Rants

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I took some time to catch up on the weekend’s news and my favorite blogs yesterday and today.

– I learned that Cardinal Wilfrid Fox Napier, the Catholic Archbishop of Durban in South Africa said that pedophilia is not criminal, it’s an illness.
– I read that in my home state of Michigan, a federal Judge Blocked the U.S. health-care reform’s mandate requiring employee insurance plans to provide coverage of contraception because a Catholic business owner falsely believes it causes abortion (even though the Catholic Journal published a study that found Plan B does not cause abortions).
– I watched CNN’s news coverage of the Steubenville, Ohio rape verdict. I managed to read a portion of their texting transcripts without vomiting. I read about the teenage girls (the rapists’ relatives) who were arrested for sending death threats to the victim.
– I read about the 1,100-page report that shocked the Netherlands by revealing how 800 Catholic priests and monks abused as many as 20,000 children in their care between 1945 and 1985.
– I read about young girls in Africa who are being bought and sold as “fifth wives,” essentially becoming slaves to the family of the “husband” owner.
– I read yet again about how the testimony of a Muslim woman is half that of a man because some “prophet” long ago thought women were mentally deficient.
– I heard about musician Michelle Shocks ranting on about how God Hates Fags during one of her recent concerts.
– I read about how Arkansas is no longer the strictest state in the nation when it comes to abortion since North Dakota passed the anti-abortion bill – with no exceptions for rape or for the mother or the fetus’ health, making abortion illegal in the state for anyone who is more than five weeks pregnant.
– I read the story of Nabila Sharma who was abused at her mosque by the Imam from the ages of 7 to 11, and how, very similar to Catholic and Jewish communities, the Muslim community covers up such things.

Now, I may not believe in many things that require faith, but here is something I do have faith in – a better future. It may never be a perfect utopia, and I accept that. There may always be humans who seek power and control – that truly is one of the things I cannot change. However, I cannot accept the abuse of authority that renders women and children POWERLESS – not only against the authority of their own churches, but of their own governments and worse yet, their own families – why can’t I accept it? Because as long as I live and breathe, that is something I CAN CHANGE.

I don’t have to believe in God to believe that what you do to the least of your brothers, you do to yourself. We’re all connected. Even more strongly, I believe that SILENCE in the face of oppression or abuse is an act of siding with the oppressor. That’s why I’m over here obsessively talking about the need for women to rise up and escape from the very fundamental religions that teach them from an early age that they are not worthy of equality, that they don’t deserve equal pay, that their opinions are not welcome or valid, that they cannot make intelligent and informed choices for themselves.

Sitting idly by, well, it is not in the cards for a woman like me who fought her way out of the mind-numbing, NEANDERTHAL belief that she is LESS THAN. NOT EQUAL TO.

SUBMIT.

Many of the people I grew up with, the people I consider family and friends, are still raising their sons and daughters to be unquestioningly faithful to a doctrine that requires them to take a literal view of the Bible, a book that emphasizes this very sort of misogyny throughout. It requires them to accept this concept as part of God’s will, his plan, his design, and whether or not you choose to agree, that way of thinking is precisely what leads to the types of stories I listed above – the horrifying stories we all read about in the news every goddamned day in this, the 21st fraking CENTURY!

I can’t sit silently by while women and children are sexually, physically abused, mutilated, enslaved, abandoned… as a victim of abuse, as a mother, as a sister, as a HUMAN BEING, I object! As long as I have a voice, I will not be silenced.

As long as I breathe, I will stand against oppression. Every single day of my life I plan to publicly confirm my stance against any and all religions that resort to brainwashing the naive, emotional manipulation, or psychological/physical torment. I have eyes to see that this is an attempt to to invoke conformity and submission among those who would remain powerless. Ultimately, it lends to the ongoing imbalanced dissonance that leads to the abuse of power at its worst. I’m talking war, slavery, things that are unfolding literally right in front of our eyes.

You can deny that religious texts propagate division, slavery, misogyny, bigotry, racism, pedophilia, and genocide all you want. I know the truth and I am not only free to speak it, but I am obligated. See, that’s where MY faith for the future comes in. I see a future nation where people will not be made to feel ashamed of who they are or who they love. I see a future where girls can get an education without the fear of having acid thrown in their face, being shot at or poisoned. I have faith in a future where a girl can get on a bus without getting gang raped. I have faith in a future where pedophilia, rape, slavery, mutilation etc. are so rare, we are actually surprised to hear about those occurrences in the news – rather than it being something we’ve grown accustomed to. Procuring that future for my daughters, my daughters’ daughters, requires those of us who are free to unshackle the enslaved minds and arm the powerless – not with weapons – but with education.

