Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Blackwater guards found guilty in Iraq shootings

From the AP via the Houston Chronicle:

The case was mired in legal battles for years, making it uncertain whether the defendants would ever be tried.

The trial itself focused on the killings of 14 Iraqis and the wounding of 17 others. During an 11-week trial, prosecutors summoned 72 witnesses, including Iraqi victims, their families and former colleagues of the defendant Blackwater guards.

There was sharp disagreement over the facts in the case.

The defendants' lawyers said there was strong evidence the guards were targeted with gunfire from insurgents and Iraqi police, leading the guards to shoot back in self-defense. Federal prosecutors said there was no incoming gunfire and that the shootings by the guards were unprovoked.

The prosecution contended that some of the Blackwater guards harbored a low regard and deep hostility toward Iraqi civilians.

The guards, the prosecution said, held "a grave indifference" to the death and injury that their actions probably would cause Iraqis. Several former Blackwater guards testified that they had been generally distrustful of Iraqis, based on experience the guards said they had had in being led into ambushes.

More here.

Finally.  Some justice.

Of all the war crimes committed by US personnel in Iraq, this was, to me, the most disturbing, the most infuriating.  I mean, technically, they weren't even US personnel; they were mercenaries, hired guns, thugs, it turns out, working for the State Department.  It was a bad idea from the get-go to use these people.

For a while there, it even looked like these killers would go scot-free because there appeared to be no American law governing their actions--the defense asserted that the law under which they were tried applied only to the military, not civilian contractors employed by an agency which is not the Pentagon.  And it's, like, really?  We can just hire murderers and it's all good and dandy?  Really?  Really?!?

Blackwater symbolized everything that was wrong with our invasion and occupation of Iraq: the arrogance, the callousness, the hatred, the wanton violence.  So good.  We've convicted some of the symbol.

But I won't be happy about it all until we've put the architects of the war in jail.  Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rove, and others, all of them need to be behind bars.  All of them are criminals.  All of them led us as a nation into what the Nuremberg Trails found to be the greatest of all war crimes, the waging of aggressive war, the malevolent and bloody umbrella under which all lesser war crimes take place.

Let's not stop now.  Justice must be done.


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

South Carolina Prosecutors Say Stand Your Ground Doesn’t Apply To Victims Of Domestic Violence

From Think Progress:

"The Post and Courier, which originally reported the prosecutors’ position, has been doing a series on domestic violence over the past few months, in which it found that women are dying at a rate of one every 12 days from domestic abuse in South Carolina, a state 'awash in guns, saddled with ineffective laws and lacking enough shelters for the battered … a state where the deck is stacked against women trapped in the cycle of abuse.' More than 70 percent of those who kill their spouse had 'multiple prior arrests on those charges' and the majority spent just days in jail."

More here.

Of course not.

I mean, unless the abuser is a black guy wearing a hoodie, possibly drinking tea and eating Skittles. And the victim is white--well, unless the judge decides she had it coming to her because miscegenation is a sin. Otherwise, no court in South Carolina would convict because, well, you know why. SC never needed "stand your ground" in such circumstances, anyway.

But generally, no surprise at all that women In South Carolina can't defend themselves from abusers using "stand your ground."


Monday, October 20, 2014

WHO: New Ebola Cases Could Be Up To 10,000 Per Week In 2 Months

From the AP via the Huffington Post:

"He told reporters that if the world's response to the Ebola crisis isn't stepped up within 60 days, 'a lot more people will die' and there will be a huge need to deal with the spiraling numbers of cases."
More here.

This is why we need big government, why we need government with a lot of money, your money, and much more money from the super wealthy and corporations. This is why Libertarians are fools.


Sunday, October 19, 2014

Has Neoliberalism Turned Us All Into Psychopaths?

From the Guardian via AlterNet:

We tend to perceive our identities as stable and largely separate from outside forces. But over decades of research and therapeutic practice, I have become convinced that economic change is having a profound effect not only on our values but also on our personalities. Thirty years of neoliberalism, free-market forces and privatization have taken their toll, as relentless pressure to achieve has become normative. If you’re skeptical, I put this simple statement to you: meritocratic neoliberalism favors certain personality traits and penalizes others.

