The State of California Is Willing To Maintain Its Uteri.

So I needed a checkup of the ladybits recently, and being the broke, uninsured college student that I am, where did I turn?  Yes, that haven of baby-murdering, Planned Parenthood, to partake of the reproductive health services that are NOT abortion and which comprise the VAST majority of their operations.  So I called them up first, to see how much it would cost.

It turns out I, by virtue of being able to reproduce, am eligible for a California Health Access card.  Now don't get me wrong, I am *all* in favor of making reproductive health care and family planning services available to all people, regardless of financial status.  But I have to say, the questions I was asked to determine eligibility made it quite plain what the state cares about, and it's not me as a person.  It's me as a walking uterus, a potential incubator.  I was asked, firstly, if I was still getting a monthly period (which I'm not, but it's by virtue of having an IUD rather than by virtue of menopause, which I was told is what they need to know when I asked for clarification) and secondly if I'd had my tubes tied.  When I answered "eh, sorta?" and "no", I was told that because I was uninsured and capable of getting pregnant, I qualified for this card that means the state pays for 80% and PP eats the other 20%.  

And what did I get, with my state-funding card?  A pap smear and basic well-woman exam.  Forgive me my ignorance, but don't women who've had their tubes tied still need those services?  Don't post-menopausal women need these things?  So why am I covered, when they wouldn't be?  Because the state's interest is not in taking care of its female citizens, it's in taking care of the hypothetical occupants of those citizen's uteri.  

So while I appreciate the state's help in getting me this health care, I very much do *not* appreciate that it has a prerequisite of my avowedly-never-to-be-used fertility.  Because that, apparently, is more important than my needs as a person.


Guest Post at The Deviated Norm

I've written my first guest post this week, for a series over at The Deviated Norm called "Today in Meet A Poly Person".  The blogger, DeviantE, is looking to present the variety of lived poly experiences in the voices of those who have lived them, in order to combat stereotypes and straw-relationships that are so easily knocked down.  So wander on over, take a read, check out the rest of the series (still in its infancy, with only DeviantE's and my posts up yet), and if you're poly, consider asking if you can write a guest post yourself!


New Commenting!

Since Blogger's comments didn't want to play nice with my template, and I also wanted the ability to have threaded comments and better moderation options and such, I decided to add Disqus comments to my blog today.  It was between IntenseDebate and Disqus, and I'll admit I made the purely selfish decision to go with Disqus because I have a longer history with my Disqus profile than my ID profile and would rather link that to this blog.

However, it also takes logins from OpenID and (I believe) from Twitter, and if I got it set right, it will still allow anonymous commenting as well, so you don't have to make a new profile in order to continue commenting. 

Enjoy the new commenting system, and let me know if there are any problems with it!


Carrying the Burdens of Proof (And How Not To Prove Things)

Twice recently, on two very different topics, with two different people, I have had the same problem.  Both times, the person in question made an assertion that I then contested, only to have the person continue to assert their opinion as truth with a complete lack of evidence, expecting me to either take them at face value or do the work to disprove them.  Like "innocent until proven guilty", only it's "true until proven untrue".  I would like to take a moment to remind people that that is Not How This Thing Works.

The first instance took place here on this very blog, when I posted an email my father had sent me, and my response to it.  His initial email described Planned Parenthood as "a financial behemoth -- one engaged in an activity most Americans find troubling".  In my response, along with many many other things, I questioned whether or not one could reasonably say that "most Americans" find abortion troubling, and asked if he had proof of that claim.  His response was to ask me if I had any proof that most Americans don't find it troubling.  He took my request that he provide some kind of reasonable poll data, and quoted it right back at me, then saying: "Works both ways, and until either side can "prove" otherwise both sides are entitled to their opinions."