So if claiming that I reject religion every day of my life, if publicly pointing out the harm religion is presently doing and has done in the past, if encouraging my community of friends and family to employ logic and reason rather than falling back on blind faith and tradition, if arming the powerless makes me an asshole…

I accept that too.

Maybe I’ll turn out to be the loudest asshole you’ve ever met.

Those of you who have been following my blog over the years might recall a few posts regarding Andrew Tower, a lying jerk (putting it mildly) who also goes by the alias Drew Perez. A few years back, I was asked to consider removing the blog posts and comments from the numerous women who were scammed by him and my response at the time was that I would keep them up as long as women kept writing to tell me he’d screwed them over. Guess that was a good call because he’s on the loose again and seems to have gone right back to his lying, cheating ways.

The following comes from an email I received from his latest victim:
—————————–

As of July, 2012, he is still up to his lies and deceit. He is now posing as a photographer! He found me on a social network (he is also on face book!) and lured me into meeting him by asking to take my picture for his portfolio.

He now claims: he was in the navy as a seal for 16 years; he is a photographer; he is divorced (but doesn’t share the information that his ex wife still lives with him); he claims his sons live with him 6 months and their mother 6 months; he claims he has 11 brothers and one sister; he claims his mother, after 30 years of marriage to his father, divorced his father and married a man she met on the internet; he claims his ancestry is from Cuba. According to him his great grandfather was exiled from Cuba! Drama, drama, drama hu?

I had been seeing him for a short time when I received a call from his ‘ex-wife’. She said they are divorced but have been living together as ‘significant others’ for the past three years! SHE IS STILL WITH HIM! It was after this call that I googled his name. Google found the first blog you posted but I had to “search on Yahoo” to find this more current blog.

Yes, he’s still doing most of the things you have written about from the time of the first blog.

Just know, He IS and will ALWAYS continue to do the things he has done… for what ever reason he has this “need”, it is a part of the fiber of who he is, and he will NEVER change. All you can do is educate those that are unaware to this kind of behavior.

Thank you for keeping this blog going! It opened MY eyes to his sickness and to STAY AWAY FROM HIM!
——————-
She also included a more current picture of Andrew:

Luckily, it appears that she caught on early and was spared from the immense heartache, shame and self-doubt that many women have dealt with in the past due to his games and lies. Also, she didn’t mention anything in regards to having been taken for a ride financially, nor did she mention having anything stolen. So there’s that. The ultimate lesson I think we can all learn from this would be the importance of searching for background information on the people you talk to online if you decide to meet in real life. Be safe.

I hope someday, Andrew and his wife will seek the psychiatric help they truly need. I also hope that this woman’s update will serve as a warning to anyone else who has the misfortune of being marked as his next targeted victim(s).

Related posts:
Andrew Tower is a lying lizard
Andrew Tower is a lying lizard Update
The Big Controversy Over a Pathetic Little Loser
Drew Perez: The Latest Chapter of the Andrew Raymond Tower Anti-Saga

Not to speak ill of the dead, but some of you asked why I dislike Thomas Kinkade so much. As an average hard-working American, I find it reprehensible that he could make millions from his art alone, scam galleries out of millions of dollars, and still declare bankruptcy to prevent paying creditors the $6 million+ he owed them. As an art collector/historian, I find his art formulaic, lacking in any real meaning, soul or depth, and his use of color and “light” kitschy. As an artist, I’m appalled that he commercialized what talent he had by marketing to the Christian majority while at the same time, behaving abhorrently in public, placing lives in danger with his drinking and driving, sexual assault, indecent exposure, pissing all over the damn place, and driving everyone who cared for him away with his selfishness. You can mourn the loss of him all you want, but I for one, will sit back laughing when everyone who tries to sell his prints, asking way more than they paid, are eventually told that because his art flooded the market their collection is pretty much worthless.

Dark Portrait of a `Painter of Light’
“Painter Of Light” Thomas Kinkade arrested for DUI, escapes conviction yet again for crimes against art
This Week in Crazy: Thomas Kinkade
Artist’s firm on hook for $2.1 million

This concert was in 1993, just in case you were still thinking this was a “new movement.” But perhaps this anthem is more relevant now than ever before. People across America are finally rising up off their couches and gathering in the streets. Are we going to let them turn this Land of the Free into the Land of the Imprisoned?

