7/31/2015

Woman in Maine Dies of a Heroin Overdose and You Should Give a Shit

This is from the obituary for Coleen Sheran Singer from the Bangor Daily News on July 29: "She was a victim of herself, of [Maine Governor] LePage’s politics, of our society’s continuing ignorance and indifference to mental illness, and of our society’s asinine approach to drug addiction." Singer died of an overdose of heroin, to which she had been addicted to for nearly half her life. She tried to get help: "For nearly four years Coleen was in methadone clinics and dedicated herself to sobriety. Taking to heart the adage that 'without drugs, anything is possible,' and with the sometimes slavish devotion of the man she briefly married, Coleen earned her driver’s license, went to the gym regularly, completed nail tech school, worked successfully both part time in retail sales and full time caring for disabled adults, and enrolled in community college."

By the way, the man she briefly married is who wrote this obituary, a last act of love for someone whose illnesses didn't allow her to love herself the way she needed to.

After falling back into using, Singer found that her chances of getting treated again had dried up: "In later years, after LePage removed poor adults from MaineCare, Coleen could not afford the methadone clinic. Heroin was the cheapest way to avoid going into withdrawal...Coleen wanted to get back into a methadone clinic, but LePage and enough republicans in the Legislature said 'No' to the Medicaid expansion. It is no stretch to say that but for LePage’s veto of the Medicaid expansion, Coleen probably would not have shot the heroin that ended her life, and probably would not have had the serious recurring infections that ravaged her limbs the last couple years."

Maine's governor, Paul LePage, is an unrepentant inflamed, bloody asshole. He is probably insane, certainly incompetent, and folksy and down-to-earth and tell-it-like-it-is enough to get elected because, in this stupid country, braying assholishness is seen as courage, howling insanity is seen as likeability, and head-smashing idiocy is seen as wisdom. Reward the goon-looking motherfucker who has all three with reelection.

So not only has LePage vetoed multiple times the state legislature's attempt to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, a veto upheld by the same legislature, but prior to that he cut MaineCare (as the Medicaid program is called there) by nearly 70,000 participants by lowering the income eligibility threshold and by other conservative fuckery. This was back in 2011, when the rats and lice in the legislature voted to support LePage's cuts. He had tried to boot 19 and 20 year olds off it, but the Department of Health and Human Services in DC told him to stop being such a cunt about it because the federal government considers people under 21 to be minors when it comes to this kind of shit. He tried to sue the HHS, but the U.S. Supreme Court shut that down. Yeah, this fucker can't go to jail soon enough.

Whether or not Maine will do anything about the heroin epidemic there, one that has hit many places thanks to cheap supply and worthless drug policies, people like Singer and David McCarthy will keep falling through the man-made cracks in our society. Conservatives like to talk about Christian love, but they know shit about loving. A compassionate state or nation or politician wouldn't just talk about doing things to help the addicted and the mentally ill. It would do something. Now, we do not. We sit on the sides and bemoan the fate of people, many of whom could be helped, many of whom, like Coleen, wanted to be helped.

Coleen Singer was in the Bangor Daily News seven months ago. She had been arrested, along with three men, for possession. She was in the paper in 2009, arrested for prostitution, which her ex-husband says she turned to in order to fund her habit. There is also news about her arrest in 2014 for the same. Between 2009 and 2014, you can see her mugshots tracing her fall, deeper and deeper, into...well, into something.

Instead of posting those pictures, here's one from her ex of just a woman on a beach posing for a camera.

The beaches of Maine are lovely, but the water is so very cold.

7/30/2015

Erick "Erick" Erickson Rages for the Babies

Fox "news" commentator, radio commentator, and man-shaped potato Erick "Erick" Erickson has posted another mighty blog post of mightiness on his internet peek show booth mop, RedState (motto: "You know how when you step in shit while wearing sneakers and you scrape and scrape but there's no way to get all the shit out of the rubber crevices on the bottom until you get to some water. Those dried bits of shit you wash out later? That's us right here.").

"Shut Down the Government. Now," Erickson declares in his title and concluding paragraph. Why should we shut down the government now? Drones? Mass spying? Failure to act on climate change? The corruption of politicians through a money spigot opened fully? Fuck you, you baby-hating dicks. No, it's because Planned Parenthood gets money from the government and they're obviously straight out murdering babies in order to sell their delicious baby parts for cold, hard cash.

