being kinky, but it is also just a fact that I have found many people sexually attractive who exude a natural confidence, an interesting sense of humor compatible with mine, and a certain kind of intelligence (i.e. intellectually curious, informed, open-minded, witty, creative, reality-based…), regardless of their physical attributes. But these kinds of personality-based traits would be impossible for me to detect in 535 members of Congress without reviewing hundreds of hours of extremely boring video footage, if even then.

After further consultations between us, Tony and I agreed that we could take into consideration factors such as spite fucking—that is, so thoroughly ravaging your enemies that they will remain perpetually disappointed with every other sex partner they will ever have for the rest of their miserable lives. And of course it would be fair to deploy the use of ball gags, ear buds or other means of ensuring that these motherfuckers cannot ruin our enjoyment of the experience by saying something terrible, like asking for campaign contributions or expounding on the merits of neoliberalism.

So with all of these caveats in mind, here is my list of the sexiest critters of the 114th Congress.

Oh, and my safe word is “Snowden.”

__________

Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA)

Rep.EricSwalwellD-CASwalwell seems fun. He not only posts silly pics of himself with Etch-a-Sketch self-portraits, he also holds the impressive distinction of being the first person to Vine his vote from the House floor.

“When House @GOP try to roll back health protections for women, this is how I vote. #WarOnWomen” -Eric Swalwell

#adorable.

__________

Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI)

Rep.TulsiGabbardD-HITulsi Gabbard is a badass. Not only is she a serious surfer, Gabbard enlisted in the Hawaii Army National Guard after 9/11 and served two combat tours in the Middle East. She’s also a practicing Hindu, which, you know…about the best I can say about that is at least it has girl gods. I’d really like to salute you, Congresswoman. Repeatedly. If you catch my drift.

__________

Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ)

Sen.corybookerD-NJBooker earned a BA in political science and an MA in sociology at Stanford, an honors degree in US history as a Rhodes Scholar at Queen’s College, Oxford, and his JD at Yale. Senator Smarty Pants is a sharp dresser, and easy with a smile. Although he has neither confirmed nor denied persistent rumors that he’s gay, I am going on the record here and saying that I am not adverse to him bringing a date to our tryst. At all. YUMMY.

__________

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)

Sen.KirstenGillibrandD-NYGillibrand strikes me as…well, classy. With her, I envision a romantic date where we go shopping for dresses and lingerie on Madison Avenue and make out in all the dressing rooms. We both buy classic black Louboutin pumps, and have our driver stop to pick up a couple bottles of 1975 Dom Perignon Oenotheque on the way back to my suite at the Crosby Street Hotel. Later we fall asleep in each other’s arms wearing nothing but the pumps. After a few hours we wake up hungry, so we sneak out to hit a dive bar on the Lower East Side for a late night dinner of Spanish tapas. Back at the hotel, we giggle all night watching 80s movies.

TL;dr: Hit me up on my cell Kirsten, so I can ruin all your future sexual encounters with men.

__________

Rep. Aaron Schock (R-IL)

Rep.AaronSchockR-ILSchock is a Republican, so it won’t surprise anyone that he is a lying, scheming shitweasel who had to resign from Congress in March under the weight of a massive corruption scandal. (That means he still technically qualifies as a member of the 114th Congress, just sayin’.) The feds have opened a “preliminary investigation” into his reprehensible activities, but in the meantime, before he goes to jail or anything, I wish to invoke both the spite fuck and the ball gag exemptions, as I introduce him to the fine art of vigorous pegging.

__________

Donna Edwards (D-MD)

Rep.DonnaEdwardsD-MDBefore running for Congress, Edwards co-founded and served as the first executive director of the National Network to End Domestic Violence. She also gets major props from me for getting herself arrested outside the Sudanese embassy during a 2009 protest against the Darfur genocide and the blocking of aid to victims. But never mind all of that—this woman is drop dead gorgeous THE END.

__________

Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-CA)

Rep.XavierBecerraD-CABecerra is a first generation Mexican-American, with a JD from Stanford Law. He’s got some kind of Jeff-Goldblum-meets-Argentinian-Tango-Dancer thing going on. And I like it.

