Know the facts on the federal minimum wage.
Via the Electronic Frontier Foundation:
For more than a year now, EFF has encouraged mainstream press publications like the New York Times to aggressively defend WikiLeaks’ First Amendment right to publish classified information in the public interest and denounce the ongoing grand jury investigating WikiLeaks as a threat to press freedom.
Well, we are now seeing why that is so important: at a House Judiciary subcommittee hearing on July 11th, some members of Congress made it clear they also want New York Times journalists charged under the Espionage Act for their recent stories on President Obama’s ‘Kill List’ and secret US cyberattacks against Iran. During the hearing, House Republicans “pressed legal experts Wednesday on whether it was possible to prosecute reporters for publishing classified information,” according to the Los Angeles Times.
In addition, the Washingtonian’s Shane Harris reported a month ago that a “senior” Justice Department official “made it clear that reporters who talked to sources about classified information were putting themselves at risk of prosecution.”
Leaks big and small have been happening for decades—even centuries—and the most recent are comparable to several others. No journalist has ever been prosecuted under the Espionage Act and it has generally been accepted, even by Congress’s own research arm, that the publication of government secrets by the press is protected speech under the First Amendment. Yet the government is actively investigating WikiLeaks and now threatening others for just that.
The mainstream media may see little in common with Assange’s digital publication methods or his general demeanor, but what he is accused of is virtually indistinguishable from what other reporters and newspapers do every day: poke, prod, and cajole sources within the government to give up classified information that newspapers then publish to inform the public of the government’s activities.
FJP: All so true. Read on.
34 years ago, Sally Ride answered a newspaper ad seeking applicants for the U.S. space program. Soon she’d be the youngest person and first woman on a NASA shuttle.
After her obituary published yesterday noted her longtime partner, Ride’s sister simply said: “I hope it makes it easier for kids growing up gay that they know that another one of their heroes was like them”
Of course, the U.S. “Defense of Marriage Act” (DOMA) makes it plain that the pioneer’s partner will not get the federal benefits received by millions of others.
SHARE Sally’s legacy now.
So Daniel Tosh makes a rape joke and people go ape-shit one way or the other over it. As an opinionated, argumentative bastard I am compelled to weigh in on the issue. I don’t know what the joke was exactly, because I can’t find it, and it doesn’t really matter. Daniel Tosh is only a catalyst for our little fireside chat. What is important is the appropriateness of dark humor and the expediency of our reactions.
Here’s what I notice: The world can be -and generally is- a dark, terrible, twisted place. A place full of wretched circumstances. A place populated with far too many monsters wearing human faces waiting to destroy your life for no other reason than the cheap thrill of it. There’s something to be said about these people.
Fuck them. Fuck them directly in their most convenient orifice. And when I talk about convenience I most definitely refer to yours, not theirs. Don’t let my modest suggestions limit you either! You can always create your own unique entry point! Be creative!
It isn’t difficult to find a soul-crushing story about violent victimization and thus perpetrators deserving of my suggested treatment. Perhaps you have a story of your own. If you are lucky you only have one.
The harsh reality of these crimes frequently presses on my mind and I doubt I’m alone in this. But with such troubled thoughts I find rape jokes (among other dark humor) to be an incredible relief. I don’t know what I would do without them.
I gather from most people that this is not a socially acceptable response. I’ve been told it is disgusting, creepy, and unconscionable (okay, fine, unconscionable was my choice of words). It might even condemn me as a filthy, heartless psychotic much like I condemned some other unsavory-types a second ago. Unfortunately this is an emotional, knee-jerk reaction, and couldn’t be further from the truth.
The fact is that people like me have a profoundly difficult time understanding violent actions. The problem of accepting the reality of them is even more horrifying. I cannot fathom what drives a man to maim or kill, much less how someone could so thoroughly and willfully desecrate an innocent human being -body, mind, and soul- through an act of rape.
So why make such awful jokes? Because they are an extremely effective way to deal with the horror that won’t eventually result in stark raving madness. It is a refusal to be affected by trauma. The more intense the trauma, the more intense the resistance and inappropriateness of the joke.
It can be argued that this is easy for me to say since I’m not a victim of such atrocities. It’s true that I’ve never been raped, but as it turns out I do know something about being a victim. I grew up as a regular target of child abuse and I make jokes about it both directly and indirectly to this day. This is my coping mechanism and I make no apology for it. The point of the jokes isn’t to say that those events weren’t horrible and traumatic. The point is that you have to get the fuck over it.
A callus thing to say? Yes and no. I certainly wouldn’t say it to a fresh victim. But eventually you come to a crossroads. You find a way to cope or you allow yourself to be haunted and tortured by it for the rest of your natural life. And I say to hell with that. The body heals on its own, but laughter heals the soul and banishes demons both mental and physical.
If you are an actual victim who doesn’t find these kind of jokes to be helpful this is perfectly understandable. Any reasonable person would avoid making such a joke in your presence. But if you happen by this kind of joke -such as Daniel Tosh told, I suppose- why would you let yourself get upset over it? This victimizes you all over again.
If you aren’t any kind of victim and find yourself in an uproar I would suggest pulling the stick out of your ass to relieve any pressure you might be experiencing. It has nothing to do you with you and acting like a self-righteous asshole is embarrassing for all of us.
Jokes are either funny or not funny and their subject matter has almost no bearing on this. Controversial jokes are risky because if they fail there is nothing left but crudity and an empty abyss where a joke might once have thrived in another time and place. If it can make people laugh, however, nothing else matters.
In closing “It’s now rather common to hear people say ‘I’m rather offended by that.’ As if that gives them certain rights; it’s actually nothing more… it’s simply a whine. It’s no more than a whine. ‘I find that offensive,’ it has no meaning, it has no purpose, it has no reason to be respected as a phrase. ‘I am offended by that,’ well so fucking what?” -Stephen Fry