More here.

Even if there weren't any issues concerning fairness or wealth inequality with capitalism at all, I would still be deeply disturbed by the economic system's absolute dominance of our culture's imagination and moment-to-moment functioning. Greed is one of the seven deadly sins for a very good reason: it makes cannibals of us all. As Chris Hedges has said, "Commerce cannot be society's sole concern." But in all the most important ways, it is. And we are now a very sick people because of it.


Saturday, October 18, 2014


Two of my facebook features exported to Real Art.


Friday, October 17, 2014


Winkie and Sammy

Be sure to check out Modulator's Friday Ark for more cat blogging pics!


Thursday, October 16, 2014

Deadly Force, in Black and White

From ProPublica:

Young black males in recent years were at a far greater risk of being shot dead by police than their white counterparts – 21 times greater i, according to a ProPublica analysis of federally collected data on fatal police shootings.

The 1,217 deadly police shootings from 2010 to 2012 captured in the federal data show that blacks, age 15 to 19, were killed at a rate of 31.17 per million, while just 1.47 per million white males in that age range died at the hands of police.

More here.

This isn't something from the liberal imagination. This isn't about blacks with a persecution complex. Not about Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton. This is real. This is actually happening. Blacks are at twenty one times the risk of whites for being killed by a police officer. Twenty one times. That's bad. Really bad.

I mean, actually, this has been totally obvious to honest observers for many years. But a lot of whites in this country live within a bubble of delusion and denial, sick of hearing about racism, covering their ears and shouting "there is no racism" over and over so as to shield themselves from the deeply disturbing truth: Michael Brown is not the exception; Michael Brown is the rule.

The numbers don't lie.

My fellow white Americans, it is time to face the facts. Racism is alive and well in this country, often perpetrated by people who have no idea what it is with which they are involved. And people are dying because of it. Something must be done. Right now. We have a moral responsibility.


Wednesday, October 15, 2014


From a facebook discussion:

Okay, so many Libertarian "arguments" being thrown my way that I'm not going to hit every one specifically, but rather address the whole shebang in brief.

"Big government or small government" is an absurd way to look at things. We live in a big world, with big industries, a big economy, big numbers of people. We NECESSARILY need government to be big. Sheriff Taylor and Deputy Fife can't get it done in the modern world.

And that's that. Big government, whether you like it or not, is how it HAS to be. "Shrinking government" so you can "drown it in a bathtub" is a stupid joke, as is Grover Norquist. Anybody who believes this stupid joke is entirely ignorant of economics. I mean, sure, lots of people who believe this THINK they understand economics, but they don't. This is all a big fairy tale, folk wisdom repeated endlessly, like Goebbels' theory on propaganda, until it becomes "truth."

But it's wrong no matter how often it's repeated. Demonstrably wrong: since the Reagan era, economists have had plenty of time to study how this stuff works in the real world, and they've found that a lot of the ideas taken for granted by Libertarians, indeed, by the entire neoliberal establishment, which includes Democrats as well as Republicans, even Obama, are just wrong. Cutting taxes for the rich does NOT stimulate the economy. Markets are NOT self-regulating, and so on. The whole Libertarian edifice is built on a foundation of what amounts to believing in the Easter Bunny.

People are fools to believe these fantasies.

Now we can argue about what the government spends money on. That's an honest discussion, and it's what people actually mean when they talk about "Big Government." That's what we SHOULD be talking about.

But I, personally, no longer take this "Big Government" shit seriously. It's a joke. And trying to get me to behave as though it's something I should take seriously is just insulting. I will not join you in your Easter Bunny fantasies. I'm only interested in what happens in the real world.
'Nuff said.


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The Deficit Is Down, and Nobody Knows or Cares

From Paul Krugman's blog:

The CBO tells us that the federal deficit is way down — under 3 percent of GDP. And Jared Bernstein notes that Obama seems to get no credit.

You may ask, what did you expect?

More here.