__________

Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA)

Rep.JudyChuD-CAChu is the first Chinese American woman elected to Congress. She has a B.A. in mathematics and a Ph.D. in psychology and blah blah blah…She’s just really pretty, has a great smile and rocks amazing haircuts.

Why don’t you say hello to your California colleague Mr. Swalwell, Congresswoman? Perhaps the three of us can get together sometime. I think we might have a few things to talk about…

__________

Sen. John Thune (R-SD)

SenJohnThuneR-SDThune is an unrepentant Republican and therefore obviously the absolute worst. He is also a tall drink of water, and wears well-fitting suits. I’m definitely invoking the spite fuck exemption here, but I’m reserving the right to a ball gag for now—I’m kinda digging the thought of him turning out to be really good at talking dirty to me.

__________

Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX)

Rep.BetoO’RourkeD-TXO’Rourke’s got a bit of a checkered past, including arrests for burglary and DUI; he was also a singer and guitarist in a touring rock band in the early 90s. He’s been an outspoken critic of the failed Drug War. He looks like he could be the love child of a young Bobby Kennedy and mid-career Hugh Grant, if that were, you know, A Thing. I can’t seem to stop myself from wondering whether he and Rep. Swalwell might be up for a double date—if you’re catching what I’m pitching.

__________

Pretty sure my chances of serving in Congress just went down from zero to less-than-zero. Hahaha. And I guess I should probably leave a note here for the Capitol Police:

In case this isn’t crystal clear to you for for some reason: there is virtually no scenario in this universe in which I can envision myself actually fooling around with any of these people, even given the ideal opportunity and enthusiastic consent from themselves and their partner(s). This is strictly an exercise in fantasy and/or mockery about public figures, falling squarely under the protection of the First Amendment. There is no need to concern yourself with my stalking or ever attempting to contact any of these people, with the exception of Kirsten Gillibrand who is my Senator and whose office I have on speed dial of course. But I would never contact her in anything but her professional capacity. Mmmkay?

Have a nice day, officers.

I wouldn’t fuck ’em with your dick, Tony. :p

__________
*For as long as I can remember having sexual fantasies, I’ve had a recurring one involving getting fucked, hard, by a smoking hot Catholic priest in traditional dress. In the church. On the altar. I look him in the eyes as I unbutton his black shirt from the bottom up, and stop just before I get to the white collar. He quickly unbuttons his pants and pulls out his hard dick and…well.

I told you I was kinky.

In which I become a Christian again!

As Loyal Readers™ may recall, I was born and raised a Christian—first Catholic, later Lutheran—but it never really stuck. As a young teen I came to question, then doubt, eventually disbelieve and finally loathe religion. And not just the Jeezus-flavored variety, but all of it, right down to the very mildest of lefty New Age silliness. (Except for Lord Shiva. OBVIOUSLY.) In other words I am 100% on board with Palace Patron Saint PZ Myers who put it this way:

I don’t target particular religions for bad conclusions — I detest them all for having bad methodologies.

But people, I am here to tell you: I was deceived. And very probably by Satan himself! Yes, everything I was ever taught about Jeezus was wrong, wrong, wrong. Tragically, the very nature of the Christ god and the beautiful, joyful essence of Christianity was denied me. For I have just come unto the Lord, and am eager and fully prepared to spend the rest of my days worshiping Him. Behold, the truth, the light and the way:

SEXY JESUS

sexyjesus3DEAR GOD.

sexyjesusWHO’S YOUR DADDY!

sexyjesus2JUST A MINUTE, LORD! I’M COMING!

sexyjesus5NAO I IZ DIED AND GONE TO HEAVEN.

And look, He even pooped me an Easter egg! sexyjesus4OMFG IRIS JEEZUS. SO HARD.

[h/t Aly]

Boner flowers FTW.

naked-man-orchid-orchis-italica-1Alrighty then.

Orchis italica, commonly known as the naked man orchid or the Italian orchid, is a species of orchid native to the Mediterranean. They are widely popular for their petals looking like naked men. O. italica grows up to 50 centimetres (20 in) in height, with bright pink, densely clustered flowers.

