Say It, ACLU!

On the afternoon of Wednesday, Sep 23rd, not much more than an hour after the Kentucky AG announced that no officers would be charged for the killing of Breonna Taylor, the ACLU released its own statement to the press. Before you read it, remember that this is the statement of an old organization that depends on its relationships for its effectiveness as much as it does the courts. So when they release statements, they’re not normally likely to simultaneously set fire to their political relationships and impugn the credibility of the courts.

But read this fucker:

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Black Lives Don’t Matter

Well, the grand jury indictments are in and a single officer is being charged with three counts of “Wanton Endangerment” because his bullets penetrated through the dry wall of Breonna Taylor’s apartment, burst through the drywall on the other side, and trespassed in an apartment not belonging to Taylor.

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Man Shows Off Gun In Grocery Store Checkout, Shoots Self In Dick

You have to wonder sometimes about these gun fondlers. There is yet another story, this one from a semi-rural location I and many Oregonians know well: Lincoln City. It’s a small place, not that attractive in its city center, but it has a gorgeous, peaceful lake separated from the beach by only feet and the ocean by only a few tens of yards. The Dee River from the overflow of this misnamed “Devil’s Lake” to the ocean itself is the shortest river (definition requires year-round flow, not temporary rivers that flow only during flood season) in the world.

Yet now there’s another reason to think of “short” and “Lincoln City” together. There’s not much to tell save for what’s in the headline, but if it’s worth anything, you can read about yet another dood shooting himself in the dick in honor of his right to self-defense.

PS. Of course he hadn’t bothered to do the paperwork for a gun permit, that would have impinged on his constitutional freedoms. So when he gets out of the hospital, he’s going to face multiple criminal charges for endangering others and weapons violations.

Energy Transformation & Nuclear Waste

I am happy to announce that for FreethoughtBlogs upcoming Panel of Inexpert Discussion, I have been able to secure the contribution of notable local luminary Ingibjörg Margarét Guðiradottir, Roy G. Biv Professor of Darwinian-Dysonian Radioecology at Nanaimo Technical University, British Columbia. She will be speaking next weekend, during our fundraiser, on a comprehensive plan to address problems with current nuclear waste disposal, accelerating the transformation of electricity production and energy markets more generally, with knock-on effects for demilitarization and updating older urban infrastructure to more modern building designs.

Before you read her intriguing abstract, please remember to click through to read about my own offer to craft custom short stories for your benefit and titillation.

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Ruth Bader Ginsburg is dead, and we’re the ones going to hell

Perhaps the most important civil rights cases ever to be heard were a series of suits deliberately engineered by Charles Hamilton Houston (mentor of Thurgood Marshall was one of the least of his accomplishments) to test the meaning of “separate but equal”.

While the general public remembers Brown v. Board of Education, Topeka, Kansas, SCOTUS’ decision in that case was unanimous only because of the Socratic groundwork laid in earlier cases that targeted law schools. There were several that attempted to nail down the legal deficiencies of Jim Crow before activists pushed to desegregate K-12 schools. One of the last was Sweatt v. Painter, which challenged the University of Texas’ regime. UofT attempted several tactics, but one of the last was the emergency creation of an ad hoc Blacks-only law school at a separate location.

RBG’s first historically important decision was the VMI case styled US v. Virginia, where the last public, men-only college or university was challenged. Virginia, too, set up a special military academy for women as a last ditch attempt to evade integration, but it fell to Ginsburg in her first important case to declare that the deficiencies of racially segregated eduction were just as unconstitutional when they appeared in the context of gender segregated education.

This is how I will remember RBG: from the beginning of her career on SCOTUS she was fighting a rear guard action against the regressives who were unwilling to admit that precedents or principles existed, that certain issues had been decided, that certain values held constitutional significance.

The most obvious of such fights is the struggle to preserve the rights of privacy, autonomy & conscience embedded in the reasoning of Griswold, Eisenstadt, Roe, and Casey. But this is far from the only battle in which she played the rear guard, making the argument for constitutional values that most of us wander about life not noticing are still being questioned, still under attack. Shelby County v. Holder was another, though in that case less successful, instance.

Shelby County notwithstanding, she has been wonderfully effective in this role, and to lose her at any time is tragic. To lose her during this presidency is devastating.

