"Joy and pleasure are as real as pain and sorrow and one must learn what they have to teach. . . ." -- Sean Russell, from Gatherer of Clouds

"If you're not having fun, you're not doing it right." -- Helyn D. Goldenberg

"I love you and I'm not afraid." -- Evanescence, "My Last Breath"

“If I hear ‘not allowed’ much oftener,” said Sam, “I’m going to get angry.” -- J.R.R. Tolkien, from Lord of the Rings

Sunday, April 08, 2012


I haven't had much to say this week -- it's been abnormal and unsettled. I'm starting to wonder if my life will ever be "normal" again -- or if I just have to find a new normal.

At any rate, this post is as much a link dump as anything else, highlighting some of the more disgusting people in the news.

First off, the Catholic bishops are maintaining their lead easily. Now if you have a relationship with a group that has a relationship with a group that is working for equal rights for GLBTs, you'll lose your funding.

For three years now, Compañeros, a small nonprofit organization in rural southwestern Colorado, has received thousands of dollars from the Roman Catholic Church to help poor Hispanic immigrants with basic needs including access to health care and guidance on local laws.

But in February, the group was informed by a representative from the Diocese of Pueblo that its financing from the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, an arm of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops devoted to ending poverty, was in danger.

The problem, the diocesan liaison explained, was Compañeros’s membership in an immigrant rights coalition that had joined forces with a statewide gay and lesbian advocacy group, recounted Nicole Mosher, Compañeros’s executive director.

How Christian of them.

And in Seattle, the Church is in the middle of politics:

The two bishops of the Catholic Archdiocese of Seattle, in a letter to the faithful, say they will deploy parishes to collect signatures for Referendum 74, a measure for the November ballot designed to roll back same-sex marriage in Washington.

While asking that signatures not be collected on Easter Sunday, the bishops described the issue as “critically important” and said information on the signature drive is being sent to pastors throughout the Western Washington diocese.

I guess even Catholic bishops have some sense of shame, since they don't want to collect signatures to deny civil rights to gays on Easter Sunday. It's unconscionable, though, that they're still trying to tailor civil law to their own primitive "morality". But it gets better:

In their letter, the bishops specifically deny that refusing marriage to same-sex couples equates to discrimination — an argument made by Gov. Christine Gregoire, a Catholic, in arguing for marriage equality.

“Treating different things differently is not unjust discrimination,” the bishops claim. “Marriage can only be between a man and a woman because of its unique ends, purpose and place in society. The word ‘marriage’ isn’t simply a label that can be attached to different types of relationships.

Arrogance and shallowness all wrapped up in one delicious quote. Since when to a couple of (theoretically) celibate men get to decide what marriage is?

I'm not even going to bother quoting Senator Reverend Ruben Diaz -- you already know what he's like.

The Catholic hierarchy seems to be taking most of the honors this week -- sort of odd that Rick Santorum managed to keep his mouth shut. This one is nice, however -- the bigots got some push-back.

A Catholic priest who hosted a mandatory assembly told seniors at Minneapolis’ DeLaSalle high school that single parents and children who are adopted are not normal, preached against same-sex marriage, and a Catholic couple who presented with the priest told the students gay marriage was akin to bestiality, all apparently in an effort to influence the seniors — soon to be of legal voting age — to vote for the anti-gay marriage constitutional amendment facing Minnesota, according to a report.

The priest, by the way, did nothing to correct the volunteer couple.

And the pushback? Well, according to the archdiocese, the presentation "upset" some of the students:

Jim Accurso, spokesman for the archdiocese, said most of the presentation went fine. But during a question-and-answer session, a presenter used “an unfortunate example” to answer the question and made students upset.

The students had a different take:

“It was a really awful ending,” said Bliss. “It was anger, anger, anger, and then we were done and they left. This is really a bad idea.”

It's not all Catholics, however. John Derbyshire has finally stepped over the line. I'm not going to try to excerpt this -- Charles Johnson has done a good job of it, if you follow the link. And if you want some evidence that Derbyshire is an unregenerate pig, read David Badash's article.

Scott Walker, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Koch Enterprises, who one hopes will soon the be former governor of Wisconsin, outdid himself this week. From AFL-CIO:

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who is facing a recall election, quietly repealed a state law making it easier for pay discrimination victims to seek justice. Amanda Terkel reports in The Huffington Post that Walker signed into law a bill passed in party-line votes by Republicans in the state legislature that rolls back the 2009 Equal Pay Enforcement Act. The act had allowed workers to challenge pay discrimination in state rather than just federal courts.

That's just the latest. Check out this post at C&L to see what else he's been up to.

And finally, our own Supreme Court of the United States.

The US supreme court ruled on Monday that jails do not violate privacy rights by routinely strip-searching everyone, even those arrested on minor traffic offenses.

By a 5-4 vote and splitting along conservative-liberal ideological lines, the high court ruled that privacy rights involving the searches were outweighed by security concerns by jails about a suspect hiding drugs, weapons or other contraband.

Writing the opinion for the court's conservative majority, justice Anthony Kennedy concluded the jail search procedures struck a reasonable balance between inmate privacy and the needs of the institution.

The kicker on this one is that in the case presented, the plaintiff had been arrested for a traffic fine that he had paid. Isn't it nice to know you live in a country where any asshole with a badge can make you take your clothes off because he feels like it? If he doesn't decide to shoot you first. (I'm not going to comment on the Trayvon Martin murder, except to say that Zimmerman's "self-defense" defense is so full of holes you could use it to strain pasta.)

I'm going to spend the rest of the day reading comics, I think. They're much less surreal.

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