When it comes to worrying about the deficit, there are two kinds of people. The first group sincerely worries, but knows virtually nothing about economics, while thinking that, in fact, they do. This is probably most of the country, including more than half, at least, of the Democratic Party. The second group only fakes their worry, using alarmism as a cover for their true desire, gutting the social safety net, including social security, just because Ann Rand doesn't like it or whatever.

I forgive the first group, to an extent, because they've been pounded with dishonest deficit propaganda for over three decades. The second group, in sharp contrast, is sociopathic, and would be behind bars in a just society. No forgiveness from me for unrepentant evil.


Monday, October 13, 2014

Red Death Registers as Inscrutable But Fascinating

From the Houston Press:

Guidry-Stryk's Jane is sleek and equally inscrutable. With her lipstick-red mouth, pale skin, and mane of raven hair, she is either the face of death or the walking dead. (Unless I'm reading this play completely wrong, which I have no way of knowing.) For all Jane's dastardly deeds, though, we're always on her side. She's on a mission, yet is so clueless (and afraid?) it's endearing. Schlag's Connie is so brittle she may crack, which she does after vodka and childhood memories. Especially effective are Reeder's spooky, efficiently determined Detective and Todd's wistful Dad, who keeps losing his daughter over the years. Jane promises to come back for a longer visit, but never does.

Helping everyone in this quest is the smooth direction from Jennifer Decker, who keeps the scene and costume changes at lightning pace.

More here.

While the writer didn't gush about me or anything, I am extraordinarily pleased in that this is, by far, the most unequivocal "Ron was good" notice I've EVER gotten, going back to the 80s.  Yes, I'm proud.  I've worked on my craft for many years now, and today I feel like I'm at the top of my game.  So yes, this is a bit of a triumph for me.  Even if it's really only half a sentence.

Of course, what's really helpful to me is that I'm getting to do this work in what is an overall excellent show across the board, acting, design, tech, script, and directing.  It's hard to look good inside a piece of shit.  But this is no piece of shit.  I'm honored, really, to be a part of this production.

Full disclosure: director Jennifer Decker is my girlfriend.  Damn, she's good.


Sunday, October 12, 2014

5 Stupid, Unfair and Sexist Things Expected of Men

From AlterNet:

If you have a scrap of progressive politics in your bones, it's no surprise to you that sexism hurts women. Like, duh. That's kind of the definition of the word.

But we don't talk as much about how sexism hurts men. Understandably. When you look at the grotesque ways women are damaged by sexism—from economic inequality to political disenfranchisement to literal, physical abuse—it makes perfect sense that we'd care more about how sexism, patriarchy and rigid gender roles affect women than we do about how they affect men.

But men undoubtedly get screwed up by this stuff, too. Not screwed up as badly as women, to be sure... but not trivially, either. I care about it. And I think other feminists—and other women and men who may not see themselves as feminists—ought to care about it, too.

More here.

Patriarchy isn't individual men.  It is the cultural, political, economic, and institutional ramification of the fact that men continue to dominate society at all levels.  This definitely plays itself out in the form of individual men, in interpersonal relationships, but it is definitely more of a zeitgeist or attitude permeating the very air we breathe.  It affects us all.  Of course, men get a lot of rewards from this, a lot of privilege.  And women take the brunt of it all.  Indeed, patriarchy offers very few rewards or privileges, if any, to women: instead, women are oppressed by patriarchy.

But so are men.  In different and obviously less destructive ways, of course, but patriarchy DEFINITELY diminishes and oppresses men, too.  As the author of the linked essay observes, men have a stake in ending patriarchy, too, if only for their own self-interest.  Patriarchy, as an informal but omnipresent social system, hurts us all, and I have long been of the opinion that what benefits I get from it just aren't worth the cost, to me, to other men, to boys who will inherit such attitudes whether they want them or not.  Definitely not worth the cost to my fellow human beings who aren't men.

Really, I'm just sick of this shit.  I'm sick of the ongoing question of "what it means to be a man."  I'm sick of righteously aggrieved women calling me out, sometimes rightly, sometimes wrongly, for my own perceived sexism.  I'm sick of trying to figure out what's sexist and what isn't.  I'm sick of men siding with men and women siding with women in knee-jerk response to divisive issues.  I'm sick of men, which sometimes includes me, being threatened by women asserting their rights as human beings.  I'm sick of liberals ganging up on people who just don't know any better, instead of trying to help them understand. I'm sick of men and women alike reviling the word "feminist" even while they support everything feminists believe.  I'm sick of the whole damned thing.

