It doesn’t really matter what her patients think of her hair

A few years ago, I worked at a resort in Pensacola. Really nice place on Pensacola Beach (if you’ve never been to Pensacola Beach, you should go. It’s really quite beautiful if you like beaches). The resort had five ginormous towers with hundreds of rooms. They had an activity center with two restaurants, two bars, two tennis courts, three swimming pools (two outdoor and one indoor), a spa, a gym, boat rentals, and all manner of planned activities for families and children. The place was also not what I’d call cheap. It wasn’t pricey like you’d see in larger cities, but for Pensacola, it was pricey. To go along with the image the owner wanted to maintain at the resort, no employee could have visible tattoos, exotic or unnatural hair colors, or visible piercings (aside from women being allowed to have one earring in one ear). This always bugged me bc I had a feeling I knew what the owner was saying without him saying it. He was saying there was something wrong with tattoos, piercings, and alternate hair colors. I think he felt that these expressions of individuality clashed with the environment and experience he wanted his guests to partake of. IOW, I believe on some level, that he was of the mindset that having tats, piercings, or alternate hair colors wasn’t “classy”. There’s an association in the minds of many that people with tattoos, piercings, and “unnatural” hair colors are lower class, unsavory individuals. And tattoos are often viewed as a sign of immorality or criminality by many people. To me, the owner wanted to keep such elements out of the resort so that his guests wouldn’t run screaming and never return bc they saw a tattoo of a heart on a scantily clad lifeguard or an eye-piercing on the tennis instructor (thinking about this makes me realize that he was probably trying to maintain a ‘safe space’ for his guests; ironic, as I’m pretty sure he was a conservative). I remember being at the resort shortly after I got hired and hearing the above guidelines on appearance, and thinking how all of that was so damned judgemental and superficial. As if having a tattoo has any bearing on your character. The ability to do one’s job is not hindered in any way by having  a piercing in your tongue or ear. And hair color? Lawdy. It is so damn hard to pour drinks with red hair (though what would I know, since I shave my head). Now, obviously, he’s the owner of the place and can do whatever he pleases. He is free to run the resort in the manner he likes, to please the guests in the way that he feels is best. I’m not criticizing that. No, I’m criticizing what I think is the mindset behind “no visible tattoos”, “no piercings”, and “no alternate hair colors”. It’s the same type of mindset that is apparent in this story of a nurse being shamed by a cashier all because she dyed her hair in an array of colors:

Continue reading “It doesn’t really matter what her patients think of her hair”
It doesn’t really matter what her patients think of her hair

The lack of concern for Russian citizens by their own government is repugnant

I just read this article on Russian officials destroying contraband food illegally smuggled into the country:

Authorities earlier this month started bulldozing piles of cheese, peaches and even frozen geese after Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the destruction of food smuggled into the country illegally.

Now police in the Moscow region say they have arrested six people for producing cheese worth some $30 million (27 million euros) with banned Western rennet, a substance containing enzymes used for cheese production.

Authorities “foiled the activities of an organised international criminal gang in the Moscow region whose members have for a long time been engaged in smuggling sanctioned products from abroad,” police spokeswoman Yelena Alekseeva said in a statement.

My first thought was WTF?! All  that food could have helped feed many of the Russian citizens living in poverty.  My second thought was “an international criminal gang that smuggles in food? What’s bad about that?”Those were still my thoughts even after I considered that maybe officials feared the food wasn’t inspected. After all, why couldn’t they simply inspect it? So I thought maybe there was some other reason-a really good one-to destroy that food.  After all, the number of Russians living in poverty reached 16.1 million last year. I imagine all that food could have been of great use to many of them. I found this article by Russian political analyst Andrew Korybko which attempts to explain and justify the actions of the Russian government:

Continue reading “The lack of concern for Russian citizens by their own government is repugnant”

