WTF Friday – 1/16/2015

This week’s WTF moments are inspired by and because of recent current events. I’ve curated a few things I found more than slightly ironic, and I’d love to share them with all of you. So, let’s get started, shall we?


1) Le Petit Journal vs. Fox News

This past week, the French version of our John Stewart took Fox News to task over their lies about “no-go zones” inside Paris. He had contacted the American faux news channel regarding this dubious information, and they had the audacity to tell him he didn’t know what the fuck he was talking about. Yea, Americans told a Frenchman he didn’t have a clue about his own country! What. the. fuuuuuuuck?! Needless to say, I laughed my ass off at this. I found it extremely hilarious!


2) Why is it a big deal when people come out as homosexual?

I commend these young men. They were very brave to post this video, as it was very personal and looked extremely difficult. With that being said, I’d just like to know why we as a culture can’t get to a point where kids no longer feel they will be abandoned if they let people know they aren’t straight. I know this is a rhetorical question, but why do kids have such a fear they will be abandoned by their parents when they tell them about this part of them? I don’t understand why we are so anti-homosexuals as a nation, that kids are abandoned, abused, and mistreated because they don’t fit the heterosexual mold we think they should squeeze themselves into. To each their own, right?


3) White guy shoots black police chief three times and doesn’t get arrested.

Have you seen this gem from Oklahoma?! I just have no words to describe how flabbergasted I am regarding this.

 

 

 

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#JeSuisCharlie – Violence is NEVER the Answer!

I’ve watched over the last couple days as the (continuing) events unfolded in Paris and other nearby areas of France. I’m heartbroken for the French people and saddened that something as stupid and silly as a picture could become a death sentence for someone. I’ve seen the videos, read countless articles about what is going on over there, and spent hours scouring different online outlets for information. I feel like I’m in shock, because for me, Paris is the city of love. I can’t wrap my head around how this could happen there. To an extent, I feel a lot like I did as a pre-teen when 9/11 happened in New York City.

I may not have ever stepped foot in either of these cities, but they are cultural icons. They represent things to me and others, and when something so horrific happens there, it feels like we lose a part of ourselves because the idyllic image we have of those places becomes a shattered pile of dashed expectations. I think I hate this part of terrorist attacks more than the others. I hate getting cold, hard slaps of reality like that. I’d rather stay wrapped in my own beautiful imagination of something, someone, or someplace without things like this happening.

I don’t know how many of you have taken the time to watch the video of the attackers killing the police officer at the Charlie Hebdo offices, but it shook me up so badly. The article attached to the video had done a sufficient job of explaining the video before I watched it, but the execution still took me off guard, and I nearly screamed when it happened. I can’t imagine how the people who shot the video managed to stay quiet. I feel for the Parisians because they have no idea what to expect, now.

I wanted to take a moment to speak about freedom of expression, though. Charlie Hebdo represents the good, the bad, and the ugly of this concept, but no matter how much you may dislike what is printed in their paper, you have to respect their right to express their views as they see fit. That is part of living in our modern society. You don’t have to like what someone has to say, but they have just as much of a right to say what they say as you do to disagree with them. This is why the Westboro Baptist Church exists here in America. They may be the biggest assholes on the planet, but they have a right to their fucked up views just like you and I have a right to ours. Just because what they say insults us doesn’t make what they do illegal. This is the same idea with the Charlie Hebdo cartoons.

In solidarity with the French people, the Charlie Hebdo staff, and cartoonists the world over, I have collated a few cartoons related to this incident and am publishing them (with links to the original owners) below. Please consider doing the same. Let’s prove that terrorists cannot make us silent, and that no matter if we agree with what people say or not, we ALL agree they have a right to say it.

charliehebdo-picturesI don’t believe this cartoon even needs translating. The pictures do a sufficient job of conveying what they’re saying.

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Muhammad being beheaded by an ISIS fighter. He’s shouting, “I’m the prophet, you asshole,” while his killer says back, “Shut your trap, infidel.”

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This cartoon, by Chappatte, was printed in “Le Temps,” a Geneva paper, on September 20, 2012. It can be found on the cartoonist’s site, as well.

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This is another Chapatte cartoon, featured in the New York Times today, January 8, 2015, in reference to an interview with Charlie Hebdo editor, Stephane Charbonnier.

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This cartoon was posted by a Danish newspaper, europenews.dk.

Steve Bell 08.01.15

A Steve Bell cartoon that was featured in The Guardian on January 7, 2015, sums up just how ridiculous some of us feel these terrorists are.

When Will They Learn?

I’m back! And I’m not only back, but I’m pissed as all hell! For the record, I try to wait a few days after a major and controversial news story has broken before speaking my mind, because I want to get as many facts as possible before I launch into a tirade. This time is no exception, and holy crap! I’m so hot I could slap a bitch!

