Thank you, Marine Corps, and the “Consequences of Same-Sex Marriage”

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First, thank you to the Marine Corps for being the gift that keeps on giving. Sure, back in the day, the Corps gave me discipline and confidence and the chance to be a bad-ass and look good doing it. But the Marine Corps also gave me the greatest friends a man could ever have. And that gift keeps on giving.

Exhibit A:

Today on Facebook, my friend, Eric, posted this photo and included this commentary:

It’s funny, but I already know the three consequences. Two dudes fall in love, less dudes competing for the available chicks out there. Two chicks fall in love, more dream hook-up fodder for every dude out there. Gay couple moves in next door to me, my wife and I have trusted neighbors who understand the importance of love and we either have two dudes who can decorate the shit out of my house or two chicks who can hunt. Hey… this is Oregon. Thanks for the letter- fuckers

See how cool my friends are? And I have the Marine Corps to thank for bringing them into my lives. Semper Fi, indeed.

Of Blame and Credit

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Last night, a team of Navy Seals were dispatched to Pakistan to capture or kill Osama Bin Laden. Unfortunately, the team was unsuccessful. They failed. The details are still emerging, and it is unknown at this time if the mission failed because of mechanical, logistic, or personnel problems. Either way, the blame for this rests with the Special Forces team. They had their orders and failed to complete them.

Can you imagine if this had been the message shared by the President last night? This entire nation would be (justifiably) outraged that the President… the Commander-in-Chief… had put the blame on the Navy Seals. We would all be pissed off that he was shirking his responsibility and authority as the head of the United States military and, instead, criticizing the Special Forces teams. We would all remind him that he was ultimately in charge of everything that the military did, good or bad, and that he needed to step up and take responsibility.

So, why is it that some are so quick to attack the President for his words last night? Based on what I’m reading, the President is being criticized for taking credit for the successful mission launched against Bin Laden. First, I didn’t hear that in his speech at all, but that is an argument for another day. Even if he was boasting, why shouldn’t he?

Just as he is ultimately responsible for any failures of the military, he is also ultimately responsible for any successes. He is the C-I-C, and it was under his leadership and command that Bin Laden was brought to justice.

If you know me at all, you know that I am a passionate and dedicated supporter of our military. My support is more than just a bumper sticker, too. My husband and I happily give our time and our money to a variety of military-related charities, and we directly help our extended Marine Corps families. Like so many others, I have lost countless hours worrying and praying for our brave servicemen and women in harm’s way. And I say all of this to remind people that I would never take anything away from our military.

But the President IS the Commander in Chief. He is the man who made the capture or killing of Osama Bin Laden the highest priority. And yes, he deserves credit for doing his part to make this happen.

More details will surely come in the days to follow, but I did find this today. It’s worth reading to get an idea of how this whole thing started.

Speak. Stumble. Blame. Repeat.

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Here we go again. Sarah Palin says something stupid. She gets called out for it. She “clarifies” her original comments and then blames everyone else for distorting her words.

Case in point. When the Supreme Court ruled for the Westboro Baptist Church, Palin sent this tweet:

Common sense & decency absent as wacko “church” allowed hate msgs spewed@ soldiers’ funerals but we can’t invoke God’s name in public square

After the tweet, Palin came under fire for what seemed to most as her criticism of the ruling. In the face of the criticism, Palin now claims she was misinterpreted.

“Obviously my comment meant that when we’re told we can’t say ‘God bless you’ in graduation speeches or pray before a local football game but these wackos can invoke God’s name in their hate speech while picketing our military funerals, it shows ridiculous inconsistency,” Palin told TheDC. “I wasn’t calling for any limit on free speech, and it’s a shame some folks tried to twist my comment in that way. I was simply pointing out the irony of an often selective interpretation of free speech rights.”

For pity sake. It’s the same shtick with her.

  1. Fail to fully understand an issue.
  2. Say something folksy and simple.
  3. Blame everyone else for how your statement was received.
  4. Launch inane tirade against the media, the Left, liberals, etc.

Here’s an idea. Perhaps she should keep her mouth closed and her fingers off her keyboard until she takes the time to understand a situation. Then she could provide a coherent response and not have to issue endless “clarification” statements.

She won’t, of course. She can’t help herself. She is what happens when the MTV generation meets a little political power. And now, there is no microphone, podium or camera she isn’t drawn to. But the rest of us don’t have to keep tuning in.

You Can’t Make This Stuff Up.

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It’s from Salon and definitely worth passing on:

Congrats to Rush Limbaugh on his fourth traditional marriage.

