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Cable companies want to slow down (and break!) your favorite sites, for profit. To fight back, let’s cover the web with symbolic “loading” icons, to remind everyone what an Internet without net neutrality would look like, and drive record numbers of emails and calls to lawmakers.  Are you in?



No Homosexuals Allowed!

Just when you think people can’t get any worse, a deeper and more sinister evil oozes out of the black hearts of men.

They’re at it again. Last week I ripped the state of Kansas after it’s House of Representatives passed a bill that, if it becomes law, will bring segregatioinking institutionalized bigotry to The Sunflower State.  The good news, however, was that so many good, angry people are putting so much heat on Kansas’ Governor and State Senate that passage of their bill in it’s present form is not likely to pass–not if the Republican incumbents have any hopes of an easy re-election.

gay-hate-signNow, only a few days later, similar laws have raced through both the Arizona House and Senate, leaving that state teetering on the edge of a full-blown, retrograde, hate-fueled Jim Crow reality.  The question is: who, in present day, twenty-first century America, thinks like this?

Cast members of Duck Dynasty before their Hee Haw make-overs.

It’s rhetorical question, of course–I’ve already pointed at the Westboro Baptist Church, and that Dick Duck Dynasty yahoo made a splash not too long ago spouting his own noxious ideas for revision of The Declaration of Independence and, sadly enough, a small but loud minority of Americans, most of them lazy Christians either too lazy to read what Jesus actually said about treating other people, or too filled with fear and anger to care.  Not that he had anything at all to say about gays.

I suppose that it is natural and expected that bigots push back against the progress our nation has achieved in the past few years, both in securing equal rights in many states, and defending those gains, but I have a hard time taking it.  For most of my life, I was largely ambivalent to the political aspects of sexuality, accepting but not particularly invested, but the older I become the more angry I become, the more annoyed by the inanity of it all.  What is more small and petty than targeting an individual for social and political exclusion on the basis of who they happen to love?  Why can’t people keep their hate to themselves, mind their own business, and get on with their own lives?

The justification is ridiculous–it would be laugh-out-loud hilarious if it oppressedchristiansweren’t so awful. According to the fiends responsible for these attempts to undermine the constitution, requiring Christians–or anyone who adopts a religion or belief that hates homosexuality–to treat gays as actual human beings and citizens, is tantamount to religious persecution.  So, in essence, the vast Christian majority of the USA is supposedly being discriminated by the small percentage of people who are gay.  I’d honestly had no idea that the faith was perched on such tenuous ground.

On the plus side, these backwards-assed redneck regional political assaults on liberty won’t go unnoticed on a national scale, and while they’ll undoubtably find support in aging, rural fundamentalists the Republican party–which just can’t seem to catch a break despite a train wreck of recent Presidential missteps–is going find itself guilty by association with young voters, most of whom don’t see what the big deal is, but will definitely wonder why so much time and effort is being devoted to the persecution of a tiny segment of the population, when young people are facing some of the worst economic realities in recent history.



Erin Cox, Punished By School District For Doing the Right Thing

I’m veering even further from the original intent of this blog to editorialize, but in a typical day filled with murder, mayhem, and injustice brought to me by my news aggregator, this stands out. 

Erin Cox, an honor student, leader, and athlete at her school, received a phone call one night not too long ago from a friend who had gone to a party and done what too many teens do–drank herself silly.  Recognizing that she was in a bad way, she called Erin asked her for a ride home.  Being smart and responsible, Erin didn’t want her friend trying to walk home drunk or, worse yet, get a ride from someone at the party who might also be drunk, obliged.

Shortly after Erin arrived at the party to retrieve her friend, the cops showed up.  Some kids were arrested, others–including Erin–were given summons to appear in court and explain themselves. When she did, the police provided documentation that explained the she had not been drinking, or in possession of alcohol, or even in attendance.  Case closed.  Right?

Wrong.  The North Andover School District, enforcing their no exceptions alcohol policy, suspended Erin Cox from the volleyball team and stripped her of her captaincy.

Her parents protested, but the school was adamant.  Erin Cox must be crucified!  Erin Cox must pay!  How dare she think for herself in the face unyielding POLICY?  According to Fox News, when the Cox family filed a law suit in state court, an attorney representing the school district went so far as to lie to the judge in convincing the court that it did not have jurisdiction!  

Just as disturbing was the reaction of Mothers Against Drunk Driving bigshot Jan Withers, who bitterly determined that the punishment was just.  What?  I guess Jan Withers and MADD would rather Erin’s friend had gone home with a drunk driver.  I truly don’t understand this one.

Here is the statement from Police Officers at the scene:
Mr. Gilligan: on September 28, 2013 at 22:44 I responded with several other officers to an under aged party 732 Main St., Boxford. Erin Cox was one of many people under the age of 21 at the residence. I had the opportunity to speak with an observe Erin Cox while waiting for her mother to arrive. Erin did not have the slightest odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from her person. She was polite, articulate, steady on her feet, and very remorseful for her decision to go into the residence but was only helping out a friend that had called her for a ride. If you have any questions please feel free to contact me.

 — Officer Brian Neeley, Boxford Police Department

Like virtually everyone but the school administrators and the seemingly insane woman from MADD, I’m baffled by this situation, and can only imagine the school’s failure to back down is an unholy collision of stubborn refusal to lose face and admit to the mistake,  shameless ass-covering, and simple-minded adherence to black and white “principles” in a world full of shades and colors.  It also reflects on the bureaucratic mindset that has taken over the administration of education, reducing a highly nuanced field down to a series of ill-fitting absolutes and lowest common denominators.  It is uncreative and lazy in the same way that basing education on arbitrary standards and cookie-cutter curriculum is lazy, and like those things, it is a failure.

As for me, I’ll take the brave, selfless kid who doesn’t hesitate to extricate her friend from a potentially dangerous situation over the timid martinet every time.  When I think of Ms. Cox’s persecutors, I can’t help but imagine them standing around a pool, solemnly holding hands, watching a small child drown, unwilling to get so much as a toe wet because a sign says “no swimming.”  They disgust me.

I’ve written to both the North Andover School District and MADD expressing my contempt.  I encourage you to the same.

UPDATE: MADD is getting hammered over at their blog.

More links:

North Andover High Punishes Teen For Giving Drunken Pal Ride Home From Party