Breaking: Press Release: Philadelphia Activists Arrested, Framed and Denied Bail for Speaking Out in Favor of Marijuana Legalization
Thanks to George Donnelly of Shield Mutual for sending me this press release. I, as well as many others, will be attending the rally this morning. If you are local, you should, too.
Representatives of activists Adam Kokesh and N.A. Poe are issuing the following press release to alert you to a press conference and rally happening Thu May 23 at 1:30PM at the federal courthouse at 601 Market St in center city Philadelphia.
Kokesh and Poe were only speaking to a permitted rally at Independence Hall when they were arrested by park rangers Saturday, May 18, 2013. Now they are being framed on accusations of violence, despite video evidence to the contrary on YouTube. They were denied bail on Monday.
On Monday, May 20th we melted the US Attorney’s phone lines with the same demand as thousands of phone calls poured in from allies of Kokesh and Poe.
The following post is a guest submission from musician Allen Murdoch. Allen is one of the founders of the Skeptical Libertarian Facebook page. His personal blog can be viewed here and his Youtube page (featuring his music) can be found here. You can also buy his album, Ashes of Stellar Alchemy, here.
“I myself have never been able to find out precisely what feminism is: I only know that people call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a doormat, or a prostitute.” - Rebecca West
So, the interwebs are again lighting up in debate over the issue of “why aren’t there more women in the libertarian movement?”
So far, both sides seemed to have remained mostly civil, although these things have historically had a propensity for blowing up (or, if you prefer, devolving down) into so much shouting and name-calling. We’re not at that point yet, so here are a few mildly “outside-the-box” thoughts that I have had on the matter. What follows is emphatically not intended to be a polemic, nor should it be interpreted as anything like an attempt to make “a definitive statement” on the matter. They are simply conjectures, speculations, and questions that I have asked myself while pondering this issue. I hope to contribute something useful to the conversation, not to end it.
First off, we have to be clear about what we mean by “more women”. What is implicit in the question isn’t the issue of the raw numbers of people with XX chromosomes who identify as libertarians, or who are activists, or who are engaged as writers and scholars. Some such data on those numbers may (or may not) exist, but even if does, that’s not the question people are actually asking.
The question, rather, is “Why aren’t there more women relative to the number of men?”
It is not an issue of “how many”, but of “what ratio”, and the unspoken premise is that the ratio ideally ought to be – if not 1 to 1 – closer to 1 to 1 than it is, currently. And, to be clear, I take no issue with that aspiration.
But it seems to me that both sides are working from a woefully incomplete data set when making the issue about how either “women just can’t do libertarianism” or, conversely, about how “libertarian men cause women to not become libertarians”. Either, or both, or neither of these claims might be partially or completely true, in whatever configuration you prefer. However, focusing narrowly on the one specific (albeit mostly fuzzy and anecdotal) data point about “the libertarian movement” runs the risk of ignoring more broad and systemic questions.
This same issue, with the same partisan sides, making the same sorts of claims, is also playing out with some regularity in the organized skeptic and atheist movements, with no small amount of vitriol and antagonism. There are those on one side who assert that women are simply “too emotional” to understand the hard-nosed skeptical approach to critical thinking and detached analysis, preferring “intuitiveness” and “interrelatedness” to the rigors of objective reasoning and debate. This is one of the legacies of both “old boy’s club” style chauvinism, as well as certain strains of feminism: that men and women are fundamentally neurologically different in interests and aptitudes. The claim that men and women may have distinct neurological differences is not, on it’s face, offensive. It may even be true, for all I know (spoiler alert: idle speculation on this below). But the specific interpretation that “women are simply not inclined towards the principles of this movement” seems so shallow as to not even be a serious position.
For that interpretation to be true, the things inherently repellent to women about skepticism would have to be the same – or at least of the same genus – as what is allegedly so repellent to them about libertarianism. And, sure enough, we see the same sorts of claims made on the political side: that libertarianism is about “hard” principles, economic analysis, and vigorous amounts of bootstrap pulling. Women, by contrast, are mushy, have no head for economics and secretly yearn to be nurtured and protected by a benevolent nanny-state.
Nevermind for the moment that such claims require us to make almost as many baseless assumptions about libertarianism as they do about gender (since when do free people not take care of one another?) because there’s another side to the debate.
The alternative explanation is that it is the behavior of libertarian men (sometimes also indicted for some combination “whiteness”, “heterosexism”, “patriarchy”, “privilege”, et al.) that discourages women from becoming an active part of the libertarian movement. There are certainly enough insipid and vile comments floating around on online forums, blog posts, and You Tube videos to lend at least a measure of credibility to this position. But if my impromptu and highly unscientific survey of the internet is any indication, this places the tone of libertarians well within the same parameters as that of gamers, sports fans, and Apple fanbois.
While this may say volumes about how we speak to one another in the wide, wide world of web, it hardly seems like a specific indictment of libertarian ideas or of libertarian men, given that plenty of women still seem to manage to enjoy video games and use Android devices, with or without special consideration from the fellas, thankyouverymuch.
If we are discussing the relative presence or absence of women from what might loosely be called “the liberty community”, one data point tells us nothing. Instead, we have to ask: does the libertarian movement have a greater, lesser, or a ratio consistent with that of women to men as do the progressive and conservative movements? If the ratio between the three are mostly consistent (even if women are consistently underrepresented in all three) then we can safely do away with the notion that women just aren’t “fit for” liberty.
I certainly don’t have data on the matter either way, nor am I aware of any data that exists (it may, but I’ve not seen it). Failing that, let us posit temporarily that women are more or less consistently underrepresented in every prominent political movement, and proceed from there.
One may conjecture that perhaps women simply aren’t “into” politics, broadly. Women – the claim goes – can’t be bothered to think about big and important issues, because they’re simply too busy focusing on how to land a wealthy husband, or where to get the cutest outfit, or which stores have the best sale on make-up. You know: girl stuff. This troglodyte caricature of a position has very few full throated adherents remaining, but the sentiment probably isn’t foreign to many of us either, even if it is now typically expressed in a more subtle and faux-intellectualized manner than it has been historically.
That such a formerly common attitude must now be expressed with caveats and elaborate, ritual, hand-waving is probably itself evidence of progress (a point I never tire of belaboring), but proponents of the “women simply aren’t political” camp are, I suspect, probably no more or less overtly sexist than most people. More likely: they are simply blinded by their own sampling errors. These men, themselves passionate about political issues, perceive a dearth of women in the political conversation, and conclude that politics must be “for men”. What they fail to take into account are the scores of other men outside of their immediate circle of political friends who care more about local sports rivalries, stylish fedoras, and microbrews than they do about asset forfeiture reform and reigning in the national security state. Such otherwise apolitical men may have political opinions, but if merely having opinions is the threshold we use, then most people would conclude that almost everyone is politically engaged, gender be damned.
Of course, we aren’t talking about having opinions. What we want to know is, rather: where are the fellow activists, writers, voters, and conference attendees? And here we are, in the absence of hard data, left to conjecture.
So here is my thinking aloud, in the absence of meaningful evidence:
Perhaps it’s not that women are less likely to be libertarians, or be skeptics, or be politically informed or engaged. Rather, perhaps it is simply that women are, on balance, less likely to be drawn to and participate in movements than men are, regardless of the nature or objectives of any particular movement you can name.