The quote he’s shouting in the beginning comes from Eldridge Cleaver. Say what you will about his politics, the Black Panthers, his religious conversions and what-have-you, but this quote still provides clarity and insight all these years later: “They have deadly weapons with which to inflict pain on the human body. They know how to bring about horrible deaths. They have clubs with which to beat the body and the head. They have bullets and guns with which to tear holes in the flesh, to smash bones, to disable and kill. They use force, to make you do what the deciders have decided you must do. They will use all that is necessary to bring you to your knees.”

Still don’t think the government is doing all that is necessary to bring it’s citizens to their knees?

I want to know why our prisons are overflowing with non-violent offenders. This isn’t just a rant about drug-law reform or prohibition, I think you all know by now how I feel about that. This is about taking a good hard look at the stats and starting a conversation about what is required to implement a system with a better semblance of balance. Now, think about this for a moment: there are more black men in prison right now than there are in college. Nearly one in three black males aged 20–29 are under some form of criminal justice supervision (imprisoned, jailed, on parole or probation) and one in nine black Americans will be incarcerated between the ages of 20 and 34. To add insult to injury, the majority of African Americans (ex. 55% in Chicago) are labeled felons for life, and, as a result, may be prevented from voting, accessing public housing or student loans or other public assistance, not to mention the negative impact this has on their families, dependents, and community.* Does that sound like freedom to you? No? Me neither.

*Stats taken from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Incarceration_in_the_United_States and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Statistics_of_incarcerated_African-American_males

Define Necessity

I feel a rant coming on. In fact, it’s been brewing up inside since this morning when an old high school friend I connected with on Facebook asked everyone to pray for his sick dog. Really.

I have news for people like this. Your dog is going to die. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, maybe not from this bout of sickness, it might be down the road, but your pet WILL die.* So will your parents. So will your friends. So will you. No amount of praying will change that. But let’s suppose that it did… do you really believe that God would prolong the life of your pet if you pray, but would not do so if you neglected to pray? Doesn’t that make God a big jerk? If you believe that God would prolong the life of your pet as an answer to your prayers (and those of all the friends you petitioned to pray on your dog’s behalf), but would not prolong the life or ease the suffering of children like the one depicted above, despite the prayers of millions of believers around the world who’ve been pleading for his intervention for years upon years, what does that say about your ego? What does that say about your god? How could a just, loving and “pro-life” god allow such atrocities to continue to children, then turn around and take a direct and empathetic interest in the welfare of an animal you were charged with caring for? I don’t get it. I just don’t get it.

To quote Epicurus, “Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?”

You can exchange the word “evil” with any malady. The point being, what kind of god could prevent children from dying of starvation but won’t?

I think it’s telling of Christian-American society that it’s become more acceptable to believe (and to assume that all your friends also believe) that there’s a guy in the sky granting your selfish wishes – causing your sports team to win or lose, influencing the economy, and actively participating in the lives of your house-pets – than it is to get off your ass and be proactive about solving your own problems. I’m not certain, but I’m pretty sure that taking your dog to the fraking veterinarian would probably do more good than soliciting your Internet friends to participate in pagan rituals on it’s behalf.

And they say I’m the crazy one.

Answered prayer is only an illusion. No matter what you ask for, no matter which deity you ask, the answers will always be the same: yes, no, and wait. The truth is, it doesn’t matter if you pray to end starvation or if you pray for your dog to live a longer life; prayer is a waste of time.

You know what isn’t?
Effort.

*I love animals and wish all dogs and kitties could live forever and never die.

http://kylere.wordpress.com/2011/06/15/conservatives-show-themselves-as-cowards-and-children/

A tale of a conservative blogger who asks an atheist to use her artwork for his website and in so doing, reveals his true cowardice and ends with him not getting what he wants. A tale of blacklisted Hollywood creatives, a tale of conspiracy theories and… wait… what the fuck’s he gotta pick on the city of Flint for???

“…Since Dan Collins, like another fat white guy named Michael Moore is not from Flint, I recommend that both their fat white asses shut up.”

OMG, too much!

http://blogs.umflint.edu/universityrelations/2011/04/06/im-mad-as-hell-and-i-dont-want-to-take-it-anymore-abc-12-loses-key-people-and-we-lose-key-communitymedia-relations-professionals/

Something that desperately needed to be said, as someone who grew up with Bill Harris and Joel Feick on the television, bringing us the news. I was fortunate to have worked under Bleicher’s son, Matt at Tucows. All of them, class acts. Sorry to see this happening in an area that NEEDS and relies upon first class news broadcasts.

