3/31/2015

Indiana: Where You Can Go to Prison for a Poorly-Timed Miscarriage

Oh, sweet people of these United States, the Rude Pundit cannot express how much he loathes Indiana. He lived there for a good seven years, and it is like the third nipple of his life story: weird, useless, and aesthetically displeasing to all but the most perverse.  Imagine charming middle America, and then fill it with shit - shitty people, shitty landscape, shitty food, shitty big events, just shit. And then make sure that the people not only don't care that they're shitty, but they love it. They just love all the shit and wallow in it and coat themselves in it and elect the shittiest of themselves to lead them and then pretend to be shocked, just shocked when something shitty happens, which just makes them even shittier than they were in the first place, which was pretty damn shitty.

That's Indiana. Its license plates should read, "Scat Fiends' Paradise."

This has been a terrible week or so for Hoosiers (let's not get started on the utter and complete stupidity of that word). Most of the country is pissed off that the legislature passed and Governor Mike Pence signed into law something that quite clearly and by design was written specifically so that fundamentalist Christians didn't have to serve gay people. Then everyone was pissed because Pence kept denying that the law that was created to legalize discrimination against the LGBT community was created to legalize discrimination against the LGBT community. Get ready for the backlash to the backlash, where all the people who really want to discriminate against the LGBT community get all pissed off that they might not be able to do so.

But if you want another dose of uncut Midwestern fucknuttery and blatant cruelty masking enormous injustice, look no further than northern Indiana. No, not the poverty-stricken hellhole of Gary. Further east, in the Granger/Mishawaka area. The Rude Pundit told you in February about Purvi Patel, an Indian-American woman who was scared of her strict Hindu parents because she got pregnant from sex outside of marriage. When she miscarried the fetus, she tossed it into a dumpster behind her family's restaurant. She was arrested and found guilty of both feticide and child neglect.

Yesterday, she was sentenced to 20 years in prison because she didn't handle her miscarriage in the way that the state of Indiana believed she should have. She could have been given a suspended sentence or house arrest because, you know, she was kind of fucked up by the whole situation, but the prosecutor in St. Joseph County wanted to send a message to women: Your fetus is more important than you.

At the trial, the prosecution couldn't prove that the fetus had lived outside the womb, couldn't prove that Patel had taken the abortifacients she had ordered online but said she never ingested, and couldn't establish the actual gestational age of the fetus to show whether or not it could have survived the miscarriage. That didn't matter. What mattered was that Patel wrapped the body in plastic in a panic and dumped it. Then she went to the hospital for severe vaginal bleeding.

Patel is the first woman in the United States to be sent to prison for feticide. And with the number of Indiana clinics performing abortions dwindling down to possibly just two in the entire state, the burden on women who want to end their pregnancies will be greater.  So if a woman tries to abort her fetus herself (and there's no real evidence that Purvi did that), instead of compassion and outreach and counseling and forgiveness, Indiana is saying, "Lock the bitch up."

Stay shitty, Indiana.  Who are we kidding? Of course, you will.

3/30/2015

History Lesson for Assholes: Bill Clinton Is Not Your Religious "Freedom" Tool

Whenever you hear from a weaseltwat like Gov. Mike Pence defend Indiana's odious Religious Freedom Restoration Act, they inevitably point to the original RFRA, a 1993 law signed by President Bill Clinton. In the Senate, the bill was sponsored by Democrat Ted Kennedy and Republican Orrin Hatch. It was supported by everyone from the National Association of Evangelicals to the American Civil Liberties Union. And it passed the House by a unanimous voice vote and the Senate by a 97-3 margin. It was not, in any way, controversial.

And that's because it was designed to undo the fuckery of the Supreme Court in a couple of cases, most specifically the 1990 decision in Employment Division v Smith. In the 6-3 majority's decision, the Court held that the state of Oregon could deny unemployment benefits to two drug counselors who had been fired because they had taken peyote as part of a Native American religious ceremony.

