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End of the year is a logical time to review one's status, either to identify things that point toward a decent next year or suggest that much improvement is needed. In no particular order, these were the major features of my year 2010:

Professional: In May of this year, I returned to a proper day-job as a working culinarian after years spent in the Exile. This has made all the difference as far as the management of the household economy and my general attitude on the ongoing, intractable need to work for a living. I owe this turn of good fortune to a very dear friend. Since I don't talk specifically about the day job here, and because I do not want to embarrass anyone, I will not mention him by name here. But good friends are things to be thankful for even more so this year than most. 

Homelife: We returned from the Exile this year. Our long, dark, insanely self-imposed sojourn in OKC was finally brought to its blessed bloody end by my partner's clear thinking. Well, Jeff had some help in the form of inheriting enough money to finance a move, but he talked me out of delaying the move until the end of the lease on our OKC home and instead saying "fuck that" and moving months early like we did. This wisdom on his part not only brought the Exile to an end months earlier but made the timing perfect as far as getting my new day job.

Writing: I wrote a lot, but didn't finish very much. On the other hand, I submitted two short stories for publication, which is far more than the zero that I had submitted during the previous three years. Of the two stories that I submitted, both were for specifically-themed publications and both were accepted. That puts my acceptance rate for the year at 100%, bitches! (Only two, I know...but still!) But tempering that success was my epic fail at NaNoWriMo in November. While I did clock about 30,000 words, they were quite a mess. Also, they were 30K words of a thing that needs to be more like 100K to actually be done rather than NaNo's 50K winner threshold. Projects that had fallen more or less into hiatus, like my military sf novel Shame and my non-fiction restaurant memoir/cookbook Stackin' Hogs, did not advance much during 2010, though both did have some words added and neither have been given up upon.

Publishing: If the actual work that I perform to make a living is my "day job," then my other job is as the editor of M-Brane SF and the publisher of the recently retooled M-Brane Press. 2010 was really only my second full year in this role, but it was a big one. Other than edit and publish the monthly issues of M-Brane, I also brought out a couple of single-author collections: Cesar Torres' The 12 Burning Wheels and Derek J. Goodman's Machina. I co-edited with Jaym Gates a one-off (maybe) erotic spec fic zine for Crossed Genres called The Little Death. I also published 2020 Visions, a really remarkable collection of near-future spec fic, edited by Rick Novy. We also started a second zine. Brandon Bell's Fantastique Unfettered published its first issue just a few days ago in a beautiful print edition. But perhaps the greatest accomplishment of the year was the publication of The Aether Age, co-edited by Brandon and me and published by Hadley Rille Books. This one was a long time in process and is absolutely the coolest book of the year, period. There's nothing quite like it. Anyone who thinks they know what it is but hasn't seen it yet is wrong. It may take a few months for the word to spread, but begun the Aether Age has!

Political: My undying disgust for teabaggers, Republicans, and other assorted morons reached new heights in 2010. If anyone had any doubt that American "conservatives" are wholly invested in promoting plutocracy, theocracy, know-nothing-ness and bugfuck dumbassedness, then no one need look any further than than the news of 2010.  I actually don't much care at the moment that these people have taken control of the House of Representatives. In fact, I look forward to how they will have to explain to the public why they want to destroy everything. The public needs a fucking refresher anyway: these are some of the same jackasses (Boehner) who ran the Congress just a few years ago, and now they are joined by some even crazier ones. On the upside: the health care law was passed and so was the REPEAL OF DADT!! In your face, McCain!

Personal: Ten years into the relationship with my significant other, I have never been more in love. This is why I do and care about all the rest of it.

I think that's everything from 2010.
For some reason, I've had a hard time deciding how I really feel about the TSA's "enhanced" airport passenger screening procedures. On one hand, I agree with the sentiment that it's wholly ridiculous and laughable security theater that does nothing to protect anyone and is most probably a violation of our Constitutional promise of freedom from unreasonable search and seizure. Since when, after all, is simply traveling around the country "probable cause" for criminal investigation? On the other hand, the pragmatic part of me says, "If you don't want someone groping your junk, then just walk through the fucking scanner!" Here's a video from YouTube of a little kid getting patted down. It's pretty creepy and stupid, but why did it even happen? Why didn't he go through the scanner? 



Oh. That's right. Because the scanner is evil, too. I remember last year after the "underwear bomber" when these new scanners were introduced and there was a hilarious battle of the moral panics: puritan loons complained that images of little kids going through the machine would create a bonanza for the supposedly limitless child porn industry (yet we are forced to behold naked babies' asses on baby-related commercials on TV all the time and they say nothing about it--go figure). This was funny because these were probably the same people ideologically who were previously saying that absolutely everything and anything needs to be done to stop the evil Muslims in their plots to kill you, and you and YOU! 

So the scanner violates silly prudishness and the pat-downs TAKE AWAY OUR RIGHTS!!!! You know who we Americans have to blame for this ridonkulous situation? No one but ourselves. The entire point and purpose of the enemy's attack on us on 9/11 (now considered politically the Holiest of Holies) was to instill terror in this country and cause us to shed our liberal and democratic legal traditions and cultural openness. It was an attack specifically calculated to unravel the fabric of this country's former glory. I've noticed some people say, almost a decade later, in response to these airport security procedures, "The terrorists have won." Actually, they won a long fucking time ago and they continue to win as long as we continue to fight this stupid phony-baloney war against them by tearing ourselves down. And you know what else? A lot of the same people whining now about their rights being violated by the back-scatter machine or the pat-down will be among the first to clamor for fresh new rounds of fascism the next time there is a terrorist attack in this country.

