Forwarding address

DC Exile Day, ok. Wait. Stop that. Just fucking stop it.

Seriously. Just, dude. I’m warning you.

Dear readers, I know you know that I left DC over one month (or three kilometres) ago to head back west. Over the past 30-something days I have been including the line “DC Exile” and the number of days since the move on this blog.

Today, that ends.

It is time to stop looking back at my time in DC and Virginia and recognize where I am now—in Utah writing, reading, recording and working on where I am going next.

I have no idea how that will look, but I know it will not look backward.

It's me. Looking forward (and sexy for that matter).

Silent majority

21 February 2012: DC Exile Day 28

It looks like the Virginia General Assembly’s attempt to return women to a day before the 19th Amendment is getting some great attention, notice and outcry.

Yesterday, a group of activists surrounded the Virginia Capitol in Richmond to protest the state’s persistent attacks on women’s health. (Estimates put the crowd at over 1000 persons.)

While the protestors stood silently outside, Virginia’s cowardly, misogynist legislators held off on voting on some terrible bills.

Rather than delve into the details, I’ll provide some great links from yesterday, including some spot-on editorials decrying the latest bigoted bills in Virginia.

Activists in Virginia are now poised for a statewide day of action this Thursday, 23 February. To learn more, visit NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia’s page.

[Updated: 12:10 p.m. MST]

News outlets continue coverage today.

Retrograde fever

Hello again everyone.

Yesterday, the Virginia House of Delegates approved HB 1, the “personhood” bill granting constitutional and property rights from the moment of conception. News outlets have done an accurate job of reporting the dangers of such legislation passing in Virginia (my favorite reports were from The Rachel Maddow Show, the Huffington Post and Mother Jones).

The reports and the debate in the General Assembly frequently focus on what the bill will do. Among the extreme results likely if the bill becomes law: the complete outlawing of safe, legal abortion in Virginia, the criminalizing of many forms of birth control and the development of a model that other states can use to strip away women’s rights and send our country to some Biblical notion of gender roles. (Fitting that I am listening to Metallica’s “Holier Than Thou” while writing this post.)

Particularly striking to me in reading the coverage is the mere existence of the conversation.

The year is 2012. When he heard that year, the ten-year-old version of Joseph Patrick Richards envisioned flying cars, hoverboards, omnipresent virtual reality simulators (Facebook does not count) and meals in tablet form. While technology has come a long way, our ideals seem more retrograde than any time in the last 50 years. (As the AP reports, Virginia is a clear example of moving backward.) When we should be living on Neptune and paying for sewing kits with chips planted in our thumbnails we are instead focusing on doing everything we can to make sure women have only the role of broodmares in the future of the US.

Why? Why does this rhetoric exist? How can it be part of the national conversation? How can we be nearly 40 years on from Roe v. Wade and somehow find ourselves moving to the pre-suffrage days?

I am deeply troubled that our national dialogue continues to center on rejecting advancements in human rights. I believe it is entirely acceptable to hold bigoted views in your own life. It is your right to be a senseless asshole. However, as soon as you enter the public stage, especially in the role of leader (as a member of the press, public official, politician, etc.) you no longer have the right to act on your view that some people in this country should not be people. I believe every proposed bill should have to pass a human rights test. Will your strict voting requirement bill limit the human rights of certain individuals? If yes, then you do not have permission to even waste time or the public conscience by officially submitting your bill. Next. Does your bill in anyway single out women or abortion providers for restrictions you do not place on men or other doctors? Sorry, but we do not accept restrictions of human rights in this country. We’re the United States of America. We believe human rights are inviolable.

At least thirty-year-old Joey can dream.

Personhoodwinked

13 February 2012: DC Exile Day 20

This morning, the Virginia House of Delegates are hearing debate on HB 1. HB 1 is what is known as a “personhood” bill, meaning it would grant full constitutional and “personhood” rights to zygotes from the moment of conception. The bill’s patron is Delegate Bob Marshall, R-Prince William, who is nothing if not a one-track-minded opponent of women’s health.

