Let Your Freak Flag Fly
(Theme song to The Dukes Of Hazzard)
Just’a good ol’ boys
Never meanin’ no harm
Spendin’ all their summer days
With a pig in the barn
Makin’ their way
The only way they know how
By tryin’ to milk a bull
Just’a same as a cow
I’m a visionary. Decades ago I thought the Confederate Flag was as queer as a three dollar bill. It just took a while for this notion to become trendy enough for y’all to take it down.
I have a few words to say on the subject. As you can probably reckon from the subtle opening, I’m here to treat the topic with all the reverence that it deserves. I’m also going to try to avoid repeating all the same tired arguments we’ve heard from both sides of the issue.
A national Gallup poll this month found that 32% of Democrats and 78% of Republicans view the flag as a symbol of “Southern pride” rather than one of “racism.” Let that stick in your craw for a bit.
At the same time, 64% of whites favored the “Southern pride” view while only 19% of blacks felt the same way. Ya think?
Seldom are numbers so astonishingly black and white.
They Talk Among Us
I thought maybe I had shared this story before but the search function says otherwise. So here goes.
There I was, a young pre-guru lad, still in my sensitive formative years, sitting on grandma’s porch out on the Taker homestead. Aw, shucks, I may even have been chewing on some amber stalks of grain.
The neighbor came over and started talking to my grandma. I was just a youngin’ so I didn’t pay no mind to their adult conversation.
Until… suddenly, the neighbor just dropped the N-word!
I sucked in my breath. Holy shit, I thought, someone is in for it now. I got the hell out of Dodge to make way for the can of whoop ass I knew my grandma was about to open.
Except… that didn’t happened. Grandma didn’t use the word herself, but she as hell didn’t kick that fucker in the nards, either. In fact, she acted like nothing happened at all.
Although I was young, I’ve never forgotten that moment. It is still vivid in my mind. I learned an important lesson that day. I guess it’s hard to forget certain moments frozen in time like when you got your heart broke. It was all part of my Intro 101 to this planet, I guess.
Fast-forward to present day where I’m, obviously, a seasoned traveler and enlightened guru in this game called life. Shit like that no longer surprises me.
What the fuck? Cliven Bundy just said what? Double dribble? Come again? The owner of an NBA basketball team just said what?
I guess I’m not as enlightened as I thought. I still can be surprised.
And, like always, this got me to thinking…
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Lazy tweeting on a Sunday Afternoon: The Hunger Games Edition #thg
Just a few select tweets about some new movie called The Hunger Games. Some funny and some sad.
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Fantastical, farcical fables of fetal fatality freedoms
This post was once just a twinkle in my eye. Then I conceived a subject, a germane approach fertilized, and, long story short, this post was birthed nine minutes later.
WordPress was the midwife.
Of course, in my dictionary, “fertilize” generally means “throw poop on it,” but hopefully you still get the idea.
“Daddy, where do babies come from?”
“Good question. But, technically speaking, there is no such thing as a ‘baby.’ You see, son, the North Carolina House of Representatives tells us that at the exact moment of fertilization a ‘human being’ has been created.”
[laughing] “Yes, son. Fertilization. That’s just a fancy word for mommy and daddy getting together, each of them adding a special ingredient, and making a new person. Like you! You know how chocolate and peanut butter got together to make a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup? It’s a lot like that.”
Indeed, Timmy. Indeed.
Freedom. In America, seemingly above all else, we prize our cherished freedom. And rightly so. But probably at the very moment pilgrims landed in this country, they did something peculiar. They started making laws to control the freedoms of each other.
“There are nine of us and one of you. We voted and decided that thing you do is now prohibited.” Ah, democracy.
Our history is replete with this sort of thing. Freedoms legislated away like oral sex, anal sex, “sodomy,” adultery, nudity, women owning property, women being allowed to vote, black people being free persons, black people being allowed to vote, black people owning guns, etc.
A quintessential example of this? In the original version of the Constitution of the United States, you only had to read four short paragraphs before encountering racism.
Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons.
Thankfully that sentence was modified by the 14th Amendment.
So anyway, this sort of thing is nothing new.
On my morning commute, I sometimes like to listen to religious programming. There’s a morning talk show, I don’t know the name, where I’ll sometimes pause. (That same station at night is more fire and brimstone and doesn’t hold the same sway.)
This week they were talking about how “life begins at conception” and the fight they hope to bring to the Supreme Court. They talked about how an effort was underway in North Carolina to legally say that a human being exists at the moment of conception. They also said that if you had an opinion different than that you were “anti-life.”