The lack of concern for Russian citizens by their own government is repugnant

Walter Palmer needs to be punished, but some of his critics are going too far

Cecil the Lion (pictured above) was a huge tourist attraction in one of Zimbabwe’s national parks. I say ‘was’ because wildlife guides were paid approximately $55,000 by a guy who thinks killing animals for shits and giggles is a fun way to spend a weekend. Cecil was apparently baited out of Hwange National Park by three men who proceeded to shoot the creature with a crossbow. Unfortunately for Cecil, he did not die. Instead he suffered with his injuries for 40 hours before being found by the hunters who killed him with a rifle. After he was killed, the lion was skinned and beheaded, and his killers attempted to remove the tracking collar he was wearing as part of long-term research being conducted by Oxford. Cecil wasn’t shot because he was a danger to anyone. Hell, he wasn’t shot for food. He was shot for sport. The guides surely knew that killing Cecil was illegal, as they lured him out of the national park, where it is illegal to kill animals. Moreover, they broke the law by attempting to remove his collar. One of the wildlife guides and the landowner bordering the national park have been charged, but Mr. Hunt-4-Fun has not yet been charged. That guy, btw is ↓ this ↓ douchebag: Dr. Walter Palmer.

Continue reading “Walter Palmer needs to be punished, but some of his critics are going too far”

Walter Palmer needs to be punished, but some of his critics are going too far

Today in assholery

According to Psychology Today, empathy is “the experience of understanding another person’s condition from their perspective”. Empathy is a useful tool that allows us to comprehend (on some level) the lived experiences of others. Alongside compassion and sympathy, empathy is what leads many to: make donations to organizations providing recovery in the wake of natural disasters, protest in the streets about the racially biased USAmerican criminal justice system, or show their support for a terminal patient seeking to end their life. These actions illustrate what happens when we give a shit about the lives of others, regardless of whether or not we have a firsthand experience of their plight.

I like to think I’m an empathetic person. I do give a shit about the plight of others. I think empathy is one of my strengths and I try to ensure that it extends not just to people who are like me, but to those who are not. Like those people who identify as women. I know that those who identify as women regularly deal with all manner of sexism and misogyny, such as:

  • being harassed and bullied, or receiving rape and death threats for sharing their thoughts online
  • dealing with condescending mansplanations
  • being slut-shamed for having sex
  • facing street harassment from entitled men
  • being victimized by transphobic assholes

As a man, I do not have firsthand experience of any of the above. I don’t know what it is like to live as a person who identifies as a woman. To understand their experiences, I have to put myself in their shoes. Empathy allows me to do that. It allows me to understand-on some level-what it might be like to live as a someone who identifies as a woman. That sounds good on paper, but what does it look like in practice?

When I look at something like the continuing efforts by conservative politicians to limit women’s access to abortion:

State Rep. Justin Harris (R) is spearheading HB 1424, which seeks to strengthen his state’s parental consent requirements for minors seeking an abortion. It’s one of a slew of anti-choice restrictions that the Arkansas legislature is currently considering.

Right now, Arkansas residents under the age of 18 can only get an abortion after getting consent from one of their parents. The court system can excuse them from this requirement if they go through what’s a called a judicial bypass procedure. Or, if they became pregnant as a result of incest, rape, or sexual abuse, they can claim an exemption to the law and waive the consent requirement.

Harris’ bill would tighten those requirements, removing the current exemption for victims of sexual crimes — making those minors’ abortion access dependent on permission from parents they may not feel safe confiding in.

I think to myself “If I were a young girl who was pregnant as a result of rape, how would I feel about this proposed legislation?” If I identified as a girl and chose to remain pregnant, there’s no problem–for me. But if I identified as a girl and wanted to be NOT pregnant, there would be a problem. If I identified as a girl, wanted to be NOT pregnant, and knew that my parents opposed abortion, there would be a very big problem. Especially if I wanted to end the pregnancy as quickly as possible. It wouldn’t be fair to make me dependent upon my parents permission to obtain an abortion. It’s not their body. It’s mine. The choice should be mine.

All of that ↑ ?

That’s me empathizing with people who identify as girls or women. That’s me putting myself into their shoes and imagining what their situation might be like. No, it’s not the same thing as being in their shoes.  I’m not likely to ever have firsthand experience of the realities of living and identifying as a girl or woman.  But it’s probably as close as I can come to understanding the shit they face. My support for easily obtainable, inexpensive (hell, FREE would be great), fully legalized abortion is due, in large part, to my empathy. Unfortunately, on a regular basis I read stories about people who don’t give a shit about people who are not like them. Stories like Ashley Brady’s:

Ashley Brady, 26, of Miamisburg, said she lost her leg in an accident in 2014 and learned to walk again with a prosthetic, but she found walking on ice posed a brand new set of challenges.

“I struggled a lot across the snow and ice in the parking lot trying to learn how to balance and walk,” Brady told WKEF-TV. “I fell multiple times all of which my neighbors have seen.”

