Barry West Seems to Think It’s Kind of Cool to Hate Muslims
Once again, racism has a new face in America. This time around, the smirking mug of ethnic and religious hate is personified by Coffee County, Tennessee, commissioner Barry West’s Facebook page.
West posted his bald-faced Islamophobia behind the squinting, weathered visage of a stereotypically cowboy hated—make that hatted—’Merican pointing the business end of a double-barreled shotgun directly into the viewer’s sightline.
The photo, in case you missed it above, is captioned: HOW TO WINK AT A MUSLIM.
The subtext, quite close to the surface, reads along the lines of “the only good Muslim is a Muslim who is menaced by a white man wielding a shotgun.”
In Commissioner West’s defense, the image of the fanatical Arab terrorist is always close to front and center in much of America’s legitimate news media, and demonization of Islam and attendant ethnicities is an established norm in the vast realm of this country’s off-center commentators.
But there is no call, really, to present exculpatory circumstances in Barry West’s defense. The commissioner came to his own defense in the Tullahoma News:
I’m prejudiced against anyone who’s trying to tear down this country, Muslims, Mexicans, anybody. If you come into this country illegally or harm us or take away benefits, I’m against it.
Evidently, if Barry West’s worldview is correct, Mexicans and Muslims are predisposed to tearing down this country.
Or maybe not: West denied to the Tullahoma News that he was attempting a political statement, though he did insist he was “making a point.”
“I thought it was humorous,” he offered as motivation for posting the failed meme.
Humor is, of course, in the eye of the beholder. So who sees something funny here:
In February 2008, an arson fire destroyed a mosque in Columbia, Tennessee.
In August 2010, an arson fire destroyed an earthmover and three other vehicles at the construction site of a future mosque in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.
In 2011, the Tennessee House and Senate proposed a bill that would make adherence to Shari’ah law a felony.
And in 2013, Coffee County, Tennessee, commissioner Barry West delivers his double-barreled punch line.
If you think the commissioner’s Facebook posting is the opposite of funny, share this post on Facebook.
Florida Police Sergeant Brings Trayvon Targets to Gun Range
Port Canaveral, Florida, Port Authority Police Sergeant Ron King is the latest reminder that if the shooting death of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin has taught America anything, it is that the Internet is a nonphysical space where moral vacuums take shape in words and images and then spring to life as real-world abominations.
Trayvon Martin was slain by Sanford, Florida, community watch volunteer George Zimmerman on February 26, 2012. At the time of his death, the 17-year-old boy was wearing a hoodie and carrying a pack of Skittles. Within weeks of the killing in Sanford, an online entrepreneur was selling gun-range targets designed to evoke the image of the slain teenager.
Two weeks ago, on April 2, 2013, Police Sergeant Ron King reported to a firearms training session at the Brevard Community College campus, produced two targets created in the likeness of Trayvon Martin and offered the targets to a fellow officer.
The other officer, who like King was on duty, reportedly rejected the offer of the targets.
Ten days later, Port Canaveral interim CEO John Walsh announced that King had been fired due to his actions with the Trayvon Martin targets, which prompted a YouTube rebuttal video from the dismissed cop.
King opens the video by blaming “lies, false information and political agendas” for focusing media attention on his recent actions. He offers a not-sorry apology to the family of Trayvon Martin “for being used as a pawn in somebody’s political agenda.”
King explains that, inexplicably, he had intended the Trayvon Martin targets as training tools for “a no-shoot situation.”
“I was not present that night your son was killed,” says King, addressing Martin’s parents in conclusion. “I do not know the facts of the case, and I reserve judgment on either side.”
King’s “no-shoot situation” rationale and his generosity of spirit in withholding judgment on a slain, unarmed 17-year-old failed to convince, among others, Port Canaveral CEO John Walsh that his actions were those of someone fit to protect and serve the people of Port Canaveral, Florida.
“Whether this act was hatred or stupidity, none is acceptable,” said Walsh.
One ‘Vile’ Bite of Sarcasm and Its Moronic Aftertaste
Quvenzhané Wallis went into last night’s 85th Academy Awards presentation as the youngest film artist ever to be nominated for a Best Actress Oscar. She walked out of the ceremony as the youngest Academy Award nominee ever to have the nation’s premiere news parody site call her one of the least-clever and most-transgressive words in the English language.
The ill-thought irony behind the Onion’s Twitter branding of the 9-year-old Beasts of the Southern Wild star in crude anatomical terms may yet turn out to be the most enduring narrative of the 2013 Oscars.
Twitter outrage to the Onion’s Tweet (“Everyone else seems afraid to say it, but that Quvenzhané Wallis is kind of a [expletive], right?”) was immediate, widespread and sustained. Former First Daughter Chelsea Clinton and The Wire’s Wendell “Bunk” Pierce were only two among multitudes of irate responders who recoiled against the offense. The word vile recurred in criticism of the Onion, and it is hard to apply a more fitting adjective to figuratively slapping a 9-year-old child across the face with one of the language’s most brutal pejoratives.
To be fair to the Onion (which is not the same as excusing it), the tone-deaf use of Quvenzhané Wallis as a shock value vehicle did not occur in a vacuum.
Even Onion CEO Steve Hannah recognized the absurd vulgarity of his writer’s comment, stating in a rare apology: “No person should be subjected to such a senseless, humorless comment masquerading as satire.”
Disregarding the suspicion that several persons are routinely subjected to just such “senseless, humorless comment masquerading as satire” on various Onion platforms, the derogatory use of such a contemptuous term was completely unnecessary, and perhaps a little lazy.
As Oscar Raymundo, a writer for Rolling Stone and National Geographic, pointed out on Twitter: “The Onion joke would've had the same comedic effect had they referred to Quvenzhané Wallis as a ‘jerk.’ ”
And, as Raymundo demonstrates a few moments later with an illustrative joke, if the Onion’s intent had been to illustrate the insincerity, insecurity and envy that drive celebrity culture, no name-calling was necessary:
“Because let’s be honest, that girl was kind of annoying in her self-satisfaction.”
To be fair to the Onion (which is not the same as excusing it), the tone-deaf use of Quvenzhané Wallis as a shock value vehicle did not occur in a vacuum.
During the Academy Award telecast, host Seth MacFarlane put Wallis’s age in a sexualized context by saying, “to give you an idea of how young she is, it’ll be 16 years before she’s too young for Clooney.”
MacFarlane’s elicitation of the future sexual liaisons of a 9-year-old seemed almost innocuous in the flow of the televised event, perhaps in part because the show had started of with a song and dance number that taunted female actors who have appeared in films with their breasts exposed. Throughout the duration of the song, the camera cut away to women in the audience as they were being named-checked in the lyrics.
In comedy, the line between edgy and offensive can sometimes be blurred, but the shading between honoring and disrespecting women is easily determined. It’s the difference between celebrating women for their work in the arts of entertainment and simply viewing women as entertainment.
One of these things will always lead to expression of a wrong point of view.
Heterosexual-Only Event to Uphold ‘Traditional’ Values
Traditionally, high school provides young people with four of the happiest years that were ever filled with memories to scar a lifetime.
Special education teacher Diana Medley and sundry students and parents from Indiana’s Sullivan High School seem to be intent on enforcing the negative half of that dichotomy for their school’s LGBT student body.
An intolerant contingent of Sullivan High met at the Sullivan First Christian Church over the past weekend to strategize a “traditional prom,” “separate but equal,” that bans LGBT students and their dates.
“We want to make the public see that we love the homosexuals,” one Sullivan Student explained to Wabash Valley’s WTWO 2, “but we don’t think it's right nor should it be accepted.”