Carnival of Curiosity: I Have More Than One Pseudonym

No, I don’t have one as famous as Chuck Tingle or anything, but I have used multiple ‘nyms in multiple ways for the past 25 years, including 2 that have published erotica and porn, as well as friendship stories that made humorous use of erotica’s and porn’s tropes without ever having the characters engage with each other sexually.

I did it for many different reasons, but one of the most important was that it raised funds for activist work I was doing at the time. In one of my more notable successes, I auctioned off a single, autographed story (on paper, like I was a common Gutenberg, can you believe it?) for over $900 to fund an important conference trip.

So when it became time to make a major push to retire the debt with which Richard Carrier’s lawsuit saddled FreethoughtBlogs, I thought to myself, “Self,” I thought, “what was the most successful thing you’ve ever done when you needed to raise money for a good cause?” And, obviously, I thought of porn.

So I have decided to once again auction off my skills of an artist. In this case, however, I’m offering you more control over my keyboard and less paper and autographs. For this fundraiser, there will be an auction and also a separate, flat-rate bonus round.

For the first, the winning bid will entirely and solely commission me, Crip Dyke, to write a story, humorous or serious, in which main characters the winner outlines engage in friendship, romance and/or hot steamy sex, as specified by the winner alone.

My custom stories have been used in the past as birthday, anniversary, or other gifts for friends, partners & spouses. They have been used to open up dialog about including new kinds of sex in a relationship when bringing up the possibility directly seemed scary, or to share a fantasy that someone felt as though they could not adequately describe. Other times a custom story can be used simply to tell a person how much you care about and appreciate them. One was even used to embed a confession and apology – a strategy that appeared to work in restoring that relationship’s balance. (Though please, don’t mistreat anyone just for the opportunity to get more from one of my stories!)

If you are the winner, you can expect the final story to fall between 2000 and 6000 words and to be actually edited, unlike the work I typically post to my blog. For best results, I will expect you to be actively involved in imagining what type of story would make you most happy and to e-mail back and forth several times to make sure the final product does not violate any important ideas you hold about who the characters should be and how they should experience their shared world. Because both communication and art take time, allow 30 days from first e-mail contact about the story to delivery of the final product. While I expect to take significantly less than this, total time required will depend in part on the prompt return of e-mails asking for your custom parameters.

You may use this story as you like, so long as you do not sell it for publication, include it in your own for-sale publication, put the text up on a paywalled website, or put any part of it on merchandise for sale. This is slightly broader than unlimited non-commercial use as you should feel free to include choice quotes on your business website or in other free but commercially related venues, perhaps even in your personal bio, so long as the quotes themselves are not behind a paywall. At your whim the story can be published on this blog or delivered privately to you for your exclusive use.

As a (former) erotic/pornograhic professional short story writer who has taught workshops on short story writing generally and sex story writing specifically, my excellent work does not come free, or even cheap. I expect to spend more than 8 hours on this project, and at the US$15 minimum living wage that I support, that would mean that the absolute minimum value of this project is US$120. If there is no bid matching or exceeding $120, there will, sadly, be no custom short story delivered to a single person this month – though if the monthly fundraisers continue, there will be future opportunities to win this rare and coveted Crip Dyke custom work.

The winner of this auction will be determined according to rules developed by my FtB friend and generous mailer of curiously light cardboard boxes, Marcus Ranum: You may bid in the comments below or via e-mail (sent to CripDyke on Gmail) for more privacy. All bids will be assumed to be denominated in US dollars. The highest bid will take the prize for the price of $1 more than the second highest bid, or $121 if there are no other qualifying bids. So feel free to bid what you’re willing to pay without worrying that you are overbidding.

But wait, that’s not all! 

If the second-highest bid is over US $200, I will write a custom story for that bidder as well, for exactly the amount of the bid.

But wait, that’s still not all!

Of course, as worthy of support as both the arts and FtB might happen to be, not everyone has $200 or even $121 to spend on the effort. This is why I am also offering a community story. For this effort, every single person who donates $10 and/or sends me a really good sob story about why their under $10 donation should be sufficient (“really good” judged by my whim, of course) will get to contribute one single detail of character, setting or plot to a community creative effort where all the details provided are woven into a single NSFW story, probably intended to be humorous, though I’m reserving artistic freedom here, to be published right here on this blog. Donations in excess of $10 to this effort entitle the donor to specify one detail per $10 given (rounding up or down at my whim, but larger donations are more likely to be rounded up).

