Talking about harassment at work

Just so everyone knows, I started a new job at the prison as a Corrections Officer (CO). It probably doesn’t surprise anyone that the overwhelming majority of new trainees are men. Even more so that there are even fewer women CO’s that have been there for a long time. I won’t say it is in the hiring though. Right now they are hiring all the fresh bodies they can get. Much the gender gap is in the recruiting and the perceptions that CO is a “man’s job.”

But the retention of competent females is another thing all together. I bet part of it has something to do with the story a woman CO told us as a class yesterday. The story tells of her own harassment in one particular area at the prison. The basics boiled down to men CO’s making sexually explicit jokes pointed at her and in front of the inmates. That last bit is important. The other CO’s were making the offensive and harassing jokes in front of inmates, some of whom are guaranteed to be looking for exploitative opportunities. One time that someone violates a boundary to that degree in such a dangerous manner is inexcusable. However, the jokes and harassment continued after she requested they stop.

She went to her superiors and asked to move and explained why. She specifically did not want to file a sexual harassment report about it but didn’t not want to be in the same department with people who were hurting her. She was moved as requested and nothing happened to her harassers (not that I am sure anything could have happened without her request).

All would have been fine if the woman telling the story had stopped there. Everyone in the room could have imagined her reasons for not reporting officially her harassment. But she didn’t stop. Instead she proceeded to recommend to the few women and sea of men that women think twice before officially reporting their harassment. Her reasoning was clear. That anyone who brings in outside help in handling their harassment, risks being ostracized from the group. That “everyone will treat” us “different” if we don’t handle this under the table. That our coworkers will be afraid to cut up and be friendly.

She basically told us not to report our harassment. She basically told us to run from it and do what she did so we won’t be friendless. She basically said let the next woman who works in that department handle it.

The funny thing is  that probably everyone knows that last damaging nugget of info she chose to share. As women many of us have always had to navigate the very narrow corridor of what is considered the “proper way” to handle such things. Most of us women don’t report, know how much we risk by reporting. Most of us women don’t need another reason to hide our harassment.

We need a reason to bring it to daylight.

This is an especially pertinent topic right now in the atheist/skeptic movement. People in our movement have far too long been stifled, silenced by all the reasons to “keep quiet.” The status quo fighters have done their duty in hiding harassment from the delicate eyes of everyone else. Now however, women and men in this movement are speaking out about this. One person risking it all and giving her peers a reason to talk was enough to start a mini chain-reaction.

I wish the woman teaching us yesterday would have been like like you all who are fighting harassment tooth and nail rather than passing it off to the next victim. I wish she would have at least said that she had our back in however we choose to handle our own harassment.

Vote Vulva 2012

So yesterday I made this magnet.

The inspiration for this came from twitter friend @ericainchaote who probably has little idea why I wanted this as a car magnet in the first place. Yeah, I put the topic for yesterday’s post up for a vote and everyone voted for vulva but that is not why this magnet is important to me.

There is something going on right now called a war on women and for the most part it is a war on cis women, trans men, and FAAB genderqueer. However,  pay discrepancies and access to insurance likely affects trans women too. Most of the attacks in the war on women are directed at people perceived to have vulvae. If you are perceived to have a cunt, you are automatically deemed inferior. In that sense, it kind of clicked with me when I saw this slogan. It is how I want to vote. I want to vote for someone protecting my vulva.

Not only that though. I want to vote to protect all vulvae. That means the vulvae of  non op/pre op trans men. The ones of post op trans women. Those of genderqueer. All of vulvae. I want to vote for candidates who know that women (in gender, sex, or both) are pretty fucking awesome. I want you to vote for candidates that promote rather than hinder our awesomeness.

I want you to Vote Vulva in 2012.

Calling all sluts

Since I have at least a few Canadian readers here, I thought it relevant to post an upcoming event in the London, Ontario region.

On Saturday May 12th, London’s second annual Solidarity SlutWalk will be held at Victoria Park from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm.