The speculation is not intended to be and ought not be read as an indictment of women. Obviously, as a libertarian and a skeptic, I would love to see more women involved in both organized libertarianism and organized skepticism. But if we assume that there at least as many “bad” causes as there are “good”, then there is no reason to equate “attraction to movements” with intellectual or moral virtue, any more so than with intellectual or moral deficiency. If it turned out to be the case that there were fewer women than men in the trekkie, punk rock, or fundamentalist Christian communities, we would not conclude that women weren’t capable of appreciating science fiction, of loving loud guitars, or of having faith in a deity.
Pop commentators on gender will occasionally point out that, “on average, men score higher on math tests than women”, which is true enough, as far as contextless statements go. But what it leaves out is that men score both higher on math assessment tests as well as much lower, with women statistically more clustered in the middle. There are more math geniuses with Y chromosomes as well as more math illiterates (myself included). It’s not that men are “better”, so much as that men are more variable. And if there is nothing inherently virtuous or valuable about obsessive commitment to a cause or movement, then it’s at least possible that the issue is simply that men are more inclined towards psychological states of neurotic obsessiveness.
So maybe the issue isn’t “why are so few women involved this or that movement…” but, rather “why are so many men?”
Because we’re smarter? Because we care more? Because we act like jerks and chase women out? Maybe, but I don’t think so. Perhaps men are, broadly, simply more variable, and one of those variables happens to be pathological obsessions with political causes, religious delusions, or amassing the world’s largest collection of vintage Boba Fett action figures. What if the answer isn’t that women lack conviction, but that men are just more likely to be crazy people?
Speaking from the perspective of a man who has never known a woman who understood my need to own every single track recorded by Roy Orbison between 1955 and 1965 – including alternate versions, demos, and commercial jingles – I speak as one data point towards that theory, but one data point can’t tell you much.
Look folks, it’s
2:55 pm 4:21 pm and I’ve been drunk for about two hours now. Consider this your Giftmas Miracle! (And by “miracle,” I mean, “I FUCKIN’ WISH!”) Not exactly safe for work, unless you work at Antiwar.com.
Merry whatever the hell you celebrate, even if it’s video games, booze, some form of take-out, and “SHIT I HOPE I CAN FIND THE BATTERIES, CAUSE I SWEAR ON ALL THE GODS I DON’T BELIEVE IN, I AM SO NOT GOING TO WALGREEN’S/CVS/7-11/THE ONLY OPEN BODEGA IN SOUTH PHILLY TO BUY DOUBLE AA BATTERIES” Day. Happy holidays!
Full disclosure: I have known Lauren Smith, one of the subjects of this blog post, for over five years. We are online friends, and I first “met” her through a feminist community I once co-moderated.
An estimated 22 anti-capitalist protesters were arrested on Saturday after police clad in riot gear violently disrupted their march against colonial genocide, which is celebrated each year on Columbus Day. This was the second day of four days of action deemed, “decolonize the new world,” which is aimed at disrupting Columbus Day celebrations.
More than 100 people gathered at Bradley Manning plaza at around 2PM, before taking the streets of San Francisco’s deserted financial district at around 3PM. In between chants of “Hey hey, ho ho, Columbus Day has got to go!” and “No justice, no peace! Fuck the police!” officers were splattered with paint. — Political Fail Blog
According to San Francisco police, members of the group were threatened with arrest because they did not ask for permission to protest on public streets and members became violent. (“Officers arrived in the area and were immediately struck by projectiles thrown by members of this group. One officer was struck in the head and sustained non-life threatening injuries.” — SFPD press release) Sympathetic sources argue that the police instigated any violence that occurred during the protest. Personally, I am far more inclined to agree with the protestors than with the cops. Even assuming that some of the protestors were lobbing rocks at the police, it appears that many — if not all — of the cops were wearing riot gear. They were more than protected from a few pebbles or paint in Ziploc bags. As per normal, the police responded with physical violence against the protestors, many of whom were protected only by sunglasses and bandannas.
But hey, it makes sense to me. Rocks win against helmets, while bandannas form an impenetrable forcefield against nightsticks and pepper spray, amirite?
Yes, it is very easy to find out Lauren’s Twitter info and our mutual friend’s info, but I’ve redacted it for my own reasons.
In between then and now, the police and the DA’s office are in the process of fighting with Twitter to get Lauren Smith and Robert Donohoe’s information, tweets released to them, as well as the political affiliations of everyone they are affiliated with, have ever contacted on Twitter, etc. As Lauren tweeted in the above screencap, this is an obvious ploy to create a network of information to use as a tool of political repression against anarchists, anti-capitalists, and other political dissidents.
Crazy talk, amirite?
San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon is, of course, skirting the real issue at hand, claiming that, “I don’t think that you have a right to privacy when you’re engaged in that type of criminal behavior.” (Because it’s not like that is a pretty fucked thing to say when you work in the damn criminal justice system.)
Smith and Donohoe have filed to quash the subpoena. In the meantime, a support group (Support the ACAC 19) has provided a form fax/email and a script for phone calls. That info is accessible right here. Please, share this link and fax, call, or email the SF DA’s office to pressure them into dropping the charges against the ACAC 19; also, if you have any cash to spare, you can donate to legal funds right here.
(Addendum: You can also email the Misdemeanor Managing Attorney at Wade.K.Chow@sfgov.org and this guy, James.E.Thompson@sfgov.org, who is handling the case for Laura Claster while she’s out of town.)
Whether you are a market anarchist, a communist, or a two party person, I’m sure you can see the frightening implications here. This is a clear move by the state to frighten people out of associating with dissidents, let alone subscribe to those views themselves. This is the exact type of shit that we — as Americans — like to tell ourselves doesn’t happen. Not here, not in this country. We live in a free country, damnit, not Communist China! I’m not somebody who typically shrieks “police state” every time I turn around, but can you really blame someone for thinking we live in a police state?
It’s December 20th. You’ve gotten most of your shopping out of the way, but you still have some unfinished holiday business. Whether you’re a procrastinator, broke, found out that your nephew’s girlfriend will be showing up to Christmas dinner after all, haven’t the foggiest clue what to get the receptionist at work, or need to round out a couple gifts, this list will inspire you to make something awesome that will be totally worthy of gifting.
Although you can probably knock out several of these projects with your existing supplies, there are probably a few that will require a special trip. If you want some more ideas and inspiration, check out my Pinterest boards titled “Cheapskate’s Guide to DIY Christmas Gifting 2012” and “Holidays 2012” (which includes general entertaining ideas, as well as holiday specific pins).
With that being said, here’s the list of ideas. If you have any ideas you’d like to add, please drop a comment.
1- Coasters! There are a zillion different tutorials out there. Here are some fun looking ones: etched tile coasters (I think that you could use this tute as a basis for glitter embellished coasters- just glitter the etched parts), beer cap coasters, Scrabble tiles coasters, Perler bead coasters, scrap yarn crocheted flower coasters, and painted cork coasters.
2- Glittered stuff! The holidays are all about glitz, glimmer, and decadence. Glittering is a great, inexpensive way to introduce some shimmer and sparkle into your gift giving. On my glittered tealight holder tutorial, I give you the basics on how to glitter up your life. Glue, glitter, and spray with clear coat. It’s really that easy. The only difficult part is finding more things to glitter!
