Ask Iris: How is Sam Harris wrong? Part 1.

A friend and Loyal Reader™ forwarded me a recent screed by Sam Harris. He asked if I would be willing to indulge him in letting him know what in it, if anything, I think is “objectionable, disagree with or find otherwise ill-advised.” Harris’s post, entitled “What Hillary Clinton Should Say about Islam and the ‘War on Terror,’” is written in the form of a proposed speech that he would like for the Democratic nominee for president to give before the November election. “Its purpose,” Harris says, “is to prevent a swing toward Trump by voters who find Clinton’s political correctness on the topic of Islam and jihadism a cause for concern.”

I did a debunking of Harris almost two years ago on this very topic. It was a tedious exercise, mainly because like all right-wing conservatives and reactionaries, he bases his irrational, evidence-free, simplistic, black-&-white views and arguments, such as they are, on falsehoods and factual inaccuracies that are a cakewalk to disprove. The task was all the more unbearable because I’ve always found Harris an unoriginal and uninteresting thinker and a witless and dull writer, so much so that I’m genuinely amazed he is not a regular op-ed columnist for the New York Times.

That said, he is certainly an incendiary polemicist. Or he tries to be anyway, but for me he comes off as smug and comically uninformed as any ordinary Fox News host. Except for a few items that popped up in my feeds, Harris had largely dropped off my radar. Those sure were a couple of doozies, though. Last year he made his jaw-dropping claim that far-right fabulist and then-presidential candidate Ben Carson is “one of the best people” on the subject of Islam and terrorism, even as Carson’s “own advisers admit [he] struggles with grasping basic facts surrounding international conflicts.” Before that, Noam Chomsky—who is the farthest thing from an unoriginal and uninteresting thinker or a witless and dull writer—ate him for lunch. Oh, and then there was that one time I made a bobblehead of Sam Harris for absolutely no reason whatsoever.


Researching for today’s post, however, I came across many more Harris grotesqueries that I was fortunate enough to miss, ignore or block from memory: support for racial profiling, torture, preemptive nuclear war, demanding that the US government admit that it is and ought to be “at war with Islam” and that “The people who speak most sensibly about the threat that Islam poses to Europe are actually fascists.”

Sensible fascists. Jeezus.

A decade ago, Harris wrote that Muslim immigrants to Europe exploit the Western values of their host countries by “demanding tolerance for their backwardness, their misogyny, their anti-Semitism, and the genocidal hatred that is regularly preached in their mosques.” He is inexplicably unaware that, in accordance with his much-touted “Western values,” his fellow US citizens not only demand “tolerance for their backwardness, their misogyny, their anti-Semitism, and the genocidal hatred that is regularly preached in their mosques churches“—and also happens to be the foundational principle upon which US “civilization” is and has always been based—they fucking receive it. He’s also unaware that immigrant populations assimilate to their host culture within a few generations—well, at least if they’re treated decently, for instance by having their host country not declare war on their religion or its presidential candidates threatening and demonizing them.

I honestly don’t know why I am undertaking this task again. Maybe because I find it troubling that anyone but a Fox News viewer would take the guy seriously on this issue, when conducting a cursory investigation into the facts and evidence for yourself will reveal how completely and utterly wrong he is about a unique nexus between Islamic religious ideas and terrorism (and misogyny), as well as how unethical, irrational, irresponsible and dangerous it is to promote such falsehoods. Maybe I’m doing this because I have some unhealthy masochistic tendencies I really should bring up in therapy. Maybe it’s because I like honoring the 1940s-era pianist and comedian Oscar Levant who said, “The first thing I do in the morning is brush my teeth and sharpen my tongue.”

Well, regardless, now I’ve gone and done it. My comments and edits to Harris’s latest…whatever it is are in blue.

SPOILER ALERT: Sam Harris is still wanking all over the same, tired hobbyhorse. He has learned nothing. And he likely never will.

Continue reading

Fucking hell, people.

[CONTENT NOTE: Orlando mass shooting and related issues; rape; mental health. No violent images or graphic descriptions.]

I was quite literally rendered speechless upon learning of the tragedy in Orlando Sunday morning. I cannot say I was surprised, though; mass public shootings in the US have been increasing, and it’s no secret that conservatives have been cranking up the hate against the LGBTQ community (just as they have against women, immigrants, religious minorities, the poor, the disabled, etc., and of course none of this is a coincidence). But I did (and do) feel traumatized—as in anxious, dissociating, difficulty concentrating, overwhelming sadness and anger, waking through the night with my heart pounding, super fun stuff like that. For an artist and writer who uses art and writing to process life and the world around her, such a state is nothing short of devastating. (<-See? Dissociating. I just referred to myself in the third person for no fucking reason FFS.)

I don’t write a lot about my personal life online, for many reasons I won’t go into here. But in this case some of that is relevant, and I think perhaps worth sharing.

Continue reading

Ask Iris: Should Anti-Abortion Activists Be Allowed to Harass Preschoolers?

[CONTENT NOTE: harassment.]

Q: Should Anti-Abortion Activists Be Allowed to Harass Preschoolers?

A: No.



This really should require no further explanation whatsoever. But since I’m snowed in because of a motherfucker of a blizzard, and my WIFI still seems to be working (so far…), I think I’ll spend a few minutes expounding upon “No.”

Anti-abortion activists should not be allowed to harass preschoolers.

Anti-abortion activists should not be allowed to harass anyone, and no one should be allowed to harass preschoolers.

No one should be allowed to harass anyone.



Jeezus, those winds are howling, and the view from my window is a complete whiteout:



I have a nice hot pot of coffee and a temporarily content kitty (is there any other kind?) so…hey, what the hell?

Some background.

A new Planned Parenthood clinic is currently under construction in Northeast DC, right next door to a school.

Over the past several months activists opposed to the clinic’s construction have been “purposely and aggressively menacing” school children as young as 3 years old with graphic images and language, causing “severe emotional stress,” according to a lawsuit filed in DC Superior Court by the school in December. Teachers have had to keep students inside at recess, and…with a larger crowd and a number of prominent antiabortion figures expected on account of the annual March for Life [sic], administrators decided to cancel school altogether.

The school closure cost [Bill Harper, parent of a 5- and  7-year-old students] $80 in extra childcare fees, but he was most angry about how the recurring demonstrations have disrupted the day-to-day educational experience for the students. “The whole school is focused on preventing the children from being terrorized. They’ve had to redesign the community,” he said, gesturing to black cloth draped across a fence to hide a playground. He told me that teachers sometimes have to take students on a long detour to reach the gymnasium across the street without encountering protesters. To Harper, they aren’t just a nuisance but a safety concern: One of the defendants named in the lawsuit, Robert Weiler Jr., was previously convicted of plotting to bomb an abortion clinic and shoot doctors in nearby Greenbelt, Maryland.

Why this particular terrorist wasn’t locked up for lifetime is perhaps a subject for another post, but I would be remiss if I did not make a few points about the d00d here.

“From all indications, it appears he was acting alone,” said Gregory K. Gant, the special agent in charge of the ATF’s Baltimore field division.

He’s a white terrorist, you see. And as we all know, white terrorists operate in a cultural void, and in any event they are uniquely impervious to violent rhetoric and ideologies. Also, we must be careful not to implicate a white terrorist’s race, nationality and/or religion in producing such terrorists: he is simply “Lone Wolf” No. 194,801.

Agent Gant also said this:

“In some ways, it could have been a bigger threat because it wasn’t something we were tracking, and we didn’t see it coming.”

Surveillance state: FAIL. While the state is quite keen on deploying counterterrorism tactics to infiltrate and monitor citizens opposed to U.S. economic policy, immigration policy, harmful trade agreements, union-busting, racial profiling, the death penalty, Israeli violence against Palestinians, endless wars, etc., white terrorists operating on US soil just aren’t people law enforcement would ever thinks to track. I mean, gosh, how could anyone possibly ever see anything like this coming?