For those of you who have never heard of SlutWalk:

SlutWalk began as a small idea in Toronto in 2011 to fight back against victim-blaming and sex-shaming around sexual violence. The co-founders were galvanized into action and took their name from a Toronto police officer who referred to women and survivors of sexual assault as “sluts” and suggested women ‘dressing like sluts’ were inviting their own victimization.

It shouldn’t be new information to anyone who hasn’t lived under a rock that every time a woman comes forward about rape or sexual assault, they entire history (promiscuity, fashion, gender identity) is on trial along with those they accuse. SlutWalks attempt to end the victim blaming and slut shaming prevalent in sexual crime.

Something I found interesting which speaks to the pervasiveness of slut shaming is that SlutWalks have been around for little longer than a year. What started in Toronto spread to 200 cities world wide rather quickly. We sluts are tired of being blamed.

So, if you are anywhere near London, Ontario come out on May 12th. London’s Solidarity SlutWalk 2012 welcomes sluts of all sorts with specific inclusion of transgender sluts who face some of the highest risks of sexual violence  and are far more likely to be victim blamed into not reporting their own sexual assaults or rapes. I am especially proud that London is making a concerted effort to ensure that trans women feel as welcome as cis women in this important event for all women.

Walk together in solidarity.

Thanks to reader/commenter Anna for bringing this event to my attention.

A day of Pride

After hearing a distant relative joke about meeting me down at the Upper Cumberland’s inaugural Pride Festival for “target practice,” I braced for the worst.

After reading the local trolls come out in full force threatening to picket/destroy our one day of celebration, I braced for the worst.

I was in for a surprise.

This is what we saw at Pride on May 5, 2012 in Cookeville, Tennessee:


















































And hope for the future


Some days I wonder where the world is heading. I hear/see the bigotry, and I brace for the worst. It is nice to be surprised.

Thank you to Tennessee Equality Project for help making this day of celebration a reality. Thank you to upwards of 700-800 LGBT and allies for joining us in celebration of identity. Thank you to bigots for staying home.


Non-Fiction Friday: Have a Nice Doomsday, Why Millions of Americans are Looking Forward to the End of the World

Non-Fiction Friday is on Saturday this week due to our observance of the Day of Silence. The Day of Silence is over now. Please don’t stay silent. If you see injustice, whether it be bullying or oppression or corruption, if you see the rights of others being trampled, please speak up. Those of us who care are a majority. The world just doesn’t know it yet.


I saw this one at the book store and turned it over. The author, Nicholas Guyatt,  is British, educated at Cambridge and Princeton, and he is now a Canadian…and he just researched and wrote a book about American, right-wing religious fanaticism. I’m not kidding. I had to buy it. It had to be good, if for no other reason than to get the reaction of a British/Canadian to our nation’s own unique brand of wackjobs.  And it was good, pretty good. He met with a few crazy representatives of the American theofascist movement and took a peek inside, behind the curtain if you will, but only a peek. This book doesn’t represent an in-depth analysis and it leaves the primary thesis, why millions of Americans are looking forward to the end of the world, largely unanswered. If you’re looking for an entertaining and enlightening read, though, give it a chance.

The facts of this book are disturbing to rational people. There really are over 50 million people in the United States who believe that sometime before they die, Jesus will come down from the sky, sweep them up into heaven, and leave the rest of us to face unimaginable oppression and torture. Exactly what the first Christians thought nearly 2,000 years ago. And much like those first believers, most modern believers want it sooner, rather than later. As a result of the convoluted interpretations that this modern incarnation of Christians has imposed on the bible, many of the more prominent members believe they can hasten the apocalypse, an idea that would be hilarious if they weren’t trying to do so by starting a global war.

Guyatt gives us a glimpse into the minds and rhetoric of these new prophets as he stands back, asks them questions and lets them speak for themselves. It isn’t like embellishment makes it any more disturbing, after all. It’s a phenomenon with some serious implications. The book was written over five years ago and some of the innocence that shines through because of that fact is, at first, amusing. The author is writing before our nation elected an overwhelming majority of these lunatics to some of highest offices of the land, essentially giving them the access they need to make their doomsday a reality, at least up to the moment just before Jesus is supposed to arrive.

