Day: 2014.11.04

What Passes for Family Values in Texas

Futility is the essence of the Camusite Absurd. And, yes, Sisyphus is happy. Even when he is unhappy.

Dan Savage offers Sisyphan Texans a bit of advice:

Antigay protesters in Houston, Texas, teach their children to fantasize about hating other people, 2 November 2014.  Photos and collage by Brad Pritch.1. To homophobic parents who bring their kids to antigay hate rallies: You tempt the God of Irony when you put your prepubescent children in antigay T-shirts. Seriously. That could come back to haunt you one day. But, hey, that pic will make for a hilarious #TBT on your grown-up gay kid’s Instagram account one day—provided, of course, that his hateful parents didn’t drive him to suicide before he could come out. (Like Chris Rock said: “Whoever you hate will end up in your family. You don’t like gays? You’re gonna have a gay son. You don’t like Puerto Ricans? Your daughter’s gonna come home with Livin’ La Vida Loca!”)

2. So you reserve the right to discriminate against gay people? You don’t want gay people patronizing your businesses? Great! Put that fact in your ads, put it on a sign in your window, mention it in all of your marketing materials. But you won’t, of course, because when it comes right down to it … you’re a bunch of fucking cowards.

Just, you know. Don’t blame the children for being assholes. That is acquired behavior, learned from parents who have no earthly business raising children.

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Savage, Dan. “Antigay Haters Reserve the Right to Discriminate Against Homosexuals on the Down Low”. Slog. 4 November 2014.

Image credit Photos and collage by Brad Pritch.

Florida (Outlaw Mix)

Welcome to Ft. Lauderdale, where compassion is against the law.

Two stories from the annals of Florida justice. In the late nineties, a judge removed custody of a daughter from the mother because the mother was a lesbian; the judge feared the lesbians would sexually abuse the girl. So he put her in custody of her father, a convicted murderer also charged with sex crimes. And it was sometime in this century that a jury acquitted a rapist on the grounds that a woman wearing a bikini and short skirt in the Florida summer was asking to be raped.

Yes, really. Those are both real.

Florida.

There is no sex crime in this one, yet it seems to fit with the theme of “America’s wang” to consider that two pastors and a ninety year-old volunteer face prison time for the crime of feeding the homeless.

Arnold Abbott faces prison time for feeding the homeless in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.A 90-year-old man is facing up to 60 days in jail for feeding the needy due to a new law that bans people in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, from meal-sharing with the public.

Arnold Abbott risks being fined $500 and spending time in prison after police officers apprehended him while he was handing out meals to homeless people in a park on Sunday.

He was arrested and charged along with two ministers from the Sanctuary Church, which prepares hundreds of meals to dish out every week in their kitchen, while onlookers shouted to officers “shame on you!”

Mr Abbott said: “One of police officers came over and said ‘Drop that plate right now,’ as if I was carrying a weapon.”

(Sabin)

'Texas Secession', by Jeff Danziger, 15 November 2012Every once in a while, it occurs to us that if Texas ever follows through on its childish secession threats, we ought to sit down at the table and deal: Fine, you can go. But you have to take Florida with you.

Yeah. That would start a war.

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That Ghostly Whimper

That ghostly, whimpering sound you hear without hearing, as if it stretches across boundless mystical aether to arise directly in your soul, would be me, taking in this evening’s election returns.

My apologies for the noise.

Black and White and Purple All Over

Now in Black and White!

Okay, the thing is that the slogans rotate, so not everyone gets this ironic moment. And it’s true, the whole thing about being in black and white is supposed to be taken in that humorous, conscious, passive-aggressive self-deprecation.

Still, though, Matt Tarpley went with shades of purple, and I’m guessing that’s today’s clue:

This week Mary Death goes to Japan! For real, I am in Japan right now buying all the things.

Also, there will be a special guest artist appearing for Friday’s strip. Eggciting! I have left a tiny clue as to which comic this artist comes from …

So, hey, play along. To the one, it’s a great strip in general, written and illustrated by a talented artist. To the other, I’m never right about these things, so come Friday you can appropriately razz me for being wrong about the clue.

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Tarpley, Matt. “Japan!” Mary Death. 4 November 2014.

One Way to Get the Job Done

It is always tempting to tear a local police department a new orifice for every mere appearance of failure, but the truth of the matter is that we have no indication at this time that the Seattle Police Department even had a chance to laugh this one off:

A man who was arrested on Wednesday after allegedly groping 15 to 20 women near Pioneer Square has pleaded not guilty to four counts of fourth-degree assault with sexual motivation, according to the Seattle City Attorney’s Office.....

