It’s time for sex with strangers

8 07 2014

Consequence-free sex is a fantastic idea, and I am wholeheartedly in favor of (more of) it.

And to all of those who think such sex is a terrible idea, that women/whores/sluts (but I repeat myself. . .)  should just keep their legs closed, I say:

I agree!

Women/whores/sluts should not have sex. . . with people who think women should not have sex.

Win-win!

 





Are we not men

2 07 2014

I freaked out about Hobby Lobby a few months ago, so while I was pissed at the ruling, by the time it arrived I was all freaked-out.

There’s a shit-ton of good (and lousy) commentary out there about the ruling—which means I’ma gonna pass on Fisking Alito’s decision (which, by the way, Supreme Bad-Ass Ruth Bader-Ginsburg does just fine in her opinion, beg. on p. 60) and tick off a few hits:

1. This decision is terrible for equal protection of the law, offering an out from laws of general applicability, based on the sincerely? insincerely? held beliefs of those seeking the out.

Yes, Alito & Kennedy say, No, no, that’s not what we really mean, but whether or not they are sincere in their meanings, that will be the practical effect.

2. It is difficult to see how the courts and the Court can avoid favoritism in choosing to exempt contraception-banners but not transfusion- or psychiatry-banners. [see point 3, pp. 5-6]

Which means they either engage in favoritism, allow Congress to engage in favoritism, or allow the exemptions.

3. It is not at all difficult to see why contraception was singled out as exempt-worthy but transfusions and psychiatry might not be.

Guess! Guess!

4. Given how weird and not-wonderful our politics has become, this ruling may actually work against religious conservatives, and will be used (likely to some effect) in campaigns against Republicans.

Religious conservatives have done a pretty good job of complaining how wee and woebegone they all are, under assault from the gay agenda and atheist meanies and a hostile Obama administration—which complaints, however ginned up, did form out of a juniper seed of fact: a majority of the country now accepts gay marriage, some atheists are mean, and Obama has pushed hard on protections for LGBT folk.

So, religious folks on sexual matters: on the defensive.

Now, however, those same religious folks may lose their “underdog” status and may—may—be seen less as bullied than bullies, or at least as above the law.

Which, y’know, they are.

5. This decision really is bad for women, not just because it makes it easier for employers to deny contraceptive coverage to them, but because it further segregates “sexual health” from “health”.

And no, I’m not even going to begin to link to all of the idiots who think sex is dirty or nasty or not somehow an integral part of human being.

6. This decision, combined with the Harris v. Quinn decision chipping away at public sector unions, is bad for everyone.

As Sarah Jaffe noted,

Attacks on all workers’ rights often come first through attacks on those deemed less important workers. When we decide that birth control isn’t a pivotal issue because it only affects some workers, or that homecare workers’ loss is not a loss for us all, we leave the door open for the next attack.

7. From another angle, it is difficult to see how an expansion of the rights of the corporate person is good for corporeal persons.

