Sunday, December 30, 2012

Got banned again

Hey folks, I just got a 7 day ban from Facebook for telling Matthew Desmond's fake profile to go fuck himself. We aren't going anywhere but if you see a slack in posting, you know why. Revenge will be served.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

The NRA doesn't represent me (thoughts from a gun owner)

The NRA, like the GOP, has found itself well down the road to irrelevance. By pandering to the ideology of the extremists they attract, they've alienated the majority of Americans. This includes many who'd support some of their ideas if it wasn't for their obstinate insistence on no compromise, no common sense solutions.

When faced with horrific tragedies and real issues to be addressed, instead of moving to the center or at least acknowledging an issue with guns, they double down on rhetoric. Instead of catering to mental stable gun owners, they've narrowed their audience further and further by stoking the fires of paranoia in the minds of conspiracy theorists and militia members. Rather than promote responsible gun ownership, they've cashed in on the wannabe Rambos and people who wouldn't be able to pass the psychological exam to become a police officer or soldier.

Now before people start of on the "well, you're just a liberal who wants to take everyone's guns away" tirade, I used to read "American Rifleman" when I was a kid. Every issue started off with a collection of short stories about people who used their weapon to protect themselves and/or shoot a bad guy. Back then, it was more about hunting and self defense than it is today. I really dug the idea of being able to eliminate a coyote at 500 yards with a .25-06 and plinking cans with a .22 has been something I've enjoyed since I was 7 years old. Blowing up a stuff with an AR at a target range out in the middle of the woods? That's a little slice of burnt gunpowder heaven to me.

However, the NRA doesn't represent me anymore. I own a 12 gauge shotgun with shells that range from 00 buckshot for home defense to #6 shot for the water moccasins that hang out in the ditches between the cane fields that surround my house. I have owned various handguns and a concealed carry permit but I don't buy into the constant fear they sell that causes their members to nervously pat their waistband every time they see a black person at the adjacent gas pump at 1 in the morning.

Their answer to gun violence? More fear, more paranoia. Buy more guns, buy more ammo, become a member and slap an NRA sticker on your vehicle to scare off criminals. And seriously, who the fuck are these nuts who want an AR-15 for home defense? Fire one of those at an intruder and miss? That 5.56mm round will scream right through 2 layers of drywall and insulation and right into your spouse or child sleeping in an adjacent room. Don't tell me you need a semi-auto weapon with a 30 round clip and armor piercing rounds to protect you from a crackhead. Chances are you're a lousy shot but let's be honest, you want to really, really kill someone.

These aren't people who really want to protect their homes, they have this delusional, Fox News fed fantasy that Obama and the UN are going to show up to take them to detention camps. They have watched Red Dawn or Rambo one time too many and think that they will somehow fight off an imagined repressive government with a single rifle, and the NRA reinforces that delusion at every opportunity to make even more money.

I'll support reasonable restrictions on gun ownership, including special licenses for military-styled weapons such as an AR-15 and bans on high capacity magazines. I also think that we should take the police officers who we pay to bust people for smoking pot and reassign them to walk the halls of our schools instead. We aren't going to stop gun violence in our country, violence has been part of our history since the beginning. We can make a dent in it and we can make it harder for people who suddenly snap to go on rampages like we saw at Sandy Hook or Aurora.

If you're a responsible person, you should be able support certain safeguards which in no way restrict your ability to own or use firearms in a responsible manner. Or you can follow the way of the NRA, double down on stupid, and follow the bloody trail to irrelevancy. Your choice.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Sandy Hook tragedy, a Facebook page tries to cash in

On Monday, December 17th, I logged into Facebook and saw that a friend of mine had "liked" a page supposedly dedicated to the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting. Like probably everyone else who has Facebook, Twitter, or any other sort of social media, half of my newsfeed was filled with posts, images and links about this national tragedy.

As my mouse hovered over the page entitled "R.I.P Sandy Hook Elementary School Children", I noticed it had over 200,000 likes and growing. I decided to check it out. My suspicions were confirmed when I saw images downloaded from news sites with the instructions to "LIKE THIS LINK

Now this is normally standard fare for some scammer sites on Facebook but when I checked out the personal profile, I wanted to throw my laptop through the window in a fit of rage. This person is using the tragedy of what happened at Sandy Hook Elementary to promote his personal music profile as well as his page called "Lil Brown". He also claims to be on a label called "We Are Young Money". On further research, we've found that he is not signed to that label and he's featured on only ONE song on a mixtape by Lil Chuckee who is a 16 year old artist on their roster.

This guy is apparently some aspiring low level hip hop artist who is using the deaths of teachers and children to gain web traffic and cash in on it. Now I've seen some really disgusting use of tragic events to make money but I think this one deserves the "shit head of the century" award. The offending page was started in August, 4 months before the events of 12-14-2012 and "Cardy Chery" changed the name of the page in order to cash in on publicity surrounding the massacre. The legitimate page "R.I.P Sandy Hook Elementary School Children" doesn't ask people to "like and share" or post links to personal profiles for wannabe rappers. It is located here:

(The page has since been updated to show that it was created in December but we have the above screenshot as proof.)

There's plenty of pages who use images with "like if you think she's beautiful, ignore if you have no heart". You've seen them, those pictures that your friend "liked" along with 607,890 other people and the text "add me to get 5,000 followers". They also do that with pictures of injured pets, disabled children soldiers returning from war, and anything else to gain the most "likes and shares" possible. They do this to fill your news feed with game requests, spam for Viagra, Air Jordans, etc. Even legitimate pages do the "like and share" thing as a way to expand their audience on social media without having to pay for it.

In this case, I think we've found someone who found a new low. I've enclosed a couple screenshots as evidence along with the links provided.

***UDATE 12/19/2012***

The following are screenshots from personal profile for a "Nick Shawn Moss". The post from Tuesday (12/18) asking people to subscribe to this profile is not available at this time but again, we have a screenshot.

Both profiles that the page has linked to claim to be with "Young Money Entertainment". However, if you click on the link on the personal profile, it redirects you to the real Young Money Entertainment page. This suggests that these guys aren't with the label (and really, how many 17 year old kids are hanging out with Lebron James, pouring out champagne on strippers, etc?) and the page they created was deleted at the request of the real record label.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

A history of violence, 12-14-12

In the light of recent events, it's time to have a very real conversation about not only mental health issues but where our society is going overall. To say we just need to ban guns or that we just need to place police officers everywhere is intellectually lazy and a cop-out.

By nature, human beings are violent creatures. In case you haven't been paying attention, we've been killing each other since the beginning of our history. Whether it has been over resources or beliefs, we've only gotten better and more efficient at it. We've also lost a sense of what death really is. Everything is so sanitized and remote that unless you've watched "Faces of Death" or actually watched someone die in front of you, it is sort of an abstract idea that most people don't grasp. Why do you think so many soldiers come home with PTSD? They've seen death up close and personal.

I'm not going to tell you I have all the answers to this problem, I don't think anyone really does. However, making more laws isn't going to fix the problem. Making handguns illegal won't stop killings from happening and arming every member of the populace isn't going to do that either. I also know that allowing everyone access to free mental healthcare isn't going to fix it, nor will placing a 100% tax on every box of bullets. As long as there are deranged, evil people walking this earth, events like that of Columbine, Norway, Oklahoma City, 9-11 and Newtown will happen.

America has a sordid history and fascination with violence. Consider that one of the first things the European settlers did upon landing on these shores was to start annihilating the natives. Ponder the fact that the Puritans had zero problem with burning alive people they thought were witches or that except for a few years in our history, America has been involved in one war or another. Why is it that we put warning labels on everything sexual in nature but allow kids to watch cartoons and films in which almost every problem is solved with violence of some sort? How many action films involve the villain being escorted to prison in handcuffs versus being blown up or shot to pieces by the hero? Think about all of that.

There is no law, no reasonable change that we can make that will stop a repeat of the tragedy of 12-14-2012. We can arm every single man, woman and child but we are already the most heavily armed nation in the world. We can ban the sale and possession of firearms but that won't stop it either. We can spout the talking points of the gun lobby and the anti-gun lobby until we're blue in the face but that'll get us nowhere.

As I said, I don't have the answers but here's where I think we can start. Require that further purchases and possession of assault weapons need a license, much like a driving permit. Make it a one time deal where you take a safety course, just like many states already require for hunting. Violations of the law involving firearms will result in the license being suspended or permanently revoked.

Next, if you commit a violent crime involving a gun, you go to jail for the rest of your life. I prefer a place like Angola where you don't sit on your ass in a cell and watch TV. You'll be working in the hot fields, swatting mosquitoes and digging ditches until the day you're buried in the dark delta soil.