Let me be clear here: I fully expect people to try to use this fundraiser to suggest details that appear hard to incorporate into any short story, or even details that appear to contradict other suggested details should they appear in the comments. There will be no detail, silly, nonsensical or contradictory enough to be omitted. My mind is up for this challenge you trolls, so bring it if you got it.

If this effort fails to raise $120, donations will be kept and suggested details will be held over to the next fundraiser, with a community story being written as soon as donations exceed the $120 minimum. If the community story raises $500 or more for the effort, I will also record a dramatic reading of our collective’s story and upload the audio here for unlimited non-commercial use.

All donations for the auction or the community-created story are expected to be verified by screenshot or other reasonably suitable method. There will be no FBI investigations here, but as this work is undertaken on behalf of FtB I have a duty to the network to make a minimal effort to verify that people are donating what they have pledged.

Good luck and good bidding!

Break my heart, Missouri

Look, let’s not blow smoke. (We have enough of that here in the PNW right now.) I am a cynical old fuck. I remember when Colin Kaepernick was run out of the NFL for quietly taking a knee during the pre-game national anthem.

Why did he do that? He thought enough of his fellow USians to believe that we could enforce the law without the same levels of violence and racism we currently see from US policing agencies. We were told that this was disrespectful to the flag and that while Kaepernick’s message wasn’t bad, during the national anthem at a football game was the wrong time & place.

Of course, when buildings burned in Minneapolis, we were told by those who argued that the US should do nothing to reduce violence and racism that any peaceful protest was fine, but arson isn’t peaceful. Therefore, the unstated – or sometimes stated – conclusion followed, we should not work to reduce racism & violence because if we do the arsonists will win.This message, that any peaceful protest is fine, clashed hard with the treatment of Kaepernick, whose symbolic acts were nothing if not peaceful.

So it’s not like this cynical old woman had been fooled into thinking that we were having an honest national dialog.

Even so, I am depressed and heartbroken in a way that shouldn’t be possible for such a relentless cynic because last night in Missouri, a place where my sister and her veteran husband have quite a nice little home, the NFL opened its season with both the national anthem and a separate moment of silence for racial unity, peace, and cooperation.

The fans – I’m surprised they allowed any in the stadium, but they did – the fans booed throughout the moment of silence

That’s all. I have no commentary. No wisdom to impart.

The football fans booed racial unity. The end.

When it matters to locals…

Many years ago, Bob Packwood represented Oregon in the US Senate despite a veritable career of sexual assault, often carried out in the US Capitol Building. Although the Oregonian, the largest newspaper in the state and one which likes to bill itself as the paper of record for Oregon, had the story, they declined to take it to press. IIRC, one reason for that decision was that they didn’t want to influence Packwood’s reelection bid by printing the story too close to November.

The Oregonian’s slogan at the time was, “If it matters to Oregonians, it’s in the Oregonian.” Naturally enough then, when the Washington Post printed the story of Packwood’s serial predations one immediately began to see bumper stickers around Portland stating, “If it matters to Oregonians, it’s in the Washington Post.”

This phenomenon isn’t unique to the Oregonian, however. There’s an old expression, “Don’t shit where you eat.” The message of the metaphor is that you don’t want to make a mess of the place where you live, because you’ll hurt yourself in the process. Though journalism writ broadly does like to hold powerful figures to account, it doesn’t like to do so if that’s going to make a mess of the places where journalists have to make a living.

As a result, it can sometimes be easier to get good, honest analysis of how fucked up your local situation might be when reading a news source based far away. The problem here is that the honest assessment and willingness to tell the truth even if it makes a local mess is combined with a lack of access to local facts. It’s simply harder to get all the details necessary for the analysis, even if it’s easier to do the analysis honestly once the facts are in place.

But every once in a while you’ll get good writing about your local situation in a foreign source that also managed to get access to all the most important facts, and when that happens it’s often the best reporting you can read.

Today, courtesy of Wonkette.com, I found my way to reporting in The Guardian on police violence in Los Angeles. The whole piece is worth reading, but the conclusion takes one’s breath away:

Lopez knew she wanted to get in engaged in local activism after watching George Floyd’s death. In June, she wrote to the mayor of Ontario, the southern California city where she lives, and outlined her own experiences with police over the years and the ways officers mistreat Black families like hers. She called on city leaders to stand up to systemic racism: “I tell you about us so that you are convinced that we matter.”

On 10 June, a police official responded to her email, thanking her for her words, but suggesting the George Floyd tragedy was unique and did not represent officers’ behavior.

The following day, police killed her father.

California god damn.