But I digress. Back to the Forced Birth Bozo Brigades.

The lawsuit describes the protests as a form of coercion, intended to draft parents and administrators into a campaign to block the clinic from opening next door. The antiabortion activists “have promised they will ‘be back every week’ if the students and parents do not take action against the Planned Parenthood health center,” the complaint alleges. Protesters have shouted at children to “Tell your parents they kill kids next door.” In November, an activist named Jonathan Darnel sent an e-mail to school administrators that read, “I am not threatening you. Nevertheless, if you are failing to challenge Planned Parenthood, I feel a moral obligation to alert the community (including the parents of your students) myself…. I’m sure you don’t want to see me, my antiabortion friends and our graphic images any more than we want to be in your neighborhood.”

Defendant Larry Cirignano was at the protest on Thursday, wearing a banana-yellow tie stamped with the words “choose life.” I asked him if he was at all concerned for students who were disturbed by the images and messages he and other demonstrators present to them. “I’m worried more about the kids who are in the pictures,” he responded. “It’s sad that the school and parents didn’t think they should get involved.” Gesturing at the group waiting to hear [David Daleiden, the shitweasel behind the recent deceptive video campaign intended to take down Planned Parenthood] speak, he said, “Most of these people aren’t from around here.” Cirignano said he’s being represented by Mat Staver of Liberty Council, who also represents Kentucky County Clerk Kim Davis.

These are just fantastic people: respectful, kind, informed, tolerant, exactly the kind of community exemplars you would definitely want to have around small children.

What to do about it.

As the lawsuit winds its way through the courts, it is worth remembering that the US Supreme court struck down a Massachusetts buffer zone law around women’s clinics—ones that were already open and operating, not construction sites. The justices so ruled from the safety and sanctity of their very own buffer-zone protected place of work.


As I noted at the time, that decision was unanimous—thus rendering the entire Supreme Court as currently constituted not just a bunch of flaming hypocritical @$$holes, but complicit in providing material support to terrorists.

As that’s how the state of affairs stands, I propose a simple strategy of tit-for-tat. To wit: picket the schools where the protesters’ children attend. Hold up giant posters picturing women killed and imprisoned as a result of anti-choicers—most prominently the photo of Geraldine Santoro taken at the scene of her death from a self-abortion attempt.[WARNING: extremely graphic violent image, NSFW.] Shout in the kids’ faces “Your parents want to kill mommies!” “Your parents like killing poor mommies!” “Your parents want to put poor mommies in jail!”

Stop when they stop.

Why no one will do this.

Because it’s fucking horrible, that’s why—even though it is, apparently, legal. Pro-abortion activists like to think of ourselves as better people than our enemies. And of course we are, demonstrably so: you don’t see us going around firebombing right-wing churches and shooting anti-abortion ringleaders, do you? We are certainly “above” directing such reprehensible tactics at innocent children, or frankly at anyone at all.

And therein lies our dilemma. Just think for a moment about what it actually takes for conservatives to change their minds, and not just about this issue but about anything. Global warming, for-profit healthcare, creationism, gun access, immigration, the unbroken record of failure of right-wing economic policy and governance, take your pick. Evidence is not enough. Epic calamities are not enough. Personal calamities are not enough. Experts who know what they’re talking about are not enough. These people cannot be reasoned with, and yet they are winning. There is no denying that their tactics, however reprehensible, are nonetheless effective.

It’s quite the conundrum, no? It certainly leaves me contemplating whether I ought to rethink that “No.”


I hope this edition of Ask Iris has been helpful.

Have a nice day.

That god, tho.

[CONTENT NOTE: mass shootings, terrorism, graohic description of rape, domestic violence. No violent images.]

A longtime Loyal Reader™ sent us an image of yesterday’s New York Daily News cover, which we found quite interesting.dailynewsThe Daily News, if you are blissfully unacquainted, is a New York metro-area tabloid that could perhaps best be described as the unholy offspring of the city’s two other daily rags, the execrable New York Times and Rupert Murdoch’s bird cage liner The New York Post. Its editorial slant is yawningly predictable and pro-status quo; its coverage of the pope’s recent visit, for example, fawning. In a word: conservative. That is why it is extraordinary to see this headline in giant screaming letters: “GOD ISN’T FIXING THIS.” The “this” refers to the latest shoot-’em-up that as of this writing has left 14 dead in San Bernadino.

I don’t know about you, but I read that as a scathing rebuke of some god or other (it’s not entirely clear to me which one). To add insult to injury, the cover features tweets from four prominent Republicans posturing about prayer—their single, inept and reflexive response to such tragedies—and highlights the fact that these very “cowards” are among the only few people on Earth in a position to actually do something about US gun violence. Then, as a final insult to Zeus (or whoever), prayers to the deity in question are openly derided by the Daily News as “meaningless platitudes.”


This is fantastic news, obviously: I think it’s fair to surmise that the paper’s editors have been reading my blog and finally taking the importance of god mockery to heart, if I do say so myself.

Anyway, speaking of shitty gods and shitty people, it will come as no shock to readers that the recent Planned Parenthood terrorist—who I will not name here because seriously, fuck him—is a conservative Christian, a violent, abusive, controlling, misogynist, rapist, stalker and wife batterer, with a looooong history of shitweaselry. It’s all good though, because his god totally forgives him for anything and everything he does, no matter how evil. One of his three ex-wives said in court papers, “He says that as long as he believes he will be saved, he can do whatever he pleases.” Christ, what an asshole. By which of course I mean the god Christ is a fucking asshole. This is the kind of shit he is only too happy to forgive:

  • Planned Parenthood shooter douche made advances to a mall employee who repeatedly rebuffed him—quite justifiably, as it turns out:

[He] reportedly began to harass the woman on and off the clock. He followed her to her home and on Nov. 29, 1992, he reportedly ambushed her as she attempted to take out the trash.

“The suspect then allegedly put a knife to the victim’s neck and forced her back inside her residence,” said a police report about the incident. “The suspect then allegedly forced the victim down into the couch, struck her in the mouth with his fist, and then sexually assaulted her.”

The assault continued with [the conservative Christian] dragging the woman into a bedroom and continuing to rape her there.

His second wife, to whom he was married at the time of the rape, described the Christ-forgiven rapist in divorce filings as “controlling, abusive and serially unfaithful.” She said he “routinely gambled away the family’s money [but] was ever reluctant to provide for his wife and children financially.”

Hot-tempered and unstable, he “erupts into fury in a matter of seconds,” said [the evangelical Christian’s] second wife Barbara Mescher to attorneys. In her time with [the devout follower], she testified, she continually “lived in fear and dread of his emotional and physical abuse.”


“[The white male] has a history of arrests in South Carolina out of Colleton and Beaufort counties, records show,” said the Post and Courier‘s Glenn Smith and Melissa Boughton. “A background search completed by The Post and Courier found that [the conservative man] was arrested in 2003 on a cruelty to animals charge but was found not guilty in 2004. He was charged under the state’s Peeping Tom law in 2002 but that charge, too, was later dismissed, according to a background search.”

  • A different ex-wife “called police in 1997 after a beating from [the forgiven Christian], but like the Charleston rape victim, she ultimately declined to press charges.”

Hey, if the god of the bible forgives him, why even bother to prosecute amirite?

Now okay, I admit it, here is where I get a little…confused. A timely report on a survey just issued by a Christian organization reveals that Jeezus followers have the most abortions, by far:

lifewayabortionchartSurely this Jeezus can forgive them too, and presumably doesn’t need the likes of this asshole shooting at police and executing strangers on his behalf? Wow, theology is hard!

But if you take nothing else away from this little rant, take this: forgiveness is overrated. And so are gods.