All of these suggestions will not stop a suicidal, violent person though. If you're depressed and angry with suicide on your mind, no law or consequences will likely stop you. In fact, there are people who seek "suicide by cop". When I was a kid, we had a mental hospital in my town. People who were suffering from mental issues were sent there for the safety of the community. The problem is that we've closed so many of those and placed such a stigma on mental illness. We've basically made the choice of letting these kids with behavioral problems either stay in the schools and be bullied or be placed in prison. We allow our kids to be fed a steady diet of media that glorifies violence as the answer to everything, as we give them a pill for everything that we perceive to be wrong with them.

Sadly, as soon as the media finds a new tragedy, they'll be on to the next story they can command the most advertising dollars from. The question is will we allow them to? Once the last victim is buried, will we go back to our comfortable little lives and wait for it to happen again, maybe this time in our backyard? Or will we get beyond the paranoid fantasies on the right that the government wants to take everyone's guns and the delusional ideology on the far left that only by doing exactly that will we be safe?

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The NDAA and other hypothetical situations

There's been many a time when people have asked me why we don't cover some issues, most specifically, things like the NDAA and others.

Let me go ahead and clarify. First of all, I don't speak on things I haven't researched or feel qualified enough to discuss. We talk about things we know. Things like working for a living, progressive politics, etc. I've never known anyone who has been swept up by the military and indefinitely detained for any reason. However, I have known people with lives that were literally destroyed by the Bush wars and people who've gone to prison for the simple crime of possessing marijuana. To me, those are the outrages. That's what I get upset about, not hypothetical situations that have yet to be realized.

Let's talk about prison first. Last year, I went to my first Angola Prison Rodeo. While I know there are people behind those rows of barbed wire who deserve to be there for the remainder of their lives, I met some who didn't. One gentleman that I met was a soft-spoken artist who was finishing up a 25 year term for selling marijuana. His family's lives went on without him all that time he was out toiling in those fields behind the Mississippi levees in the hot Louisiana sun. To me, that is the outrage.

War? Don't get me started. I've known veterans of every war from WWII to Afghanistan. My uncle was a Korean War veteran who demanded to serve despite being initially turned down because of his eyesight. I remember being a teenager and dealing with a Green Beret with severe PTSD. In my 20's, I listened to a friend who came back from Iraq with his story of opening fire on a vehicle that didn't stop at a checkpoint, only to watch the lifeless bodies of children slump out of the backseat of the car when the smoke cleared. We saw our favorite bartender who was stationed at Fort Stewart go off to Iraq, only to return as a person we barely knew, and later commit suicide.

Don't lecture me on hypothetical situations that currently exist only in internet chat rooms. There's people have been detained for most of or all the remainder of their natural lives for things that shouldn't be a crime. There's enough real injustice and real crimes going on in this world to be upset about. Let's deal with those and then we can deal with your hypotheticals.

A letter to the 1%

To those in the 1% who might read this:

Why is it considered unfair and immoral to tax those who can afford it, but OK to deny people medical care because they can't afford it? Why is it that somehow someone who makes millions off trading stocks is more entitled to keep their money than someone who works 60 or 70 hours a week doing actual physical labor? How is it greedy that someone who makes 1% of what you do annually demands the right to unionize and earn a living wage?

Listen...I will never begrudge someone who has earned their money honestly but this worship of the wealthy has got to stop. I'm happy for those who saw a demand, created a product to meet that demand, and subsequently made a bunch of money off it. In real capitalism, one takes their money and risks it to make more. Some succeed and some fail, that is the nature of the beast.

What is intolerable is that those who got bailed out when their business fell through, they want to cut the same safety net when it comes to the public. Even worse, there's members of the voting bloc who support that even while they use the very "entitlement" systems that they demonize. In both cases, they believe that they somehow earned a right to these safety net and entitlement funds but other people don't deserve it. This isn't some sort of great concern for fiscal responsibility, it's selfishness, plain and simple.

How else can you justify the waste of trillions of dollars on wars, tax breaks and subsidies for multi-billion dollar companies or massive pork barrel spending? Yet somehow when it comes to money for anti-poverty programs and education, you're suddenly a fiscal hawk? Give me a fucking break. The whole bit about how only 53% of Americans pay taxes? That's not because the tax code unfairly targets the rich, it's because 47% of Americans make so little money, they don't qualify to pay federal taxes, and they shouldn't. However, they still pay state sales tax, vehicle taxes, property taxes, etc.

Put me in the 1% and I'll gladly pay 50-60% of my annual income in hopes that money can be used to better my community and give others the opportunity to achieve the same success. You can't demand good roads, good schools, skilled workers for your business, low crime and all the other great things a 1st world society has to offer without paying for it. Stop trying to be one of the "takers" you like to rail on about and pay your damn taxes instead of trying to get every loophole possible.

Sincerely annoyed with your kvetching,


Saturday, December 1, 2012

Southern, progressive, redneck?

I'm really tired of the perception and portrayal of rural, working class people by the political and social elitists. The disdain and condescension towards those of us who'd rather drive a pickup truck than a Prius has got to stop. There are many people who would be on the side of progressive politics more often if it wasn't for the feeling that they're being looked down on by the self appointed party elite.

Yeah, it's easy to poke fun at tobacco-spitting, gun-toting country folk that drive trucks with big tires and listen to country music instead of the bands only known to subscribers of Pitchfork. Those of us who live outside the suburbs have a sense of humor about our way of life but using the cliche stereotypes to repeatedly bash us to make a point about red states, it ain't cool. Don't like guns? That's fine, but don't lump those of us who do in with Neo-Nazi separatists, militia members and other nutjobs. Don't like country music? I don't care much for it either, but why insult something people grew up with and enjoy? Whether it is food, music or other parts of someone else's culture, mocking it is like talking bad about their family or kicking their hunting dog. It shows a lack of maturity, cultural understanding, and security in your own lifestyle or socio-political identification.

I've spent half my life in the city, and half in the country. I milked cows, shot snakes, and slaughtered pigs and chickens as a kid. I grew up with an outhouse that you had to outrun an angry bull to get to and then spent nearly all of my adult life in the city until just a couple years ago when I went back to the rural life. There's so many people in the country that could support things like marriage equality, reasonable gun restrictions, green energy, etc. However, they're turned off by the perception that party elitists think they're backasswards, cousin-touching, inbred toothless rednecks. As a result, every November, they pull the lever for the folks who at least pretend to identify with them.

When are you going to stop this? When will you as a political and social media movement stop portraying every rightwinger as an uneducated redneck? There's plenty of rednecks, educated or not, that I know voted for Obama in both 2008 and 2012. There's far more that could have possibly turned some red states blue but they're still convinced that liberals think they're stupid and want to take their way of life away. Rednecks are the backbone of America, they're the working class, and they vote. The two bearded guys wearing overalls and trucker caps who hold hands when they think nobody is watching, they'd probably vote a Blue ticket more often if they could be sure progressives supported more than just their right to love each other.

The point of this rant is...stop it. If you want to win again in 2014 and beyond, stop belittling the rural folks and automatically writing them off as automatic GOP votes. Start trying to identify with them and show them how your policies will benefit them instead of sitting on your perch of perceived cultural superiority. Stop turning up your nose at college football, camouflage shirts, boiled crawfish and pickup trucks. Nobody is saying you have to embrace it, just try to understand it.

For people who bitch about Republican class warfare and elitism, you sure do a goddamned lot of it yourselves. Knock it off.

Monday, November 26, 2012

"Click like and share if you..."

Taking a story from the news that is older than the expired yogurt at the back of your refrigerator, rewriting it with an over the top headline, and then passing it off as a new story is not journalism. To me, that is just as bad as Fox News. It is propaganda posing as news, for the sake of making money off an audience of unquestioning sheep. It is all about creating a sense of required and uninformed outrage over something that may or may not be something to be outraged about.

This isn't asking people what their opinion is on a topic for the sake of a greater discussion. This is telling people what to think and to then take the same little piece of "information" back to the hive to be spread on and on, for maximum profit and exposure.

There's a reason people write for small internet blogs like this one or websites that pretend to be news channels. Hint, often it isn't usually because they're talented writers who want to change the world or champion a political cause as some sort of independent torch carrier. Many of them (myself included) either could never cut it as real writer for any actual news site or media channel, or they're people who just want to vent. Some of the best blogs are the ones who do it for fun or self therapy, because they aren't trying to write for a large audience where they make money based of quantity, not quality.

Now if you want to call yourself a journalist, I expect that you'd be someone who'd report on a real story that you came across. Perhaps one that's still fresh and preferably you would actually interview people who were involved. Now let's say an oil well blows in Texas and you score 10 minutes with the well owner and get a scoop, that's journalism. If you find a problem in your community, investigate it and then report factually on it, that's journalism.