Brady said management at her apartment complex agreed to give her a handicapped parking space near the door to her building March 12, but someone without a placard started parking in the spot Saturday. Brady said she left a note on the vehicle.

“I was stern and confident in what I was saying and just letting her know she doesn’t know what its like to walk around without your own leg,” Brady said, “She in return had placed this really rude note under my windshield wiper.”

I should warn you: rude note is very, very rude. It reads:

“Hey handicap! First, never place your hands on my car again! Second, honey you ain’t the only one with ‘struggles.’ You want pity go to a one leg support group! You messed with the wrong one! I don’t care what your note said shove it, but you touch my car again I will file a report, I am not playing! I let the office know the cry baby one leg touches my property I will cause trouble so go cry your struggles to someone who cares cause I’m walking away with both mine! -[expletive].”

The callousness. It burns!

First off, it’s fucking insulting to refer to Brady as “handicap”. She is not defined by her physical disability and doing so is an example of othering. Othering allows us to deny the humanity we share in common with others and lets us dismiss their concerns as unimportant or trivial. Just like rude letter writer did.

Secondly, rude letter writer shows more care and concern for a car than for another human being. I wonder how they’d like to be treated if they had a physical disability. Would they like it if others treated a car as more important than taking the time to be considerate of their situation?

Methinks rude letter writer needs an empathy upgrade. Stat.

Today in assholery

Where is your personal responsibility Ben Carson?

One of the many empty phrases thrown out by USAmerican Right-Wing Authoritarians (RWAs) is “personal responsibility”. The phrase is often used by RWAs, white supremacists, and status quo supporters when talking about low-income women becoming pregnant or crime statistics in the African-American community (I’ve come to despise the phrase as its proponents fail to acknowledge the existence of many factors outside the control of Black USAmericans; additionally, I’ve yet to see the phrase levied against anyone who is not Black) . One would think that RWAs would be big on being personally responsible, no? That’s not the case, as one prominent RWA recently demonstrated. In an interview with CNN, GOP darling Ben Carson said:

“Because a lot of people who go into prison go into prison straight — and when they come out, they’re gay,” Carson said. “So, did something happen while they were in there? Ask yourself that question.”

This deeply offensive and completely unevidenced comment brought to you by retired neurosurgeon, RWA, and all-round bigot Ben Carson.

I don’t know if he really thinks prison rape causes heterosexual men to become gay, but that’s what his comment implies. He didn’t give much thought to what he was saying, nor does it appear he gave much consideration to the questions that necessarily arise from his assertion. Before attempting to address these questions, one must ask “is there any reason to believe that Ben Carson’s statements are true?” When an individual makes an assertion, the onus is on them to provide adequate supporting evidence (see burden of proof). Given that he supplied no citation to a reputable source in support of his comments, it’s safe to dismiss them. Now you’d think that someone who belongs to the party of “personal responsibility” would, when faced with criticism over their bigoted comments, take responsibility, right? If you’re Ben Carson you just take to CNN:

Ben Carson was on with Sean Hannity this afternoon and was asked about his interview with CNN this morning. Carson responded by reiterating his support for traditional marriage between a man and woman, adding that he believes our Constitution protects everyone, regardless of their beliefs, and that includes people who are gay. He says that he has no problem with people who are gay doing whatever they want, but he’s not willing to redefine marriage for them.

With regard to the CNN interview itself, Carson says they pre-recorded a 25 minute interview and that all they are playing is that one tidbit about gay rights. Because of that, Carson says he’s decided he’s not going to talk about ‘gay rights’ anymore, noting that every time he has momentum, the liberal press wants to talk about it. He said he’s just not going to fall for that again.

“Waaaah! I won’t talk about ‘gay rights’ any longer because people criticize me for what I say and it’s totally not fair and I’m going to throw a temper tantrum!”

What happened to being responsible? Carson made bigoted, unevidenced assertions and was called out. Cue the world’s smallest violins.

Republicans really hate being held accountable for the things they say. In which case, they really ought to give better consideration to the views they share with the world. But not the GOP. They think they should have the right to say whatever they want, no matter how extreme, and face no consequences. They think freedom of speech means freedom from the consequences of that speech. They’re deeply, deeply, wrong.

Where is your personal responsibility Ben Carson?

