Sunday, March 26, 2017

Yes, it's so much simpler to just demonize bad parents for being bad parents.

My response to a column in my local USAToday network paper this weekend.   The original column, linked here.  


Dear Editor,

I believe that the column your paper chose to run in the March 25 Living section, by Ana Veciana-Suarez, under the headline “Crocodile Tears for Teen After Suicide,” was a deeply flawed piece that should never have been given national attention. 

While I agree with Ana Veciana-Suarez’s thesis that the mother of her piece is clearly trying to make a cash grab in the wake of her personal tragedy, I find it appalling the lengths to which the article goes on about demonizing the woman.   The texts quoted in the piece are justly horrifying.  But the article’s insistence on naming only the woman involved, and none of the other people who had wronged young Naika Venant seems to me to be doing just what the mother claims, recasting her as the sole villain in this piece. 

If this article had been bought, and paid for, by the State of Florida’s DCF it couldn’t have been a better attempt to shift blame away from “the black hole of the system.”  The acceptance that foster care is going to involve rape, and neglect, and that “[Naika’s]  journey through foster care made her even more disrespectful and rebellious, too. Her behavior, however, was an expected result of the great trauma she endured,” is frankly horrifying.  This shouldn’t be seen as an opportunity to pile upon a woman who is herself deeply flawed, but a chance to shine a light upon the often desperate straits that the whole nation’s foster care system is facing – often enough because of inadequate funding and impossible caseloads, as has been highlighted by the investigations locally in the wake of the Brook Stagles case. 

It seems to me to be not merely unfair to send this article out nationally where it is falling into the public’s purview without any context, nor any direct follow-up to be expected, but a dangerous over-simplification – presenting the parent of a child who died while in care of the state’s as the sole named villain of the piece – when anyone who took the time to think about it would realize that the parents of all the children who find themselves in the foster care system are going to be deeply flawed individuals – and excusing failures of the system by blaming them for blatantly predictable failures is going to leave us with a system that isn’t bothering to ask what can it do better, and what resources does it need to meet the real-world demands placed upon it. 

Sincerely,

Michael D. Taub


cc. aveciana@MiamiHerald.com

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Power Disparity and Humor

I just saw the new McCafe ad today - it seems to be titled "Enlighten-Mint" and it's got me wondering just how in the hell it got greenlit.

For a look at the ad here's an iTV link.

The short synopsis for this is that a white asshole comes by to a black woman's desk, takes the McCafe drink from her desk, and walks off it it.  And then because for every fifth one the woman buys McDonalds will give her a free one she just accepts this, and goes about replacing her stolen drink.

This wouldn't have been funny if it were two people on an equal power level.  As it is, having a guy of any race taking something from a woman of any race is fucked up.  Especially if the only recourse the woman seems to feel she has available is to replace her stolen drink out of her own resources.  The power levels here are just so fucked up it's really infuriating to see.

As it is having a Caucasian of any gender taking something from an African American of any gender is fucked up.  Especially if the only recourse the African American seems to feel they have available is to replace their stolen drink out of their own resources. The power levels here are just so fucked up it's really infuriating to see.

Combine both those seemingly obvious fucked-up levels into one spectacular shit sandwich and I'm fucking pissed.  Pissed at McDonald's for running this ad. Pissed at the ad agency for thinking it up.  And pissed that we're in a place where no one who noticed how fucked up that ad might be felt safe speaking up against it.

This ad needs to be pulled.

And people who think this is funny, like say, OBL and the Attorney General of the United States, need to get a clue.

P.S.  I've been rather stuck lately with helping out with a family medical emergency.   I'll be posting more regularly, soon.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Alternative Facts

On Friday Our Beloved Leader took the oath of office and was sworn in as the 45th President.

By Sunday we were presented with an official government spokesperson providing demonstrably falsifiable statements as fact, and promising punishment for those outlets that do not go along with the revealed truth of Our Beloved Leader.  We've also been provided with the circus of official spokes people for the administration telling us that we're mean to call someone on telling falsehoods - that they were simply "Alternative Facts."  And that we shouldn't get all upset about these things.

There's been nothing that I've seen or heard, yet, about the promised official crack down on people daring to disagree with Our Beloved Leader, but I won't be surprised when that promise - like so many others that people said he'd never follow-through on - gets fulfilled.  It is what Our Beloved Leader has done to criticism in the past, and exactly how he was talking all through the campaign.  Bullies can change, but usually only when they've been pulled up short by having their bullying tactics blow up in their face.  That a plurality of the electorate was willing to vote for Our Beloved Leader is more than enough, in my opinion, to justify to Our Beloved Leader that his bullying is going to be accepted, tolerated and even embraced.

So expect to see journalists being charged with crimes for daring to question alternative facts when presented by the administration or Our Beloved Leader directly.

It's a shame that there's no recent example for a model where failing to fall in line with the official (If easily falsifyable) truth were treated as a crime, or worse.

Oh, wait - that was known as Правда.  

Pravda.

Friday, December 16, 2016

In other news: Water is found to be shockingly wet!

In a report released today the Indianapolis Star and USA Today have found a perponderance of sexual abuse directed mostly towards underaged girls in gymnastics, particularly in those facilities associated with the US Gymnastics Team - you know the one that goes to the Olympics and all the international meets.

Why anyone should be surprised at this in the wake of the similar scandal a few years back surrounding figure skating is beyond me.