Think the TSA and Homeland Security have gone too far? Look in the mirror, America. You asked for it.
I guess because I'm from St. Louis and a diehard urbanite, I should say something about stupid Prop A. It's a bunch of shit. And a cynical bunch of shit, too. While those of us who live in St. Louis (us of the city proper; NOT the douche-sprawl denizens who always say "St. Louis" when they talk to people outside the area, but always say "Chesterfield" and "Town and Country" and "Maryland Heights" etc. when they speak to locals), don't necessarily love paying the 1% earnings tax, we mostly understand that if it were to go away as a huge source of the city's public funding then it would need to be replaced by something. The Prop A supporters have yet to suggest a replacement source of a third of the city's budget other than nebulous Republican-flavored promises of "increased tax base" because of "more business investment" and "economic growth" and  "blah, blah, blah." They also have no answer for this: what happens to the city's credit rating when every five years if not as soon as next year) a popular vote could take away a third of its operating budget? What if I were a big stinking sweaty disgusting moneybags capitalist banking tycoon, and you came to me for a loan to buy a super-duper-muper-expensive house, and I asked you what your income is, and you said, "One brazillion dollars a year!" I might say, "Awesome! This loan is no problem. Here are the keys to your house." But then what if you followed up by saying, "Well, my income may fall drastically next year." Then I'd furrow my fat-cat moneybags brow in worry and suspicion and wonder if you could still make your 30-year mortgage payment on your super-duper-muper-expensive house. You'd hang your head, scuff the floor with one heel, wishing you had said nothing at all, and reply, "I don't know. It's all up to the voters." Well, fuck, I'd say. That's a really dumb way to run stuff. You're gonna have fucking voters decide, based on a stupid talk-radio-addled whim, whether you have a budget next year or not? W. T. F. 

But aside from the dumbassity of the economics behind it, what I really hate is the fact that it's a state ballot measure that people outside the city limits of St. Louis and Kansas City have a say in. Why do the people of benighted Festus and Mexico and Aux Vasse and Joplin and Springfield and Troy and ten thousand other ghost-towns get a say in what happens in my city and Kansas City, the only two great cities in the state? The answer, one word: teabaggery. By getting the issue on a statewide ballot measure and drumming up phony-baloney anti-tax sentiment and linking it to other teabagger/Republican boogeymen, they have guaranteed passage of the measure. It's politically brilliant. Voters in all the hinterland, ghost-town, don't matter-at-all, drive-past, fly-over territory between STL and KC will get to say, "Well, I don't want an earnings tax up in here!" As if that would ever happen anyway. To be clear: there was and is zero danger of "new earnings taxes" being imposed in any other municipality in the great Show Me State, and the engineers of Prop A know that very well. They are using out-state hostility toward the cities (which trend liberal and Democratic in their voting behavior) to force a destructive measure on the cities that they hate so very much. 

FOOTNOTES...

On voting Republican
...Despite my traditional mouthiness on political matters, I haven't had much to say about the impending mid-term election because I don't honestly care that much about the outcome of it. If the GOP wins Congress, they won't get a damned thing done and they'll still end up making asses of themselves and propel President Obama to re-election (just like they did with Clinton in the 1990s). It might even be good for the country to see what teabagger control of the House and Senate looks like. And I've said it all before anyway: if you vote for a Republican at any level of government for any office anywhere in America for any reason whatsoever, then you are voting for bigotry. This is because of the GOP's ongoing practice of espousing homophobia and opposing marriage rights in its official platform. The official-in-writing homophobia of the GOP is something that I have been complaining about in writing since I was a teenager twenty years ago, and it has not gotten any better. Indeed, they have slid even further back. My total opposition to the election of any Republican anywhere generally extends to opposition to any Republican-backed ballot initiatives as well, such as Missouri's Proposition A. 

On ballot measures...
The ballot initiative itself, as a process, is crap. It was once an aberration confined mostly to the newcomer Western states, but it has crept into almost every corner of the country and is used again and again as a tool for a dumbass majority to deprive the minority of their rights. That's why more than thirty of the fifty US states have those fucking disgusting one-man/one-woman marriage amendments in their constitutions. If we're going to have the moron masses decide every law by popular vote then we might as well abandon every progressive reform of the last century. The reason we have a written constitution is to specifically protect certain values from the mob mentality.
Unlike many other people, I will not be congratulating, supporting or "understanding" the difficult "personal journey" that has resulted in Ken Mehlman, former chair of the Republican National Committee and the head of W's re-election  campaign in 2004, in coming out as gay. Indeed, I think Mehlman is perhaps the most troubling figure ever to emerge in the so-called "gay community." When I consider how he was an architect of the campaign to re-elect the country's most disastrous President--using the tactic of whipping up anti-gay-marriage hysteria across the country in order to get the fundies and other nitwits to turn out in droves to vote against gays and for W on the same ballot--it makes me shake with rage. When I hear that he will now be an advocate for marriage equality, it makes my stomach turn. While the country is chockablock with crazy homophobes and marriage bigots, it is Mehlman--a gay guy--who actually did the filthy work that has made attaining marriage equality the incredibly difficult task that it is. Because many of things that I'd like to say were already said a couple weeks ago, in a much better way than I could, by Mike Rogers on BlogActive, I will quote at length from that:

So, how can Ken Mehlman redeem himself? I want to hear from Ken that he is sorry for being the architect of the 2004 Bush reelection campaign. I want to hear from Ken that he is sorry for his role in developing strategy that resulted in George W. Bush threatening to veto ENDA or any bill containing hate crimes laws. I want to hear from Ken that he is sorry for the pressing of two Federal Marriage Amendments as political tools. I want to hear from Ken that he is sorry for developing the 72-hour strategy, using homophobic churches to become political arms of the GOP before Election Day.

And those state marriage amendments. I want to hear him apologize for every one of those, too.