3- The old crafter’s standby: a scarf. Luckily, knitting looms are popular right now and make a bulky scarf super fast & easy to knit. I knocked this one out in maybe ten hours; it’s a honeycomb scarf knitted with one skein of Woolease Thick n’ Quick.
4- Glittered animal ornaments. I am loving this “spray painted animal figures” trend, and these ornaments are the best.
5- Hot cocoa in a labeled mason jar. The great thing about this one is that it really works for any sort of mix in a jar and any of these gifts are quick and perfect for anyone with a sweet tooth.
6- Embroidered felt ornaments. Easy to put together, easy to customize, but note that they are deceptively time consuming (depending on the amount of detail involved).
7- Beaded bracelets; simple bracelets are totally trendy and are pretty easy to make, even if you’re like me and tend to drop beads everywhere. Check out these tutorials for some inspiration: DIY beaded bracelet, sliding knot adjustable bracelet, wrapped leather bracelets, or diy fishtail braided anchor bracelet.
8- Block prints. Block prints are fun and easy to make; however, since carving the blocks can be a little time consuming, I recommend these if you’re planning on either selling the designs or making a lot of prints for a lot of people.
9- Silk screened designs. I scored two jars of Speedball silk screen ink at the thrift store for only $.99 each (I love you, Philly Aids Thrift!), and I can’t wait to try this! (Check out this post on Craftster for silk screening tips and tricks.)
10- Baked goods/candies. One caveat: if you don’t bake often, do at least one test run before giving them out. When your baked goods are amazing, people assume they’re a thousand times more difficult than they really are. When they’re subpar, people think you half assed it. Some recipes/tutorials: chocolate covered pretzel rods, fleur de sel caramels, caramel & chocolate dipped marshmallows, sriracha salt, snickerdoodle blondies, and peanut butter kiss cookies (with a twist! hot pink dough + Hershey’s hugs = a hot pink zebra cookie).
11- Personalized coffee mugs. I haven’t yet tried this project, but it’s on the list of “OMG GOTTA MAKE ‘EM!” (Pair them with #5, #6 or #10 for an extra special themed gift!)
12- Personalized gift box. For this specific one, I was rounding out my baby second cousin’s Christmas gift when I realized I had some gift boxes in my stash. I quickly sketched out her first initial, transferred it onto the lid using carbon paper, painted a base coat for the M (using a Sharpie paint pen), then glittered the blue section. Once the blue dried, I glittered the M, marked the bottom of the lid on the box, and glittered the gold section. I added some complimentary ribbon and some metal charms with hot glue, sprayed the whole thing down with clear coat, and it was ready to be stuffed with little presents. If my five year old cousin’s reaction is any indication, most five year olds will think this gift is baller as shit. When she saw it, she shrieked “IT’S GOT AN ‘M’ ON IT. THAT MEANS IT’S FOR MEEEEEEE!” And, well, any crafter can tell you that type of reaction is about the best thing you can hear.
13- Kitchen (or otherwise) art. Lightweight, paper mache’ letters can be found at any craft or art supply store, but if you have a workshop with the proper saw, you should easily be able to sketch out and cut these letters out of lightweight wood, sand, and paint.
14- Christmas stockings! There are about a bazillion different stocking tutorials, but I’ve gotta point out these upcycled stockings made out of old sweaters. They are adorable!
15- Etched drinking glasses! Yeah, I know, this is the third craft involving glass etching cream, but I love it. It’s an easy and relatively inexpensive way to customize glass or mirrors. This is a fun one to combine with coasters and an alcohol related baked good. (Unfortunately, you need a week for this pepper vodka to fully infuse, so you’re out of luck for Christmas Day, but you’re in luck if you need a New Year’s hostess gift!)
16- Canned goods. Yes, Virginia, you can can foods in the winter! The linked post includes links to a ton of seasonally appropriate foods to can. (Note: YMMV depending on your area. Don’t forget to quickly research which foods are in season before taking on this project.)
Hopefully, these ideas will give you a jumping point for your extremely last minute Christmas crafting. Good luck and happy crafting!
A few weeks ago, I stopped at my favorite local thrift store and spied a brand new pack of IKEA tealights. As soon as I saw them, I knew they were begging to be glittery and shiny! Even if you don’t luck out and score candleholders for $.99 like I did, this project is still much cheaper than what you’d spend if you bought the items pre-glittered in store.
This is a great craft for kids (with parents’ permission and help, of course). Excluding all the drying time, it took me maybe a half hour to complete.
Candle holders; mine were solid colored with a matte finish. (The finish is very important. If they are not matte, the glitter will not adhere to the candle holders.)
Glitter in complimentary colors; the brand doesn’t matter. I used Martha Stewart glitter because it’s what I had on hand.
Sheets of paper (for glittering the candle holders)
Wax paper/a piece of plastic/a baking sheet or cooling rack that is used for crafting only (not baking)
Clear coat; I used Krylon Crystal Clear
Outdoor space or a room with plenty of ventilation
First thing’s first. Using your paintbrush, put a nice, even coating of craft glue on the outside of each candleholder. Don’t forget to get the top edges of the candleholder! Remember, if there’s no glue on a portion of the candleholder, the glitter won’t stick, so make sure that glue is evenly spread!
Time to start glittering! Move the gluey candleholder to a sheet of paper. (Before you do so, make sure to wipe off the bottom of the candleholder. PROTIP: make sure to fold the paper in half and unfold it before starting to glitter everything. It will make your life much easier when you put the rest of the glitter back into the container.)
Don’t be stingy with the sparkle! Remember, you’re going to give everything a nice, healthy shake before allowing the glue to set. Glitter it and shake off the extra glitter onto the paper before moving it off to the wax paper/plastic/baking sheet/cooling rack. (My candleholders came packaged in plastic. I just opened up the box completely flat to have a surface for my candleholders to start drying.) Take the paper and dump the extra glitter into the container.
Repeat each of the above steps for the remaining candleholders.
Told you I snagged them for a buck!
Allow the glue to start setting a bit. Once it is dry to the touch, take them into your ventilated room (or outside) and spray all the glittery parts with a coating of clear coat. Although you can expect to lose some glitter over time, the clear coat will generally keep everything sealed and in place. Allow ample time for the clear coat to dry. (Check manufacturer’s instructions. Mine only took a few minutes.)
Once dry, they are fine to use! Pop in some candles and light away!
For awhile now, I’ve wanted to start doing a thrifty living type of column for Gonzo Times. I know that there are a lot of sites dedicated to thrifty living, but I think GT readers (and contributors!) can provide a different perspective than the typical thrifty website. One of the things I hate about those sites is that, while they do tend to have a lot of good advice for families, they sometimes lack on the practical advice for the young, hip, urban folk like myself. I have no professional experience in saving money.
Basically, you know, I’m just a foul mouthed 30 something out of work childless partnered woman living in a major metropolitan area. (Just so you know where I’m coming from and all.)
Obviously, your mileage may vary on this column. I’m hoping that, in the future, I might be able to find someone from a rural or suburban area who can team up with me. I think that there are challenges and helpful tips that are very specific to each general area.
One easy way to start slashing your budget is to just learn some life skills. Learn to cook, clean, sew, garden, or do basic home improvement. If you want to avoid being a broke stoner who is content to live in their filth (like too many of my former roommates), the first thing you’ve got to do is learn how to be an adult. Even Whole Paycheck can be affordable if you know what to buy.