A couple of evenings ago, an off-duty St. Louis police officer shot a teenager and killed him. Again, St. Louis County? Will you never learn?! I’m so upset by this, I’m finding it rather difficult to properly write this post. Of course, as is always the case, the police claim the victim started the altercation, but I have a hard time believing anything these two-bit asshats have to say after the colossal fuckup that was and is the Michael Brown killing and subsequent protests. And, I’m not referring to the protestors here, I’m referring to these wanna-be Call of Duty cops.

Something must be done. How is it that one county can continue to slaughter their people simply because of the color of their skin and get away with it? Why have we as Americans not stepped in and done something to make sure these people are safe from their police force? The wheels of motherfucking justice are moving too freakin’ slow here, if you ask me, because people are dying.

I don’t believe this young man had a gun. I don’t trust these police forces in this county. Why the hell would a kid have a gun when he went with his friends to buy a goddamn sandwich? Something smells fishy here, and I’m pretty damn sure that kid’s sandwich wasn’t tuna. Also, if this cop was on his way to his next job, which is a private security job, why the hell was he stopping a group of kids walking home from a sandwich shop? They looked suspicious because of the color of their skin. Brandishing a weapon my big white ass! It’s a little hard to brandish a handgun while you’re busy chowing down on a sub sandwich. Let’s call it what it is – that stupid cop targeted them simply because their skin has a higher melanin content than his. Apparently, in St. Louis Co., walking while black makes you a criminal and you can be shot on the spot.

I want to hit something! I’m so ticked! I keep reading all of these news articles that repeat the police’s claim he shot at the officer first, and I want to scream. I’m livid. I wish just one major news outlet would come out and stand up and say to these police forces that they refuse to be their propaganda machines any longer. Just because someone with a badge makes a claim doesn’t make it fact and doesn’t mean it should be taken as such and printed by every newspaper, e-magazine, and cable news channel in the country.

There is a family grieving today. Another young black man in St. Louis County who hadn’t even started his life yet has been taken from those he loves, and we’re still waiting for the asinine D.A. to bring charges against the last killer cop there. I have no faith in that D.A. by the way. He’s as crooked as those cops that killed those two kids. I know that what he wants is to just sweep all of this under the rug like it never happened, and I’m very happy that the people he is supposed to serve are standing up and making their voices heard to make sure this whole situation doesn’t just go away.

St. Louis County needs to get their act together and remove all of these police from duty, fire this shady D.A., revamp their city councils, and clean up this corruption. It’s sad to say, but it’s all up to them, and as far as all of this is concerned, there’s not much anyone in the rest of America can do beyond showing them the utmost support while they do so. I’m not saying this because I have no faith in these protestors, but rather because I feel if the rest of America were allowed to help remove the corruption, it would get done a lot faster. If I could, I’d clean house for them, but it’s their town and their county, and they must do it for themselves. What we, who are not in St. Louis, can do is support these protestors by donating to one of these funds for those in this area. This will be a long, drawn out event that will continue for the foreseeable future, until something is done to change things, and these people need our help!

I Support Death with Dignity

I’m sure if you use the internet and have seen any news recently you’re aware of the story of Brittany Maynard, the young lady with stage 4 terminal brain cancer, who has chosen to die in early November rather than suffer through the debilitating symptoms of her cancer to the end. It’s a very heart-wrenching story of how she is choosing her own dignity and compassion for her family over fighting an incurable disease.

People all over the internet are condemning her for her choice. They say she is “taking this out of god’s hands.” How could any so-called loving deity want someone to suffer the way she is suffering? I don’t understand this line of thinking. She is going to die anyway. It’s not that she is taking her own life that would otherwise show so much promise and that if she didn’t end it when she is choosing to that she’d live to old age. She’s going to die. One way or another it will be ending soon. She is already experiencing excruciating symptoms of her advanced disease. Very few people with stage 4 glioblastoma survive, and those that do are forever changed for the worst.

I think her choice is not just about herself. It’s also about those she loves dearly. She knows what living to the end will mean for not only herself but for her loved ones. She is choosing to spare them the worst of the experience by dying peacefully and quietly, not painfully and perhaps violently.

I have a friend who was diagnosed in his early 20’s with glioblastoma. He did survive, but he is now probably the most miserable man I know. He had just started his adult life. He had his first job and his first vehicle before being diagnosed. He did all of the things typical of young men. He went out with his friends on the weekends, he loved his family and his nieces and nephews, he worked hard, he had a girlfriend he loved, and he had dreams he was working to accomplish. All of this changed with his diagnosis. He underwent multiple surgeries to remove the tumor from his brain.