And then there is one other little thing. You see, while you and I had the horrible feelings of being treated so poorly by our President, while teens were receiving the messaging 'gay is bad' giving them 'permission' to gay bash, while our rights were being stripped away state by state, Ken was out there laughing all the way to the bank. So, if Ken is really sorry, and he very well may be, then all he needs to do is sell his condo and donate the funds to the causes he worked against so hard for all those years. He's done a lot of damage to a lot of organizations, while making a lot of money. A LOT of money. It's time to put his money where his mouth is. Ken Mehlman is sitting in a $3,770,000.00 (that's $3.77 million) condo in Chelsea while we have lost our right to marry in almost 40 states.

THEN, and only then, should Mehlman be welcomed into our community.

I'm a little less generous than that. I don't think there is much of anything Mehlman could do to make me want to welcome him into "our community" ever after what he has done. In fact, if there existed some kind Gay War Crimes Tribunal, I'd call for him to be brought before it and tried for treason.

Oh, and those homophobic churchy groups that Mehlman and his friends mobilized in 2004 to beat back the Homosexual Agenda and help W barely win his election? Here's one of them just a few days ago commenting on this very case, taking current RNC Chair Michael Steele to task for being nice to Mehlman after it was confirmed that he is a "practicing homosexual." Be careful, RNC: it looks like some of your dimwit Bible Troops are starting to get restless with all these gay-ass shenanigans going on at your highest levels.
"Aww, Chris, don't generalize. They don't all think murder is funny," someone might say. And I might reply, "Well, too bad, I am going to tar them all with the same brush just like they do to gay people whenever they feel that their sham heterosexual marriages are on the rocks." Hence: the Tea Party evidently advocates and celebrates and even laughs at the murder of gay people. My evidence for this remarkable blanket condemnation of every single member of anywhere from eleven to seventy-nine percent of the American population is encapsulated in this post on America Blog-Gay, which details how one Tim Ravndal (an American name? doesn't there need to be a vowel more in the middle of that orthographical mess, Tim? "V" followed by "N?" Doesn't look very Mayflower to me, dude, sure you're really an American?) went on Facebook to complain how it's "unconstitutional" to let me get married and went on to pal around with a pro-murder psychopath.


Matthew Shepard

As one can see from the Facebook screen-shot copied on the America Blog page,  this Ravndal douche--the Montana state Teabagger president-- was goaded into making jokes with a homophobe scumbag derived from the facts and iconography of Matthew Shepard's murder. As anyone who knows me at all knows very well, this ongoing hate campaign against Matthew Shepard by right-wing political elements really fucking pushes my rage button. And when such remarks come from two men who are plainly closeted homosexual lovers, it makes me steel my resolve to expose them as the hypocrites that they are.

While I think it's great that the Montana Teabagger high command has removed Ravndal (it's hard to even type that name, it's so "unnatural" and "un-American") from its leadership and stated that they do not tolerate bigotry, I am mystified at the statement from Big Sky Teabagger Board Chair Jim Walker that, "I do believe Mr. Ravndal when he explained that he was in no way intending to promote violence and that he was not thinking about nor condoning the murder of an innocent victim in Wyoming in 1998 when he responded to some very disturbing comments made by another individual."  What exactly about that Facebook exchange makes one think that Ravndal was not condoning such murder? He asked for the fucking manual. What manual would that be? Would it be the one that explains how to beat to death and hang on a fence a faggot?

The formal union of the Teabagger movement and the pan-prejudiced-white-male-cry-baby-piece- of-shit-right-wing was announced by Beck and Palin et thugs in Washington a few days ago. This nonsense in Montana is just one local example.

Just wait.
I've been advised more than once to not let myself become too exercised over the excesses of the Westboro cult, that grotesquely inbred family from Kansas that forms a so-called church based entirely upon homophobia. They're the ones famous for their "God Hates Fags" signs and stickers.  They are, of course, a tiny group of people and are regarded as patently absurd by nearly everyone. So why bother worrying about such losers? The vast hinterlands of America, are after all, crawling with regular everyday garden variety bigotry, so why pay attention to the fringiest of the loony fringe?

Because they cross a line that I cannot stomach seeing crossed by their practice during the recent war years of picketing military funerals. For them to try to turn what has got to be the worst moment of a parent's life--burying his or her son as a casualty of war--into a petty platform to propagate their hate agenda has got to rank as one of the most disgusting things that we are expected to put up with as Americans. For them to claim on their announcements that a soldier died to protect their freedom to act this way is a fucking lie. If that were true, then the war and the sacrifice of everyone who has died in it was truly for nothing. And for them to make this claim on an announcement that declares that God himself is at war with America, and to end it by exclaiming "Thanks God for IEDs" must offend any halfway reasonable American regardless of politics or religion.

On Monday morning, these scumbags plan to defile the memorial for Petty Office Jarod Newlove at the Catholic Church at 9622 20th Ave SW in Seattle WA.  That same day, they plan to set upon the memorial for Lance Corporal Shane Martin at the Catholic church at 19222 State Highway 249, Houston TX. I hope that in both place, people find a way to turn out in some kind of mass large and obstructive enough to deny the Westboro pieces of shit the ability to approach these events and spare the families of these fallen servicemen the sight of such filth anywhere near their memorial services.

Yeah, I get it: it's just a handful of evil lunatics. But what they represent pervades the culture in various other ways. They showed up on my radar years ago with their website counting the days that Matthew Shepard was burning in hell. The hate-invocation of Shepard by homophobes continues to this day in all kinds of places. It shows up on the floor of the US Congress as when, last year during debate on the Federal Hate Crimes law that bears Matthew's name, Congresswoman Virginia Foxx (Cunt-NC) said the whole story of what happened to that kid was a "hoax"...while Shepard's mother was there to witness final debate and passage of the law. In more obscure places, one sees thing like internet posts from the likes of godawful hack "writer"/"publisher" Nickolaus Pacione saying, "I think homosexuality of any kind is an abomination. I know that you ... worship Matt Shepard. The fag didn’t die on the cross for you." So it's really not just the Westboro freaks who are like this. They may be an an extreme and tres sickening manifestation of it, but their dumbassity can be found in many other dirty corners and right out in public on the floor of the House.