It should be no secret I am adamantly opposed to such a bill. Not only does it have the potential to change language so that Virginia could effectively outlaw abortion and ban many forms of birth control, it is another bill in a long line of attacks that do nothing but single out women in an attempt to eradicate their rights.

I’m sure the views from the floor of Virginia’s House of Delegates will be outrageous, so I’ll do my best to put up the highlights here. (You can also listen to the debate live.)

11:50 a.m. (MST) – The House return from a pizza day recess. (Unless I absolutely misheard what they said when going to recess, but I don’t think I did.)

11:52 a.m. (MST) – Debate on HB 1 begins. Floor amendment and floor substitute to be heard. Del. Marshall addressing what he calls “standard objections of the bill” (based on statue in Missouri in 1986). Del. Marshall says that voters in Virginia who said they disagreed with the bill were not “informed.” Del. Marshall also argues that bill would not affect birth control or miscarriage, but does not mention abortion. (Correction – He did say the bill will have no effect on abortion).

12:01 p.m. (MST) Delegate Jennifer McClellan’s substitute bill is ruled not germane. Amendment introduced by Delegate Vivian Watts, D-Fairfax – “Nothing in this section should affect lawful contraception.” Del. Marshall responds to the amendment by saying the amendment is not related to the bill and would put lawmakers on record as “being against the law of gravity.” Del. Watts responds by pointing out “the moment of conception” language in HB 1. Calls out Human Life Alliance piece of literature that describes birth control as abortion. Del. Watts tried to have the dialogue with Del. Marshall in committee, but Del. Marshall refused to offer a definition of conception. Del. Watts – By voting for this bill, “you are voting against birth control.”

12:07 p.m. (MST) The House votes to pass by Del. Watts’ amendment. Delegate Joseph Morrissey, D-Henrico, questions Del. Marshall. When Del. Morrissey asks Del. Marshall if the intent of the bill is to outlaw abortion, Del. Marshall responds in the affirmative. Del. Morrissey mentions the property rights of the zygotes and asks if the cell can sue the mother for drinking, drugs and over indulgence in sugar. Del. Marshall responds by quoting Dr. Seuss. Del. Morrissey – This legislation gives cells property rights. What specific property rights? Del. Marshall – Zygotes is Latin and we should use English in this body.

12:11 p.m. (MST) Del. Morrissey continues to question Del. Marshall. Del. Morrissey – What do you mean when you say “the personhood bill would give the state the backbone to criminalize abortion”? Del. Marshall – This bill does not criminalize abortion in and of itself. Del. Morrissey – The real intent is to create a civil action for a fetus. Why not just amend the wrongful death statute? Why this approach? Del. Marshall – Purpose of this bill is for courts to understand that “child” in utero is a human being. Del. Morrissey – Why not amend the wrongful death code? Del. Marshall – Purpose is to recognize unborn children as human beings. Del. Morrissey – Didn’t Supreme Court rule on substantive Missouri law and not preamble on which HB 1 is based? Del. Marshall – They reversed the Court of Appeals decision and did rule on it. Del. Morrissey – Is it Marshall’s position that the Supreme Court ruled on language on which HB 1 is based? Del. Marshall – Roundabout yes. Del. Morrissey – Was this bill drafted by legislative services? Del. Marshall – No. It was drafted by Rita Dunaway of The Rutherford Institute, a conservative thinktank.