The Palace hereby extends a royal welcome to all of its new readers at the New York Daily News editorial board! Watch and learn, editors. Watch and learn.

palacehappyfaceHave a nice day.

White Supremacist Terrorism in Charleston. UPDATED. UPDATE #2, #3, #4, #5, #6.

Remember how I was just saying the other day that Charleston was a lovely town? It has now been marred with ugliness of the worst kind:

Police and federal law enforcement agencies were in the midst an all-out manhunt Thursday morning for the gunman they say is responsible for killing 9 people in a Charleston South Carolina church Wednesday night in what police described as a hate crime.

The suspect opened fire on a bible study group at the historic black Emanuel AME Church on Calhoun street, killing eight people…Two other people were rushed to the hospital where one died.

Early Thursday morning, police released pictures from surveillance footage showing the suspect, a younger white man, approximately 21-25 years old, as well as the car he was driving, police said.

According to a local NAACP official, the gunman told a survivor he’d let her live so she could tell everyone what happened. According to Police Chief Gregory Mullen, the shooter sat with the churchgoers at the bible study for about an hour before opening fire. One of the victims was the church’s Reverend Clementa Pinckney, who is also a Democratic state Senator.

The Palace offers its deepest condolences to the families, friends and colleagues of the victims, to the Black community which has suffered egregious and unspeakable violence at the hands of whites for countless generations, and to all the good and decent people of Charleston for their unfathomable loss and pain.

South Carolina governor Nikki Haley—one of the starving grovelers at last Saturday’s big festival “to call on Jesus on behalf of America, that He might hear our cry and heal our land”—issued a statement calling for more prayers:

While we do not yet know all of the details, we do know that we’ll never understand what motivates anyone to enter one of our places of worship and take the life of another.

Please join us in lifting up the victims and their families with our love and prayers.

Yes, by all means let’s have more prayers. Obviously, the problem is not enough prayers. The shooting victims were at a church, doing bible study, ferchrissakes. Only in the twisted mind of the conservative does a demonstrably failed policy compel ever more of the same.

And I really hate to interrupt Nikki Haley’s prayers—if only because praying temporarily prevents her from unleashing other calamities on the people of South Carolina—but those of us who prefer to dwell without our heads ensconced comfortably up our own asses actually do understand what motivates someone to “enter one of our places of worship and take the life of another.” Ask the terrorist Scott Roeder, who killed Dr. George Tiller in his church, and he’ll tell you: he considers himself a soldier in the “Army of God.”

Sound familiar? “Allahu Akbar,” anyone?

This is terrorism, people. Flip the script and put a Muslim in a white church doing the same goddamn thing, and then try to tell me the word terrorist wouldn’t be blasting from every “news” report and splattered across every paper and magazine. And terrorism does not just happen, magically and inexplicably, out of nowhere—not in the US, and not in the Middle East. It is almost invariably an emergent property of conservatism, whether Christian, Muslim, Jewish, or non-religious. Thus we have the spectacle of the conservative governor of South Carolina utterly mystified by the motivations of the shooter whilethe fucking confederate flag flies at the state capitol.

But fear not! Multiple law enforcement agencies are on the case, looking for a white man who killed nine black people in their church. If he is caught, we can be sure he will be swiftly brought to justice and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law—although not if he turns out to be a cop who “feared for his life” while sitting at the bible study he crashed, of course. And not under terrorism charges, either: the Justice Department just announced it is investigating the shooting as a “hate crime,” not a terrorist act. The 16th Street Baptist Church bombing by four KKK members in 1963 was unequivocally deemed an act of white supremacist terrorism. But I guess that term is just a little too inconvenient right now, huh?

We can expect to watch the corporate media perform all of their usual macabre dances: The Lone Wolf™, The Mental Illness®, The Let’s Blame Anyone But Ourselves©.

No one will demonize and pathologize white culture, or white parenting, or white music.

No one will enact meaningful restrictions on (white) access to guns; if anything, they will do precisely the opposite.

No one will ask why the NSA and dozens of other government surveillance agencies and their countless, unaccountable private contractors—all singularly justified and lavishly funded in the name of fightingterrorism—were unable to stop him.

No one will drone bomb anyone and everyone whose behavior is similar to his.

No one will cage him for years without due process, or torture him to extract information about his associates.

No one will condemn any of the inherentlyviolentideology openly espoused by prominent conservative members of Congress, the clergy, and citizens at large.

Whites will do anything—anything—rather than take a good hard look in the mirror.

Lone Wolf, my ass. It doesn’t even work as a fucking metaphor: wolves run in packs.



A Facebook pic of the suspect now being sought in the shootings, Dylann Storm Roof, shows him wearing a jacket with two patches on it: they are the flags of apartheid South Africa and white supremacist/colonialist Rhodesia.


Didn’t I just fucking say that “No one will enact meaningful restrictions on (white) access to guns; if anything, they will do precisely the opposite?”

Aaand right on cue:

Conservative pastor E.W. Jackson, a former Republican candidate for lieutenant governor in Virginia, told Fox News on Thursday that all clergy should be armed because a white South Carolina shooter attacked a historically black South Carolina church for it’s “biblical views,” not because of racism.

Fox news is unabashedly portraying the shooting as an “attack on faith,” because Christians are sooooo persecuted in this country for their biblical views.


Suspect captured.

Witnesses said Dylann Roof stood up at the church and said he was there “to shoot black people.” I just want to reiterate: Fox News says this was an “attack on faith.”


The cousin of the church’s pastor who was killed quoted a survivor who said Roof told the church: “I have to do it. You’re raping our women and taking over the country. You have to go.”

OUR women? TAKING OVER the country? I cannot express the depth of my contempt for these views and every single person who is sympathetic to them.

John Mullins, who went to high school with Roof, told The Daily Beast:

“I never heard him say anything, but just he had that kind of Southern pride, I guess some would say. Strong conservative beliefs,” he said. “He made a lot of racist jokes, but you don’t really take them seriously like that. You don’t really think of it like that.”

Strong conservative beliefs. I guess racist jokes are just like rape jokes: not to be taken seriously. Don’t bother to confront these comedians. Get a sense of humor, everyone! You’re so oversensitive, and PC, and shit! FREEZE PEACH!!!11!!


SC governor defends Confederate flag at Statehouse: Not ‘a single CEO’ has complained.

Who else’s opinions do we even need? On anything? Ever?


With the usual caveat (#notallsouthcarolinians), I’m with @BastardKeith: “New plan: take your confederate flag down, South Carolina. Then set it on fire. Then put it out by pissing on it. Then go fuck yourself.”

Signal boosting Baltimore. UPDATED. UPDATE #2, #3, #4, #5, #6.

Statement of Iris Vander Pluym – Perry Street Palace
7:30 EST April 28, 2015

The Palace stands in solidarity with communities of color around the country and around the world, in opposition to state violence and murder, militarized policing, unprecedented mass imprisonment and surveillance, social and economic and environmental injustice, and imperial wars.

“Until we are all free, we are none of us free.”
Emma Lazarus

I found the words below waiting for me this morning, via email and links from Facebook friends. I couldn’t possibly express any of it any better, so I am amplifying these voices here.


Statement of Carl Dix Stop Mass Incarceration Network
8:00 pm EST April 27, 2015

On the Uprising in Baltimore

The uprising in Baltimore tonight has delivered an unmistakeable and powerful message that the time is over when people will just take the unending and outrageous murder and brutality carried out by police. The torture and murder of Freddie Gray for nothing – and the ongoing, infuriating lies and coverup — is only the latest in a long line of such horrors in not only Baltimore but all over the U.S. From North Charleston, SC to Ferguson, Missouri from Pasco, Washington to New York City and beyond – THIS MUST STOP!