We’re going to start with a few basic kitchen investments. Some of these items might seem pricy, but in the long run, they’re going to save you a nice chunk of change. (Don’t forget, thrift stores, Craigslist, yard sales, and Freecycle are all great places to look for most of these items. Since we’re heading into the holiday shopping season, you might also be able to find an awesome deal at your favorite big box housewares retailer or discount department store.)
Now, by no means is this an exhaustive list, but I think these five investments are going to help you significantly in your quest to cut down your cost of living. (Don’t worry, I can guarantee I’ll wind up making a few more of these lists in future columns.) Please note that each item was priced on Amazon and I used the prices for new items; you can probably find better deals if you buy used or if you comparison shop a bit. Also, if you’re on a budget, you should always research items before purchasing them. Remember, we broke asses have to make the best use of our not-so-disposable cash and that means getting the most bang for our buck. That $20 blender doesn’t seem so cheap if you have to replace it in three months.
Full disclosure: I am in no way affiliated with any of these companies, nor am I receiving any sort of payment or freebies from any of them. If you are a rep for any of these products (or other kitchen/housewares/craft/art supply companies) and would like to offer me free products, please contact me at drunkenatheist @ gmail [dot] com.
1- Cast iron cookware: I can’t say enough great things about cast iron. I love the shit. It’s awesome on gas or electric ranges, and once you are able to maintain a proper seasoning, everything will slide right out of your pan. The best part about them is that it’s no effort to get a good sear on your meat or vegetables, which means it’s easier for my broke ass to make cheap food taste delicious with little to no effort.
My pans are all made by Lodge Logic, and I think the two main “can’t live without” pieces for me are my dutch oven and my skillet. I have found that pork fat does the best job at seasoning the pans; for veg*ns, palm oil shortening works great as well. To help maintain the slickness after use, I make a loose paste out of Kosher salt and vegetable oil, and use this to scrub the pan clean; the salt will scrub out all the food but it’s gentle enough that it won’t hurt the pan and the oil will help condition the pan. Once you’ve scrubbed out the pan, just wipe out the salt and excess oil.
I also store my cast iron in the oven; when the oven is in use, I only remove as many cast iron pans as necessary, leaving the least seasoned ones inside the oven while it heats. Be forewarned, if you have to season your pans, preemptively open windows and set up some fans to air out your kitchen. It will get smoky.
Cost: starts at $17 for a skillet
2- Crock pot: A good crock pot will make it possible to turn all of those fatty, gristle filled, touch cuts of meat into melt-in-your mouth goodness that will get better the next day. If you’re not familiar with how to use a crock pot, it’s very simple. They’re perfect for SAHPs or working folks, and — though I prefer to sear certain ingredients in advance — it’s not necessary to do much more than toss your prepped ingredients into the crock pot, program it, and walk away.
There are a million crock pot recipes out there, and the really awesome thing is that once you’re comfortable with the basics of cooking, you can always make up your own crock pot meals for a fraction of what you’d pay in the grocery store; yours are also guaranteed to be healthier and tastier.
Cost: starts at $11
3- Chest freezer: It might seem a little crazy to suggest a $100+ purchase for a “cheapskate” column, but even a small chest freezer is worth the investment. I use my GE 5.0 cu. ft. freezer to keep a large stockpile of frozen food on hand at all times. It’s perfect for stocking up during sales, at the Asian market (where prepared frozen foods are so inexpensive, but we’ll talk about that later), or for packing up large batches of soup or side dishes. (For the record, that’s my favorite use of my chest freezer. I absolutely love have homemade “tv dinners” on hand at all times.)
If you tend to get takeout pretty often, you’ll be shocked to see how quickly a chest freezer will pay for itself.
Cost: starts at $100
4- Good knives (or at least one or two good knives): For this portion of the post, I’m just going to rip off “Art of Manliness“:
Steel – a tool used to sharpen knives.
Serrated Utility Knife – used for slicing bread, meats, or other foods with a hard crust or outer skin. Also great for cutting juicy or soft vegetables such as tomatoes.
Cleaver – used to de-bone or butcher larger cuts of meat where more weight and less precision is needed.
Chef’s Knife – the most used and versatile knife in the kitchen. Used for slicing, dicing, chopping or de-boning smaller cuts of meat.
Filet Knife – a sharp and slim bladed knife for filleting fish or removing and trimming fat and silver skin from tenderloins.
Paring Knife – a small, versatile knife used to peel, cut, or clean fruits and vegetables.
Personally, like the author, I’ve been able to do quite well with just a good German chef’s knife my boyfriend picked up while overseas. (I do have a decent set of knives, but they do not compare to the chef’s knife he got me.) One day, I’ll replace the entire set with some nice ass knives, but for now, I’m making do.
Cost: Starts at $27 (note: I sorted by “customer reviews” for chef’s knives)
5- Ziploc/Rubbermaid containers for packing leftovers: Out of the big box retailers, I’m a Target girl. With few exceptions, their generic products (sold under brand names Up & Up, Archer Farms, and Market Pantry) tend to be really well made, including their Tupperware styled containers. While you might balk at the cost of cheap plastic containers, they are good for multiple uses, are dishwasher, freezer and microwave safe, and (provided you have the proper sizes) will pay for themselves in no time. The screwtop styled containers are great for soups and “drippy” types of dishes. The larger rectangular containers are awesome for side dishes like roasted potatoes or rice.
Ziploc and Rubbermaid both manufacture tv dinner styled containers. My ex-boyfriend worked overnights during the time we were dating; those containers proved to be life savers for him. I would freezer dinner sized portions of our meals so that he had something delicious, filling, and cheap to eat. It was great for us because we weren’t spending extra cash on work food, and this was a habit I carried over after we broke up. Once my rent and other bills were paid, I had less than $100 a week to spend and save. Having my pick of lunches in my freezer were such a huge help.
Cost: multi-piece sets start at $14
I love making soups because as long as all the flavors gel together, you can pretty much toss in whatever you want and all will be right with the world. They freeze great and homemade soup always seems to be super filling. On this one, I purchased some split peas that were being discontinued a few months back, but hadn’t yet made them. After being severely disappointed by some split pea & ham soup I bought at my former workplace, I got the bug to make my own version. Recent unemployment, a freezing house, and boredom combined with everything I had on hand to make a yummy and filling soup.
I’m terming this as a “quickie” because there is some active prep time on this; since it’s a crock pot recipe, it’s obviously not going to be ready to eat in a half hour.
Special equipment needed:
Dutch oven (preferably cast iron)
Crock pot (4+ quart)
1 lb. of dried split peas
2 T diced pancetta or bacon*
2-3 ribs of celery
5-6 cloves of garlic
Salt & pepper
2 quarts of low salt chicken stock
1 cup of “quick barley”
Rinse and check over split peas. Pick out any debris, funky looking peas or other non-tasty matter. Put your picked over peas into a dutch oven and cover with about 4-5 inches of water. Boil split peas for 5 minutes, kill the heat, and allow to sit in the dutch oven (covered with a tight fitting lid) for about 30-45 minutes.
