Tuesday, March 15, 2011

We're comin' ta take yer IRISH CARD, laddie!

I'm Irish.

OK... I'm a mutt. Heh. But my genetic makeup draws heavily from the Emerald Isle. I've got more O's and Mc's and Fitz's in my family tree than you can shake a shillelagh at. (Shows, too. Pasty skin and lotsa red in my hair.)

And I'm self-aware Irish. (I neither posted or thought much about Bloomberg's remarks.) There are perfectly good reasons for some of the stereotypes about us. Many of us are superstitious, temperamental, drunk... Hell, some of us are all of the above.

So, with our Holiest Holy Day coming up, I was genuinely amused to read Kevin Myers' suggestion that Ireland do away with the "demeaning farce" of St. Patrick's Day.

"It should really be called St. Patrick's DNA, as across the world, Irishmen and women have shown in full and shameful manner how we cannot be trusted to celebrate the day without making drunken disgraces of ourselves."
Too right.

I rarely drink alcohol. Maybe a coupla times a year. But you can bet your green beer that one of those days is fast approaching. I'm only disappointed that it's on a Thursday. I figure, if we can put Columbus Day and Presidents Day on a Monday, year after year... well, we oughtta be able to make St. Paddy's the third Saturday of March!

Years back, I can remember a friend trying to make some St. Patrick's Day party arrangements. When I said I didn't know if I'd be drinking (another weeknight) my wise friend (with a Mc at the beginning of his name) gave me the following grave warning:

"Gah! You have to! I'm pretty sure it's a law. If you don't get ripped on St. Pat's, they'll take away your Irish Card!"
Well, you can't take foolish chances, right? Right. Not even aware until then that I'd been in possession of an Irish card, I've nevertheless done my duty and protected it all these years.

(Old friend... if by any chance you read this, you'll know very well who wrote it. Get in touch.)

Anyway, Myers' piece made me laugh. His indignation at Ireland's (and hyphenated, late generation Irish-blooded folk the world over) national past time embarrasses him. As does our lack of remorse.

"Yet far from being ashamed at this achievement, it forms the heart of a really perverse national characteristic."
Yeah, yeah. Except perversity is another trait we're known for.

I have a suggestion. Someone should go pick Kevin up Thursday night, take him to the pub, and pour Irish whiskey down his throat until he thinks he's being waterboarded. He'll see the light.

And if he fights...

Take away his Irish card.

THAT'S gonna leave a mark...

Heh. Saw this at Fark.

(And this kinda stuff is exactly why I love Fark.)

"Snake Dies After Biting Orit Fox's Fake Boob!"

Supposedly, it died from silicone poisoning.

I don't know if it actually died, but the video is freakin' hilarious.

Somehow I don't think that snake's a Minchin fan. Or then again, maybe he is and that explains it.


Monday, March 14, 2011

Harpies Travel In Flocks...

An interesting few days 'round here. More traffic and comments than I'm used to. Heh.

So here's the story...

The other day, I was reading The Other McCain, clicking back and forth through a discussion of feminism. He managed to anger some conservative women who self-identify as feminists by arguing against the notion that conservative feminism exists. (See Barbara Kay piece on Sarah Palin and feminism to see where this started.)

McCain offered up the analogy: "Feminism is to women as Mafia is to Sicilians",and stated the opinion (which I happen to agree with) that men aren't welcomed as critics of feminism. He went on to lament the dearth of conservative women criticizing feminism.

He took snippets of a comment from one of the women, interspersed them through a paragraph of his own snark, and ended it with the statement

"Implied: Any woman who defends him is a right-brained ignoramus."
Well, anyone who reads this blog knows I have a perverse sense of humor. When I read that, I thought, "Heh. Guess that's me."

See, I've linked McCain in several posts about feminism. (I've even pointed out where he and Amanda Marcotte have an opinion in common.) He's one of the few men with the nerve to take on the femininnies who also has the skill to do it well -- and with humor, which may be what I enjoy most about it. The point is, I generally agree with him on the topic (not that he needs my defense... and my little blog probably doesn't even amount to a blip on his traffic) so when he writes something on the topic that gets my wheels turning, I post.

