Oy Vey…

Via nymag.com

A featured speaker in CPAC’s “Saving Freedom for Future Generations” panel this morning (we are subjecting ourselves to all of this for you, readers) was Jason Mattera, the spokesman for Young America’s Foundation, a conservative group whose mission is to inspire America’s youth with the principles of conservatism. How did he go about doing that today? By obnoxiously deriding college courses on feminism. Did you know, for example, that the University of Michigan offers a class on Native American feminism? HA HA HA. You would have to be downright intellectually curious to give a shit about that. Mattera ended this segment of his speech with a joke that used Barney Frank’s gayness as punchline. Great job, Republicans — if it were 1950, you’d have made a lot of new converts today.

Read more: GOP Tries to Win Over Young Voters by Mocking Feminism, Gays — Daily Intel http://nymag.com/daily/intel/2010/02/gop_tries_to_win_over_young_vo.html#ixzz0g0PuhZcy

The sickness of American political discourse

Within a few hours of his death, suicide bomber Joe Stack has 442 fans on Facebook.

(As of 12:32 AM 2/19/2010.)

Update: As of 7:35 AM 2/19/2010, Stack has 580 fans.

Update: As of 9:46 AM 2/19/2010, Stack has 656 fans.

Update: As of 2:17 PM 2/19/2010, Stack has 871 fans.

Update: As of 7:18 PM 2/19/2010, Stack has 1,175 fans.

Most of the people in the group claim to disavow Stack’s terrorist actions. This is incoherent. The “philosophy of Joseph Stack” that they have become fans of terminates at the logical conclusion “[V]iolence not only is the answer, it is the only answer.” Many people believe there are dysfunctions in our political system. Many people resent paying taxes. Many people believe our collected tax dollars don’t help those who most need it. None of these ideas originate with Stack. His only unique contribution is the prescription “Violence is the only answer” to improving the system.

Private plane crashes into Austin, TX IRS building; two unaccounted for

Via the NY Times:

A software engineer furious with the Internal Revenue Service plowed his small plane into an office building housing nearly 200 federal tax employees on Thursday, officials said, setting off a raging fire that sent workers fleeing as thick plumes of black smoke poured into the air.

A U.S. law official identified the pilot as Joseph Stack — whose home was set on fire just before the crash — and said investigators were looking at an anti-government message on the Web linked to him. The Web site outlines problems with the IRS and says violence ”is the only answer.”

Federal law enforcement officials have said they were investigating whether the pilot, who is presumed to have died in the crash, slammed into the Austin building on purpose in an effort to blow up IRS offices. All the officials spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation was ongoing.

”Violence not only is the answer, it is the only answer,” the long note on Stack’s Web site reads, citing past problems with the tax-collecting agency.

”I saw it written once that the definition of insanity is repeating the same process over and over and expecting the outcome to suddenly be different. I am finally ready to stop this insanity. Well, Mr. Big Brother IRS man, let’s try something different; take my pound of flesh and sleep well,” the note, dated Thursday, reads.

At least one person who worked in the building was unaccounted for and two people were hospitalized, said Austin Fire Department Division Chief Dawn Clopton. She did not have any information about the pilot. About 190 IRS employees work in the building, and IRS spokesman Richard C. Sanford the agency was trying to account for all of its workers. After the plane crashed into the building, flames shot out, windows exploded and workers scrambled to safety. Thick smoke billowed out of the second and third stories hours later as fire crews battled the blaze.

Stack is dead. Some reports say he had a passenger, also killed.

Because of his choice of targets and the strong anti-tax sentiment, some will probably try to tie Stack to the Tea Party movement.  This seems unlikely. Stack’s political convictions seem only to align with the populists’ on a blanket opposition to taxation. The terrorist’s rambling suicide note makes no reference to Pres. Obama, but does condemn George W. Bush. Unlike the libertarian and self-styled Constitutional originalist Tea Partiers, Stack’s antimosity is aimed equally at The State and capitalism, describing the “ideology” of American society “a total and complete lie,” and ending the screed thusly:

The communist creed: From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.

The capitalist creed: From each according to his gullibility, to each according to his greed.

GM specifically and “corporate greed” more broadly are also condemned.

Stack was disgruntled with the American healthcare system, and was apparently for the Obama’s reform program; he hated the government, but wasn’t afraid of death panels.

  [T]he joke we call the American medical system, including the drug and insurance companies, are murdering tens of thousands of people a year and stealing from the corpses and victims they cripple, and this country’s leaders don’t see this as important as bailing out a few of their vile, rich cronies.  Yet the political “representatives” (thieves, liars, and self-serving scumbags is far more accurate) have endless time to sit around for year after year and debate the state of the “terrible health care problem”.  It’s clear they see no crisis as long as the dead people don’t get in the way of their corporate profits rolling in.