While the peas are hanging out, start prepping your veg. Get your shit together (dice onions, carrots, celery, and smash garlic). If using mushrooms, there’s no need to cut them down any further then slicing them. Drain peas and wipe out any scum from the Dutch oven. Melt a tablespoon of butter and start rendering the delicious, delicious pig fat out of the pancetta over medium heat. Once the pancetta is all nice and crispy and the fat is all deliciously rendered out, pull out the bacon and stick it on a plate. Reserve it for later (or have yourself a bacony snack). Add all of the veg to the (with the exception of the fat) now empty Dutch oven. Sweat the shit out of it.
While the veg are happily sweating down, you have to do two things. First, dump the drained peas into your crock pot with 2 quarts of chicken stock and turn your crock pot onto high for 6 hours; if you like some bay leaf in your soup, this is the time to add it into the peas. Second, get your seasonings together. Since this was such a blank slate type of meal, I decided to go with Indian spices; I used some coriander, cumin, garam masala, mild curry powder, and ginger. You can really roll with whatever you want. (If you’re a cooking n00b, try using a chart like this for some help.) Dump them into the Dutch oven while the veg are softening up but not quite there.
Once the veg are softened all the way, add them into the crock pot. Walk away until the soup is almost done. The soup is almost done when the peas are still intact, but haven’t broken done all the way. I’d say after the soup has cooked for about 5 or 6 hours, you should be all good. At this point, toss in a cup of the quick barley. (You could probably sub parboiled rice if you wanted.) The soup is done once the peas start exploding.
If you don’t have all day free like I do, you could get everything prepped the night before and then just throw it all into your crock pot before work. It goes really well with buttermilk biscuits and is a delish dinner with a biscuit or two. Add a splash of water to it when you heat it up and nom till your heart’s content.
* Omit if you don’t eat teh pig, duh. I like to use it bacon fat anytime I can.
** The shrooms fall under the category of “anything you have laying around that you think would be delicious in split pea soup.” Want to throw in some diced tomatoes, leeks, potatoes, corn, parsnips, kale, or pork chops? Go wild. I had shrooms, and I love shrooms, so shrooms went in.
I love love love love LOVE Halloween. I love costumes and corny Halloween themed foods (which are usually just the same dishes you’d normally eat/serve, but with some terrible pun or hokey decoration) and decorations and scary movies and candy. It’s the only time of year that I’m overwhelmed by the cuteness of both puppies in costumes (which is a normal thing for me) and children in costumes (which isn’t that normal of a thing for me). I have been known to change the lyrics of “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year” to include “there are ghosties and goblins and zombies and vampires this time of YEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEARRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!”
But unfortunately, I will not be doing much of anything this year. I moved over the summer, and despite my best efforts, we’ve been unable to get the house situated. Money has been tight because there were some unexpected expenses during the move. Let me tell you how fun it was to find out that my extra firm queen mattress — the same mattress my boyfriend and I argued over for weeks — was now extra floopy and had to be replaced (along with my rickety bed frame). I know, #firstworldproblems. Then I managed to hurt my back and have spent more time than my pride will allow me to admit to hobbling around like I’m 63 instead of my spry and totally youthful 33. And then the damn hurricane hit earlier this week. Luckily, those of us in Philly were just inconvenienced for a few days — to my knowledge, the extent of our troubles were power outages, property damage, and public transit lines being suspended — but it was still a pain in the ass.
Friends, family, acquaintances, internet jackasses–
I’d like to pick two bones.
#1: Quit whining about how this storm wasn’t that bad. REALLY? IT WASN’T? Just because you got lucky, it doesn’t mean that this storm was just a little drizzle. There’s also something a little depraved about complaining that Dovetail Mockingbird Annoying Ass White People Lane doesn’t look like the Ninth Ward. Dude, be happy you were out of harm’s way.
#2: Quit whining about Chris Christie “canceling Halloween.” First off, Governor Christie is clearly a man who enjoys candy. There is no way he is shitcanning the holiday. Second off, look, I’m an anarchist and all, but I do think that — if you believe in the legitimacy of the state — real and legitimate safety risks constitute a real and legitimate reason for the governor to postpone Halloween celebrations. Now I hate you all because I had to not only get political in a specifically non-political post but I also had to defend Chris “I only got 2 hours of sleep and I swear to God if you ask me another stupid question, I will call you a fucking douchebag” Christie. HATE YOU.
Ahem. Sorry about that. I also spent the entire hurricane curled into a ball either on my bed or the couch while running a fever. Needless to say, the my Halloween celebrations will be incredibly exciting. The highlight of the night includes freezing some beans I cooked today and possibly watching some scary movies with my boyfriend.
Since I’m lame and have apparently forgotten how to have fun, let me live vicariously through you! Tell me all about your Halloween plans (or your Halloween almost plans).
- 1 whole pineapple (small dice)
- 1/4 red onion (small dice)
- 1/4 cup red pepper (small dice)
- 1 jalapeno (small dice)
- Juice and zest of 1 lime
- 1/2 cup of mint (packed and minced)
- Salt & pepper (to taste)
Toss all the ingredients together in a bowl and season to taste. The onion and bell pepper are estimates. I just eyeballed and added more as I needed it. (I already had them prepped from another recipe and wanted to use them up before my pepper died on me.)
Try not to demolish in one sitting. Best with handmade tortilla chips, like Xochitl. Keep in mind that the longer the melds together in the fridge, the spicier it will get! My general manager — a former restaurant owner and a self-professed foodie — thought it was perfectly balanced. Yum!
Originally posted at my blog, drunkenatheist.com.
(Image courtesy of XKCD.)
Recently, I was accused of not hating the state enough. I thank that person for the external validation. My goal is not to hate the state at all. In fact, I find hating in general to be counter-productive. It clouds the mind’s rational capacity. It weakens the hater. It’s self-destructive to hate. I want to purge all hate from me.
In fact, hating the state is a form of ad hominem. If you hate the state, want to be an enemy of the state and/or want to hurt state-supporters and/or state agents, your energy is illogically misdirected. You’re focusing on attacking the people. You’re not focusing on a reasoned discussion. You’re just saying things like “You suck.” or “You should be killed while you sleep.” (Yikes!)
I can’t speak for you, but my struggle is a principled one. I’m not opposed just to Obama or just to Bush. I’m not opposed just to TSA agents or just to US marshals. I’m opposed to aggression, in whatever form it may take, no matter who wields it.
– “Statists are not the Enemy” (George Donnelly)
Awhile back, a libertarian friend of mine lamented on the overuse of the term “statist,” leading to the two of us throwing around Facebook comments like “YOU’RE STATIST!” “NO U!” “YOUR FACE IS STATIST!” “YOUR MOM IS STATIST!” “YOUR MOM’S FACE IS STATIST!” (and so on and so on). Part of it is because we were filled with great lulz and irony over Rand Paul using the term during his election campaign. (Vote for me and I’ll save you from teh statist meanieheads!) Part of it — for me, at least — is because using “statist” as a dig just leads in to the dogmatic, holier than thou form of libertarianism that not only eschews big government, but people who support it. It makes me see red.
Every time I open up my Facebook account, I see libertarians (mainly of the Ron Paul variety) insisting that 2012 is the year of the Ron Paul revolution, yet according to a January 2010 study conducted by David Boaz and David Kirby, libertarian voters only make up about 14% of the US population. If you follow that link, you’ll see that Boaz also included some information on methodology used by other researchers, which yielded the following result:
Finally, we commissioned Zogby International to ask our three ANES questions to 1,012 actual (reported) voters in the 2006 election… We asked half the sample, “Would you describe yourself as fiscally conservative and socially liberal?” We asked the other half of the respondents, “Would you describe yourself as fiscally conservative and socially liberal, also known as libertarian?”