Diana Medley, a teacher entrusted with special needs students, believes that if LGBT scholars desired to attend the “traditional” prom, they could simply choose to be heterosexual.
“I believe that it was life circumstances, and they chose to be that way,” theorized Medley. “God created everyone equal.”
Perhaps misinterpreting Medley’s contention to mean that all humans are loved to the same measure in the eyes of the creator, a vocal contingent of the Sullivan community is pushing back against the atavistic bigots traditionalists. The Support the Sullivan High School Prom for All Students Facebook page has almost 3,400 likes as these words are being typed—and will certainly have exceeded that number by the time they are read.
The motivation behind an outpouring of support for LGBT teenagers will be lost on Diana Medley. When asked if she sees a life’s purpose for gay people, the special education specialist replied: “No, I honestly don’t. Sorry, but I don’t. I don’t understand it.”
Luckily, understanding is not a prerequisite to accepting. Who among us truly understands the functioning of electricity? Still, we flip the switch and accept the light when it comes on.
Do you believe the controversy at Sullivan High can fill a few bulbs with the glow of acceptance? Then go ahead and share this post.
(The photo above is of Marc Hall and his boyfriend, Jean-Paul Doumond, during a press conference following an Ontario Courts ruling that allowed Hall to bring his boyfriend to his Catholic high school prom in Oshawa, Ontario, Canada. This landmark in acceptance occurred on May 10, 2002.)
“They have found that with women who are on the birth control pill, there are these little tiny fetuses, these little babies that are embedded into the womb,” revealed Swanson, a self-proclaimed pastor based in Colorado. “They’re just like dead babies. They’re on the inside of the womb. And these wombs of women who have been on the birth control pill effectively have become graveyards for lots and lots of little babies.”
Swanson delivers his pronouncements from the pulpit of Generations Radio, an online broadcaster that has a stated “vision” to “present life from the perspective of a biblical worldview.”
Swanson’s previous views from the Good Book include assertions that LGBT people will “burn Christians at the stake” and that a university education for women “is all about” indoctrination into fornication and abortion. Swanson’s biblical interpretation also connects same-sex marriage with children being forced to live with pedophiles and equates gay scoutmasters with convicted child molesters and serial killers teaching in preschools.
Whether or not an earnest concern for the fate of the society motivates Kevin Swanson is not in question. He and his wife, Brenda, are involved parents, investing time and resources to homeschool their five children.
Unfortunately, if the Swansons are teaching theories as scientifically unfounded as the pastor’s nonsensical conception of “graveyards for lots and lots of little babies,” they are raising a new generation steeped in intolerance, demonization and superstition—one of Swanson’s inalienable rights as an American.
But Pastor Swanson claims his Generations Radio “reaches families across the US and in over 80 countries,” which places his misconceived messaging in the category of a global menace.
People were broadcasting absurd idiocies as if they were fact long before the Internet came along. But now, in 2013, the WWW is at our service. We can use it—Twitter, Facebook, online comments—to rail against ignorance masquerading as expertise and to answer ill-intentioned misrepresentation and stupidity with truth and fact.
Do you want to counteract Kevin Swanson’s false messaging? Share this post before he talks again.
Photo: Screen Grab of Kevin Swanson Delivering His Vision
New Mexico Rep Proposes a New High in the Law of Outrages
Plenty of people on both sides of the abortion divide are able to discuss the issue as a reasoned presentation of beliefs and facts, but New Mexico State Representative Cathrynn Brown (R-Carlsbad) is not among them.
On Wednesday, January 23, Brown introduced House Bill 206, which would expand New Mexico’s definition of the criminal offense known as “tampering with evidence” to include:
Procuring or facilitating an abortion, or compelling or coercing another to obtain an abortion, of a fetus that is the result of criminal sexual penetration or incest with the intent to destroy evidence of the crime.
Under the Cathrynn Brown conception of jurisprudence, rape victims would face third-degree-felony charges and three years in prison if found guilty of terminating a pregnancy caused by rape.
Brown’s proposal is akin to requiring a gunshot victim to leave the bullet intact on the grounds that jurors, prosecutors, defense attorneys and judges should not be expected to take an emergency room x-ray or police report as credible and authoritative evidence that a shooting had taken place—a proposition that fails to support any reasoned presentation of beliefs and facts.
If you think Representative Cathrynn Brown is, at best, muddying the waters of a crucial national conversation, share this post.
Big Fails With First-Person Shooter Game and Attack Video
The National Rifle Association has been keeping America safe for firearms ownership since 1871. It would be unfair and mathematically improbable to presume that the NRA’s 4.25 (self-accounted) million members contain a higher percentage of callous zealots than any other politically affiliated organization.
Still, decision makers at the NRA top levels appear to have lost their compass of social acceptability.
If it’s nurturing any ambitions of being taken as a serious voice of reason, the organization, to coin a cliché, has shot itself in the foot twice in the past week.
Sunday, January 13, marked the release of “NRA: Practice Range,” a first-person shooting game for mobile devices.
The game’s graphics, pictured above, reward players for placing heart and head shots into upended coffins marked with red kill spots.
The free game arrived just in time to enflame the politicized national debate over how to curtail the country’s plague of gun violence, a debate spurred by the December 14, 2012, massacre of 20 schoolchildren and six adults by a single gunman at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.
On optics alone, “NRA Practice Range,” which has a shooter pumping bullets into encased corpses, could be interpreted as, to use a mild term, insensitive. For many people in the nation, the visions of child-size coffins being mourned over in Newtown are still far too fresh to allow any enjoyment to be derived from the interplay of caskets and guns.
To add outrage to horror, “NRA Practice Range” was labeled as appropriate for players aged four years and up.
On the positive side, the NRA is not fully tone deaf to public outcry—on Tuesday the age recommendation for “NRA Practice Range” was raised to 12 and up.
Also on Tuesday, the NRA released a video that promotes dramatically increasing the number of people attending American schools who carry guns.
The video brands President Barack Obama an “elitist hypocrite” based on his ability to be skeptical about pumping loaded firearms onto American campuses while simultaneously “his kids are protected by armed guards at their schools.”
The video tacitly insists that viewers ignore a self-evident truth: That assigning Secret Service details to offspring of the United States president is a necessary obligation of national security.
Ignoring obvious realities that stand in the course of a train of thought is an exercise in delusion. Any trail of logic that follows that delusion is derailed, which explains, but does not justify, the video’s conclusion that Americans calling for solutions to gun violence want “Protection for their kids, and gun-free zones for ours.”
When zealots are in charge of presenting an organization’s public face, polarizing masks, no matter how illogical or insensitive, should come as no surprise.
Those numbers just might be high enough that there would be no “elitist hypocrite” among them.
If you want to hear from NRA members who are against gun violence, share this story.
‘Catch an Illegal Immigrant’ T-Shirt: Marketing Stunt Spurs Immediate Backlash
One perplexing aspect of the raging debate over whether or not a “How to Catch an Illegal Immigrant” T-shirt is racist is that the debate is raging.
America should always have room for lively discourse and heated disagreement over issues, policies and philosophies. But surely we are under no Constitutional obligation to discuss self-evident truths as though opposition to them is represented by a rational point of view. For instance, the founding principal that all men are created equal should never really be up for negotiation.
The “How to Catch an Illegal Immigrant” T-shirt—featuring a drawing of a box propped up by a stick, a makeshift trap, with two tacos placed as bait—seems to contradict that core American belief that all men are created equal.
Marketed by Taco Cid, a self-proclaimed “great Mexican eatery” located in West Columbia, South Carolina, the drawing and caption are meant to convey the irresistibility of the eatery’s foodstuffs. These products are so tempting that a crafty “illegal immigrant” will forsake vigilance and personal safety at the prospect of grabbing two free tacos off the ground.
