Are You F—ing Kidding Me?

I am a bit too angry to see straight, but need to share the utter, reprehensible ridiculousness of this:

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An ex-stripper who went on to law school and later was elected a judge was found dead inside her Nevada home Sunday, The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.

Her body was discovered during a welfare check, the report said, and authorities do not suspect foul play.

Municipal Judge Diana Hampton, who was 50, was known by colleagues as a hard worker and appeared to be the perfect picture of health. Her death shocked colleagues, one of whom told the paper he planned to have lunch with the judge this week.

Hampton, who served as a municipal judge for more than a decade, worked with youth in the community to discourage them from crime.

Hampton took an unusual route to her judgeship. She was criticized during her 2005 run for Henderson Department 3 for working as a stripper in Las Vegas prior to pursuing law school. It was a part of her past she did not disavow and reaffirmed that her past had nothing to do with how she would rule from the bench.

“From the very beginning, she decided she was going to be a judge,” said Joe Sciscento, a justice of the peace who knew Hampton for more than 20 years. “She was dedicated to that. She was focused on that, and she wouldn’t let things get in her way.”

[Emphasis added] Continue reading


What I’m Reading, September 28, 2015

What it’s like to live on $2 a day in the United States, Chico Harlan, Washington Post, September 11, 2015

It’s worth pondering for a moment just how difficult it is to survive on $2 per day. That’s a single gallon of gasoline. Or half a gallon of milk. If you took a D.C. bus this morning, you have 25 cents left for dinner. Among this group in extreme poverty, some get a boost from housing subsidies. Many collect food stamps — an essential part of survival. But so complete is their destitution, they have little means to climb out. (The book described one woman who scored a job interview, couldn’t afford transportation, walked 20 blocks to get there, and showed up looking haggard and drenched in sweat. She didn’t get hired.)

Edin is a professor specializing in poverty at Johns Hopkins University. Shaefer is an associate professor of social work and public policy at the University of Michigan. In several years of research that led to this book, they set up field offices both urban and rural — in Chicago, in Cleveland, in Johnson City, Tenn., in the Mississippi Delta — and tried to document this jarring form of American poverty.

Batman: Arkham Knight Has a Serious Problem With Women, Denny Connolly, Game Rant, June 2015 Continue reading


What I’m Reading, September 25, 2015

The terrifying cost of the Planned Parenthood hoax: “I have never seen such a volume, intensity and escalation of hate speech”, Bob Cesca, Salon, September 12, 2015

What’s also perfectly clear is that a series of horrendously edited videos accusing Planned Parenthood of ghoulish criminal activity has effectively amplified the anti-choice outrage machine, which has to include the well-known terrorist fringe of the movement. As with the connection between the protest and the attack, there’s no way to know at this point whether the terrorist or terrorists responsible were specifically incited by the videos, but it’s reasonable to conclude that the videos, while being fraudulently produced, have touched off a new chapter of unmitigated sanctimony and bug-eyed fury over Planned Parenthood and other clinics that offer reproductive services for women.

Of course, the fakery of the videos, as well as the reality that Planned Parenthood saves considerably more lives than abortion services performed is irrelevant in the face of single-minded automatons who are feverishly motivated by the very thought of an aborted fetus. Nothing, in their minds, morally outweighs the photographic images of fetuses. Nothing. Yes, it’s all very graphic to laypeople, but the procedure shouldn’t in any universe morally justify threats or acts of terrorism. The same can be said about too many congressional and state level Republicans who are wasting untold millions of dollars in taxpayer revenue to investigate Planned Parenthood based on completely false charges. No wonder Florida Governor Rick Scott scrubbed the results of his investigation when they ended up showing zero wrongdoing on behalf of the clinics.

