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After reading Hunter's recent diary about the spectacularly stupid speech that Scalia made to a Swiss radio station, I made this snarky comment. But it didn't get much reaction, probably because it was near the end of a long, long line of great comments and I didn't find the diary until nearly a day later (thanks, Kosmail, for alerting me to these great diaries!)

I'd still like to share it, though. So, here. This is what I would have said to Antonin Scalia if he had been my student, if you'll just follow me over the orange squiggle...

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Today is World AIDS Day. Today, I am remembering my friends Jim and Paul, both of whom died in the early part of the 1980s AIDS holocaust.

I was born late enough that I was not part of the gay community while so many thousands of gay men died from the "gay cancer." The generation who went through that was about seven or eight years older than me. But I was old enough that there were a few people in my life who died of it. However, I do not have a lot of personal memories of the AIDS crisis and this diary is not about that. If you want to see some good personal memories of that time period, I advise you to go over to sfbob's excellent diary on the same topic.

In the meantime, come over the jump for some facts about HIV/AIDS...

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Tue Nov 25, 2014 at 06:50 AM PST

Because I am white...

by Killer of Sacred Cows

So far, since the non-indictment was not handed down, I've blocked no less than 10 friends of friends on Facebook. I am horribly aware of my privilege this morning thanks to these bad examples.

Come over the jump for some ways in which I'm aware of my privilege this morning, as a white male living in a liberal area of the United States.

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Don't tell me it's not about race.

It IS about race.

It's about a black boy on his way to college shot by a white cop who had a gun and too much power.

It's about history, starting with the Middle Passage and not ending with Ferguson.

It's about us-vs-them-ism, that human scourge.

It's about the KKK and the Aryan Nation, about the white descendants of Southern slaveowners and Southern sharecroppers.

It's about white supremacy, which still exists.

It's about the perversion of religion to justify this kind of bullshit.

It's about a prosecutor who kowtowed to the police force instead of to the law.

It's about a cop who had a bug bite and a scratch mark and claimed he'd been attacked.

It's about hypocrisy. It's about selfishness. It's about a complete lack of compassion and empathy.

It's about black people being redlined by homeowners' insurance companies instead of by realtors, unable to get out of the ghetto.

It's about black Americans who can't live the American dream because the closest "real job" is forty miles away from their home.

It's about black children gunned down on the street by white cops and left laying there for four hours in the summer heat, drying.

It's about a black boy being labeled a "thug" for being a black boy.

It's about my black students and their black families.

It's about my black friends and their black loved ones.

It's about white privilege and black despair - the privilege to be outraged instead of frightened by this news.

It's about my black male students who live with this terror every single day because of your white racist excuses.

It's about my white friend who wouldn't stand up to you and tell you to stop being racist in his comment thread, but who told me that it was rude to say I'd blocked you.

It's about our world. This is the world we live in, this world we made and maintain.

History just repeats itself, and repeats itself again.

So don't tell me it's not about race. The only reason you don't see it is because you are not looking.

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I've been reading some stuff about privilege and privileged attitudes. One of the things that makes me the most angry is when the privileged person says "It's not fair that you say that I have privilege! That makes me uncomfortable! You're so angry and you should just have a reasonable conversation!"

First, this is a tone argument. Cut it out. It makes you look like an asshole. It makes me angry for quite reasonable reasons, your ignorance and resistance being two of the primary reasons, and you do not get to tell me not to be angry about that.

Second, so you're a little (or a lot) uncomfortable? Aw, poor widdle you. Where is it written that you get to be comfortable all the time? Growth and change don't come when you're comfortable. Grow up.

Third, "fair"? You don't get to have "fair." That's not a word that happens in reality. You get to have "reality" instead.

Make those arguments (tone, uncomfortable, fair), and all it does is make you an asshole. So cut it out.

Come over the jump to see how being an ally (instead of an asshole) works.

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A few weeks ago, the nation was rocked by one of the more implausible places for marriage equality to become a reality: Utah.

