Catching Up, Probably a Bit TL;DR

One of the reasons I departed reality for Discworld was the tremendous amount of hatred floating around the internet and our society in general. Now that I have to leave Discworld and the wonderful characters of Sir Terry’s creation behind (*sniff*sniff*), I shall catch up on current events.

(With one quick addendum to my last post. I had forgotten that while the Rincewind novels are not particularly deep, but they are fall-out-of-your-bed-laughing funny.)

Anyway, on to more serious subjects:

Xenophobia

I have been completely disgusted by the virulent racism and xenophobia displayed by American citizens during the Syrian refugee crisis. They are not even coming to our shores yet and Americans are going completely ape-shit. Going beyond the sheer ignorance many display in having no understanding of the situation in Syria, (which is these people are trying to escape being caught between two groups, the Syrian Government and ISIS, who are completing for “The Worst Human Rights Abuses of the Decade” award), the constant refrains of “They’re  all terrorists! They all hate Western society and want to destroy it. They’re all freeloaders,” basically everything I observed a year ago only worse, proves that the United States is seriously at risk of become the new Nazi state, complete with a violent hatred towards a particular religious/ethnic group.

9/11

It’s funny how we never mark the anniversaries of the Oklahoma City Bombing, or the destruction of the affluent African American community in Tulsa to the point it was bombed by the military, or the massacres of Sandy Creek or Wounded Knee, or the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing.

But we have a national celebration of victimization every September 11th while the media constantly builds up the image of Muslims as a constant threat to America, whether they be nations like Iran, terrorist groups or even school kids.

3,000 people died in a horrific attack. But in the face of that assault on American ideals, American ideals failed. We fell to the devils of our nature, giving up our civil liberties in fear and falling into the most hysterical xenophobia I have ever seen in this nation. If 20 years ago you had asked me if I would ever see Americans talking with such venomous hatred about 1.6 billion people. I would have said no. America is a nation of immigrants. It has was part of what makes is strong and helped us rise to become a world power in a relatively short period of time.

And now we have become this.

So I can’t “celebrate” 9/11. I can only mourn it with shame.

Iran Deal

No, it’s not perfect, but it’s pretty good deal. People would know that if they bothered to read anything about it rather than listening right wing propaganda. And no, the Iranians will not be “inspecting themselves.” *rolls eyes*

Kim Davis

Constitution, Amendment 14, Section 1:  All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

That is why all the gay marriage bans are being overturned: They are unConstitutional. SCOTUS is not “making law.” It’s just pointing at that Amendment.

(Proud to be a Maine Native, which was one of three states in the U.S. that gained marriage equality by popular vote.)

Davis was also in violation of Kentucky statue 11a.020.

So Kim, this has nothing to do with your personal beliefs. You are free to worship as you please on your own time. You are free to protest whatever causes you want on our own time. But in that office as a representative of the state, you *must* uphold the law. Especially after being ordered to by four courts.

So do your obscenely overpaid job you bigoted attention whore.

And that is another thing that struck me: Kim Davis worked in the Country Clerks office under her mother for 24 years. And then Kim, after barely winning an election, took over her mother’s post. Now Kim’s son is working in the same office, probably being groomed to take over from her. The Rowan County Clerks office has become the Family’s personal fiefdom.

Part of the problem that Kentucky voters should consider are the detrimental effects of nepotism on their government. And how the salaries are set. It’s ridiculous a county clerk is making twice the county sheriff and justice are.

But what was really troubling were the Tea Party politicians, including elected officials, that flocked to Davis’ cause, displaying their ignorance of the Constitution and how our government works.

The Republican Party Clown Car

Trump is a joke. No matter how popular he is, Republican National Committee is never going to put him up as a presidential candidate. In alienating Latinos, he has put the typically Republican electoral strongholds of Texas and Arizona at risk. He has alienated women. He has alienated Veterans. (At least the ones that are not involved in a shady “charity” and can’t afford $1,000.00 a plate dinners.)

