Sunday, March 25, 2012

STUPID LAW: an Open Letter to Governor Jan Brewer

Dear Governor Brewer:

I’ve heard that our idiotic state legislature is happily passing a law right now that would allow any employer to demand that his female employees tell him whether they are using birth-control or not, and to fire them on the spot if he doesn’t like their answers.

If this piece of incredible stupidity should cross your desk, please Governor, veto the idiot thing.

Not only is this an outrageously unconstitutional invasion of privacy, but it happens to be blatantly sexist. It would inspire countless lawsuits, and worse, at a time when our economy can ill afford them. It’s also guaranteed to outrage citizens on both the Right and the Left, to the point where our whole state legislature may be overturned – and replaced, if you please, by Independents and Libertarians.

For example, I have a neighbor – call him Bear – who’s a biker, recently married, with a pretty young wife who works for a large company in Phoenix. When he heard about this law, he hit the ceiling – which was quite a sight to see, since he really is the size of a small bear. His comment was, in pretty much these words: “If any m----------- boss even tries to ask my Marianne what she does with her own c---, I’ll wipe up the floor with him! It’s none of any f------ boss’ business what we do with our sex-life, and if he tries to fire her for it, I’ll personally beat the s--- out of the s-- -- - -----!” He also promised to tell all his buddies the same, and assured me that he could guarantee that any Red Blooded American Male would agree with him.

For the women’s point of view, I’ll refer you to another neighbor – call her Anita – a single working woman in a medium-sized company in Tempe. When she heard about this bill, she narrowed her eyes and replied through gritted teeth: “The only reason I can see for my boss to ask me if I used birth-control is because he’s planning to put the moves on me. That means, if he asks me that question, that’s Sexual Harassment, if not Attempted Rape, and I’ll sue him for his back teeth.” She also promised to spread that word around to all her friends.

One thing that both Bear and Anita agreed on was that if they or anyone in their families lost their jobs over this question, they would launch mighty lawsuits. Anita promised to take it further: “I’ll sue every legislator in Arizona who voted for this nasty thing, take it right up to the Supreme Court if I can, and I’ll bet I can make millions on it.” I doubt if she’s the only Arizonan who has thought of that.

And of course, they’ve both sworn to “throw the bums out” at the next election. When asked whom to replace the “bums” with, they both evinced disgust with both the Democrat and Republican parties. This set off speculation over whether to hunt through the muddled ranks of the Independents, or to go with the “way out” Libertarians.

In any case, this law is guaranteed to widen the political divisions between classes, and between the citizens and their government.

Please, veto the damned thing!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Voter ID

Personally, I have no argument about requiring that people who vote in American elections should damn-well have to prove -- at registration, at least -- that they really are American citizens, they really are who they say they are, and they really live where they say they live. In fact, I think that voter ID is the only ID that the govt. has any right to require of the citizenry. Therefore, I have no basic argument with various states passing laws that require proof of citizenship and photo-ID, with address, of anyone registering to vote.

No, I'm not at all surprised that everyone from ACORN to Al "The Mouth" Sharpton promptly howled that all these laws are "racist"; after all, 'tis a sorry fact that the majority of Welfare recipients and illegal immigrants vote Democrat -- and everyone assumes that the majority of Welfare recipients are either Latino or Black. In fact -- and I learned this when I worked for Welfare in Michigan and Illinois -- the majority of Welfare recipients (like the majority of Americans in general) are White, but that doesn't match the stereotype.

I also learned, in Chicago, that Democrat local party-machines are past masters of vote-fraud. The only Republican technique that can in any way match the Democrats' methods is the use of Diebold vote-tabulating machines, whose inventor promised that his machines could deliver the vote for any Republican candidate he chose. There was enough outcry about the 2000 and 2008 elections that various state prosecutors went after Diebold with hamnmer and tongs, obliging the company to change its name three times, and various county election boards are divesting themselves of Diebold tabulating machines as fast as they can afford to.

