Thursday, July 30, 2015


My Head Hurts Now

Ed Brayton affectionately calls Texas Congressman Louie Gohmert the dumbest man in Congress. I've always wondered about that, After all, the Republicans have a plethora of teabaggers who specialize in stupid. But now I have to concede that Ed is right.

First of all, Gohmert claimed that Justices Ginsburg and Kagan ought to be impeached” for participating in the marriage equality case after officiating at the weddings of same-sex couples. This is incredibly stupid. The very issue in the Obergerfell case was the four states' claim that they should be allowed to decide whether to allow same-sex marriages or not. Ginsburg and Kagan performed same-sex marriages in jurisdictions that had decided to allow them and where same-sex marriages would have remained legal no matter what the outcome in Obergerfell. In short, their participation in those marriages did not bear at all on the issues before the Court. If Ginsburg and Kagan were required to recuse themselves for having performed same-sex marriages that were legal under state laws, then any of the justices that had performed opposite-sex marriages would also have had to recuse themselves. Chances are, there would have been no justices left to decide the case.

But that is not evidence of Gohmert's unique stupidity. All too many of the wingnuts are incapable of thinking and have been making the same argument. No, this is where Gohmert races to the head … er … butt of the class:
We could take four heterosexual couples, married, and put them on an island where they have everything they need to sustain life. Then take four all-male couples and put them on an island with all they need to sustain life, take four couples of women, married, and put them on an island, and let’s come back in 100 to 200 years and see which one nature says is the preferred marriage.
Well, doh! If we assume “everything they need to sustain life” doesn't include modern reproductive technology, such as sperm donation and surrogacy, then, yes, the all male or all female islands couldn't reproduce. But, then again, if you put four heterosexual males or heterosexual females on islands, they couldn't reproduce either. On the other hand, if you put two homosexual male couples and two lesbian couples on the same island and came back in 100-200 years, you'd doubtless find the situation about the same as you'd find on the island that had four heterosexual couples.

Of course, homosexuals and lesbians want to reproduce and will do so if given a chance. The really stupid thing is to suppose that, if you make it impossible for them to do so, that is somehow a measure of which is the “ preferred marriage.”

Saturday, July 11, 2015


Guess My Name

Please allow me to introduce myself
I'm a man of wealth and taste
I've been around for a long, long year
Stole many a man's soul and faith
And I was 'round when Jesus Christ
Had his moment of doubt and pain
Made damn sure that Pilate
Washed his hands and sealed his fate

Pleased to meet you
Hope you guess my name!

Baphomet may be a busy fellow for a while.

As you may remember, Oklahoma got itself in quite a pickle recently over a Ten Commandments “monument” it erected on the grounds of the state capitol. The state was set to claim that the Ten Commandments monument was only “historical” in nature and that it was part of a “limited public forum” that all comers could contribute to. The Satanic Temple asked to erect its own “monument” to the forum … a statue of Baphomet, commonly associated with Satan, that you see above. In addition, a Hindu group proposed a statue of Lord Hanuman, a heroic Hindu figure.

Recognizing the morass it was wading into, the Capitol Preservation Commission, which decides on monuments on the capitol grounds, called a moratorium on all proposals for monuments on the capitol grounds pending the outcome of an ACLU lawsuit. Recently, the Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled in that case that, under the state constitution, the monument is not permissible because of a provision that reads:
No public money or property shall ever be appropriated, applied, donated, or used, directly or indirectly, for the use, benefit, or support of any sect, church, denomination, or system of religion, or for the use, benefit, or support of any priest, preacher, minister, or other religious teacher or dignitary, or sectarian institution as such.
Now, many people, after that, would accept that the whole idea was a waste of time. But the theocrats in Oklahoma are made of sterner stuff. Gov. Marry Fallin has refused to remove the monument pending “appeals” (actually, a motion to the state supreme court to reconsider its decision) and attempts by the state legislature to amend the constitution to remove the offending provision.

Not that they are thinking logically but imagine the effect on any Federal lawsuit of the state supreme court finding that “the monument at issue operates for the use, benefit or support of a sect or system of religion” and the legislature then repealing the constitutional provision the state supreme court relied on! They might as well hang a sign on the monument “Dedicated to the Christians of Oklahoma!”

But now Arkansas has joined the fray and its excuse is actually funny:
The Ten Commandments represent a philosophy of government held by many of the founders of this nation and by many Arkansans and other Americans today, that God has ordained civil government and has delegated limited authority to civil government, that God has limited the authority of civil government, and that God has endowed people with certain unalienable rights, including life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness;
The lie is exposed by the very First Commandment (depending how you are counting) “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” The First Amendment makes clear that no one god can can claim government priority, which is, nonetheless, exactly what the Arkansas legislature wants.

These attempts will eventually fail because they aren't like Van Orden v. Perry, where a monument was donated by an outside and widely respected civic group, the monument had stood for some 40 years without complaint and it was one of 17 monuments and 21 historical markers commemorating the "people, ideals, and events that compose Texan identity.

