Pinky Links


random thoughts from today. ~.m. by maria b.

can i PLEASE, PLEASE not see any more pictures of birds covered in oil sludge? those pictures make an already horrifying event even sadder. i can’t look at another one. that would be great.

it’s National Doughnut Day, and the closest Krispy Kreme to me right now is 74.48 miles away (nor is there a Dunkin’ Donuts nearby, but i’m less disappointed about that. although i admit i’m not familiar with them.) luckily, there is an awesome local place about a mile from me. and while i may not be able to get a free doughnut, i’m more than happy to pay 75 cents for some of that goodness. Continue reading



my beef with catholicism. ~.m. by maria b.

this picture makes it too easy. let me just say that so far, 2010 is definitely the year of the priest. but probably not for the reasons the pope and his marketing team wanted.

my mom sent me this (unsolicited) e-mail, yes, on Good Friday. if there’s anything i can’t discuss with my dear, Conservative mother, it’s two things: religion and politics. yet i found this in my inbox.

Today, On Good Friday, Heres Why I Remain Catholic
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=125493179&sc=emaf

This message was included:

This article best explains, why I am a practicing Catholic.  I hope this will enlighten you to my faith.  Love you, MOM

*Listen/Watch on NPR.org*
Many stories at NPR.org have audio or video content. When you visit the link
above, look for a “Listen” or “Watch” button.
For technical support, please visit NPR’s Audio/Video Help page:
http://www.npr.org/help/media.html

the gist of it is that everything has two sides: America, our families, ourselves, yadda yadda yadda. it glosses over the sex and pedophilia scandals with euphemisms and emphasizes the good the church does and hope for the future blah blah blah. a generic Catholic homily, suited for any occasion at all. whatever. so i sent her this back. (credit goes to Krco for the majority of the info in this e-mail.)

noted. and i hope this will enlighten you as to why i am not a Catholic:

Bishop Camara said “When I fed the poor they called me a saint, when I asked why the poor had no food, they called me a Communist.”

Bishop Camara’s nickname was “The Bishop of the Slums.”  He was really into land redistribution and progressive welfare politics.  He was the head bishop of Brazil when the USA helped the military overthrow the Brazilian democracy and spoke out against the repressive government despite death threats–even when the dictator was sitting in his pews.  The Brazilian military government only allowed two political parties; Camara started his own illegal political party anyway to push the social justice thing.  It didn’t go anywhere because too many potential members got shot, but it was probably worth a try.  He basically kept trying to do stuff like that until democracy was restored two decades after the military coup, when he retired.  He started a bunch of programs to help the poor, improve the slums, and organize against the repression, but when he retired, he was immediately replaced by a conservative papal yes-man who undid all the social justice programs that Camara had started.  Here’s a pretty good biography if you’re interested: http://clericalwhispers.blogspot.com/2009/07/bishop-of-slums-dom-helder-camara-and.html

Some other quotes from him:

How can a Christian collaborate with a communist?

– For me, men are not divided into believers and atheists, but between oppressors and oppressed, between those who want to keep this unjust society and those who want to struggle for justice.

Have you forgotten that Marx considered religion to be the opium of the people?

– It is the bourgeoisie which has turned religion into an opium of the people by preaching a God, lord of the heavens only, while taking possession of the earth for itself.

And, he was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize four times, but conservative churchmen like the current pope worked behind the scenes to make sure he never got it.

Now, compare this to a modern day, conservative, American bishop (Morlino, from the church in Madison) who was talking about the association of Catholic Hospitals (which is huge) and all the nuns in the USA:

So, we had a trade organization — the Catholic Health Association — which calls itself “Catholic” and we had religious Sisters who call themselves Catholic, saying, “Sorry, bishops, you got it wrong, here is the teaching of the Church.” The Lord Jesus Christ, unworthy though the bishops are, called the bishops to lead the people in faith; He did not call anybody in the Catholic Health Association and he did not call any of the Sisters in Network.

The bishops are called to teach, sanctify, and govern. But, as I said before, with regard to the Holy Father, if people will not recognize authority, then they cannot lay responsibility at the feet of those to whom they are disobedient. The pope and the bishops are only responsible when their authority is accepted. The then-Cardinal Ratzinger himself has said, in our contemporary world, the word “obedience” has disappeared from our vocabulary and the reality of obedience has been anathematized.