Bernie Sanders’s speech at Liberty University wasn’t a stunt. It’s core to his campaign. Andrew Prokop, Vox, September 14, 2015 Continue reading


What I’m Reading, September 24, 2015

The new racism embodied in total contempt for Obama, Wendell Berry, Lexington Herald-Leader, September 13, 2015

Nobody can doubt that virtually all of the president’s political enemies would vehemently defend themselves against a charge of racism. Virtually all of them observe the forms and taboos of political correctness. If any very visible one of their own should insult the president by a recognized racial slur, they would all join in the predictable outrage. But the paramount fact of this moment in the history of racism is that you don’t have to denominate the president by a recognized racial slur when his very name can be used as a synonym.

This subtilized racism is not only a perhaps unignorable lure to Republican politicians; it can also be noticeably corrupting to Democrats.

In Kentucky, for example, where Obama is acknowledged carefully to be “unpopular,” candidates of both parties have been, and still are, running “against Obama.” If the president comes into the state to visit, some Democratic candidates, like Republican candidates, become conspicuously busy elsewhere.

Scaring Up the Vote, Jamelle Bouie, Slate, September 8, 2015 Continue reading


The Means Do Not Justify the Ends

It bears repeating, now and then, that the people (politicians, activists, etc.) who tend to bray the loudest about the need to stop abortion also tend to oppose any and all measures with an actual, proven track record of reducing the number of abortions—usually because those measures require an acknowledgment that sex is a thing that happens whether they shame people for it or not. That’s something they just cannot do, I guess.

(They also tend to oppose measures that would assist new parents in raising the children they insist those new parents have, but that’s a rant for another day.)

In the face of all this evidence of what actually works, they just keep spinning their wheels. It’s almost like stopping abortion isn’t the real objective, you know?

Or, to put it another way: Continue reading


Pregnant Hands?

Here’s something a grown adult apparently said recently:

A Turkish televangelist has taken masturbation guilt to a whole new level that even puts the Catholic Church to shame.

Mücahid Cihad Han, a Muslim preacher, was fielding the questions of viewers on his television show this Sunday, when one distressed caller asked him about masturbation.

The caller said he that he keeps masturbating although he’s married, even doing the forbidden deed during the “Umrah,” which is the pilgrimage to Mecca performed by Muslims.

From the Hurriyet Daily News:

After repeating the question a few times, Han claimed that Islam strictly prohibits masturbation as a “haram” (forbidden) act. “Moreover, one hadith states that those who have sexual intercourse with their hands will find their hands pregnant in the afterlife, complaining against them to God over its rights,” he said, referring to what he claimed to be a saying of Prophet Muhammad.

[Emphasis added.]

Pregnant hands? I’m trying to give this guy the benefit of the doubt and ponder how that might even work, and, well, I’m going to get a bit crude here. Continue reading


About that Sansa/Ramsay “Game of Thrones” Scene

If you somehow haven’t heard about it yet (spoiler alerts and all that), last week’s Game of Thrones episode continued the general divergence from the books’ storyline by having Sansa Stark marry Ramsay Bolton (née Snow)—possibly in order to exact vengeance on Ramsay’s father, Roose Bolton, who murdered Sansa’s brother Robb and was directly involved in the murder of her mother, Catelyn. Sansa was apparently unaware of just what a bastard (pun intended) Ramsay is, as was Petyr “Littlefinger” Baelish, who brokered the arrangement with Roose Bolton.

The overall storyline of having Sansa marry Ramsay is definitely a huge difference from the books, but it makes sense in the context of a TV show. In the books, Sansa is currently still at the Eyrie with her cousin, Robert Arryn (Robin Arryn on the show), and Ramsay is married to Jeyne Poole, a friend of Sansa’s from Winterfell who is being passed off as Arya Stark. Littlefinger has plans to one day send Sansa back to Winterfell and reveal “Arya Stark” as an impostor, giving Sansa the opportunity to reclaim Winterfell for the Starks. What’s happening on the show fits that same overall scheme, and it does it with fewer characters and less plotting-while-sitting-around.

But that’s not what I really want to talk about, and I think you know that. Continue reading


Choosing to Be Heterosexual

(It’s strange that I have to update a post before it actually publishes, but that’s what I get for writing a post on Wednesday and scheduling it to post on Thursday. The restaurant described below is apparently closing for a while until the hubbub dies down. I also haven’t ruled out that this is all some elaborate April Fool’s hoax.)