So, amused by the fact that doing so would label me -- in McCain's words -- a right-brained ignoramus, I agreed with the notion that Sarah Palin is not a feminist. (To my mind, she's not. I think it's a question of semantics, but I would never refer to her as a feminist.) And then I went on to talk about leftist feminism.


I forgot two important facts. First, feminists (of any stripe apparently) brook no argument. There can be no dissent. Second, when dealing with women,regardless of what they say or what treatment they demand from men, not all women are equal. (More on that in a minute.)

Oh, wait... I forgot something else.

Harpies travel in flocks.

The first thing probably requires no explanation. I've posted before that I find it nearly impossible to have an exchange with radical feminists... not because I don't want to, but because they aren't interested in talking to anyone who doesn't already agree with them. I was actually told once "If you don't believe in rape culture, there can't be dialogue between us." (Never mind the obvious question, which is "How the hell can you convince anyone you're right if you won't talk to anyone who doesn't already think you're right?!") It's like trying to talk to a kindergartner who has their fingers in their ears yelling "Neener! Neener! I can't hear you!"

Well, unbeknownst to me, some "conservative feminists" are worse. They don't shout that they can't hear you... they want you to shut up, period. I haven't received a fraction of the venom and animosity from the leftists that the righties were eager to spew at me.

The second thing may be a surprise to some. Aren't feminists (liberal, conservative, Venusian, whatever...) about all women? Wouldn't it seem pointless, not to mention hypocritical, to demand that all men treat all women equally only to turn around and make value judgements against your fellow females?

Why, yes. Yes it would.

But it doesn't stop 'em. Indeed, the one shrieking the loudest about how she was wronged, taken out of context, mocked on the internet! has made some really questionable remarks.

For example, all the ruckus started because the quote that inspired my post came (loosely) from comments she'd made, filtered through the lens of McCain's brain. It wasn't her original words that prompted my post, but McCain's interpretation. Now, since I've been accused of being passive-aggressive and backpedaling, let me be clear... I don't care if that wording came to McCain in a goddamn dream. I wasn't interested in or attempting to quote the source of his inspiration for those words.

But since she claims I misrepresented her (and since she's called me passive-aggressive and a disingenuous bitch, fuck you very much), let's look at her words:

"A lot of left-brained, educated women are infuriated by Stacy’s line of reasoning – we know ourselves to be equal to men (Stacy’s line about equality implying interchangeability aside, because they really are not the same thing at all), and don’t see why the laws and our society should not reflect that."
Left-brained, educated women. The type she (and leftist feminists) believe are the pinnacle of enlightened womanhood. Way to speak for all your sisters! And... does that not imply exactly what McCain wrote? Who does disagree with you? (Other than me, I guess.)

McCain also wrote (another time):

Permit me to draw down upon myself the fury of every woman within reach of a keyboard by explaining what I think motivates bourgeois women writers to claim the “feminist” label:
When you say “feminist,” what you really mean to say is “intelligent, college-educated, career woman.”
Nailed it in one.

Another from the shrieker:

"The other thing is that I know plenty of babycake women - sweetie pies (not genuinely kind women) who have cute hair, cute nails, are smart-but-not-as-smart, and otherwise entirely non-threatening. They pretend that their brand of "ambition" and brains is the best that can be expected of women. Then they can't figure out why ambitious women condescend to them."
See that? Certain women are deserving of condescension. (And shockingly, it seems being not-as-smart and cute are factors in whether you get a taste of her derision. The lefties go after the same ones, by the way. Interesting, since brains and looks are traits we're born with -- or not -- and therefore shouldn't be used to determine worth...)

So, color me unimpressed with this version of "feminism" also.

The third thing I mentioned... about the harpies. Yeah. Did you ever see a group of chickens circle another chicken (which they've determined through henhouse logic to be an outsider) and peck it to death? They ring it in and, clucking like mad all the while, literally peck the offender apart, one beakful at a time.