The authorities and the media grunt about “violence.” They get outraged about broken windows, but not the broken neck of Freddie Gray. They get mad about the destruction of property, but not the destruction of Black and Brown children. Violence? What about the unending violence carried out against the masses of Black and Latino people all over America by the police? What about the world-record violence embodied in a society in which a young Black boy has a 1 in 3 chance of spending time in prison before he dies? The violence in which nearly one million Black men and increasing numbers of women are now languishing in prison? The violence in which police behave like occupying armies in the ghettos and barrios – and the occupying armies of the US behave like police all over the world? This is America, and this whole system was built on vicious, unjust, endless violence here and around the world and it continues to carry this out. These world-class criminals, and apologists for criminals, have absolutely no right to say anything about what the masses of people do when they are fed up, when they can’t take it anymore, and when they must express this. In the face of murder and terror, is not resistance justified?

They insult those who rebel as thugs, while the real thugs go unpunished, on paid vacation… and those who give orders to those thugs not only get no punishment, but sit at the highest reaches of government. Here – in the land of the thief and home of the slave — they accuse those who rebel of looting, when the powers-that-be have looted Black people as a people for centuries, along with and as part of looting whole continents. They promise justice from the Department of INjustice, and from their rigged court system – this is just a ploy to throw mud in people’s eyes. Bringing in the National Guard means only one thing – more wanton violence against the people. NO! NO! NO!

History and present-day reality show that unless and until people stand up and refuse to go along with it, injustice, outrage and horror will continue. Everyone should stand with the defiant ones in Baltimore, refuse to condemn them, and to step up the struggle to STOP police murder and mass incarceration. This is a cry and clarion call to all of society to stand up and say NO MORE! THIS MUST STOP!

end of statement

[Kick in here if you can.]


Orioles COO John Angelos offers eye-opening perspective on Baltimore protests

by Ted Berg

After protests in Baltimore over the death of Freddie Gray turned violent on Saturday, Baltimore sports-radio broadcaster Brett Hollander took to Twitter to argue that demonstrations that negatively impact the daily lives of fellow citizens are counter-productive. Orioles COO John Angelos, son of owner Peter Angelos, seized the opportunity to respond with a qualified and brilliant defense of those protesting.

You can read the whole thing in Angelos’ Twitter replies, but it’s transcribed here for clarity. It’s all here because it’s all so good. Read the whole thing:

Brett, speaking only for myself, I agree with your point that the principle of peaceful, non-violent protest and the observance of the rule of law is of utmost importance in any society. MLK, Gandhi, Mandela and all great opposition leaders throughout history have always preached this precept. Further, it is critical that in any democracy, investigation must be completed and due process must be honored before any government or police members are judged responsible.

That said, my greater source of personal concern, outrage and sympathy beyond this particular case is focused neither upon one night’s property damage nor upon the acts, but is focused rather upon the past four-decade period during which an American political elite have shipped middle class and working class jobs away from Baltimore and cities and towns around the U.S. to third-world dictatorships like China and others, plunged tens of millions of good, hard-working Americans into economic devastation, and then followed that action around the nation by diminishing every American’s civil rights protections in order to control an unfairly impoverished population living under an ever-declining standard of living and suffering at the butt end of an ever-more militarized and aggressive surveillance state.

The innocent working families of all backgrounds whose lives and dreams have been cut short by excessive violence, surveillance, and other abuses of the Bill of Rights by government pay the true price, and ultimate price, and one that far exceeds the importances of any kids’ game played tonight, or ever, at Camden Yards. We need to keep in mind people are suffering and dying around the U.S., and while we are thankful no one was injured at Camden Yards, there is a far bigger picture for poor Americans in Baltimore and everywhere who don’t have jobs and are losing economic civil and legal rights, and this makes inconvenience at a ballgame irrelevant in light of the needless suffering government is inflicting upon ordinary Americans.

Gray, a 25-year-old Baltimore resident, suffered a spinal injury while in police custody after his arrest on April 12 and died seven days later. Six city police officers have been suspended pending an investigation into Gray’s death.


10,000 Strong Peacefully Protest In Downtown Baltimore, Media Only Reports The Violence & Arrest of Dozens

10,000 people from across the country peacefully protested in Baltimore in support of the seeking of justice of the death of Freddie Gray. Despite the fact that 100 of the 10,000 acted up and approximately 35 people  were arrested after the peaceful protest, (that’s about 1%), much of the mainstream media used attention grabbing words in their headlines like ‘Protest Turns Destructive, (USA Today)’ ‘Scenes of Chaos In Baltimore… (NY Times), Dozens Arrested After Protest Turns Violent (WBAL TV). One website’s headlines read: 1,000 Black Rioters In Baltimore Smash Police Cars, Attack Motorists In Frenzied Protest.

The truth is you had 10,000 plus people come together in unity in support of the fight for justice for Freddie Gray. While the numbers vary, 100 or so were the ones you saw acting up on the news and the 35 persons who were arrested were the ones you read about. But reporting that won’t bring in the ratings that attract a heavy advertising revenue.

CNN reported: Protesters angry over the death of Freddie Gray got into physical altercations with police Saturday night in downtown Baltimore near the city’s famed baseball stadium.

Some of the hundreds who confronted lines of police officers got into shoving matches with helmeted cops while other demonstrators threw objects. At least five police cars were damaged by people who smashed windows and jumped on them.

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said she was profoundly disappointed by the violence, adding that 95% of the protesters were respectful but a “small group of agitators intervened.” reported: The demonstration was aimed at police, who had Gray in their custody when he suffered injuries that would prove fatal. Baltimore police said 35 people, including four juveniles, were arrested and six officers suffered minor injuries during the latest protest.

As you read most of the nationwide coverage, the various news media and websites do admit that most of the protesters were peaceful as you read further down their stories, despite the attention grabbing headlines that speaks of only the violence, destruction and criminal mischief of a few. Unfortunately there will always be a few agitators in any crowd this size. Some of which are purposely positioned among the peaceful protesters for just that reason.

After what has been going on with black men being killed nationwide without any justice taking place even after grand juries, video evidence, incidences being ruled homicide by medical examiners, No officers go to jail, very few cops lose their job and the Ferguson officer who killed Mike Brown was allowed to retire and protect his pension, there is a sense of frustration in these protests, yes!

What happened in the streets of Ferguson was worst by comparison. But let’s be very clear, the scene the media is describing, the picture being painted with all headlines are something no one, I repeat NO ONE wants to see. What they’re showing you are the actions of 100 or so people, there were 10,000 people there, and despite some of the headlines, and you can see by the pictures below all the protesters were not black and out of control. And despite what a local pastor would have you believe, some of those who were acting up the most were doing so before those (he called outsiders), who came to town in support showed up.

Words have power, they create perceptions that make other actions possible and allow the most outrageous of  explanations why they kill black people believable and acceptable by other groups of people. Let’ be clear here, NO ONE wants to truly see Scenes of Chaos: 1,000’s of Frenzied Protesters Rioting In Baltimore, the city would truly still be burning. But they media will show the worst or the worst, you know if it bleeds it leads. It’s true it’s great for ratings which leads to heavy advertising revenue, but it is not good for our community or the race relations nationwide.

Just like the media takes the liberty to show the worst of the worst like they did in Baltimore, I am taking the liberty to show the worst of the worst in their reporting and calling them out. It’s important to not allow the mass media to distort the narrative and take away from the message of this fight for justice.

What they don’t report was there were, “Muslims, Christians, Jews, Blacks, Whites, Asians, Young and Old, Rich and Poor people all united and standing harmoniously against common oppression,” shared one of the organizers Frank ‘Sha’ Francois. The demonstration was sponsored by a wide coalition of social justice groups, including Malik Shabazz of Black Lawyers For Justice (BLFJ), Carl Dix of Stop Mass Incarceration (SMIN) and brother Ted Freedomfighter Sutton of Sutton House, just to name a few who came in support of their brothers and sisters in Baltimore. Support for justice of Freddie Gray, 25, who was arrested one week ago, in West Baltimore. Who died on April 19th, from injuries sustained while he was in police custody.