And I'd just leave it at that and write them off as a bunch of dumbass losers, but the funeral picketing is taking it too far. I hope that more people will keep tabs on such activities and try to disrupt them by some sort of peaceful but very disruptive means whenever possible. 

NOM: Losers

Jul. 29th, 2010 10:15 pm
mbranesf: (Default)
 The person who made this sign to display at a recent NOM "rally" is a piece of shit:



Also, NOM itself is fucking pathetic with their sad little "One Man One Woman" tour. When the COUNTER-demonstration outnumbers by five and tens time the size of their demonstration, then that's some really sad crap. Sad for them, anyway. To me it's hilarious iwhen they manage to draw together literally tens of people (like 45 or 50 at a recent in Wisconsin) and then 400 supporters of marriage equality appear to counter them.

Courage Campaign has been running a "NOM Tour Tracker" site to keep tabs on these creeps and let people know when they might attempt one of their dumb hate rallies in one's own town. While NOM itself is a pitiful pile of crap of an organization, it's probably wise to keep notes on the movements and activities of such groups because they tend to be magnets for potentially dangerous psychotics such the douche who made that sign, which I take as advocating the murder of my partner and me.

(Also, I noticed that the sign says something at the bottom about a "Cross Bearer Ministry." I don't know what that is, but if it's those people who tow around the big wooden crosses on wheels, then that makes it all the more stupid.)
I won't go on at length about this one. You can, if you really want to, read the details here at TPM . The gist of it is that the Family Research Council claims that their "research" has proven that the repeal of the dumbassed Don't-Ask-Don't-Tell law for the US military will ipso facto result in a lot of gay-perpetrated rapes of innocent str8 servicemen, blah, blah, blah-blah, blah. Also, if you dig pain, like to puke, and you crave even more exposure to sociopathic fucknuttedness, over on the right hand side of the TPM page is a link to another article about one of these dickbags claiming that Hitler and his whole Holocaust operation was a gay project.

The only reason I mention the whole dumbassity here at all is that I don't think I have yet bothered to highlight the Family Research Council in particular as one of the most bugfuck, batshit, looney-tunes, froot-looped boatload of gibbering morons that ever blighted this vale of tears. Even in a land stacked to the rafters with psychotic bigotry, they manage to stand out from the heap of worn-out discarded old shit, like a sleet of bat guano overlaying an attic full of someone's redneck grandpa's Klan memorabilia. To borrow some verbiage from the venerable Harlan Ellison, "I do not think I demean them much by perceiving them as creeps, meatheads, clods, fruitcakes, nincompoops, amoeba-brains, yoyos, yipyops, kadodies and clodhoppers."

In case you didn't bother to click over to the TPM article and decided to just take my word for it, I am copying here the picture that they used of one Peter Sprigg, "Senior Fellow for Policy Studies" at the Family Research Council. Don't let the haircut fool you: in fact, it's a dead giveaway. Peter Sprigg is almost certainly a bitter closeted homosexual. They all look and act more or less like this when they get into these kinds of jobs where they can work out their personal pain by amping up mouth-frothing insanity against their own kind. Remember this image. If you don't see Mr. Sprigg himself, you will see someone exactly like him someday and you will know the truth.

As my current (soon-to-be-former) city of residence, Oklahoma City acknowledges the fifteenth anniversary of the bombing of the Federal building just a few streets away from where I sit now, I am struck by the irony of a gun-wielding mini-mob doing an Angry-Little-Dick-White-Man demo in DC and by local wingnuts seriously advocating establishing a citizen's militia in Oklahoma. Also, I am disgusted by one of our Congressman, Tom Cole, claiming that the bombing was "not a political event" and accusing one of his colleagues of "exploiting" it for political purposes by mentioning that this act of terrorism was conducted by right-wing extremists who wanted instill in the government a fear of the "people." Let me ask this: if that bombing was not a political event than what the fuck was it? Terrorism, by definition, is a political act. That's what it's for, asshole. Politics. What, were the 9/11 bombers just evil thugs who wanted to blow up building and kill people just for the fun of it? Is that seriously what people like Cole want us to believe? While reasonable people deplore the tactic of terrorism, it's entire basis is politics.

The Oklahoma City bombing was conducted by anti-government extremists, the ideological descendants of the Klan and the Birchers, people inspired by the The Turner Diaries, the political kith and kin of the douchebags carrying signs depicting the President of the United States as a monkey and threatening to use their guns to protect their so-called "liberty." McVeigh's descendants now lie that their taxes have been increased, that the government has taken over their lives, that Obama is coming for the their guns, and believe it when Glenn Beck and other bilious turds of that ilk claim that the evil government is readying concentration camps in which to intern all the good patriots of Palin-land. How sad it will be if the present-day Okie angry dickless dudes actually do succeed in setting up their militia. I wonder what the survivors of April 19, 1995 will think about it. 

A few months ago when I wrote my NaNoWriMo novel, I set in it an alternate America where much of the country had been overtaken by a new extremist political party which did indeed start creating new state militias for the purpose of resisting the Federal government. Based on how things seem to be proceeding in the real world, I thought it was a possible development, but I didn't think it would really start so soon. I still think (or at least hope) it won't really come to that. But if it does, will Obama deal with it with the way Lincoln did?
Though I said last night that I was done commenting on health care reform and on the politics of our dying country in general, I won't let this item pass. I  reprint here something from the Huffington Post. I'd like to draw your attention to the last line of it in particular, and just say one more venom-filled "die!" to the teabaggers. 