If you have paid attention to the theofascists and their attempts to overthrow democracy then this book will likely offer you nothing new or surprising. If nothing I’m saying is making sense to you, you don’t believe it, you vehemently disagree or you find the sad failure of human reason and its repercussions compelling and worthy of attention, then this book may be right up your alley.

A Slice of Tennessee

I know many people across the country may have an inkling of just how backward our fine state can be. Our legislators just finished passing a couple of anti-science bills as well as some bills to protect teachers from being charged when they violate the first amendment by forcing religion on the students in their care. If you have been paying attention at all you will also know that this isn’t unique to Tennessee or even to the bible belt. States across the country have been doing the same thing recently. I’m not going to spend any time here talking about these things. What I am going to do is give you a peek into the human dimension, what rational people in these states deal with on a daily basis.

On May 5th, Cookeville, TN will be holding its first annual Pride Festival. WilloNyx and I plan to attend. The organizers seem to be doing a good job and I hope to see it succeed with as little disruption as possible, but I am a realist and I expect no such thing. Multiple threads have been posted on the local Topix forum about the event. I am going to let some of the locals speak for themselves.

Here is a sampling of what they had to say here. (italicized input on the commentary per Willo) (TW for general bigoted horribleness)

Petition: We don’t want events promoting this sickness in Cookeville. This is a 95% heterosexual town full of church-going families. This is not an event that is suited for young children. Trust me that y’all will not be holding this event in Dogwood Park.

Yes we will.

Sassy Tranny: Jesus did NOT come back and write a New Testament saying that it is all the sudden okay for women to sleep with women and for men to sleep with men. They will be cast down into the fire of the land of Satan to burn with horrific pain for disobeying the word of God! I know that God did not decide to sleep with Satan one night. I may have sinned but I have never ever wanted to sleep with the same sex! Gays are evil and the carriers of HIV and AIDS. That is the early curse that God has placed upon those that don’t follow the word of God! I now cast your evil soul to play with Satan!

You should have stopped with “Jesus did not come back.” The rest of this is incoherent bullshit. 

Why: I’m sick and tired of the gay community going on about how they are just like everyone else except for one little aspect of their lives, then they turn around and hold public events to let everyone know how different they are. If you’re gay, just be gay. Don’t get in everyone’s face about it.
The reason straight people don’t have straight pride day is because being straight is normal. Straight people don’t feel the need to have a special day to show the world they are straight.

Straight people have 364 special days, 365 every leap year. How childish of you for not wanting to share.

crazy: The only publicity you are going to get by pushing this on our community is going to be negative. We are accepting but do not appreciate this being pushed on us. I don’t think it’s appropriate for my 4 and 6 year-old children to say that a man dressed as a woman is what is considered as acceptable in today’s society. Because it isn’t! My children are so far happy being innocent boys and girls.

And they will continue to be happy and innocent after seeing LGBTQ people having fun being who they are. The won’t continue to be innocent and happy when you shame them for not automatically assuming that LGBTQ people are icky.

Happy: gay germs are called aids

I just want to comment on the fact that ze thinks the “s” in aids means that it is plural.

FYI: Any type of homosexual event is most definitely NOT family no matter how you disguise it! Of course you are encouraging families to attend because the whole agenda is to try to get people to accept the lifestyle as normal. Well, it is NOT normal no matter how much you rationalize. It is wrong on all fronts. From a biblical standpoint it is a crime against nature. From just looking at nature, animals aren’t “confused” about it either. Oh don’t bother about giving me exceptions, I am aware of a few but it doesn’t really matter because people have the Word and an innate sense of right and wrong no matter how you rationalize. I have no idea why gays feel that it is important to advertise their sexual orientation. That is private so keep it to yourself!

Cause LGBTQ people don’t have families. Or at least in your imagination they don’t. From a biblical standpoint eating clam chowder is a crime against nature (I might agree with the bible on that one).  I have to agree that non-human animals probably aren’t “confused” about wanting to pair bond with or fuck their own gender. They probably just do it.