Yeah, after another of those oh-so-graphic descriptions of abortions (Guess what? Medical procedures are kinda gross), Erickson proclaims, "[T]he federal government gives Planned Parenthood millions of dollars each year. The Democrats say the money does not pay for abortions, but your federal taxpayer dollars subsidize an organization that could do quite well on its own. Our tax dollars should not go to carving up kids and harvesting their organs. But they do."

Planned Parenthood received a bit over $500 million a year from Medicaid and other sources. By the Rude Pundit's awesome ability to use a calculator, that works out to be tinier than Erick "Erick" Erickson's prick, like 1/10,000th of a percent of the entire federal budget. You'd think a war or something might inspire calls to shut down the government, but, hey, let's just give Erickson a refund of a penny. It'll still be more than he spent on Planned Parenthood.

Erickson has what he believes is an appalling statistic: "According to testimony into Planned Parenthood’s practices in Texas, Planned Parenthood of Houston alone makes $120,000.00 a month from the deaths of children and the harvesting of their organs." That testimony is from the sham hearing going on in the Texas Legislature (motto: "Really? Do you expect us to legislate?"). Erickson links to a tweet that reported on the testimony by a former Planned Parenthood employee. Now, you, being rational, might think, "Oh, shit, is this a whistleblower with all kinds of documents and shit?"

Fuck no. In fact, Abby Johnson, the former official in question, tweeted to naysayers who wanted proof of her assertion, "I didn't steal any documents when I left. Would you have preferred that I did?" Well, yeah. That's how you blow a fuckin' whistle. In a report from an anti-choice group on the hearing, Johnson wasn't as sure as the tweeting reporter was: "Johnson testified that her Planned Parenthood clinic made $200 per baby. She said fetal tissue donations were 'sheer profit for Planned Parenthood.' Even with a conservative estimate, she said, the large quota-based Planned Parenthood clinic that had even 50 tissue donors abortions a day could easily make $120,000 a month from tissue donation." "Could" and "estimate" do not a true statement make.

In other words, the more proper testimony would have been "I pulled this number right out of my asshole." That's because according to Planned Parenthood's own tax documents, they would have had to commit massive tax fraud to cover up that much money a month.

When you rely on fake videos, you rely on fake facts, also known as "lies." When you rely on lies for one part of your argument, hey, what they hell, eh, Erick? You may as well go all in.

7/29/2015

The Cruel Attempt to Destroy Planned Parenthood Is an Attack on Women

The Rude Pundit gets it, dear conservatives. Lady parts are mysterious and difficult to sort out. Sometimes they're all up inside there and sometimes there are bits that are just hanging out there in the breeze. What the fuck is up with that, right? And as for what works for what things, which flaps and buttons are useable in sexual situations, where the hell the babies and pee come from, well, shit, there should probably be a freakin' guidebook. Besides, have you actually touched lady parts? They're all squishy and, if touched right, slick, like a hairless cat in the rain. Since we're supposed to fear that which we don't comprehend, of course you're gonna do everything you can to make sure that women can't enjoy their parts as much as men enjoy theirs. Of course you're gonna punish women for having parts that you don't understand. Of course, conservative women, you fear the pleasure in your parts or want to please your conservative men by punishing the poors so, hey, it's all good.

But listen: you don't have to. You don't have to keep making life a misery for women who haven't received the just rewards of capitalism. You don't have to get all ACORN on Planned Parenthood, whose only sin, it seems, is following the laws that you don't like.

You know what else is icky? Disembodied baby parts. Baby organs. Sliced up baby tissue. It's fucking gross, grosser even than a vagina. But so are all cut up human bodies. So when you see the latest video from fake organization Center for Medical Progress with its fake representative from a fake fetal tissue procurement firm, Biomax, looking at pieces of aborted fetuses from Planned Parenthood clinics, of course it's gonna be gross. The fake fucks who made it want you to be grossed out. They rejoice at how appalled you are. Medical science is not for the weak-stomached.

You ought to know, though, that everything Planned Parenthood has done is legal. In fact, it's so fucking legal that a recently released document from Planned Parenthood shows that it changed language in the agreement with "Biomax" so that it would specifically comply with federal law. In fact, Planned Parenthood wanted to make very, very clear that it was not going to profit from the sale of fetal tissue: "The lawyers wrote that Biomax would cover only the cost of 'transportation, processing, preservation and storage' of the samples." That's a little more complicated than "Holy shitballs, those are baby parts." The statutes say you can make back your shipping and handling on the tissue. If you don't like the law, change it. But don't condemn people for following it to the letter.