Abusive, derogatory and even racist behavior directed at House Democrats by Tea Party protesters on Saturday left several lawmakers in shock.

Preceding the president's speech to a gathering of House Democrats, thousands of protesters descended around the Capitol to protest the passage of health care reform. The gathering quickly turned into abusive heckling, as members of Congress passing through Longworth House office building were subjected to epithets and even mild physical abuse.

A staffer for Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.) told reporters that Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.) had been spat on by a protestor. Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), a hero of the civil rights movement, was called a 'ni--er.' And Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) was called a "faggot," as protestors shouted at him with deliberately lisp-y screams. Frank, approached in the halls after the president's speech, shrugged off the incident.

But Clyburn was downright incredulous, saying he had not witnessed such treatment since he was leading civil rights protests in South Carolina in the 1960s. 

"It was absolutely shocking to me," Clyburn told the Huffington Post. "Last Monday, this past Monday, I stayed home to meet on the campus of Claflin University where fifty years ago as of last Monday... I led the first demonstrations in South Carolina, the sit ins... And quite frankly I heard some things today I have not heard since that day. I heard people saying things that I have not heard since March 15, 1960 when I was marching to try and get off the back of the bus."

"It doesn't make me nervous as all," the congressman said, when asked how the mob-like atmosphere made him feel. "In fact, as I said to one heckler, I am the hardest person in the world to intimidate, so they better go somewhere else."

Asked if he wanted an apology from the group of Republican lawmakers who had addressed the crowd and, in many ways, played on their worst fears of health care legislation, the Democratic Party, and the president, Clyburn replied:

"A lot of us have been saying for a long time that much of this, much of this is not about health care a all. And I think a lot of those people today demonstrated that this is not about health care... it is about trying to extend a basic fundamental right to people who are less powerful."

I will also point out again that these people brought that unflattering "teabagger" monicker upon themselves by not vetting the name of their organization before launching it AND having as their first major action sending fucking teabags to the White House. And it seems that some of these POS losers have embraced the insult anyway (see below). I mean, come on! Even if you hadn't heard of teabagging from the sexual (and faggot) "underworld," who didn't see the relatively sanitized Pecker version of it? Oh. Wait. Yeah. Douchebags who would join the Tea Party, that's who. Never mind. Jeeeeeeeezus! Gotta run (got some teabagging to do with my bf--we're faggots, ya know). 



        

Anybody who knows me and my partner knows that we haven't had access to affordable health insurance in years. It had been a dream of mine since I became interested in national affairs way back when I was a little kid that the country that I was taught to believe was "The Best!" would someday move out of the middling ranks of the planet's countries and finally have universal health care. Well, that's obviously not  going to happen, and I have decided to withdraw from giving a fuck about American politics and concentrate on my fantasy world instead. But....

...If the health care bill actually does pass the House on Sunday, we will be happy. But not because we believe in some fantasy that we will be able to get insurance despite our non-employer coverage and our pre-existing conditions. That probably won't happen for years, if at all, anyway. So why will I be happy? Because Republicans, conservatives, birthers, ditto-heads, Fox News-viewers and fucking teabaggers will be UNhappy. That's all it is for us now. We just want those assholes to be defeated. When they say healthcare is NOT a right, they are insulting us personally. Fuck them. We don't even care what the bill actually does anymore so long as it makes Republicans cry and whine in defeat. Pure politics.
During the time we have lived in OKC, we have been plagued with there not being any decent full-service grocery stores in this city. It's really not our problem much longer, since we're moving back to St. Louis soon, but we finally understand why this problem exists here. Jeff saw a story on the local news the other day about the topic of grocery stores, and evidently the deal is that there have, in fact, been proper grocery stores that have wanted to come into this city and state but decided not to because of Oklahoma's ridiculous laws on the sale of alcoholic beverages. Here, only stand-alone liquor stores may sell wine, hard liquor and beer with an alcohol level above 3.2 percent--and they can't sell anything else, not even mixers or ice, and they are not allowed to chill beer in refrigerators. Grocery stores and convenience stores can sell the fabled 3.2 beer and "wine cooler" or "malt beverage" products that have a low alcohol content like that, but no real wine or spirits or most beers (since most have higher alcohol).

Let me back up a little bit, because I never defined what I mean by a "decent" grocery store. I mean one where the "periphery" of it where the real food (fresh produce, meat, dairy, etc.) is decently stocked with a variety of stuff and maybe even includes full-service deli and meat/fish counters. And where one can buy wine and normal non-pussy beer. Here, the closest thing to that is a chain called Buy-4-Less. They do not have service meat/seafood departments, but some locations have a (poorly stocked) deli. The location nearest our home is also quite respectable as far as having Hispanic-cuisine foodstuffs and fresh herbs and veggies that one might associate with Vietnamese food (which is because a lot of Hispanic and Vietnamese customers live near here; further-flung locations such as the one nearer the location of my day-job do not have these things). Another grocery chain with a number of nearby locations is called Homeland, and that one is pretty much lowest-end but has the advantage of being not busy ever, so if you just need to pick up a few very standard basics, it's a good bet if you are too crabby to wait in a check-out line. But the single biggest grocery chain here, which towers over all others, is none other than motherfucking WALMART. Where we came from, Walmart did not even have a location in the city-proper, and the suburban ones were the discount department stores without much emphasis on groceries. But here they have the "Super" Walmarts which incorporate groceries along with the clothes and other crap, and also free-standing "Neighborhood Markets" which are what passes for a grocery store here, without the clothing and electronics and gun departments. 