Religious News 2.24.15

Former police officer and current pastor accused of child sex crimes

The indictment filed Dec. 16 in Deschutes County charges Worley with 37 counts, including two counts of rape, 20 counts of sexual abuse, 11 counts of sodomy, one count of attempted sodomy and three counts of using a child in a display of sexually explicit conduct.

In the latter three counts, the documents state Worley “did unlawfully and knowingly induce (the victims) … to engage in sexually explicit conduct for a person to observe.”

According to the indictment, the alleged abuse occurred between Sept. 1, 2002 and June 30, 2004 while the children were under the ages of 14 and 12.

Deschutes County prosecutors would not reveal how Worley knew the alleged victims but did say they did not believe Worley was a pastor during the time of the alleged incidents. However, prosecutors told KATU they are concerned there are more victims.

Worley was booked into the Multnomah County Jail on Dec. 30, and on that day he posted a tweet that reads, “Stormy weather has arrived. About to find out two-things: who our real friends are and how our God glorifies himself. #Psalm35 #GlorytoGod.”

Worley is active on social media as well as his blog, called Pastor Jamie’s Blog, where he spreads the message of Jesus and offers advice on how to lead better, more spiritual lives.

In one blog post he writes:

What kind of witness for Christ are you? Are you an effective one? Here’s a better question, do you feel that you share the love of Jesus for the world with the world in a valuable way? I’m going to go out on a limb, using only my personal experience in conversations with believers of all ages and maturities, and say that you’re either thinking, “no, not really.”

According to biography on the blog, Worley is married with four kids and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from Southwest Baptist University in Bolivar, Mississippi as well as a Master of Arts in Pastoral Studies from Multnomah Biblical Seminary in Portland, Oregon.

He writes that his favorite book is the Bible and that his passion is to “spend my life seeking the lost and equipping the found, all for God’s glory.”

The On Your Side Investigators went to Powell Valley church on Monday, but it was closed. Messages were not returned Monday.

Worley’s family declined to speak to a KATU reporter on Monday.

“It’s really devastating,” said Lily Prosch, a former member of the church. “Pastors are trusted individuals so why would you think to second guess a person like that?”

Prosch’s mother used to be a secretary at the church and she said her son still attends youth group there.

Prosch believed Worley also led prayer groups for youth at Sam Barlow High School in Gresham.

“That scares me,” Prosch said. “My son is a student at that school and I would hate to think that (Worley) would have any further access to my child.”

KATU left several messages for the Gresham-Barlow School District Monday. Messages were not immediately returned.

“If there is anybody else out there that was hurt by this man, please feel free to come forward and stand up for yourself and what happened, and say this isn’t right, and I’m not going to allow this to happen,” Prosch said.

Officer Worley: His “conduct was not a good faith error”

The On Your Side Investigators uncovered Worley used to be a police officer with the Tillamook Police Department.

He worked at the department from Sept. 1, 2005 to November 3, 2006 but his badge was revoked in 2007 for ongoing misconduct, according to City of Tillamook records obtained by the On Your Side Investigators.

“After considering the totality of circumstances, it appears that Worley violated agency policy, and was untruthful or deceptive on more than one occasion,” according to 2007 police review board meeting minutes.

The document states Worley engaged in “unethical writing of citations,” inappropriately responded to a restraining order, destroyed marijuana in the field, used the Internet excessively while on duty, created “sexually explicit advertisements,” and made unwanted sexual advances to a woman in a 911 dispatch center, among other things.

* * * *

A funeral is a rough time for the family and friends of the deceased.  One would think even a bigoted homophobe might still their tongue during this time of grief-if not for the departed loved one, then at least for the mourners. Sadly, a pastor in Colorado halted the funeral for a 33-year-old lesbian:

The Denver Post reported that hundreds of mourners had gathered to pay their last respects to Vanessa Collier when New Hope Ministries Pastor Ray Chavez brought the proceedings to an abrupt halt.

The funeral could only go forward in his church, Chavez said, if mourners removed any visible evidence that Collier was a lesbian, including photos taken with her partner, Christina, which he insisted must be edited out of the video.

The funeral-goers refused Chavez’s terms and the pastor canceled the ceremony altogether 15 minutes after it was scheduled to start. Fortunately the family and friends gathered were able to move the funeral — flowers, programs guests, casket and all — to another location nearby.