Tolerant: There is a huge difference between tolerance and acceptance. Tolerance means that while you may not like a particular thing, you tolerate — or leave alone undisturbed — it. Acceptance, on the other hand, is something entirely different.
In the case of homosexuality, tolerance is good. If a person is gay, who cares? Live and let live. I see gay people every day in society and they don’t bother me and I don’t bother them. But to accept homosexuality as normal and equally beneficial to society is simply unrealistic. Homosexuality is NOT normal.
The problem I have with a gay pride day at the park is that it is an attempt to “normalize” homosexuality in the eyes of society. By inviting the community and encouraging families to bring their children, they are hoping to change the minds of the current generation and shape the opinions of future generations that being gay is okay and normal. Well, it isn’t.
And for those about to label me homophobic, remember that “phobic” means “afraid of.” I’m not afraid of gays. I just wish they’d quit making a big deal of their gayness.

Yes we are attempting to normalize perfectly normal behavior. “These rascally kids these days going around acting like queers are normal. ” I don’t give a fuck whether you “accept” us. I just give a fuck that you don’t allow your laws restrict us in ways that straight cis people are free from restriction.

Well: I  say give’em what they want.Take your camera and take a pictures of EVERYONE there…it IS a public place and lets post them on Facebook.
Thats right..everyone, the freaks, the supporters, the children. Lets show as much of the greater public whos’ proud. Maybe names could be added to the faces on a “public” forum as others reconize their friends, neighbors and coworkers!

Yeah, let’s  blacklist them so they can’t shop, eat, work, or live in this town because they had the gall to be unapologetic about existing.

recruitment: That is all they want. To have their queer festival so they can recruit more and more fags to come to Cookeville. Eventually the whole city will be infested with queer freaks and Goddamn drama. Queers do nothing but sleep around with everything that moves. They want their little queer festival to get bigger and bigger just like the number of cases of HIV/AIDS. The lesbos will attempt to get all women to hate men and convince them that all men are shit. Next thing you know, there will be a rural sex change clinic. Welcome to the future new Knoxville which is Cookeville.

As if getting a sex change was a simply a trip to the local clinic.  BTW for non-Tennessean’s Knoxville is the most LGBTQ friendly city in TN. Cookeville obviously is not.

Amused by your arrogance: If the city council approved this I am not surprised. Keep in mind the wife of a gay teacher is on that council. I’m not getting into a Biblical discussion with people who know nothing about the Bible. Therefore, I will just say that, after being friends with gay people during my school years, I have watched them, in great sadness, let this lifestyle consume them, lose their family, status in the community, lose jobs, and some kill themselves. While I am saddened to lose a friend, I am sad because of what this choice of lifestyle did for them. When you teach school and have children who are in same sex families, you will see first hand the problems it causes. It is not a good environment for children on many levels. I’m always intrigued that people who call themselves gay or lesbian feel the need to band together to let other people know they like sex in twisted depraved ways. You don’t see heterosexuals in Cookeville having a heterosexual pride day. Really, is it necessary? Go do your sick bondage and leather thing in the privacy of your home. Frankly, I nor anyone else cares that you are gay or lesbian. I’m not the least bit interested in knowing what will go on Saturday. If I happen to drive by going to some other place, it will be amusing that you guys feel the need to ignorantly protest and make a fool of yourselves. What would be interesting is to track you guys and see how many are gainfully employed years from now and have the insurance to pay for your fatal disease. Oh, that’s right, I’ll keep working so TennCare will pay for it.

Victim blaming? Check. Strawman? Check. Hoping you die a horrible death? Check. This must be a christian. Oh BTW teacher, I watched your type talk in the teacher’s lounges in the schools. I watched the homophobia and racism first hand. The difficulties these kids face is not their own or their parent’s faults. It starts with you, teacher.  You are a bully, you are wretched, and you shouldn’t be allowed to teach.

This is what some of them had to say here.

Freak Family: It’s obviously a genetic defect for a man to want to have sex with a man and a woman to have sex with a woman. And a mental illness too. This goes to you freaks that are bisexual as well. Anything that shit comes out of HAS to be nasty.

Well this person is missing out. Doesn’t ze know that hetero’s do anal to? Ze would really be offended by rimming.

