Last Speakeasy (Scotch lovers edition) of 2015! Enjoy!
- The Affordable Care Act
- queer people
- Common Core
- Happy Holidays
- black people
- President Obama
- “entitlement culture”
- “PC” culture
- anti-discrimination laws
- mainstream media
- environmental regulations
- people who fail to demonstrate proper obedience to authority figures
- gun control
- evidence-based sex ed
- Planned Parenthood
- (who needs a free space with all the shit conservatives get pissy over) minimum wage increases
Unfortunately, I’m out of room on my bingo card, and there’s a brand-spanking new addition to the list of subjects that conservatives blow their tops over: Joss Whedon.
Donald Trump’s campaign slogan is “Make America great again”. Apparently, he thinks the country is not in good shape and needs to be as great as it once was. As of this writing, I’ve seen no explanation from Trump detailing the ways in which the country is doing poorly, when the US was last great, nor what exactly it would take to return the country to the glorious heights he longs for. But then Trump isn’t one to explain the logic of his opinions (if there is any logic to them in the first place). I recently found myself thinking “Self, if Trump wants to make this country great again, he clearly envisions some point in the past as an era when the United States was great. Soooooo, when exactly was the United States great?” After the jump, I explore some possibilities.
I don’t know about anyone else, but as a kid, there were many times I wanted the house to my self. No annoying sibling or mean parents. Just me and the house. With everyone gone, every meal could have consisted of Captain Crunch, Lucky Charms, or Cinnamon Toast Crunch. I could have stayed up as late as I wanted, and woken up whenever I wanted. And of course, I could watch television anytime I wanted. I could watch cartoons all morning, flip back and forth between game shows all afternoon, and even watch scary movies at night. But while all that sounds fun, I don’t think my younger self would have wanted the entire house to himself for a week like Kevin in the 1990 movie Home Alone.
That guy in the image to the right? That’s the so-called ‘King of Instagram’ and self-proclaimed playboy Dan Bilzerian. Before I go any further, I recommend you find a puke bag. Bilzerian recently showered presidential hopeful Donald Trump with praise. To his more than 1 million Twitter followers, Bilzerian said:
In an age of pussified political correctness, you have to respect the people who remain unfiltered @realDonaldTrump
When I first read this Tweet, I felt the exasperation swell within me. For months now, I’ve read who knows how many comments from people who say they like Donald Trump bc he is “unfiltered”, “speaks his mind”, isn’t “politically correct”, is “honest with his thoughts”, or some such bullshit. I’ve wondered for a while now why people think these are positive character traits. To be sure, they can be a good, depending on the situation, but it isn’t inherently a good thing that someone (for instance) speaks their mind. In the case of Donald Trump, speaking his mind often leads to some bigoted rhetoric. But I had an ‘AHA!’ moment while reading Bilzerian’s B.S.
In the United States, more than 800,000 people serve as local and state law enforcement officials. These police officers are charged with upholding and enforcing the law, maintaining order, and providing general services. To carry out these duties, police officers possess certain powers, granted by the state. If the situation calls for it, police officers can frisk, detain, and arrest civilians, as well as seize property. In addition, depending upon the situation, police officers are empowered to use force to defend themselves or civilians (the amount of force extends along a spectrum from police presence through deadly force). Given the powers that police officers have, it is incumbent upon them to maintain a level of professionalism in the course of their duties and to wield their powers responsibly and ethically. Unfortunately, there are countless examples of cops engaging in a range of irresponsible, unethical, immoral, and/or illegal activities from bribery and unjustified arrests to illegal search and seizure and the use of excessive force. And then there’s one common form of police misconduct that is second only to accusations of excessive force: sex misconduct.
Here are five examples:
We can’t talk on our phones at an Ohio Wal-Mart while holding an air pellet rifle without being seen as suspicious, even if that rifle is classed as a toy, it’s aimed at the ground, and open/carry is legal in the state (John Crawford, III).
We can’t walk down a Utah street with a fake sword even though Utah is an open/carry state–and that applies to *real* swords too (Darrien Hunt),
Our kids can play in public with toy guns, but they’d better expect concerned citizens to freak the fuck out and call the cops. Once law enforcement officials arrive, we can expect them to open fire before assessing the situation (Tamir Rice).
If a loved one is shot by police and lays dying, we can’t be allowed to rush to their side. But we can be confident we’ll be treated horribly by police during our attempts to do so (Samaria Rice, sister of Tamir).