Rush Limbaugh, October 6, 2009:

Look, we found another Obama oddball. Obama’s nominee to become commissioner for the equal opportunity employment commission is Chai Feldblum. She’s an outspoken gay rights activist, Georgetown University law professor, and she has praised polygamy and contended that traditional marriage should not have privileged status.

MSMDC News, yesterday:

Conservative radio man Rush Limbaugh is taking a fourth stab at marriage with a weekend wedding to Kathryn Rogers, an events coordinator 26 years his junior, according to various reports. Limbaugh, 59, will reportedly marry the 33-year-old Rogers at his Palm Beach compound. . . . The childless Limbaugh’s first two marriages were over by the time he rose to national prominence. His third wedding, to Marta Fitzgerald in 1994, was officiated by his friend, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. They divorced in 2004. Before beginning his courtship with Rogers in 2007, Limbaugh was romantically linked to then-CNN anchor Daryn Kagan.

So as Newt Gingrich does while standing next to his third wife (who, as was true for Gingrich’s second wife, was previously known as his “adulterous mistress”), Rush Limbaugh will now crusade for Traditional Marriage with his fourth wife (and counting) at his side.  As is so often the case, the Traditional Marriage movement is led by people who discard their wives and get new, younger replacements the way most people change underwear.  That’s how so many Americans sit on their sofas next to their second and third spouses, with their step-children and half-siblings surrounding them, and explain — without any recognition of the irony — that they’re against same-sex marriage because they believe the law should only recognize Traditional Marriages.  And it’s how Rush Limbaugh can hide from his followers that, by demanding state recognition for his fourth “marriage,” he himself  believes “that traditional marriage should not have privileged status.”  As usual, all of the actual rules of Traditional Marriage are casually discarded when it comes to the law (all that dreary, annoying stuff about “till death do us part” and “in sickness and in health” and “for as long as we both shall live”) and the only one that’s maintained is the one that is easy and cost-free for most Traditional Marriage proponents people to fulfill (the one about needing “a man and a woman”).

As the gay Wired writer Steve Silberman wrote yesterday:  “Between them, Gingrich and Limbaugh have had 7 marriages. And they want to abolish my one.”  On that note, The Boston Globe highlights how this Traditional Marriage hypocrisy is not merely vile in its own right, but breeds serious oppression for countless Americans, as it reports on the harrowing experience of an American citizen who has been barred from living in the U.S. with his foreign national same-sex spouse (as a result ofthe Defense of Marriage Act’s ban on granting the same federal rights to same-sex couples which opposite-sex couples are entitled to receive, such as immigration rights).  The latest “marriages” of Gingrich and Limbaugh (as well as their 5th, 6th, and 7th ones which, if history is any guide, will take place as soon as their most recent “wives” age a bit) will receive the full panoply of rights under American law, while — as a result of this twisted, self-serving definition of “Traditional Marriage” — gay Americans are denied all such rights even for their first marriages.

Illegals Granted Social Security

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Or, as I prefer to think of it: The Final Nail In The Coffin of Common Sense In America

The Senate voted yesterday to allow illegal aliens to collect Social Security benefits based on past illegal employment — even if the job was obtained through forged or stolen documents.

“There was a felony they were committing, and now they can’t be prosecuted. That sounds like amnesty to me,” said Sen. John Ensign, the Nevada Republican who offered the amendment yesterday to strip out those provisions of the immigration reform bill. “It just boggles the mind how people could be against this amendment.”

The Ensign amendment was defeated on a 50-49 vote.

“We all know that millions of undocumented immigrants pay Social Security and Medicare taxes for years and sometimes decades while they work to contribute to our economy,” said Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican.

“The Ensign amendment would undermine the work of these people by preventing lawfully present immigrant workers from claiming Social Security benefits that they earned before they were authorized to work in our community,” he said. “If this amendment were enacted, the nest egg that these immigrants have worked hard for would be taken from them and their families.”

Mr. Ensign was among 44 Republicans and five Democrats who voted to block such payouts.

“It makes no sense to reward millions of illegal immigrants for criminal behavior while our Social Security system is already in crisis,” said Sen. Jim DeMint, South Carolina Republican. “Why in the world would we endorse this criminal activity with federal benefits? The Senate missed a big opportunity to improve this bill, and I doubt American seniors will be pleased with the result.”

Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, Vermont Democrat, said it would be unfair to deny illegals the benefits.

“We should not steal their funds or empty their Social Security accounts,” he said. “That is not fair. It does not reward their hard work or their financial contributions. It violates the trust that underlies the Social Security Trust Fund.”

Unbelievable. Come to this country illegally, engage in identity theft and/or fraud, and then be rewarded. What kind of nonsense is that?

And John McCain’s opinion?