The results surprised us. Fully 59 percent of the respondents said “yes” to the first question.
So, if Zogby poll results yielded 59% of Americans falling somewhere within the “libertarian” spectrum, then why could Boaz and Kirby only come up with a piddly 14%? I’m sure some of the normal culprits come into play here, such as the phrasing of the questions or libertarians vs. Libertarians, but I think that a lot of it has to do with the way libertarianism is perceived and I think a lot of that blame falls on us. (“Us” meaning members of the liberty community/movement.)
Whether you’re talking to the pro-choicer, the pothead, or the gun enthusiast, all of these people want the government to stay out of their pet issue. Pro-choicers don’t want an abortion to be a two week process any more than the pothead wants buying an ounce of weed to be a two week process or the gun enthusiast wants buying a gun to be a two week process. Virtually everyone has a libertarian viewpoint on at least one issue. Screaming “STATIST” at them and treating them like crap for supporting entitlement programs, the never ending list of wars my country has begun, or wanting to put up a US-MX border fence is not going to win them over, even incrementally.
I’ve been familiar with the LP’s platform since the late 90s. Ironically, the Libertarian Party was first suggested to me by a Democrat I used to debate with back in the days of AOL’s Abortion Debate chatroom. She noted that I was pro-gay rights, pro-choice, and pro-guns, so she didn’t understand why I had flip-flopped between the DNC and the GOP instead of with a socially liberal, fiscally conservative political party. I looked over the info and filed it in the back of my brain, going back to libertarian publications every few years, but never making the jump. In 2007, I met my boyfriend. For the first year we knew one another, I couldn’t stand him. He was the stereotype of dogmatic Libertarian. It wasn’t until he dropped the Libertarian trolling act, began talking to me like a person with valid viewpoints and started to explain his perspectives that I became more receptive to libertarianism. Up until that point, my only experiences with libertarians (big or small “l”) were with dogmatic, in your face assholes who embodied every terrible stereotype attached to the political party.
I’m an intelligent woman, have been interested in politics for about fifteen years or so, and much to the chagrin of many Facebookers, I like to try to place a bit of nuance into my opinions and consider all sides of a position before committing to one point of view. If I was turned off by Libertarian party members, then what hope does the liberty community have in converting the public on a whole?
I know, there’s a good shot you’re reading this and thinking “George is full of shit, and so is Vicki,” but the cold hard truth is this: more people need to be won over or we’ll never win this ideological battle. It’s a lot harder to dismiss libertarians and liberty activists as nutjobs if the movement is growing exponentially, and we aren’t going to grow a movement by throwing around statements like “I don’t associate with statists.” Why would anyone want to be a part of a movement that doesn’t help you muddle through complex issues and figure out answers to difficult questions? These are new ideas for a lot of folks, and it would be beneficial all around if we responded with helpfulness and kind words instead of animosity and hatred of teh evul evul STATISTS!1!1one!
I — like probably every Gen Xer — remember where I was on 9/11/01 when the World Trade Center was attacked. I remember one of my co-workers coming up to the front desk (where I was answering phones) and telling me that a plane just flew into the World Trade Center. We both gave a “WTF?” sort of laugh and dismissed it; a few minutes later, after we all realized it wasn’t a hoax or a weird coincidence, most of the company piled into our conference room to watch CNN coverage of the event. We were rattled and shaken up. We were in the Philly area, which is pretty much dead center between NYC & DC. We didn’t know if we were going to be targeted next or if this was one horrifying, isolated act of terrorism.
I remember hanging out with my friend the next night. We drove into Philly and were awed by how eerily quiet the city was; I remember looking out across the Walt Whitman Bridge and having a moment of “what if it happened here?” After a few hours of driving around in the city, we came back into South Jersey a half hour or so before President Bush’s first post-9/11 speech. I remember my friend pulling off to the side of the road somewhere in Gloucester County so we could give the speech our undivided attention. I remember desperately hoping that the United States would not be going to war over it. The moment that Bush hinted at invading Afghanistan in retribution for 9/11, I bit my index finger and muttered “FUCK!” in a stage whisper. I remember this clear as day.
What wound up scaring me more than the supposed threat of Al Qaeda nuking my suburban mall was the nationalistic vitriol that followed 9/11. I remember hearing about attacks on Sikhs and wishing I could renounce my race or nationality. I remember wishing that I could make it stop. Since I couldn’t, I decided I’d just go out of my way to patronize as many Indian or Middle Eastern business as I could. Hey, it was better than nothing, right?
I think that the pop radio stations were the worst. My best friend only listened to gum chomping pop stations, so I’d be subjected to wonderful political discourse; typically, it was limited to the intelligent opinion that if, like, they had run into that, like, Salami Bologna guy when, like, they were, like, at the mall, they’d, like, soooooo kill him with, like, their bare hands! OMG!
Around this time, everyone and their brother was hawking whatever 9/11 commemorative coin, plate, t-shirt, sticker, license plate, etc., they could quickly churn out. Certainly, Americans couldn’t be expected to not make a quick buck off of a horrific tragedy in the tackiest ways imaginable. Why, that would be totally socialistic and stuff!
It all fed into the jingoistic/nationalist and patently un-American post-9/11 mindset.
Clearly, I have not forgotten 9/11. I have given enough anecdotal evidence that I do, indeed, remember 9/11. That’s part of the problem. This above detailed mindset pretty much tapered off until I popped onto Facebook this evening and saw half of my friends list celebrating the death of bin Laden. (Which — despite claims to the contrary — did not officially occur until May 1st, 2011. To be honest, I’m more inclined to believe the claims than the “official” account; I just find it a little implausible that bin Laden was just chillin this entire time.)
I’m not naive. While I would prefer that he had been given wacky shit like a trial, I rationally know there was no way bin Laden would get a fair trial in the US or in any US allied country.
The widespread celebratory Facebook statuses and Tweets remind me too much of the jingoistic, “patriotic,” “America, FUCK YEAH!” reactions to 9/11; similarly to the 9/11 reactions, this joyous, bloodthirsty outpouring is pretty much crossing all political lines. (The exception, of course, being libertarians, greens, and other various third party/non-two party politically involved folks.) Team Red State and Team Blue State seem to be coming together pretty well to celebrate the death of a man who was not actually convicted of a crime (which, to be clear, does not mean he was innocent or guilty of anything). Even if he had been convicted of a crime, there’s something pretty sadistic and dark about celebrating anyone’s death.
I’m going to end this post with a redacted gchat conversation I had with a loved one. The only things that have been redacted are irrelevant comments and personal info; I have also cleaned up the language a bit in some places. I thought it was important to put up this conversation because I think these frustrations need to be heard and aired:
Loved One (LO): I can’t see this ending well.
me: NO LOVED ONE KILLING PEOPLE TO SHOW OTHERS THAT KILLING PEOPLE IS WRONG IS TOTES AWESOME!
IT TOTALLY WORKS!
AND IT WILL TOTALLY FUCKING END AL QAEDA!