This last point deserves more thought, thought which I don’t have right now. Let’s just say that it seems that as the rights of one expands, the other contracts.

~~~

h/t Erik Loomis at Lawyers, Guns & Money for the Jaffe link





Wait a minute honey, I’m gonna add it up

30 06 2014

Jesus fucking christ.

FireShot Screen Capture #001

Unions screwed, women screwed out of protected screwing.





Hear me roar

25 03 2014

I cannot fucking believe that the Supreme Court might rule in favor of Hobby Lobby.

It just. . . it’s. . . it makes no fucking sense what.so.ever.

One law. One fucking law for all. Is that so hard to understand?

You’d think Scalia would get this, he of the Smith decision who wrote that

We have never held that an individual’s religious beliefs [494 U.S. 872, 879]   excuse him from compliance with an otherwise valid law prohibiting conduct that the State is free to regulate. On the contrary, the record of more than a century of our free exercise jurisprudence contradicts that proposition. As described succinctly by Justice Frankfurter in Minersville School Dist. Bd. of Ed. v. Gobitis, 310 U.S. 586, 594 -595 (1940): “Conscientious scruples have not, in the course of the long struggle for religious toleration, relieved the individual from obedience to a general law not aimed at the promotion or restriction of religious beliefs. The mere possession of religious convictions which contradict the relevant concerns of a political society does not relieve the citizen from the discharge of political responsibilities (footnote omitted).” We first had occasion to assert that principle in Reynolds v. United States, 98 U.S. 145 (1879), where we rejected the claim that criminal laws against polygamy could not be constitutionally applied to those whose religion commanded the practice. “Laws,” we said, “are made for the government of actions, and while they cannot interfere with mere religious belief and opinions, they may with practices. . . . Can a man excuse his practices to the contrary because of his religious belief? To permit this would be to make the professed doctrines of religious belief superior to the law of the land, and in effect to permit every citizen to become a law unto himself.” Id., at 166-167.

[. . .]

[re US v. Lee] . . . There would be no way, we observed, to distinguish the Amish believer’s objection to Social Security taxes from the religious objections that others might have to the collection or use of other taxes. “If, for example, a religious adherent believes war is a sin, and if a certain percentage of the federal budget can be identified as devoted to war-related activities, such individuals would have a similarly valid claim to be exempt from paying that percentage of the income tax. The tax system could not function if denominations were allowed to challenge the tax system because tax payments were spent in a manner that violates their religious belief.”

[ . . .]

Precisely because “we are a cosmopolitan nation made up of people of almost every conceivable religious preference,” Braunfeld v. Brown, 366 U.S., at 606 , and precisely because we value and protect that religious divergence, we cannot afford the luxury of deeming presumptively invalid, as applied to the religious objector, every regulation of conduct that does not protect an interest of the highest order. The rule respondents favor would open the prospect of constitutionally required religious exemptions from civic obligations of almost every conceivable kind. . .

[. . .]

It may fairly be said that leaving accommodation to the political process will place at a relative disadvantage those religious practices that are not widely engaged in; but that unavoidable consequence of democratic government must be preferred to a system in which each conscience is a law unto itself or in which judges weigh the social importance of all laws against the centrality of all religious beliefs. [emph added]

Now, yes, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act was passed to counter the Smith decision, but when individuals tried to use RFRA to argue against paying taxes, the Court say, in effect, “nuh-uh”, that the requirement of tax payment met the “compelling government interest” test.

Ensuring that women have access to a full range of medical care, including that of counseling and advice regarding our birth control options, may not, however, be sufficiently “compelling”.

Taxes: yes! Control over one’s body and health? Nah.

As Dahlia Lithwick observes,

The rights of millions of women to preventive health care and workplace equality elicit almost no sign of sympathy or solicitude from the right wing of the bench today. Nor does the possibility that religious conscience objections may soon swallow up the civil rights laws protecting gay workers, women, and other minorities. Religious freedom trumps because we’re “only” talking about birth control.





