I don’t think any public figure, religious or otherwise, should be out of bounds for using as the topic of a silly joke. Even someone as lofty as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
But a loofah mitt?
You can get it here if you are so inclined.
Posted in Activism, Civil Rights, Corporations, Current Events, History, International, Justice System, Law Enforcement, LGBT, Media, Politics, Republicans, Wall Street, Writing on May 2, 2013 | Leave a Comment »
Today has been crazy busy, so no posting except for my column this week, which should piss a few people off.
It’s about Pfc Bradley Manning, the former Army intelligence officer who leaked some things (actually many thing) to Wikileaks that were very bad or very good, depending on your outlook. I side with the latter viewpoint.
Manning is the U.S. Army Pfc who was arrested in May 2010 for allegedly passing classified secrets to Wikileaks, which published many of them. Manning, who was unhappy with his life in the military, was accused by prosecutors of being motivated primarily by this unhappiness. Manning and his supporters argue that he motivated by the very things I mentioned at the beginning of this piece: a desire to expose the hypocrisy of a military system that professed to be using troops to defend truth, freedom and the American way, but which instead was wasting untold military lives to wage wars which would, as we all know now, end up being next to pointless.
But Manning exposed more than just a government and military willing to kill its own for ephemeral gains. He also exposed needless deaths of Iraqi and Afghani civilians, including the May, 4, 2009 Garanal massacre, a B-1 bombing raid which is said to have killed between 86-147 Afghan civilians. This was a war crime, pure and simple.
American government and military officials say that Manning put American military lives in danger because of the anger these kinds of leaks engendered in local populations. A more critical reading of these incidents brings up more important questions, including the most important one of all: Aren’t we supposed to be the good guys? All it takes is a few mass murders by our military, and the sheen of righteousness in which they cloak themselves washed away.
Manning had issues and we may never know how pure his motivations were. But that is not relevant. The information he released showed an American government and military, which were telling the U.S. public one thing, while committing war crimes in the Middle East. The Manning leaks also show a military effort that was often haphazard and at odd with its stated goals. If you cannot work up a tear or two over civilian casualties in war, how about working some up over dead soldiers who were fighting and dying for little more than window dressing meant to sell the war to a skeptical public at home?
Sound familiar? It should if you know recent American history at all, because of a psychiatrist and private contractor with the Rand Corporation named Daniel Ellsberg who, in 1971, released the Pentagon Papers showing that the U.S. government basically had no idea what it was doing in the Vietnam War. Those papers were published by no less than the New York Times, and the incident is considered a seminal moment in free speech and newspaper publishing in America.
You can read the rest here.
I read and hear about how this kind of stuff is happening more and more with young people on campuses around the country. We are bringing up, finally, a generation of young people who know that these people need to be treated as the lunatics they generally are. They sound crazy to people who’ve grown up on Ellen, Glee, Will and Grace and Modern Family.
Plus the young man doing the deed is adorable in a nerdy way, which helps sell his message.
A PB&J sandwich isn’t racist. It’s just a sandwich.
Posted in Activism, Advertising, Art World, Atheism, Christianism, Civil Rights, Consumerism, Corporations, Douchebaggery, International, Law Enforcement, Media, Memes, Politics, Republicans, Urban living, Wall Street, Wingnuts, tagged AARP, Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Islam, Kate Middleton, Mitt Romney, Mohammed, Occupy Movement, Paul Ryan, Prince Harry, Thomas Jefferson on September 29, 2012 | Leave a Comment »
Posted in Civil Rights, Law Enforcement, LGBT, Transgender, tagged Judge Mark Wolf, Massachusetts, Massachusetts Dept. of Corrections, medical care, Michelle Kosilek, trangender on September 17, 2012 | Leave a Comment »
It looks as if the state of Massachusetts may owe Michelle Kosilek her legal fees in the long-running legal battle over her medical treatment for transgender medical care, which is sure to make right-wing radio hosts’ heads explode on-air.
This is the fault of the State of Massachusetts, by the way. The state knew long ago that it was wrong as a matter of long-settled case law, and it chose to fight this in court despite being told it was legally wrong by the judge. The state chose to fight this because it looked good to the public to fight this.