Many of the mourners felt that Chavez’ refusal to allow the ceremony was unduly cruel, a final insult to a woman from a marginalized community.

“It was humiliating,” said Collier’s longtime friend Victoria Quintana to the Post. “It was devastating.”

“A church turning away a funeral. Who has ever heard of anything like that happening?” said another friend, Jeanette Arguello.

Collier died alone on Dec. 30 of a gunshot wound. Police told the Post that it is currently unclear whether the incident was an accident or suicide.

Protesters gathered outside New Hope Church on Tuesday, shouting “Give us an apology!” and “Shame on Pastor Ray!”

Once again, we see that religion is elevated in importance over the lives of actual human beings. As so often happens, when that occurs, human beings suffer.

* * * *

I’ll admit it: I’ve fallen for some of the satire produced by sites like The Onion or World News Daily. Sometimes the “stories” they report on seem quite believable (often when the stories are about conservative idiotology).  Just ask Joe the Plumber:

The most recent bout of buffoonery comes in the form of a post claiming that an Egyptian scientist has found indisputable proof that Moses and the Exodus from Egypt is a historical truth rather than a Bible story meant to teach metaphorically.

Joe’s writer, if you can call him that, isn’t so much astonished by the fact that Exodus has been proven by a scuba trip to the Red Sea, but that mainstream media, namely CNN and the New York Times, hasn’t reported on it:

If the mainstream media isn’t reporting on a story like this, one might ask why, rather than assuming the story to be true. But not good old credulous Joe.

* * * *

Chicago-area imam charged with sex abuse at Islamic school

The longtime head of a suburban Chicago Islamic school has been charged with sexually assaulting a woman who worked there, and a civil suit filed Tuesday accuses him of abusing that employee and three teenage students. The legal actions shed light on an issue that even many Muslims say is too often pushed into the shadows within their communities.

Mohammad Abdullah Saleem, 75 – who founded the Institute of Islamic Education and is regarded as a leading Islamic scholar, or imam, in the United States – is charged with felony criminal sexual abuse. Prosecutors said he abused the 23-year-old woman, an administrative assistant at the Elgin school, in a series of escalating incidents over months.

The civil suit accuses Saleem of abusing that employee, as well as three female students at the school as far back as the 1980s. The lawyer in that case, Steven Denny, said Saleem took advantage of both the trust accorded to him as a religious leader and of the tendency of Muslims to remain silent on matters of sex and sexual abuse.

“This place was ripe for abuse,” Denny told a news conference.

It took special courage, he added, for his clients to come forward within a culture that discourages even casual contact – never mind explicit sexual contact.

The suit says a fifth person was abused when he was 11 by a male staffer at the school, not Saleem. It accuses the school of failing to protect children, many of whom lived on campus. It asks for more than $1.5 million in compensation, saying the victims are psychologically scarred.

It will come as no surprise that Saleem denies the allegations against him. Hopefully this case will lead to greater discussion of sexual assault in the Muslim community, as it is currently a taboo subject.

At Denny’s news conference, a statement from the 23-year-old woman called on Muslims to speak up about sexual abuse. She said, “I will no longer stay silent.”

The chairman of the Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago, to which the school does not belong, says he examined the facility’s bylaws and found they granted Saleem almost absolute decision-making power. In light of Saleem’s arrest, Mohammed Kaiseruddin said Islamic schools nationwide should rework their bylaws to allow greater oversight.

Nadiah Mohajir, director of HEART Women and Girls, which raises awareness about sexual abuse in the Muslim community, called Saleem’s arrest “a wake-up call” that presented an opportunity to address a topic that’s been taboo for too long.

“The shame and stigma surrounding sexual abuse is even higher in Muslim communities, with its emphasis on purity and modesty,” she said.

Kaiseruddin said the matter illustrated that Muslims were not immune to a problem that has plagued the Roman Catholic Church.

“We found out that Muslims are burdened by the same (issue) other faiths are burdened with,” he said.

 * * * *

I’m sure many USAmericans think arranged marriages only occur in foreign countries. This story about a young woman sold into marriage for $25,000 might shock them:

At 20 years old, a young woman was slated to be sold into marriage to man twice her age. For $25,000, in installments no less, her perspective groom was able to buy her. It would’ve been more, except that she had been sexually abused as a young child. As a result, her future husband got a “discount” as it were.

It sounds like something out of Saudi Arabia or some parts of Africa, doesn’t it?