[Amazing pics at that link.]






11 Stunning Images Highlight the Double-Standard of Reactions to Riots Like Baltimore
-Derrick Clifton,

But when a mob of mostly white people take to the streets, vandalizing cars, storefronts and street signs in the process it usually means someone either won or lost a game.

As Mic‘s Zak Cheney-Rice noted in January, these rioters are usually called “revelers,” “celebrants” and “fans.” They’re not even called “rioters” in many cases. They’re not derided as “criminals,” “thugs,” “pigs” or even “violent.” Those descriptors, as events in Baltimore Monday night reveals yet again, are only reserved for black people. They’re the ones who need to be quelled by militarized police forces. They’re the ones who need to be off the streets, immediately. They’re diminishing the validity of their cause. Yet, somehow, reckless behavior over a sports team, not a systemic matter of life and death, is viewed as a costly nuisance.


Baltimore Been Burning.
-Jamilah Lemieux, Ebony.

Referring to protestors as “thugs” who are “destroying the city in a senseless way” speaks to the inability of so many of us to really do the emotional and intellectual labor of getting past the good/bad binary, and recognizing how hurt and righteously indignant our people really are.

If the sight of a burning drugstore can do so much to change the perception of people who claimed to be “down for the cause” beforehand, then one can be pretty sure you haven’t done that work. If your assumption is that anyone who riots or destroys property is a “thug” and on the same plane as a violent police officer who’d beat someone ultimately to death for no other reason but “he ran from me,” then you’re still missing a few things here.

[Just go read the whole thing. PLZ.]

Nonviolence as Compliance.
-Ta-Nehisi Coates, The Atlantic.

The money paid out by the city to cover for the brutal acts of its police department would be enough to build “a state-of-the-art rec center or renovations at more than 30 playgrounds.” Instead, the money was used to cover for the brutal acts of the city’s police department and ensure they remained well beyond any semblance of justice.

How drunk sports fans helped spark Saturday night’s post-protest violence.
-Brandon Soderberg, City Paper.

Here were drunk, angry, white baseball fans and bar-goers who were equally guilty for the violence that happened that night and embraced the chance to fight and provoked some of it, and any accurate narrative must acknowledge that and barely anyone has acknowledged that. If you’d like to call Baltimore County whites and Boston Red Sox fans “outside agitators,” then you’ve got your outside agitators.

The Brutality of Police Culture in Baltimore.
-Conor Friedersdorf, The Atlantic.

What’s crucial to understand, as Baltimore residents take to the streets in long-simmering frustration, is that their general grievances are valid regardless of how this case plays out. For as in Ferguson, where residents suffered through years of misconduct so egregious that most Americans could scarcely conceive of what was going on, the people of Baltimore are policed by an entity that perpetrates stunning abuses. The difference is that this time we needn’t wait for a DOJ report to tell us so. Harrowing evidence has been presented. Yet America hasn’t looked.

I include myself.

[The referenced 2014 Baltimore Sun piece is here—well worth a read.]

Powerful video interview of Crips and Bloods disputing claims of the Baltimore police.
Shaun King, Daily Kos via NBC-WBALTV.

“We did not make truce to harm cops.”

Via US Uncut:

destroyingtea[See also: “Why do they burn down their own neighborhood?”]

Via Elyse:



Eyewitnesses: The Baltimore Riots Didn’t Start the Way You Think.
-Sam Brodey and Jenna McLaughlin, Mother Jones.

Meg Gibson, another Baltimore teacher, described a similar scene to Gawker: “The riot police were already at the bus stop on the other side of the mall, turning buses that transport the students away, not allowing students to board. They were waiting for the kids.…Those kids were set up, they were treated like criminals before the first brick was thrown.” With police unloading busses, and with the nearby metro station shut down, there were few ways for students to clear out.

Several eyewitnesses in the area that afternoon say that police seemed to arrive at Mondawmin anticipating mobs and violence—prior to any looting. At 3:01 p.m., the Baltimore Police Department posted on its Facebook page: “There is a group of juveniles in the area of Mondawmin Mall. Expect traffic delays in the area.” But many of the kids, according to eyewitnesses, were stuck there because of police actions.

The Baltimore Police Department did not respond to requests for comment.

29 Moments That Show Another Side Of The Baltimore Riots.
-Ryan Broderick, Buzzfeed.

“Our people were not only trying to stop the acts of violence, but also saving and helping those in need.”

“Show this on @CNN.”

[Extraordinarily moving photos and short videos.]

Many organizers at the forefront of protests are women, despite men taking center stage. -Caitlin Goldblatt, City Paper.

A female member of Baltimore Bloc…said it is “kind of a natural habit to not realize the lack of acknowledgment of women,” but that those habits vary from group to group, and that media tend to focus on the presence and actions of men more than those of women.

For example, she marshaled protesters all day during Saturday’s protests, but noted the lack of images of her and fellow women marshals in media coverage of the events. Instead, many images of a dozen or so black men surfaced, decontextualized from the hours of peaceful marches prior to the return to Camden Yards after the rally at City Hall. This caused many groups and individuals, including Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, to focus on the images of protesters clashing with the sports fans who antagonized them, placing the blame squarely on young black men. The organizer I spoke with simply stated that, regardless of how the rest of the day had gone and the vocalization of different people and groups, “Nothing mattered [in the news] after the riot.”

Crips, Bloods Call Truce, Not to Harm Cops But to Protect their Community from Violence & Looting.
-John Vibes, The Free Thought Project.

In the interview, gang members displayed immense intelligence and understanding for the situation. They stated that they called a truce to protect their communities from violence and looting, and to protect their community from anyone who should put it in danger. They were reportedly attacked by police when they were attempting to defend properties throughout the city from rioters.

The gang members announced that they were forming a “new faction” which will be concerned with protecting the community, and stopping the senseless violence that is carried out by both private and public individuals.

In another video published by The Baltimore Sun, rival gang members were shown meeting in churches speaking of peace and justice. One gang member told reporters that “They don’t want to see us call a truce because they want us out there killing each other.”

Baltimore Residents Come Together To Clean Up City After Riots.
-Cameron Keady, The Huffington Post.

Local businesses and community centers offer safe spaces and free meals.

“84% of Bmore students get free/reduced lunch. Schools are closed, but @ophelporhush is feeding them.”


Baltimore Riots 2015: Schools Closing Sparks Free #BaltimoreLunch Movement For Students After Freddie Gray Protests.
-Julia Glum, International Business Times.

Baltimore City Public Schools were closed Tuesday after riots against police brutality erupted in the streets Monday night, but community leaders were banding together to make sure students from low-income families could eat. Several groups were organizing around the Twitter hashtag #BaltimoreLunch to serve children who rely on schools for food.

[This is a community in pain, coming together to clean up their city and feed their kids. AMAZING.]



Jon Stewart: “Maybe We Should’ve Cared About Baltimore Before It Was ‘On Fire'”

lootingiswrongPoor teens in Baltimore face worse conditions than those in Nigeria – study. [Nigeria, people. NIGERIA.]

Carl Stokes to CNN’s Erin Burnett: Thugs? Just call them N#ggers then
-Frank Vyan Walton

Did she or anyone else at CNN use the “T”-Word when the Denver Broncos won the Superbowl and this happened? (1998)
Or when the San Francisco Giants won the World Series, again? (2012)
Or the Vancouver Canucks Lost the Stanley Cup? (2011)
Or the University of Kentucky Wildcats Won? (2012)
Or the Boston Red Sox Won? Three. Seperate. Times. (2004)
Or the West Virginia University Mountaineers Won? (2014)
Or when Penn State Fired Coach Joe Paterno for Looking the Other Way While His Assistant Coach Sexually Molested Children? (2011)
Or when a Surfing Competition Takes Place in Huntington Beach? (1986, 2013)
Or they have a Pumpkin Festival in New Hampshire? (2014)

Just doing a quick google search and I come up blank on all those where Erin Burnett is concerned…All these Riots and not a single “Thug” among them?