LO: It’s going to be just like when they bust a high level drug dealer. Short term, lots of violence, long term, no real effect.
me: I’m sort of nauseated by the Facebook postings.
LO: Feels like 9/11 all over again
me: U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A!
HEY DID U HEAR THERE ARE WMD’S IN IRAQ?
HE BOUGHT YELLOW CAKE!
LO: This will just revitalize the war hawks. I’m thinking this will end up being a big blow to the anti war movement
me: What anti-war movement? lulz
LO: What is left of it
Ugh, I hope I’m not alone in my concern that this will pull the steam out of the remnants of the anti-war movement. My Facebook looks reminiscent of 9/11 with the jubilant glorificaton of death and violence from otherwise rational people.
me: No, I’ve seen several people make that observation (re: the anti-war movement) on my own Facebook.
And I (obvs) wholly agree with the second sentiment.
But I’m just some dumb woman who thinks that killing people to show others that killing people is wrong is kind of a problem, so what do I know?
LO: Oh shit, I’m gonna get into it with some people on [name redacted]‘s wall
me: i like it when you troll liberals by being more left-wing than they are.
I’d just like to mention – yet a fuckin’ gain – that I was a registered republican and even against the Afghanistan invasion. Good to know that even as a Bush voter, I was still more left-wing than these “liberal” dingbats.
What kind of an idiot claims to be liberal and then CELEBRATES SOMEONE ELSE’S DEATH?
LO: One who isn’t really a liberal
me: I love how we westerners are supposed to be so much more enlightened than those “cave dwelling Afghanis,” yet half my Facebook is frothing at the mouth over bin Laden’s death.
LO: Mmm hmm
me: Wasn’t bin Laden still supposed to get a trial? What is wrong with us as a society?
LO: Like he could have got a fair trial anyway.
me: Yeah, I know, but that isn’t the point. It’s so un-American to cheer the death of a man who wasn’t even convicted for a crime based out of some disgusting, archaic notions of “patriotism.”
Then again, given that Nutter rewarded Kensington scumbags who assaulted a suspect who was not yet arrested for his alleged part in a rape, maybe I /am/ the un-American one.
LO: The other disgusting part is I bet this makes Obama’s approval rating skyrocket
me: Even though — realistically — they just lucked out.
me: That’s if they’ve actually killed him.
LO: I don’t doubt they did…of course, they could have been holding him for years and its getting close to election season.
me: Nah, it’s probably just a stand in. They found him at the model home.
LO: People are pissing me off
The only person on my Facebook with a rational status had to pull it because she was getting crapped on.
She posted a “sorry to rain on your parade” type post like is did and people were jumping on her claiming that she was saying that killing osama was a bad thing.
me: (Not like saying killing OBL was a bad thing is, in itself, a bad thing.)
LO: Remember how those “savage Muslims” danced in the street…
me: Good thing we’re not doing that!
Ohhhh, wait: http://blogs.abcnews.com/politicalpunch/2011/05/osama-bin-ladens-death-leads-to-spontaneous-celebration-in-front-of-the-white-house.html
Funny, as I was writing up this post, the following came through on my CNN alerts. So you know what? I’m actually going to conclude with this 100% completely predictable screen cap. Call me a traitor or un-American all you want. Have fun celebrating OBL’s death and let me know how it works out for you.
If the CNN news alert is any indication, looks like my disgust is actually one of the more patriotic reactions.
At what point does an airport search step over the line?
How about when they start going through your checks, and the police call your husband, suspicious you were clearing out the bank account?
That’s the complaint leveled by Kathy Parker, a 43-year-old Elkton, Md., woman, who was flying out of Philadelphia International Airport on Aug. 8.
Read the entire article here. (Full disclosure: This goes to a blog that has reprinted the original article from the Philadelphia Inquirer. The Inky regularly pulls down old articles, so it may not be intact if you are viewing this post in a few months.)
In a nutshell, Parker takes regular flights from PHL down to Charlotte, NC for work. When she went through airport security at PHL, she was subjected to an incredibly thorough search of her luggage. Some highlights of the search are quoted below:
“Everything in my purse was out, including my wallet and my checkbook. I had two prescriptions in there. One was diet pills. This was embarrassing. A TSA officer said, ‘Hey, I’ve always been curious about these. Do they work?’
That same screener started emptying her wallet. “He was taking out the receipts and looking at them,” she said.
In a side pocket she had tucked a deposit slip and seven checks made out to her and her husband, worth about $8,000.
You’re probably horrified thus far. Like many TSA stories that have been hitting the news, it gets even worse:
Two Philadelphia police officers joined at least four TSA officers who had gathered around her. After conferring with the TSA screeners, one of the Philadelphia officers told her he was there because her checks were numbered sequentially, which she says they were not.
“It’s an indication you’ve embezzled these checks,” she says the police officer told her. He also told her she appeared nervous. She hadn’t before that moment, she says.
Okay, so to recap thus far, let’s start ticking off the…erm….problematic portions of this story:
- TSA officer rooting around in a passenger’s bag and getting prescription medication advice based on the contents of it. I’m a pretty open person about things like medications, but I’d be pretty uncomfortable with an acquaintance or family member snooping through my medicine cabinet and grilling me on whether or not my meds work.
- That same officer also feels that it’s his business to scrutinize what clothing or personal items she may have purchased in the past week under the guise that she may have purchased razor blades at some point, despite there being no evidence that she had them on her; even if she had, is it really that odd for a female banker to bring razor blades with her on a business flight? She’s not exactly working at the local Hot Topic, folks!
- TSA & PPD officers acting like Jr. Fraud Specialists, despite the fact that they are completelyunqualified to make that assessment. If a few online exams make you qualified to detect white collar crime, then I should certainly add which Golden Girl I am to my resume. (Blanche, for the record.)
After explaining why she had the checks on her (she and her husband had recently gone on vacation and didn’t have the chance to deposit them before she returned to work), they eventually allowed her to board the plane. (How kind!) As what happens in most of these cases, she got on the plane humiliated, shaken, and probably pounded back several in-flight cocktails. Okay, so maybe I’m the only one who would feel like she earned a drink after getting through that experience without coldcocking a law enforcement official.
It sucks, but she was only out some time and a little dignity, right?
When she got home, her husband of 20 years, John Parker, a self-employed plastics broker, said the police had called and told him that they’d suspected “a divorce situation” and that Kathy Parker was trying to empty their bank account. He set them straight.
Let’s ignore the fact that I’m a bit confused on how Parker could be emptying her bank account by depositing checks into it. Let’s also ignore the subtle misogyny in the PPD & TSA’s actions here; John Parker is not Kathy Parker’s keeper, nor does Kathy Parker belong to John Parker. Let’s think, instead, about this scary concept: without knowing the situation or anything about the couple, PPD & TSA could have inadvertently handed a battered wife back to her abuser.
I’ve known a lot of divorced couples over the years. I know one man who got married and divorced very young and was willing to leave the marriage with only his boxers if it meant he was no longer married to his ex-wife. An old friend has parents who were at one another’s throats the entire time they were married, only to become best friends after their divorce. A third situation was a gigantic mess involving the death of an estranged wife and a bitter next of kin fight with her mother over her funeral arrangements. None of these couples have felt compelled to flee the state in order to avoid their ex. NONE.