The promo shirt, which is worn by employees at Taco Cid and available for sale to customers, catapulted off the Twitter account of South Carolina journalist Corey Hutchins Sunday and ignited a national crosstalk.
“I had no clue that this was gonna make such big news in little old South Carolina,” Taco Cid owner Leanne Snelgrove told a local news crew, with a laugh. “I figured it would be a hit around town, but I had no clue it would be nationwide.”
Snelgrove may or may not have had no clue about the national movement to eliminate the charged word “illegal” from the immigration reform debate, and replace that term with “undocumented,” but a quick spin around the Internet once her shirts went viral would have hinted at it. Bloggers all across the immigration reform, civil rights and social justice spheres roundly condemned the garments and demanded apologies, along with a cessation of sales.
Aside from those demands, Snelgrove claims that Taco Cid has received death threats and bomb threats; still she has no plans to take her $35 “Illegal Immigrant” shirts off the market.
“It’s not racist. It’s immigrants. Illegal immigrants,” she insists, adding that her husband had been fired from his workplace and replaced with an “illegal immigrant.”
The Taco Cid website delves further into the justification of its “not racist” shirts, which by their selection of tacos as bait appear to target a specific ethnic group.
As tax paying Americans, we believe ILLEGAL immigrants are burdening the system we support and live under, thereby, causing us to work harder and pay higher taxes to support the illegal activities which our government has turned a blind eye towards. South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, is heading up immigration reform. The driving force behind reform is the estimated trillions in revenue to be collected from the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants in the U.S.
Immigration reform (along with Taco Cid’s math—to squeeze trillions of revenue from 11 million immigrants would require each and every immigrant to cough up more than 90 grand) is open to debate.
However, targeting specific ethnic groups for disparaging humor and later claiming your ethnic belittlement is not racist because you say it is not racist—that is not a viable discussion.
If you think the debate on immigration reform should be framed without resorting to inflammatory ethnic-bashing imagery, share this post.
California Rape Isn’t Rape Because the Victim Wasn’t Married
A woman who has been raped may feel that three years in prison seems like a short sentence for her attacker, but what about no sentence at all?
What if, for the sake of argument, an assailant named Julio Morales creeps into a woman’s bed after she has gone to sleep and—pretending to be her boyfriend—initiates sex with her and later is determined in a unanimous ruling of the Los Angeles-based 2nd District Court of Appeal to have not committed any crime at all?
In February 2009, Julio Morales left a party and accompanied a group of friends to the home of an 18-year-old woman. The woman and her boyfriend went to bed, and the woman fell asleep. The couple had not had sex. The boyfriend left the home, and Julio Morales entered the woman’s bed.
The woman testified that she woke up to discover a man was having sex with her, and when she discovered he was not her boyfriend, she began to scream, cry and resist.
A sheriff’s deputy, according to the Los Angeles Times, said, “Morales admitted that the woman might have been asleep and probably thought he was her boyfriend.”
According to a unanimous ruling handed down on Wednesday January 2, 2013, from appeals court judges Thomas L. Willhite Jr., Norman L. Epstein, and Nora M. Manella, “a person who accomplishes sexual intercourse by impersonating someone other than a married victim’s spouse is not guilty of the crime of rape of an unconscious person.”
In other words, Julio Morales is not guilty of rape because the victim he had sex with through “artifice, pretense, or concealment” that caused her to believe he was someone other than himself was an unmarried woman. It’s almost as if a husband’s “property” has not been violated; so the law against using deceit to rape a woman while she sleeps does not apply.
The panel of judges voided Morales’s conviction, which had resulted in a three-year prison sentence, because it was unclear whether the jury had found Morales guilty of rape by trickery (only applies to married women) or of rape by having sex with a sleeping person (a crime even against single women).
As of January 4, California prosecutors had yet to decide if they will retry Morales (an added trauma to his victim) or to appeal the ruling.
Westboro Baptist Tries to Stage Funeral of Human Decency
The Westboro Baptist Church is infamous for desecrating the First Amendment rights of free speech and peaceful assembly while befouling the memorials and sacrifices of American soldiers killed in action.
For more than two decades, Westboro’s “God Hates Fags” banners have been emblematic of the worst in the lowest form of American discourse. The church’s estimated 40 members wave the banners with imbecilic pride outside the last rites of service men and women, and also at the funerals of dead celebrities and any other public event that might attract a news crew.
Westboro traffics in homophobic, deliberately ignorant hate speech designed to slap the rational mind into stunned, open-mouthed outrage.
No reasoned human being can predict or imagine when or how the Westboro Baptist Church will descend to a new low in its quest for negative attention—but a new low is always on the way.
So there was disgust but no surprise that on December 15th (one day after 12 boys, eight girls and six adult women were shot to death at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut), Shirley Phelps-Roper of the Westboro brain trust tweeted the group’s intention to appear at a vigil for the murdered children to “sing praise to God for the glory of his work in executing his judgment.”
Westboro’s appropriation of Newtown’s season of anguish triggered an immediate and united backlash across the World Wide Web.
Internet vigilantes Anonymous started the payback by posting a video that warned Westboro: “We will not allow you to corrupt the minds of America with your seeds of hatred. We will not allow you to inspire aggression to the social factions which you deem inferior. We will render you obsolete. We will destroy you. We are coming.”
On December 16th, Anonymous published what it claimed were names, street addresses, phone numbers and email addresses of the Westboro faithful. A Twitter feed for the Westboro brain trust was hacked, and its site was crashed.
On the official end of the online spectrum, the White House’s “We the People” forum is hosting two petitions aimed at deflating Westboro. One petition demands that the church be legally recognized as a hate group; the other calls for a revocation of Westboro’s tax-exempt status.
In respect to the losses at Sandy Hook Elementary, to suggest that something good might come from the killings is a form of travesty. But if Westboro Baptist Church can be squashed, one section of the universe will be a little less evil.
If you think Westboro Baptist Church should be denied tax-exempt status and/or classified as a hate group, share this post and say so.
Photo: Nicholas Kamm/Getty Images
Every Woman in Afghanistan Is a Target for Atrocity
Two men on a motorcycle shot Najia Sediqi to death as she stepped toward a rickshaw on her way to work Monday, December 10. Sediqi was the acting head of women’s affairs in the eastern Afghanistan province of Laghman. The murder was committed in broad daylight in the provincial capital of Mehtar Lam.
Laghman province’s former head of women’s affairs, Hanifa Safi, was slain in July 2012 by an improvised bomb that detonated beneath her car.
Following the fatal attack on Sediqi, the United Nations Tuesday joined mounting criticism of Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s government over women’s rights, urging it to enforce the two-year-old Elimination of Violence Against Women Law.
Zufenon Safi, who represents Laghman Province in the Afghan Parliament, told TheNew York Times that “targeting important government officials is part of the Taliban strategy to undermine the government’s and the foreign forces’ efforts in the country.” In line with Safi’s observation, the Taliban may very well be the culprits behind the slayings of Najia Sediqi and Hanifa Safi.
Putting the Taliban aside, Afghanistan is among the most dangerous places in the world to be a woman. The typical Afghan woman has little to no protection against domestic violence, forced marriage, child marriage or murder by relatives or in-laws in so-called honor killings. Afghanistan is a country where female rape survivors are forced to choose between incarceration or marriage to their attackers.
When social norms inflict death and servitude on the vast majority of a nation’s women, the Taliban’s work is done before the terrorists even pick up a gun or plant a bomb.
If the continued brutality against women in Afghanistan outrages you, share the tragic ending to Najia Sediqi’s life with your Internet friends.