Amazing. I wonder exactly how that happened?  Could there be something significantly different about all these Riots, and the Riots in Baltimore?

Via US Uncut:

wellsfargobaltimoreWells Fargo Bank first pushed sub-prime mortgages on thousands of black families in Baltimore (referred to as “Mud People” by loan officers), then foreclosed on their homes. But unlike Baltimore’s black youth who threw rocks, not one single banker was arrested for destroying the community. SHARE if you know who the real Looters are!

mdpolicekill11[Related: ACLU: 109 people in Maryland died after police encounters in 2010-2014. Justin George, The Baltimore Sun.]

How to help: Donation and volunteer opportunities in the aftermath of riots.
-Rachel Cieri, The Baltimore Sun.



A complete takedown of the lies spread by the Baltimore PD and Washington Post on Freddie Gray.
-Shaun King, Daily Kos.

15 Baltimore neighborhoods have lower life expectancies than North Korea.
-Christopher Ingraham, The Washington Post.

Activist smacks down Wolf Blitzer: ‘You are suggesting broken windows are worse than broken spines’.
-David Edwards, Raw Story.

From Quelling Looters to Saving Lives, Baltimore Gangs Are Doing A Better Job Than Police.
-John Vibes, The Free Thought Project.

As we reported earlier this week, during the recent riots in Baltimore, rival gang members have called a truce to protect their communities. Police initially panicked when hearing about the truce and put out a warning that gang members were teaming up to “target cops.” It was quickly revealed that these claims were entirely fabricated and that the gang members did not have ill intentions by calling their truce.

Members of the Crips, Bloods and BGF, Baltimore’s three largest gangs, even stood with city council members during a press conference this week. The council members spoke very highly of the gang members and their recent efforts.“These men have been out on the street quelling the senseless violence that has consumed our city. After meeting with them today it is clear that the notion they were planning on harming our police officers is false and simply deterred the resources we needed to focus on the individuals who instigated these riots. I applaud these young men for standing here and speaking out for our city.” City Council President Bernard C. Young said.

The Dominant White Response to Baltimore Shows Why Black Residents are Justified in their Anger.
-Grizzard, Daily Kos.

These are young people who live in communities torn to pieces by the War on Drugs, where violence is the norm. They’re young people who are considered a “success story” if they achieve what people in my community would call the base level of productive existence – graduating high school without dying or being sent to prison. They’re young people who, if they were to achieve what my parents would call success, will be a story so rare that Hollywood might come calling for the movie rights. The handful of young people who escape horrible Baltimore neighborhoods and find themselves in the middle class are the exception that proves the rule.

kentuckyriotBaltimore Protesters and Senate Leader Shut Down Fox News, Ask Them To Leave.
-Jackson Marciana and Shante Wooten, Counter Current News.

Geraldo [Rivera] tries to dodge the confrontation, but a young man on the scene persisted and keeps calling him out.

“You want to report that we’re thugs and breaking sh-t down!”

“I want you and Fox News to get out of Baltimore City, because you’re not here reporting about the boarded up homes and the homeless people under MLK,” he continued. “You’re not reporting about the poverty levels up and down North Avenue.”

He asked further where Fox was during the 300 Man March, noting that Fox only turned out to catch a glimpse of anecdotes of destruction.

“You’re not here for the death of Freddie Gray! You’re here for the story!”

Morgan Freeman on Baltimore Coverage: “F*ck the (Mainstream) Media”.
The AntiMedia.


Recent reading.

library4The disappeared: Chicago police detain Americans at abuse-laden ‘black site’. Ackerman, S., The Guardian (Feb. 2015). (“‘The real danger in allowing practices like Guantánamo or Abu Ghraib is the fact that they always creep into other aspects,’ Siska said. ‘They creep into domestic law enforcement, either with weaponry like with the militarization of police, or interrogation practices. That’s how we ended up with a black site in Chicago.'”) [Gosh, who could have predicted this? –Ed.]

Dear Patricia Arquette: Blacks and gays owe white women nothing. Telusma, B., The Grio (Feb. 2015).

Room for Improvement: Clean up cities. Give the homeless a place to live. And save money too? The shockingly simple, surprisingly cost-effective solution that won over a bunch of conservatives in Utah. Carrier, S., Mother Jones (Feb. 2015). (“You actually need housing to achieve sobriety and stability, not the other way around…giving people supportive housing cost the system about half as much as leaving the homeless to live on the street.”)

The school to prison pipeline, explained. Nelson, L. and Lind, D., Vox (Feb. 2015).

Ax-wielding hair designer burns down Michigan adult store to please God. Kaufman, S., Raw Story (Feb. 2015). [Ugh, this god is THE WORST. –Ed.]

Gazi Kodzo. (youtube channel). [Brilliant, hilarious and scathing. –Ed.]

Abused, isolated and offered for a $25,000 arranged marriage: The extraordinary upbringing and daring escape of a victim of America’s homeschooling fundamentalists. Gould, M., The Daily Mail (Feb. 2015). [WHAT. THE. FUCK. –Ed.]

U.S. Geological Survey: Fracking waste is the primary cause of the dramatic rise in earthquakes. Hayden, J., Daily Kos (Feb. 2015).

8 Things Some A$$#ole Says in Every Debate About Sexism. McKinney, L., Cracked (Feb. 2015). [D00d nails it. –Ed.]

Ending the Neoliberal Neopatriarchy. Campbell, B., iai news (Feb. 2015). (“Global capitalism works with patriarchal principles, institutions, cultures and psyches. So, our liberation from this tragedy is inconceivable − it is, literally, unthinkable − without feminism.”) [h/t Vanina] [Meet the new patriarchy. Same as the old patriarchy. –Ed.]

Feminist writers are so besieged by online abuse that some have begun to retire. Goldberg, M., Washington Post (Feb. 2015). [Huh. –Ed.]

Why are women leaving the tech industry in droves? Lien, T., The Los Angeles Times (Feb. 2015). [Huh. –Ed.]

Thaddeus Murphy arrested for January Colorado Springs NAACP bombing. King, S., Daily Kos (Feb. 2015). (“Murphy claims he wasn’t trying to harm the NAACP office, but a local tax office connected to it.”) [Or maybe it was the abortion clinic. Or the sex toy store. Po-TAY-to, po-TAH-to. –Ed.]

How our microbes make us who we are. Knight, R., TED Talks via youtube (Feb. 2015). [VIDEO] [h/t SJ] [Amazing. –Ed.]

What The Atlantic Left Out About ISIS According To Their Own Expert. Jenkins, J., Think Progress (Feb. 2015).

30 Signs Of Emotional Abuse In A Relationship. Davenport, B., Live Bold & Bloom (Nov. 2014).

Letter to My Rapist, Jailed for Raping Women Who Are More Respectable Than I Am: I’m writing to you to tell you that we’re both human. Burns, T., AlterNet (Feb. 2015).


For the Quote collection:

No institution in modern civilization is so tyrannical and so unjust to woman as is the Christian Church. It demands everything from her and gives her nothing in return. –Josephine K. Henry (1897)


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.

library4FOIA Documents Reveal Massive DEA Program to Record American’s Whereabouts With License Plate Readers. Stein, B., ACLU (Jan. 2015).