Anyway, I had wondered all along why none of the kind of big grocers that I was used to from living in other states were not here as well. I wondered also why the high-end chains like Whole Foods and Trader Joe's did not locate here. I'd assumed that it was just because Walmart had somehow smothered all other commerce. But no: It's because those other stores all run wine departments, which are illegal here, and they decided to not bother with Oklahoma and its dumb-ass fundie Christian puritanism (which somehow has still resulted in this state being one of the worst in the country as far as health/crime outcomes from substance abuse). We do, however, have some fabulous ethnic groceries (like the stunning Super Cao) which do make it possible to get a wide variety of fresh food. But when we move back home, we will have the best of both worlds: full-service grocery stores (with wine and beer and deli and seafood) AND awesome ethnic shops. What was once normal to us will suddenly seem super luxurious. 
I'll tell you right off what it ain't: Anglo-Saxon. It's not at all like my own family name (Fletcher), white "American" as white American gets y'all, not a trace of any of those swarthy non-English races anywhere, yo. Yet somehow, Tom Tancredo seems to think that it is he and his people who hold the title to this great country. Why would that be? And who the fuck is Tom Tancredo, you ask? Ask Colorado (one of those fly-over states rotten with rugged and self-satisfied "independents" and "individualists," much like my own current home state...except we just call them Republicans, douchebags and teabaggers here). 

Anyway, according to Wikipedia, this Tancredo dude (who ran quixotically and douchebagotically for President in 2008), is descended from some Italian grandparents.  Well, excuse me, but as I recall, we (meaning the "real" (English) Americans) don't really have much sympathy for that. What? They fuckin immigrated here? Like relatively recently? Like after we had already exterminated the so-called "native" population and made it safe for our white English faces? If there's one thing I should be suspicious of (as a REAL American), it is some draft-dodging foreigner whose name ends in a vowel. 

Yeah, anyone reading this is wondering why the fuck I am in a bitter rant about a fifth-tier piece of shit politician who has no chance of ever mattering again in any possible way ever. I guess THIS is why. Blessed be the Tea Party. I hate it now, but it is the gift that will keep on giving, I promise.

Even though I am a "liberal" and a "fucking faggot," I can say to people like Tom Tancredo that I am not one of those goddamned dirty immigrants that he hates (cuz my peeps were here first, jackass). But I feel secure enough in my ethnic identity that I will continue to tolerate these o-ending-named fahreigners living in my white Ahhmuhhhrikka.
Though the month isn't even halfway over yet, I am going to assume that no one else will emerge this month as a bigger asshole than schlock televangelist and national village idiot Pat Robertson, and so I will go ahead declare him to be the ASSHOLE OF THE MONTH for January 2010. As you may have heard, he blamed the victims of the Haitian earthquake for their misfortune by alleging that the people of Haiti (black people, in other words) aligned themselves with Satan in a pact to drive the French slave-owners out of their country all those years ago. Evidently, these Haitians (blacks) were so unreasonable about being enslaved by white Europeans that they swore allegiance to Satan in exchange for Satan's help in driving off their oppressors. Ever since, Robertson says, these people (blacks) have been cursed by God.

Robertson has a history of blaming victims for their misfortunes, such as when he said that the 9/11 attack was holy payback for America tolerating abortion, and when Israeli Prime Minister Rabin was assassinated because he negotiated with the Palestinians (who are another kind of black people in Robertson-world). When the creationist whackjobs that once made up the Dover, Pennsylvania school board were swept out of office en masse in the 2006 election, he suggested that his God wouldn't be there for them when disaster strikes their town. 

There is one of those proverbial elephants in the room, a thing that polite and decent-minded people seem to not want to bring up, and this is it: when the fuck is Pat Robertson himself going to die? And when that happens, then will it be his own fault somehow? Will he have done something to offend his God and brought death upon himself? As I see it, if God is supposed to be an avenging entity that punishes crimes on Earth, then the continued existence of Robertson in America's public life proves beyond a doubt that there is no such thing.
So, here's a question that has periodically puzzled me during the time I have been on Twitter: what the fuck is up with rightwing nutjobs just talking to people that they don't know out of the blue for no damned reason other than to voice (usually very crudely) a political disagreement? Is that supposed to be fun? Is it like some kind of sport? Seriously, conservatives (especially this recently ascendant teabagger breed) seem to really need to confront and engage all the time with total strangers who plainly won't want to get into it with them. Generally, I don't have much contact with it on Twitter, because I don't follow people like that, and ones who follow me generally drop away without comment fairly quickly once they figure out that I am liberal fag who is never going to 1) embrace religious fundamentalism; 2) start jerking off to pics of Palin; 3) oppose health care reform; 4) oppose gay marriage; 5) believe in the laughable myth of trickle-down economics; 6) think that the H1N1 vaccine is a communist plot; 7) believe that Obama was born in Iran and that, during his inauguration as President, swore an oath to Satan on a copy of the Q'uran.  But there are for some reason these trolls who just have to say nutty shit to me once in a while, they don't drop it, they won't drop it, and it continues until I block them. Which I hate doing. I'm not a blocker by nature, but they push me to it by not getting the hint that I don't want to talk about their dumbassity.

Look, here's the deal with me and politics and social media:  Yes, I will indeed make a political comment once in a while, but when I do so I am not inviting a debate about my most basic values, nor about objective reality. I already know what the standard teabagger/whackjob views are on the things that I care about, and I have rejected them as moronic and vicious, and frequently delusional and sociopathic as well. I am not changing my mind and endorsing their side of it. EVAR! So it's a complete fucking waste of time to tell me that W was a great President, that fags are ruining traditional marriage, that Obama is an Arab, and that Sarah Palin is a sexy, hot woman. All of these things are patently false. They do not bear up under close examination or even very cursory examination or even a feather-light glance. You know what it's like for a wingnut talking to me about politics? It's like talking to the fucking wall, that's what it's like. And that's the way it's going to stay. And why would they want to anyway? I would never consider hitting up some random #tcot loser on Twitter and challenging his views on marriage equality or Obama's sekrit plot to declare martial law. Why not? Because then I'd be talking to a #tcot loser on Twitter! And that wouldn't be fun for me. I'd rather vacuum the interior of my car than do that. So why is it fun for them to talk to me? I'm not running for office. I'm not lobbying Congress. I have no power or influence. Though I am hoping to get a job on one of those death panels when they finally get going. Oh wait. I didn't mean to say that out loud. 