I just want to do the what's right.  I just want the patriarchy to end.  I just want us to find a way to be equal.  But patriarchy seems to grip us, all of us, around our throats in ways we barely recognize.  It's deeply embedded in all of us.  I have no idea how to unwind it all.  Simply desiring an end to patriarchy isn't even a start.  But I know that until men do strongly desire an end to patriarchy, it will continue.

We've all got to get on the right side of history.


Saturday, October 11, 2014


Two of my facebook features exported to Real Art.


Friday, October 10, 2014



Be sure to check out Modulator's Friday Ark for more cat blogging pics!


Thursday, October 09, 2014

Mildred's Umbrella Presents RED DEATH, Now thru 10/25

From Broadway World:

Jane Whithers, an erstwhile kindergarten teacher/lifeguard has been sent to find the "origin of evil, the root of denial and the basic human weakness that causes us to fear death" by a mysterious extra-legal organization called "The Panel." Her search takes her from Florida beaches to Texas sewers, from the Adriatic Sea to little Grass Lake, Michigan all on the heels of Propsero Albright, a childhood friend who she thinks holds the answer. Inspired by Poe's gothic fantasy The Masque of the Red Death, D'Amour crafts a dark and comic rollercoaster ride through our existential dilemmas, everyday fears and ever-present anxieties.

More here, including show times and dates.

I'm doing this show starting tonight.  Tell me to "break a leg"!


Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Salon: The Republican Party Is Becoming The New Confederacy

From Addicting Info:

“May you live in interesting times” – Alleged ancient Chinese curse

We are surely witnessing such times right now and the road ahead is going to be rough and violent. Why? Because, as Salon details in its article, “The South’s victim complex: How right-wing paranoia is driving new wave of radicals,” the Republican Party, long the party of white people, is rapidly devolving into the party of Southern White Power.

More here.

To the best of my knowledge, conservatives haven't lifted a finger to refute this argument.

Sure, sure, they say "impossible" or "don't play the race card" or they'll just get really pissed off. But they NEVER actually address the argument: the GOP's "Southern Strategy" worked so well that old school Southern conservatives weren't simply absorbed into the Republican Party after the Democrats alienated them by embracing civil rights; rather, Southern conservatism, complete with its peculiar notions and institutions of race, BECAME the Republican Party.

No conservative acknowledges that this argument even exists. They just get pissed off. I suspect it's because there's not really an effective counter-argument to this, but it's hard to say because they're just not talking. I mean, they're bitching, but that's not really talking.


Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Mother Upset Over School Assignment About Islam

From the Huffington Post:

A mother in Michigan took to Facebook last week to express her outrage over a 10th-grade school assignment that she felt promoted Islam.

In an initial post, Jennette Hall complained about a Jenison High School assignment that asked students to make a pamphlet about Islam. The post, which had been shared over 5,400 times as of Tuesday morning, said students were told the pamphlet would be used to "introduce Islam to 3rd graders."

More here.

I don't really grok what this woman's complaint is. If I'm getting what the school's principal is saying about the assignment, it seems like it's nothing more than getting students to come up with something to explain a specific world religion to kids younger than they are. Teaching a subject is, of course, a great way to understand that subject.

I really think the problem is that she doesn't like Islam and doesn't want her children understanding it. And that's really freaking weird to me.


Monday, October 06, 2014

Pro-Union Burger King Worker Disciplined For Poor Pickle Placement

From the Huffington Post:

On another occasion last September, Wilson was punished by a manager for coming by the store while off-duty to talk with other workers outside. Wilson had asked a colleague who'd just finished her shift to fill out a questionnaire on wages. The manager told Wilson she was violating the store's 'loitering and solicitation policy,' then wrote her up for it.