Also, contra the populist movement’s theocratic conviction in a divine mandate for the American state, Stack rails against the Catholic Church and “the monsters of organized religion to make such a mockery of people who earn an honest living.”

MKE’s Archbishop Listecki defends his handling of sex abuse

 Via the Marquette Tribune:

Milwaukee Archbishop Jerome Listecki appeared before a standing-room-only crowd at Sensenbrenner Hall Tuesday, addressing the church’s handling of sexual abuse among priests during an “On the Issues” interview with Mike Gousha, distinguished fellow in law and public policy.

Recently, Listecki has come under fire after the arrest of Father Edmund Donkor-Baine, a priest from Guyana who visited LaCrosse when Listecki was bishop there. Donkor-Baine is charged with fourth-degree sexual assault for allegedly trying to indecently touch a woman he was counseling through a divorce. The priest is also accused of trying to force her to touch him.

Reportedly, the woman informed the Diocese of LaCrosse, which took no action. She then turned to the police. Listecki told reporters after Gousha’s interview that he had to side with Donkor-Baine because of a lack of evidence, and that his decision was justified. Listecki told Gousha the LaCrosse diocese was “extremely proactive” and ethical in the way it operated on the issue of sexual abuse. He said any allegations were a first priority and that he relied on the expertise of diocese board members to make decisions regarding sexual abuse.

Listecki testified before the state Senate Judiciary Committee on Jan. 12 in opposition to legislation that proposed a temporary removal of the statute of limitations on child sexual abuse cases.

I regret I can’t think of a less apoplectic way to phrase this: How can Listecki possibly justify opposing removing the stature of limitations on child rape?

A Jan. 22 letter from Eau Claire Police Chief Jerry Matysik to state Sen. Jon Erpenbach (D-Waunakee) accused Listecki of being intentionally misleading at the hearing. Listecki refuted the accusation, saying the diocese immediately reported cases of sexual abuse to authorities in every case. Listecki also responded to claims made by the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests that he has the “nation’s worst record” on dealing with child sex abuse.

A November 2009 SNAP press release stated the LaCrosse Diocese has left 64 percent of priests accused of sexual abuse in ministry, as opposed to the national average of under 10 percent. Listecki said those numbers don’t only reflect the time when he was bishop of LaCrosse, but include the prior time period. Listecki became bishop in March 2005, succeeding Raymond Burke, who left to become archbishop of St. Louis.

 Listecki also said he has no intention of talking with SNAP members, who have repeatedly requested a meeting.

“I don’t believe in politicizing the issue,” Listecki said. “Groups sometimes have other agendas in mind. I am always openly willing to meet with a victim, but SNAP, no.”

The reporter might not have had a chance to address Listecki directly, but the obvious follow-up question to this statement would be, “How, exactly, does SNAP politicize the issue?”

Readers will recall one of Listecki’s recent predecessors Rembert Weakland regularly shredded internal reports on sex abuse in the diocese.

Facebook

Number of fans of Sen. John McCain’s Facebook page: 542,032

Number of fans of Firefly’s Facebook page: 203, 391

Conclusion: In 2008, if there had been a write-in campaign for River Tam, John McCain would have lost 23,230,548 votes.

MUSG passes resolution opposing LGBTQ discrimination

Via The Tribune:

Tensions were high at the Marquette Student Government meeting Thursday as senators debated legislation about the social stigmatization of the LGBTQ community on campus. A resolution opposing discrimination of the LGBTQ community was approved unanimously, but more than an hour of debate centered on a proposed amendment related to Catholic teaching on homosexuality. Senator Bill Doerrer said he is glad the issue is receiving attention in the form of a resolution.

“I think it’s time that MUSG displays a message to coincide with its actions. This is a good first step in the right direction that will open the door so we can see where we can go with it,” said Doerrer, a senior in the College of Arts & Sciences. Senator Adam Ryback proposed an amendment to add to the resolution this statement: “Espousal of traditional Christian or specifically Catholic teaching on homosexuality, shall not, if done respectfully and in the appropriate context, be considered a ‘prejudicial attack’ or an expression of ‘prejudice.’”

Ryback, a sophomore in the College of Arts & Sciences, said support of the Catholic teaching might be considered an attack and MUSG cannot deny the fact that Marquette is a Catholic, Jesuit university. He said leaving the amendment out would leave room for ambiguity.

“This amendment was created solely for clarification of the Catholic teaching,” Ryback said. Senator Giuseppe Pappalardo said with a student population of 60 percent Catholic and 40 percent non-Catholic at Marquette, it is just as possible that non-Catholic students subject people to intentional and unintentional prejudicial attacks as it is that Catholic students might.