I guess the New York Senate blocked the legalization of gay marriage that had been passed by their House and which their governor had indicated he would sign. So...why do dumbass losers get to vote on shit like this anyway? Most states have successfully held popular referendums telling people who they can marry. Why does a fucking voter have a say in it? Think about it: voters. They hardly ever come up with a reasonable result. It's so hit-or-miss as to be laughable. Come on. I wish I could write some kind of satirical skewering of the whole concept in which, with grace and panache, I would lay bare the dumbassity of it all. But I'm too pissed off and humorless about it. THEREFORE, the following OPEN LETTER from the HIGH COMMAND of M-BRANE SF to douchebag str8 married conservative dudes who are the main proponents of telling other people what they can and cannot do:

Dear Conservative Str8 Married Dudes:

Be advised that in the unlikely event that you should pass from your world into M-SPACE, that your penis-in-vagina marriage is rendered null and void, and all your cultural assumptions and patriarchal notions of privilege symbolized by your cheap tacky wedding band and your brass-and-glass curio cabinet full of wedding gifts are, in fact, deemed illegal and reprehensible to the dominant culture of M-SPACE (aka: faggotry). We suggest that you also not risk bringing your so-called "wife" into M-SPACE with you (should you need to travel in our domain), because I am technically bisexual (little known fact) and if she is even in the least little bit hot, I will for sure successfully seduce her and make you into a cuckold. In which case, you will be disgraced in your right-wing circles and we will laugh our asses off at your misfortune. Oh, and we're commies, too. Just so you know.

Fuck you very much,
Christopher Fletcher
General Secretary of the Gay Commie Peoples Party of M-BRANE SF (GCPPMBSF)


I'm annoyed with myself for being goaded into even writing this post. I don't really have time to respond to every piece of evil dumbassity that I encounter every day. But here it is: Joseph Farah, some hitherto unknown (to me) wingnut douchebag columnist on the dumbass piece-of-shit website World Net Daily wrote a piece in which he uses the horrific details of the 1999 rape/murder of 13-year-old Jesse Dirkhising as device to set up an attack on the "queer agenda" and on the concept of hate crimes. And yet another an attack on Matthew Shepard. You see, Jesse Dirkhising was not regarded as a hate crime victim (because he wasn't gay, and Farah knows that for a fact somehow?), whilst the evil Matt Shepard was and has since been "sainted" by the "queer agenda." This has to be a seriously twisted, bitter, fucked up and miserable man who would write an article in which he lovingly details the horror of one boy's murder in order to minimize and demean the horror of another boy's murder, all for the sake of trying to score a moronic political point. Joseph Farah is, for this reason, an official Piece of Shit, and he should be ashamed of himself. Oh, and you know what else? The Matthew Shepard Act was signed into law a couple weeks ago, so the wingnuts can go fuck themselves like the wrong-side-of-history losers that they are.

I'm not linking to Farah's article because I won't taint my blog by opening a direct doorway into such a toilet. If you really want to see what he said, you can probably glean some keywords from this post and look it up for yourself.

(By the way, I only know about this because the @lgbtlife bot on Twitter tweeted a link to it, demonstrating the weaknesses of letting a bot do your business for you).
I have more than once considered taking a page from the book of one the Catholic Church's more reactionary leaders--not the current Pontiff, Pope Benedict XVI, but rather one of his ideological predecessors, Pope Pius IX. This pope, in 1864, released a document known as the Syllabus of Errors, a list of ideas in modern thought that he considered to be fallacious and in contradiction to the Truth, as defined by the Pope and his theological entourage.

While I think that Pius 9's opinions are a bunch of nonsense and have been invalidated by the progress of reason through history, I have always rather admired the blunt way that he issued as a Papal Encyclical a summary of what he thought was wrong with how everyone was thinking about stuff and simply declaring it all to be dumb and wrong and saying, "OK enough now. Stop it. God has spoken (through me)."

In this spirit, I propose the compilation of a new Syllabus of Errors in Contemporary Thought. Unlike the Papal document, however, this one won't be masquerading as the Word of God and will be open to debate and alternative and interpretation.

The first error that I would like to register into the Syllabus is this: "Public officials, members of general publics, and many religious institutions and political parties seem to be believe that it is somehow their fucking business to say that gay people should not be allowed to get married, and that such an attitude can legitimately and justly be ratified by a simple popular vote. We find this to be an error in contemporary thought and declare it to be invalid."

Readers are welcomed to enter other suggestions for errors or comment on this one in this post's comments. Gradually I will compile a fresh new Syllabus Errorum and release it on the world. Mwaahahahahaha!

“Change will not come if we wait for some other person or if we wait for some other time.We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek. " -President Barack Obama


An Open Letter to the Membership (Homosexual Agenda, US Division):

We did not declare the “culture war.” We did not fire its first shots, nor did we ask for a war at all. But fuck if we aren’t going to win it!  Yesterday’s setback with the Maine gay marriage referendum is heartbreaking, but it is just one setback in a long-running war, declared on us by the wingnuts, that we are, in fact, winning year by year, slowly but certainly.