20 inches?!!! Jeezus. Won’t someone think of the Mediterranean children?

orchis-italica2 orchis-italica3 orchis-italica4 orchis-italica5Hahaha. Awesome.

[h/t Kim]

Recent reads.

library4DOJ Ferguson Report: How Elected Officials Used Racism To Generate Millions In Revenue. Morrison, A., International Business Times (Mar. 2015).

Justice Department Finds Bias In Ferguson But Clears Darren Wilson. India, L., UPTOWN Magazine (Mar. 2015).

U.S. millennials post ‘abysmal’ scores in tech skills test, lag behind foreign peers. Frankel, T.C., The Washington Post (Mar. 2015).

Sh*tting on the Israeli Flag: The Art of Natali Cohen Vaxbergyoutube (Feb. 2015).  (“a short documentary film about provocative Israeli playwright, actress and internet celebrity.”)

Why Does the FBI Have to Manufacture its Own Plots if Terrorism and ISIS Are Such Grave Threats? Greenwald, G., The Intercept (Feb. 2015). [To ask the question is to answer it. –Ed.]

Benjamin Netanyahu’s Long History of Crying Wolf About Iran’s Nuclear Weapons. The Intercept (Mar. 2015). (“The Israeli Prime Minister is expected to warn the U.S. Congress an Iranian bomb is imminent — just as he warned in 1992, 1995, 2002, 2009, and 2012.”)

How a Mid-Sized Tennessee Town Took on Comcast, Revived Its Economy and Did it With Socialism. Gibson, C., Nation of Change (Mar. 2015). (“Since its launch, the EPB’s network has proven to be 50 times faster than the average American’s internet connection.”) [But…but…the Free Market™ is superior and more efficient! Also, BOOTSTRAPS!!! –Ed.]

10 Tricks To Appear Smarter In Meetings. Bradford, H., Huffington Post (Mar. 2015). [LOL. -Ed.]

Two headlines perfectly sum up everything wrong with American drug policy. Ingraham, C., The Washington Post (Mar. 2015). [SPOILER ALERT! the headlines are “Colorado sold 17 tons of retail marijuana in first legal year” and “Life in Prison for Selling $20 of Weed“, both of which are well worth reading. –Ed.]

Out of Trouble, but Criminal Records Keep Men Out of Work. Appelbaum, B., The New York Times (Feb. 2015).

Bayes’ Theorem with Lego. Count Bayesie (Feb. 2015).

Petraeus reaches deal to plead guilty to misdemeanor; likely won’t face prison. Goldman, A. and Horwitz, S., The Washington Post (Mar. 2015).

At New York Private Schools, Challenging White Privilege From the Inside. Spencer, K., The New York Times (Feb. 2015). [h/t Sunshine]

Native American Council Offers Amnesty to 240 Million Undocumented Whites. City World News (Jan. 2015). (“They all need to be deported back to Europe,” John Dakota from True Americans said. “They came here illegally and took a giant crap on our land. They brought disease and alcoholism, stole everything we have because they were too lazy to improve and develop their own countries.”) [Hahaha. Perfect. -Ed.]

Schizophrenic Brains Not Fooled by Optical Illusion. Buchen, L., Wired (Apr. 2009).

5 Women Cut from Pop Culture History for Being Too Important. Sargent, J.F., Cracked (Feb. 2015).

The Inside Story Of How A For-Profit College Hoodwinked Students And Got Away With It. Pyke, A., Think Progress (Feb. 2015).

Bush White House’s Repeated Torture Denials Led CIA Torturers to Seek Repeated Reassurances. Froomkin, D., The Intercept (Mar. 2015). [War criminals in the Bush administration lied?! GTFO. –Ed.]

War On Christianity? FBI Hate Crime Statistics Utterly Destroy Fox News Lies. Morris, R., Addicting Info (Feb. 2015). (“in far more cases than not, right wing Christians are the instigators or even the perpetrators of a very large majority of the hate crimes committed in the US… In 2013 there were 7,242 hate crimes committed in the US. In total, crimes against protestant Christians amounted to .0051 percent, a tiny fraction of a percentage point.”)