As they try to change their worlds, pt I

25 08 2013

I may have been a bit brusque in stating “nobody cares about you”.

I did add the qualifier that “nobody” means “those who don’t know you”, but even with that dilution, it was too strong a statement: there are people who do genuinely care about strangers, and that there may exist a widespread (if minimal) sympathy amongst the members of our species suggests that, yes, many of us do care—however minimally—about one another.

The real problem with that statement, however, was that it bundled together too many dynamics, not all of which go together. So, to haul out that nifty word-tool of my grad school years, let’s unpack those bundled dynamics, shall we?

1. Changes are not conspiracies. I’d guessed that “the fear of incipient repression could be found among any group which sees its superior status threatened”—that is, that changes in society which are meant to benefit an out-group can be seen by some in the in-group as primarily an attack on the in-group. Thus, those in favor of queer rights and same-sex marriage are seen as less interested in preserving themselves than in destroying others.

I read the blogs at The American Conservative (Rod Dreher regularly and others semi-regularly) and pop over to Christianity Today a couple of times a week, and it is common for some bloggers and commenters alike to see legal and cultural changes as either harbingers of complete societal collapse and/or portents of a future in which all “true” Christians are targeted for oppression; some see the extension of anti-discrimination laws (e.g., no business may refuse to serve a same-sex couple simply because they are gay) or the enforcement of laws of general applicability (e.g., secular businesses run by religious people are not exempt from the contraception provisions of the Affordable Care Act) as evidence of anti-Christian oppression today.

Someone like me sees changes in the structure of the law and shifts in cultural perceptions of minorities (of whatever sort) as part of a by-no-means-straightforward amalgam of overt and organized political action, artistic presentations, elite intellectual debates, media representations, everyday experiences, and, of course, material conditions and economic forces. As such, while changes can have intensely personal meanings, they are not personal per se, but are instead changes in the rules which affect everyone.

Consider the 1965 Supreme Court ruling, Griswold v. Connecticut, which overturned a state law prohibiting contraceptive use for married couple. State attacks on contraception went back decades, although by the time the pill was developed (in the 1950s), contraception was not only legal but embraced in many states. Griswold (and later, Eisenstadt v. Baird), simply toppled an opposition which had long since dwindled. Contraceptive use became the norm.

Were Griswold and Eisenstadt an attack on Catholicism? Anti-Catholic sentiment, however much it had dwindled since the 19th century, was still prevalent in this country, and that the Catholic Church was officially against contraception was known; to strike down bans on contraception could be seen as evidence of contempt for Catholicism—as, indeed some have seen and continue to see it today.

The Court rulings, however, depended upon a (still-contested) finding of a right to privacy in the Constitution. There was nothing which required the Church to change its own doctrine; these cases simply took away a series of state-sponsored supports* for that doctrine. The Church would be free to inveigh against barrier and chemical  methods of birth control, but they could no longer rely on state law to help them to enforce their opposition.

(*That a state happened to have anti-contraception laws didn’t mean that they passed them to support Catholicism; regardless of intent, however, they had the effect of doing so.)

Due to these rulings as well as to other cultural changes, the Church clearly lost, not only authority but also status. Catholics were not prevented from believing that artificial birth control was bad nor were they required to use it, but their anti-contraceptive position was taken to apply only to Catholics themselves (and not all of them accepted the official position) and was otherwise accorded no greater weight than any other position on the matter. The ground shifted, and in a way which put Catholics authorities on the same level as any other authority: they no longer had special status.

To those who lose such status, the loss is almost certainly personally felt, but that one feels it personally does not mean it was meant personally. The ground underneath everyone’s feet shifted, not just those officials and members of the Catholic Church. and that the Church was unhappy with the quake does not mean the quake was directed at them.