“We all know that millions of undocumented immigrants pay Social Security and Medicare taxes for years and sometimes decades while they work to contribute to our economy,” said Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican.

“The Ensign amendment would undermine the work of these people by preventing lawfully present immigrant workers from claiming Social Security benefits that they earned before they were authorized to work in our community,” he said. “If this amendment were enacted, the nest egg that these immigrants have worked hard for would be taken from them and their families.”

They were not authorized to work in this country. What part of that is confusing?!

This is fiscal and social nonsense. Every single Senator who voted “Yes” to this should be voted out at the very next opportunity.

It’s Everybody Draw Mohammad Day.

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And I can’t explain it any better than Greta Christina has already done:

This is my drawing of Mohammad.
Greta drawing Mohammad

I wish I were a better artist, and could draw something other than a stick figure. But I actually kind of like its purity. If a simple, entirely undistinguished, smiling stick figure with the word “Mohammad” above it can be so offensive as to earn me a possible death sentence… that makes the whole silly idea seem even sillier. And I like the fact that it’s a photo of my hand actually making the drawing. Gives it a certain punch, I think.

Today is Everybody Draw Mohammad Day: an event in which people around the world… well, draw Mohammad. We’re deliberately violating the Muslim law against creating images of the prophet Mohammad — a law that some radical Muslim extremists are attempting to enforce with violence and death threats. On everyone. Muslims and non-Muslims alike.

Draw-Mohammad-PromoActually, strike that. It is a law that some radical Muslim extremists are successfully enforcing with violence and death threats. Everybody Draw Mohammad Day was instigated by Seattle cartoonist Molly Norris, after Comedy Central cut a portion of a South Park episode following a death threat from a radical Muslim group. And this is hardly an isolated incident: when the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten ran the cartoons of Mohammad that sparked violent protests around the world, many news publications declined to publish the cartoons in question, despite their obvious newsworthiness. Many newspapers still won’t publish them. And when this self-censorship happens, the Muslim law against drawing Mohammad has successfully been enforced.

Today, along with hundreds of people (hopefully more), I’m drawing Mohammad.

I want to explain why.

That’s more or less what I’m doing today. I realize that.

I’m doing it because, in some cases, offending people’s sensibilities is, in and of itself, a valid point. And this is one of those instances.

The idea that the rules of a religion ought to apply to people who don’t follow that religion? It’s flatly absurd. As Hemant Mehta of Friendly Atheist so brilliantly pointed out, “You never hear about Hindus walking into McDonald’s and telling the manager they’re not allowed to use beef products anymore. If they did, we would laugh it off. We’d say that’s absurd because non-Hindus don’t have to follow their rules.”

But that’s exactly what these radical Muslim extremists are doing. Despite the fact that they will happily violate the Hindu rule against eating beef, or the Orthodox Jewish rule against interfaith marriage, or the Yazidi rule against wearing the color blue, they nevertheless feel that it is their right, and indeed their duty, to enforce the Muslim rule against drawing Mohammad — even on people who aren’t Muslim. Using violence, and threats of death.

Mohammad cartoons-thumbAnd it is not possible to effectively protest this by simply saying, “This is wrong.” The only way to effectively protest this is by violating the damn rule. If we all wring our hands and say, “Oh, yes, this is terrible, how dare these terrorists use violence and death threats to enforce their religious rules on people who don’t share them” — and still nobody will break the damn rule because we’re afraid they’ll hurt or kill us — then their terror tactics will have worked.

I’m drawing Mohammad to send a message to Muslim extremists — and other religious extremists — that their terror tactics will not work.

I’m drawing Mohammad to reject out of hand the attempt to make criticism of Islam — or of any other religion, for that matter — off-limits, simply out of fear of violence.

I’m drawing Mohammad because many people feel comfortable critiquing, or poking fun of, or indeed commenting on, any other religion… but avoid doing any of this with Islam, for fear of violent retribution. And I refuse to allow myself to be extorted in that way.

And, perhaps most importantly of all, I’m drawing Mohammad to spread the target around… so there are so many people drawing Mohammad, the terrorists can’t possibly go after all of us.

InfidelThis is a point made by Ayaan Hirsi-Ali — former Muslim, current atheist, target of a fatwa for her outspoken blasphemous criticism and defiance of Islam. In a piece she wrote about the South Park/ Comedy Central incident — and about the seriousness of the death threats against the show’s creators — she asked, “So what can be done to help Mr. Parker and Mr. Stone?” And she answered, in part, “Do stories of Muhammad where his image is shown as much as possible. These stories do not have to be negative or insulting, they just need to spread the risk. The aim is to confront hypersensitive Muslims with more targets than they can possibly contend with.”

That’s the point.