One question I heard quite a lot at that time was "Who's next?" In the discussions that followed, suggestions ranged from the likely (Oregon, Nevada) to the seemingly impossible (Alabama, Louisiana).

I don't think Oklahoma got mentioned very much, although it had a case in the pipeline on appeal (probably because that case originated nearly 10 years ago in 2004, and nobody expected it to go anywhere due to its hot-potato status). And yet, as of today, Oklahoma has joined the states where same-sex marriage is the law - even if the decision has been stayed until the 10th Circuit deals with it. This makes Oklahoma 19 (Utah being 18) in the move toward full equality for same-sex couples.

So, dear readers, I ask for your speculation. Who's next? If you know of cases in the pipeline, name them.

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In reading through the front-page diary about whether you're one of the people the Teapublicans hate, I was struck by an exchange in the comments asking why (essentially) the Tea Partiers' positions change with the wind.

The diary focused largely on who they hate. And, I think, that's the answer to that question. Their position is based on "I hate the people who I perceive as causing me, or my group, to be reduced in status/caused to pay taxes/offended."

But the thing is, their hate, being equal-opportunity, precludes compassion. It exes out the possibility of compassionate policy. And although I've been told that liberals change with the wind, there is a common thread running through most liberal and progressive policy: Is it compassionate?

Welfare is compassion for the poor. WIC and TANF are compassion for the hungry. Education programs for prisoners is compassion for the imprisoned.

I think this guy called Jeshua ben Josef kind of advocated that sort of thing, didn't he?

I'm also a sociologist. In my experience and research, social forces are what push people to take certain positions. The last time Americans were this un-compassionate, it was the Golden Age of the robber barons, when everyone except the 1% was living on the trembling edge of abject poverty (if not living in it already). Do we have to go through this every hundred years or so to remind us that compassion for those less fortunate is a good thing?

When is humanity going to grow up? More specifically, when are AMERICANS going to grow up?

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I'm sick of this shutdown.

I know that the impact I'm feeling is minor, but right now I can't prep my classes because most of the government sites I use for information are closed (such as census.gov) due to the shutdown. This also means my students can't get the information they need for the research I've assigned to them. This is not on.

I have friends who are veterans who are wondering how they're going to pay their rent. I have friends who are poor who are worried that their food next month will be in cans with cats on it. I'm angry at the Selfish Caucus (formerly the Suicide Caucus) who have decided that "I'm gonna hold my breath and stamp my feet until I get my way" is a viable political tactic.

So here's some information for you all so that you can contact your Congresscritter, Boehner, and Cantor today to tell them to get their collective heads out of their collective asses (and if they are a Democrat who is trying to help us, to tell them thank you and to keep their chin up).

http://www.contactingthecongress.org/ is a clearinghouse for contacting any of your Congress members.

If you don't know what Congressional district you're part of, http://www.house.gov/... will help you find out that information.

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Just a short diary to vent about the ridiculous complaints I've been seeing in the last few days....

I am so sick of the childish whining I'm seeing from friends of friends on my Facebook page about Obamacare. Here's one from this morning: The penalty levied for not purchasing health care is an unfair tax.

Saying that you think that the penalty for not getting health care under Obamacare is an "unfair tax" demonstrates that in your heart, you're a selfish child. Here's the thing about that penalty: if you're selfish enough to say "I shouldn't have to buy health insurance," and you don't, and then you end up in the hospital with no health insurance, guess what pays the bill? That's right - other people's taxes. If you're not willing to pay for health insurance that has now been made incredibly affordable for you by Obamacare, but you're willing to be a drain on the system? That's about as unpatriotic and selfish as you can get.

So I think it's reasonable to say that if you're going to be that selfish, you should pay a penalty to offset the costs you're causing other people who paid their taxes in good faith as good citizens. Call it a tax, call it a fine, I don't care - it was upheld as constitutional by the Supreme Court, and it's the law of the land, and if you're going to be a drain on the system, you deserve to have to pay it.