~~~

There’s more than this, of course, but let’s take it slow: haste did me in, last time.





Better sorry than safe

12 04 2013

A bit obvious, but still, points for the follow through:

~~~

h/t PZ Myers, Pharygula; credit apparently to breanieswordvomit.tumblr.com





And then this shit: Does it really need to be said that female people are people?

14 03 2012

Unfuckingbelievable. Because: all-too-believable:

Arizona  House Bill 2625

. . .

Y.  Any contract between a corporation and its subscribers is subject to the following:

1.  If the contract provides coverage for prescription drugs, the contract shall provide coverage for any prescribed drug or device that is approved by the United States food and drug administration for use as a contraceptive.  A corporation may use a drug formulary, multitiered drug formulary or list but that formulary or list shall include oral, implant and injectable contraceptive drugs, intrauterine devices and prescription barrier methods if the corporation does not impose deductibles, coinsurance, copayments or other cost containment measures for contraceptive drugs that are greater than the deductibles, coinsurance, copayments or other cost containment measures for other drugs on the same level of the formulary or list.

2.  If the contract provides coverage for outpatient health care services, the contract shall provide coverage for outpatient contraceptive services.  For the purposes of this paragraph, “outpatient contraceptive services” means consultations, examinations, procedures and medical services provided on an outpatient basis and related to the use of approved United States food and drug administration prescription contraceptive methods to prevent unintended pregnancies.

3.  This subsection does not apply to contracts issued to individuals on a nongroup basis.

Z.  Notwithstanding subsection Y of this section, a religious employer whose religious tenets prohibit the use of prescribed contraceptive methods may require that the corporation provide a contract without coverage for all United States food and drug administration approved contraceptive methods.� A religious employer shall submit a written affidavit to the corporation stating that it is a religious employer.� On receipt of the affidavit, the corporation shall issue to the religious employer a contract that excludes coverage of prescription contraceptive methods.� The corporation shall retain the affidavit for the duration of the contract and any renewals of the contract.  Before enrollment in the plan, every religious employer that invokes this exemption shall provide prospective subscribers written notice that the religious employer refuses to cover all United States food and drug administration approved contraceptive methods for religious reasons.� This subsection shall not exclude coverage for prescription contraceptive methods ordered by a health care provider with prescriptive authority for medical indications other than to prevent an unintended pregnancy.� A corporation may require the subscriber to first pay for the prescription and then submit a claim to the corporation along with evidence that the prescription is for a noncontraceptive purpose.� A corporation may charge an administrative fee for handling these claims.� A religious employer shall not discriminate against an employee who independently chooses to obtain insurance coverage or prescriptions for contraceptives from another source. [strikeout in the original]

Z.  Notwithstanding subsection y of this section, a contract does not fail to meet the requirements of subsection Y of this section if the contract’s failure to provide coverage of specific items or services required under subsection Y of this section is because providing or paying for coverage of the specific items or services is contrary to the religious beliefs of the employer, sponsor, issuer, corporation or other entity offering the plan or is because the coverage is contrary to the religious beliefs of the purchaser or beneficiary of the coverage.� If an objection triggers this subsection, a written affidavit shall be filed with the corporation stating the objection.� The corporation shall retain the affidavit for the duration of the contract and any renewals of the contract.  This subsection shall not exclude coverage for prescription contraceptive methods ordered by a health care provider WITH prescriptive authority for medical indications other than for contraceptive, abortifacient, abortion or sterilization purposes.� A corporation, employer, sponsor, issuer or other entity offering the plan may state religious beliefs or moral convictions in its affidavit that require the subscriber to first pay for the prescription and then submit a claim to the corporation along with evidence that the prescription is not in whole or in part for a purpose covered by the objection.� A corporation may charge an administrative fee for handling these claims. [Italics indicate added language; emp added]

There are more strikeouts and additions along these same lines (which can be viewed at the link, above), including:

C.  Before enrollment in the health care plan, every religious employer that invokes this exemption shall provide prospective enrollees written notice that the religious employer refuses to cover all federal food and drug administration approved contraceptive methods for religious reasons.

and

D.  C.  Subsection B of this section does not exclude coverage for prescription contraceptive methods ordered by a health care provider with prescriptive authority for medical indications other than to prevent an unintended pregnancy.� A health care services organization may require for contraceptive, abortifacient, abortion or sterilization purposes.A health care services organization, employer, sponsor, issuer or other entity offering the plan may state religious beliefs in its affidavit that require the enrollee to first pay for the prescription and then submit a claim to the health care services organization along with evidence that the prescription is for a noncontraceptive purpose not in whole or in part for a purpose covered by the objection.� A health care services organization may charge an administrative fee for handling claims under this subsection.

and

E.  A religious employer shall not discriminate against an employee who independently chooses to obtain insurance coverage or prescriptions for contraceptives from another source.

That’s right: Not only does the worker not have the right to be informed of any restrictions on coverage prior to enrollment, and not only would she have to submit an affidavit stating that a scrip for birth control is for “medical” non-birth-control reasons, but SHE CAN BE FIRED FOR USING CONTRACEPTION!

Did you get that? Was I loud enough? !!!!!!!SHE CAN BE FIRED FOR USING CONTRACEPTION!!!!

This bill, by the way, passed the Arizona House and is now headed to the Senate.

And now a word from our sponsor:

“I believe we live in America,” said Majority Whip Debbie Lesko (R-Glendale), who sponsored the bill. “We don’t live in the Soviet Union. So, government should not be telling the organizations or mom-and-pop employers to do something against their moral beliefs.”

Hey Majority Whip Debbie Lesko, I gotta message for you: Go fuck yourself.

Good thing that won’t require contraception.

h/t Laura Bassett, Huffington Post

*Update: And oh yeah, this too.








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