Um, no.  That's not how this works.  I don't have to have proof against it in order to question your assertion.  If you make (or promote) an assertion, it is incumbent upon you to prove that your assertion is true.  Not upon me to prove that it is false.  If I say something ridiculous - like, for example, "There are no Republicans with a working sense of empathy" - it would be entirely appropriate for my father to request that I prove my assertion.  It would, then, be entirely inappropriate for me to shoot back "well, why don't you prove me wrong, first?"  Ve who makes the assertion must carry the burden of proof.  People are, of course, entitled to continue having their opinions even in a complete absence of proof - witness the continuing popularity of most dogmatic religions - but they are not entitled to have those around them treat those opinions as fact in the absence of proof.  This attitude is not conducive to productive debate and discussion.

The second incidence was a discussion on Twitter, which can function in this case as a demonstration of how not to attempt to prove your point.  

After a friend made a crack about 24 being a tool of the right-wing so that they can make people believe that torture works, which I retweeted because I found it hilarious, my brother proceeded to argue with me that torture does, in fact, work.  I asked what proof he had of that, and for perhaps a half-dozen tweets in a row, no proof was offered, only variations on the assertion "You can't deny it works" over and over again.  

Me: [RT's joke about 24 making people believe torture works]
Him: Can you deny that it works? Doesn't make it right, but it works.
Me: Frankly, until *proven* otherwise, I'll err on the side of not torturing people. Got *proof*? I'll reconsider.
Him: Proof it works? There's plenty. I'm still not saying its right, but there's no denying that it does in fact work. 
Me: I've heard plenty of denying that it works, actually. So where's the proof of which you speak? I'm genuinely curious.
Him: So you're saying that people won't give up information under duress? Because even though it may be wrong, it DOES pay off.
Me: What I'm saying is, I have neither seen nor heard actual *proof* that such is the case, and until I have, I cannot support it.
Him: I don't support it either, but I'll admit it definitely results in information being given up.

I wanted to *headdesk* x1000.  Because that?  Was a totally unproven assertion - "Torture works" - simply being repeated over and over in lieu of actually being proven to be true.  Which is also not conducive to productive debate and discussion. 

So let it be known, People Who Debate Things:  
1. Simply saying something is so does not make it true.  
2. If you say something you believe to be true, it is upon you to prove the truth of your assertion, not upon your opponent to prove your assertion wrong.  
3: Since simply saying something does not make it true, repeating the same assertion over and over does not suffice as proof either.

Who Wants To Consider Women's Voices on Women's Lives? Not Bart Stupak!

So you're making a big decision that will affect millions of lives.  Two groups are offering you conflicting advice, ostensibly working under the same belief structure.  One group, a small group of old men who spend their time pushing papers and playing politics, advises you to decide one way.  The other group, a thousands-strong group of women who are in frequent and close contact with the people who will be most affected by your decision, advises you to decide the other way.  To whom do you listen?

If you're an anti-choice Blue Dog fake-Dem like Bart Stupak, you listen to the old men pontificating, and dismiss the women's views in disdainful, contemptuous terms ("When I'm drafting right-to-life language, I don't call up the nuns.").  Because after all, they're just women who actually work with the affected populations.  What the hell could they possibly know that the Important Men At The Top don't?

Thanks, Stupak, for making it abundantly clear yet again what the anti-choice, pro-forced birth assholes really think of women's lived experiences and the value of our voices.  Fuck you very much.


Rated "W", for WTF?

I present this review/rant in honor of St. Patrick's Day.  If you are a fan of the second Boondock Saints movie, TURN BACK NOW.  This is your last warning.

I want to start by saying, I really liked the original Boondock Saints movie.  I only watched it for the first time this past year, and that because my ex made me - it's his favorite movie and he wanted to share.  But I really, really enjoyed it.  Enough that I introduced Ozzmodious to it this past month or so, and he loved it too.  So when we found a copy of Boondock Saints II: All Saint's Day on Blu-Ray at Target over the weekend, we had to get it RIGHTNOWOMG.  So I'm not someone who's hated both of them, or who hates gun-porn movies, or whatever, just looking for excuses to tear this movie down.  I went into this with high hopes, I really did.