However, if you just take someone else's story and rehash it from your parent's basement in Michigan for a web site like or, that's not journalism. It's not journalism when you peddle it on multiple social media sites as some kind of breaking news when it's older than that crusty sock under your bed that your mom found next to your worn out copy of Hustler. It's not journalism when your primary reference is Wikipedia and you're just rewriting someone else's work with a new headline for maximum page traffic and a paycheck. Even if you're doing it for a "good cause", that's still not an excuse.

Do I get paid for writing these blogs? Yeah, I do. I get paid for page traffic by Google but these are my opinions, not something being passed off as facts or news items. I do not call myself a "journalist". Not now, not ever. Being a journalist, being a reporter, that requires finding original stories to cover. That's my two cents.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Teach us to care, and not to care

I am not a religious person. I really get annoyed when people feel the need to remind me repeatedly that because I don't go to their church that I am risking my eternal soul. Look, it is nice that you care but it really isn't any of your damn business what I or my kids believe, so long as it doesn't infringe upon your personal freedoms.

The same thing goes for many of the militant atheists I know. Seriously dude, give it a rest. You can't complain about aggressive tactics of religious nutjobs when you're just as obnoxious and condescending as they are. Does it really matter if someone believes in God or not? Do they try to shove it down your throat? No? Then shut the hell up. Organized religion, in my opinion, is for people who need some kind of structure for their lives. At some point, it got out of control and became a control mechanism and excuse for some of the most evil acts ever committed by mankind.

Is your neighbor knocking on your door with a Bible at 7am on a Sunday morning while you're still hung over from last night's sins? No? Then what does it matter? Is your coworker lecturing you because your cubicle doesn't have enough pieces of Jesus flair? No? Then why care if she has a 5 different crucifixes, including the one tattooed on her arm?

As much as I detest obnoxious religious people, I get annoyed by those who think their lack of a religion makes them somehow a better person and feel the need to belittle those who believe in some deity. What's wrong with it? If they aren't hurting anybody, that's their right. I happen to have been lucky enough to run across a group called "The Christian Left" and one of their largest fan groups is...atheists. They believe in Christ but they don't use that belief to belittle, judge and harass those who do not. In fact, they are despised by the fundamentalists and Pharisees of their religion, which makes them OK in my book.

When you're fighting a common enemy, I will never understand why it is useful to split your forces based off something as trivial as whether or not you believe in some divine being that none of us have ever seen. So long as that person has your back, why does it matter? Yet, I see progressive Christians, Jews and Muslims being attacked by those who share 99% of the same views, just because of that. Being pompous and pretending you have all of the answers because you do or do not belong to a certain religious group is asinine.

I have far more respect for someone who can honestly say "I don't have all of the answers, but this is what I believe, and here is why I believe it" than someone who says "I'm right, you're wrong, and if you disagree with me, you're not my friend." Here's an example, I'm a big Saints fan. I'm a recent convert so maybe I'm a little more fervent than others but I don't judge my friends who might happen to like a team like the Vikings or the Falcons. Sure, it is kind of hard to accept that someone would root for a team that isn't as cool as the Saints, but you also have to realize people have grown up with a team and experiences that have been different than your own.

That's the best analogy I could come up with, and I think it fits. Have a nice Sunday.

P.S. Bonus points to the name of the poem, and the author, from which the title of this article comes.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The hypocrisy of the "pro-life" movement

I wrote a previous article "You Can't Be Pro-War And Pro-Life" in which we pointed out the philosophical hypocrisy of those who claim to be "Pro-Life". These are the people who protest abortions that occur here in the US and elsewhere, but then turn a blind eye to wars and excuse collateral casualties as unfortunate but part of the "cost of freedom". Some of these folks are also Christian fundamentalists that salivate at every Middle East conflict, thinking it'll be the one that fulfills their fantasies of Christ's return by triggering a series of events they believe that will bring that about.

For almost 40 years now, people have marched, protested, lobbied, prayed, bombed clinics, shot people, all in an effort which has been almost completely futile. Their "all or nothing" approach to demanding a ban on all abortions and even most forms of birth control has accomplished very little.

I've been asked "where do you stand on all of this?" many times. For starters, as you may know if you've been reading this blog for awhile, I grew up in a very conservative and religious family. On an almost yearly basis, we'd make the annual trip to Washington to march in the rally marking the anniversary of Roe v. Wade. I went not because I was concerned with protesting, I was far more interested in getting out of the house. Also, the stop on the way home at the Golden Corral or Ryan's for all you can eat shrimp was worth the march in the freezing cold and the continual droning of fellow riders as they clutched their worn rosary beads. When you're 12 years old and you only get the chance to eat at a restaurant once or twice a year, you'd jump on that opportunity as well.

Even as a kid, I was puzzled at the inconsistency of many of these riders on the bus. These were folks who would descend upon Washington from all around the country every year to demand an end to abortion. Yet, on war or capital punishment, they were either oddly silent or even vocally supportive. Many of them even, my own family included, mocked the members of the congregation who participated in protesting war or the death penalty.

Personally, I don't have a problem with taking a life when it is justified. In my mind, this is usually reserved for defending myself and/or others. In the matter of capital punishment, I am actually opposed to it. Not for some sense of morality, but because I feel that a life sentence with hard labor is a far worse punishment than execution. When it comes to war, if it involves intervention for protecting civilians only, I'm OK with that.

Now back to abortion. I have some issues with it and I don't think it is a matter to be trivialized. I don't pretend to know I have all of the answers but too many people think they do. In the case of the riders I shared a bus with every January in my daylong quest for unlimited fried shrimp and soft-serve ice cream, they were firmly convinced that life begins when a sperm meets an egg. Not only that, but they were also convinced that at that point, an almighty being stamps that fertilized egg with a soul and a master plan as if it was another miraculous product headed down another one out of the hundreds of millions of reproductive systems at any given moment. I understand that in religion, you have to attach some kind of magical, mysterious explanation to something but to get more upset about a fertilized egg than a civilian casualty in a war, that is just asinine. Even more asinine is that these folks also have serious control issues with sexuality and an even worse detachment from logic and anything involving reality.

Catholics are supposed to adhere to the teachings of a papal document known as "Humanae Vitae" which states that any attempt to prohibit or interrupt the "generative process" is a sin. Basically, if you want to have sex, you had better be married and it can't be with any type of contraceptive measures. Sterilization? Also a sin, and they want people outside of their religion to toe this line as well.

So what you have here is a group of people who not only think abortion is a sin, but any attempt to prevent a pregnancy which could end in an abortion is also wrong. They also want to force this belief on you even though we see it as not only ridiculous but also as an attempt to control sexuality out of a combination of centuries of sexual repression and an apparent abhorrence of a natural instinct. Even if you were to accept the strange notion that things such as sterilization or condoms are somehow a sin, are they still not a lesser evil when compared to something like a late term abortion?

This is especially astounding when you take into consideration all the real evils they've looked the other way on or participated in over the last 2,000 years. The Crusades, The Inquisition, collaboration with the Nazis and the sex abuse scandals. These are examples of evils that they've been involved with but somehow a vasectomy or being on the pill is a sin? Gimme a fucking break!

While I couldn't care less if they personally want to forgo birth control and reproduce like rabbits, who are they to force their warped sense of morality upon others? Even more laughable is when they bitch about having their religion being "under attack" when they can't make their employees and the rest of the public live under their rule. Imagine their outcry if I had a business and refused to hire someone who had 8 children or refused to allow them to place their kids on the insurance because I was morally opposed to large families? They'd be lying up to protest and sue. It would be on every right-wing radio and TV show about how I was forcing my beliefs on them.

Yet, that is exactly what they're trying to do to allow their employees access to insurance coverage that includes birth control. Not only are they doing that, but they're also doing very little to convince people not to have an abortion. Instead of supporting sex education which is proven to reduce pregnancies, they fight to take it out of schools. Instead of supporting social and charitable programs to help single or poor mothers, they vote for politicians and policies that will gut the social safety nets, and ban abortion at the same time. They're determined to make people "live with the consequences of their actions" which is the exact opposite of what they believe Jesus died on the cross for in the first place.

This is just twisted, bizarre and downright evil. Then again, considering the history of the religion, why are we really surprised.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Secession vs Reality

To all of the whiny ass people who signed petitions to secede from the USA, I totally get where you're coming from. If I'd had my hopes built up by Fox News,, Breitbart and others for the last 4 years that the election of a particular president was just a fluke, I'd be in denial as well.

If I was one of the folks who had been convinced that a great wave of red state conservatism was going to coming roaring back and wash away decades of liberal progress and legislation, only to see a loss of seats in Congress and the Senate, you bet your ass I'd be furious as well. I would be even more pissed off if I was one of the billionaires who sunk a ton of money into Super PACs run by Karl Rove and got a big damn goose egg on my investments.