Except it wasn’t. Her name is Jennyfer Deister, and she was a member of America’s blossoming Christian fundamentalist homeschool movement — the rest of the story, though, stands as is.

The Daily Mail reports that she was sexually abused in one of the four foster homes that she was passed through, before she was finally adopted by real-world cultists. Her family sold her to a man twice her age for $25,000. She said that she could’ve netted as much as $50,000 on the open market, but she was “damaged goods” as a result of her sexual abuse.

Jennyfer had no say in who she married, but says that her husband-to-be was a decent man.

I don’t care how decent he is. No one should be forced into a relationship and no one, but NO ONE, should be treated like property to be bought and sold. That’s disgusting. It’s also biblical, so this practice has some precedent.

Religious News 2.24.15

Utah lawmaker is a rape apologist

In The History of the Pleas of the Crown 17th century English lawyer and judge Sir Matthew Hale wrote:

But the husband cannot be guilty of a rape committed by himself upon his
lawful wife, for by their mutual matrimonial consent and contract the wife hath
given up herself in this kind unto her husband which she cannot retract.

According to Hale, a husband is entitled to sex from his wife, the signing of a marriage contract means a wife gives her ongoing consent to sex, and a wife cannot retract her consent so long as she remains married. In other words, husbands have a marital rape exemption. By virtue of being married, a husband has the right to demand and engage in sex with his wife, regardless of her wishes. Marital rape exemptions in the United States, which can trace their roots back to Hale’s treatise, were included in the criminal code of all U.S. states for most of the country’s history. In 1976-200 years after the founding of the United States-Nebraska became the first state to abolish the marital rape exemption, with other states following…very…slowly. North Carolina and Oklahoma became the last states in the nation to remove their marital rape exemptions-in 1993 (27 years after Nebraska).

Unfortunately, while the courts have criminalized marital rape, deep-seated cultural and religious beliefs about married women continue to persist in our culture. These sexist and misogynistic beliefs make it difficult for many people to recognize sexual coercion in marriage (thanks a bunch Sir Matthew Hale, for your role in perpetuating sexism and misogyny). As a result, despite the elimination of the marital rape exemption, the crime is infrequently prosecuted.

Though infrequent, prosecution for marital rape does happen. For Rep. Brian Greene of Utah, this is cause for concern:

A Utah measure seeking to make that legal clarification won early approval in a state legislative committee Tuesday, but some lawmakers qualified their support, questioning whether the law would designate sex with an unconscious spouse as rape.

“If an individual has sex with their wife while she is unconscious … a prosecutor could then charge that spouse with rape, theoretically,” said Rep. Brian Greene, R-Pleasant Grove.”That makes sense in a first date scenario, but to me, not where people have a history of years of sexual activity.”

Rep. Greene clearly holds the same disgusting, misogynistic beliefs about a woman’s “wifely duties” as Sir Matthew Hale. And he’s just as fucking ignorant. If your wife is unconscious, she cannot consent. Sex without consent is the very definition of rape. Marital status does not change that definition. Husbands are not entitled to sex from their wives and wives do not owe their husbands sex (or anything else for that matter). Whether you engage in non-consensual sex on the first date, or after 10 years of marriage it is still rape. It doesn’t magically become NOT rape if a husband has non-consensual sex with his wife. Thankfully, decent human beings spoke up in opposition to Greene:

Others disagreed. If a person is unconscious, having sex with him or her “is rape. Period. End of story,” said Rep. Brian King, D-Salt Lake City. “Let’s make the statute clear. Let’s not dance around it.”
According to prosecutors, “consent is a decision that has to be made at the time of the act,” said attorney Donna Kelly from the Utah Prosecution Council. “You cannot give consent to sexual activity if you’re unconscious.”

Utah’s current law doesn’t adequately protect victims, advocates and others told the House Judiciary Committee at the Capitol on Tuesday.

“This is something that’s been a long time coming,” bill sponsor Rep. Angela Romero, D-Salt Lake City, said after the meeting. “At the end of the day, if someone’s unconscious or they’re a vulnerable adult, then the logical answer is: Don’t try to have a sexual relationship with them.”

Lawmakers parsed HB74 to understand the implications for sex between partners, husbands and wives and those who may be incapacitated by mental disabilities, medication or surgery. The legislation aims to clarify the definition of consent in sexual assault cases.