That's basically what happens when you piss off a harpy. The entire flock charges in senseless, blind loyalty and attacks.

I inadvertently offended one of them, by linking a quote that wasn't even hers. And it didn't matter that I offered a good faith explanation that the first quote hadn't been my target. (Explaining yourself is passive-aggressive, doncha know?) It didn't even matter that the first commenter of the little group lied and falsely accused me of distorting her positions, when I never touched on her positions. (You still owe an apology, but I don't expect one. You're intellectually dishonest, and you know it.)

No... they were righteously indignant, and they were by-gawd gonna let me have it.

Well, let me be as clear as possible:

When I decide to be aggressive, there's nothing fucking passive about it. If it was about you, I'd have come at you. You don't intimidate me and, like Amanda Marcotte, you don't speak for me. I don't have to answer to you, and I could give a shit for your approval.

You comment on my blog that my discourse saddens you. Gimme a break. You ran out of anything intelligent to say, and started making yeast infection jokes! Yeah, that's debate! I'm so impressed.

You're like high school girls. Catty, cliquish, judgemental, and with an extremely overinflated sense of your own importance. Need proof? This is directed to me:

"Then you pull the passive-aggressive move of the century and tell the lovely woman who sticks up for me that she's getting bent out of shape over nothing.
Scratch, you made this war. The fact that the fallout makes a Japanese nuclear reactor look safe is a problem that rests at your own feet, with your own smarmy post."
A war!!!1!! Predicated by the passive-agressive move of the century, no less! (Which makes me wonder where you've been all your life. Seriously? My little blurb was historic?) And the fall-ass-over-teakettle-laughing best part?

The fallout makes a Japanese nuclear reactor look safe!

Oh me! Oh my! Oh goodness gracious!


Get over yourself, punkin. I put more worry into what I needed from the store Sunday than I have into this little dustup.


Have I learned anything at all from this?

Well, yes, now that you mention it.

I've learned that some conservatives who call themselves feminists could give lessons in bitch to the leftist feminists. I've learned that some folks who'd like to consider themselves intellectuals aren't above genitalia jokes when they run out of substance. I've learned that explanations are passive-aggressive. I've learned that not everyone appreciates my sense of humor.

And I've learned that blogging is more dangerous than nuclear radiation.

All right. Ha. Couldn't write that last sentence with a straight face.

I've also learned to ignore what I read about blogging etiquette. See, a good while back, I read a piece about it, and -- since the blogger who wrote it is well-known and fairly respected -- I tried to learn and remember it. One of the things it touched upon was linking back to sources. Well, now that I've been excoriated and one of the excuses is "You linked my post!", I'm rethinking what I read back then. If you notice, I haven't linked anyone but RSM here. (The quotes I offered are in the comments sections from this blog and the one that linked to McCain and myself. Go look 'em up yourself.)

I'd like to add, however, that I find it a beautiful irony. The post I read on etiquette and try to adhere to when I blog was written by none other than the blogger who's pissed that I linked her.

And I find that fucking funny as well.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Right-Brained Ignoramus

I've been following the back-and-forth between RSM and some female conservative bloggers on the topic of feminism and the difference between Sarah Palin feminism (if such a thing exists) and radical leftist feminism.

I've read the posts by Stacy and Little Miss Attila, as well as the Barbara Kay piece that started the discussion, thinking about where I come down on the issue.

Personally, I think it's a question of semantics.

To my mind, the word feminism refers only to the leftist movement which I consider to be not about the advancement of women, but the settling of grudges. I'm aware that Sarah Palin considers herself a feminist... and I happen to disagree with her.

But I do generally agree with McCain when he takes on feminists. And it was with great interest that I read his opinion on female conservative writers who've wanted to argue that their feminism is different, and that he does a disservice by not recognizing that fact. He quotes a comment by Roxanne De Luca as he defines the case against him:
"...I am doing a "disservice to the conservative movement"? Because my "line of reasoning" is allegedly offensive to "left-brained, educated women"? (Implied: Any woman who defends him is a right-brained ignoramus!)
Well... enter right-brained ignoramus.