Plus the multiple bankruptcies, lies about his income and the repeated insinuations that he would like to fuck his daughter. And he’s a freakin’ reality TV star for chrissakes! No. It’s not going to happen.

So he speaks his mind? So does the schizophrenic drunk on the bus. BFD.

Trump is the sideshow. The misdirection.

So is Carson, a man with no political experience (in fact the majority of the current GOP field do not have any political experience, they’re business owners and ministers) who repeatedly makes himself look like a fool pandering to the far right base and displaying no knowledge of how the government works. He’s there so the Republicans can say, “Look, we’re not racists. We have an utterly unqualified and ridiculous black candidate we can lead around by the nose.”

Ditto Carly Fionna. Really GOP? All the women you could have chose, and you stick *her* in the line up?

Jeb Bush also has not made a great show of things by choosing family loyalty over hindsight, or even history. A lot of people have also not forgotten how he used the Florida government to attempt to override the courts and interfere in a family medical choice in the Terri Shiavo case. That abuse of government power is a terrifying precedent.

No, the real GOP threat is one of the candidates currently in the background and who it will be depends on the RNC breaking the Tea Party’s hold over them.

With Perry and Walker gone (thank the Gods), if the Tea Party retains control, it’s going to come down to Rand Paul or Ted Cruz. Cruz is more popular among the far right, but he scares the crap out of the middle because he is not afraid to use the entire government as his personal ball to take home when he doesn’t get his way. But while Paul is a Tea Party candidate, his intelligence (and he is smart) and cohesive ideology makes him more likely to cross the boundary to pick up some of the moderate vote.

If the GOP can break the Tea Party hold and wants to strike at the Middle then I would guess Chris Christie. “Bridge-gate” aside, Christie has shown himself able to work with the Democrats rather than throwing a tantrum and kicking people out of his party just because they dared cross the aisle to keep the government running (see: Eric Cantor).

However, Cantor’s recent reception when he came out in favor of Jeb Bush suggests the Tea Party’s claws are in deep. They view bipartisanship and working with the other side as weakness. They don’t want governance, they want rulership.

On the Democrat side, I am an active Bernie Sanders supporter. I am an actual liberal (when I lived in California, I belonged to the Green Party which is not an option here in NC) and Sanders is a candidate that represents my ideology and interests rather than forcing me to vote for the “lesser of two evils” of the Democrats, who are actually slightly right of center (look at Obama and Clinton’s ties to big business).

If we end up with a Bush vs. Clinton, we get four to eight more years of the same. If we end up with a Paul vs. Sanders, it will open the dialog of who America is going to be moving forward into the 21st century. Both candidates have a very cohesive and diametrically opposed set of political and social ideals that actually fit within Constitutional framework of this nation. They are both experienced and actually know what they are talking about. That is a culturally necessary discussion that has to take place beyond social media and media soundbites.

The risk is that it could further polarize this country, pushing it towards the rupture I can see coming within the next 20 years. The U.S. has not been this polarized since the Civil War, and I can see some sort of upheaval on the horizon.

Not a full blown secession. Frankly the states that want to secede (the South again) are too poor to support themselves and rely on federal money. They think that because there are so many military bases down there, and much of the military is conservative, they will automatically have the military. The military swears to uphold the Constitution, not the Republican party. While they may get some, I think a lot of personnel would have serious doubts about becoming traitors. Also those bases and all their equipment is Federally owned. So secessionists could kiss all that good bye. Nor do they have the organized and well-trained militia the antebellum South had.

So they would be seriously screwed if they tried to secede.

But on the course we are now, we are heading for a major upheaval along both idealistic and class lines as the middle class vanishes into the “working poor” exploited by the large corporations and the uber-wealthy in order to become even more obscenely rich than they are now.

We can’t keep going like this. Something has to change or something has to break.