I get it though. If you only utilize the sources of "news" that caters to your antiquated worldview and tell you only what you want to hear, of course you'd be confused and angry when the candidate you were told would win by an electoral college landslide ends up losing by an electoral college blowout. I get it though, you're angry and nobody can fault you for being angry after being lied to.

Now, take a deep breath or two. While I know you're pissed, signing silly petitions isn't going to do anything. You're wasting your time and you're making those of us who have a deep and personal relationship with reality laugh. Those of us who are laughing at you aren't just Ivy League elitists, Castro District married gay couples, or any of the other stereotypes you're thinking of. Personally, I'm a gun-owning, gay-rights supporting Southern guy that likes to cuss and drink whiskey, and I (along with a bunch of conservatives) think you've lost your damn minds. Right now you're acting like the angry kid who keeps threatening to take your ball and go home, and it is getting more funny every time we point out that this is a football game and you have a basketball, and it is halfway flat. Even Robert E. Lee knew when he had lost fair and square. He didn't drag it out for years afterwards or bring it up every time he didn't get what he wanted.

I know your definition of "reality" is more in line with TV shows than actual real life, but listen to me on this. If you really want to secede from the Union, I have a proposal for you. Yes, there's legal precedents, history, reality and math that I could cite to dissuade you but I understand you're not at that point in the 12 steps now, or ever, to accept that but hear me out anyhow.

First of all, I know many of you are still pissed about the election but, you lost. The other Harvard-educated "elitist", the one you begrudgingly pretended to love? Yeah, he lost by almost 4 million votes in the popular vote, and over 100 votes in the Electoral College which means your guy lost. No, the Electoral College doesn't have a football team but here's a football analogy, your guy has had a worse year than Auburn. The other thing is, the whole demographic of the United States has changed slowly over the last couple of decades. I know that in some of the retirement communities and other places that are still on the equivalent of a 14.4k dialup connection to the real world that this hasn't sunk in but it did, whether you want to accept it or not. This will also be almost as hard to swallow as the fact that the states with the most signatures for secession are also the ones who receive the most federal assistance to stay financially solvent.

Now I see you want to either pack up your shit and leave or force the rest of us to leave or live under the rules of the new country that we've already unofficially named "Dumbfuckistan". The thing is, most of us like those things that come with being part of the United States of America. First of all, we got a pretty cool looking flag and a decent national anthem although "God Bless America" ain't bad either. I'm wondering which flag you'll fly and which anthem you'll play before NFL games? Oh wait, there aren't any NFL franchises outside of the US currently, or NASCAR for that matter.

We also have this halfway decent federal infrastructure (which would actually be better if you didn't whine about paying taxes so goddamn much), that sure beats the hell out of the horse and buggy system or needing 4 wheel drive to get from point A to point B, but if you like to do shit the hard way, don't let me stop you on that.

Next, I know you're all about "rugged individualism" and "personal responsibility", so once you've schlepped all of your family off to the Promised Land, you're on your own. Don't worry, I'm sure between those two mutually exclusive books "Atlas Shrugged" and the Bible that you've packed, you can figure out how to survive without that federal infrastructure. When Cousin Cletus starts that wildfire that spirals out of control after his meth lab explodes, get the bucket brigade going because there isn't gonna be any federal intervention to help you out.

Education? I'm sure you're thrilled at educating your kids on your own, free from the godless liberal teachers. However, I think it won't take much to put together those football fields and woodshops. If you find it necessary to put something together more complex than that, we'd like to help you out but we're already giving enough money to third world countries and we know how you feel about that whole "culture of dependency" matter.

I'm sure you think I'm being silly, petty and vindictive with this. That's my point, because that's exactly what you're doing. Now kindly shut the fuck up.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

How the GOP lost 2012, and my generation

As I had previously guessed, the GOP circular firing squad is already going full blast. I've always tuned in to their radio and TV shows and it has been rather amusing since the night of the election outcome was announced to watch them tear into each other. Of course, they still blame people in the "liberal media" but they're also blaming their own for either being too moderate or too conservative, depending on who is pointing the fingers.

The plain and simple fact of the matter is that you cannot pander to the extremists, the bigots and the elitists of a party during the primaries and then expect to win in the general election. You cannot allow the attention whores who've had their 15 minutes of political fame to continue to hog the conversation with "well gawwlee shucks" soundbites when you're trying to explain yourself with math that you use to make yourself feel better as a Republican and even expect the folks with an education past the 10th grade to take you seriously. You absolutely cannot allow the anti-immigrant/militia/Neo-Nazi wing of a party to scream about how "traditional America" is going away or the need for a "racial holy war", then expect the largest growing demographic in the country to vote for you. It is so refreshing to see people who've been brainwashed for years pick up the remote, turn off Fox News and say "that's enough".

When you have the some of the most vocal members of your media call women who use birth control "sluts" or have old white men pretend to be experts on the subject of rape and reproduction, don't be surprised when the female demographic doesn't take kindly to it. The GOP has been playing to a base that seems to be comprised of angry white people with guns and/or golf carts, and the elite 1%. Yet they wonder why those votes are shrinking. They mock the slogan of "hope and change" but people want hope and like it or not, change is happening in the voter base. Just like their energy policies, they have relied for too long on a source that will be nearly gone within a couple decades.

The younger generation really doesn't care about gay marriage, abortion, immigration or most of the other dog whistle topics on Fox, Drudge, Limbaugh, etc. Those of us from Generation X and Y are far more likely to have friends from other ethnic groups, sexual preferences and we just don't get wound up on the social issue ideologies. So when politicians and pundits pander to the older base with talk of "traditional American values", it just turns us the fuck off.

It used to be that if you lived in a rural area, your sources of media were few and far between and you could control what your kids saw in order to continue their indoctrination into your beliefs. Trust me, I know because I was raised in that environment. We were taught that feminism was only for women who hated men and they enjoyed and rejoiced in every abortion that was performed. We were taught that gay people were basically disgusting, perverted Satan worshipers who would kidnap and torture kids for fun, especially those of us who used the computers at the library or had a library card(I'm only slightly exaggerating). Never mind that our own parish priest was soliciting sex from the local gay community and the two men that were considered "pillars of the community" were actually two of the worst child molesters I have ever had the misfortune of knowing.

Eventually, we all grew up and with the exception of a couple of my numerous siblings, we became moderate or even flaming liberal in our views. That experiment in the beginning of the information revolution failed, I dare say it even backfired.

Indoctrination, fear and hatred just doesn't work like it used to, not in the US anyhow. Yet, American conservatives demand that we go fight the same people who use the same tactics they used to use, for the same reason, for the same twisted version of a god they claim to love. Look at the ballot initiatives that have overturned decades of legislation against gay marriage and marijuana, despite the billions of dollars spent over decades to convince us that either/or were a gateway to heroin, AIDS and Hell.

No wonder people have stopped going to church and have stopped believing in a god. Not because of "socialism", science or secularism, but because so many of us have found that gay people aren't child raping psychos and atheists aren't God-hating hedonists who burn down churches and then piss on the ashes. We've been turned off from the politics and religion of our parents because we've figured out that Jesus was a long haired anarchist who went around handing out free healthcare and telling people to be excellent to each other and not damning everyone who wasn't a "job creator" or a Bible-thumping Southern Baptist.

The 15 passenger van fundamentalists still believe that the GOP should focus on banning gay marriage, abortion and all the old issues they've been promised that would be addressed for all of these years. They're still working to gain more power and more influence, to get a stronger grip on the wheel of the party bus which has two wheels over the cliff already. On the other side, the "country club Republicans" who used to laugh all the way to Washington (and the bank) every year off the votes of these fucking lunatics, they're not laughing any more. They're smart enough to realize that these people they brought in for the votes, now they want to run the club, and the establishment doesn't want them there. They want to pay less in taxes and suck as much money out of the American consumer, regardless of whether it came out of the LGBT community or the same impoverished saps that support them.

Nowadays, my generation votes with our pocketbook rather than the flawed interpretations of ancient religious texts. We see the bottom line and vote accordingly. Those of us who have gone thousands of dollars into debt for an education, only to wind up with a dead end job while our CEOs make millions, we aren't buying the "vote against the gay, anti-capitalism agenda" line any more. We've watched our wages and benefits get slashed while profits go up and the whole "trickle-down" economics thing, we aren't buying that either. Even though some of us may buy into the social issues bit, they're more concerned about their bills than the personal affairs of private individuals they don't even know.

If the GOP wants to maintain any relevance, they're going to have do an "Extreme Message Makeover" and toss the fundamentalists overboard, quickly. However, I have the feeling it is already too late. Not that I have a problem with that.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

WTF happened to the GOP?