“We’re not saying everyone agrees with this (legislation),” said Pappalardo, a senior in the College of Arts & Sciences. “We’re saying 51.1 percent of the Marquette community agrees with this. Nowhere in this legislation are we taking a hit on the Catholic Church or on anybody’s views. I think this amendment would hurt the legislation.”

The motion to add the phrase amendment failed 23-4 and the motion to approve the resolution passed unanimously 27-0.

DC Archdiocese makes good on ultimadum, closes down foster-care program

Via the Washington Post:

The Catholic Archdiocese of Washington has ended its 80-year-old foster-care program in the District rather than license same-sex couples, the first fallout from a bitter debate over the city’s move to legalize same-sex marriage. Catholic Charities, which runs more than 20 social service programs for the District, transferred its entire foster-care program — 43 children, 35 families and seven staff members — to another provider, the National Center for Children and Families. Tommy Wells (D-Ward 6), the D.C. Council member who chairs the Committee on Human Services, said he didn’t know of any problems with the transfer, which happened Feb. 1. In addition to foster care, the center runs programs in Montgomery County and the District for homeless families and victims of domestic violence. The marriage bill, which was approved and signed in December, is expected to become law in the next couple of weeks if it clears a congressional review period.

Catholic Charities, which receives $20 million from the city, had sounded alarms in the run-up to the council vote, saying programs serving tens of thousands of people were in danger. Being forced to recognize same-sex marriage, church officials said, could make it impossible for the church to be a city contractor because Catholic teaching opposes same-sex marriage. The church and some experts said the city’s measure has narrower exemptions for religious groups than other same-sex marriage laws across the country, particularly when it comes to requiring benefits for the same-sex partners of employees. City officials knew of no other faith-based groups that said their city contracts were in jeopardy.

British broadcaster admits to euthanizing lover, is arrested

In a follow-up interview, Gosling said the decision was “terrible,” but has no regrets.

Today, Gosling was arrested by Nottinghamshire police on suspicion of murder.

Speaking as a lifelong supporter of legalization of assisted suicide, I hope Gosling cooperates with the justice system. It would be trivializing to call such cooperation or a guilty plea “civil disobedience.” But he is obliged to all other people forced to endure his own situation or that of his lover’s to remain virtuous, deferent, and level-headed in the days to come. The Anglophone world needs to seriously reconsider its legal treatment of such scenarios. In the coming years, I hope the law will be altered—through proper legal channels with no irregularities or grounds for objections on technical or parliamentary procedural grounds. We ought to be able to discuss assisted suicide as we do any other policy; and debaters must conform to civility and currently extant legal standards.  

Coverage on this is easily sensationalized. One almost despairs that the conversation may ever be started and maintained civilly.

However. The confession occurred only a few weeks after the nationally beloved author Terry Pratchett gave a frank, moving talk on “assisted death” at Richard Dimbleby Lecture from the Royal College of Physicians in London. I haven’t seen the entire special in which Gosling’s confession took place. But it appears tasteful, and by all appearances Gosling is a respected journalist and broadcaster. Britain might finally be  entering the conversation on this end-of-life option with honesty and openness.

Even creepier virginity fetishism

A Japanese company made…well…this…

[A] virgin sex doll, complete with a pop-able hymen! Oozing red lotion refills included, so every time you make sweet love stick it in, she’ll get fake blood all over your sheets.

Ewewewewew.

Do more women than men victim-blame?

Via the BBC:

A majority of women believe some rape victims should take responsibility for what happened, a survey suggests. Almost three quarters of the women who believed this said if a victim got into bed with the assailant before an attack they should accept some responsibility. One-third blamed victims who had dressed provocatively or gone back to the attacker’s house for a drink. The survey of more than 1,000 people in London marked the 10th anniversary of the Haven service for rape victims. More than half of those of both sexes questioned said there were some circumstances when a rape victim should accept responsibility for an attack.

The study found that women were less forgiving of the victim than men. Of the women who believed some victims should take responsibility, 71% thought a person should accept responsibility when getting into bed with someone, compared with 57% of men. Elizabeth Harrison from Haven said there was never an excuse for forcing a woman to do something she did not want to.

“Clearly, women are in a position where they need to take responsibility for themselves – but whatever you wear and whatever you do does not give somebody else the right to rape you.

“It’s important people take the time to actually look at what they are doing and make sure the person they are with is actually wanting to go ahead with what they are proposing.”

The survey also found more than one in 10 people were unsure whether they would report being raped to the police, and 2% said they would definitely not do so.

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