While there are have been many hard-won gains for some of Afghanistan’s women in the last ten years—after almost 20 years of subhuman treatment under an Islamic fundamentalist regime—discrimination and violence against women and girls are on the rise. In 2014 international military forces plan to withdraw from the country. Let’s make sure the human rights of Afghanistan’s women are protected and that women have a voice in the country’s future.
While there are have been many hard-won gains for some of Afghanistan’s women in the last ten years—after almost 20 years of subhuman treatment under an Islamic fundamentalist regime—discrimination and violence against women and girls are on the rise.
Photo: Shah Marai/AFP/Getty Images
YouTube’s Vilest Star Is Free to Judge You
Is it already a year ago that YouTube hosted one of the most disturbing videos in the Internet’s history of viral content?
The home-shot clip begins in the dark, a murk shaken by a demanding, angry male voice: “Go get my belt. Go get my big one. I’m gonna spank her now.”
Female voices murmur off-screen, quiet and worried. A light comes on, illuminating a child’s bedroom. Within a minute, a face is attached to the angry man’s voice.
The face belongs to Aransas County (Texas) Court-at-Law Judge William Adams. For the next six minutes, the judge will manhandle his 16-year-old daughter, Hillary Adams, spit profanity in her face and repeatedly use his full force to lash her legs with a leather strap.
If you fail to pass the video’s one-minute mark, you are probably not alone among its more than seven million viewers.
Though not posted until 2011, the captured abuse—certainly this violence cannot be judged to be anything else—took place in 2004. When the evidence surfaced, Adams, after plenty of time for self-examination, displayed no remorse for his actions.
He decreed: “In my mind, I haven’t done anything wrong other than discipline my child.”
Adams must have presumed that his opinion on matters of domestic violence was pretty much law. After all, his judicial duties at the time of the beating included presiding over family abuse and neglect cases.
The judge’s view that he had committed no grave offence was upheld Tuesday by the Texas Supreme Court, which reinstated Adams to the bench. The beater had been suspended with pay ($144,000 annually) since November 2011.
Adams’s former wife, and Hillary’s mother, Hallie Adams, spoke to the Associated Press in reaction to the lifted suspension. “Hillary and I are both really sad today. I really wanted to see the public protected.”
Judge William Adams is up for reelection in 2014. If you’d like to see him voted out of office, share this post.
‘Legitimate Rape’ Politician Seeks Votes By Exploiting Sexual Abuse
Republican Missouri Congressman Todd Akin is locked in what polling statistics show is a losing battle for six years in the United States Senate against Democrat Claire McCaskill. Akin may have at one time had a forcible legitimate shot at unseating McCaskill, but that time became a thing of the past on the day in August when Akin became a national outrage.
While on television defending his absolute opposition to a woman’s right to abortion, even in the case of rape, Akin explained, “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing [reproductive process] down.”
Coining the term “legitimate rape” has placed Akin in the ranks of this election cycle’s enduring wordsmiths, but his verbal wizardry is widely assumed to have alienated voters who are female or have real regard for any human who is a female.
To counter the perception of its candidate as a cold, unfeeling Neanderthal with no grasp of the feminine psyche, or human decency, Akin’s campaign has released a new ad that should clear up once and for all any doubt that the congressman views women as objects necessary to obtaining his ends.
The one-minute spot opens with a woman who states her name as Kelly, and follows with her credentials:
“I’m a full-time student and a single mother. I’m a woman who’s had an abortion. I’ve been raped in my past.”
This may seem like a case of too much information too soon, considering we have just met Kelly, but suspend judgment and hear her out.
“The reason that I’m voting for Todd and that I’m so proud of him is because he defends the unborn. He’s a kind man, a compassionate man. He has so much integrity.”
But not so much compassion and integrity that he can find a way to go about losing this election that doesn’t entail exploiting Kelly’s personal history.
“He has a heart for our country. He has a heart for the citizens, one that I have probably never besides him encountered.”
The campaign spot closes out with an appearance by the candidate: “I’m Todd Akin, and I approve this message.”
Of course he approves. The message is intended to portray Akin as a man who is trusted and respected by women, and who has the heart and integrity to defend the freedoms of women and their unborn children.
That depiction might be slightly more credible, although still less than fully credible, if Akin hadn’t contradicted it in October by describing his opponent, Senator Claire McCaskill, who is both a woman and a Democrat, as “one of those dogs” in Washington that plays “fetch.”
If you’re outraged that Congressman Todd Akin has played a rape card once again, share this post with your online friends, and Stand Up for Women.
The Writer of ‘Slander,’ ‘Godless,’ ‘Guilty’ and ‘Demonic’ Embodies Them All
Let’s now praise Ann Coulter for one thing: The reactionary polemicist openly admits she likes to “stir up the pot” and “does not pretend to be impartial or balanced.” That’s how she makes her money.
Coulter’s imbalanced stirring dipped to crappy low when, summing up the Presidential debates between Barack Obama and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, she tweeted: “I highly approve of Romney’s decision to be kind and gentle to the retard.”
Ours is a country founded and enduring on the right to employ harsh rhetorical invective. Political campaigns and current-events commentary in this nation have in common the need to cut through layers of stultifying facts to touch and activate the dormant curiosity, intelligence and outrage of the American public.
Coulter’s dismissal of President Obama’s mental faculties is in line with a tone of discourse that has been the norm of this country since at least the advent of cable television.
Her travesty is in degrading a defenseless group of individuals, who pose no threat to her or to her way of life, who by definition are very unlikely to muster a counterargument to her polemics, a group of people that every human’s inherent shreds of decency dictate we care for and encourage. Coulter uses these people and their distinctive characteristics as a cudgel of belittlement.
Trotting out the word retard to describe mentally impaired individuals is an outmoded form of expression. Someone with Coulter’s intellectual and educational privilege would hopefully find a better way of categorizing someone whose perceived fault was to be born into a lower IQ pool.
To, furthermore, wield that outmoded expression as an embodiment of insulting denigration adds malice to inadvertence.
It is impossible to give serious consideration to the reasoning of anyone unable to muster the situational awareness to keep vulnerable classes of people out of their combat rhetoric.
Ann Coulter should retract her insult and choose her words with something like wisdom going forward.
Does Ann Coulter’s example encourage you to shake your head in open-mouthed outrage? Share this post with your friends.
Joe Walsh Believes Life-Saving Procedures Should Be Banned for Women
Exhibiting a compassion vacuum and ignorance of medical science to rival the Taliban brain trust, United States Congressman Joe Walsh (R-IL) has declared that pregnancy carries no risk of maternal death. Therefore, in the mind and on the legislative wish list of Joe Walsh, abortion should never be granted as a means to save a woman’s life.
While campaigning for a second House term, Walsh misinformed Chicago reporters with the false statement that abortion is “absolutely” not medically necessary to save a pregnant woman’s life. From Bloomberg Businessweek:
“There’s no such exception as life of the mother,” Walsh said. “And as far as health of the mother, same thing, with advances in science and technology. Health of the mother has become a tool for abortions any time, under any reason.”
Walsh’s assessment of lethal risks of pregnancy is at odds with statistics from the Centers for Disease Control. By the CDC’s count, 1,294 American women perished in pregnancy-related deaths during 2006 and 2007; the rate of pregnancy-related deaths during those years was recorded at 15.1 per 100,000 live births—in the U.S.
In fact, deaths during childbirth are so common that the World Health Organization (WHO) has a term for the phenomenon: “maternal mortality.”
The WHO tracks these deaths globally and, as of May 2012, estimates that “maternal mortality is unacceptably high. About 800 women die from pregnancy- or childbirth-related complications around the world every day.”