The Court especially had issue with the idea that the state might not have a "compelling interest" in using drug laws against the two men. Said the Court, "If the 'compelling interest' test is to be applied at all, then, it must be applied across the board, to all actions thought to be religiously commanded. Moreover, if 'compelling interest' really means what it says (and watering it down here would subvert its rigor in the other fields where it is applied), many laws will not meet the test. Any society adopting such a system would be courting anarchy, but that danger increases in direct proportion to the society's diversity of religious beliefs, and its determination to coerce or suppress none of them. Precisely because 'we are a cosmopolitan nation made up of people of almost every conceivable religious preference'... and precisely because we value and protect that religious divergence, we cannot afford the luxury of deeming presumptively invalid, as applied to the religious objector, every regulation of conduct that does not protect an interest of the highest order. The rule respondents favor would open the prospect of constitutionally required religious exemptions from civic obligations of almost every conceivable kind."

The decision goes on to list these obligations, like "compulsory military service," "health and safety regulation such as manslaughter and child neglect laws" even minimum wage laws. In some ways, the decision makes a great deal of sense. It's just in the case of the Smith defendants, the overreach is kind of stunning.

By the way, you know who wrote this decision that smacked down religion as a reason to violate laws? Antonin Scalia, motherfuckers. History will fuck up your nice narrative every time. Of course, one could argue that what the Court was really responding to was the drug war hysteria and not so much the religion part of it. Still, it pissed a lot of people off.

So, with nearly the entire Congress on board, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act made it to President Clinton's desk. The New York Times editorialized in support of the bill: "The bill, which President Clinton says he will gladly sign, would instruct government not to 'burden a person's exercise of religion,' even if the 'burden' results from a law that is aimed at everyone and not meant to interfere with religious practice -- unless there is a 'compelling interest.' If religious exercise must be limited, the bill says it must be done in the least restrictive way possible."

At the White House signing ceremony, Vice President Al Gore said, "Those whose religion forbids autopsies have been subjected to mandatory autopsies. Those who want churches close to where they live have seen churches zoned out of residential areas. Those who want the freedom to design their churches have seen local governments dictate the configuration of their building." The law would end these infringements upon religious liberty.

You'll notice that "Those who bake cakes have been forced to bake them for gay couples" is not included in there. Now, of course, the times being what they were, gay marriage wasn't even on the radar, let alone the law of the land in the majority of the country. But you can bet that had Ted Kennedy, Carl Levin, Paul Wellstone, and Patrick Leahy, all of whom voted for it, had thought that it could be used to discriminate against gays and lesbian, the RFRA wouldn't have stood a chance in a majority Democratic congress.

So, really, fuck off with your comparisons between the intentionally discriminatory Indiana law and what was done over 20 years ago.

3/27/2015

Indiana Cake Shop That Started the Whole Fuckin' Thing Has Closed (Not Because of Gays)

Let us remember that the push for the bullshit Religious Freedom To Say, "Fuck Off, Faggots" law really got going because a couple of assholes didn't want to bake a cake for a gay couple's wedding. If you'll remember, it was a year ago that Trish and Randy McGath,  owners of the 111 Cakery in Indianapolis, said their mean God would get all angry if they baked a gay cake and end up smiting them or sending them to Hell or whatever shit people make up to justify their hate.

Their religious freedom was being violated. They love everyone, they said. They even made cake for gays and lesbians, probably even friends of theirs. But not marriage, which is from God or whatever shit people make up to justify their hate.

Turns out that, yeah, the controversy was a pain in the ass (not in the fun way). But it also was big for business as everyone who also thinks gays getting married is icky started ordering cakey shit from the couple. A month ago, just before the legislature passed the law that would codify their discomfort with the gays, the McGaths shut down the business. Yeah, they're tired, especially Trish, who wants to spend time with her grandchildren.