The cost of getting an abortion is higher if you’re poor. Dusenbery, M., Feministing (Feb. 2015). (“the process of obtaining an abortion could total up to $1,380 for a low-income single mother saddled with charges related to gas, a hotel stay, childcare, and taking time off work. For a middle-income woman living comfortably in a city with no children and public transit options to the clinic, meanwhile, those fees dropped to $593.”…”The idea that it is somehow not a serious burden for someone who is living paycheck to paycheck to be forced to — suddenly and entirely unexpectedly — come up with more than a month’s wages is absurd.”)

Drink In Style At Dear Irving, The Most Gorgeous Bar In Manhattan. Carlson, J., Gothamist (Mar. 2015). [h/t Vanina]

‘Is College Bad for Girls?’ cautionary pamphlet from 1905. Jardin, X., Boing Boing (Mar. 2015). [At least according to this pamphlet, college is absolutely fucking awesome for girls! –Ed.]

Nothing Is Wrong With Your Sex Drive. Nagoski, E., The New York Times (Feb. 2015). [The Palace’s favorite sex nerd and Your Humble Monarch™’s longtime correspondent not only has her first Op-Ed in the NYT, she also has a new book out: Come As You Are: The Surprising New Science that Will Transform Your Sex Life. YAY EMILY! –Ed.]

How to Be the Perfect Welfare RecipientFeminace (Mar. 2015). (“where the fuck do people get off trying to talk about welfare while knowing fuck all about it?…allow me to tackle some of those shit excuses for arguments here, where I can be an uncivil as I please.”) [FIVE STARS.Ed.]

The word-hoard: Robert Macfarlane on rewilding our language of landscape. Macfarlane, R. The Guardian (Feb. 2015). [h/t Chris Clarke] [Gorgeous essay! If you love words and good writing, stop whatever you are doing and read this right fucking now. –Ed.]

Pioneering Women of PhysicsPerimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics (Feb. 2015).(“They discovered pulsars, found the first evidence of dark matter, pioneered mathematics, radioactivity, nuclear fission, elasticity, and computer programming, and have even stopped light.”)

Coalition of Police Officers Heads to D.C. to Demand the Broken and Brutal Police System Be Fixed. Syrmopoulos, J., The Free Thought Project (Feb. 2015).

__________

For the Palace Quote collection:

If your different-sex marriage isn’t special or “sacred” or whatthefuckever just because more people are allowed to do it, then that’s not a problem with the law; that’s a problem with your marriage. –Melissa McEwan

From Frida Kahlo:

FridaKahloFrida Kahlo
Mexican painter
(1907-1954)

I drank because I wanted to drown my sorrows, but now the damned things have learned to swim.

The most important thing for everyone in Gringolandia is to have ambition and become ‘somebody,’ and frankly, I don’t have the least ambition to become anybody.

I paint flowers so they will not die.

I used to think I was the strangest person in the world but then I thought there are so many people in the world, there must be someone just like me who feels bizarre and flawed in the same ways I do. I would imagine her, and imagine that she must be out there thinking of me, too. Well, I hope that if you are out there and read this and know that, yes, it’s true I’m here, and I’m just as strange as you.

Nothing is worth more than laughter. It is strength to laugh and to abandon oneself, to be light.

I hope the exit is joyful. And I hope never to return.

At the end of the day, we can endure much more than we think we can.

__________

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.

Recent reads.

library4
NYC Cops Prove They Aren’t Really Needed. Lindorff, D., The Greanville Post (Jan. 2015). (“If this job action keeps up, and the city doesn’t descend into a spasm of crime and mayhem, maybe Mayor deBlasio should live up to his early billing as a former radical activist and start sacking the protesting cops.”) [Good luck with that. –Ed.]

46 examples of Muslim outrage about Paris shooting that Fox News can’t seem to find. Halper, K., Raw Story (Jan. 2015).

Kirby Delauter, Kirby Delauter, Kirby Delauter. Editors, The Frederick News-Post (background: Delauter to The News-Post: Don’t use my name without permission. Jones, P.) (Jan. 2014). [h/t Kel] [OMFG LOL. –Ed.]