So doubtless, you heard about the priest in Milwaukee who sexually assaulted 200 deaf boys?  And how the bishop, pope, and current pope knew about the situation as it was happening?  This quote from Morlino comes from the exact same day that that story came out.  How can someone from Wisconsin pick a time like now to talk about people being obedient to the bishops?  What a contrast between the conservative syphocants of today and the Latin American badasses of the 60′s.

But seeing as how the Catholic Church is less a religious organization and widely considered to be the world’s largest corporation, it’s no wonder that people like Morlino and Benedict/Ratzinger ended up with leadership positions and people like Camara are suppressed or, like now, don’t even see a connection between the philosophy of social justice and Catholicism. It seems that today’s Catholic leaders would prefer a church made up of rich, obedient lemmings instead of people who are looking to actually find practical ways to apply the ideas in the beatitudes to their lives (not that the ideas in the beatitudes are exclusives to Catholicism or Christianity.)

Anyway, I’m not trying to get into an e-mail debate with you. I just thought i’d tell you why I am not a Catholic since you told me why you are. Hope you had a good day!

Love, .m.

i was as nice as i could be. and i let a lot go unsaid, so i think as far as not being offensive i did a pretty good job (albeit while sacrificing thoroughness.) now i can only hope that she doesn’t shoot me back an e-mail about how she’s still praying for me. fucking christ.

p.s. this is a great blog about how creepy, manipulative, subversive, absurd and ridiculously arrogant the Catholic church is regarding both legislative and cultural issues in America today. it has a point of view, sure, but i do think it’s pretty fair. considering.



are people this lazy? are people this stupid?? ~.m. by maria b.

the claim: the pump on your soap dispenser harbors germs! ewwwwww!

the problem: you touch the pump, and the germs on it, when you dispense the soap to wash your icky hands! whatever shall you do?!?

the “solution”: this (presumably) battery-powered Lysol touchless soap dispenser will give you the antibacterial soap you need for your disgusting, disease-filled, germ-spreading hands without you having to touch a gross soap dispenser. it’s only 4 times more expensive than your old dispenser (batteries not included), uses more soap per “pump” and uses more batteries that are hardly ever disposed of properly. ta-da!

it’s perfect!

HOWEVER: has anyone realized that this is redundant with the use of any antibacterial soap? if you’re using antibacterial soap to wash your hands, why the FUCK do you need a touchless soap dispenser? the soap will kill the bacteria on your hands no matter what you touched before you lather up–INCLUDING the soap dispenser. did ANYONE at Lysol think of this? do the advertising and Lysol executives think people are that stupid? ARE people that stupid? UGH, Amurrikuh.



my word of the week: SCROTUS. ~.m. by maria b.

SCROTUS: the Supreme Court Republicans Of the United States; the SCOTUS conservative activist judges that overturn precedent to further contemporary Republican/conservative ideology. (ex: Scalia, Thomas, Alito and Roberts make up the current SCROTUS, which was instrumental in upsetting precedent in the Citizens United case.)



re: abortion as a felony in florida. ~.m. by maria b.

so, i saw over at Feministing that some douchebag legislator in Florida wants to charge doctors who perform abortions with first-degree felonies punishable by up to life in prison. they provided his e-mail address there, and i was fired up enough to shoot him one. (i’m not from Florida or anything, but what the hell, i AM a woman.) i’m putting it here for posterity, and if i get any kind of real response back from his office, i’ll make sure to mention it.

To the Honorable Charles E. Van Zant: [it automatically starts it for you that way]

It has come to my attention that you are the sponsor of HB 1097, which seeks to charge doctors who perform abortions for women with felonies and imprison them for life.

I have a few problems with your proposed legislation:

First, why are you prosecuting the doctors and not the women seeking to have the abortions done? Do you think that a woman who asks a doctor to perform an abortion (in the case of rape or incest; in the case that the fetus has a deformity or genetic defect that would make its life outside the womb painful, miserable, expensive and short) should also be charged with a crime? If you don’t think so, why? I find it very hard to believe that a woman who asks for and receives an abortion doesn’t know that it’s an abortion, that she’s terminating her pregnancy.

Secondly, I see that you are a Republican representative. Is one of the tenets of your political ideology not “smaller government” with less intrusion into the private lives of its citizens? More freedom from government regulations, laws and programs that tell us what to do with our money, property, families, jobs and selves? I am politically literate, so I know that the answer to these questions I pose to you is yes. So, I ask you: How do you reconcile this philosophy of smaller government and less intrusion into the lives of private citizens with your sponsorship of legislation that seeks to regulate the choices of private citizens about their own bodies?