Our babies can’t be asleep in their cribs without flash grenades going off in front of them (Bounkham Phonesavanh).
Running from the police even if we are unarmed is out of the question bc apparently that’s grounds for being shot to death. In the back (Walter Scott).
We can’t walk outside in near-freezing temperatures with our hands in our pockets bc some “concerned citizens” are worried that a black person with their hands in their pocket must be guarding a nuclear weapon rather than warming their hands (Brandon McKean).
We can’t circumvent state tax laws on cigarettes bc OMG the world will end. And if we do, we can expect to be choked to death. Because violating state tax laws on cigarettes is totes grounds for being killed (Eric Garner).
As adults, we cannot have an attitude or be disrespectful to law enforcement officials during a traffic stop bc authoritarian thugs don’t like their authority questioned (Sandra Bland).
As children we must remember to always be respectful and deferential to law enforcement officials-even ones nicknamed ‘Officer Slam’-bc if we don’t, we deserve to be body-slammed or so I’m told by a lot of white people invested in upholding white supremacy (Spring Valley High School teen).
Our kids cannot be loud and unruly at a swimming pool. Not unless they want to be treated like an armed and dangerous felon, grabbed by the hair, thrown to the ground, and sat on by a really swell douchebag in uniform (Dajerria Becton).
If we are in the midst of a mental health crisis and the police are called, we have no guarantee they will assist us, but we can be confident they’ll make the situation worse (Tanisha Anderson).
We can expect our constitutional rights to be violated if we commit even low-level crimes, bc apparently the punishment for robbery is execution by cop (Shelly Frey).
We can’t expect our children to be able to sleep in the comforting presence of a grandparent without worrying about SWAT teams raiding the wrong house (Aiyana Stanley-Jones).
We don’t get to do any of these things, whether legal or not, without being harassed, detained, abused, brutalized, or murdered by police officers bc our existence is constantly under supervision by agents of the state. At every turn, black people across the United States are overpoliced. From everyday actions like getting an attitude with teachers, to not being thrilled at being pulled over for a bullshit reason, to yes, even committing a crime-black people are not allowed the luxury of any benefit of the doubt. At every turn we are treated to civil rights violations and a denial of basic human rights. For another group of USAmericans, this is not the case. Members of this group are accorded undeserved privilege, even in situations where one of them is a direct threat to the lives of police officers (Roger Hale), or situations where one of them point firearms at cops and children (Lance Tamayo), or even in cases where two of them show up at a Wal-Mart, remove BB-guns from their boxes and shoot up the store (two drunk guys). Even in these examples, when these people were a direct threat to others, no excessive force was used against them. In addition, none of them were killed, despite the danger they posed (which is why I find the “my life was in danger” line used by many cops to justify the murder of suspects to be, how shall we say, hollow-as-fuck). That’s all part of having DUM DUM DUUUUUUUM: White Privilege!
And for the latest example of ‘shit only white people can get away with’ (also known as DUM DUM DUUUUUUM: White Privilege) we have a story out of Akron, Ohio:
For the last several months, I have had a hankering…a craving for something I haven’t had in over a decade. This breakfast item was something I quite liked growing up and for some reason, a few months back, I decided I wanted a strawberry Pop Tart again. But everywhere I looked, all I saw were frosted Pop Tarts. I saw chocolate frosting. Strawberry frosting. Multiple frostings. Frostings with sprinkles. Those just don’t work for me. Too sweet. The kind I was looking for were the old-school Pop Tarts that had no frosting. Alas, I’d pretty much given up until 10 minutes ago, when I posted about missing the taste of these delightful breakfast snacks (though really, they probably ought to be a dessert). Not only did a friend of mine tell me that her local grocery store has some, but she said she was going shopping tomorrow and would be happy to buy me a box. She told me to think of it as a Christmas present. That was so incredibly kind of her. I imagine sometime next week, I’ll be sinking my teeth into a deliciously warm Pop Tart just out of the toaster for the first time in probably two decades. Mmmm-hmmm. Cannot wait.
When I posted about my craving on Facebook, I learned that some of my friends hadn’t heard of unfrosted Pop Tarts. As I was looking around online for images of these delectably yummy treats, I came across another type of Pop Tart, one that is quite a bit different from any I’ve tried before. One that made me think “hmmm, I might eat that”. And thus the first item on today’s Eclectic Eats was discovered!