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Stupid, heartless people

Read Paul Krugman’s piece on the death of food stamps in the Farm Bill, after 40 years of success.

Now, I understand that some people think this is a dandy idea.  Split the Farm Bill up so that all the committed tax dollars go to industrialized farms and address the SNAP program separately, where there will be no such security for families with children.

But all I see is an opportunity for Republican voters, who have been deceived to believe that the country is suffering a scarcity of food stuffs that they have to pay for, to get another opportunity to shame and humiliate people.  Apparently, needing food is a reason to strip the dignity from your fellow citizens.

Yeah, that’s really nice.  I believe this is how bullying works.  Pick on someone for something they can’t help and then physically and mentally punish them for it.  That ought to make the Republican base feel smug and good about themselves.

Pathetic.

***************************

Need more DryLock.  Merde.

Bullying beyond the classroom

Emily Bazelon, a senior editor at Slate, has written a book on cyberbullying, Sticks and Stones, and gave an interview to Terry Gross yesterday on Fresh Air.  One of the schools she talks about in her book that is a notorious bullying school is located in Connecticut.  She describes the school as being extremely competitive and that a culture of meanness thrives as a way of getting ahead.  In this school, you can get bullied simply for being not as economically well off as your peers.

The mother of one of the students who was targeted was less interested in curtailing online social media access than changing the culture of the school.  Bazelon says of the girls who bullied the other student:

“We want to think that empathy is this natural quality we all have, and in fact, almost everyone is capable of empathy. But there are these moments in adolescence where kids freeze out these feelings. I spent a lot of time with some of the girls who were bullying Monique [who is profiled in the book], and in moments it chilled me to listen to how dismissive they were in talking about her. But in other reflective moments they would say things like, ‘You know, I see that she’s walking down the hall with her head hanging down and really doesn’t have as many friends as she used to have.’ So it wasn’t that they were incapable of empathy, it was much more that they were in a culture in which they were being encouraged to be cruel to another kid to enhance their own status instead of really letting their feelings of empathy for her have an outlet.”

When I heard this part, I immediately thought of bankers and wondered just how many of them are living in Connecticut.

And now, a word from your sponsor

It has come to my attention that some of our commenters are of the opinion that they have the right to dictate the terms by which we express our opinions. This would be an incorrect assumption.

We, the front pagers can post our opinions on anything on our mind. We can say things that you do not particularly like. We are free to write things that will challenge your most cherished beliefs on a particular subject. If we know that there are people who are lying to you about something, we may feel obligated to tell you, to the best of our ability and understanding and sometimes from an inside point of view, exactly how we think they are misleading you. Just because it violates some preconceived notion put forth by your tribe doesn’t mean we are wrong or being mean. You may not like it. Tough. That’s our prerogative.

You may disagree with us if you want. That is what the comment section is for. However, it is not your right to tell us what to write or how to write it. It is not up to commenters to dictate what kind of blog we are. If you want a more exclusively feminist blog, there are others to choose from. This front pager does not think it is to anyone’s advantage to have only women blogging. That’s not the way the world works. We don’t achieve equality by partitioning ourselves off from the world and then pulling gender rage at everything that is written that we don’t like. That strikes me as dangerously close to the crap the Obots pulled on us in 2008 when everything we said, did or breathed was deliberately misconstrued as racist.

If you want a more Birkenstock wearing, academically minded, purist and unrealistic read, google someone like Chris Hedges. There are certain things that trigger a Pavlovian response in lefties, like nuclear energy, pharma and anyone with “Clinton” following their first name. If you have a reflexive response to those words, you may not feel comfortable here.

From the first day this blog started, the goal has been to challenge consensus reality and to give those of us with contrary opinions a place to voice our dissent. It was badly needed. But it can be jarring and leave readers dizzy. Readers are advised to expect the unexpected. We present ideas and try to connect the dots. So far, we have a pretty good track record of being right. Just because it is all the rage to rail against “bullying” on websites doesn’t mean we are in any way responsible for some commenters sense of victimization. We aren’t forcing anyone to read us. That doesn’t mean we want to alienate any readers but you should know what you are signing up for. We don’t ban nearly as many people as other blogs and most of you usually get to say whatever the hell you want. I’ve read a lot of complaints today that myiq is “attacking” some of you and I’ve read the threads in question. I don’t see it.

Our credo is in the tabs at the top of the page. I advise commenters to read it. The front pagers of this blog pretty much subscribe to those principles. One thing i would like to emphasize is our right to be unpopular if necessary. It’s one of the reasons we don’t have ads plastering our pages or beg you for money. If we did that, we might pull our punches in the future and not have the nerve to tell you to fuck off if we have to. But we are not into group think and we do occasionally disagree with each other. If we don’t have a problem with that, why should you? And if you do have a problem with it, there is a perfectly good solution…

Get your own blog.

Bullycide at ??? High

My High School alma mater has become famous in recent months. Earlier today, the actor from that new show on NBC I can’t be bothered to watch, The Event, Scott Patterson, posted the address, location and phone number of the guidance office of Mentor High School on his Facebook page. It was wrong of him to do that. Posting addresses online is low, and Scott Patterson knows little about the town he refers to.

I lived in Mentor from the time I was seven to the time I was seventeen. It is typical of suburbia across the country in it’s conformity, simplicity and repression. It is a beach front town, located on the shore of Lake Erie, and sometimes my friends and I would go to the Headlands and climb the rocks near a lighthouse, brushing cottonwood seeds off of our clothes from the trees in the parking lot, hopping over dead fish and cigarette butts.

At times Mentor can be not entirely unpleasant. I still have fond memories of some of my teachers. Mr. Wolski, my history teacher from Sophomore year, was a lefty clown (not unlike myiq) and he and I had a running commentary with each other. When I was a junior and passed him in the halls, I would mutter “Mr. Wolski is a loser,” and pretend not to have noticed him when he turned around. Mr. Raiff,  from AP Government, told me I was an anarchist. The Hopkins Airport once had an air show and a few people were photographed protesting the War in Iraq, and he wrote my name above one of the girls carrying the signs. Because of  my old English teacher, Mrs. Stucky I can write a three page research paper in ten minutes or so in perfect MLA format.  I feel privileged to have been taught by them and others. If it hadn’t been for them I wouldn’t be writing this post right now and I would never know my right to search for my own opinion and stand by my convictions, to always learn and never stop, because you can never really know everything.

But those fond memories, I’m sorry to say, pale in comparison to others. Lately, the media seems particularly interested in Mentor’s secret little world of shit. Out of all the schools we’ve heard about where teens have taken there own lives due to “bullycide,” Mentor has been singled out. In Mentor, four suicides have occurred in the past couple of years, and almost all of them were due to bullying. Here’s an article about it from the AP, it gets most of the facts right, and I recommend reading the whole thing:

Eric Mohat was flamboyant and loud and preferred to wear pink most of the time. When he didn’t get the lead soprano part in the choir his freshman year, he was indignant, his mother says. Continue reading

Sic Semper Tyrannis

f_030409_statue01.jpg

“Thus ever to tyrants”
(Artwork by State of Disbelief)

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