Walsh’s challenger to represent Illinois’s 8th District is Tammy Duckworth, a double-amputee Iraq War veteran.
Photo: Tom Williams/Getty
Mr. Dumb Shirt
Maintaining a functioning, fair and free democracy is impossible without a nation’s citizenry engaging in a civil and informed political discourse. The need for vigorous debate is one reason why the First Amendment of the United States Constitution guarantees that Americans can say whatever lame thing that pops into their heads in support of their ludicrous political views.
But there is not a country in the world where the self-evident truths that all men are created equal and endowed with certain unalienable rights is advanced by divisive, insulting, hateful, racist, fist-minded sloganeering.
Still, you hope for a more-reasoned evaluation of presidential attributes than skin color.
The “Put the White Back in the White House” t-shirt worn by a supporter of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney inside a Lancaster, Ohio, campaign event on Friday, October 12, 2012, would be more appropriate attire at a National Socialist German Workers’ Party Rally in 1933.
A Romney spokesperson, according to Buzzfeed, “commented that the shirt was reprehensible and has no place in this election.”
Unfortunately, racism—if the Twitter evidence collected on Colorlines is any indication—has an entrenched place in this presidential race.
For all the progress America was proud to have made by electing the first African American president of its history in 2008, the message of 2012’s proud bigotry is that every advance needs to be vigilantly protected—and we still have a far way to go.
If you’re feeling the outrage, share this post with your friends.
Photo: Jamie Sabau/Getty Images
Politician Clarifies and Repeats Father’s ‘Girls Rape Easy’ Folklore
Back in December 2011, Rivard, a freshman Republican representative for Rice Lake, told the Chetek Alert newspaper that his father had warned him as a young fellow that “some girls rape easy.”
Rivard’s familial wisdom was passed along as commentary on sexual assault charges against a local 17-year-old high-school boy accused of having sex with an underage girl in his school’s band room.
The legislator’s words were meant to point out that the morning after a sexual assault encounter, a girl might change her mind and depict that encounter as forced.
On Wednesday, Rivard spoke to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel to clarify his comments. He said the Chetek Alert had presented his father’s advice—part of a cautionary lecture against premarital sex—out of context.
“He also told me one thing, ‘If you do [have premarital sex], just remember, consensual sex can turn into rape in an awful hurry,’ ” Rivard said. “Because all of a sudden a young lady gets pregnant and the parents are madder than a wet hen and she’s not going to say, ‘Oh, yeah, I was part of the program.’ All that she has to say or the parents have to say is it was rape because she’s underage. And he just said, ‘Remember, Roger, if you go down that road, some girls,’ he said, ‘they rape so easy.’
“What the whole genesis of it was, it was advice to me, telling me, ‘If you’re going to go down that road, you may have consensual sex that night and then the next morning it may be rape.’ So the way he said it was, ‘Just remember, Roger, some girls, they rape so easy. It may be rape the next morning.’
“So it’s been kind of taken out of context.”
In further context, the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network is available to remind Representative Rivard that every two minutes someone in the United States is sexually assaulted. Of America’s 207,754 annual sexual assault victims, 44 percent are under age 18. Approximately two-thirds of victims are acquainted with their attackers, which—along with attitudes such as Roger Rivard’s—may factor in to why only 54 percent of sexual assaults are reported to police and 97 percent of rapists never spend a day in jail.
Michelle Dunaj’s ‘End-of-Life’ Hawaii Journey Starts With Open View Humiliation
Michelle Dunaj, a Michigan woman currently living through the final stages of leukemia, is fully aware of the civic duty taken on by every American following the tragic crimes of September 11, 2001, the passage of the Patriot Act, and the subsequent empowerment of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).
Being on the tight schedule inherent to the terminal stages of leukemia, Dunaj also realizes the importance of planning ahead. Prior to arriving at the Seattle Tacoma Sea-Tac airport on October 2 en route to Hawaii, Dunaj notified her air carrier that she would be traveling with medications. She asked for instructions on packing her medical supplies and requested a wheelchair to meet her upon arrival at Sea-Tac.
Nothing really went wrong in what the 34-year-old woman describes as her “end-of-life journey” until she reached the TSA security checkpoint set up between her and her flight to Hawaii. Dunaj says she presented the documentation for her feeding tubes and all her prescriptions.
In response, a TSA agent punctured and contaminated one of five bags of saline solution, fluid Dunaj requires to stay alive, and a female TSA agent directed Dunaj to lift her shirt during a full pat down and pull back bandages from a recent surgery in open view of other passengers in the security line.
After being frisked, Dunaj says she was pressured to hurry on as if she had held up the line.
In exchange for boarding an airplane, U.S. travelers have given up their rights to wear shoes and belts, possess liquids, deny a stranger’s hand access to their cleavage and crotches, or shield their primary sexual characteristics from X-ray scans that simultaneously expose and (potentially) fry our private parts.
These invasions of our personal space—and our individual liberty—are the price that the citizens of the world’s greatest democracy pay to remain free while winning the war on terror.
The end date for the TSA’s enhanced security measures is beyond anybody’s guess, but its search-and-divert policies will probably outlive Michelle Dunaj, a sad fact that certainly is not lost upon her.
“I figure if nothing else,” Dunaj told the AP, “[sharing her experience] might help someone in the future and encourage people facing the same challenges I have faced to do what they want to do and see things before it’s too late.
“Hawaii was one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen... number 1 on my bucket list.”
If you have a bucket list, and it doesn’t include TSA public humiliation of people dying of cancer, let the world know by sharing this post.
Attacker Wants Daddy Time With Child of Rape
In 2009, a 20-year-old man raped a 14-year-old Massachusetts girl he’d met through friends from church. The girl became pregnant from the sexual assault. The discovery of the pregnancy led to the girl’s mother finding out about the rape. The mother went to police; the 20-year-old male was arrested and charged. He pleaded guilty to four counts of statutory rape.
The girl, following her Christian beliefs, carried through her pregnancy on the grounds that the “innocent” child deserved to be brought to life.
The baby girl is now a three-year-old toddler, apparently thriving in a loving family, but one thing is keeping this story from it’s happily-ever-after conclusion:
The 14-year-old’s rapist, who was sentenced by Norfolk Superior Court Judge Thomas McGuire to 16 years probation in 2011, is seeking visitation rights to the child born from the rape.
“She got raped at 14,” said the victim’s mother. “She decided to keep her baby. And now she has to hand her baby over for a visit with her rapist?”
Wendy Murphy, an attorney representing the family of the rape victim, believes that sentencing conditions that required the rapist father to pay child support should be amended to prevent the man from seeking any contact with the child.
“Punishing the man with the privilege of parental rights? That’s way past irony,” said Murphy.
According to an analysis conducted for the Georgetown Law Journal by rape victim Shauna R. Prewitt, who became pregnant from her attack and is raising that child, only 16 states have laws that prevent rapists from claiming parental rights.
Is there ever an exception when a rapist should be allowed visitation rights to a child resulting from his rape? Say what you feel in COMMENTS.
NFL Star Brendon Ayanbadejo Attacked Over Gay Rights Stance
It's not every day that a pro-footballer comes out in support of marriage equality or gay rights. After all, NFL locker rooms aren't exactly known for being welcoming to folks who don't fit the stereotype of a macho pro-baller. So that's why Baltimore Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo's vocal and persistent support of marriage equality and gay rights has been so refreshing to those who back the cause.
Given his track record, it came as little surprise when Ayanbadejo offered up two tickets to the Ravens' home opener as a fundraiser for Marylanders for Marriage Equality, part of a coalition aiming to defeat a November ballot measure that would block newly enacted gay marriage rights in Maryland.