So now it's the Democrats' turn to have their best vote-fraud techniques counter-attacked (hell, I haven't set foot in Chicago in 20 years, but I'm probably still voting there -- Democrat), and oh, but they're howling. I've seen celebrity-led protest marches parading around state and county buildings, complaining that poor folks, old folks, and of course Blacks, are being "robbed of their votes" because they often don't have photo-ID.

I felt like yelling at them: "Then what are you doing here, you fools? Why aren't you trudging door-to-door in poor/old/Black folks' neighborhoods, showing them how to get photo-ID? How do you think Civil Rights activists got Blacks registered in the '60s?"

Really, there are several legal ways to get photo-ID, let alone proof of citizenship: birth certificate, baptismal certificate, tribal ID card, authenticated entry in a family bible, sworn statements of midwives, relatives, neighbors and fellow church-members, and of course a military ID card -- military service being the classic quick path to citizenship -- among others. All it takes is a little legwork, patience, and a few dollars worth of stamps. That's how the Civil Rights movement did it, 50 years ago. Surely Democrats haven't forgotten that particular historical triumph. Have they just grown unconscionably lazy since then?

Nah, they're just whining because these anti-vote-fraud laws will rob them of perhaps as many as 12 million illegal votes in the next election.

Well, pity-pity-pity. My heart bleeds. Not.


--Leslie <;)))>< )O(

Thursday, March 8, 2012

An End-Run Solution

For all of you who are giggling over the whole GOP flak about contraception -- and, more specifically, who pays for it -- here's an easy solution that won't add a dime to the taxpayers' burden. It's a contraceptive trick as old as ancient Rome, at least.

First, get one lemon, a half-pint of virgin olive oil, a bowl, a tablespoon, a sieve, an egg-whisk, and a sharp knife. Note that five of these items are often included in welfare special allotments under the title of "household goods", and the other two can be bought with food stamps.

First, take the knife and cut the lemon in half, through the bulgy waist. Take the sieve and place it in the bowl. Take the spoon and scoop out the pulp from one lemon-half, and dump it in the sieve. Trim the ends of the lemon-cup smooth. Squeeze the juice through the sieve and toss away the drained pulp. Take the egg-whisk, start slowly pouring the olive oil into the lemon juice, and beat the mixture vigorously. When it forms a foam about as thick as whipped cream, stop pouring the oil. Spoon the foam into the empty lemon-cup.

Stick the foam-loaded lemon-cup up your, ahem, vagina until it fits snugly over the neck of the cervix (like a classic Dutch Cap diaphragm). Spoon the rest of the foam into the vagina after the lemon-cup. Then go have sex. You'll have to replace the lemon-cup and its contents for every bout of sex, but lemons -- and olive-oil -- are relatively cheap. The lemon-juice-and-oil mix will not only kill sperm but will kill lots of known bacteria and viri as well. It's an inconvenient method, but a cheap and effective one.

Best of all, this method is totally "natural", "organic", and "non-hormonal"; even the Pope would have a hard time finding fault with it. ...Not that some fundamentalists won't try, of course.

--Leslie <;)))>< )O(

Friday, March 2, 2012

YOU CALL THAT TORTURE?

I put this up some time ago, but I think it's worth repeating.

Never mind how I came to be sitting in my friend Karen’s living room, along with her crusty grandfather, taking notes on a TV special about torture of war-prisoners under the Bush administration. Gramps had been a prisoner of war in World War Two, a survivor of the Bataan Death March, and he was keenly interested in anything about the treatment of POWs.

During the segment on Bush & Co.’s legal maneuvering to justify torture, Gramps simmered like a kettle on the fire, occasionally bursting loose with comments like: “Hogwash!”, “Unconstitutional!”, and “No way in hell!” When the program moved on to the military’s means of hiring local informants to obtain supposed Al-Qaeda prisoners, he boiled outright. “Idiots!” he roared at the screen. “Offer an Arab money, and he’ll sell you his grandmother! You don’t get real enemy prisoners that way!”