I. Want. Those. Two. Hours. Of. My. Life. BACK.  Now, please.  Someone give me a time machine so I can go back in time to yesterday afternoon and spend my evening doing something more productive.  Like reading MRA blogs.  Or watching YouTube of Palin rallies.  You know.  Something that would enrich my life more and piss me off less than this movie did.

The entire thing might as well be replaced by scenes of men screaming at the top of their lungs, "OUR PENISES ARE ENORMOUS AND ENGORGED AND ALSO WE HAVE BALLLLLLZ THE SIZE OF CANTELOUPES, DO YOU NOT SEE HOW MANLY WE ARE YET?  DO YOU NOT?  WE ARE MEN, DAMMIT!  MEN MEN MEN MEN MEN!" interspersed with scenes of random gunfights in slow motion, and the occasional shot of a stripper doing the "sexy businesswoman" look in towering stilettos while making sexyface and/or grinning seductively at the camera while her hair blows around her in slow motion a la Victoria's Secret commercials.  Seriously.  I have just described the movie, so if you haven't seen it, you can now spare yourselves the trouble and headache.  Toss a buck in the tip jar on your way out.  ;-)

For example.  When the ONLY female character in the entire fucking movie is introduced, it's with a getting-out-of-car stilettos-and-stockings slow-motion strut to sexy music, which lasts for an egregiously and unnecessarily long 30 seconds before you even get to see that hey, she is not just a pair of perfectly-stockinged legs with black stripper heels on, walking around without a body!  The first crime scene she does, she puts one of the (male) detectives on his knees in front of her, after taking down her hair and shaking it out all sexy-girl-like for no discernable reason, to "illustrate" a point.  There are several his-face-her-crotch shots to make sure we get, HEY HE'S ON HIS KNEES IN FRONT OF SEXAY-LADY!!  Her cleavage and legs are emphasized at EVERY. POSSIBLE. MOMENT.  She is absolutely the Token Badass Sexy Lady.  Yes, she is quite competent.  But that takes a backseat to her being sexy.  UGH.

But I think the worst part, the most ridiculous 3 or 4 minutes of film I have ever witnessed IN MY ENTIRE LIFE THUS FAR, was the Anxious Masculinity Montage, about 3/4 of the way through.  In it, the two brothers are in a dream sequence with their dead friend Rocco, from the first movie.  And they go on a rant about "real men" that is just...fucking.......there are no words.  Seriously.  Words fail me to describe that monstrosity.  Just read it for yourself.  

Connor MacManus, Murphy MacManus: Sláinte
Murphy MacManus: You know, he was sort of a badass though, wasn't he?
Connor MacManus: Shades of Eastwood. Charlie Bronson.
Rocco: Duke Fucking Wayne!
Connor MacManus, Murphy MacManus: Duke Fucking WAYNE!
Rocco: Men build things, then we die. It's in our fucking DNA! THAT'S WHAT WE DO!
Murphy MacManus: And when it all falls down?
Rocco: We build it right back up again.
Connor MacManus: But this time bigger. BETTER!
Rocco: Look! Look what we can do. Look how fuckin' beautiful we are. You think the men that built all this had it easy?
Murphy MacManus: Hard men!
Connor MacManus: Doing hard shit!
Rocco: and that gives me a hard on... But not in a gay way or anything like that.
Murphy MacManus: No, 'course not
Connor MacManus: Yeah it goes without sayin'
Rocco: I am so sick of all of this self help, twelve step, leftover hippie generation bullshit!
Connor MacManus: Now they don't want you to do anything, right? Just sit there. Don't drink.
Murphy MacManus: Don't smoke. Don't drive fast.
Connor MacManus, Murphy MacManus, Rocco: Kiss my ass!
Rocco: Fuck it! Do it all I say! Do you think Duke Wayne spent all of his time talking about his feelings with a fuckin' therapist?
Connor MacManus: There's no fucking way he did!
Rocco: John Wayne died with five pounds of undigested red meat in his ass. Now that's a man! Real men hide their feelings. Why?
Connor MacManus, Murphy MacManus, Rocco: Because it's none of your fuckin' business!
Rocco: Men do not cry. Men do not pout. Men jack you in the fuckin' jaw and say...
Detective Greenly: Thanks for comin' out.