Picket Them: This “event” is under the guise as a fun for all event. I am here to make people of Cookeville and Putnam County AWARE that this is a festival to promote tolerance and acceptance of homosexuality in the county and surrounding towns in our rural community.
It lists “Children’s Activities and Crafts” as a way to lure our young children out to this awful event. We are working on an organized picket against this type of thing happening here. Once I find out what the protest ordinances are in Cookeville or if any even exist, we will work together to organize a meeting spot and come together as a community to say that this type of thing is WRONG! Do you want your children finger painting with a man that is dressed up as a woman? I know I DO NOT!…Get picket signs ready to get the message across to these people that a public display of homosexuality is WRONG and immoral! Let’s exercise our First Amendment Right to PROTEST! We need to stand up to keep our lovely little town clean and oriented toward STRAIGHT families! In the Bible, it was Adam and Eve. NOT Adam and Steve!

I would much rather have my children finger painting with “a man dressed as a woman” than being in the same room with a bigoted fuck as yourself. Your picket will do nothing to silence us. We exist and we won’t apologize for it. I think Jamie Kilstein says it best “From the looks of it, god fucked up big time and maybe Adam should have explored other options.”

and here.

Big Mouth: I am calling City Hall about this tomorrow! You disgusting gays have to have a permit to hold an event in the park and I bet you don’t have one. Cookeville is not providing a park where churchgoing families want to take their children and end up seeing and being exposed homosexual activity and drag queens. Be assured that a stop will be put to this! It is a sin to be gay and I am disgusted over this!

I bet it stung when you found out that, yes, Cookeville did provide a park for people to prance around all gay and shit in front of your churchgoing families. What exact “homosexual activity” do you think your churchgoing families will be exposed to? Finger painting? Music? No, it’s all about the sex with you repressed fucks. You think it will be an all out manonmanonwomanonwomanonwomanonman fuck spree. Sorry ain’t gonna happen.

Wrong: No one is forcing me to go. However, I am being forced NOT to go that day and am NOT able to take my kids to have fun and play in the fountain. They are infringing upon my right to live, laugh and play that day without exposing me and my family to a sick and perverted influence. It’s all shoved in my face if I were to take my kids to play that day

“OMFG, I am so oppressed because I have one day out of a fucking year I have to hide from gay people being gay!” Fuck you.

Really: If the gays are looking for fair and just try the courts not parades and fun fests.That just seems logical.Otherwise the gay parades come off as oh I’m so proud I like having sex with my own kind.What is the point on crowing about your sex preferences And then you now want to adopt kids?The very children who come by way of the male and female relationship.Now you want to take advantage of the male female creation of life. So what gives gays that right to take that creation that they actually want no part of?

Another one of those “you can be LGBTQ as long as you don’t act like it” with a side of “you can be LGBTQ as long as you don’t put your LGBTQ genes in the gene pool.” I thought these fuckwits didn’t believe in genetics. 

Wrong: I’m friends with several gays silly! But I will never allow my kids around them. I do not allow the bad influence. That doesn’t mean I don’t personally like some of these people. Heck, I even have a gay family member! But guess what? They are not allowed at my house with their partner if they act like a couple. So, don’t give me any propaganda about my moral courage. It takes moral courage to stand up and say something is a sin and it won’t be allowed in my home as long as I am breathing. I answer to a higher power and it isn’t you.

I can’t even comment on this without laughing at all the traditional bigot clichés floating around. This idiot is hir own commentary.

Generation y: Don’t be too sure it’ll be a little picket. Fundamentalist churches around here will organize. Oh goodie! Maybe we’ll make it onto channel five news! For those of us who are into confrontation this is gonna be good! Let the games begin!

Can’t tell if ze is plugging for a local news channel or trying to threaten attendees. Who wants to lay bets that those who are “into confrontation” are also into guns.