Karen did some seething herself, and I understood her problem; she was a pacifist, a humanitarian to the nth degree, a vegetarian – one of the Gentle People. I often wondered how she managed to live in the same house with crabby old Gramps. She finally came up with: “How do you get real enemy prisoners, then?”

“You show yourself to the enemy,” said Gramps, his eyes narrowing. “Anybody who shoots at you, you shoot or take prisoner. That’s how you know for sure. Simple.”

Karen had no comeback to that, and I had better sense than to inject myself into the family quarrel, so we watched in silence as the program went on. Finally Karen could stand no more. “Look!” she shouted, pointing to the screen. “Look at what they’ve done! That’s torture, and no mistake!”

“You call that torture?” Gramps shot back. “Cuffing the prisoners’ hands behind their backs? Hell, cops all over America do that with anybody they arrest. Putting hoods over their heads? When you’ve got enemy prisoners at a military base, there’s plenty you don’t want them to see: your numbers and weapons, for instance. Keeping them hooded and tied up while they’re flown to the POW camp? Baby girl, you don’t want enemy prisoners getting loose on a plane in the air! Dressing them in orange jumpsuits? That’s what American prisoners wear. Putting them in a barren, lightless cell for the first few days? That’s exactly what’s done to American prisoners for their first days in the penitentiary. Keeping them in solitary cells? That’s better than the nasty overcrowding you get in American prisons; at least they’ve got some privacy, and no big ugly cellmates trying to rape them. So far, I don’t see these POWs being treated worse than American prisoners here at home. They sure aren’t being starved, beaten and worked to death, like we were.”

Just then the program shifted to a scene of prisoners with their wrists cuffed to bars above their heads, and a narrator solemnly intoning: “…eventually dislocates the shoulders.” Karen pointed. “What do you call that?” she yelled.

“Nonsense!” Gramps shot back. “Yes, that’s over the line – by about an inch. That’s the least of what the Japs did to us. You soon learn that you can stand on tiptoe or hang by your wrists, so you alternate: up and down, up and down. The Japs had us doing that from sunup to sundown, and the worst we suffered was cramps afterward.”

The scene shifted to a segment on waterboarding, and Karen pointed triumphantly.

“Yeah, that’s bad,” Gramps admitted, “Until you learn the trick to it. You take a deep breath first and hold it, and you curl your tongue up in the back of your mouth to block your sinuses. When they stop pouring, you swallow the water and breathe. By the time we were liberated, we could hold our breaths like pearl-divers. It’s no problem, as long as you keep your head and don’t panic. If that’s the worst these guys are getting, they’re lucky.”

“What about the mental tortures? Keeping them awake, the noises, the flashing lights, the humiliations—“

“Honey,” Gramps sounded weary, “In combat, nobody gets enough sleep – and plenty of civilian jobs keep you short on sleep too. Loud music and flashing lights? That’s Disco! Americans dance to it! Getting paraded around naked? American college boys do that for fun; they call it “mooning” or “streaking”. Getting dressed in women’s clothes? That’s called “drag” here. It’s only humiliating if you let yourself believe it is! The ‘torture’ is all in your own mind.”

On screen, the scene displayed SERE training: teaching American troops how to resist the sort of ‘intense interrogation’ we’d just seen. “I helped with that,” Gramps commented, smiling grimly. “After liberation, we told the Army investigators everything the Japs did to us, and everything we did to resist. They learned well from us.”

“So somebody who knows what to expect,” I couldn’t help poking in, “Wouldn’t suffer much – but innocent civilians would.”

“Precisely,” said Gramps, leaning back in his chair. “So the only thing it's good for is to show who's been trained to expect it, and who the innocent civilians are. Beyond that, it's useless. The sort of ‘torture’ that Americans are willing to do wouldn’t work on the real Bad Guys. That’s why we shouldn’t do it.

“But Bush and his idiots okayed it, so we get a bad name for it – and nothing useful out of it. That bunch of damn fools! I'm delighted that they’re all out of office.”

And Karen had nothing to say.