Other People’s Bodies, Other People’s Love

Other people’s bodies and other people’s love are not something that can be taken nor even something that can be earned — they can be given freely, by choice, or not. We need to get that. Really, really grok that, if our half of the species ever going to be worth a damn. Not getting that means that there will always be some percent of us who will be rapists, and abusers, and killers.

— Arthur Chu, “Your Princess is in Another Castle

This week’s features posts are “#YesAllWomen and the Continuum of Aggression” and “How the Fall Elections are Shaping Up for Democrats“.

This week everybody was talking about #YesAllWomen

I agree with Rebecca Solnit that this is a moment when the national conversation could change. I try to do my part in “#YesAllWomen and the Continuum of Aggression“.

and Maya Angelou

who died Wednesday at age 86. I’m marking the occasion by reading I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, her memoir of growing up in the Jim Crow era. At a time when some southern whites are trying to whitewash Jim Crow, it’s important to stay in touch with the authentic voices of black experience.

Things I never knew: She had a singing career.

and climate change

If you missed last night’s Cosmos, go find it. Neil deGrasse Tyson does a watchable understandable explanation of why the case for human-caused global warming is so compelling.

Also, the EPA is finally planning to set limits on carbon emissions from power plants. But Ohio is rolling back it’s green energy standards, a cause that ALEC and the Koch brothers are pushing all over the country.

And Tom the Dancing Bug thinks people who haven’t learned yet probably never will.

and you also might be interested in …

There’s a reason why two weeks ago I described roads paved with solar panels as a “big dream”. This week an engineer shot it down.

Solar Roadways seem to take the problem of generating solar power, and put it into conditions that maximize cost.

He concludes:

Those solar-panel-covered shade structures that are popping up in church parking lots all over Tucson are looking smarter by the minute. The solar panels are mass-produced in China for a couple dollars a watt, and the structures are simple cantilevered steel I-beam ramadas. No fancy computers are needed, no worries about damage from tires, no hacking-into can happen, and they are not blocked by pedestrians, cars, trees or buses.


TPM’s Josh Marshall has coined a term that deserves to catch on: hate martyr, defined as:

someone who is either anonymous or had little profile in the political world but suddenly becomes a cause celebre and hero on the right by trashing some racial or ethnic group or gay people and then getting criticized for it. Whether it’s dressed up as religious liberty or free speech or whatever else, the essential element is right-winger persecuted (i.e., criticized by people on TV) for expressing bigoted or racist or just retrograde views about some historically (or presently) oppressed, denigrated or discriminated against group.

The archetypal hate martyr, according to Marshall, is Duck Dynasty‘s Phil Robertson (whose quote I just linked to in the Maya Angelou note). Robertson was an invited speaker at Thursday’s Republican Leadership Conference. Phil’s son and co-star Willie was a guest of a Republican congressman at the State of the Union.


Steve Benen looks at the full list of RLC speakers — Robertson, Donald Trump, Rep. Steve King, Dinesh D’Souza, Sarah Palin — and thinks maybe this isn’t the best approach to the “minority outreach” Republicans claim to want.


And Ted Cruz won the RLC’s presidential straw poll. He gave a speech defending the government shut-down.


A Humanist in the armed forces may not believe in God, but faces many of the same spiritual challenges any other soldier does: the possibility of dying or killing, balancing duty and personal fulfillment, not to mention just being far from home. So why are there no Humanist chaplains? Universities have them.

Ron Crews of the Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty engages in the usual sophistry:

The motto [of the Army chaplaincy] is ‘for God and country’—how could an atheist fulfill that motto if by definition he does not believe in God?

Yes, definitely, maintaining the motto of the chaplaincy should trump the needs of our soldiers.


Years ago when I read James Ault’s Spirit and Flesh: Life in a Fundamentalist Baptist Church, I learned something important from a footnote: Fundamentalists churches tend to follow the pattern of oral cultures: reinterpreting their histories freely as living memory fades.

It has happened before our eyes with respect to abortion. They tell the story this way: Their theology told them that fetuses had souls, so they were forced into politics to defend those souls. The more historians look at the record, though, the more they see this isn’t true: The theology came along to justify the political positions already taken for other reasons.

This week historian Randall Balmer exposed another chunk of the story: The original motivation behind the Moral Majority was to defend segregated schools.

and let’s close with something awesome

National Geographic follows an “epic gathering” of mobular rays.

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