As for the people who can't afford to buy it because they have no job - guess what? There are tax subsidies to help those folks.

And if you already have adequate coverage through your employer, and you're just whining on general principles of "I don't wanna"? Grow up already. That stopped being acceptable when you were six or seven, if your parents raised you right.

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That was a comment to one of the many, many posts I've read about the travesty of justice in the Trayvon Martin murder case since I arrived home this evening.

And I wish that were the case, but it's not, folks.

Hoping the world riots and sets itself on fire over what happened to Trayvon Martin is pointless. It won't. People will rage for a few days, sign a few online petitions, maybe write their senators or the President, and then they'll forget that a white man shot an unarmed black kid for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Americans just don't give enough of a damn about others anymore to care. If we did, we'd be rioting about food, social welfare, and the economy. We aren't.

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I have been trying to figure out how to get this to post in a comment for about an hour now, but I've finally given up because my HTML-fu is failing me. Please to share this around.

This map shows the states where Republican House Representatives voted No on the Sandy disaster relief bill. The number of Republicans who voted nay is shown compared to total Republicans in the state delegation.
This map shows the states where Republican House Representatives voted No on the Sandy disaster relief bill. The number of Republicans who voted nay is shown compared to the number Republican House Representatives in that state (so, for example, 3 of California's 15 Republican House Representatives voted nay on critical disaster relief for Sandy victims). Mets102 has a great diary here that details which representatives from which districts in each state; none of them are surprising, sadly.

Edited to correct fuzziness (I hope).

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Sun Dec 30, 2012 at 11:37 AM PST

Regarding Guns...

by Killer of Sacred Cows

A friend of mine says that she believes in the 10-day waiting period and background check for all guns, including gun shows. But she also believes in legal gun ownership.

That's too lax. That's not enough. That would still have allowed Columbine and Newtown, at minimum. Here's what I believe and want, and I don't think it's too restrictive.

In a perfect world, nobody would have guns. This is, I admit, not a perfect world. So here's what I want:

I want anyone who owns a gun to have to take a yearly gun-safety course to get a gun license. I want them to have to renew it once a year. I want them to have to carry liability insurance on each gun they own, and I want them to have to register each gun they own. And I want failure to do any of these things to bring a felony charge.

I want limits on how many guns a person can own. I want gun owners to have to put them in a gun safe with trigger locks on them. I want limits on how much ammunition a person can own (no more than 30 rounds sounds good to me - that's the law in Israel, did you know that?) and I want any gun that has a "magazine" to be unavailable to the public, from 9 mms to full-auto AK-47s and everything in between. If Adam Lanza's mother had been restricted to two six-shot revolver handguns with required trigger locks and gun safes and 30 rounds of ammunition total, Newtown would not have happened unless she broke the law and didn't comply - and I want anyone who doesn't comply with these restrictions charged with a felony for not complying.

I want gun shows to be stopped entirely, because how are you going to enforce the 10-day waiting period and background check there? It's like trying to get people to show proper ID at a swap meet. It's a pipe dream to think we can regulate a gun show. I want gun and ammunition sales on the internet to be completely illegal (with a felony charge if you try to do it). I want a person to have to walk into a store in person to buy a gun, and I want a national database that flags if he tries to buy more than what he can legally own (two non-magazine handguns and 30 rounds of ammunition) to prevent him from buying anything else.

These restrictions would have prevented Newtown, Columbine, Aurora, Virginia Tech, and most of the other mass gun murders in the last ten to twenty years. They would also prevent quite a few of the gang murders and drive-by shootings, since that's the loophole most gang members use these days to get their guns - the gun shows, which often bypass or "forget" the background check and ten-day waiting period. And they do not restrict people's rights unnecessarily. You can still maintain the fiction that you're "protecting yourself" with two handguns.

Constructive comments welcome. Comments that boil down to nothing more than "but, but, Second Amendment!" are not. I know that it's a free site and so you can say what you want, but I won't respond to any comment that is a But But Second Amendment comment beyond mockery or contempt.

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