Plots and Thoughts

Homophobic Mississippi School District Cancels Prom out of Spite

Posted in Observations by Captain Optimistic on March 11, 2010

Straightforward story.  The little  school district that could discriminate but couldn’t handle queer folk at a school prom decided to just cancel it.  Here is the story.  I found the comments section to be rather fun:

I am sick to death of these “special individuals”, with “special needs” keep ruining it for the rest of us who are healthy minded, law abiding individuals.

Just say “NO” to this negative behavior, what is wrong with the truth?

Check out some of the replies!

omg, i totally agree! these special individuals who insist that everyone be *just like them* with their special need of having everyone be *just like them* keep ruining it for the rest of us who are healthy, law abiding INDIVIDUALs who don’t give a flying fudge who wants to date who.

The truth is, no one has the right to force people to live according to their own religious beliefs. If you don’t agree, then move to Iraq and allow yourself to be forced to live according to Islam. Oh wait, as long as it’s YOUR religion it’s okay. I see how you are: Anti-American.

I’m having a hard time trying to figure out if you’re being ironic or not. America is A REPUBLIC not a Democracy precisely because minority rights tend to get trampled in a a direct democracy. The Senate is built around the idea that “special individuals” (i.e. small states) get special treatment (i.e. a louder voice than they would otherwise.)

What “special need” are you talking about? The girl wanted to take her date to the prom. Just like hundreds of other students. Sorry, but the girl was well within her rights as a citizen of this country. Hope the School Board gets sued back to the middle ages it crawled out of.

Its always amusing watching the ignorant and the bigoted lose an argument.

The Politico has a Crush on Thune

Posted in Analysis, Observations by Captain Optimistic on January 13, 2010

Awwwww.  Johnathan Martin thinks Thune is ever so dashing.  He’s written the sort of soft-journalistic intro piece one often sees gently ushering conservative hopefuls onto the national stage.  Remember the reader’s digest article that praised George W. Bush as a bipartisan guys-guy who got stuff done?

John Thune is presented as someone Democrats and Republicans can agree upon:

“At a time when we’re burning taxpayer money like coal in a 19th-century steam engine, Thune’s message of focused fiscal restraint, coupled with aggressive small-business incentives to drive growth, will resonate extremely well with the GOP base and independents as well as Democrats,” said Jeff Kimbell, a Republican lobbyist and Thune enthusiast.

Wow, he sounds great!

But McKinnon sees a third possibility: “He could be the 2012 federal version of Bob McDonnell,” said the GOP adman of the Virginia governor-elect. “He’s unquestionably conservative but not in an ideological way — more in a Midwestern, rural, country, small-town way. So he’s acceptable to all factions.”

Not in an idealogical way huh?  Check out this interview with Christianity Today:

Having a Christian worldview shapes my decision-making with respect to all aspects of my life. I always respect people in public life who are principled, and those principles have to be connected to something. And my faith is what serves as the anchor and directs my actions.

Ladies and gentleman we have ourselves another theocrat being groomed as mainstream.  He’ll be a reliable force for anti-gay, anti-women values.  You know, family values.

As the Politico article briefly mentions:

Though he doesn’t promote it, and it wasn’t listed on his 2004 campaign website, Thune is a graduate of a California Bible college. And on cultural issues such as gay marriage and abortion, he’s pure to the party base.

It also mentions that the the former lobbyist … is liked by lobbyists:

Though he doesn’t have the infrastructure of Romney or even Pawlenty, Thune has many fans among operatives and lobbyists, and he’s surrounded by savvy strategists, including the well-regarded Brasell and longtime GOP adman Scott Howell.

Great.  A slick “Republican Obama – minus the brains” lobbyist theocrat.  He’s already getting promotional press.  He should do well in a crowded GOP field.  2012 is looking ever more interesting.

Sao Paulo – This is What Theocracy Looks Like

Posted in Musings, Observations by Captain Optimistic on November 17, 2009

Roman Catholic Sao Paulo, Brazil, has decided to give us Americans a jolly preview of theocracy in action:

Outrage over female sexuality?  Check:

A video showed Arruda sitting in a classroom in a mid-thigh length red dress, then six military police officers protecting her as she left the campus wearing a white jacket. A line of students stood by chanting “whore.”