Instead, they are like McCreary County v. American Civil Liberties Union of Ky., decided on the same day as Van Orden, where Justice Breyer, the swing vote in the two results, noted:
[Van Orden] also differs from McCreary County, where the short (and stormy) history of the courthouse Commandments' displays demonstrates the substantially religious objectives of those who mounted them, and the effect of this readily apparent objective upon those who view them. That history there indicates a governmental effort substantially to promote religion, not simply an effort primarily to reflect, historically, the secular impact of a religiously inspired document. And, in today's world, in a Nation of so many different religious and comparable nonreligious fundamental beliefs, a more contemporary state effort to focus attention upon a religious text is certainly likely to prove divisive in a way that this longstanding, pre-existing monument has not.
Both states will twist themselves into knots trying to come up with secular reasons to refuse the Baphomet and Hanuman monuments and, in the process, will reveal their theocratic intent.

Christians are merely pissing on the capitol grounds to mark their territory and it smells no sweeter than when dogs do it.

Thursday, July 09, 2015


Rampant Insanity

Friends, I need to speak with you tonight about a serious medical crisis America is now facing: PMEDS!

Over the past few months and, particularly, over the last week a significant number of Americans have come down with Post Marriage Equality Derangement Syndrome.

The symptoms are striking and tragic. People with PMEDS begin to babble irrationally and incessantly. What they say has almost nothing to do with reality as everyone else experiences it.

Linda Harvey has a particularly severe case.

It seems that a street photographer came across a young teary-eyed boy sitting on a stoop, took his picture and posted it on Facebook and asked him what was wrong. The boy replied "I'm homosexual and I'm afraid about what my future will be and that people won't like me."

One of the quirks of PMEDS is that there are glimpses of sanity that, nonetheless, then plunge headlong off a cliff into uncontrolled fantasy. For instance, Harvey grasps that a child that young probably doesn't understand what 'being gay' is all about, much less be capable of recognizing that he is, in fact, gay. But, then, Harvey leaps to the conclusion that the boy is a victim of child molestation. A more than equally possible explanation is that the boy has been bullied and taunted by his peers, because of some mannerism or his appearance, with the label 'gay' that they understand no better than the boy himself.

Then Harvey is stripped by PMEDS of any resemblance of reality: It seems that former First Lady, former Secretary of State and present candidate for President, Hillary Clinton, noticed the Facebook page and left this message:
Prediction from a grown-up: Your future is going to be amazing. You will surprise yourself with what you’re capable of and the incredible things you go on to do. Find the people who love and believe in you – there will be lots of them.
Harvey's reaction is about as far from reality as anyone could get:
No one is officially calling Hillary’s encouragement of homosexual identity and feelings in an eight-year-old child corruption, which is still a crime in most states. But they should be.
Of course, to those not suffering from PMEDS, nothing in Clinton's message constituted “encouragement of homosexual identity and feelings.” It was a simple message that what might seem to be horrible now will not seem the same tomorrow; that you have an entire future to look forward to; and that there are and will be people who love and believe in you. It would have been an entirely appropriate message to a child who was crying because he thought he was ugly or unatheletic or any of the other “failings” that children of that age think they're afflicted by.

To put an exclamation point to Harvey's flight from reality, she says:
[Clinton is] not alone in her unverifiable discovery of innate “gay”-ness.

Just last week, the editors of USA Today wrote this: “Modern science has concluded that sexual orientation, like race, is genetically determined and the court held that it deserves the same constitutional protection afforded to other immutable characteristics.”

Say again? What “science”? Quote us chapter and verse. They won’t because they can’t. It doesn’t exist.
Of course, the basic premise is unrealistic. We in the US don't just protect people from discrimination because of their “innate” characteristics. After all, nothing in any particular religion or sect a person chooses is “innate.” People can and frequently do change their religion but we nonetheless protect them from discrimination based on whatever temporary choice they have made.

More importantly, no matter how deep Harvey may bury her fingers in her ears, how tight shut she screws her eyes and how loud she hums “Nearer My God to Thee,” the simple fact is that the people who are, unlike Harvey, experts in the field, such as the American Psychological Association and the American Medical Association and a host of other scientific and medical authorities are confident, based on reams of evidence, that sexual orientation is “an enduring disposition to experience sexual, affectional, or romantic attractions to men, women, or both.”

In short, Harvey isn't within spittin' distance of reality.

Unfortunately, there is no cure for PMEDS. The best treatment to date is to simply let the syndrome run its course. Eventually, as the gap between the sufferer's beliefs and the real world becomes wider and the delusional predicted outcomes fail to materialize, the most extreme symptoms, while not disappearing, become muted and are mostly only expressed while in the company of other PMEDS sufferers.

It is a sad state of affairs but the most we can do for PMEDS sufferers is to go about our daily life in the real world and try not to point and laugh at them too much.

Friday, July 03, 2015


So Long, Farewell!

So long, farewell
Auf Wiedersehen, adieu
Adieu, adieu
To you and you and you

DECATUR COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) – The employees of the Decatur County clerk’s office in west Tennessee have resigned from their positions.

Clerk Gwen Pope and employees Sharon Bell and Mickey Butler all said their resignations was due to the Supreme Court’s decision to allow same-sex marriages.

The decision reportedly clashes with the employees’ religious beliefs. Their last day will be July 14.
I don't have a problem with that. If you want to shoot yourself in the foot rather than doing your job (which amounts to “participating” in a “gay wedding” about as much as walking along the sidewalk outside a venue where one is being held), I think it is salutary that you save the taxpayers the expense of paying an unfaithful servant.

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