You know, some people don’t like to be called “homophobes” just because they take a position against homosexuality. Yet here we have religious folk flinging the “anti-life” label simply because you disagree with them on what is, in all actuality, a very very fine point. I find that a skosh hypocritical.
The proposed North Carolina law that was passed by their House of Representatives takes a quite reasonable position. It would criminalize “death or injury” of a “fetus” at “any” stage of development. Take the morning after pill? You’re guilty of murder, pal. You just killed a “human being.”
That’s not farcical at all, is it?
Kill a sperm? That’s okay. Kill an ovum? Still okay. But at the very moment those two things are joined to form a zygote a “human being” now exists and “killing” is off the table.
Curious, and being a fan of Texas Holdem, I invited a few zygotes to my house the other night for a poker game. Aside from a weird tendency to go “all-in” too often, I found them decent human beings, although, to be honest, they were extremely boring and completely lacking in personality and the social graces.
I understand abortion is a serious issue. In fact, my opinion on the issue has changed somewhat radically over the years. It has become much more conservative over time. When I was young and stupid I was pretty cavalier about it. Now that I’m old and stupid, my standards have changed dramatically.
I can’t define my position exactly, but let’s just say that I support a woman’s right to choose. It’s her body and her choice. But, in my opinion, that moment of choice is extremely narrow.
Clearly it is wrong to kill a newborn baby. Just as clearly, in my view, a “human being” is not created at the moment of conception.
Somewhere, between those two extremes, lies the real moment when a human life comes into being. I have no idea when that moment might be. Perhaps it’s a heart beat. Perhaps it’s brainwaves. Perhaps it’s a fingerprint. I really don’t know, nor do I know if anyone really knows.
Something tells me it might have something to do with the ability to feel and, perhaps, experience pain. Not hurting others is a big part of my philosophy so that resonates with me. A zygote can’t feel pain. But somewhere in the development of a fetus that ability does exist.
That’s why I believe we should err on the side of caution. Make abortion laws have a tight window. Very tight. But criminalizing abortion all the way to the moment of conception? I believe that is wrong. It impinges on the freedom of the individual in favor of a human being that doesn’t yet exist.
Debate on fiercely contested issues isn’t always a logical thing. You ask for the moon. I’ll ask for the stars. Neither side will get what they ask, so invariably we end up somewhere in the middle. I believe that trying to criminalize abortion all the way to the moment of conception is a tactic. One that is designed to move where that eventual compromise will exist.
We should intelligently debate this issue. And we should fight to make reasonable laws that are based on common sense. Not go after illogical extremes as political strategies.
This is my “F” post for the April 2011 “A to Z Blogging Challenge.”
You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy. We must be cautious.
Warning: This most may contain offensive themes and content. But nothing that Craigslist wouldn’t allow, I assure you of that.
I never paid much attention to craigslist. Oh sure, I heard about it in the news, usually something about the latest scam, or a family being shot dead during a craigslist transaction, or, more often than not, something having to do with a profession even older than craigslist itself. Thank God for craigslist or there would be a lot less prostitution!
Recently I was given reason to get off my duff and go learn more about the mysterious place known as craigslist. Sadly the reason is that the web site is being used to attack my very existence.
First I became aware of a section of craigslist that is called “rants and raves.” Just to enter and look around you have to agree that you’ll be subjected to “offensive content” and that you are at least 18 years of age.
In this section you will find the basest of the base. The very best of the worst that humanity has to offer. Craigslist has some legitimate functions (which are, of course, highly exploited by bad people), but rants and raves is reserved for the creme de la creme of evil. It represents a lowest common denominator of humanity and, trust me on this, there is basically no limit to how low that low can go.
Tonight I did an experiment. I picked a region at random. (Atlanta because it was listed first.) I then went into Atlanta’s “rants and raves” section. The very first thing I saw listed was this: “Coon chokes his 3 yr old.” The content, which I debated reproducing here but simply can’t in good conscience, even in the name of science, was one of the most offensive and disturbing things I’ve ever read. The use of the n-word in the post was just one of the many offenses including a reference to the child’s nose as a “snout,” talking about “KFC (extra crispy)” and much, much more.
And this was literally the very first thing I found on a random dip into craigslist. As such, what can we assume? That this is about average or that I somehow picked the worst of the worst? Something tells me that on craigslist this is nothing that unusual.
One can only wonder. Where does craigslist draw the line?
Like I said, the only reason I’m aware of how this web site works at all is because I came under attack myself. It’s a long story but basically I administer a web site forum and I’ve had to kick people off, from time to time, for repeated violations of the web site rules, one of which is: “Don’t be gigantic douchebag assholes.” That’s pretty much the Prime Directive of our rules.