“I’m not at all trying to justify sexual activity with an unconscious person. It’s abhorrent to me,” Greene said. But he questioned whether sex with an unconscious person should be “rape in every instance — dependent only upon the actor’s knowledge that the individual is unconscious. That’s the question. That’s what I struggle with.”

If you’re trying to question whether non-consensual sex is rape, then you are arguing that not all rape is bad, and you have utterly failed to be a decent human being. I wonder if Rep. Greene’s Mormon beliefs play a role in his odious views on marital rape.

Nah. I’m sure there’s nothing in Mormon doctrine that says the husband is entitled to sex from his wife, or that a wife is duty bound to give her husband sex when he wants it regardless of her desires.

If you have been the victim of sexual assault or if you are a family member or friend of someone who has been victimized, please call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800-656-HOPE (4673) or visit them online for secure, free, and confidential help.

Utah lawmaker is a rape apologist

I could never become this upset about not getting my dream home

When I think of Craigslist, I tend to think of one thing: a place I can go to find jobs. I certainly spent my fair share of time searching through the job openings on Craigslist during my four months of unemployment last year (I found my current job through the site).  I know you can seek dates on there. I know there are communities for people who share the same hobbies. I know you can sell everything from refrigerators to dryers, from furniture to cars on Craigslist (you can even sell comic books, though I wasn’t successful when I tried that). One thing that I’d never think to use Craigslist for? Putting up ads to get a homeowner raped because I was outbid:

A bitter woman who put out Craigslist ads to get a homeowner raped after she outbid her on her dream home in San Diego has been sentenced to house arrest.

Kathy J. Rowe, 53, was sentenced on Friday to a year of house arrest and five years of probation stemming from the case where she tormented couple Jerry Rice, 40, and Janice Ruhter, 37, for months after they purchased the Carmel Valley home that she badly wanted back in 2011, according to PEOPLE. She’s also ordered to stay away from the couple for 10 years.

That’s not only bitter, that’s utterly contemptible. “I couldn’t get my dream home, so I’m going to send people to your home hoping they’ll rape you”?! Whatever happened to this woman’s moral compass I don’t know, but she needs to get it fixed. ASAP.

Rowe, who won a San Diego “Mother of the Year” award in 2006 for her dedication in taking care of her mentally handicapped daughter, had a laundry list of egregious things she did to the couple to make their lives a living hell.

It’s more than possible for a human being to perform admirable deeds while also engaging in vile activities. Even though I know this in my head, it’s still hard to reconcile the apparent contradiction of a woman who won a ‘Mother of the Year’ award while being the kind of person who would try to get someone raped. It’s just so fucking horrible.

What started off as lame pranks—like sending the couple a $1,000-worth of magazine subscriptions they hadn’t ordered to having their mail stop getting sent to them—grew into more disturbing acts as the months wore on. There was that furious neighbor who demanded to know from Rice why he was sending his wife a Valentine’s Day card. It turned out that the neighbor wasn’t the only one upset—eight other wives in the area received similar romantic cards that Rowe sent out posing as Rice.

If she’d stopped there, I’d still think her actions were problematic (and in the case of interfering with their mail, criminal). She was trying to continuously and deliberately annoy the couple, but at least she wasn’t actively trying to harm them. But this, this is beyond the pale:

Then there were the Craigslist sex ads Rice found online—with one of them titled “Carmel Valley Freak Show”—that encouraged strangers to swing by the couple’s home and surprise Ruhter while the husband wasn’t home, reported U-T San Diego. Rowe pretended to be Ruhter while writing responses to these men, one of which read, “I love to be surprised and have a man just show up at my door and force his way in the door and on me, totally taking me while I say no.”

She was trying to weaponize rape.  That’s so fucking disgusting. She actively wanted someone in that household to get raped…to have their consent violated…to have their bodily autonomy completely ignored. This is someone who doesn’t value the rights of others. The awfulness doesn’t stop there, as her attempts to get the couple raped came close to succeeding:

The couple says that one man responded to one of the ads and showed up unannounced at their door twice.

I hope he never tried to enter the home and fuck both him and Kathy Rowe, but hey, she says this isn’t representative of the kind of person she is, so I guess it’s all good:

Rowe was arrested in 2012, and although she was originally charged with solicitation of rape and sodomy, and harassment, she pleaded guilty last November to a stalking charge.