And they kept all the pretty young women, btw…

If you want to make your move, car rental, or your life in general as hard as possible I would recommend Budget Car/Truck Rental. If you want a smooth experience, decent customer service and fair rates you should NEVER USE Budget.
Let me tell you why! Last Monday I was looking for rental vehicles to facilitate a move for my family, we only needed a small truck as we were moving only .9 miles by vehicle, and half a mile as the crow flies. The company I work for has a negotiated discount with Budget, so I decided to use their service as it was comparable to others.
I booked my 10 foot truck, gave them my info, printed my confirmation/reservation and forgot about it until Wednesday when I got a call telling me they would not have a ten foot truck available at the location I had selected. This poises our first question, “Why does their reservation system show some vehicles as being available and others as not being when there is zero accuracy in that data?”
The agent that called me was apologetic and offered to upgrade us to the next larger vehicle with the caveat we would have to pick it up from a different location. I mentioned that it would require 20 miles of additional driving and since that class of vehicle is a flat rate plus mileage it would impact my cost and he adjusted it to include those extra miles for free, and gave me an extra 5 miles free to cover the gas difference. At this point, other than a bit of bother the customer service appeared excellent and I gave them glowing reviews.
I called on Friday afternoon to re-verify my rental as their site had recommended doing so, and I was informed that Jarred their inventory manager in the area would have the vehicle where I needed it, and at the time I needed it.
Jarred is a liar.
I then called the Budget location at 10am on Sunday as my appointment was at 1030 to pick up the truck, and I was in the middle of a move. The young man working that location told me that it was available and would be there. I drove to the location and listened to the two people in line in front of me be told that none of their vehicles were available and there was nothing Budget could do because their terms and conditions never actually promise to do ANYTHING. Question number two, “Why have a reservation system when you have no intent of honoring it, unless you get lucky and manage to honor it?” I will admit to smirking a little as the people in front of me grew angry because I had had MY truck verified four different times, first by the website, then the northeast rep for Budget, by their inventory manager locally (via the store rep), and by the store rep that morning.
I get to the front of the line, present my reservation number and thought, “I should let my wife go now, and I will follow!” I am most certainly glad I did not, as the SAME EXACT BUDGET EMPLOYEE behind the counter who had verified it for me 30 minutes prior was now telling me that no truck was available.
Okay, so why make reservations with Budget, and even more, why ever use Budget?
I called their customer service number and spoke with a rep; he put me on hold and called the same guy in front of me who had already lied to me. The rep came back on the line and told me that my only option was to pick up a vehicle NINETY FOUR MILES AWAY, not round trip 94 miles, but a 188 mile round trip on a day I was moving. He told me that the local inventory manager had previously said that a vehicle would be ready, which indicates the local inventory manager really needs a new career, perhaps sweeping floors.
Third question: “Does Budget strive to hire idiots, or are their policies really that inept?”
I pointed out that taking three hours to get the vehicle to even start moving was silly, and that I would have to pay for 94 miles of travel in a 15 foot truck, and 188 miles of travel in my own car, and in return he said, “I will give you a 25% discount!”
I was appalled; did he really think 10 bucks was going to cover over 45 bucks in fuel costs and three hours of time from my wife and I?
I stayed calm, but at this point he started to tell me that since their terms and conditions do not actually promise ANYTHING, he could not do anything else. I asked if he could, with a week notice, ensure I would have a vehicle the following weekend, and he repeated the corporate line that their terms and conditions do not actually promise ANYTHING.
Still calm, I informed him I would never use Budget as a service again, and I would inform other consumers of the issue so that they are not left in the same position. All of their employees told me the same thing, this happens more often than it does not, and their customer rep actually tried to tell me that they have millions of cars but only 80k of trucks so it was difficult. “Why do they make reservations they KNOW they cannot support in advance?”
I got on my phone, did a U-Haul reservation, drove to a convenient location and picked it up. I am out 90 minutes (times two with my wife), an additional 30 bucks in costs, and my move started two hours late. I was moving until 11pm as a result and literally ran out of help and energy thanks to the long day. So, now I face getting another vehicle to finish the last few items, and that puts me another 50-75 bucks out of pocket. Renting a vehicle from Budget ensures that you will pay over 100 extra dollars, never get a vehicle from them and waste your time hassling with them.
Please, please, please NEVER USE BUDGET RENTAL FOR ANY OF YOUR NEEDS. Keep in mind my questions about Budget.
“Why does their reservation system show some vehicles as being available and others as not being when there is zero accuracy in that data?”
“Why have reservation systems when you have no intent of honoring it, unless you get lucky?”
“Does Budget strive to hire idiots, or are their policies really that inept?”
“Why do they make reservations they KNOW they cannot support in advance?”