My experience on this internet forum has taught me one thing quite clearly: Adults do not take kindly to being moderated in any way, shape or form. Just like everyone else they feel the rules to do not apply to them. Ever. If you dare enforce a rule, no matter how well deserved, you just made yourself a rabid enemy for life.
This is where craigslist comes in. Deprived of their voice on a forum, craigslist is their dream come true. Here they can safely remain truly anonymous as they attack real people by name. They have told lies about me, posted my picture, published my home address, called me Adolf Hitler (always a party favorite) and now have even taken up the practice of insulting my wife.
Freedom of speech in our country is a sacred right. But what about freedom of anonymous speech? I figured that must be different, especially when it is being used as a method of attack. I was wrong.
According to the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), the Supreme Court has ruled repeatedly that the right to anonymous free speech is protected by the First Amendment.
EFF says that this right was even used by our founding fathers, people like Alexander Hamilton and James Madison who wrote under the pseudonym “Publius.”
I tried to file a report with the local police today regarding this campaign against us that has gone on for months now. Their response, paraphrased: “Too bad, so sad.” They said it is nothing illegal and is protected free speech under the First Amendment. They didn’t want to look at my documentation, either, saying it wouldn’t matter.
Thanks to sites like craigslist we can view and experience the true nature of humanity and the universe, and, for an added bonus, take a quick swim in a pool of bile. Now I call that a true win-win!
Seattle cop punches jaywalker in the face
Seattle cop punches woman in face over routine jaywalking stop (VIDEO)
Ah. Another piece of evidence that we are officially becoming The Asshole Society.
The Asshole Society requires two basic ingredients. First, the believe that a person can do anything they want just because they want it. (Like park in a fire lane, drive aggressively, lie, cheat, steal, and even jaywalk.) Second, that when the first rule doesn’t work out, absolutely never should responsibility be taken.
I just watched this video and I have to say I’m really angered by it. I’m angered that someone who was breaking the law would react that way to a police officer. I’m angered that the officer was left along for so long and had to wait for backup while an ugly crowd formed around him. I’m angered that the crowd taunted the officer and supported the suspect. I’m angered that this police officer is now going to be subjected to unreasonable criticism and scrutiny simply for doing his job.
And, unbelievably, I’m stunned to hear that actually police officers are enforcing pedestrian laws. Somebody pinch me. That simply can’t be true!
When a police officer tells you do so something, you do it. Especially when you are in the act of breaking the law.
Jaywalking is irrelevant here. This is another one of those world famous misleading headlines. What is seen in the video is an officer attempting to enforce the law then encountering a pretty severe case of resisting arrest. The woman pushes the officer, fails to follow instructions, and struggles fiercely to get away. Her actions were illegal and put the officer at risk.
Jaywalking is usually considered an infraction or a misdemeanor. Resting arrest, however, may be a felony. That is exactly what I hope she gets charged with.
A snippet of conversation from the video:
Cop: You are under arrest!
Suspect [yelling]: Get the fuck off of me!
One thing from the video is abundantly clear. The alleged jaywalker is an asshole. Just another person who believes, “The rules do not apply to me.” Just another person who becomes angry when they get caught with their hand in the cookie jar. Just another person who can’t take responsibility for the choices they make.
A few years back I got a ticket for going 70 mph on a section of highway where the speed limit was 55 mph. I was the only car on the road as far as the eye could see and the cop felt I was a problem worth fixing. Did I agree with that? Not exactly. But I was breaking the law. Was I happy I was pulled over? No. Did the cop have any personality at all? No. But what I did do was everything I could to make the cop’s job easier. I kept my hands visible on the steering wheel at all times, I did not move, I did not get out of the car, and I obeyed every instruction he gave me. He even listened to my story but didn’t buy it. A few minutes later it was all over, without incident, and I was on my merry way. I paid my ticket and that chapter was closed. I took responsibility for my actions.
The minute that woman actively resisted the copy she became, in my opinion, a felon. No doubt she’ll get away with what she did to that copy because of the video and the publicity. That makes me sad and angry.
The president of the Seattle Police Officers Guild has spoken about the incident:
Rich O’Neil told KCPQ-TV that punching her in the face was an appropriate use of force as the officer struggled with two women and a crowd formed. O’Neil says it’s wrong to call the punch police brutality or racist.
I agree. But not everyone does. Some are saying the incident is reminiscent of other videos that show police brutality. All this cop did was try to do the handcuffs on his suspect that he had placed under arrest.
It is sad that an asshole has jeopardized the career of this police officer.