“A home should be a place of safety and sanctuary, but I never truly felt this way in our house,” Ruhter said in court on Friday. “I felt most secure away from my home. The house became my prison.”

Rowe had told prosecutors that she was “devastated” that she lost the home to the couple because it was the perfect one-story house with a pool and yard for her family; she was taking care of her disabled daughter and husband who was recovering from a heart attack, according to ABC News.

“I just want to say how humiliated I am for my behavior,” Rowe said in court. “This is not representative of who I am. I’ve never behaved like this. How much I wish I could go back and take all this away. … All the things I put them through, the stress, the lack of privacy, I’m just very sorry.”

Yes, I’m sympathetic to what was going on in her life. I’m sure she was under a lot of stress. None of that excuses her actions though. Given that she was trying weaponize rape, I wonder if she understands how horrible rape is. I’m guessing no. And I hope she never has to find out, because rape is, IMO, the ultimate violation of a human being and the complete denial of our rights and our dignity.

I could never become this upset about not getting my dream home

Pro-police supporters act like jack-booted thugs

In protest of the country’s growing police state
Activists gathered on a warm winter date
With satire as a tool, they did peacefully demonstrate
Only to be met with bullying and hate.

In the wake of the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner and the failure of the grand juries in both cases to indict the officers involved, USAmerica’s criminal justice system is facing mounting public criticism. That criticism has been leveled at the country’s prison-industrial complex, its racially-biased courtrooms, and the increasing number of incidents of police behaving badly.  In what began as a peaceful exercise of their constitutional right to assemble, a group of ignorant (at best) or apathetic (at worst) pro-police activists in Arizona recently decided to express their blind support for jack-booted thugs law enforcement officers. They did not remain peaceful for long and their hostility was captured on video.  From Addicting Info:

A video, uploaded to youtube  on January 18, exposes supporters of the police state for what they are: out of control bullies who use physical force and intimidation to violate the rights of citizens, rather than protecting and defending them.

About 20 counter-protesters exercised their right to peacefully demonstrate during the recent pro-police rally. Two of the counter protesters, one dressed as Adolph Hitler and the other as a Nazi officer, used satire to highlight the mentality of the ‘pro-cop’ supporters. The counter-demonstration obviously struck a nerve with the pro-police bullies, who went out of their way to prove that everything the counter-protesters suggested about them is absolutely true.

The video shows police supporters threatening, pushing and attempting to physically intimidate anyone who is willing to stand up to or speak out against the police state. Because the demonstrators are wrong to characterize them as bullies, Nazis or out of control pigs who think they have the right to push everyone else around?

They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Whoever “they” are, they need to add a caveat; imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but you ought to give some critical thought to the people you emulate. Imitating authoritarian thugs makes you an authoritarian thug. Watch the video below to see for yourself:

Pro-police supporters act like jack-booted thugs

French town displays lack of compassion for homeless people

The benches were used “pretty much exclusively by drunks every day.”  Those were the words of a spokesperson for the French city of Angoulême in the wake of the town’s decision to erect metallic cages around public benches to prevent homeless people from sleeping on them.

In southwest France, the holiday season was marked by an alarmingly inhumane addition to the city of Angoulême. The city’s conservative Mayor, Xavier Bonnefont, decided to put a damper on everyone’s spirit by installing metal cages around public benches – an eyesore with an even uglier message.

Installed on Christmas Eve, Bonnefont had the cages put up to discourage homeless people from hanging around Angoulême, giving them less options to sit and sleep on. This was not only cruel to the homeless – thanks to Bonnefont, no one could use the benches! Surrounded on all sides by the metal fencing, the benches became impossible to access.

Looking at those cages, my first thought is “what kind of asshole thinks it’s a good idea to make the lives of homeless people MORE DIFFICULT?” (and my second thought is what a darn eyesore those cages are). The cages send {at least} two messages-

1: You may be a human being with rights and yeah, maybe we should show you some dignity, such as by not preventing you from finding a place to sleep, but we really don’t care about you


2: Not only do we not care about your human rights…not only would we never deign to treat you with dignity…but we also don’t want to look at you.

This vile idea of conservative Mayor Xavier Bonnefont would probably be embraced by many right-wingers here in the United States. Thankfully there was a public outcry against the benches and they’ve been removed (although the Mayor says this is temporary and a final decision on the matter will come in January).

French town displays lack of compassion for homeless people