If you were to take Barack Obama back in time maybe 15 or 20 years and call him a Republican, people would have hardly noticed. Considering the fact that "Obamacare" and a health insurance mandate were both pushed by Republicans and the Heritage Foundation back in the 1990's, aside from his stance on gay marriage, I'd say there are few differences between Obama now and many of the mainstream Republicans of the 90's.

However, go to any Tea Party rally and you'll inevitably find people with misspelled signs proclaiming him to be a "socialist, fascist, communist, Marxist", etc. Back in the 1990's, before the media outlet known as Fox News was on every retirement community center's TVs, there were many Republicans who could care less about what people did with their bodies. They also sometimes supported reasonable restrictions on guns and didn't mind reaching across the aisle to get things done because it was either right for the country, or for their collective pocketbooks.

Most of them are gone now. They've either died, been replaced by the shrieking maniacs of the hard right, or switched parties. I remember in 1993 when Virginia elected George Allen as governor by a wide margin, yet the GOP lieutenant governor candidate (Mike Farris) lost by 9 points even though the election went heavily to the GOP. Mike Farris was one of the wacko "Quiverfull" homeschooling folks and he fits in with the likes of Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum today. Back then the moderates of the party, like John Warner, refused to support him. They would rather a moderate Democrat win than allow someone they correctly viewed as "too radical". I remember the furious sense of betrayal and resentment from nutty fundamentalist homeschoolers who grudgingly peeled their "Mike Farris for Lieutenant Governor" stickers off their minivans after the election. They actually disliked George Allen because they thought he wasn't conservative enough, believe it or not.

Since those days, politicians like George Allen have tacked their sails ever further into the breeze that pushes the party ever harder towards the hardline right. Principle and soft corruption have been replaced by outright corruption and corporate ownership, as well as the never-ending contest to prove who is the most ideologically pure. While the showmanship involved in ideological posturing endears them to the radical base who they can count on to show up for primaries and elections, it makes them unelectable overall. Back then, you could get the support of the rightwing by making racial remarks in an assumed private setting or promising to pass a bill to teach creationism in school without worrying about being caught on a cellphone video. Many of these people still run campaigns that way, and cater to the radical base for the primaries, then wonder why they get laughed at when they try to tack to the center and still lose in the general election.

There's still centrist people left, they've just allowed their more intellectual arguments for being Republican be drowned out by the shrill dog whistles and "you betcha" booksellers and pundits for almost a decade now. I remember watching William F. Buckley at an early age and while he was very conservative, he actually made his argument with points that took more than 10 seconds, a wink, a hairflip and a catchphrase to get across.

I believe the rumors that after Romney gets his ass handed to him on November 6th, 2012 that the GOP top brass will finally realize they can no longer cater to the hard right in primaries and expect to win elections, hoping that their remarks weren't caught on tape to be used in ads in October and November. I think Chris Christie is one of those politicians who knows that his future and his path to the White House lies in the middle and not on the fringe, which is why he didn't play the partisan game when it came to Hurricane Sandy. I think he, and the powers that be, have realized that obstructionist tactics and continued pandering to angry old white people is a losing bet in the long run. Gauging by the remarks I've seen on social media in the last couple days in response to his embrace of Obama, there's definitely some people who have lost their damn minds over it.

Perhaps they've realized, finally, that they've lost a younger generation (myself included) to the Democrats by catering to the old Bible thumpers and the last of the pre-segregation Dixiecrats rolling around The Villages or Scottsdale in their golf carts. Maybe they've come to terms with the fact that angry old white people will be pushing up daisies within the next decade or so and that they will need to find someone else to cater to. Maybe they've realized that a generation that embraces multi-culturalism and overall tolerance is so far out of their reach right now, that they'll wake the fuck up. Maybe they've finally grasped that people like Sarah Palin and "awwww shucks" jingoistic patriotism doesn't attract the emerging demographic, unlike the current dying one that has been stuck in the left lane, with their blinker on, for the last 20 years.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Fighting the end of the "American Dream"

Truth be told, I see the decline of the American Dream happening sooner than later. I'm not being cynical, just realistic. There's people who think that all they have to do is vote for Obama and it'll magically put our country back together again. They think by just doing this and "liking and sharing" some photo or article on social media, they've done their part and can go back to watch "American Idol" or some other insipid crap like that. The same naive sentiments also exist on the other side of the aisle where misguided working class folks believe the jobs will come flooding back once corporate taxes are slashed and regulations gutted.

I believe the "Glory Days" died right around the time the first airplane slammed into the World Trade Center and when subsequently, patriotism was dumbed down for mass consumption and maximum profit. I honestly believe the majority of the American public is not willing to turn off the TV, learn outside of their usual 5 minutes of daily exposure to Fox or MSNBC, open their minds and make the informed choices to fix the mess we're in. It get so frustrating to be one of those "outside the wire", one of the minority who gives a damn, especially when you live in rural America where people complain about the jobs they've lost, all while pushing their shopping carts full of junk food through WalMart.

So here's the rest of my rant...I'm sick of the people who complain about paying taxes and government spending, even though our local roads look like something from Baghdad, circa 2003. I've had it up to here with people who have no problem with borrowing billions of dollars from China to bomb a country into the Stone Age, then rebuild it, but don't want to spend a fraction of that to rebuild our own crumbling infrastructure. It is really hard to not slap upside the head the people who bitch about being "taxed enough already" when they often don't pay any net income tax and actually get back more on their return than they paid in. I'm absolutely fucking done with the pervasive atmosphere of anti-intellectualism, group-think mentalities and the arrogant notion that their ignorance is superior to science, despite all evidence to contradict their asinine claims.

You know what? There are many days where, if I had the money, I'd prefer to sip a cold beer in the cockpit of a sportfisher off the coast of South America and watch the implosion from afar. It is a daily struggle to try to help people who don't even want to learn anything new and even harder to fight those who are willing to destroy the country for another tax cut for their corporate overlords. Today's another day...once more into the fray.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Once more into the fray

As another election cycle chugs towards the finish line, I'm looking forward to taking a break. The constant grind of creating new material, along with the demands of working a real job outside of this, and dealing with the hyperpartisan bullshit from both sides has really grated on my last damn nerve.

Out of all of the election cycles I've been involved with since I stood outside a polling place with a sign on my 13th birthday in the freezing rain (for a conservative candidate), I'd say I've been the most involved in this one. As such, I've made some great contacts that have helped me triple the size of "Whiskey and the Morning After" on Facebook in about 4 months which has helped some of our work to go semi-viral.

I've also pissed off more than my share of people, on both sides of the political divide, for a number of reason including skewering conservative politicians and ideas, as well as pointing out unethical behavior on the part of some leftist page owners and self-proclaimed "journalists".

As I've said in the past, I'm not bound to all of the beliefs and stereotypes of either the Democrats or the Republicans. My personal convictions are probably more in line with some weird acid trip combination of Gary Johnson, Sun Tzu, Dennis Kucinich and Gandhi. However, despite many of my more Libertarian/Progressive views, I align with the Democrats whenever there isn't a serious 3rd party candidate on the ballot that I agree with.

What has really turned my stomach this year, more so than in years past, is the very people who claim to be "independent minded, progressive thinkers", yet blindly accept absolutely false or distorted stories spun up by the "shock jocks" of the left. In my mind, it makes them no better than the same Fox News/Drudge Report/Limbaugh devotees they claim some type of moral and intellectual superiority over. Sadly, I see this every day as people blindly "like and share" stories claiming Mitt Romney said he intends to ban porn on the internet or other false stories spun up by hack journalists out to drive traffic to their pages that make them money for every person who views the article. Even satire, which is obviously lost on some people, often shows up on my social media newsfeeds by folks who just accept a link as factual just because it reaffirms their dislike for a person or belief.

I don't regret this "once more into the fray" but the indefinite break I am planning on taking from politics will be a welcome respite from the insanity. For that period of time, my other admins will share their political links and memes while I concentrate on more enjoyable subjects such as food and booze. Once the hiatus is over, I will start supporting independent candidates once again, especially in local politics, to hopefully build a better base of support for alternate choices in future elections. Also, unless something goes horribly wrong, I'll be criticizing President Obama as necessary.

With about a week to go until the election, I'm already plotting my temporary exit shortly thereafter. However, I have the feeling that if it goes the way I want, I'll have to spend a couple days rubbing it in before making my exit. Remember politics, it won't be goodbye, just until we meet again.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Class Warfare, part 2

Despite being continually screwed by the GOP, rural voters keep voting for them, election after election. Every Tuesday after the first Monday in November, there's a parking lot full of pickup trucks at the local high school, all with the GOP stickers du jour plastered all over their vehicles.

There's a weathered sugar cane farmer with the soot from burning the fields still covering his 1987 Dodge like a fine powder. Deep down inside, he probably knows that two men having the right to get married doesn't affect him in any way. Sure, he thinks it is strange but he cares more about the price of a tank of gas for the tractor, a case of Schlitz or a box of shotgun shells for squirrel season.