The only marriages or dating relationships I’ve known that have ended in getting far out of the area were ones where abuse was a factor; that’s not to say that abuse is the only reason that an ex-spouse might leave the area or that abuse didn’t occur unless the battered spouse gets out of dodge. I’m just saying that it seems pretty logical to me. When you consider that battered women are most likely to be murdered when they are trying to “just leave” their husbands, had the Parkers’ marriage been abusive, Kathy Parker could have very well been facing a death sentence. Thank you, cops and federal government!
Luckily, this wasn’t the case here, and everything panned out as well as could be expected; I am not meaning to imply that the Parkers are in an abusive or otherwise unstable relationship. But what if the situation was a little bit different? Talk about unintended consequences! The invasive search conducted by the TSA and Philadelphia Police and the stupidity employed by those individual officers is infuriating enough, but adding the fugitive slave law-esque handling here makes me even more uncomfortable and more resolved to not fly until these policies are radically changed.
So, people are understandably pissed over Glenn Beck’s assertion that only hookers need Planned Parenthood. Now, the statement is (obviously) really fucked up for a lot of reasons. I don’t have the time or patience to unpack all of the shitty implications about sex workers from a man who claims libertarian cred when convenient. I’m one of those uppity bitches who thinks that sex workers are people, too. In a similar vein, do I really need to tell you that that using “hooker,” “ho,” “slut,” “whore,” as code for “fallen women” is beyond problematic?
My intention is not to defend Planned Parenthood while trashing sex workers; unfortunately, accusations of this kind are typically rebutted with some version of “but good girls go there, too!” (Thanks for feeding into the whole Madonna-Whore thing, y’all!) Rather, it’s just a quick anecdote discussing my only experience as a patient of Planned Parenthood.
A few years ago, I was in a blatantly rebound relationship with a younger guy I met in college through friends. After having a little bit of morning sex, I felt the familiar rubber band snap inside my girly bits. A broken condom was not what I wanted to deal with on that Saturday morning. I got dressed and announced that I would have to make a three block trip to the local Planned Parenthood.
I went to the clinic, told the security guard that I needed to get some Plan B, and he buzzed me in. (For the record, I think that he and all the clinic employees were totally amused by my blunt, upfront handling of the situation. The way I see it, I’m advertising that I just got some. Why would I be shy about that?) I remember waiting in the office while my partner was completely nervous. I probably should have told him to just stay home because he was driving me up a wall. He was entirely too nine-year-old-in-a-bank for my liking.
I went back into the clinical area and a nurse/nurse practitioner ran me through some standard questions. How long ago did you have sex? (No longer than an hour beforehand.) Why are you here for Plan B? (Condom broke.) Are you currently on any medications? (No.)
My memory is a little fuzzy, but IIRC, they asked about a dozen questions or so before handing me a pack of emergency contraception. Honestly, the biggest thing I remember is how out of whack I felt for the next few days. I had some mood swings (mainly anger/annoyance, though I may have gotten teary) and generally felt out of it, but I’m pretty thankful that I knew about emergency contraception and had it readily available to me.
I’m not saying that Planned Parenthood should take tax dollars. I would prefer that they did not have to rely on tax dollars for too many reasons to list; however, when politicians make yanking Planned Parenthood funding a priority over all other more harmful and wasteful spending, it’s hard to not get a little miffed. The drug war and defense budgets eat up way more tax money than Planned Parenthood does, and both the prison and military industrial complexes directly feed into the need for family planning clinics.
Removing Planned Parenthood funding without making systemic changes and making better funding cuts is asinine. As a Facebook friend once snarked, it reeks of only being against “big government” that benefits the poor, and well, I just can’t get behind that.
When the news broke Charlie Sheen’s latest…well, Charlie Sheen moment…I was one of the many people who appreciated sage wisdom like “sorry my life is so much more bitchin’ than yours. I planned it that way.” My boyfriend and I snarked to one another in Google chat while I franticly refreshed Live The Sheen Dream for more coke-addled quotations. Within moments, I stumbled upon a selection from his most unsettling quote: “[a]nd you know, one of my favorite poets is Eminem. One of the smartest cats alive. He’s what inspires me, you know. He inspires me to stay violent.”
Cue record scratch here.
When initially saw the selection, I couldn’t wrap my brain around it. Yes, the same Eminem who wrote “Kim” is the same guy Charlie Sheen considers “one of [his] favorite poets….[who] inspires [him] to stay violent.” (Be warned: if you aren’t familiar with the song, it’s about an abusive relationship told from an abuser’s point of view and gives a pretty clear picture of the terror that battered spouses/partners experience.)
I’m not sure that irony is the correct word here, but there’s something a bit off-putting about the Eminem statement, especially in light of Sheen’s prior domestic violence allegations and convictions. Look, I know that a complete lack of self-awareness is not exactly unchartered territory for The World According to Charlie Sheen. But y’know, there is something incredibly disturbing, unsettling, and so absurdly surreal about that quote combined with Sheen’s personal life.
Personally, I’m one of those folks who thinks that art should reflect even the darkest parts of humanity, make us uncomfortable, push our boundaries, all that pretentious nonsense. I want to emphasize this because I realize that by discussing violence in entertainment, I’m opening myself up for accusations of wanting to bring back the PMRC. For the record, I don’t support governmental censorship in any form; part of the reason Sheen’s statement frustrates me so much is because it’s begging to be twisted into an argument supporting censorship. I am also well aware that Sheen has recently given some generic “wife beating is bad” statements to CNN. While it is possible that Sheen may have had a sudden change of heart, I find it very difficult to believe. Keep in mind that his most recent domestic violence case was settled less than a year ago with a plea bargain that would put him into rehab and counseling instead of jail. Given Sheen’s public views on both rehab and therapy, I don’t think you can blame me for assuming the plea was nothing but a ploy to get out of jail.
You may agree with Sheen’s views on rehab, the government, 9/11, or therapy. You know what they say: even a broken Charlie Sheen is right two times a day. The thing is, a changed man who cured himself through “winning” doesn’t gleefully proclaim that a rapper “inspires [him] to stay violent.” How on Earth can he reconcile that quote and his wife beating past with his recent “denouncing” of domestic violence? Furthermore, isn’t it pretty contradictory to treat a guy who regularly violates the NAP as an amazing asset for the liberty movement? Freedom, liberty, and non-aggression should all include an active, aggressive anti-intimate abuse stance.
I have this nagging feeling that beneath Sheen’s aging bad boy veneer, his cliched Hollywood vices, and his erratic yet charismatic behavior, there’s a real life “Kim” waiting to explode. Even if I’m wrong and Sheen isn’t an Ira Einhorn in the making, there’s still a major flaw in the “Charlie Sheen loves freedom” meme. I don’t care how heavily he denounces AA or the government, a man who doesn’t care about his spouse or partner’s personal freedom is no ally of mine. Label me a feminazi if you must — and trust me, I’ll be sure to Tweet you when I decide to invade Poland with copies of The Feminine Mystique — but I’m just a little uppity when it comes to my freedom to not be assaulted.
If you respect Sheen’s views on politics and the mental health system, more power to you. If you think he’s a batshit, but brilliant actor, more power to you. But let’s really not fall into the trap of conflating his acting ability or viewpoints with the man himself. Labeling him a freedom fighter despite mounds of evidence to the contrary is assinine, problematic, downright misogynist, and symptomatic of a lot of problems within the liberty “movement.”