"I am requesting that you take the necessary action, as a National Football Franchise Owner, to inhibit such expressions from your employee and that he be ordered to cease and desist such injurious actions. I know of no other NFL player who has done what Mr. Ayanbadejo is doing."
For the record, the Ravens are standing by their man and his First Amendment right to support marriage equality. And so are his fellow players.
Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe released his own (hilarious, profanity-laced) letter to Burns. The entire thing is worth a read, but in the punter's, er, kicker...he writes:
"I've also been vocal as hell about the issue of gay marriage so you can take your 'I know of no other NFL player who has done what Mr. Ayanbadejo is doing' and shove it in your..."
We think you can figure out the rest...
Photo: NOH8 Campaign.
Dr. Dominic Pedulla Is All About ‘Truly Non-Consensual Acts’
Congressman Todd Akin’s medieval assertion that “if it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down” is the gift to ignorance that keeps giving.
In Dominic Pedulla’s self-proclaimed enlightened view:
Even though he [Congressman Akin] used the unfortunate phrase “legitimate rape,” he seemed by this to mean “actual rape,” “forcible rape”; i.e., truly non-consensual acts -- a distinction of physiological and scientific significance.
For distinctions of moral and ethical significance, consult Dr. Pedulla’s twist of logic arguing that conception by rape is all the greater reason to deny a woman reproductive choice:
Rape … is a violent act perpetrated against an innocent victim.
But this also, it turns out, is a really good definition of abortion.
If we can't bring ourselves to condemn all acts of violence against innocents—I mean all, everywhere, without exception—then we are saying that some victims just don’t count, and that we care more about our own political agendas than about real victimization.
Dr. Pedulla is executive director of the Edith Stein Foundation—an organization that, to quote its website, is “advocating the dignity of women through fostering a non-contraceptive culture.”
Rape seems to be the one acceptable form of contraception in Dr. Pedulla’s conception of God’s will:
It is more than clear that an acute act of violence would easily seem to be just the kind of stressor uniquely capable of interfering with ovulation or even implantation, in the event conception occurred.
More than clear… would easily seem to be? In other words, maybe, just maybe…
Dr. Pedulla, like anyone, is entitled, in fact encouraged, to hold a strong belief in the sanctity of human existence.
But to use the fundamental recognition that life is precious as a springboard for lofting arguments to justify and further entrench the imbecilic, misogynistic false facts of Congressmen Todd Akin cannot, in good faith, be called prolife.
Historically Black College Extends Process Against Diversity
Sid Credle, dean of the business school at Virginia’s historically black Hampton University, has a fixed idea of what an MBA candidate should look like.
Since 2001, male students enrolled in Hampton’s five-year MBA program have been forbidden from wearing dreadlocks or cornrows in class.
The ban has caused friction among diverse Hampton students over the years, but Credle’s resistance to the free expression of personal style has not been budged by the passage of time.
“If you’re going to play baseball, you wear baseball uniforms,” insisted Dean Credle this week. “If you're going to play tennis, you wear tennis uniforms.”
Some people might feel that a hairstyle is not among the more significant barriers to a student’s learning process, but this logic is lost on Credle, who cites historical precedence: “I said when was it that cornrows and dreadlocks were a part of African American history? I mean, Muhammad Ali didn’t wear it. Martin Luther King didn’t wear it.”
President Barack Obama delivered the commencement address for Hampton University’s graduating class of 2010—some members of that class are pictured above. Lucky for the president, his hair is neat and trim.
Is Credle’s “no braids for men” dictum a helpful preparation for the working world, or an impediment to wider acceptance of African American culture? Leave your thoughts in COMMENTS.
Photo: Jason Reed/Reuters
A Sign That Should Be Relegated to the Scrapheap of U.S. History
Ohio father Michael Gunn testified to the Ohio Civil Rights Commission last Friday that Jamie Hein, landlord at a Cincinnati duplex where Gunn rented an apartment, placed a sign that read WHITE ONLY on a gate to the duplex’s swimming pool. Gunn contends that the sign was directed at his 10-year-old African American daughter.
Hein, according to Gunn, blamed the 10-year-old’s hair products for clouding the pool over Memorial Day weekend in 2011 and three days later posted the exclusionary sign, a reminder of America’s not-so-distant past of institutionalized racism.
“Jim Crow” is a concept so long out of fashion that most Americans only know it through history classes. The term refers to a system of local laws enacted in the United States between 1876 and 1965 that denied African Americans access to services and businesses reserved exclusively for the use of white patrons. These services and businesses ranged from lunch counters and public toilets to hospital emergency rooms.
Love, they say, is blind, and true love knows no limits, barriers or boundaries, depending on what source is cited, but just don’t consult congregants of the First Baptist Church of Crystal Springs, Mississippi, about any colorblind passion. In particular, don’t ask the First Baptist Church of Crystal Springs, Mississippi, about all that love mush if you happen to be a black couple in search of a venue for your wedding.
Charles and Te’Andrea Wilson, a black couple, say they often attended services at the First Baptist Church of Crystal Springs. Te’Andrea’s father is a member of the First Baptist Church of Crystal Springs, and she has an uncle who is an employee there. Still, First Baptist Church, in a suburb of Jackson, Mississippi, has never hosted a black wedding since its inception in 1883.
Rather than risk his job security by officiating at the First Baptist Church’s first black wedding in its 129-year history, Pastor Stan Weatherford, according to ABC News, elected to hitch the Wilsons at a nearby black church.
Both black and white residents of the 5,000-person Crystal Springs community expressed dismay at their town becoming a poster child for Southern racist intransigence, and officials from both the Mississippi Baptist Convention and the Southern Baptist Convention expressed embarrassment.
“Our entire country, and especially here in Mississippi, has been on a long journey for right racial relationships,” said the Mississippi Baptist Convention’s Jim Futral.
The Reverend Fred Luter, the first black head of the Southern Baptist Convention, termed the Crystal Springs incident “unfortunate,” and “an isolated incident from which pastors can learn.”
If you’re outraged by what you’ve learned about the First Baptist Church of Crystal Springs, and its refusal to marry Charles and Te’Andrea Wilson, click on a SHARE button.
Savannah Dietrich: “If I have to go to jail for my rights, I will do it.”
Savannah Dietrich, a 17-year-old Louisville, Kentucky, girl, was sexually assaulted by two teenage male acquaintances in August 2011, when she was 16. While sexually abusing Dietrich, the teens photographed their crime and later shared the pictures with friends.
Savannah Dietrich is facing contempt of court charges for naming these two assailants on Twitter. Chris Klein and David Mejia, attorneys for the perpetrators, are insisting that Dietrich’s tweets violated Judge Dee McDonald’s order that the perpetrators’ names be kept confidential.
Dietrich could spend up to 180 days in jail and be fined $500 if found guilty of contempt.
“There you go,” she tweeted after naming her attackers, “lock me up. Protect rapist is more important than getting justice for the victim in Louisville.”
A Change.org petition asking Judge McDonald to throw out all charges against Savannah Dietrich is well on its way to a goal of 75,000 signatures. Signing that petition is one way to help.
Dietrich was sexually assaulted at a party after she’d passed out.
In a deal agreement with prosecutors on June 26, the felons pleaded guilty to first-degree sexual abuse and misdemeanor voyeurism. Their sentencing has not yet been announced, and Dietrich did not reveal any details of the sentencing other than her opinion that the terms are far too lenient.
A hearing for Savannah Dietrich’s contempt of court charge is scheduled for July 30. The victim’s attorneys want the hearing open to the press and public; lawyers for the criminals want the proceedings conducted in private.