Now, instead of being a fully functioning adult, his mother has told me he has the mentality of a young teenager. He can no longer drive. He can’t remember short-term plans or sometimes where he is if it is an unfamiliar place. His girlfriend broke up with him because she couldn’t handle all of the medical drama that was going on. He no longer has dreams of a brighter future. He’s had violent seizures, and has been so depressed he’s needed to be hospitalized in a mental institution. His weight has sky-rocketed and he has no self-esteem. Yes, he survived and is in remission, but what is his life like now? Maybe when he said he wanted to just be allowed to die, his wish should have been honored.

His diagnosis and treatment has been absolute hell on his entire family. They love him dearly and fought this disease sometimes harder than he did. I’m not by any means saying this was the right answer for them, but perhaps, if their state had “Death with Dignity” laws in place, he would have been able to choose, instead of having to fight.

I believe that people should have the right to choose what happens in their life. If they are faced with a slow and painful but certain death, they should be allowed to take these matters into their own hands and choose to die quietly and peacefully. Ever since man learned how to prepare medicine out of herbs, shamans and medicine men have been administering lethal preparations to people to allow them to pass from this life peacefully. I do not understand why, in this age of advanced medicine and knowledge, we suddenly remove this option from those suffering the most. This is by far the most inhumane thing we could do. Hospice care is not for everyone, and some people would rather not spend their last moments so doped up on pain medications they cannot give their loved ones a proper farewell.

We Will Never Forget

Do you remember where you were when you found out about the terror attacks on September 11, 2001? I didn’t find out until school dismissed for the day and my mom picked us up. She had the radio in the car tuned to the local NPR station and I sat in shock the entire ride home. I was 14 and just starting ninth grade. At home, I kept the radio on NPR all evening listening to it being discussed. I was terrified. What if a plane plunged into our house in the middle of the night one night while we were sleeping and we all died? What if, while I was at school one day, a plane dropped out of the sky and blew us to kingdom come? I didn’t sleep for a few nights.

I lived in a rather small city at that time. It only had roughly 70,000 residents. I now live in America’s second largest city. I’ve accepted that the threat of terror attacks is something I’ll have to deal with if I want to live here. I’ve also come to realize that Middle Eastern-looking people aren’t necessarily the biggest threat to our well-being and safety. Being married to a man of Northern African/Middle Eastern descent has taught me that you cannot always judge a book by its cover (you have got to love that old adage.) Right now, our biggest safety threat lies in the very people that most are least concerned about – far right wing evangelicals with guns who want to “exercise” their Second Amendment “right” to bear arms and openly resist our government.

I’m not going to make this a long-winded post about them, though. I feel that would be disrespectful to the 3,000+ victims who lost their lives 13 years ago today. The fact that yesterday evening our President told the American public that he wants to start yet another war in the Middle East tells me that we, the American people as a whole, still have not learned the lessons we should have learned years ago. I’m not saying we were wrong to go into Afghanistan and try to eradicate Al Qaeda. However, we should have learned that you cannot “rid” the world of evil, and when you set out to try to do so militarily, you only draw more people to their cause and create more groups like them. Therefore, I think we will end up regretting picking another fight with this new enemy, ISIS. I don’t have the answer to making the world a safer place and helping the people who are being slaughtered by them, but we are not the “good guys” over there. We slaughtered a lot of people needlessly in Iraq and Afghanistan and completely destroyed and disrupted their way of life. To think we could swoop in and be their savior is a very flawed viewpoint.

I mourn for the victims of all needless violence today. I’m also ashamed of my country’s handling of foreign affairs. As a “superpower”, we should be a lot more cautious of how we use our power and ensure we only use it for good. I fear we’re headed into another open-ended war with no good outcome. It will only wreak havoc on our economy yet again and cause destruction and mayhem where we do not need to cause it.

Today is a sad day.

In Memory of Robin Williams

Monday afternoon, I had gotten myself and my kiddo into the car to go pick my husband up from work. I started my car, and as usual, my radio was tuned to MSNBC on SiriusXM. The VERY first thing to come out of the speakers was, “And for any of our viewers just tuning in, we have just received breaking news that Robin Williams has been found dead at his Northern California home a few hours ago of an apparent suicide by asphyxiation.” I kid you not, I had to pick my jaw up off my lap and put it back on my face!

I’ve always loved Robin Williams. He’s always been one of my favorite comedians and actors. I wanted to scream at my radio the entire time we were driving down the freeway. I wanted to yell that this was a cruel joke and it wasn’t funny, even though I knew it wasn’t a joke at all. I wanted to cry, but I couldn’t. I was in so much shock all I could do was sit behind the wheel feeling dazed and robotic as I made my way through traffic.

My child is too young to really know who Robin Williams is or understand how much of an impact that one man has made on several generations of Americans. I’m not sure my son has even seen Aladdin! (I’m planning to rectify that situation this weekend, though.) He doesn’t know that the world’s funniest man EVER had just taken his own life. He could tell it was obviously a big deal to me because of my reactions, but he didn’t understand why.