There's a mother of four kids in an SUV clutching her third cup of coffee for the morning. She doesn't really think that raising the tax rate on the highest earners will cause any harm to her. She's more concerned with the weekly grocery bill or that the family's income has decreased while the cost of everything has climbed.

What they, and the majority of the other people lined up to vote don't understand, is that all of this is intertwined and they're being taken for a ride every November. They've been sold a shit sandwich and told it was the best cheeseburger ever. They've bought into jingoistic patriotism complete with a plastic American flag from the factory in China where their jobs went, and the people who did it are laughing all the way to their banks in the Cayman Islands. We're probably more divided as a nation now than any other time since 1865, and it's all for a few extra billion in the pockets of just a few hundred people in the entire world.

How has this happened? How are all of these people so goddamn blind? The fact of the matter is that the GOP has managed to lock down much of the rural and working class vote by pretending they "get it". Look at the campaign ads every cycle that show the politician with his dog and shotgun in the duck blind, or the recent flyer I got in the mail for Scott Angelle who is running for Public Service Commissioner here in Louisiana. It shows him with his pretty little family and it basically says "I'm just like you, right down the picture that looks like it was shot in a JCPenney's in 1996". They've done one hell of job convincing their constituents their policies will open the magical floodgates of trickle-down and bring jobs.

Progressive politicians have had this disconnect with these voters for a long time because they're stuck with the stereotype of being urban elitists and they rarely do anything to turn that around. People like President Obama will forever be seen as "city boys" because they are, and they don't try to pander.

Most of the GOP politicians haven't had to do a hard day's work in the fields, crawfish ponds or the factories but they have no problem pretending they're down to earth, working class folks who got successful through rugged individualism and hard work. They'll pander without shame. Look at Mitt Romney kissing the ass of every person he sees a potential vote with remarks about "cheesy grits" and using the word "y'all" like he's been using it all his life. Talk about elitist and out of touch.

The problem is that people want easy, quick slogans and answers pre-assembled and handed to them like a Happy Meal at McDonald's drive-thru. You can't explain the complexities of international economics in a slick 30 second political ad. You can't explain how spending a few cents more for a product from a local business rather than a big box store makes a community more prosperous in between the flashy ads for new televisions and the screaming pundits on the evening news commentary. Like a herd of sheep, they stare at the screen, blink and nod, then shuffle off to the polls once again to pull the lever for every candidate who waved the flag the hardest and added a little drawl to their delivery.

Yeah, we're pretty much fucked.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The truth about "Matthew Desmond" and "Being Liberal".

You may have seen this image circulating around liberal/progressive pages recently and wondered what this was about. Recently, dozens of content creators and owners of various social media sites have grown more and more frustrated with a increasing number of pages (Being Liberal and being the main culprits) who thrive off taking other people's original work and claiming it as their own. These page owners and artists have finally begun to stop bitching about it and trying to get the content thieves to play nice. Instead, they have started filing DMCA reports with Facebook for images that are being used without proper credit.

Again, let me stress that this is NOT about individuals who share images from pages via mobile where you are basically forced to download and then re-upload the image to your personal page. This is about plagiarism, for profit. Plain and simple.

Rather than admit to the truth, the folks behind "Being Liberal" are portraying these warnings from Facebook as being the work of "paid conservative trolls" when in fact, if you look at the image that they posted on their site, it is very clear that the warning is not for an objectionable picture. It is for an image being removed because Facebook received a report of copyright infringement, reviewed it and the evidence presented by the submitter, decided in the plaintiff's favor, removed the image and issued a warning. The time and trouble that it takes to file a copyright complaint to Facebook where you have to give them your name and contact email, links to the offending material and the original content, and then do an electronic signature is not worth it to trolls. It is easier for them to report an image as "nudity" or "spam" which takes just a few seconds before they march on to their next victim.

My first dealings with Matthew Desmond Kerry, AKA "Matthew Desmond" AKA "Matthew Hanson" was in the fall of 2010, shortly after his domain was registered. On every news page, progressive page, you name it, was his profile spamming links to This was something you could see literally hundreds of times a day. I would occasionally comment and mention how annoying it was, sometimes I would report it as spam. One day he commented back in a really nasty manner so I reported him again as a spammer and blocked him. This was all before I had a page of my own. After my page got started, he started spamming my page with links to his tabloid-esque articles so I banned him from the page as well. Around the beginning of 2012, I started getting into making my own images and that's when the content theft from our page really began. In all fairness, I've seen our work with watermarks and tags removed on a number of sites but never with the frequency as I have seen on pages run by "Matthew Desmond".

I've had a number of confused and indignant people ask me "why should it matter, so long as the message is getting out?" or tell me "we don't need to be airing our internal squabbles". So, let me go ahead and address that once and for all.

First off, I love that our original content, and that of other pages is getting out there. Every time we see a meme, a blog, a quote or whatever, get passed around on social media, we rejoice. We've seen some photos go viral and show up 10 or 20 times in one day on our personal newsfeeds. That's a good thing. What isn't a good thing is when that work is repeatedly taken by another page and passed off as their own work (often after altering the image to remove references to the original creator) or credited to one of their satellite pages which are controlled or owned by the same person doing the theft. This drives "likes" on Facebook to their pages, not the original author. "But they're not making any money off it" you might say and you would be VERY, VERY wrong.

The site "Being Liberal" and their satellite pages like "Addictinginfo", "Americans Against The Republican Party", "I Acknowledge Classwarfare Exists" and others have collectively at least 2.5 millions fans as a conservative estimate. By his own admission "Matthew Desmond" admits in this article on that he controls 50+ pages on Facebook. These pages, and many other pages that they have coerced or manipulated in some way into co-operating with them then post controversially titled "news" articles by Addictinginfo, and others, often dozens of times a day.

Why does this matter? Because by drawing in as many hundreds of thousands of fans as they can and then driving them to a non-Facebook site, they make money. Websites have advertising and the more people who see those ads, the more the website owner makes. Simple math, and that's the new model for media.

This isn't some small time blogging operation either. We're talking about 100's of thousands of visitors (sometimes millions) a day to their respective websites to where they get paid for traffic. This is a case of taking other people's work, without credit or compensation (monetarily or otherwise) and making money off it, a lot of money. This isn't about a good cause using somebody else's work, using it to promote their page and in return, promoting/acknowledging the original creator. This isn't about someone making money off writing and jealousy of someone else's success. This is about a lot of money being made perhaps not illegally, but certainly through unethical and dirty methods that the people we are supposed to be united against use daily. If you don't think plagiarism is a big deal, ask Fareed Zakaria who was suspended from CNN for lifting quotes from other people without attribution. Try doing that with a term paper or thesis in college and see what happens.

Second, the whole "we shouldn't be airing our dirty laundry and internal squabbles for all to see" bit...I get it. However, after you and many others have tried repeatedly through private channels to address the issue and after having been attacked with a slew of rightwing trolls and abuse reports after calling them out publicly on their page (and being instantly banned), it is obvious that the polite method doesn't work. I have the emails from the original owner of Being Liberal (Wojtek Wacowski, who also works for Upworthy) where he demanded either an apology or proof of the work taken from my page by his co-admin "Matthew Desmond". After I provided proof, Wojtek Wacowski got angry and rude before breaking off contact. Within a few days, my page suddenly experienced massive attack after attack from right-wing trolls, an image I made mocking the KKK was reported and removed and I got a 3 day suspension. The timing was very uncanny although it cannot be proven that they were behind it.

We shouldn't be covering up the sins of our own because it corrupts what we're supposed to be about. We can't go around saying that we have a moral high ground when members of our own ranks are engaging in the same behavior of corporate greed and bullying that we're supposed to be fighting against. They like to say they have nothing to hide but they hide their business information behind a proxy offshore domain registration where DMCA and other US copyright laws don't apply and have the business registered to a UPS store in Santa Rosa, CA.