And there is no way to make that point without actually violating this rule.

Perhaps you think that going out of your way to offend a cherished tenet of people’s religious beliefs is… well, offensive. Hurtful. Perhaps you think that secular groups and others organizing “Draw Mohammad” protests are engaging in anti-Muslim or anti-Arab marginalization. Perhaps you think that deliberately breaking another religion’s sacred rule, with the sole and stated purpose of breaking that rule, is a form of religious bigotry. Or even just childish jerkitude. A lot of people think that: moderate Muslims, and others.

To them, I say… well, Claudia commenting at Friendly Atheist said it way better than I could, and I’m just going to quote her: “The day drawing a bloody stick figure isn’t something you have to do while looking over your shoulder. The day cartoonists don’t have to build panic rooms in their homes (!!) for a rough picture of a dog with a mans head. The day dozens of people don’t die (again !!) because of some cartoons. On that day, I will agree that the secular group is just being immature and hurtful.”

Is it hurtful to deliberately poke people’s sore spots with a stick, just for the sake of doing it? Yes. I don’t think it’s a very nice thing to do, and I don’t generally do it.

But is it far, far more hurtful — not only to certain individuals, but to every individual in the world, and to society as a whole — to use violence and death threats to frighten people away from criticizing your religion, and to force obedience to your religious views on the entire human race?

By a thousand orders of magnitude, yes.

And in this case, the only way to oppose the latter is to engage in the former.

There’s something I want to say here: words that keep brimming up in my head and won’t shut up. I’m reluctant to write them down; I cringe a bit at the thought of posting them; they’ve become such a cliche that it’s embarrassing to even think them. I never imagined that I’d say these words as anything other than a joke. I never imagined I would say them with any sort of sincerity or passion.

But if we don’t draw Mohammad, the terrorists win.

*

Atheist-cartoonI don’t normally go out of my way to offend people’s religious sensibilities. I’m perfectly willing to do so, obviously: most of what I write here offends somebody’s religious sensibilities, and of course I know that most of my atheist writing is deeply offensive to many religious believers, simply because it is atheist. But offending people’s religious sensibilities, while it’s something I’m willing to do, is secondary. It’s a side effect of the fact that I’m making some point. It’s rarely the point itself. I rarely offend people’s religious sensibilities just for the sake of it, simply because people find it offensive.So here’s mine:

Don’t Be Proud of Your Ignorance

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Obama: iPad, Xbox Turn Information Into A ‘Distraction’

HAMPTON, Va. — President Barack Obama, addressing graduates at historically black Hampton University on Sunday, said that it is the responsibility of all Americans to offer every child the type of education that will make them competitive in an economy in which just a high school diploma is no longer enough.

Moreover, Obama said, the era of iPads and Xboxes had turned information into a diversion that was imposing new strains on democracy.

“You’re coming of age in a 24/7 media environment that bombards us with all kinds of content and exposes us to all kinds of arguments, some of which don’t always rank that high on the truth meter,” he told the students. “And with iPods and iPads, and Xboxes and PlayStations — none of which I know how to work — information becomes a distraction, a diversion, a form of entertainment, rather than a tool of empowerment, rather than the means of emancipation. So all of this is not only putting pressure on you; it’s putting new pressure on our country and on our democracy.”

(Continues at link)

Obviously, as anyone who has read my recent posts knows, I am a huge fan of the iPad. So yes, I’m a bit biased here. But this sort of celebrated ignorance on the part of the President is disappointing.

His near-boastful admission of ignorance reads to me like the people in the early 90’s who would say, “oh, I don’t even know how to turn a computer on,” and sound somewhat proud of that fact. It’s no crime nor sin to not have complete control of all technology, but to brag about what you do not know seems stupid to me.  And if he really doesn’t know how to use an iPod, why would he give one to the Queen of England?

But to the bigger allegation, that these devices are distractions or, worse still, peddlers of disinformation, I would remind the President that the same has been said of every media format since the beginning of time. Surely the first cave wall drawing depicted one man’s interpretation of an event rather than an unbiased telling of it. Unfortunately, at the time, there were very few choices for alternative media.

The delivery system is not the problem here. And blaming the messenger does nothing to address the real issues. In fact, the President’s clumsy speech should have stressed the need for critical thinking, not been an example of the lack of it. Perhaps the President should have been in my meeting with my IT Manager, who told me that he had read more news in the first week with his iPad than he had in the entire month prior. And maybe the President should utilize the amazing new apps designed exclusively for the iPad that provide more than just text for any news story. They also include links to source material and other related stories, so I can verify data and read it in the context of other relevant data.

I expect better. I certainly expect a President who knows better than to demonize technology.

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