DHS intelligence report warns of domestic right-wing terror threat. Perez, E. and Bruer, W., CNN (Feb. 2015). [h/t SJ] (“Some federal and local law enforcement groups view the domestic terror threat from sovereign citizen groups as equal to — and in some cases greater than — the threat from foreign Islamic terror groups”) [No shit. –Ed.]

Editor of major newspaper says he planted stories for CIA. Lopez, R., Digital Journal (Jan. 2015). [Quelle surprise. –Ed.]

The U.S. Media and the 13-Year-Old Yemeni Boy Burned to Death Last Month by a U.S. Drone. Greenwald, G., The Intercept (Feb. 2015). (“Most Americans, by design, will have no idea that their government just burned a 13-year-old boy to death and then claimed he was a Terrorist.”)

Obama administration to allow sales of armed drones to allies. Ryan, M., The Washington Post (Feb. 2015). [Finally! Now other countries can enjoy burning 13-year-olds to death too! –Ed.]

1 In 3 College Men In Survey Say They Would Rape A Woman If They Could Get Away With It. Culp-Ressler, T., Think Progress (Jan. 2015). [ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME. –Ed.]

How Israeli High-Tech Firms Are Turning the U.S.-Mexico Border into a New Kind of Hell. Miller, T. and Schivone, G., TomDispatch via AlterNet (Jan. 2015).

The Great SIM Heist: How Spies Stole the Keys to the Encryption Castle. Scahill, J. and Begley, J., The Intercept (Feb. 2015). (“The hack…gave the surveillance agencies the potential to secretly monitor a large portion of the world’s cellular communications, including both voice and data.”)

To the Parent of the Unvaccinated Child Who Exposed My Family to Measles. Jacks, T., Mother Jones (Feb. 2015). (“When your child gets sick, others are endangered—including my daughter with cancer.”) [To the parent of that unvaccinated child from Perry Street Palace: FUCK YOU. –Ed.]

What Not To Wear After 50. Combs, C., Better After 50 (Feb. 2015). (“Resting bitch face. Hahahahaha. Just kidding. Wear that one all you want.”)

I’m Brianna Wu, And I’m Risking My Life Standing Up To Gamergate. Wu, B., Bustle (Feb. 2015).

Natural Deception: Conned By the World Congress of Families. Parke, C., Political Research Associates (Jan. 2015). (“the organization is leading a global legislative and public relations campaign against LGBTQ and reproductive rights.”) [They seem nice. –Ed.]

Jeb ‘Put Me Through Hell’. Kruse, M., Politico Magazine (Jan. 2015). (“Michael Schiavo knows as well as anyone what Jeb Bush can do with executive power. He thinks you ought to know too.”)

Here Are 25 Jokes That Only Nerds Will Understand. If You Laugh Then Yep, You’re A Nerd! Boredom Therapy (Jul. 2014).

The Anti-Vaccine Movement Should Be Ridiculed, Because Shame Works. Novak, M., Gizmodo (Feb. 2015). [Hear, hear! He must be reading my blog! This d00d disagrees, though, and says “People who are told their deeply held beliefs are stupid tend to withdraw from the conversation.” Um, perhaps someone can ‘splain to me why getting these assholes to shut the fuck up would be a bad thing? I mean, there is a reason unvaccinated children with measles are found in clusters, and that reason is anti-vaxxers spreading their deeply held beliefs deadly bad ideas to others. –Ed.]

FBI monitored and critiqued African American writers for decades. Flood, A., The Guardian (Feb. 2015).

Policing Our Girls. Hutchinson, S., blackfemlens (Feb. 2015).

Gay People Posting Photos Of Gay People On Facebook Is Persecuting Christians Says Perkins. Badash, D., The New Civil Rights Movement (Jan. 2015). [To all mah gay peeps: go forth and persecute. –Ed.]

Something Really, Really Terrible Is About to Happen to Our Coral. Philpott, T., Mother Jones (Jan. 2015). [I hate people. Have I mentioned that I hate people? Well, I hate people. –Ed.]

How secular family values stack up. Zuckerman, P., The Los Angeles Times (Feb. 2015). (“Far from being dysfunctional, nihilistic and rudderless without the security and rectitude of religion, secular households provide a sound and solid foundation for children”) [h/t SJ]

Why science is so hard to believe. Achenbach, J., Washington Post (Feb. 2015).

10 Senate Ds Think Drillers Should Be Able to Inject Whatever the Frack They Want into Your Water. Liberty Equality Fraternity and Trees, Daily Kos (Jan. 2015). [In case you’re wondering who these motherfrackers are: Michael Bennet (D-CO), Joe Donnelly (D-IN), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Jon Tester (D-MT), Tom Udall (D-NM) and Mark Warner (D-VA). –Ed.]

Obama, Biden & Pelosi Lobbying Hard for TPP. Publius, G., Hullabaloo (Feb. 2015).

Source Code Similarities: Experts Unmask ‘Regin’ Trojan as NSA Tool. Rosenbach, M., Spiegel Online InternationaI (Jan. 2015).

Oklahoma Lawmakers Vote Overwhelmingly To Ban Advanced Placement U.S. History. Legum, J., ThinkProgress (Feb. 2015). [Christ. Doesn’t Oklahoma have enough problems already with all the earthquakes from fracking? –Ed.]

No good deed goes unpunished. Vermont Political Observer (Jan. 2015). (“What I did not anticipate was the vitriolic verbal assault from those who don’t know the difference between the Classics and illegal immigrants from South America.”) [D000000000d. Have you never been on the Internet? –Ed.]

Indisputable proof that prosecutors and politicians are penalized when they hold police accountable. King, S., Daily Kos (Jan. 2015).

Is the US the only country where more men are raped than women? Filipovic, J., The Guardian (Feb. 2015). [American exceptionalism, y’all. –Ed.]

5 Bizarre Realities of Being a Man Who Was Raped by a Woman. Anonymous, via Mannen, A., Cracked (Jan. 2015).

Pipeline explodes in West Virginia. Gardner, F., Daily Kos (Jan. 2013). (“This is the fourth major pipeline incident that’s occurred this month.”)

Hobby Lobby 2: Inside Republicans’ Plan to Kill America’s Most Effective Anti-Teen-Pregnancy Program. Baumann, N., Mother Jones (Feb. 2015). (“An innovative program has reduced the abortion rate and saved a state millions. Here’s why it’s doomed.”) [SPOILER ALERT! Because conservatives. –Ed.]

Black teens who commit a few crimes go to jail as often as white teens who commit dozens. Ehrenfreund, M., The Washington Post (Jan. 2015).

Here’s What It’s Like For A Woman To Send a Job Rejection To A Man. Creighton, J., Medium (Feb. 2015).

Liberal Racism: 25 Things I Learned After I Wrote About ISIS and White Racism at the Daily Kos. DeVega, C., Daily Kos (Feb. 2015).

Women Being Inexpertly Groped In Western Art History. Ortberg, M., The Toast (Feb. 2015). [NSFW] [Hahaha. –Ed.]


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.

She’s baaaaaaack.

frenchflaghalfmastWe have arrived home safely from our journeys to the Caribbean island of Saint Martin, where we stayed in Grand Case on the French side. Naturally, news of the terrorist attacks at Charlie Hebdo rocked the seaside town, and many flags remained at half mast.

The Palace is likewise flying French flags at half mast until further notice.

I am sure Loyal Readers™ have a pretty good idea where I stand on many of the issues implicated in these events, e.g. religion in general and fundamentalist Islam in particular, free speech and freedom of the press, satire and mockery vs. terrorist violence as political acts, the inevitable right-wing blowback in the West including more—and thus more ineffective—mass surveillance. I may have more to say about some or all of that later. For now, I will just leave you with just a few things that resonate with me.

A timely reminder from my friend that people in the U.S. have much, much more to fear from our own homegrown jihadists than we do from Islamic terrorism: Terror From the Right: Plots, Conspiracies and Racist Rampages Since Oklahoma City. (See also.)