Speaking of the Clown Car and the Constitution

Article VI, Paragraph 3: The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.

So not only was Dr. Carson wrong (“I would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation“), so was bobby Jindal (“If you can find me a Muslim candidate who is a Republican, who will fight hard to protect religious liberty, who will respect the Judeo-Christian heritage of America, who will be committed to destroying ISIS and radical Islam, who will condemn cultures that treat women as second class citizens and who will place their hand on the Bible and swear to uphold the Constitution.”)

The cognitive dissonance in Jindal’s statement (uphold “religious freedom,” so long as it is christian religious freedom) would be astounding if it was not so common. It’s doesn’t even freaking make sense to ask someone of one religion to take an oath on the holy book of another religion.

Did Jindal think a lobotomy was required to run for the presidency or something?

But as observed by others, there is no law that demands any elected official swear on a Bible. In fact members of Congress are not sworn in any holy book but simply raise their right hands. At the federal level, only the President is sworn on in a Bible. But that is simply custom, not law as it would be unConstitutional. As someone once observed, “You can be sworn on the Sport Illustrated Swimsuit issue if you wanted.”

A Woman’s Right to Choose…Anything

Woman Refused Medically-Recommended Tubal Ligation At Catholic Hospital

When she became pregnant three years ago, hers was treated as a high-risk pregnancy. The tumor required that she deliver via Caesarean section while fully anesthetized, rather than under partial anesthesia that numbs the lower body, which is more common.

When she became pregnant with her third child, a girl, she and her husband were elated, she said. But a maternal-fetal-medicine specialist told them earlier this spring that Mann should undergo tubal ligation to ensure that this would be her last child.

“You know, it’s never easy to hear that. But I have accepted it,” said Mann, who has two other children. “I talked it over with my husband. We want me to be around. That’s the biggest thing.”

Mann had heard that Genesys had changed its policies last year and that the tubal ligation would have to be specially requested. Indeed, an Oct. 1, 2014, memo to staff, provided to The Washington Post by the ACLU, said the hospital would halt all planned sterilizations to “strengthen our alignment with the Catholic Ethical and Religious Directives.”

The hospital had indicated it would make some exceptions to the policy for medical reasons, so Mann requested one in May. But early this month, her doctor informed her that the hospital had said no.

I think I have told this story before, but this is similar to what my mother went through. My sister was an “Oops” of failed birth control. My mother was 40. The delivery was dangerous for both of them, requiring a C-setion. As they were waitin for dad to arrive and discussing the surgery, my mother asked, “While you are in there, could you *snip*snip.*

“I’m sorry, I will need your husbands approval for that.”

My mother said she damn near climbed off the bed and throttled him.

My father arrived in time and of course signed off on it. He was not going to put Mom through that again and four was plenty of mouths to feed.

But here is a woman, 40 years old, having her fourth child, and she is still not allowed to make choices about her own body.

This was in 1979.

This is what the Religious Right wants to drag us back to. That’s why they want to defund Planned parenthood. It’s not just about abortions, which is a minor part of the services they provide. It’s about limiting access to birth control. (As seen by the attacks on Sandra Fluke when she spoke out about the need for insurance to cover birth control and the Hobby Lobby case.) It’s about controlling women’s bodies.

And finally…

The Douchebags of Asheville, North Carolina

A friend of mine from overseas is considering visiting me. I thought Asheville would be a nice place to take her. Asheville is North Carolina’s version of Austin, TX: It’s the artistic, “hippy” city in a sea of conservatism.

Then this broke: Coffee and Misogyny.

*headdesk*

If you have the stomach for it, the actual podcasts (if they are still up) and tweets are vile. The way they discuss women borders of sociopathic. Just a complete disregard for them as humans worthy of basic human respect. And a laughing over what is legally rape with a hospitalized, drugged up woman?

Are you fucking kidding me?

And given the violence claimed in some of the sexual encounters, I worry if it was something that was escalating.

