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writing. photography. tomfoolery.

=You’ve probably noticed some of your Facebook friends swapping their profile pictures today in favor of an ‘equals’ sign, like this one, on the right. For those unaware and curious of the semi-organized nature of this trend, people are using this symbol today to show their support for marriage equality. Why today? Because the case is being taken up by the U.S. Supreme Court today. The court is hearing a case concerning California’s Prop 8, which calls for a state constitutional amendment to ban gay couples from getting married. The decision from the highest court in the country could go a long way in determining the future of marriage equality in this country.

I’m well aware this is an uncomfortable issue for many people. I’m well aware this is a political, personal and very sensitive issue for many of you. For those reasons, I do not take lightly when I…

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“Slaughterhouse Five” Why banned… don’t ask me I have no clue

So here’s the direct quote as to why Mr. Scroggins wanted “Slaughterhouse Five” banned from the Republic Schools District in Missouri. Please keep in mind that only ONE of the school board members had actually read “Slaughterhouse Five” before they unanimously decided to ban it from this year’s required reading list.

“In English, children are also required to read a book called “Slaughterhouse Five.” This is a book that contains so much profane language, it would make a sailor blush with shame. The “f word” is plastered on almost every other page. The content ranges from naked men and women in cages together so that others can watch them having sex to God telling people that they better not mess with his loser, bum of a son, named Jesus Christ.” http://www.news-leader.com/article/20100918/OPINIONS02/112020001/Filthy-books-demeaning-Republic-education

Let’s break this apart shall we…”This is a book that contains so much profane language, it would make a sailor blush with shame. The “f word” is plastered on almost every other page. ” Now I’ve just read “Slaughterhouse Five” and I believe I encountered my first  “fuck” at about page 27. I also counted the number of times “fuck” appears in the book, it appears SIXTEEN times in the entire book, SIXTEEN.  I hardly think that is every other page as Mr. Scroggins asserts, the entire book is 135 pages. Children are bombarded daily with curse words especially in music and more specifically hip-hop & movies.

example 1: DJ Khaled “I’m on One” lyrics

“Hate the rumours, hate your bullshit
Hate these fucking allegations, I’m just feeling like the throne is for the taking
Watch me take it!
[Drake – Chorus]
All I care about is money and the city that I’m from
I’ma sip until I feel it, I’ma smoke it till it’s done
And I don’t really give a f-ck, and my excuse is that I’m young
And I’m only getting older so somebody shoulda told ya
I’m on one
Yeah, f-ck it, I’m on one”

I believe there are several fucks & one bullshit in that quote.

Here’s one by Lil’ Wayne “Mille”

“Sister, Brother, Son, Daughter, Father motha fuck a copper,
Got da maserati dancin on the bridge pussy poppin,..”

Here we get a fuck AND a pussy, which for the record I think is a vile word. That’s just two examples of a quick Google search for hip-hop lyrics.

From Wiki we get the definition for a PG-13 movie:

PG-13 – Parents Strongly Cautioned – Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13. These films may contain sex references, up to four uses of explicit language, drug innuendo, strong crude/suggestive humor, mature/political themes, moderately long horror moments and/or moderate action violence. There are usually no restrictions on non-sexual nudity.”

I found that the use of fuck in “Slaughterhouse Five”, one was minimal and two it was used in the context of soldiers to talking to one another. In other words, not gratuitous. For example:

” ‘It’s the sweetest thing there is” said Lazaro. “People fuck with me”, he said “and  Jesus Christ are they ever fucking sorry. I laugh like hell. I don’t care if if it’s a guy or a dame.” (Vonnegut,Pg 86)

As to Mr. Scroggins second point of “The content ranges from naked men and women in cages together so that others can watch them having sex …”. All I can say is read it again Mr. Scroggins then go watch the some of the “reality” TV shows out there on at prime time and tell how this: ” He was mated there with a former Earthling movie star named Montana Wildhack”,  (Vonnegut,Pg 22) really compares to all the prime time TV out there. Now can you honestly tell me that this typical sex scene in “Slaughterhouse-Five” is worse than “The Bachelor/Bachelorette”, “Jersey Shore” or any of those ridiculous “Real Housewives of…”

His Final point about god, and christ is so misunderstood  that it’s almost laughable. “The visitor from outer space made a serious study of Christianity, to learn, if he could, why  Christians found it so easy to be cruel.” “The flaw in the Christ stories, said the visitor from outer space, was that Christ, who didn’t look like much, was actually the Son of the Most Powerful Being in the Universe.” “In it, Jesus really was a nobody, and a pain in the neck to a lot of people with better connections than he had. He still got to say all the  lovely and puzzling things he said in the other Gospels. ” “God said this: From this moment on, He will punish horribly anybody who torments a bum that has no connections.” (Vonnegut,Pgs 71,72) I think today’s so called christians call learn a lot from this interpretation and it’s very much in line with christ’s teachings of taking care of the least among us. Society finds it so easy to demonize the “bums” among us that we forget that christ was nothing more than a wanderer and “Slaughterhouse Five” reminds us of that fact. We must care of those that need our assistance.