Can Too: The fact is that homosexuality is not normal and will never be seen as normal by the rest of society. And all the sitcoms, fashion networks and dance shows on TV won’t change it.
Homosexuality is defined by a pattern of behavior, not a physical characteristic, so the comparisons between gays and blacks need to stop. All that is is an attempt by the gay community to legitimize themselves and elevate the perception of their situation to that of a legitimate social struggle. If I were black or hispanic or a woman, I’d be pissed at the gays.
An alcoholic has the natural urge to drink uncontrollably. It doesn’t mean we should legitimize that behavior. Same goes for homosexuality.

If you were a decent person you would be pissed at yourself. Nope, he is just an arrogant straight cis white male fundie moron who has no clue what it feels like to be marginalized, so he has no problem assuming what other marginalized groups feel.

Can Too: Here we go again with the blacks/gays comparisons. It’s a line of BS. Gays weren’t brought into this country against their will. Gays were never slaves. Gays were never forced to ride in the back of the bus. Gays were never forced to use separate facilities or denied access to places of business. You can’t tell if a person is gay from physical characteristics alone the way you can a black person. Black people cannot hide the fact that they are black the way a homosexual can hide his or her homosexuality.
Sure, gays have been discrimiated against. But that is because the rest of society views homosexuality as disgusting and abnormal. Gays are discriminated against in much the same way as hardcore punks and hippies, the goth kids and other groups that are on the fringes of society. It’s a form of social selection that just happens. When the punks and goth kids grow up and want to get jobs, they cut their hair, remove their piercings, cover their tattoos and enter the mainstream. Those who don’t find their career opportunities limited. Gays can do the same. Don’t make it a point to draw attention to your sexuality and society will accept you. Put it in everyone’s face and you’re asking for problems.

You hear that? The solution to all our problems is to be invisible. Never mind that there is nothing wrong with being LGBTQ and so there is nothing wrong being visibly LGBTQ. Never mind there is something wrong with being a homophobic/transphobic ass. The onus is on us to STFU and hide so we don’t offend their delicate sensibilities.

Indeed: It’s just this area. It is not common here and truly not accepted. If gays want to flourish. I honestly think they should move to an area where there are gay communities and being gay is more accepted. Like Knoxville or California. No matter how many festivals they try to hold here, it is not going to change the thinking of the people that are against it in this area. It’s just not the ideal place for a flamboyant gay male or female to be what they want to be.
Pushing it on this area is just going to make things worse for them in my honest opinion.

“We are just not ready to accept your queerness yet so if you please just be a little bit quieter about it so we can go on continuing to ignore the fact you exist. I mean, if you continue to tell me you exist I will have to deal with some difficult cognitive dissonance, and I don’t like to think that hard, so please not until I am ready to handle you.” No amount of you begging will force us back into the closet. We are here to show pride in who we are and support for who our friends are.


This isn’t anything new for us. This is the kind of hate and stupidity we deal with our whole lives in towns like ours across the country.

If you are going to be anywhere nearby on Saturday, May 5th between 4pm and 7pm, please drop by and show your support. If you can attend and run your own site, bring a camera and cover the event. We plan to do the same.

Also advertise. If you know anyone local who is either LGBTQ or allies with LGBTQ, send them our way. Help us stand up to the religious bullies.


A response to Taslima Nasreen

In your post Do women really ‘choose’ to be prostitutes, you ask whether people would encourage their daughters to become prostitutes.

I am going to say to that no, I would not ‘encourage’ my daughter, or son for that matter, to pursue prostitution as an occupation. I would, however, support their choice if either of them chose to become prostitutes of their own volition.

Not only that but I will make it known to my children that choosing prostitution as an occupation will always be an option for them without fear of shame from me. I will make sure that they are aware of the risks, aware of the precautions that mitigate those risks, aware of their other options, and aware that I will not once look down upon them because they enjoy sex and wish to make sex their work.

I am going to turn this away from both of my children to specifically address the concept of prostitution with just my daughter now. I do this partly because you, Taslima, have chosen to ignore that a large amount of sex work is done by men for men and women. I do it partly because you, Taslima, have chosen to tell me and the world that “true” feminists don’t support legal, consensual prostitution.

Taslima, you call women and men who support willful prostitution “misogynists or masochists.” This is an ad hominem attack designed to say “Ignore the opinions of those who support willful prostitution because they hate women or enjoy pain. Their opinions must be tarnished by these unsavory positions.”