You ought to know that we've been down this road before. Yeah, back in 2000, ABC's 20/20 ran a piece about a company in Kansas that sold fetal body parts to researchers. The anti-choice media was gleeful about it, and the man at the center of it, Miles Jones, was investigated by the FBI for eight years until they cleared him of any charges. Jones didn't violate a single law. So back to the drawing board for the anti-choice forces.

You ought to know, also, that this gets back to other debates, like research using fetal stem cells. Charging money for baby parts, even to cover expenses, is hard to comprehend for many people. Using baby parts to try to cure illnesses and genetic conditions seems like a pretty fucking noble pursuit to most of us. That context is left out of most of the hollering about baby brain markets or whatever. According to one doctor working to cure eye diseases, "Eye tissue from fetuses has played a crucial role in studies aimed at finding treatments for degenerative diseases of the retina that are a major cause of vision loss in people as they age." The same goes for things like muscular dystrophy.

You ought to know that fetal tissue is only harvested (yes, terrible word, but there it is) with permission from the woman who had the abortion. But that turns women getting abortions from tormented, depressed victims to beings with agency to make decisions about their bodies, women who understand their lady parts and know what they want to do with them, the very thing that the enemies of Planned Parenthood want to crush.

Finally, you ought to know that, if you defund Planned Parenthood, if you get rid of it, you will ensure there are more abortions, more teen pregnancies, and more suffering women, especially poor women, poor pregnant women who want to have healthy babies and who won't have access to the prenatal care that Planned Parenthood provides.Yeah, they help women give birth, too.  The words "planned" and "parenthood" don't just mean "abortion." In fact, they barely mean that.

You won't know any of this because the voices yelling loudest, like the desperate madman Rand Paul, trying to get some heat for his dying presidential campaign, don't want you to know or understand. They want to you to rise up, like the internet mob you are so easily whipped into joining, and blindly destroy that which they tell you to destroy, not even realizing that what you are destroying are not just lady parts, but the women who own them.

(Since we live in an era with irony illiteracy, the Rude Pundit would like to state that he loves vaginas in all their forms, from dainty closed rosebuds to full-bloom sunflowers.)

7/28/2015

Bill Cosby Advises Kids on Lying

Man, Bill Cosby is gonna be pissed when he hears how Bill Cosby has been lying.



(It's from an episode of Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids that also includes the gang singing a song about how lies will come back to haunt you. Apparently, all our Saturday mornings back in the 1970s were one big lie.)

7/27/2015

America Has Become a Second Amendment Death Cult

You can remember learning in school or at a museum or maybe on the Discovery Channel about human sacrifice in ancient or distant cultures, whether it was the temples of the Aztecs and Incans down south or the bogs of the British Isles, where the Celts performed their rituals. You can remember how you felt: the gruesome fascination followed by disbelief at the stupidity of the reasons. Killing the slaves of a dead master? Ludicrous. And the tribes and nations that sacrificed children, virgins, whoever to appease angry gods just seem insane in retrospect. The circular logic was mind-boggling: We must cut out the hearts of these kids so the gods will make the crops grow and keep away the storms or volcanoes. But if there is a storm or volcano and the crops all die, we'll just sacrifice more kids because obviously we didn't please our mad deities last time.

You know that there were many people in Incan villages in Peru who thought the whole thing was bullshit, that slitting the throat of the woman who lived down the road was entirely unnecessary, that maybe they could spend more time learning about weather and crop rotation. But they didn't dare say anything because they didn't want to piss off the priests and their most devoted followers who might decide that they needed to be sacrificed next. People die all the time because cowards don't speak up.

The mass shooting in Lafayette, Louisiana, hit home, literally, for the Rude Pundit. That's where he grew up. It's where he went to college. It's where his family lives and where he visits twice a year. He can't count the number of times he has been to the Grand movie theater on Johnston Street, right across from the Judice Inn and its delicious Cajun hamburgers. From the Grand, you go northeast on Johnston and make a left on Jefferson Street to get to Parish Ink, the t-shirt and design shop where he regularly bought souvenirs from home to give as gifts, where family bought gifts for him. He spoke a few times to co-owner and designer Jillian Johnson, praising her work and laughing at the puns on the shirts. Johnson was one of two women who were shot and killed by John Russell Houser while they watched the film Trainwreck in the bone-chilling air-conditioning that makes the Grand an oasis in the smothering Lafayette summer.

Many on the left have focused on Houser's despicable beliefs, which are not really that far out of the conservative mainstream anymore. It's an awfully short journey from Scott Walker to Stormfront. On the right, they're more concerned about Houser's mental illness, which is what they always talk about when a white Christian is the one doing the shooting, as if a Muslim man can't have depression exacerbated by drug use that is exploited by a radical ideology to inspire him to violence that ultimately ends his life, as he had wanted.