If you go to the “Red Pill” reddit page you find the same MRA culture that helped to  produce Elliot Rodgers. I have run into these individuals in many places. Especially where there is a thread about a rape story in the news. They are the first ones pulling the “Bitches be lyin!” accusation. MRA types refuse to acknowledge any type of rape exists accept stranger assault rape. (That is the minority of rape cases.) Basically, if a complete stranger doesn’t leap out at you from the bushes, you were never raped. You just had sex and “changed your mind.” To them the vast majority of rape accusations are false and a way to victimize men.

Also not true.

(When presented with these statistics, it’s amazing how many MRAs are suddenly greater experts on the issue than the FBI and Department of Justice.)

And while they bitch about how women “abuse” the accusations of rape, many of them like to get women so hammered or drugged up they can’t possibly legally consent.

But I digress.

To the “Red Pill”/Pick Up Artist/MRA worms:

First of all, the “Alpha/beta male” thing? Women don’t think on those terms. Sure we go through our “Bad Boy stage,” which is usually done by the time we leave college (and have dated one). The “Alpha/beta male” is a guy thing whereby men judge and elevate their ego by degrading other men for acting like decent people.

Know why so many American women find British men hot? It’s not that their cultural gentility makes them seem “beta” or easily controlled. It’s because they project a quietly assured masculinity. They (or at least most of them) don’t need to walk around chest thumping to prove they’re a man.

I met Hugh Laurie, who was the perfect definition of a “gentleman;” a gentle man. But not for one second did I sense he was a pushover.

Secondly, the most successful promiscuous men I have found are the ones that enjoy women as human beings. They like talking with them and spending time with them beyond just having sex with them. They actually *like* women as people. Women tend to respond better to being approached that way rather than as “fuck socks.”

Women who will not sleep with you are not evil or a “bitch” or whatever childishly disgusting names you call them while you are rage-pouting about being rejected. Women who will sleep with you are not suddenly subhuman and the act of having sex with them does not make you a superior human being. Almost every animal on the planet has sex. Why would you think that suddenly makes you so great? (Because given your crap attitude toward women, you idea that sex is about your ego, I doubt you care enough make it fun for them.)  In fact, the fact that you require a woman’s sexual acquiescence to shore up your fragile self worth is a sure sign that the problem isn’t women: It’s you.

Finally (in general), these two felt no inherent regret. They only apologized because they were embarrassed they got caught. While one hopes they will get the intensive therapy obviously required to cure such an ingrained hatred and disregard for half of the human race, I do not hold out much hope.

But the community of Asheville’s outraged response to this shows that twats like these are not what Asheville is about.

…I think that’s everything.

Oh, Welcome Pope Francis. You rock dude.

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Little Moments of Kindess.

I locked myself out. Damn stupid thing. The locks on this place are touchy and can flip accidentally. I normally *always* have my keys on me, but this time I stepped outside to receive a package and locked myself out. My neighbor let me use his phone. The property management company said I had to call a locksmith. Well, with the meager $33.00 in my account I had no idea how I was going to get back into my apartment.

The locksmith cut me a deal and my neighbor loaned me the difference.

Good people, doing good. It’s the little things that makes the world a great place.

Kitten Update

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Why? Why did you take to that place where they poked me repeatedly?

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She has such good taste.

So “Miranda” (I had to come up with something for records’ sake) had her first visit to the vet yesterday and got she is feline leukemia and distemper free. (Yay!) But her upper respiratory infection (cold) means she should not mingle yet. (Damnit!)

But she is on the waitlist to get into the local no-kill shelter and by the time she cycles through that, she should be fine. I also have a flyer up in my vet’s office.

Taking the time to do it right.

Updates

Since it’s been a few days, I thought I should at least do some quick updates.

Tiny Homes

First of all, a friend of Pretty Witty Nell found this article on how some cities are attempting to outlaw living off the grid.