Business listing with CA Sec of State:

Entity Name: ADDICTING INFO LLC Entity Number: 201129410004 Date Filed: 10/12/2011 Status: ACTIVE Jurisdiction: CALIFORNIA Entity Address: 1007 W COLLEGE AVE #433 (UPS Store box#) Entity City, State, Zip: SANTA ROSA CA 95401 Agent for Service of Process: LEGALZOOM.COM, INC. (C2967349)

Domain registry results through

Domain ID:D160073684-LROR Domain Name:ADDICTINGINFO.ORG Created On:05-Sep-2010 20:33:25 UTC Last Updated On:07-Aug-2012 22:47:05 UTC Expiration Date:05-Sep-2014 20:33:25 UTC Sponsoring Registrar:eNom, Inc. (R39-LROR) Status:CLIENT TRANSFER PROHIBITED Registrant ID:2fe87cb4afe1ee62 Registrant Name:Privacy Advocate Registrant Ltd Registrant Street1:Lupins Business Centre Registrant Street2: Registrant Street3: Registrant City:Weymouth Registrant State/Province:Dorset Registrant Postal Code:DT4 7SP Registrant Country:GB Registrant Phone:+44.130582275 Registrant FAX:+44.130582275 Registrant FAX Ext.: Registrant Admin ID:2fe87cb4afe1ee62 Admin Name:Privacy Advocate Admin Ltd Admin Street1:Lupins Business Centre Admin Street2: Admin Street3: Admin City:Weymouth Admin State/Province:Dorset Admin Postal Code:DT4 7SP Admin Country:GB Admin Phone:+44.130582275 Admin FAX:+44.130582275 Admin FAX Ext.: Admin Tech ID:2fe87cb4afe1ee62 Tech Name:Privacy Advocate Tech Ltd Tech Street1:Lupins Business Centre Tech Street2: Tech Street3: Tech City:Weymouth Tech State/Province:Dorset Tech Postal Code:DT4 7SP Tech Country:GB Tech Phone:+44.130582275 Tech FAX:+44.130582275 Tech FAX Ext.: Tech Name Server:NS1.ADDICTINGINFO.ORG Name Server:NS2.ADDICTINGINFO.ORG

Now you can write this off as "protecting one's identity" but that's not what it is about. It is about protecting themselves against civil suits for infringement of intellectual property. It isn't just images they've taken, it's news articles they've lifted from other journalists and have copied nearly word for word. In every case they've been confronted, they've first tried to bully their accuser and then when threatened with legal action, have hidden behind the offshore accounts.

If this passes for "acceptable behavior" or something we should look the other way on for the better good of the progressive/liberal/moderate coalition, then I want no part of that movement. Just ask the Catholic Church how well that "not airing dirty laundry" thing worked out for them.

*EDIT* By popular request, I have compiled a list of pages that are owned or partially controlled by Matthew Desmond Kerry as well as some of his close friends and associates like Justin Rosario, Daniel Gouldmann, Tiffany Willis, Egberto Willies, Omar Rivero, Rafael Rivero, Elisabeth Parker, Sean Conners, Leah Farley, Wendy Gittleson, Stephen D Foster and others.

Known websites:

Known Facebook pages:

"Friendly" Facebook pages: (Pages that frequently use Addictinginfo links but not necessarily owned by Matthew Desmond). (not to be confused w/ the other site)

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Almost time to clean the "Progressive/Liberal" house

I can't wait for the election to be over, I really can't. Come November 7th, which just happens to be my birthday, I am going to have one hell of a hangover. Hopefully it will be from celebrating. Then, once I recover, I am going to start cleaning house. It won't be just cleaning up the empty beer bottles, it will also be rethinking a lot of the groups and individuals I have found myself inadvertently aligned with in the coalition of people who are trying to make sure Mitt Romney never sets foot inside 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

In order to accomplish things politically, you have to sometimes get in bed with people you normally would rather never have to even be in the same room with. Every election, it is that way. You find yourself having to hold your nose, and biting your tongue every time you see the same old tired cliche political memes with a slightly different twist and page's name on it. It gets even more annoying seeing the same controversially titled, tabloid-esque link to a rewritten version of a story that you've already known about for a week 10 times in one morning on 10 different Facebook pages, all owned or controlled by the same person(s). It is really hard to keep your mouth shut when you see "writers" take an old news story and blow it out of proportion in order to drive traffic to their website where they're more interested in making money than changing minds or creating original content when it comes to politics. My belief that selfishness, greed, pettiness, narcissism and general douchebaggery (yes, that's not a real word) aren't inherent to just one political world view hase been reaffirmed on almost a daily basis.

I've also watched people with many of the same views as I share stoop to the same levels that the worst of the opposition groups are notorious for. I understand that politics is very similar to war and the side that uses the worst and inhuman tactics often wins. It still doesn't make it right. It explains some of the actions but it doesn't make me any less queasy when seeing it. This is especially true when I see some of the stuff that is supposed to pass as political humor which is rude and crude for no other reason than to be rude and crude or articles that rely on untruths and statements taken out of context. It directly contradicts the notion that "we can win with facts and intellect" and instead panders to intellectual laziness, group think and everything else that we should be fighting against. I want to say "we're better than that" and crucify them in front of the digital world but like the opposition, I have to bite my tongue in the name of the greater good, the overall goal.

As the owner of a moderately successful Facebook page, it is even harder to walk the tightrope of dealing with competing egos and demands while trying not to get sucked into the orbit of the personal agendas of others. I have no problem with going lowbrow or outright crass when, like art, it serves to illustrate a greater point but not when it is for no other reason than to drive page traffic and sell articles. I don't mind fighting fire with fire but some people think it is perfectly OK to make fun of a politician's family, whose only fault is sharing the same last name or DNA. Others think it is fine to engage in the same tactics of repeating the same lie or half truth over and over again until people accept it as the truth. As much as possible, my page admins and I avoid that. Other pages may engage in that, but we won't.

Unlike previous election cycles, the liberal/progressive/moderate/independent coalition that has assembled behind the mission to reelect the President has managed not to engage in the traditional "circular firing squad", at least not yet. Just a few more weeks...let's hold it together.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Why this Independent is voting for Obama

To start off, before I get the "Obamabot" label thrown at me, I hate the idea of a two party system. For a couple elections when I first became old enough to vote, I used to vote Republican without thinking. That's the way we were raised. We were taught that Democrats used to be OK back when they supported segregation and a "white, Christian nation" but they had been taken over by people who wanted to force sodomy, abortions and higher education on everyone. Once I managed to break out of that brainwashing, I started voting third party or Democrat most of the time. In fact, I think in almost every election since 2000, I have voted for at least one candidate that didn't have a "D" or "R" by their name. One year, I even convinced a number of people to write me in for Congress against a Republican who was running unopposed.

This year, I will continue that tradition of voting 3rd party but I am not going to do that when it comes to the presidential selection. I know that in the state of Louisiana, a vote for Obama is pretty much wasted because of all of the people who despite having their jobs destroyed by venture capitalists like Romney, will still vote for that slick-haired vulture. Venture capitalists destroyed the Fruit of the Loom factories here that used to employ thousands, but now sit abandoned with weeds growing up through the cracks in the crumbling asphalt where hundreds of employee vehicles once sat.

I'm not going to tell anyone that they should give up their plans to vote for Rocky Anderson, Jill Stein or Gary Johnson and vote for Obama instead. However, hear me out on this little rant...

Ideally, there would be 3, 4 or 5 parties out there and government business would be conducted through a series of compromises that would allow individuals to conduct their daily lives with government there as a backup, not a lifeline. Companies would have little to no influence on government and politicians would do what is in the best interests of their constituents, not their billionaire sugar daddies.

The thing is, that isn't going to miraculously happen between now and November. Writing in Ron Paul or voting third party this time around is like going to the highest stake poker table in Vegas with your future on the line and pushing all in with the first hand which just happens to be 2-7 offsuit. That analogy doesn't really work though because you statistically have a better chance of winning doing that than the "no chance in hell" possibility that someone besides Romney or Obama would somehow gain enough support between now and November to pull out a shocker.

In addition to that, what good does a person like Gary Johnson or Jill Stein do us in the White House if they don't have a single independent supporter in the House or Senate other than Bernie Sanders? If you thought the GOP hated Obama, imagine how hard they would try to destroy someone who stood alone with little to no support from either side of the aisle.

The reason I am voting for Obama this year instead of Gary Johnson or Jill Stein is that while a vote for them fits the idealism I once had when I stood outside the polls on my 20th birthday with a Ralph Nader sign, I am pragmatic enough now to know it won't change much. Even then, I knew my one vote for Nader wasn't going to magically sweep him into the White House and overthrow the 2 party system once and for all.

I have never been delusional enough to say "both parties are the same" and refuse to vote based off that idiocy as many people in the Occupy movement (which I support for the most part) have done. I understand that you build a political movement by starting small, winning local elections, building a base, moving to the state level, then national. It doesn't work by starting at the top and working down. No matter how idealistic and unique a politician is, one person alone is no match for the powers that be. If you don't like the choices you have, work to change that but don't choose the pill which means the death of what is left of the middle class over the pill that upsets your stomach.

In the mean time, I am voting for Obama because while he isn't perfect, I recognize that the alternative is far worse. Think of it as choosing between heartburn and terminal cancer.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Roux and segregation in Acadiana

Recently, this Yahoo! article surprised a lot of people who ended up missing the greater point. They were outraged that a private party, not funded by the school, was open to white alumni only. While that was wrong, they seemed to miss the opening sentence "Graduates from the St. Martinville, La., Senior High School Class of 1973 decided that after nearly 40 years, they would stop holding segregated class reunions..."