That's right.

I. Am. A. Girl.

Rather, a woman. Whatever... I am the proud owner of my very own vagina.

Oh. And I also have a brain.

That's my problem with feminism. I have a mind of my own, and I don't need to be told I'm a victim. Or that society must change utterly for my convenience. Or that I need advocates in order to be just as good as any man.

In nearly forty years walking around on this planet, I have never felt oppressed. I have never felt as though I couldn't do anything a man might (with the exception of my inability to "write my name in the snow", which is kind of a bummer).

I'm an at-home mom with a busload of kids, and I don't feel that I've wasted my life or missed out on a career. Instead, like many women in my position, I have sacrificed things I consider of lesser value in order to do something I consider both important and rewarding.

The feminists won't recognize that. So they don't speak for me.

Now, I realize I'm probably not McCain's vision of the ideal conservative spokeswoman. I'm a social libertarian, and a scofflaw one at that. And since I have less education (formal or informal) on organized feminism and I tend to call them names (although I prefer femininny to feminazi), I probably qualify as a ranting, random ignoramus like he mentions in his post.

But I am a woman. And I believe feminism is a heinous movement which serves to divide the sexes and denigrate men. I believe the completely wrongheaded ideas of feminism are dangerous to women -- especially young women who buy into the notion that enough activism and sister solidarity will render the world a safe place to be a sheep.

McCain wrote:
"...I was born with a penis, and no one born with a penis can be permitted to write with authority as a critic of feminism."
All right then. I was not born with a penis. And while I'm not sure how much authority I project when writing, I am a critic of feminism.

I've never mentioned my gender on this blog. I didn't want it to be about me personally, but about what was on my mind at any given moment. Though I gotta say, I damn near posted it once... back when PunditMom accused me of "unsubstantiated mockery" and offered to defend me if the New York Times ever started mistreating men.

(Note to PM: On rereading that post, I still feel you're guilty of a silly overreaction and have no one to blame for getting pegged as a "mommy blogger".)

And I happen to agree with McCain wholeheartedly. We don't need conservative feminists. We don't need feminists, period. Rather than bemoan the young women lost to the left because conservatism doesn't embrace feminist nonsense, we should be counteracting the effects of leftist teachings by telling young women that feminism is a flawed concept that demands unequal treatment in the name of equality, and leaves no room for common sense.

Why this is a problem is a mystery to me. We don't have black conservatives arguing for affirmative action, reparations and a "reclaiming" of the NAACP. Instead, they are wise enough to know that an ideology of victimhood has been one of their greatest obstacles -- and they stand against it. Conservative women should take a similar view of feminism.

He may not get agreement from "conservative feminist" women who can't see past their own gender... but he's got this former-liberal, apatheist, socially libertarian, female right-brained ignoramus firmly in his corner. (On this subject, at least.)

Better than a link.
A whole post from the man himself! Thank you!
Welcome folks from The Other McCain!

Oh, gee. Another, from Little Miss Attila.
Update 2.0:
I'm not done.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Extremists to the left of me... Extremists to the right

Yesterday, I attended dueling rallies at Jason Altmire's office... Planned Parenthood was there (in a bright pink bus), as was the Susan B Anthony group along with Lila Rose. Both sides wanted to address Altmire's vote on the Pence legislation which would cut funding to PP. Both sides were talking to an empty office, as the Congressman wasn't there.

I spent all evening thinking, and I'm still at a bit of a loss to describe how I feel.

(I'll say first that both groups behaved better than I expected. The single example of bad behavior I noticed was mild. A woman in a PP t-shirt was taking pictures of the SBA protesters... the incident I witnessed was this woman holding her camera phone about 10 inches from another woman's face, trying to take her picture. When the woman with the camera up her nose covered her face with her sign, the PP activist asked "You don't want me to take your picture?" The other woman responded "You can take my picture with my sign, but not just my face." At that point, the woman in pink wandered away. Guess she didn't want the shot after all...)