12:19 p.m. Delegate Charniele Herring, D-Alexandria, takes the bill head on saying the bill has implications on “the right to privacy and on birth control.” Delegate Eileen Filler-Corn, D-Fairfax, questions Del. Marshall. “In your opinion, does this bill affect access to current forms of contraception?” Del. Marshall – It does not. Del. Filler-Corn – Does this bill affect in vitro fertilization? Del. Marshall – No. Del. Filler-Corn – Then why is it not appropriate to have an exception for all forms of birth control? Del. Marshall – No. Del. Filler-Corn – If the bill is not intended to strip away the option of contraception, then what is the fear of including an amendment to protect birth control? Del. Marshall – This bill does not deal with nuclear weapons, so there is no point for an amendment saying such.

The bill is passed to the third reading calendar. That means they will hear the bill once more in the House and if it passes the full floor it will move to the Senate for consideration.

12:26 p.m. (MST) – Let’s sum up. Women’s health proponents wished to amend the bill to explicitly protect birth control. Delegate Bob Marshall and House members opposed to women’s health rejected the amendment and did not want to be on record as voting against birth control. I learned (perhaps some persons knew it already) that the Virginia “personhood” bill was drafted by a lawyer at a religious, conservative thinktank.

So, if you live in Virginia, religious White men got one more way to control your reproductive life.

Crisp in glover compartment

24 September 2011

Good Saturday and almost Sunday friends and lovers. Yes, the title is a stretch, but so is…um…something really stretchy (whether you Lycra it or not).

Tonight’s post features headings!

Zip, Zapp’s, Zop

On Thursday of this past week I travelled to Richmond, VA. I drove on I-95. On the way back from Richmond I decided to stop at a Wawa in Fredericksburg, VA to purchase road trip junk food.

I am not sure of the appropriate nomenclature for the population we derogatorily refer to as “white trash.” I don’t think an alternative using the word “trailer” is suitable. The term “Redneck” is too broad and does not take into account the groups living throughout the country and not just in the US South. For now, they shall remain an unnamed group in this here blog.

A young man belonging to the unnamed group walked into the Wawa directly behind me. (The man was directly behind me. The Wawa was directly ahead of me.) He said, “What’s up,” and I could not tell if he was actually speaking at me, but I answered anyway. He then turned into a human homing missile, stumbling dazedly into my path as we zigzagged our way to the toilets.

After I “nipped to the bog” (you’re welcome UK readers) I went to purchase a soda and a bag of chips. (I also bought a terrible buffalo bleu chicken wrap that made me wonder why I am not still vegetarian.) This particular Wawa had Mountain Dew in a 12 oz (64 m) can. Those of you who are my most passionate and intimate lovers know my Mountain Dew hierarchy (primarily because I cannot help but spout about the soda nearly every conversation) and know how pleased I was to find the 12 oz (114 dB) offering of purportedly penis-shrinking pop. (Was not that one of the biggest conversations among adolescent youth in the 1990s? Perhaps it was just among me and my unnamed group friends who consumed enough Mountain Dew for the company to legally change the name to Range Fog if they so chose.)

My most intimate lovers also know my proclivity to purchase potato chips. While many humans expecting disaster may stockpile water, bread and batteries, I gather cart loads of chips.

I am always willing to try a different flavor of chip, no matter how off-putting the name or description.

Hence, my decision to purchase a chip called “Spicy Cajun Crawtators.” (Note: I am unsure how two ounces equates to a “super size.”)

A chip off the old block(ed colon)

Verdict on the chips: Surprisingly edible and cause only minor heart palpitations and digestive dis-ease.

Facebook

I held out so far, but I do not think I can refrain any longer from weighing in on the latest Facebook changes. The only thought I really have (other than we maybe should not really expect any privacy from online networking sites) is considering if I can remove myself from the Facebook universe. I primarily use the site now to promote this blog and other creative activities. Perhaps I can disengage myself as a mere human from the site and engage myself solely as a creator and entertainer. Not sure. So I put the question to you, dear readers: Shall I remain on Facebook or make like a tree and disappear?

Whatever you decide, you should still be sure to follow me on Twitter. @mentalmacguyver

Preview

Stay tuned for the next post when I show and tell of the recent trip to Olive Garden.