Saint Martinville is not far from where I live. Like many of the small towns in the Lafayette, LA area it has seen the ups and downs of the petroleum-based economy as well as the death of the textile industry that began the slow spiral in the 1990's. The abandoned factory sits behind a fence topped with rusty barbed wire along LA 31, near a sugarcane field where the stalks rustle ever so slightly in the humid breeze preceding an afternoon thunderstorm.

Like Breaux Bridge, Cecilia, and other towns along or near the often pot hole riddled path of LA 31, Saint Martinville has one church considered to be the "white church" and another which is the "black church". They're often serviced by the same priest who can sometimes literally walk a couple hundred yards from one church to the next. While this seems shocking to outsiders, such as myself, it isn't considered out of the ordinary by a lot of natives. Like the family recipe for gumbo, no matter how burnt and oily the roux, when you point it out, someone will say "well cher (pronounced "sha"), that's the way it has always been".

I worked for awhile when I first moved here in a restaurant that had been built before the end of the Jim Crow era. Often, one of the managers would routinely assign most of the black servers and black customers to the back room. When it was pointed out, it seemed as if he didn't even realize what he had done. There were also many times that black folks, without being directed to do so, would automatically head for the back room. It was as if they were unconsciously carrying on the traditions of the past even as their children and grandchildren continue to integrate more and more.

Like the outlay of the roads which seem to have been designed by a Boudreaux and constructed by a Thibodeaux (You can familiarize yourself with the Boudreaux and Thibodeaux jokes here) during a night of drinking many years ago, there's a lot of things here that don't make sense. Yet, if you mention it, someone will say "well cher, that's the way it has always been".

Monday, August 27, 2012

Growing up with guns

I grew up with guns. Like many other rural kids, it is a part of the culture. It is considered normal to have a shotgun or a .30-30 in the truck in case you run into bears or coyotes in the back 40. During deer season, every muddy truck down at the old country store has a deer rifle or two on the gun rack inside. Many have been passed down across generations, the wooden stocks worn by decades of hunters, many of whom have passed on to the great tree stand in the sky.

Like many other kids, I received a used lever action Westernfield .22 rifle for my birthday. Mine was at the age of 7 by a scruffy, dip spitting old hillbilly from the hollers of West Virginia. That day, my father (who was uncomfortable and unfamiliar with guns) nearly shot himself in the foot with it.

"You didn't check to make sure there wasn't a round in the chamber?" they asked him as they snickered and my mom rolled her eyes. Unlike my father, my mother knew how to use a gun, quite well actually.

He didn't want much to do with guns before, and he certainly didn't after that, but he would stand by as "adult supervision" while I blasted paper targets and tin cans as I got older. He owned a pearl-handled .45 pistol that belonged to his father, but never once shot it as I can remember.

By the time I was 12, I was allowed to handle and use firearms with minimal supervision. I could wander the fields, nearby woods and the river with a various assortment of .22 rifles and pistols. Often, at night, I could venture out with a flashlight and a pistol. There was an multitude of rats that dashed from feed cans and opossums that tried to sneak into the chicken coop right at dusk before we could lock the hens up. I was incredibly accurate with a pistol and it served as a diversion during a childhood that didn't include TV, pop music or the other things that kids of my generation took for granted.

Some people would be appalled or disgusted by this story, but you have to realize that this was the way I, and many others were raised. In fact, it could be said that having been exposed to the use, and consequences of guns actually gives people a respect for weapons that those who haven't had the same experiences wouldn't necessarily grasp. We have a couple of generations who have only experienced the virtual "reality" of shooting guns in video games. Many of them have never shot a real gun, at an actual living creature, and seen what a 150 grain ballistic tip .30-06 round will do upon impact and penetration at 2800 feet per second.

You don't hear about kids in the country shooting each other as much as you do in the city. I believe responsible gun experiences contribute to that, in addition to other factors. To attribute this to country living alone is intellectual laziness and a need to oversimplify a complex issue in order to fit it on a bumper sticker.

I have only brandished a firearm towards another human being once in my life. It was a cold, rainy autumn morning as I exited my upstairs apartment to find a suspicious character trying to pop open the gate to my back yard. I lived on the edge of a bad neighborhood in Savannah, Georgia and I wasn't taking any chances as I saw his accomplice begin to possibly fumble for a weapon in their vehicle when I confronted the intruder. I got the drop on both of them with my conceal carry .380 that I pulled from the inner pocket of my flight jacket, and they knew it. Their tires squealed as they took off down the street, and I called the police to report the incident and give the tag number.

Would it have bother me to end the life of another human being? Absolutely, but when you have your back against a locked door and a criminal with a weapon between you and your vehicle, I'll choose my life over their life every day of the week.

So, as many of you have been wondering, what is my opinion on gun ownership and gun control?

To be honest with you, I'd like to live in a society that doesn't feel that owning weapons is the only way to fulfill a sense of personal safety. It would be nice if criminals could be kept from getting guns, but an outright prohibition wouldn't work. Look how well that worked with the war on alcohol or the war on drugs. If there is a demand for a product, no matter how many laws there are against it, there will always be a supplier. I suppose this is where my "Libertarian" philosophy sets in to some extent. Personally, I don't feel the need to own an AR-15 with a 30 round clip and therefore, I don't own one.

As for the 2nd Amendment....As currently interpreted, the "keep and bear arms" part theoretically means that an individual could own any type of "arms" up to, and including, a nuclear missile. At the time the 2nd Amendment was written, the weapons of war were inaccurate flintlock muskets with bayonets, tomahawks, cannons and swords. The rate of fire was, at most, maybe three rounds a minute if you were really, really good. You could probably actually kill more people with a sword or bayonet in close quarter combat than you could with a musket.

With that in mind, the Founding Fathers probably figured that even if someone owned a cannon, they couldn't do too much damage before the rest of the village took them out. A "well regulated militia" was written in because at that time, there wasn't a standing professional army and if you were male and could fire a weapon, you need to have one to protect the fort. Also note, they said a "well regulated militia" which infers that it is one that is overseen by government authorities. It doesn't mean let any conspiracy theorist off their Thorazine be able to purchase weapons without paperwork at a gun show.

Some people like to believe that the Constitution and Bill of Rights were perfect documents that were created by perfect men. This is simply not true. They were progressive, radical even, for their time but they were not perfect. If they were perfect men capable of creating a perfect document that would still be 100% relevant to current matters, after almost 2 1/2 centuries, they would have been able to foresee the future, and I don't think anyone has that ability, last time I checked. Also, if they had been perfect, they would have guaranteed equal rights for all people, regardless of race or gender. As I recall, it took two different courts with "activist judges" to fix that.

So what I am saying is that the 2nd Amendment applied perfectly at a time when an individual wasn't able to release hundreds of rounds in a minute. If that had been the case, I'm sure the Founding Fathers would have thought to write it a bit differently.

I believe there needs to be an honest, and sane discussion on what people should reasonably be allowed to own. We require training and licenses to own a vehicle. Why? Because an untrained or unstable person behind the wheel of a multi-ton vehicle can cause great damage to themselves or others. Now think of an 18-wheeler. They don't just give the keys for a rig to anyone off the street and let them head off down the highway. Imagine the potential carnage a tractor trailer load of propane or gasoline would cause if it crashed in an urban area? Same thing with a gun.

There is a difference between a .22 rifle used for shooting woodchucks and an AR-15 which was designed for no other purpose than killing human beings. If you absolutely have to own one, fine. However, you should be required to show a reasonable purpose for owning one, other than your irrational fear that the UN troops in black helicopters are coming to take you to re-education camps and force your kids to get library cards. I remember one of the parents of some kids I used to know who owned a "street sweeper" among others because of his paranoid fantasies that drove him to build a log cabin on top of a mountain in West Virginia because he was preparing for a "racial holy war".

I believe that in addition to demonstrating a legitimate need to own such weapons, a psychological test should be required for the license. If you are found in possession of an assault weapon that you don't have the permit for, you would forfeit the gun and face stiff penalties.

I believe in concealed weapon permits. They should be issued to people who are of sound mind and character. If you shoot someone who is committing a violent felony to protect yourself or someone else from imminent bodily harm, you should be immune from civil and criminal penalties. However, if you instigate a confrontation, then shoot someone because you are a gutless punk like George Zimmerman, you should go to prison for life. I also believe that persons found guilty of violent crimes involving a gun should do life with hard labor. Put them in Angola, no possibility of parole.

We need sensible gun laws that protects the rights of responsible people who have guns for hunting or protection and laws that severely punishes those who use them to commit crimes or intimidate others. There is a reasonable middle ground, and we need to find it fast. I am a gun owner, and the NRA does not speak for me. Not now, not ever.