So the McGaths won't get to enjoy turning down queers with state law behind them. But because of them, Indiana will get to enjoy being a national pariah and lose a shit-ton of business.

Two last notes here:

The Indy Rainbow Chamber, a Chamber of Commerce for LGBT-friendly businesses, in Indianapolis lists one bakery. And the name really needs to be changed. Because it may be okay for gays to go there, but the owner of Kim's Kake Kreations didn't really take its initials into account. We get it, Kim: the K is the same sound as a hard C. It's not as clever as you think it is.

Finally, you want a little confusion for the weekend? The same day that pug-faced fucknut Gov. Mike Pence signed the Freedom to Face Fuck You With Religion bill, he also declared an emergency because of the rise in HIV infections in his disease of a state. He went against conservatives to order a needle exchange program to help stop the spread of HIV among drug users. Yeah, he did some good with a liberal policy. Now let's hope the people exchanging the needles don't have a problem with gay heroin addicts.

3/26/2015

No Post? The Fuck?

This fuckin' day, man. 

Taking a pass. Back tomorrow with more anointed rudeness. 

3/25/2015

Duck Dynasty Beard-in-Chief Fantasizes About Raped Children

If you put it in its actual context, the anti-atheist rant by Taliban-bearded fuckbucket Phil Robertson, he of the ratings-challenged Duck Dynasty TV show, is kind of hilarious. See, the actual place was the Vero Beach Prayer Breakfast in, well, Vero Beach, Florida. It's an annual event where, as the organizers' website says, "Inspirational speakers, anointed singing, a delicious breakfast and fellowship with one another make this annual event life-changing for those who attend."

So picture this: a giant white tent, gorgeous in the sunrise, filled with hundreds of people, old people, families with children, all gathered. Flowers decorate every well-appointed table. Local orange juice, coffee, and pastries await the prayer-desiring patrons. Waitpeople in white shirts and black ties take care of everyone. There are opening prayers, songs, and... oh, wait, we don't have to imagine it. Here's what it looked like when people were first arriving:


Just lovely. No doubt, what people were expecting from Phil Robertson was a rousing call to prayer, if not a call to actual arms, along with a few jabs at President Obama and maybe at the culture in general, warrior that Robertson is in that field. So picture it: All these gathered white people dining in the morning, ready for a great time.

And then Robertson got up and spun out a tale of a fantasy atheist husband and father whose home is invaded by two men who rape his atheist daughters, cut off his atheist wife's head, slice off his atheist dick, and mock him by saying that there is no right and wrong because they don't believe in God.

Yeah, that would have been just hilarious to see, the Rude Pundit thought. All those faces gagging on their scrambled eggs. But if you listen to the whole talk? The image of raped little girls and castration was the way Robertson started his sermon. He had another half-hour or more to go, and the audience didn't get up and walk out. The dining pray-people didn't shout him down or say he was wrong. Oh, no, no, no. They listened. Later in the talk, they laughed and cheered and shouted, "Amen!" and applauded.  Phil Robertson didn't alienate the crowd by asking them to picture a vicious crime against nonbelievers. He was speaking their language.

It doesn't even occur to the crowd that what Robertson was saying is beyond some kind of rhetorical pale, let alone impolite breakfast talk. It doesn't occur to Robertson that, really, one can decide that rape and murder and mutilation are wrong without the framework of religion.

So, instead, let's put this out into the universe: A man breaks into Phil Robertson's house and rapes him after tying up Robertson's wife, Kay. Over the next few days, the man rapes the shit out of Robertson, again and again, always in front of Kay. When Robertson's sons try to check on him, the man grabs them and ties them up, using a nail gun to pin their dicks to their chairs. And he rapes Robertson repeatedly, even using various implements to rape him - a duck call, a model duck, a stuffed duck. He just keeps raping Phil Robertson, in the face, in the ass. Sometimes he jacks off on Robertson to mix it up a bit, all while the Duck Dynasty clan watches the rapes and hears their patriarch's cries and moans and, yes, prayers. Finally, before he sets the house on fire and leaves, the exhausted rapist says something.