And then they wake up and go kill more people.   That chunk right there advanced the plot not a bit, contributed nothing to the pacing, seriously had NO purpose whatsoever except to make sure, in case you hadn't absorbed it well enough yet, that every single viewer understood that THIS IS A MEN'S MOVIE.  And that by MEN they mean ONLY ADHERENTS TO TRADITIONAL VIOLENT-TOWER-OF-STOICISM MASCULINITY NEED APPLY. 

If you wanted to be able to name a movie that perfectly encapsulated the Cult of Anxious Masculinity and the anti-feminist backlash, and Judd Apatow's body of work wasn't doing enough for you, this should be at the top of your list.  I doubt we'll ever watch it again.


Spinning Straw Into Nickels

Somewhere between putting a quarter into a jar every time you swear to break yourself of the habit, and LGBT groups taking pledges from the community to raise donations per minute they are protested by hate groups like Westboro Baptist Church, is the new, single-campus campaign, Nickels For Change

Two college women, fed up with the casual -isms they hear every day at their male-dominated science and engineering college, have decided to turn the prejudice into profit for a charity they will choose by year's end.  The idea is, every time they hear a rape joke, misogyny, racism, or other -ism coming from the people around them, they will donate a nickel to the Jar.  While they do this, they'll be raising awareness with letter-writing campaigns, and at the end of the year, they plan to total it up and donate the sum to an anti-violence organization.  They'll publicize the total to those they contacted, in the hopes that the sheer weight of evidence - "You raised HOW MUCH at a nickel per incident?" - might shame people into better behavior. 

I think this is a great idea.  Particularly taking place on a college campus as it is.  Colleges like to look good to parents of prospective students, and who knows how motivated they might be to make their campus a friendlier atmosphere for the diverse groups whose money they would undoubtedly be happy to take, by the public knowledge of how far they currently fall short of the mark?  It's hard to claim your college as a great place to go, when you've got a couple of activists holding out a total and saying "This is what your atmosphere *actually* is." 

I wish them luck.  Am I old enough to say how I wish more young people were like these two?  ;-)


Please Don't Use My Tax Dollars To Pay For This.

This is why I, as a member of a minority faith, am hugely NOT a fan of the White House's Faith-Based Initiatives program, and why I wish it had been thrown out with the rest of the trash left over from the Bush administration.  Because when the federal government gives money to Christian churches and organizations to help them provide social services, it is often subsidizing religious discrimination. 

The story is, a Muslim man volunteered with World Relief, a Christian organization that works under contract with the State Department to help settle refugees from all over the world here in the US, and they were happy to take his labor for free.  However, when he applied for an actual paying job with them, they refused to accept his application, because they only hire Christians. 

Frankly, I don't like it when any company makes religion a hiring criterion, and I'm glad that we have non-discrimination statutes that affect the vast majority of companies.  But even if they're small enough to have the statutes not apply, for a private company, fine, whatever.  I'll express my displeasure with my dollars, and take my business elsewhere.  However.  When it's an organization openly discriminating on basis of religion, subsidized by my tax dollars?  Fuck a whole bunch of that shit.  If conservative whiners can get their undies in a bunch over not wanting their tax dollars to subsidize women's medical procedures, I can get my back up about not wanting my tax dollars to pay for religious discrimination.

Government-subsidized public services can be handled through secular organizations, thanks very much.  If the churches want to help out, they're welcome to, but unless they agree to abide by the same regulations as any other organization that works with the government, they do not deserve one red fucking cent of taxpayer money. 


Conservatize The Courts (More)!!!