These lines from the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, written a thousand years ago:

But yours the cold heart, and the murderous tongue,
The wintry soul that hates to hear a song,
The close-shut fist, the mean and measuring eye,
And all the little poisoned ways of wrong.

[h/t Adam Lee]

Happy 4th! Also, R.I.P. American Democracy.

flagdownIn the dizzying throes of my rage and mourning for my country in the wake of last week’s entirely expected and epically craptastic 5-4 Hobby Lobby decision, I naturally started drinking promptly and posted a bunch of hatey shit on Facebook. I also posted on my blog a job application to the Catholic d00ds on the Supreme Court and to the many for-profit companies suing the federal government to get out of the birth-control-is-basic-fucking-healthcare mandate of the ACA, and in lieu of my resumé I helpfully included a recent picture of the interior of my vagina. (For those readers who may not be 100% up to speed, for many fine employers vaginas are now the subject of unparalleled concern, interest and control.)

Now, I realize that ridicule and mockery of Supreme Court justices may not be to everyone’s taste, which is why I really cannot recommend highly enough going other places on the internet. And in a gesture of gracious magnanimity, to readers who prefer a more sobering (and certainly more sober!) analysis, I offer this eminently readable summary of the Hobby Lobby decision by Carmen Green of Georgetown University Law Center. But just FYI, I fully intend to continue drinking, cursing and ridiculing the “Supreme” Court, unless and until I feel it’s time to step away from the bar and go home.

In other words: don’t hold your breath.

It all began to unravel rather quickly with Citizens United, in which the activist Catholic shitweasel majority on the high court overturned a century of precedent and decades of campaign finance reform laws, essentially holding that corporations = people, and corporate cash = protected speech under the First Amendment. These twin delusions are massive affronts to democracy, logic and reality, so easily debunked even a young child could do it (unless of course she too suffered the mind-warping ravages of Conservative Personality Disorder).

‘Cause here’s the thing: corporations are not people.


For one thing, unlike people, they can potentially live forever. That makes them immortal. You know, like vampires. Or possibly tardigrades. But definitely not like people. Perhaps most devastating to the surreal horror fiction unleashed by the court in Citizens United (and expounded upon in McCutcheon) is that unlike people, corporations cannot be put in prison for the crimes they commit:

prisonpopincrease[h/t Sally Strange via Cory Booker]

So these “people” are immortals who are never subject to the same rules of law and justice as everyone else. Is any of this starting to sound to you like a zombie movie yet? Because there’s more.

So, Hobby Lobby. The Catholic fascist men on the highest court in the land have now decided that not only are corporations people, they can now be religious people, they can be stupid, wrong and willfully ignorant religious people, they can force their stupid, wrong and willfully ignorant religious views on their employees, and they can simply ignore laws they don’t like.

Unlike, you know, actual people. Or, say, women.

Earlier this month, from the peaceful sanctity of their buffer-zone protected place of work, SCOTUS struck down a Massachusetts buffer zone law around women’s clinics. That decision was unanimous, thus rendering the entire Supreme Court not just laughably hypocritical @$$holes, but complicit in giving material support to terrorists.

scotusbarrier-500x598RIP American democracy. It was a great idea. Unfortunately, it simply could not survive the scourge of conservatism.


To cheer you up, here’s a little something from Andy Borowitz:

WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—By a 5–4 vote on Monday, the United States Supreme Court settled a dispute that Justice Samuel Alito said was “at its core about the rights of women versus the rights of people.”

Writing for the majority, Justice Alito wrote, “It is the duty of this Court, whenever it sees that the rights of people are being threatened, to do our best to safeguard those rights. In this case, it is clear that people’s rights were being threatened by women.”

Acknowledging that some women “might argue that they, too, have some claim to being people,” Justice Alito wrote, “That is an interesting question for another day.”

While the Court’s decision caused an uproar across the country, it received a big thumbs-up from one of the Justices who voted with the majority, Antonin Scalia.

“This has been a crappy year or so around here, what with all that gay-marriage stuff, but at least we finished strong,” he said.


Perhaps you might also enjoy this little roundup of some Facebook highlights. (Iris haz awwsum FB frenz.)


IRIS shared a link: Supreme Court sides with employers over birth control mandate.

FB FRIEND: Assholes.

IRIS: No, no, just vaginas…at least for now.



FB FRIEND2: I hope someone messes with your subsidized Viagra and you all die of horribly painful heart attacks while standing on Legos, sporting those four hour boners that no one will ever touch again.

IRIS: I hate conservatives. They taught me to hate, by hating me.

FB FRIEND3: ^but but but someone somewhere has nice conservative friends and might be offended by that sentiment! no hyperbole allowed when referring to the Right!

IRIS: “Nice conservative” is an oxymoron.


FB FRIEND4: So, in short:
1) I no longer have religious freedom
2) I no longer have the right to privacy
3) “Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” does not apply to women
4) I have lost my bodily autonomy and reproductive rights

I am literally in tears right now. Not just for myself (but believe me, I am scared as hell), but how the fuck can I raise a daughter in a society where she has less rights than her mother and grandmother did?

FB FRIEND5: Yes. How can I look my daughter in the eye and tell her she’s as valuable as her little brother? Clearly our society is intent on proving otherwise as often as possible.

IRIS: Passing the ERA would be a start. Then we could demand mens reproductive healthcare be subject to the same employer whims. As it stands, no dice. We are NOT equal under the constitution.

FB FRIEND6: Where is hobby lobby hq? I’m gonna look on Google.

FB FRIEND7: Inside the SCOTUS buffer zone.

FB FRIEND6: I’m gonna punch SCOTUS’ buffer zone in the taint.

FB FRIEND6: That was a joke, NSA.


FB FRIEND8: I’m still at work but do any of my Facebook friends want to explain what’s wrong with this? A friend posted it on my wall:

I think you should read this, Dave. I would argue that your concept of this situation and the assumptions you bring into it are actually more harmful to women and society as a whole than Hobby Lobby’s attempt to protect its freedoms and interests.

Hobby Lobby operates with a philosophy that actually honors and respects a woman’s sexuality and encourages women to respect their own sexuality and be responsible adults with what naturally results from that sexuality. You are the one who would rather treat them as “second class citizens”, like animals with no inherent dignity or honor, like detached individuals with no responsibility to society but to create national headlines out of their supposedly “private” business in bed. I have to put this bluntly because, as I cannot convey to you just how much damage to human dignity you are furthering and feeding.”

– Jared Caspari…/want-birth-control-go-buy/2/

IRIS: Everything. Like, literally every single thing is wrong with this.


FB FRIEND9: Today might be a good day to ask “pro-life” anti-abortion atheists what they think of the ruling.

IRIS: It’s never a good day for that.

FB FRIEND9: Today *especially* is good for that I think. I already tagged them and they are not responding.

IRIS: Maybe it’s because they’re confused by the word “think”?


FB FRIEND10: Come home to cat shit on my bed.
Why, Morgan, why?

IRIS: Cat hates SCOTUS too?

FB STRANGER: Damn. Someone beat me to the SCOTUS joke.


IRIS: Just so I have this straight: not only are corporations people, not only are they religious people, they can force employees to follow their religious beliefs – and never, ever go to prison. That’s it. I’m incorporating.


FB FRIEND7: But ‪#‎HobbyLobby‬ sincerely believes this lie, so they get to enforce their belief in a lie on people like me.

IRIS: I sincerely believe that male Catholic Supreme Court justices should be impeached. How ’bout we enforce my sincerely held belief?

FB FRIEND11: Have you incorporated yet, Iris ?

IRIS: Yes, of course! Iris Inc.’s legal department is already working on the impeachment action. Or so they tell me, anyway. I’m out drinking.