Amchan ruled that the enforcement of this policy on employees violated the National Labor Relations Act. The workplace is a 'particularly appropriate place' to distribute materials or discuss organizing rights, seeing as it's 'the one place where employees clearly share common interests,' he wrote. He added, 'This is particularly true in the instant case where some of the workers are lower paid individuals who commute to work via bus.'

More here.

Business has had its way for so long, under multiple administrations from both parties, that they no longer know how to operate within labor law. That is, yes, workers have the RIGHT to discuss work issues with other workers at work, whether the boss likes it or not. Too f'ing bad if that makes management uncomfortable.

It's nice to see Obama's NLRB actually doing something after all these years.


Sunday, October 05, 2014

‘American Insurgent’ admits he sought to spray bullets, spill blood in Houston

From the Houston Chronicle:

A Houston-area man, who the FBI says was prepared to launch his nationwide “American Insurgent Movement” here by robbing an armored car, killing a trooper, and spraying a mosque with gunfire, pleaded guilty Friday.

“We must rebel. Blood and bullets are the only two things that will change this world, short of divine action,” Robert Talbot Jr. wrote online in an effort to attract recruits to join him.

Talbot, 38, admitted to his crimes during a Friday hearing as he stood before U.S. District Judge Ewing Werlein Jr. Those include attempted interference with commerce by robbery and solicitation to commit a crime of violence. He faces up to 20 years when sentenced.

More here.

I think that as bedrock conservative views increasingly hit the wall known as reality, we're going to be seeing more and more of this sort of thing. I mean, combine cognitive dissonance with the arsenals right-wing gun enthusiasts have been putting together, you know, to save us all from a "tyrannical" government, and to shop in the baby section at Target, we necessarily have all the ingredients for a bloodbath.

Fortunately, the system appears to be working at the moment, and they caught this nut-job before he could do some serious damage. But when you have Fox News and other prominent conservatives doing their damnedest to make this a partisan issue, asserting that having law enforcement going after far-right extremists is tantamount to oppression, we have some potential problems that could get some people killed.

I mean, Timothy McVeigh, Randy Weaver, the reverend Paul Jennings Hill, Cliven Bundy's gun-toting supporters, this guy they just busted out in Katy, these people aren't even close to being heroes or upstanding citizens. They're criminals. These types shouldn't be celebrated or defended in the public discourse. They should be behind bars like other criminals, and law enforcement should be allowed to do its job without political interference.

Mark my words. Frightened and angry right-wing extremists in this country will kill again. They need to be stopped. 


Saturday, October 04, 2014


Two of my facebook features exported to Real Art.


Friday, October 03, 2014



Be sure to check out Modulator's Friday Ark for more cat blogging pics!


Thursday, October 02, 2014

Blessed Are The Swingers: Christian Couple Share Partners, Word of God

From Gawker:

Devout Christians looking to spread the word of God sometimes need to get creative about where they're preaching—after all, anywhere could be the right place to convert an unbeliever. So why not discuss Bible verses with the guy you've invited over to fuck your wife? 

For Florida couple Dean and Christy Parave, their swingers' lifestyle doesn't conflict with their deeply-held Christian beliefs. Rather, it provides an outlet where they can share the gospel (along with sexual partners). "I'm getting to people that probably never even visited church," says Dean. "Hey, God's not gonna put a lion with a bunch of elephants, so what's he gonna do? He's gonna put a swinger with a bunch of swingers to spread his word." 

More here, with video.

I think that so many Americans have invested their identities with the concept of being "Christian" that Christianity, here in the US, can mean pretty much anything you want it to mean. On the other hand, if something can mean virtually anything, then it's a pretty easy argument to make that it also means nothing at all.

So OF COURSE we're a "Christian nation." We're ALL "Christian." Why the hell not? Apparently it's just a brand name that people really dig. I'm a Houston Texans fan, a Coke drinker, and a "Christian." No sweat. It's just a name.


Wednesday, October 01, 2014

National Review Writer: Women Who Have Abortions Should Be Hanged

From Talking Points Memo:

Williamson's tweet came in a back-and-forth on twitter that started with Williamson's piece criticizing a blog post by actress and director Lena Dunham on why women should vote.

More here.

KILL for LIFE!!!