Planned Parenthood was up first. When the first speaker used the word "extremist" four times in a matter of moments, I was rolling my eyes. They focused solely on the healthcare aspects of PP, and I don't know that I even heard the word abortion. Instead, they tried to paint the picture that PP is the only health choice for many women. (One of the speakers, a college student, said PP is her primary care provider because her regular copays are too high.)

When the SBA bus arrived, about half of the PP crowd (around 30 at peak) had gone. The second crowd was a little bigger (still only 50 or so), and included Altmire's 2010 challenger Keith Rothfus.

Lila Rose...

I know I'm going to piss people off, she's done a lot of work to expose PP. But... well... I didn't enjoy listening to her. The problem wasn't what she said but how she said it. It was very breathy and dramatic and almost (I'm sorry, but it's my impression) cheerleaderish. It was a jarring disconnect from her words. Like the first time you actually see Rick Astley.

But that wasn't the biggest problem I had with the speakers. Another woman, a local woman, spoke about the pro-life tendencies of this district. (Even Altmire self-describes as pro-life.) But... but... BUT...

She went on. On to her views on birth control.

As she lectured on the evils of contraception (catch that? Not abortion... birth control), she told the audience:

"The reason you get married is procreation."

Now, I don't know about anyone else, but I know that wasn't my top reason. Matter of fact, I don't think I know anyone who connected with their spouse by saying, "Hey! You've got some good genes there. Want to enter into a lifetime contract for the purpose of mingling our DNA at some future point?"

But she kept talking. Next subject? Rape. Specifically, whether a woman who is raped should be able to terminate a resulting pregnancy. And her take?

"Just because an act is evil doesn't mean we have the right to destroy a life."

Say what?!

Come on! I am no fan of abortion, but really?! I would never presume to tell the victim of an assault that she must incubate the child of her attacker. And while I think abortion as birth control is a disgusting concept, rape is different. It's one of the few times I believe a legal abortion should be not only available but safe and acceptable.

The most moving (and therefore influential) speaker, in my opinion, was a mother who had aborted two of her children. I spoke with her early on (when she was the lone counter-protester, standing quietly across from PP) because of her sign... which said "I recognize the dignity of my aborted children by giving them names", with the names of her babies at the bottom. Her story should have been the centerpiece of the SBA event.

But, all in all, I felt like I was between two crowds of extremists. One wanted to talk about the beneficial services PP provides, while completely ignoring the topic of abortion (although they provide them by the hundreds of thousands). The other began with abortion, but went on to include birth control and then to suggest that rape victims should just deal with it.

While I'm glad I went and listened to both sides, I left feeling like I didn't agree with either of them.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

It's For The Children

I saw this at Fark... (Mind you, the story is from England. But you'd better believe it'll come up here eventually.)

A Pentecostal Christian couple will not be allowed to take in foster children -- despite the fact that they have opened their home to foster kids in the past. The reason?

Because of their faith, they are not willing to tell little kids that homosexuality is an acceptable lifestyle.

Owen Johns, the would-be foster father, said:

"All we wanted was to offer a loving home to a child in need. We have a good track record as foster parents...

We are prepared to love and accept any child. All we were not willing to do was to tell a small child that the practice of homosexuality was a good thing."

Where's the problem?

This probably seems a little odd, coming from me. I make no bones about the fact that I support equal treatment for homosexuals. I'm glad DADT has been repealed. I'd like to see DOMA die as well. I couldn't care less if gays get married (although I'm staunchly opposed to same-sex benefits without marriage - how is that equal?).

I also tend to heartily reject the idea of religious rule. (I'd fight to defend your faith, and in return I'd like you to keep your beliefs away from my Constitution thanks very much.) In the past, I've irritated some of my socially-conservative friends with my apa-theist ramblings.

But this story... This is nonsense. And blatant discrimination.

Mr. and Mrs. Johns are not willing to tell a small child that homosexuality is OK. I'm fine with that. As far as I'm concerned, there should be no need for Mr. and Mrs. Johns to have a discussion about any kind of sexuality with small children.