What I want you to know, what I want my daughter to know is that your brand of feminism is one of the brands that made me ashamed to call myself a feminist for most of my life. It took thirty years of my life to be aware that there are a ton of feminists that seek to maximize choices for women just as there are a ton of feminists that seek to minimize choices for women. You are one of the latter.

I don’t want my daughter to have to wait thirty years bombarded by feminists that tell her that “staying at home to mother means she is a tool of the patriarchy,” feminists that tell her that “wearing short skirts and high heels is oppressive to women everywhere,” or even feminists like yourself who will tell her “if you like to be paid for sex you must have a ‘psychological addiction’ to sex.”

I want my daughter to know that your brand of feminism is oppressive to women because it is proscriptive and insists that women cannot know what it is best for our own bodies. It insists that we women have been duped by society into believing that prostitution is a valid career choice because feminists like yourself have decided that women can’t enjoy sex enough to be paid for it unless they are nymphomaniacs.

I want my daughter to know that she has the option to choose:

Who she wants to fuck and for what reasons she wants to fuck them

as well as

Which feminists she associates with and the reasons she associates with them

You, Taslima, would seek to take those choices away from her, and I won’t let you.

Democracy. How does that work?

If you aren’t watching the Rachel Maddow show you are probably missing out on something very important happening in Michigan.

In a nutshell, the story is that the Michigan Constitution requires that bills wait until the end of the session — essentially, the end of the calendar year — plus 90 days before becoming law. You can, however, put a bill into effect immediately, provided you have a two-thirds majority in both chambers. Republicans have that super-majority in the Senate, but not in the House. Yet they appear to have given nearly every bill since they took over in January 2010 immediate effect.

Michigan Republicans have applied immediate effect even to legislation Democrats have opposed in a block, from taking away domestic partner benefits (pdf) to blocking the expansion of union rights (pdf) to the souped-up emergency manager law (pdf) that lets the state replace elected officials with managers who have unilateral control.

There is a video over at Maddow’s blog where you can see for yourself Republicans circumventing their own constitution. Democrats are now suing for the votes to be counted properly.

It may not be all a problem with Republicans though. As an addendum, Maddow states that there is some evidence to suggest Democrats passed several bills with the “immediate effect” status when they had the majority. The ultimate question is whether they bothered to count the votes before doing so.

If turns out that Democrats are doing the same thing. Shame on them. Every single bill passed with either a Democrat or a Republican majority by not obeying the law should be repealed.

Squat and cough while we “strip” you of your rights

What the fuck is going on with the Supreme Court? I have never been one to call  it “legislating from the bench” but this latest split decision seems to be nothing more than that.

The Supreme Court on Monday ruled by a 5-to-4 vote that officials may strip-search people arrested for any offense, however minor, before admitting them to jails even if the officials have no reason to suspect the presence of contraband. (emphasis mine)

Yep, that is conservatives judges telling us to smile and take it while they strip us of our fourth amendment rights. They seemed to ignore all the evidence showing that the efficacy of strip searching is less than desirable:

Justice Breyer wrote that there was very little empirical support for the idea that strip-searches detect contraband that would not have been found had jail officials used less intrusive means, particularly if strip-searches were allowed when officials had a reasonable suspicion that they would find something.

For instance, in a study of 23,000 people admitted to a correctional facility in Orange County, N.Y., using that standard, there was at most one instance of contraband detected that would not otherwise have been found, Judge Breyer wrote.

Then again, we can’t expect justices to be all that empirical. How about humane? Ten states prior to this decision already had statutes prohibiting strip searched without reasonable suspicion of contraband (States more moral than our current SC I might add). It is against federal policies as well as banned by international human rights treaties. So no, the Supreme Court of the United States is not humane (at least the five conservative justices are not).

It seems that they even knew how bad the precedent they were setting was:

In a concurrence, Chief Justice Roberts, quoting from an earlier decision, said that exceptions to Monday’s ruling were still possible “to ensure that we ‘not embarrass the future.’ ”

How about the present? This is embarrassing right now.