Yes, as usual, conservatives continue to be in what amounts to a persistent vegetative state when it comes to irony.  That is, they're blissfully unaware that the concept even exists, even while they take ironic stances again and again.  Or maybe it's just rank hypocrisy.  One of those two.

At any rate, such rhetoric provides the philosophical framework allowing anti-abortion terrorists to justify their handiwork. It is, at the very least, PROFOUNDLY irresponsible rhetoric.  People may actually die because of this.


Tuesday, September 30, 2014

White House fence-jumper made it far deeper into building than previously known

From the Washington Post:

The man who jumped the White House fence this month and sprinted through the front door made it much farther into the building than previously known, overpowering one Secret Service officer and running through much of the main floor, according to three people familiar with the incident.

More here.

We've spent trillions of dollars, invaded two nations, killed tens of thousands, become a people who torture prisoners, allowed electronic surveillance on citizens, endured anal probes at airports, rained hot death from the sky on multiple foreign nations. And a crazy guy with a knife makes it deep inside the White House just by running past security? That's it? That's the best we can do?

Screw you guys. I'm going home.


Monday, September 29, 2014

West Texas Sheriff says 'Muslim clothing', 'Quran books' found near border

From the Midland Reporter-Telegram via the Houston Chronicle:

Midland County Sheriff Gary Painter was back on national television Monday morning, making another warning to Islamic State of Iraq and Syria members who may be entering the U.S. from Mexico.

Painter, interviewed by Fox News' Elizabeth Hasselbeck, reiterated the warning he first said on CNN on Sept. 5, saying ISIS will be sent "to hell" if they show up. He also referenced again the report he received a few weeks ago that warned of ISIS activity in the Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, area.

More here.

OMG!!! ISIS is coming!!! Head for the hills!!!

Either that or Texas has its own Arpaio nut-sheriff. One of those two.  I mean, everybody knows that ISIS advertises their presence by leaving behind Muslim clothing and Koran books. It's a terror-effect.

But seriously, this is but one from what seems an endless list of examples of conservatives living in their own weird, but fake, reality.  ISIS is a regional military force geared toward taking territory.  To the best of my knowledge, they have not opened up an Al Qaeda style global terror network.  Sure, they're pretty terrifying, chopping off people's heads and such, but they're local, with "local" meaning "in the Middle East."

Right-wing nuts miss the early days after 9/11 so much that they're jumping at shadows.  Stupid fuckers.


Sunday, September 28, 2014

Fox Host Calls Eric Holder One Of The "Most Dangerous Men In America"

From Media Matters:

Andrea Tantaros: "He was one of the most divisive, polarizing, controversial, most dangerous men in America...He ran the DOJ much like the Black Panthers would."

Click here for the video.


Actually, this is so over-the-top, even for Fox, that it's essentially self-parody, even though the participants seemingly have no awareness of this--like I keep saying, conservatives neither understand nor do irony. That's no doubt why I laughed out loud multiple times watching this.


Saturday, September 27, 2014


Two of my facebook features exported to Real Art.


Friday, September 26, 2014



Be sure to check out Modulator's Friday Ark for more cat blogging pics!


Thursday, September 25, 2014

Truly Shocking Video: Cop Shoots Black Man for No Apparent Reason

From AlterNet:

In an incident captured by the police car's Dash Cam, South Carolina state trooper Sean Groubert approaches Levar Jones as Jones gets out of his car at a gas station. Groubert asks to see Jones' license, and Jones turns around to retrieve it from his car. Groubert starts yelling, "Get out of the car, get out of the car," and opens fire, shooting at Jones four times, and striking him at least once, reportedly, in the hip.

More here.

There's a Michael Brown every other day, and a Trayvon Martin on the days in between. This is the truth: black life is cheaper than white life, a lot cheaper, and as long as we keep confusing the issue by treating all these shootings of African Americans as individual "isolated incidents" which may or may not have legitimacy, without looking at what is OBVIOUSLY a clear pattern of racist abuse coming down from the institutions which own and operate our society, black life will continue to be cheap. And the blood on America's hands will become ever more difficult to wash clean.