The Rude Pundit thought about the Inca, the Mayans, the savage tribe of Skull Island when he began trying to piece together something to say about the Lafayette shooting. It's long been apparent that the United States is now a death cult built around the worship of guns. The dead in each shooting, whether it's gang-related in Los Angeles, accidental in Virginia, or mass shooting after mass shooting, are treated as a necessity in order for us to stay safe. How is Sandy Hook any different than the Aztecs stabbing a child to keep the city from destruction? How did that work out for them?

Multiple massacres ago, the Rude Pundit could say he knows someone who knew one of the kids murdered at Sandy Hook. Now he can say he actually met one of the murder victims in Lafayette. What's next in this macabre progression? At some point, despite your faithful devotion, the priests come to sacrifice your family members. Or you.

Our firearm-centered death cult is based on a deliberate misinterpretation of the Second Amendment. No matter what courts or lobbyists or corporate-manipulated citizen-tools say, the Second Amendment has a conditional phrase, "A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free State." You can pretend that that doesn't matter or you can lie about what it means, but "well-regulated" is in there, and we live in a country that is far, far from regulating guns, let alone militias, well. The Second Amendment wasn't meant to be a murder-suicide pact. It was meant to deal with a widely-spread, small population that wanted to kill the British and some Indians. A rational nation would revisit it to clarify or change it. In the United States, that would probably just mean craven politicians frightening Americans into taking out the opening phrase so no one can bring up the argument against more guns anymore.

In Louisiana, the death cult is practically having a blood orgy on a constant basis. Writes Adam Duvernay in the Lafayette Daily Advertiser, "In 2013, 446 people in Louisiana were killed with with guns, according to statistics collected by the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention. By body count, that placed Louisiana 7th in the nation. In terms of murders per 100,000 residents — 9.6 — the Bayou State was 1st." This is in an article titled, mournfully, obviously, "Analysis: Theater shooting won't change a thing."

If we continue to do nothing, we are all mentally ill and we are all extremists. We are just another bunch of Mayans, watching the high priest politicians cut out the hearts of the children in Newtown, the churchgoers in Charleston, the women in Lafayette, all to appease the malicious gods of the NRA, holding the gore aloft so all may see it, hoping that our  sacrifices are deemed worthy, not realizing that the gods are illusions and that we're just killing our way into oblivion.

7/24/2015

Re-Post: Of Course It's the Guns. It's Always the Guns.

(This is a repost from a month ago because there's very little left to say. One word has been added: Lafayette, which is the Rude Pundit's hometown.)

We know, right? We know that, at the end of the discussion, after we've talked about racism and hatred and mental illness, what remains are the guns. No, you won't get rid of racism and hatred and mental illness by taking the guns away, but nothing will ever get rid of that. Those aren't tangible things. Ideas can't be taken out of someone's hands, alive and warm or cold and dead, melted down, and eliminated. 

But guns can be. 

Guns amplify the racism, foster hatred, and give an easy outlet to the mentally ill. The sad part is that we know this. We know it to be true. Even the vast majority of people who cling to the belief that only guns can stop guns understand the equation. Easy access to guns means more murder. 

But we are so afraid. Politicians are afraid of the NRA. Gun owners are afraid of government power. Everyone is told to be afraid of their neighbors, the black guy walking down the street, the Muslims in front of a mosque. And that fear has made us hold to our guns, if not in actuality then in support of mild laws and compromising politicians.

Yet reality demonstrates again and again that, mostly, the fear is over nothing, over a lie. There's never a good guy with a gun around when you need one. And, no, more guns won't solve that. 

This post is absent of facts. It's absent of links. It's absent of stated context, although you know what the reference points are. They have become a mantra of places: Lafayette, Charleston, Newtown, Aurora, and many more already part of the chant and many more to be added. 

This blogger has grown weary of the depraved ignorance that has taken the place of rational discussion. He's long been amazed at how people who are wary of the motives of the government they elected don't have any suspicions of the organizations and corporations who only answer to the dollar. Very little surprises him anymore, not even this latest massacre. 

It is who we are. It is a price to pay for freedom, we are told. And yet, somehow, we are less and less free.

7/23/2015

No Post Today

The Rude Pundit has a wake and funeral to attend today and tomorrow. See yesterday's post for the fuller story. So right-wing fuckery will have to run rampant without him trying to stop it for a day, maybe two. 

Back soon with less mournful rudeness.