FBI says target in Colorado Springs bombing unclear. Loveless, C., KRDO.com (Jan. 2015).

Linda Tirado: ‘It was insane. I got 20,000 emails in a week’: The author of Hand to Mouth on the shock of going viral online, being vilified by critics, and now being able to afford to have her teeth fixed. Cooke, R., The Guardian (Jan. 2014).

Study: White people see “black” Americans as less competent than “African Americans”. Lopez, G., Vox (Jan. 2015). [Behold the power of words. –Ed.]

Charlie Hebdo, Bill Donohue, and the freedom of thought. Seidel, A.L., Freedom From Religion Foundation (Jan. 2015).

-and-

Coward Donohue doesn’t understand liberty. Seidel, A.L., Freedom From Religion Foundation (Jan. 2015).

[IRIS FFRF’s ANDREW SEIDEL. –Ed.]

As #LeelahAlcorn’s mom talks to CNN, Leelah’s Reddit posts come back to haunt her. Williams, C., Transadvocate (Jan. 2015). (“there is an effort to swamp trans-specific helpline call centers [STRONG TW] with bogus calls on the off-chance it will prevent a trans person from accessing help and result in their suicide”) [TRIGGER WARNING: death threats, dehumanization, epic assholery, abuse—especially at the embedded link.]

Anti-vaccination update: How the measles crisis struck Disneyland. Hiltzik, M., The Los Angeles Times (Jan. 2015). (“Disney isn’t at fault in this outbreak–heedless parents leaving their children unvaccinated are.”)

palacefuckyou[Fuck you, anti-vaxxers. –Ed.]

Guys Need Pap Tests, Too: A Trans Man’s Guide to Visiting the Gyno. Kellaway, M., Everyday Feminism (Jan. 2015).

A Drone Flew Over A Pig Farm To Discover It’s Not Really A Farm. It’s Something Much More Disturbing. Berman, R., Upworthy (Dec. 2014) (with VIDEO: “Spy Drones Expose Smithfield Foods Factory Farms” by Mark Devries.). [h/t Don Ardell]

I’ll Bet You’ve Put Yourself In A Really Bad Position Without Even Knowing It At Least Once. Willard, L., Upworthy (Oct. 2014). (with VIDEO: “Lost in the Fine Print,” narrated by former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich, created by Alliance for Justice.) [h/t SJ]

The U.S. has more jails than colleges. Here’s a map of where those prisoners live. Ingraham, C., The Washington Post (Jan. 2015). [#priorities –Ed.]

The community of the potentially mockable. Salty Current, Butterflies & Wheels / Freethought Blogs (Jan. 2015).

In the Wake of Charlie Hebdo, Free Speech Does Not Mean Freedom From Criticism. Canfield, J., The Hooded Utilitarian (Jan. 2015).

What Stalled the Gender Revolution? Child Care That Costs More Than College Tuition. Straus, T., California Magazine (Winter 2014).

Sheets: Christians Must Take Back Government In 2015 Because ‘We Are God’s Governing Force On The Earth’. Mantyla, K., Right Wing Watch (Jan. 2015). [If this is the kind of ape it wants in charge, wow this god is a huuuuuge asshole. –Ed.]

The right-wing domestic terror plot you didn’t hear about this week. Jilani, Z., Raw Story via AlterNet (Jan. 2015).

__________

Quotes:

I find that the biggest fans of imperialism are the folks who thought of it first.
Kent F. Hell-Dweller

Ugh “what if you aborted the person who’d have cured cancer?”
“No, what if you made her raise a baby at 15 instead of going to med school?”
-Beatrice (@MissObdurate) via Sally Strange

I’ve learned throughout my journey that perfection is the enemy of greatness. Embrace what makes you unique, even if it makes others uncomfortable.
Janelle Monáe

__________

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. See, e.g., the linked pieces by J. Canfield and Salty Current regarding Charlie Hebdo: both are thoughtful, provocative and persuasive—and utterly irreconcilable.