At least in this particular case, the shooter was charged with a crime. But, as we all know, that's something of a rarity.


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

A NYC Bartender's Powerful Open Letter To The Hedge Funder Who Allegedly Grabbed Her Ass

From the Gothamist:

A SoHo bartender is fed up with misogynistic bros treating her like a piece of meat, and she's written a powerful open letter to the hedge funder who she says grabbed her ass at work. Laura Ramadei, an actor who tends bar at Lucky Strike on Grand Street, says that when she asked customer Brian Lederman what he'd like, he immediately groped her. And after she made it clear she wasn't enamored by his charms, he left her with a shabby tip. Ramadei's outraged Facebook message to Lederman is going viral, but we'd like to see it printed out on leaflets to be dropped over most of Manhattan and Williamsburg.

Click here to read the letter.

Part of the privilege coming from the fact that I am a man in a patriarchal society is that I don't have to put up with this crap as a restaurant server. If I were a woman, it is highly probable that I would find such work intolerable.

But it's not all about rich assholes in restaurants and bars, of course. We see this kind of behavior in men throughout all socioeconomic groups, for all ages, in all places. Personally, I think we should teach good behavior in sex ed classes, which wouldn't be a difficult thing to do. On the other hand, weirdo Puritanical attitudes are all over sex ed, especially here in Texas, and Puritanism and misogyny tend to walk hand in hand. So I don't know. Seems a bit hopeless.

I think that things had been improving for years as far as sexual harassment goes, but now we're going backwards.


Tuesday, September 23, 2014


You never can tell what's going to happen when you post on facebook.  Case in point, I posted a link to a really funny Sean Hannity moment, where he goes on about how he was spanked as a child, how it was no big deal, and he even pulled off his belt and beat on his desk to illustrate.

But then a weird conversation ensued in comments between me and an old high school friend who is extraordinarily intelligent:

Ron Just beatin' his belt on the table. Brilliant.

Jeff Sharing articles and talking about him on social media only helps him.

Ron Jeff, you don't really think I'm helping Sean Hannity, now, do you?

Jeff You are. Every mention of his name or share of his article online helps his social media buzz. Doesn't matter if it's a negative comment.

Ron I don't really think anything I say about Hannity has anything to do with whether people watch his show. Seriously, I could go on about him all day long, all week long, and it would make no difference. People watch his show. His viewers have absolutely nothing to do with what I say on facebook. This is a weird assertion you're making, Jeff.

Jeff Every time you share a Sean Hannity link publicly, you help his metrics on trend-tracking companies like Klout, Facebook and Google. None one differentiate between positive and negative mentions.

Ron Right, right, I get that part. What I'm saying is that, in the grand scheme, anything I say about Hannity online, anything at all, will have absolutely no bearing on his overall reach in terms of his demagoguery. Also, there's not even an organized action on this, and my refraining from commenting on his antics would be like my not shopping at Walmart: I hurt myself and only myself.

For that matter, can you name a single instance, just one, in the history of mass media when a group of people who weren't a particular celebrity's audience managed to make that celebrity go away by ignoring him? There aren't any.

Personally, I think the best way to handle the likes of Hannity, Rush, O'Reilly, etc., is to ridicule them. So that's what I do. It's also fun.

Jeff "For that matter, can you name a single instance, just one, in the history of mass media when a group of people who weren't a particular celebrity's audience managed to make that celebrity go away by ignoring him?"

Yes I can. Sean Hannity. Look at that graph again. It seems a lot of people are ignoring him. Let him fade into obscurity.

Ron Jeff, you're speaking as though his television show is irrelevant. You're also speaking as though Sean Hannity is all about website hits, which he's not. He's a plain old fashioned television demagogue. And ignoring him online is just about the same as paying attention to him online. That is, so what? It makes virtually no difference.

I mean, can you show me some connection between his Google rating and his television ratings? Is he losing money, viewers, advertisers? It seems like the campaign against Rush's advertisers, in sharp contrast, actually has the potential to do something: Rush is increasingly finding it difficult to make money. I am EXTRAORDINARILY skeptical that what you're suggesting would have ANY EFFECT AT ALL on Hannity.