Another video showed a mob stopping and kicking her car and blocking her when she tried to escape on foot.

In fact, violence over female sexuality.

Uniban said it had also suspended a number of students identified by video footage and witness accounts of taking part in the violence last month. The university’s legal advisor said Arruda had been expelled for “gestures” and “attitudes” she had manifested rather than because of her short outfits. He would not give details.

Of course he wouldn’t give details.  He’s full of shit.

There’s something deeply wrong with people who get angry and violent over the sexuality of others.  There is also something deeply wrong with a belief system that encourages the transformation of the natural into the hated and feared.

So much of religious conservatism is about denying the aspects of human sexuality that go against painstakingly constructed myths – the same myths used as social livestock fencing for centuries.

When we go beyond rules of civilization and morality to deny who we are and what we allow our neighbors to be we provide the kindling the hate and violence.  These kinds of beliefs are fundamentally at odds with equality and justice.

How could anyone believe they were born of a divine source?

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Palin and the Courtier Media

Posted in Analysis, Observations by Captain Optimistic on November 16, 2009

Sarah Palin makes an excellent heir to Ronald Reagan.  Reagan exemplified the Courtly Style, defined by Robert Hariman.  It can be summed up simply in its power to separate royalty from peasantry, the speaker from the spoken to.  (It may be contrasted with the Republican Style (classical Republican), which may be thought of as a rhetorical tool to unite the speaker and her audience, to join citizen with like-citizens).

This separation seeps into the mindset, actions and perception of the speaker in a way that makes the word elitist a living, fire breathing creature.  How ironic when one such as Palin utters it!

This skewed approach to the world is evident in Palin’s interview with Oprah:

“I think that [Couric’s] agenda was to not necessarily show me in the best light and not allow my mistake, my gaffe to go uncaught,” said Palin, who flubbed Couric’s question about which newspapers, books or magazines she read regularly.

Admitting that she had been annoyed with Couric’s “badgering,” even rolling her eyes at times, Palin, 45, said it was unprofessional of Couric to wear that “annoyance on her sleeve.”

For Sarah Palin the media is there to legitimize her rule and extend her reach.  Not to question.  Not to investigate.  Which fits so well with the theocratic, proto-fascist astroturf populism she sells.  It is a brand so unnatural it requires a surgically supportive media environment to snag consumers.  Which is why she ties it so tightly to her image as a family woman.  Because the idea of blind acceptance and obedience is viscerally counter to Democracy and Americana.  It only feels natural when we view childhood through eyes jaundiced by nostalgia.

Something to keep in mind when Palin runs for Big Mother in 2012.

Stupak’s God in Our Government

Posted in Analysis, Strategy by Captain Optimistic on November 16, 2009

The problem with unifying Church and State is it becomes the unification not of some abstract Church, but specifically the Church of the ruling class.  In this case Bart Stupak’s efforts to hijack health care reform to push an anti-women agenda is part of a larger effort to put God into Government.

The health care bill is a series of very small steps towards meaningful reform.  We should be able to take those steps without them falling on the neck of women’s rights.

Mr Stupak’s threat is a serious one and it deserves a vicious rhetorical response.  His efforts cannot be seen as anything less than anti-reform, and anyone who is against reform at this point isn’t a Democrat.  This goes deeper than party loyalty however.  This battle is a real struggle between those who are truly pro-life and those who are pro-insurance-company-profits.  Theocratic forces have seen an opening and are standing with the paid-for anti-reformers to try and maneuver for power.

Given the weight of this battle we ought let fly without reserve.  From a rhetorical perspective we should hold nothing back and purposefully include the Stupak crowd in with the anti-reformers.  The tendencies towards binding US law to a strict interpretation of conservative Christianity is fundamentally incompatible with the separation of Church and State, the 1st amendment, and inclusion within the Democratic party.  Any elected official taking such a position needs to feel the heat directly under their feet if we are to drive home our position:

Health Care reform is vital.

Theocratic laws are never acceptable.

We will never sacrifice women’s rights to advance the “greater” progressive agenda.  Women’s rights are an irremovable part of the progressive agenda.

We are nowhere near victory but the very act of lifting up our heads to speak as we lay in the mud has conservatives frothing at the mouth and banging their spears against their shields.  If we are to survive much less win, we absolutely must stand united, tall and firm and let loose one hell of a roar.