Since you are a Republican, I consider it safe to assume that you are of some Christian faith persuasion. While I respect that the current interpretation of some choice Biblical scriptures by some very vocal Christians and Catholics is that abortion is the ending of a human life, I resent the fact that you are attempting to impose that RELIGIOUS view onto other people who may not share it, and I resent the fact that you are attempting to do it through legislation when it says in the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause and Free Exercise Clause (and was later clarified by Thomas Jefferson) that there is a separation of church and state in our country. Personally, I do not share your belief and I find it infuriating that people like you intend to legislate my body and my personal decisions based on your religious moral code.

I identify as a pro-choice woman informed by the personal experience of having a uterus and all the responsibilities that come along with it, and I very much resent the thought of you, a man with no comparable firsthand experience, writing legislation telling me and other women what to do with our bodies. I also think it’s safe to assume that you have little or no experience with how difficult it is to raise a child while working full-time and without the support of a spouse, significant other or family to help you take care of a baby.

Where we can find common ground is this: I believe that abortions should be as rare as possible. They are difficult decisions to make, especially when the pregnancy terminated was planned. The best way to address this issue, then, is to make sure that women get the proper prenatal care so the likelihood of birth defects, low birth weights and other health complications is reduced, and to provide women with comprehensive and accurate information about sex and contraceptives and to provide easy and affordable access to contraceptives.

We women, Mr. Zant, are intelligent enough to be trusted by you (the government) with making the best decisions for ourselves and our bodies, whether you agree with them or not. But your sponsorship of this legislation indicates to me that you do not share this belief. You believe that you are more qualified to decide what is right for women than women for themselves, than the doctors who went to school for almost a decade studying the science, ethics and practice of human medicine. I find it arrogant of you to believe that you know better than the medical experts and better than the women dealing firsthand with their situation

The current state of national abortion law is not perfect, but it should satisfy you: those opposed to abortion are not forced to have abortions, they are free to speak out against the practice, and “partial-birth abortion” has been outlawed; those who believe that abortion should be an option for women facing dangerous or otherwise unwanted pregnancies can access them (not easily enough, however) and are also free to express their support of the option. Free speech for all, and limited government intrusion into our private lives and bodies. I cannot understand why you’d want to go further with the legislation of reproductive rights.



high points and low points from this past week. ~.m. by maria b.

Highs:

Lows:

  • Alito revealed in this week’s SOTU his political leanings (like we didn’t know.) the hypocrisy from the right is incredulous, overdramatic, hypocritical and unsurprising.
  • more right wing hypocrisy, this time re: Hawaii.
  • paul shirley, former NBA player for the Bulls, is an asshole, elitist, bigot and all-round piece of shit. his post begins: “I don’t know if what I’m about to write makes me a monster.” so he’s already questioning his ideas. short answer: fuck yes, go fuck yourself. with a condom, obviously. this is so wrong i don’t even know where to begin.
  • iPad: haha, women have periods. eeeeww! so gross! get over it. it’s a fucking computer. (nuanced point: i think it’s funny to joke about how Apple might market tampons and pads, but this reaction smacks of second-grade humor. “they said ‘pad’! teehee!)
  • Howard Zinn & J.D. Salinger bite the dust. bummer.


this week’s number: 428% by maria b.

between 2000 and 2007, insurance company profits rose 428%. you read that right, 428%.

thanks for trying to fix that, Senator Al Franken.



i’m getting really sick of this mainstreamed misogyny shit. ~.m. by maria b.

a.k.a. the GOP

so, i understand that misogyny is a part of American culture, as much as i detest it (and sometimes, admittedly, find funny.) but i didn’t understand that it was a part of our fucking government. jesus christ, are these guys for real??

rep. pete sessions (r-tx) said in a Rules Committee meeting this past Friday that healthcare coverage for women (“female-related conditions”) was like healthcare coverage for smokers. from Politico: Continue reading



fyi: health care is fucked. ~.m. by maria b.

Rolling Stone‘s Matt Taibbi has a piece published last week that breaks down the timeline of the U.S. government’s half-assed attempt at revamping the healthcare system. it’s depressing in its realism and infuriating in its breakdown of all the turncoat politicians and various other political machinery working against anything of substance actually being accomplished. if you care about health care reform and the U.S. eventually getting a single-payer system, you should read this. (it won’t make your day, but knowing who’s doing what for healthcare is certainly important.)





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