“If I have to go to jail for my rights, I will do it,” Dietrich told the Louisville Courier-Journal: “If they really feel it’s necessary to throw me in jail for talking about what happened to me ... as opposed to throwing these boys in jail for what they did to me, then I don’t understand justice.”
UPDATE: On Monday, July 23, attorneys for the two teens who attacked Savannah Dietrich withdrew their contempt motion against her. Attorney David Mejia cited widespread Internet interest in Dietrich as a factor in deciding to withdraw the contempt motion he had filed against the girl.
If what has happened and is happening to Savannah Dietrich outrages you, hit a SHARE button for this post.
Photo: Savymarie via Twitter
Funny Like Ha Ha?
Daniel Tosh is a comedian who hosts his own television show, Tosh.0 on Comedy Central. As a former telemarketer, chances are he was hung up on a lot.
According to a first-person account at the Cookies for Breakfast tumblr blog, this past Friday night, the comic asked from the stage of the Los Angeles Laugh Factory if it would be humorous if a woman who objected to his rape jokes “got raped by like, 5 guys right now? Like right now? What if a bunch of guys just raped her…”
The Cookies for Breakfast account spread fast and far enough around the Internet that Tosh tweeted a partial apology (claiming to have been represented out of context) on Tuesday, and followed up the partial apology with a defense of making jokes about “awful things.”
Is rape ever something to joke about, even to make the point that it’s an awful thing? Leave thoughts in COMMENTS.
Police Detain Mom as 13-Year-Old Son Bleeds to Death
Milwaukee police Chief Ed Flynn defended the actions of Milwaukee homicide detectives who handcuffed and detained Patricia Larry in a police car for more than an hour after her 13-year-old son, Darius Simmons, had been shot and was dying outside a neighbor’s home.
John H. Spooner, a white 75-year-old Milwaukee man, reportedly admitted to police first responders on the scene that he had shot 13-year-old Darius.
Despite Spooner’s confession, officer’s prevented Patricia Larry from holding her fatally wounded son, riding with him in the ambulance or joining him at the hospital.
The shooting occurred on May 31 after Spooner confronted Simmons with accusations that the youth had participated in a burglary of Spooner’s home.
Police Chief Flynn acknowledged that while holding Darius Spooner’s mother, police searched her home for stolen firearms and arrested another son on a year-old truancy violation. From the Associated Press:
Flynn said investigators get only one chance to collect evidence and interview witnesses at the scene. That means keeping witnesses apart to prevent them from talking, even family members who are mourning and want to be together, he said.
John H. Spooner has pleaded not guilty to first-degree homicide charges in the admitted shooting.
Do you feel the treatment of Darius Simmons’s mother is an outrage? Then hit the share buttons to your left.
Congressman Hits Anti-Coal Mom With Child-Porn Smear
Anti-coal activist Maria Gunnoe is the focus of a child-porn investigation because she wanted U.S. congressmen to see a photo of a nude child bathing in polluted water. Gunnoe had intended to present the photo to the House Committee on Natural Resources as an illustration of the effects of mountaintop-removal coal mining.
Maria Gunnoe is an esteemed and effective anti-coal activist from West Virginia. Representative Doug Lamborn is a Republican congressman from Colorado. Lamborn is chairman of the House Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources.
Maria Gunnoe was scheduled to testify to the House Committee on Natural Resources this past Friday, June 1. Coal is a billion-dollar industry in representative Lamborn’s home state.
Just prior to appearing before the Committee on Natural Resources, Maria Gunnoe was approached by Lamborn staffers and told to remove a photograph from her presentation. The photograph showed a young girl sitting in a bathtub filled with unsettling, opaque water.
Gunnoe had intended the photo to underline her point that, “We are forced to bathe our children in polluted water. Or not bathe them.” As the mother of two told Mother Jones:
Such water is common in taps near mountaintop-removal sites, and often contains high levels of arsenic, which can seep into groundwater via underground cracks caused by mining explosions.
Lamborn’s staffers told the activist mother that the visual of the little girl in the tub had been deemed unacceptable for committee viewing. Gunnoe removed the slide.
In 2009 Maria Gunnoe won the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize for her campaigns against mountaintop-removal coal mining. Following Gunnoe’s censored testimony to the U.S. Congress on Friday, Capitol Police Special Agent Randall Hayden directed her into an isolated room. Coal-friendly Representative Doug Lamborn had phoned the Capitol police and alerted them that a potential child pornographer—Maria Gunnoe—was on the loose in the Capitol Building. The special agent held Gunnoe for an hour with queries about the contested photo.
As of late Monday, Capitol Police said they had “discovered no criminal activity” attached to the photo of a little girl forced to bathe in polluted water, but that the case is still open to prosecution.
If you’d like to see prosecutions against the parties responsible for pumping arsenic into children’s bathwater, then hit a share button for this outrage.
Oklahoma Doctor Denies Contraception to Rape Victim
A woman identified as Rhonda told an Oklahoma news broadcast that her 24-year-old daughter sought treatment at Oklahoma City’s Canadian Valley Hospital after being raped and was denied the so-called morning-after pill.
An Oklahoma state law allows medical personnel to deny medications to patients if the medication violates the health provider’s personal beliefs. So pharmacists in Tulsa, for instance, are not necessarily obligated to fill a prescription for birth control pills.
According to Rhonda, the Canadian Valley Hospital doctor refused to provide emergency contraception because the so-called morning-after pill “goes against my beliefs.”
Insists Rhonda: “She knew my daughter had just been raped.”
Rape victims have been denied morning-after pills in Pennsylvania in 2006 and in Arizona in 2005. Presume that this is an extremely incomplete list.
Six states (Arizona,Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Mississippi, and South Dakota) have passed laws allowing a pharmacist to refuse to dispense emergency contraception drugs. Colorado, Florida, Illinois,Maine and Tennesee have broad refusal clauses that do not specifically mention pharmacists.
If the hospital’s parent company, Integris, is to be believed, the Canadian Valley Hospital “is considered to be one of the most state-of-the-art health care facilities in Oklahoma.”
On top of withholding emergency contraception, Integris’s “state-of the-art health care facility” was unable to provide a rape kit to Rhonda’s daughter. Citing state budget cuts, hospitals in the area assign Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANE nurses) on a rotating system.
If you are outraged that doctors and pharmacists are putting their beliefs ahead of women’s health, share this story.
‘Ain’t No Homos Gonna Make It to Heaven’: Video
Greensburg, Indiana’s Apostolic Truth Tabernacle Church has gone Internet viral with a mashup of Sister O. M. Terrell’s original version of “The Bible’s Right,” as warbled from the mouth of a 4-year-old boy.
Unfortunately, the Christian values of “love your neighbor as you love yourself” and treating “the least of these” brothers as you would treat Jesus Christ Himself seem to have fallen out of grace at Apostolic Truth Tabernacle.
In its traditional structure, Sister O. M. Terrell’s roots gospel hymn warns against adultery, lying and dissipation. Cautionary verses such as “tell you once, tell you twice, can’t get to heaven with another man’s wife” and “can't tell lies and go there too” encourage a respect for fidelity and truthfulness, core behaviors essential to the vision of a faithful American nation.
The Apostolic Truth Tabernacle’s remix of “The Bible’s Right” pushes helpful admonitions into the arena of hate speech.
“I know the Bible’s right, somebody’s wrong,” sings the child, “ain’t no homos gonna make it to heaven.”
The congregation erupts in applause, adults leap to their feet and embrace the child as if the word of God has been delivered from the mouth of this babe.