“Land of the Free, Home of the Brave.”

Of course, that is after all the zoning laws that mandate a minimum size for lots and houses, which is why many Tiny Homes are built on trailers so they qualify as “mobile” homes to skirt around the zoning laws.

Here is the updated design for my tiny home, the fourth version:

HousePlan2

I moved the couch to give me more continuous space for the kitchen for the dogs to move around in (they do love to play and thump about, I’ll walk them as per usual and hopefully have a yard as well, but they will still need space inside), but I could not get past that choke point into the study area. Once I actually measured that out between two pieces of furniture and tried walking through it, I realized it was impossible. It was passible, but not not to live with everyday. Also all the appliances under the counter in the kitchen took away under-counter space for pots and pans, plus a section for the trash, recycling and a small compost container. So I needed another place to put the compact washer. (I’d like a combo washer dryer unit, but damn those are expensive.)  So I gave up that block of stairs and a wall for a straight staircase. It also opens the entire space up. In this video, the person has set up a pull down projection screen and projector, so I will use those and my laptop for my viewing pleasure.

I was going with SIPs, but then I thought about moving it (which is a factor) so will use a board interior, painted white. It will have strength and flexibility. With SIPs I might have to worry about the joins between the panels being offset or coming apart.

I figure between the first floor + sleeping loft – staircase = 219.5 livable square feet. (And then there is the storage loft in the front.)

Kitten Update

The kitten is doing much better, cleared of her cold. Her sinus congestion was so horrible it took her about a week to clear it completely and stop snurgling. (Kinda nice to know cats can have horrible colds that make them look inelegant too.) With my next paycheck I will take her into the vet make sure she does not have feline leukemia, then start the adoption process.

One month, minimum.

School

Term paper, term paper, term paper. 15 pages on various lunar Goddess around the world. At least the ones I can find lots of citable information on.

Met with my Anthropology advisor to get things straightened out with my transfer credits to prep for graduation, which at one free class a semester (we get them as a benefit to staff) is still years away. *le sigh*

Anti-Human Trafficking

The new club is going well, getting organized, electing officers, getting recognized by the university, trying to figure out what we can do. I’m working on getting a speaker from the Polaris Project to come down in the Spring and liaising with other clubs (Anthropology, Sociology, Political Science and Geography) to let them know we are here. We’re also going to help out with an anti-trafficking conference in the ENC.

I’m glad I did this. My natural inclination is to lean toward environmental causes, and I still donate and spread the world about those. But with my anti-social nature, doing something with human beings is probably good for me and more importantly, hopefully, for them.

So there’s a lot on my plate

Congratulations to WhatCatyDidNext’s son, who completed his degree.

Well done!!

Change

Yup, I’m pulling the trigger.

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Selling a good chunk of my comic book collection.

From eight long boxes down to three and a half. I sorted out the keepers, the Claremont and Whedon X-Men/New Mutant titles, the Simonson and Straczynski Thor, Sandman, The Red Star, Liberty Meadows, etc.. The stuff I actually pull out and read sometimes. The rest of it is just ego. I have it just to have it, so that means it’s time to let it go.

It wasn’t as much of a wrench as I thought it would be. But then I read Robert Johnson’s Transformation, recently. I had read his She, He and We books earlier in my life. I like his literary approach, and while I don’t agree with all he has to say, he always has good insights.

Transformation was much the same, though it was aimed at men and there were parts that did not apply to me, there were parts that did. We all go through transformations in our lifetime. Perhaps not as linearly with so few steps, but we all grow and change. We all reach points where what we are doing doesn’t do it for us anymore. And the more we hold onto those things and processes, the bigger the crisis becomes.

I have gone though several plateaus, crisis and then moves forward in my lifetime and I feel like I’m at the point where I’m moving forward again. And part of that is getting rid of the extraneous crap, trying to live smaller, live more simply. Moving toward my tiny home.