An Indiana pizza restaurant has become one of the first businesses to announce publicly that it supports the new state law that would allow it to refuse to provide pizza for a gay wedding (h/t Jen). This seems….unlikely to happen regardless of what Indiana law says….but then, I dont know anything about Indiana weddings. Maybe pizza catering is a thing.

A small-town pizza shop is saying they agree with Governor Pence and the signing of the controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

The O’Connor family, who owns Memories Pizza, says they have a right to believe in their religion and protect those ideals.

“If a gay couple came in and wanted us to provide pizzas for their wedding, we would have to say no,” says Crystal O’Connor of Memories Pizza.

She and her family are standing firm in their beliefs.

The O’Connor’s have owned Memories Pizza in Walkerton for 9 years.

It’s a small-town business, with small-town ideals.

What, exactly, are “small-town ideals”?

They also have the audacity to insist that “We’re not discriminating against anyone, that’s just our belief and anyone has the right to believe in anything.”

Well, now I have some beliefs about you. Maybe it’s unfair, though, to single this business out. It’s probably too early to know just how many businesses are on board with this. I guess my point is that I don’t want my reader(s) to give this one business any excessive amount of shit on account of anything I said.

Anyway, I just keep coming back to this part:

“That lifestyle is something they choose. I choose to be heterosexual. They choose to be homosexual. Why should I be beat over the head to go along with something they choose?” says Kevin O’Connor.

I have a few thoughts here….

A. I didn’t “choose” to be heterosexual, and I feel fairly confident that most heterosexual people—of all political stripes—would agree with me on this, so WTF is this dude talking about?

B. Please, do go on, Mr. O’Connor. I feel like there’s an interesting story afoot….

C. At a minimum, I support “beat over the head” as an alternative to the ubiquitousrammed down our throats.”


The “Middle Finger Gesture” and Accidental Porn

I was doing a Google image search for someone giving the “middle finger gesture,” as I’ll call it, for professional purposes. (Yes, I have the greatest job in the universe.) Google allows you to narrow your search to images that are labeled as “free to use or share, even commercially,” which is handy if you know how to confirm that they really are free to use or share.

Anyway, amongst the search results, I noticed an image at Wikimedia Commons simply entitled “Middle finger gesture.jpg.” This title fails to account for two features of the image that seem important: Continue reading


A Difficult Animal Welfare Topic

A news story out of Wisconsin sort of piqued my curiosity, although I’m not delving too far into this one, except to make a few general observations (h/t G):

A Wausau man accused of performing a sex act with a horse has been charged in Marathon County with bestiality.

[Name and age redacted but available almost anywhere else] was charged with sexual gratification with an animal sex organ, possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of marijuana as a repeat offender and bail jumping, according to court records.

I vaguely remembered hearing somewhere that “bestiality” is not actually a criminal offense in many U.S. jurisdictions, so I set about to try to look that up without actually using Google. Wikipedia is our friend in this regard: “As of 2012, bestiality is illegal in 37 U.S. states. Most state bestiality laws were enacted between 1999 and 2012.” As it turns out, bestiality was usually included, expressly or by implication, in state-level “sodomy” or “crimes against nature” laws, which were mostly struck down in 2003 by the Supreme Court’s decision in Lawrence v. Texas. I do not, let’s be clear, think that this negatively affects the importance or validity of that decision in any way.

By chensiyuan (chensiyuan) [GFDL ( or CC BY-SA 4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

This is a heavy topic, so here’s a picture of Yosemite Valley to marvel at.

Since I am of the opinion that consent is the most important factor in any sort of sexual activity—i.e. if the participants all give knowing, willing consent, they can pretty much do what they want; and by “all” participants I really do mean all participants, including anyone who can see what you’re doing (it’s fine by me if you like stuff involving clown noses and Cool Whip, but I never agreed to watch you do it in public, so get behind closed doors, or at least high walls, please)—I am generally of the opinion that sexual activities with animals is not permissible. They cannot give consent in any way that we humans can unambiguously understand as consent. Continue reading