Greensburg, Indiana, by the way, is the same town where 15-year-old Billy Lucas killed himself inside the family barn in September 2010. Classmates had bullied Billyl Lucas with anti-gay slurs, abuse that friends described as constant and unaddressed by school personnel.
“I know the Bible’s right,” sighs the ghost of Sister O. M. Terrell, “somebody’s wrong…. Can’t be full of hate and squeeze past the Pearly Gate.”
If this homophobic talent show grates on your sense of decency or spirituality, go ahead and hit the share button.
Facebook Deletes Photos of Baby With Birth Defects
Heather Walker of Tennessee endured the agony of saying goodbye to her son Grayson on the same day he was born. To preserve a memory of her boy, Heather took to her Facebook page and posted photos of Grayson Walker. Facebook deleted the photos and, according to Heather Walker, suspended her account.
Grayson Walker was born with anencephaly, a neural birth defect that results in babies being born missing portions of their skulls and brains. Grayson died eight hours after Heather gave birth to him.
The initial photos of Grayson that Walker posted to her Facebook were flagged as “offensive” by an undisclosed Facebook user and removed by a site administrator. Feeling wronged by the removal of the images, Heather posted further photos of her son. Presumably, these photos too were deemed “offensive,” and Heather’s account was temporarily shut down.
An apology has been issued from Facebook, and Heather Walker’s page has been reinstated, with photos of Grayson intact.
Heather told WMC TV that she accepts the Facebook apology.
“Just in two days, all these people have messaged me telling me how much God has used Grayson’s life to touch them and to work in their hearts and to make them appreciate the children they have, that they have healthy children.”
The Walker family’s full photo album with Grayson is online here. Before you click on the link, be prepared for a genuine emotional experience.
If you appreciate the Walker family’s generosity in sharing their time with Grayson, say so in COMMENTS and share their story.
Mississippi State Rep.: Coat Hanger Abortions Are a Sign of Moral Values
Mississippi State Representative Bubba Carpenter is so proud that his home state is finally “for one time … first in the nation” about something that he took to the lectern at an Alcorn County GOP meeting to share his pride.
Before consulting the video, see if you can pick Mississippi’s nation-leading achievement from this list of three possiblities:
A school-lunch program that ensures every child in Mississippi will meet healthy nutritional standards?
Revamping Mississippi’s public education system, raising the state’s college acceptance rates by 60 percent?
Passing a Roe v. Wade workaround that effectively makes legal abortions unattainable in Mississippi?
Take a clue from Bubba Carpenter’s verbal victory lap.
“You have the other side, they’re like, ‘Well, the poor pitiful women that can’t afford to go out of state [for abortions] are just going to start doing them at home with a coat hanger.’ That’s what we’ve heard over and over and over. But, hey! You have to have moral values.”
So here is a question for comments: What’s creepier, Bubba’s sentiments, or the round of Alcorn County GOP applause they receive?
Trayvon Martin Gun Range Targets Sold Online
A fresh coating of exploitative shame has been smeared onto Trayvon Martin’s tragic shooting death. Ten-packs of gun range targets designed to evoke the image of slain teenager Trayvon Martin have been offered for sale on an Internet gun site. According to Click Orlando, the targets do not depict Trayvon Martin’s face, but feature the silhouette of a darkened male wearing a hoodie and carrying an iced tea and a pack of Skittles.
On February 26, 2012, while wearing a hoodie and carrying a pack of Skittles and an iced tea, unarmed 17-year-old African American Trayvon Martin was fatally shot in Sanford, Florida, by 28-year-old community watch volunteer George Zimmerman. Initially not arrested for any crime, Zimmerman’s actions ignited a nationwide furor. On April 11, 2012, a special prosecutor charged the shooter with murder of the second degree.
Reportedly, the cash-motivated entrepreneurs selling the Martin target “support Zimmerman and believe he is innocent and that he shot a thug.”
The ad offering the Martin targets has been removed.
Photo: Screen Grab
Autistic Teen Tortured by 31 Electric Shocks in School Video
The Judge Rotenberg Educational Center in Canton, Massachusetts, is a facility for special needs students that, according to its website, specializes in “very effective education and treatment to both emotionally disturbed students with conduct, behavior, emotional, and/or psychiatric problems and developmentally delayed students with autistic-like behaviors.”
For 39 years, the Rotenberg Center has employed “aversive” strategies in behavior control and modification of its students. These strategies include electric shocks applied by a Taser-like implement. A critical 2007 article in Mother Jones magazine placed the center under scrutiny for what is viewed as senseless and ineffective application of torture to the children in its care.
Although the school defends its methodology on its website, Rotenberg founder Matthew Israel resigned in May 2011, reportedly as part of a plea bargain to avoid jail time. One year later, that decision must seem prescient.
In early April, an eight-year-old video (above) of a child being shocked 31 times while under the care of Judge Rotenberg personnel was shown during a civil trial brought against the center by the boy’s mother.
As of May 8, 2012, nearly 220,000 signatures had been collected to a Change.org petition demanding that JRC stop shocking students now.
This Week in Revolting Pro-Life Attack Tactics
Abortion is one of the most divisive issues and deeply held personal beliefs across America today. For many people, a position on abortion takes the form of a crusade.
Todd Stave, for instance, is a landlord. He leases a building in Germantown, Maryland, to Reproductive Health Services Clinic, a facility that provides abortions. Since 2010, Todd Stave has been the brunt of all manner of crusades, from picket signs outside his places of business, to protesters massing at his daughter’s junior high school, to harassing phone calls from pro-life activists arriving at his home all hours of the day and night.
In early May 2012, reports Jezebel, a man named William Simpson, affiliated with the Defend Life organization, distributed graphic flyers in the neighborhood of Stave’s wife’s parents. The flyers asked, “What happened to your neighbor after she met and married…Todd Michael Stave?”
A photo collage of aborted fetuses answers that question.
Stave has no legal recourse against his image, his home address, his car license plate, and his work schedule being distributed by hand and over the Internet by anti-abortion extremists, with a marksman’s target superimposed above his face.
At least eight people, including four doctors, have been killed in U.S. antiabortion violence since 1993.
Pastor Sean Harris Urges Parents to Beat the Gay Out of Kids
Senior Pastor Sean Harris of Berean Baptist Church in Fayetteville, North Carolina, presents a narrow view of salvation to his flock. Heaven’s Pearly Gates, to judge by video of a Harris sermon uploaded to YouTube, are not portals of entry for his congregation’s dearly departed gay souls.
Take a few moments to watch Harris’s preaching in action.
Now try to determine what is more disturbing about the video you have just seen.
Harris saying, “Dads, the second you see your son dropping the limp wrist, you walk over there and crack that wrist. Man up! Give him a good punch”?
Or the “amen” chorus from the congregation?
Autistic 10-Year-Old Akian Chaifetz Bullied at School—by Teachers
New Jersey single father Stuart Chaifetz was alarmed by notes he received from Horace Mann Elementary School in Cherry Hill, the school his 10-year-old son attends. The letters alleged that Stuart’s boy, Akian Chaifetz, was acting out violently against school staff.
Stuart and Akian, who is autistic, met with a behaviorist. The behaviorist discovered no reason for Akian’s supposed outbursts. Determined to uncover the truth behind the agitation, Stuart sent his son to school wearing a recording device.
Akian returned home with a six-hour audio track that captured the boy being harassed and verbally bullied by teachers. The student was mocked, called a “bastard” and told, “Shut your mouth.”
Subsequent to the audiotape being uploaded to YouTube on April 20, 2012, one of Akian’s tormenters was relieved from employment, and Stuart launched an online petition calling for New Jersey lawmakers to pass a law mandating immediate firing for teachers who bully children.