Young people putting their all into an effort to be the best, under the control of a barely examined cadre of coaches who have the power to stop those dreams on a whim, working for a standard that is always going to be subjective - oh, and with parents, as often as not, who are more invested in having an Olympian as their daughter or son, than the best interests of that individual.

What could possibly go wrong?

FFS.

I'm glad it's been documented, but anyone who is susprised by this shit in the rape culture we live in is too stupid to be expected to remember to breathe.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Can We Stop Acting Surprised when Our Beloved Leader Stoops to Perfectly Expected Levels of Shittiness?

Look. . .

We all saw the same never-ending campaign.

We all heard the lies, the evasions, the misdirections and the promises.

The election went to the candidate who promised attacks on the First Amendment. To the candidate who promised religious and ethnic tests for refugees, immigrants, and of course, people who have lived here almost their whole lives through no fault of their own.  He made sweeping foreign policy statements without any consideration of the possible effects.  He swindles people with fewer resources to protect themselves in the courts, and regrets that any mere millionaire can play golf just because they've fallen into some money.

He has boasted of being so smart he never needs any education on any topic.  As a former Navy Nuke that's fucking frightening - I'm pretty smart, but I've also had it beaten into my head that there are many, many things that I thought I knew that I didn't, because I'd never been educated in the topic.  He not only never examines his presuppositions or prejudices, but revels in them and thinks that proves his brilliance.

He's courted the Religious Right and by choosing Pence for his VP he's as much as promised that there will be massive, coordinated attacks on gay, transexual, and women's rights.  He's shown he's perfectly willing to gut the US education system in favor of furthering the YEC idiocy.  That he not only refused to consider any evidence for Anthropogenic Climate Change, but is now promising to prevent any Federal Agency from gathering data that might sweep back to support that theory.

He's played the rules for thee but not for me card so many times he's gotten it platinum plated, and shows no sign at all that he believes laws apply to him.  He's chosen a candidate for Attorney General who will cheerfully ignore civil rights for over half the population, and I suspect would be perfectly happy with a means test for civil rights.  "Is your net worth greater than $1 million?  Then you have civil rights.  If not? Go fuck yourself for bothering us Real Americans."  He's endorsed revisionist histories of both the recent and distant past.

He's got a twenty plus year record of admiring and then bloviating to the press how he admires strong-arm tactics, and politicians.  He invited foreign espionage agents to attack his opponent.  He continues to admire a world leader who had gutted his own country's Constitution, and is known to have orchestrated the killing of members of his own country's press.

He continued with the Birther nonsense until 2016, with his baseless "I hear someone tell me there's something fishy with Obama's birth certificate," because he's a flaming goddamned racist asshole.  He's incited violence agaisnt Latinx, blacks, and Muslims.  He's legitimized white-supremacists and the KKK.

He is, in shot a total, and complete shit-hole of a person.

And no one not those of us who hate him, nor those of us who voted for him, have any room to pretend he's been anything but that for his whole time in the public eye.

Stop being surprised when the leopard's spots are still in their accustomed place.

Anyone expressing surprise or shock, now, is a fucking idiot, who obviously needs a reminder to inhale on a regular basis.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Why wait for the new year to be Sauron levels of Evil?

If you're in Ohio, you can get the ball rolling by trying to pass a ban on abortion after six goddamned weeks.

Note that in the state next to Ohio they've already criminalized miscarriage and have jailed women on the presumption of having tried a DIY chemical/medical abortion when they've miscarried.  And the governor of Indiana is going to be our next Vice President.

The ACLU is begging John Kasich to veto this vile Ohio bill, but given that Kasich was the fucktard who decided that stopping STD clinics was a perfectly okay response to the Planned Parenthood hoax, I doubt he's going to listen.

It's beginning already.

Civil liberties.   They were nice when we had them, weren't they?


Wednesday, November 9, 2016

I am ashamed.

My fellow Americans -

What in the fuck were you thinking?  Are we really going back to the days when it's okay to grope women?  To mock minorities?  To claim that someone isn't American because of where their parents or grandparents were born - no matter where they were born themselves?

Do we not care about civil rights?

Do we not care about standing by our promises?

Say goodbye to The Voter Rights Act of 1965, what provisions remain, let alone any chance of replacing the ones the Supreme Court struck down.  Say goodbye to the ACA.  Say goodbye to the Federal Minimum Wage.  Say goodbye to any attempt for a national policy for carbon emissions.  Say goodbye to Net Neutrality.  Say goodbye to Dodd-Frank, any of its provisions.  Say goodbye to civil rights for all.  Say goodbye to Abortion Rights.  Say goodbye to the VA.  Say Hello to more for-profit prisons.  Say Hello to an expanded School to Prison Pipeline.

Say Hello to newer and more prevalent STDs as more and more clinics get shut down.   Say Hello to a new Jim Crow era.  Say Hello to more for-profit prisons.  Say Hello to an expanded School to Prison Pipeline.  Say Hello to faith tests for citizenship.  Say Hello to even more insane ID requirements that still won't let people of color vote.

And especially to those nominally Christian assholes who voted for The Hairpiece:  You have just made a deal with the devil.  You have made it clear that theocracy is all that matters to you, not mercy, not justice, not liberty, nor any other virtue.  I no longer am going to pretend you're not a font of never-ending hate, out to destroy everything and everyone I care about.