Which brings me to my column in Bay Windows for last week, in which I detailed why I think Judge Mark Wolf’s decision ordering the state to pay for Kosilek’s transition from male to female was the correct one.
For which I’ve explained to several people over the last week: Look, I think it’s strange that a person in prison for murder gets her transgender medical care for free, while transgender (and other) people on the outside with little health insurance (or none at all) have to find the money somehow to pay for their treatment.
But the answer to this is not to require judges to decide against something that is clearly constitutional. You either change the Constitution to ban cruel and unusual punishment “except for convicted first degree murderers” (good luck with that) or you get non-incarcerated people better health insurance. But those are your choices.
Your discomfort with a person’s crimes or with transgender people is not reason enough for a judge to carve out an illegal exception to constitutional law. I know that is how people wished the law worked, but it’s just not.
Anyway, here is part of my column from last week. You can read the entire column here.
It’s bad enough when a convicted spouse killer asks for sympathy from the general public. It’s quite another when that sympathy involves transgender medical treatment, which already pushes people’s irrational buttons, including those of 24 Democrats in our state Legislature who joined 26 Republicans in calling for the DOC to appeal Wolf’s ruling.
There are several questions that need to be answered, and truth be told they are all answered in the exceedingly rational and lucid ruling by Wolf, who is a Reagan appointee. I have asked people who have been debating me online about Kosilek if they have read’s Wolf’s decision, and not one person has done so. Go figure.
This is why we leave these matters to judges and medical professionals rather than members of the general public carrying the modern day equivalent of pitchforks and torches as they go after the transgender monsters in our midst.
There is much muddled thinking out there about the Kosilek case, but the chief questions about which people seem to be confused are these: How much medical care is owed to the incarcerated? How do prison officials decide whether something in medically necessary? Is the treatment of what is called gender dysphoria a medically necessary treatment?
Courts decided long ago that, if we are going to incarcerate people, prison officials are obligated under the Eighth Amendment prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment to provide medically necessary care to prisoners, regardless of the crimes for which they are convicted. If you go back through the history of these court decisions, it’s clear that if the courts had not intervened countless times, most prison officials would feel justified by public sentiment and budget concerns to provide no medical care at all to prisoners no matter how sick.
But courts are designed to protect the powerless and unpopular from the whims of popular opinion, and they have done so in similar cases. This includes decisions that set forth what constitutes medical necessity. “Some factors courts have considered in determining whether a ‘serious medical need’ is at issue are,” according to the ACLU, “whether a reasonable doctor or patient would perceive the medical need in question as important and worthy of comment or treatment; whether the medical condition significantly affects daily activities; and the existence of chronic and substantial pain.”
Judge Wolf did not pull this decision out of thin air. He relied on the opinions of medical professionals with experience in transgender issues who said that Kosilek’s treatment reaches the level of medical necessity. And that is as it should be.
I suggest you read Wolf’s decision. It really is quite reasonable from a legal standpoint.
Well, they are in the sense that they are always usually looking toward the next election, and that can make them do some unsavory things, such as sell out their principles.
However, we have a Mayor in Boston, Tom Menino, who is really one of the good guys. Don’t get me wrong: I would want him on my bad side. And I have been on his bad side a few times over the years.
But on LGBT issues he’s been better than almost any other mayor in the country, and at least as good as even the best ones.
For example, the fast food chain Chik-Fil-A, which has an anti-gay right-wing nutjob as its founder, wants to open a restaurant on Boston’s Freedom Trail, a walking tour of some of the city’s Revolutionary War sites. Menino is not having it, and his letter to the wingnut president of the restaurant chain is below.
And, please, do not tell me that this stifles free speech. The restaurant can open somewhere else in Boston. Just not on the Freedom Trail. If the guy who runs the corporation had said publicly that blacks and whites should not be allowed to marry, Menino would be hailed as a civil rights hero. But because it’s same-sex marriage, everyone thinks the guy has a God-given right to be a bigot. Bullshit.
And living someplace where my mayor can tell the difference is one of the reasons I love Boston.