Now here in our little parable for the damned, the Rude Pundit is conflicted. He can end it with the man saying one of two things.

The man could say, "How come your god didn't stop this from happening?" But that seems too easy, not enough of a mind-rape, too easily dismissed as the madness of the atheist.

How about: Robertson, smelling gasoline, tearfully asks why this has happened. And the man says, "Because God told me to."

3/24/2015

Florida: Where the State Government Won't Mention Climate Change, But the Counties Plan for It

Check this shit out:









Those are the climate change pages for four counties in Florida: Miami-Dade Palm Beach, Broward, and Monroe. If you wanted more, you could add in Hillsborough, Sarasota, and other counties that have climate change action plans, if not fancy web pages. Hell, there are monthly meetings in Broward County about climate change.

Because, see, unlike Florida Governor Rick Scott, the local governments don't give a shit about the crazies and the stupids (except in those places where they run things, like Okaloosa County). In obeisance to his funders, Scott may have, officially or unofficially, banned the actual phrase "climate change" from the lips of his agencies' officials. But the climate couldn't give a shit less about vocabulary. It's gonna change. You can either be ready for it or you can just choke on saltwater.

We rarely say anything good about Florida since mostly its citizens and politicians make amazingly hilarious punchlines (and, let's face it, it's through their own actions). Here, though, we can say that the counties are doing what they can. Of course, mostly that's like using a tea cup to bail out the Titanic.

Unlike what we can say about most conservatives, at least it's something.

3/23/2015

Imagine a Slightly Different Announcement from Ted Cruz

Imagine an American Muslim man stands in front of an audience of 10,000 Muslims at a college in Virginia to announce that he's running for president. Imagine that audience applauds and cheers for much of what he says.

Imagine that Muslim presidential candidate starts his announcement with "I am thrilled to join you today at the largest Muslim university in the world." And then he continues by telling his family story as a tale of devotion to Islam, saying of his parents, "Imagine a young married couple, living together in the 1970s, neither one of them has a personal relationship with Allah." Imagine that he goes on to describe his parents' separation and his father's journey: "[W]hen he was in Houston, a friend, a colleague from the oil and gas business invited him to a Qu'ran study, invited him to a mosque on Clay Road, and there my father gave his life to Allah, blessed be his name." Imagine that the candidate concludes his parents' story with "There are people who wonder if faith is real. I can tell you, in my family there’s not a second of doubt, because were it not for the transformative love of Allah, I would not have been saved and I would have been raised by a single mom without my father in the household."

Imagine if that Muslim man proclaims that all of our rights come from Allah. Imagine that he promises "a president who says 'We will stand up and defeat radical Christian terrorism.'" Imagine him declaring that "America has enjoyed Allah's blessing" and "Allah’s blessing has been on America from the very beginning of this nation, and I believe Allah isn’t done with America yet" and ending with "Allah be praised." Imagine those thousands and thousands of gathered Muslims yelling their appreciation of the candidate.

That candidate would be laughed out of the election. That candidate wouldn't stand a flea fart's chance in a hurricane. We would be talking about whether he's a threat to the American way of life and whether he would impose Shariah law. But not Ted Cruz. We have to pretend to take him seriously because he's a Christian and just told the world that this is a Christian nation. We have to waste time and energy mocking this idiot, this future loser who sounds like a fifth-grade schoolmarm chiding her students for writing their cursive improperly.

But if you are a Christian devotee of Ted Cruz's and you read this, feeling even the slightest bit uncomfortable at the notion of the fantasy Muslim candidate, well, now you know how the rest of us feel about your man.

(Actually, you're probably thinking that we already have an evil Muslim president, so who cares about you.)