Over the course of the evening, I kept thinking back to his movie, What Dreams May Come. If you haven’t seen the movie yet, I’ll warn you that this video contains spoilers, but it’s still worth a watch.

This clip is so poignant in light of Robin Williams death. I can’t help but tear up watching it.

Robin Williams did so much good during his life, and no blog post or article would be complete without mentioning what he has contributed off-screen and off-stage. Besides his amazing comedic value, I believe it’s important to remember how generous Robin Williams was with both his time and his money. He supported several AIDS charities,  multiple cancer charities, and numerous children’s organizations. He was also a major USO contributor and a spokesman for St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital. A complete list of his charity work and causes can be found at looktothestars.org .

The world will not be the same now that Robin Williams has left us, but thanks to modern technology, we can always keep a piece of him with us and remember the best of him, as I’m sure he would have always wanted us to. His depression was a personal demon that he didn’t mind sharing with us, but it was his burden alone to bear. I believe Robin would have wished for the world to not dwell on the sadness of his passing, but rather on the laughter and joy he gave us. He would have wanted us to be happy and smile and only remember him at his best. This, I believe, is Robin Williams’ finest:

There are many other examples on YouTube of Robin Williams doing what he does best, but that is still my favorite!

I, Personally, Think Tony MEANT To Do It

I’m not a crazy NASCAR fan, by any stretch of the imagination. I’d be what you’d call extremely casual. I watch maybe three races, at the most, each season. I love cars. I will admit that much! But, I’m more of a Top Gear girl than a NASCAR girl. I’d rather watch a few British dumbasses pull idiotic pranks in overpriced supercars than watch a bunch of professional drivers continuously turning left at a high rate of speed. With that said, I do have a favorite NASCAR driver.

When news exploded on my Facebook feed Saturday night about Tony Stewart hitting a fellow sprint car driver during a race, the first thought that went through my mind was, “Well, that had to be the most unfortunate accident!” Then, I started scrolling through the comments and came across this video:

I d0n’t, by any means, hold Kevin Ward entirely blameless in this horrific accident, because, let’s face it, no one, and I really do mean NO ONE should be walking out on that dirt track like that while cars are still going around it, caution or no caution. But, Tony Stewart himself has done this exact same thing. However, it’s clearly evident in that video that Tony floored his gas pedal, which caused his back end to swing out on that loose dirt, prior to hitting Ward. This is where I lay fault on Stewart.

It is a well-known fact in the racing fan community that Tony Stewart has a hot temper, as documented in this about.com post and this May, 2010, opinion piece from Bleacher Report. The guy was a walking time bomb, and everyone knew it. It doesn’t surprise me, given all of the previous evidence of Tony’s rage, that he’d one day lose control of it behind the wheel and do something very stupid that he’d regret for the rest of his life and that would hurt a lot of other people.

This isn’t just about Tony Stewart’s fans. Kevin Ward had fans, as well. Kevin Ward had family and friends. When you hear the talking heads on the news reporting on or updating about this story, it’s always all about Tony. Tony didn’t drive Sunday. Tony expressed deep sadness. Tony this; Tony that. What about Kevin? The guy lost his life because Tony couldn’t keep his temper in check and, with one flick of his ankle, ended Kevin’s life. How about we stop thinking about how Tony feels for one solid second and talk to Kevin’s family? It would be refreshing to see an outpouring of support for this young man and his grieving family instead of sticking up for a loose cannon.

On the streets, if you are behind the wheel, it doesn’t matter what a pedestrian does, you are still supposed to maintain control of your vehicle at all times. If a pedestrian yells obscenities at you and even goes so far as to step into your lane of traffic, that does not give you permission to floor your gas pedal and drive recklessly around them. If you do so and end up injuring that person, you can expect the police to charge you because the law and common sense dictates that since your vehicle is bigger and more dangerous, you should be exercising caution with it. What makes this any different on a race track? Yes, the pedestrian is still partially at fault, but he was not the one operating a large piece of dangerous machinery and his body is not going to kill you or your car while you are behind the wheel.

NASCAR should remove Tony Stewart from racing until a full and thorough investigation has been done into this accident and until some sort of punishment has been implemented. I do not believe that he has learned his lesson yet. NASCAR gave him the option of racing Sunday, and it is my personal belief that the only reason Tony didn’t race was because an appreciable amount of NASCAR fans voiced their concern that he’d race the day after taking someone’s life on another track. Tony is a narcissist and is a disaster looking for a chance to happen. Should he injure or kill another person while racing, I believe NASCAR will be as much to blame as he is for continuing to allow him to race without repercussions.

For an update from NASCAR regarding this accident, please see “TONY STEWART INVOLVED IN FATAL SPRINT CAR INCIDENT“.