I have a five-year-old and a six-year-old. I can promise you that -- despite my personal feelings on the matter -- we've never discussed homosexuality and whether it's culturally acceptable or not. Why? Because I don't freaking discuss sex with children who are barely tall enough to reach a light switch!

And why should I? They're at an age where we focus on basic educational and life skills, not sex ed. Let us master shoe tying before we move on to lipstick lesbians and Billy's two dads.

I go out of my way to monitor what goes into their developing minds. I am the Master of the Remote Control. Television is limited to educational programming (of my choice), and harmless -- if mindless -- kids' shows for fun. There is no internet access without immediate, direct adult supervision, and it is only accessible (to children) from the main area of the house. MTV is strictly prohibited, as is 99% of prime time. We've even come to a point where sports are watched without children present, because of the erectile dysfunction commercials.

My kids are never exposed to explicit heterosexual activity. Why would I make an exception for homosexual activity? So, would the PC Police find me guilty as well? You betcha!

I'm just happy to know that the foster system in the UK isn't as overwhelmed as the one here in the states. Clearly, they have more than enough good, stable homes for these kids, right? I mean, they're turning away a mature, married couple with a track record of helping unfortunate kids. Oh... wait. As of August 2010, the system was "close to collapse", with not enough foster parents to go around. Very nice.

My favorite part of the story (and the part I think will be a fight in America soon) is the idea espoused by the Justices involved. They've decided that -- in the UK, at least -- laws protecting people from discrimination based on sexuality "should take precedence" over laws protecting people from discrimination based on religious belief.

Ahhhh... Discriminating discrimination!

It's for the children.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Going Buggy

From the Department of "This Will Not End Well..."

Pennsylvania is pretty much ground zero for a certain alien invasion. No, I don't mean Mexicans. This is actually worse.

It's the brown marmorated stink bug.

I don't know if you're unlucky enough to have met these little buggers (heh. buggers.), but they give new meaning to the word "pest". Not only are they everywhere, but it takes special effort to get rid of them.

You can't just squish them like a normal bug. If you kill them, they give off a gawd-awful stench -- hence the name, right? You can't even suck them up with the sweeper... their little corpses will make the entire machine reek. You're reduced to a half-assed catch and release system.

So not only do I feel like a hippy, escorting some creepy-crawly out of the house when he more properly belongs on the bottom of my shoe, I do it knowing the smelly little bastard will probably have crawled through an invisible crack and back into the house by the time I close the door. He'll probably beat me back to the living room.

So why am I not overjoyed that the scientific community has decided to solve the pest problem?

Because I see where this is going.

See, the big brains at the USDA think they can curtail the stink bug population by introducing a new insect to the ecosystem. They're experimenting with teeny little Asian wasps that lay their eggs inside stink bug eggs, thus effectively aborting stink bugs in unold numbers.

What could go wrong? Right?

Hooboy. The mind boggles.

First, we need to give serious consideration to the wasps themselves. They're native to Asia. We haven't had a whole lot of good luck with imported Asian species. Whatever we bring in just kinda takes over the environment. Like kudzu. Or how about those asian carp? Remember snake heads? Godzilla?!

Or how about the damn stink bugs in the first place. Yeah.

But more importantly, if we do bring in the wasps to kill off the stink bugs... where does it end?

Remember the old lady who swallowed the fly? Huh?

First the fly. I don't know why. Then the spider. Then the bird. The cat. The dog. A goat. A cow. Finally, the horse, of course.

And how did that work out?

One dead old lady. A whole bunch of freaked-the-hell-out animals. And all for a fly who only had a 24 hour life span in the first place.

So if we follow this stink bug/wasp thing to its logical conclusion, what do we have?

Poisonous lizards? Tasmanian devils? Dingos?

See what I'm saying?

I'd rather take my chances with DDT.


I found this interesting...

I'd forgotten all the animals in the old lady song, so had to do a search. I found the lyrics on a National Institutes of Health website.

What the...?