Consider these facts: Forty years ago, we were hardly on the map. We were the most reviled minority imaginable. Even otherwise reasonable people hated and feared us and used us scapegoats for every evil. While it’s true that far too large a percentage of our Membership still lives in fear of exposure and persecution, great gains have been made in many areas of our culture and many regions of thus country. The insinuation of our values into the larger society (as per the Articles of the Agenda) has been so successful as to doom inevitably the evil dreams of our enemies. Popular culture in the form of TV, movies, music and the online media is neither going away nor becoming more homophobic. Indeed, it has become entirely rude and unacceptable to act that way outside the rightwing mediasphere. They call it “political correctness.” I call it common civility. When they rail against our elitist “Hollywood” culture, what do they think the result will be?  Do they honestly believe that TV shows will start to ban gay characters? Do they think that Fine Living Network and HGTV and Bravo will simply go out of business? Do they picture a year when movies will preach homophobia and Nazism and then be feted at the Oscars for it? Do they really believe that the whole population will swear off secular music, books and visual art?  Do they dream of a homo-free internet? Do they expect everyone to adopt mall hair and prairie dresses? Also, aside from our inextricable presence in every nook and cranny of the mass culture, we have actually gained some real civil rights in the US, little by little. It’s been a two-steps-forward/one-step-back kind of progress, for sure, but the momentum is clear. Forty years ago, we had nothing. Now we have legal gay marriage in several US states despite our recent defeats in California and Maine, and that’s not going to change. We have employment discrimination protection in some of the states (and soon federally). They will not roll back these gains everywhere no matter how hard they try and no matter how hard they work on having excessive numbers of straight Christian babies (a fool's strategy if ever there was one! They're just creating more "recruits" for us!).

Which brings me to my main point: the trend of history and the default mode of reality is liberalism. When people wanted to end the atrocity of human slavery in America, conservatives freaked out and declared it would end the world. But slavery was ended and it was not reinstated and the world did not end. When women demanded the overthrow of the preposterous idea that they were not qualified to vote in elections, conservatives recoiled and warned that the sky would fall. Women gained the right to vote, and some real knuckle-draggers tried and failed to roll back that progress.  Women will never lose the right to vote. When tee-totaling religious nuts and other self-righteous moralizers decided that no one should be able to have a drink, they succeeded for a while. But Prohibition was a disaster, was repealed, and has no chance at all of returning. When sensible people realized that slavery hadn’t been sufficiently eradicated from our society, the great civil rights actions by the government and the courts and the people achieved new legal protections for racial minorities. The many attempts to turn back the clock on these advances have largely failed.  Abortion was legalized, and though the right to choose has been subjected to constant attack and erosion, the people will not tolerate the complete elimination of that right ever again. In the 1980s, the Supreme Court upheld sodomy laws, continuing the criminalization of our sexual orientation. But in 2003, an even more conservative Supreme Court overturned that precedent and it finally became legal in all fifty states to be gay. Over a decade ago, Matthew Shepard was murdered and the enemies of our people spent every minute of every day of that decade blaming him for it and celebrating the death of a faggot. Last week President Barack Obama signed the Matthew Shepard Act, a far more devastating blow to our opponents in the long run than the one they inflicted on us in Maine last night.

The direction is clear: we will win. We will still have to fight a lot more battles in the years to come, but the gains we have made in the victories we have won will not be taken away. We will lose sometimes, but we will win a lot more often. It is the unstoppable momentum of progress, the undeniable validation of reason and justice. Bit by bit, the enemy will be worn down, taken apart, stomped on, destroyed. By declaring open war on us, they have done far more harm to themselves than to us. They’ve hastened their own end by decades. Sane people see through it. They see what hate looks like when they see images of people cheering because we can’t marry the person we love, and it disgusts them.


(note the religious rapture that hurting us seems to induce in them)

Occasionally I hear murmuring of accommodation among the Membership. Some people may think it just as well to adopt an attitude of live-and-let-live. I’d remind everyone once again that we did not start this war. We would have been fine with a live-and-let-live approach. Indeed that’s what we wanted all along. But they wanted a culture war. Well, they got their fucking war and they are losing it despite what happened yesterday. I say we press onward to final victory.

Long Live the Agenda!

Christopher Fletcher
Cell Commander

It was such a relief last week when President Obama signed the long-awaited Matthew Shepard Act, expanding Federal hate crimes law to include sexual orientation and gender identity. It was a triumphant and just conclusion to one of the most shameful campaigns of hate I have ever seen.

It was not sufficient for Republicans and their affiliated nutjobs to simply fall back on their tedious "small government" rhetoric or their fallacious assertions that existing laws were good enough to protect people and that the gays don't need any "special rights."  Nope, in the case of the Matthew Shepard bill, they decided that they needed to personally attack and defame this boy who died in terror and pain and who never did a single thing to harm another person. The sheer meanness of it was breathtaking. So, too, was the relative silence from people who knew better. Just this year during debate on the House floor, Representative Virginia Foxx (Cunt-NC) found it necessary to call Matthew's horrifying end a "hoax" while his mother was in the gallery. The myriad piece-of-shit whackos who comprise the right-wing mediasphere echoed that and similar sentiments far and wide. Phelps and his disgusting church continue to produce signage and distribute videos celebrating--not just saying, but celebrating--the "fact" that Matthew has been burning in Hell since his murder.

Here's an open letter to those fuckers who found it necessary to keep on brutalizing this kid all these years after his death:

To the Opponents of the Matthew Shepard Act:

Fuck you. Fuck off and die. You're a bunch of fucking losers. You disgust me and you disgust all reasonable Americans.  And you know what else? Now that Matt's law is the law of the land, you will never, ever, ever be able to get rid of it. So from now on, forever, from sea to shining sea, you people will risk getting slapped with Federal hate crimes charges anytime you brutally attack one of us. Oh, and fuck off. Losers.

Chris Fletcher
Member, The Agenda