Not content with winning the Prop H8 fight at the ballot box, and then having it upheld by the CA Supreme Court ruling in their favor, the professional homophobe set here in California are now saying that Prop H8 shouldn't have even been necessary if we'd had the "right kind" of judges, using that as their rallying cry to launch an effort to ideologically purify California's courts to their liking. (via

A couple of Religious Reich organizations, including NOM (they of the hilariously awful and much-parodied "Gathering Storm" ad, and efforts across the country to halt our homomentum and roll it back wherever possible, including here in California, but also in Maine, NH, NJ, WV, NY, and DC), have partnered with a couple of conservative California reps to launch "BetterCourtsNow.com", a site and an organization which they hope will galvanize the conservative base into voting ever more conservative judges into California's courts.  

"It’s important that we unify our votes so we ensure that solid men and women of high morals, who will not legislate from the bench, are elected to office." - Joel Anderson, R-La Mesa

And of course, by "solid men and women of high morals," he means anti-gay, anti-immigrant, anti-abortion, the usual laundry list of culture-war topics.

Can I just say, I would be happy to listen if anyone has an intelligent reasoning why judges ought to be elected rather than appointed by people who actually know a qualified judge when they see one, but lacking a good explanation, my uneducated self cannot see why it is we allow "the people", most of whom have little to no knowledge of law or court procedures or what it takes to be a judge, to fucking ELECT judges? 

But beyond that, I love the usual accusation about "legislating from the bench".  Mind you, when a conservative-leaning SCOTUS legislates from the bench that corporations count as people -  a concept not found ANYWHERE in the Constitution that I'm aware of - these assholes certainly don't let out a peep of contention against that kind of judicial activism.  They're quite fine with judicial activism when it's conservative judges, but gods help the librul judge who dares set any kind of precedent, even one well-reasoned and in accordance with the body of case law as it stands. 

But it's not all bad, because these assholes screeching about judicial activism?  That, is the sound of the losing side scrabbling desperately to hang on to their power in the face of progress' inevitable march. 


Unintentional Scary-Christian Irony

So everyone's been on about Repent Amarillo, to whom I will not link because they don't deserve even the minor traffic boost a small blog like myself might give them.  Use your Google-fu if you're that curious.  Short version is, they are a militant fundamentalist Christian group in Amarillo, TX, whose tactics consist of "spiritual warfare" that includes noise-ordinance-violating protests of businesses just trying to do their thing, when that thing violates their scarily fundie beliefs.  Their first target was a swinger's club; small, private, members-only, not harming anyone, consisting of all consenting adults.  They harassed the everliving fuck out of the club owners and members, took photos and license plate numbers of people coming and going, even protesting the building whenever anyone was in it, even if it was a non-related group that had just rented the place for their own event.  They made phone calls to members' employers and got people fired, ruined reputations, the whole nine yards.  And of course, the cops sat with their thumbs up their collective ass and just let it happen, declining to enforce any kind of harassment or noise statutes against RA.  The club has closed.  Now their targets include strip clubs, gay bars, pagan shops, and even a local nature park that they feel is too much of a draw to Goddess-worshipers.  

But for all that, for as terrifying as they are, I found a graphic of theirs and proceeded to laugh. my. ass. off. for like ten minutes.  It was that funny.  Here, check this out and see if anything catches your eye:

(Scary military imagery aside) Is it just me, or does that symbol on the left, over the "Army of God" bit, look like a solid-filled pentagram?  Five-pointed star, enclosed in a circle...didn't any one of these fanatically anti-pagan assholes LOOK at their fucking graphic and realize, um, hey, it looks like we've got a pentagram prominently featured on our banner...?

*wanders off giggling*


Depression Update. Also, Bleh.

I just wanted to apologize for having not posted all week.  I have been beset by a bad case of Cannot Be Arsed; sometimes, my depression sneaks up on me and eats my will to do anything other than stare blankly at silly flash games for a week or two.  This past week has been one of those times.  I may have a half-dozen tabs of things I'd like to write about, but my depression-addled brain just kind of goes "meh" and I find myself playing yet another timewaster, even as I'm berating myself for being lazy and not getting anything done.  

After living with this for several years, I'm finally learning to ride the flow and ebb of my illness and ability; this means that until my energy and give-a-damn comes back, posting will be light.  I do apologize.  These times don't last too long usually, so I should be back to my usual volume by the end of this week or so. 


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