Know your rights. The constitution protects you from unreasonable search and seizure. You have the freedom to move about within the US without ID or proof of citizenship, un-harassed, assaulted or molested by the government. You also have the freedom of speech that allows you to share the infringements of your rights on the Internet! Are you watching and listening, America?

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/40445249/ns/us_news-life/

When people take their kid’s to Disney World, the fairy tales are presented as fictional fairy tales. When people take their kids to Creationist attractions, the fairy tales are presented as fact. Where’s Northern Kentucky’s Science Museum? Evidently, 900 jobs and millions of visitors are more important than teaching our children about the 40+ valid radiometric dating methods scientists use to date rocks, or how to count the layers of polar ice caps to prove the age of the planet is older than 7K yrs.

As per Newsoxy, the average size of a house has more than doubled to 2,349 square feet from 983 back in the 1950s. This trend is more more remarkable when you consider that with some small year-to-year variations, houses have grown almost unceasingly since 1978.

The average size of a new single-family house shrank significantly from 2008 to 2009, the census figures show. Nationally the average decrease was 51 square feet, to 2,422 square feet, the data show. In the Northeastern United States, the change was more dramatic: House size diminished by more than 200 square feet, to 2,529 square feet.
This shrink will hopefully continue as buyers realize the virtues of smaller homes. Especially when even the Washington Post runs stories on, “The top 10 reasons building a smaller house is better even if their number one reason is a bit tongue-in-cheek, “You won't be the obvious person to host every important family occasion and accommodate all the friends and relatives who come to town.” Many sites, groups and organizations have moved towards methods of building small homes, the average American can visit a nearby Ikea to find layouts that range from 300-600 square feet for a quick idea of an efficient home.
When you look at the economy and face the reality of the fact that our nation is in a decline without any real hope for an improvement as fossil fuels run out, raw materials become more and more expensive to find (within the terraspace that is, since we are too shortsighted to pull a nearby asteroid and the idiot Democrats poisoned NASA in the 70's and the idiot Republicans killed it in the 80's) and a lack of expanding markets to build and economy around. We have shipped our ability to make tools to China, so we can not even be a manufacturing nation. This leaves us an economy that has no middle class, and the divide between rich and poor is growing more ugly each year. According to a report earlier this year done by New York University, the top 20% of wealthy individuals in America own about 85% of all the wealth in the country – while the bottom 40% own close to zero and in addition to owning virtually no assets to speak off, many have a “negative” net wealth reality source. This makes it clear that we cannot expect a future with regular employment regardless of our skill sets, and our best hope for employment is to be as mobile as the last gasp vestiges of the economy hop around the nation. Right now we have an anchor in the city of Flint, Michigan in the form of a house that has lost 80% of its value in the last five years. We cannot assume another mortgage, and have no desire to add more bad debt to the bad housing debt we already possess. (For anyone reading and judging us from false assumptions, we bought the reasonable sized home, for a reasonable price, far below the appraised value). The high rate of home ownership in this country even hurts our chances of having the economy improve since so many people are stuck with similar anchor homes so that they are unable to begin a migration to areas with more jobs. That anchor in Flint is going to make retirement an impossibility, and we are not going to receive Social Security benefits thanks to the rapacious “Greatest Generation” and their obnoxiously wasteful “Baby Boom” kids.

Where does this leave us? It leave us planning on a home that can move with us, rather than another anchor or a series of rent checks leading to one or both of us being homeless in our old age. My wife and I both agree that portable homes are the best answer for the future. With that in mind we have begun a mission to pick a type, a model, and to narrow concepts. There are some great resources that can help with smart small home building such as The Containerist and our first choice seems to be deciding between building on a trailer/semi flatbed or merely redoing a cargo container. I will keep you updated in this space as we make our decisions. Right now the only things I am sure of is that we do not want a traditional “mobile home” as the construction quality on them is entirely too poor, they are very inefficient and their engineering seems stuck in the 1970's.

Timeline: Now until Spring 2013 to do all pre-planning and initial purchases

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