.... According to Seattle police, a group of women and witnesses on Wednesday helped chase down an intoxicated man who was groping women, following him from Second Avenue and James Street and calling 911 to report his location to officers.

Then again it is also true that a bad situation is much harder to ignore or, you know, laugh off when faced with the prospect of an appropriately righteous mob chasing down a sex crime suspect.

Meanwhile, it’s good to know that citizens in Seattle have each other’s backs.

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Green, Sara Jean. “Not-guilty plea to groping frenzy”. The Seattle Times. 3 November 2014.

Anonymous. “Thanks for Nothing, SPD”. The Stranger. 1 January 2014.

A Reminder of the Stakes

Steve Benen considers one of the quieter, yet more important stakes on the table in today’s midterm election:

We’ve probably all seen comparisons between the 2014 elections and “Seinfeld” – it’s the campaign cycle about “nothing.” The analyses are understandable, given just how little focus there’s been on anything resembling substance. Quick quiz: name the defining issue of this year’s elections.msnbc

If you said, “Ebola-carrying terrorists hiding in Mexico,” you appreciate just how vapid much of this campaign season has been.

But for many Americans, a great deal is at stake today. These families may not get a lot of attention, and they may not be as fascinating to political reporters as Bruce Braley’s neighbor’s chickens or Alison Lundergan Grimes’ 2012 presidential preference, but they’re probably wondering today whether the election results will allow them to receive affordable medical care.

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Benen, Steve. “Medicaid expansion on the line in many key races”. msnbc. 4 November 2014.

Election Day

The dome of the U.S. Capitol building.

You can beat them by a mile in America. You’ll be laughing all the while, in America. They don’t care how you do it in America; just do it with style and a smile.

So cover your eyes, and cover your heart, and pray for the ones you’re tearing apart.

Floater

We might, of course, encourage people to vote their consciences, but given what passes for conscience these days that might be a bad idea. That is to say, conscience is supposed to be about somethng more than immediate personal satisfaction.

Iowa, for instance. Watch for the returns from Iowa; you’ll likely have reason to laugh, albeit perhaps bitterly, about the proposition of conscience in Iowa.

Certes, we can hope for better than what the polling suggests in the Hawkeye State. And nothing would make us happier at This Is than to be proven wrong.

One of the curses of leftism is that it is more often tragic than anything else when our fretful prognostications are demonstrated true.

Rob Wynia of Floater makes the point well enough, as we’ve reached a point at which uninformed voters might actually be a threat to societal stability. But this really is supposed to be some sort of democracy, so, yeah, vote.

But it would also be nice if more voters actually took time to comprehend what they’re voting on. And, hey, you hear that? Yes, you can get extraordinary praise for simply doing your job.

Still, though, today is Election Day, and the vote is not only your right, but also your civic duty. Please do not treat that duty lightly; otherwise you might find yourself in a position like Iowa, where the question is so much about what letter goes in the parenthetical note after a candidate’s name that Iowans are on the verge of humiliating themselves.

See Dick vote. Don’t be like Iowa.

A New Low for CNN

In my social circles there is a widespread superstition; that is to say, it’s widespread because, well, I helped spread it. We call it the CNN Test, and it’s based on the principle that for the last fifteen years at least, the CNN website will load as long as one has an internet connection. This was important during the days of deliberate DNS bottlenecks, a problem Comcast found it could resolve not by running more DNS servers, but through rolling brownouts and blackouts of service.

Yes, Comcast really is that low. Then again, we already knew that.

CNN, on the other hand, has had a terrible reputation for years, but nothing quite like that. However, the oft-shameful Cable News Network has achieved a new low of its own.

CNN.com's perpetual TV; website visitors are not allowed to pause the broadcast.We promised we weren’t singling out BET for thinking website readers actually wanted to watch television; our disdain is a personal thing, since publishers might as well start putting videos in e-books; why read a novel when you can watch actors portray it, or perhaps you might skip the whole literary pretense and watch Real Husbands of Hollywood, instead, right?

The broadcast in the corner of the web page is perpetual; the user cannot pause it.

A note to CNN: The “CNN Test” is now the only reason anybody I know ever goes to CNN.com. That is to say, they get their news from better sources, and you’ve reduced yourself to a network testing protocol.