Overall, I have to admit that “Slaughterhouse Five ” is not in my usual genre, I am not a Sci-Fi fan but I did enjoy reading it. But I think Mr. Scroggins & the Republic School board in Missouri got it wrong. Vonnegut’s classic is a cautionary war tale as he intended it to be.

“Well, I know, She said. You’ll pretend you’ were men instead of babies, and you’ll be played  in the movies by Frank Sinatra and John Wayne or some of those glamorous, war-loving dirty old men. And war will look just wonderful, so we’ll have a lot more of them. And they’ll be fought by babies like the babies upstairs.””She didn’t want her babies or anybody else’s babies killed in wars.”  (Vonnegut,Pgs 15,16)

Finally I want to commend the Vonnegut Memorial Library, “Up to 150 students at a Missouri high school that ordered “Slaughterhouse-Five” pulled from its shelves can get a free copy of the novel, courtesy of the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library, library officials said on Thursday. “ http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/44036337/ns/today-books/

Slaughterhouse Five Kurt Vonnegut 1969, 1997, 2007 Random House, Trade Paperbacks

“Slaughterhouse-Five”

I recently read that a Missouri school district has banned  Vonnegut’s classic, “Slaughterhouse-Five” and that only 1 of the  school board members had actually read it before making the unanimous decision. Since I couldn’t remember if I had read “Slaughterhouse-Five” I decided to read it. It  was  also mentioned in the article that “Slaughterhouse-Five” is one of the most challenged books according to the American Library Association.  As soon as I’m done reading it, I’ll give you, my readers, my book report on it and let you know if I agree if all the hoopla about this book and it’s supposed terrible influence on young minds. So stay tuned and if you know me well enough, you should what I think about banning books.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/07/29/slaughterhouse-five-banned-missouri_n_913078.html?ir=Books

IDIOCRACY

I’m back. Yes, I’ve away a while but unfortunately, life sometimes takes precedence over my ranting. Not enough time to study and rant about the usual bullshit that is the state of American politics. I am aware of the idiots and the lack of compromise on the debt ceiling, the teapublicans dying wish of financially destroying the country, the continuing union busting efforts, the overreaching abortion laws, the crazy evangelicals acting like the Christian Taliban, perry’s prayer meeting to help him solve our nation’s problems, the disappointing employment numbers. Still, it all seems par for the course in the today’s political atmosphere. The teapublicans act like petulant, spoilt children & the democrats need a backbone. Nobody will win and the biggest losers will be the middle class & the poor.

But what got me rankled was this idiotic post making the rounds on Facebook AGAIN:

Florida is the first State that will require drug testing when applying for welfare (effective July 1st)! Some people are crying this is unconstitutional. How is this unconstitutional? It’s OK to drug test the people who work for their money but not those who don’t? Re-post if you want all states to do the same!”
Last time I touched on the religious right’s lack of compassion and their bigoted rationale for liking this truly fucked law. Today, it’s classic example of the idiocracy we are becoming. What happened to basic civics classes? I’m sure even a grade schooler could point the glaring violation of our basic constitutional rights in the above FB post but then again maybe not. Since NCLB, I don’t think we teach civics in schools anymore.  I would post the screen shot of the response, but too much work for such a simple and asinine sentence: “ Ken: It is not a violation if you are getting aid .Take it or leave it.”

Listen up idiots, a basic search on Google will lead you to several cites that have the US Constitution. This is the first hit, look at that, a transcript of the Constitution. http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/constitution_transcript.html  Now, if we look for the 4th Amendment in the Bill of Rights, we get the text regarding search & seizures. To save you some time, here’s the actual text: “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized. “ As you can see, you must have CAUSE for search & seizure, drug testing is a type of search. And,  last time I checked, applying for public assistance is NOT cause for a search warrant. Furthermore, in 2003, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in Marchwinski v. Howard (Michigan) ruled the drug testing of welfare recipients unconstitutional. [Marchwinski v. Howard, 113 F. Supp. 2d 1134, 1142 (E.D. Mich. 2000), aff’d, 2003 WL 1870916 (6th Cir. Apr. 7, 2003).] So as you can see, we already have precedent stating it’s unconstitutional as well as the 4th Amendment saying it’s unconstitutional.

Now for all you teapublicans out there that like to quote the Constitution & our Founding Fathers’  intent, I think they are pretty clear on this one. Read it again, “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”  Crystal clear, no legal search & seizure without a warrant for cause.

Finally for your silly little arguments that we must stop the fraud & abuse in the welfare system, show me  how this does that? Show me how this fixes the budget and unemployment crisis we have in FL. Show me how this law will bring in revenues we so desperately need. Show me how this isn’t just another unfair burden on the backs on the poorest, neediest in our society. Show me how this isn’t just another scheme for Judge Doom to get rich off the taxpayers. Show me the constitutionality of such a law.