As the kids say (or used to say) I haz been bizzy. Not too busy to follow the news, but too busy to write anything thoughtful (or snarky, or thoughtful-snarky) about it. And you guys, there’s been a LOT to write about.

I mean a LOT. For example, many people are saying the President of These United States appears to be bughouse nuts (SPOILER: he pretty much really is bughouse nuts). Yesterday Comrade Trump decided to promote himself to Czar Trump, declaring he has the absolute power to pardon himself for crimes. I can’t recall if that was before or after he declared that appointing a special counsel to investigate Russian ratfucking of the 2016 election was unconstitutional, based on something he might have heard somebody on FOXNews say before cutting to commercial.

“I’m not bughouse, I’m not bughouse, you’re bughouse!”

Is that bughouse nuts or what? (HINT: it’s totally bughouse nuts.) And this afternoon Trump was planning to hold the Traditional President Meets the Super Bowl Champions Event, but then sort of semi-half-canceled it. It was going to be a party. The Philadelphia Eagles would show up, Trump would get to be photographed shaking hands with manly men (some of whom aren’t white, which makes for a better photo-op), there’d be music, good food, a lot of happy Eagles fans milling about, it would be fun.

The guys in suits who run the Philadelphia Eagles had told Comrade Trump’s people that probably like seventy or eighty of their folks would be there — players, coaches, guys in suits, maybe some cheerleaders. But apparently nobody bothered to ask the players, who mostly said “What? I ain’t going. The president’s a racist. Also? I hear he’s bughouse nuts. You wanna get together after, text me and I’ll meet you someplace.”

So the guys in suits told the president’s people, “Uh, look like it’s just us. Maybe ten, twelve folks. Sorry. Hope you didn’t spend too much on the appetizers.”

Trump’s people told Trump, and Trump went bughouse nuts. He decided to cancel the party, which made his people sputter (allegedly). They told him “But Czar Trump, we’ve already decorated the Rose Garden, and we’ve booked the United States Marine Band AND the Army Chorus — we’ll never get our deposit back. Also too, what about the team’s fans who are planning to attend? Did we mention that Kellyanne Conway is a super Eagles fan? Do you want to disappoint Kellyanne? You know how she gets.”

“Today I’ll be honoring the Super Bowl Champion Marine Corps Band with songs by the Army Chorus. Winning!”

So Comrade Trump decided to only semi-half-cancel the party. He just uninvited the guests of honor. And, of course, he took to Twitter:

Staying in the Locker Room for the playing of our National Anthem is as disrespectful to our country as kneeling. Sorry!

Did any Eagles players stay in the locker room during the anthem last season? Well, no. That rule wasn’t even a rule until last week. Did any Eagles players take a knee during the anthem last season? Well, no. Not one. But some of them supported the protest. And to a person who’s bughouse nuts, some players who support a protest is exactly the same as Treason with a capital T and is also a direct insult to the President, which is also Treason.

So this afternoon, Comrade Trump will be hosting the United States Marine Band AND the Army Chorus AND some fans of the Philadelphia Eagles (including Kellyanne) in the Rose Garden to celebrate the Philadelphia Eagles unexpected victory over the dog-ass New England Patriots in the Super Bowl…but without the actual Philadelphia Eagles.

Is that bughouse nuts? (HINT: yes, it totally is.)


taking a knee

It’s become popular among some Republicans to claim Comrade Trump isn’t really a Republican at all. They act like he’s some sort of chimera — a semi-mystical, implausible synthesis of disparate bits of different animals. Part liberal, part conservative, part patriot, part iconoclast, part traditional, part unconventional, part who the fuck knows. A new type of politician, they say.

Bullshit. Trump is the distillation of everything the Republican party has become in the last couple of decades. He’s selfish, self-centered, cruel, mean-spirited, fearful of anything different, completely unscrupulous, alienated from reality, dismissive of science, contemptuous of facts, mercenary, fundamentally dishonest, sneering, arrogant, judgmental, and too privileged to give a shit about anybody or anything that isn’t useful to him.

In brief, Trump is an asshole. Over the last couple of decades the Republican party has gradually shed any semblance of a conservative philosophy of governance and replaced it with being an asshole. You want to know what the Republican position is on any given policy? Ask yourself this: ‘What would an asshole do in this situation?’ The environment? More coal, fewer regulations. Epidemic of gun violence? More guns, fewer regulations. Healthcare? More regulations, fewer people insured.

This is what you can expect from the president when the president is an asshole. Free speech? Call NFL players who take a knee during the national anthem ‘sons of bitches’ who disrespect the nation, and encourage owners to fire them.

Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, you’d say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out! He’s fired,’

You have torch-toting nazis marching at night in an American city? An asshole would say there are some “very fine people” among them. A football player who takes a knee during the national anthem to protest violence against African-Americans?  An asshole would call that “total disrespect of everything that we stand for.”

Because all of those football players are paid huge amounts of money to entertain the public, assholes will claim they should keep their political opinions to themselves. Because most of them are black, assholes will feel victimized by that exercise of free speech while at the same time complaining to other assholes that the players are being uppity.

But here’s a true thing about assholes: they polarize people. Today there are probably folks — standard NFL fans — who were maybe mildly offended by the decision of players to take a knee, who are now applauding the practice. Today there are probably folks who don’t care at all about professional sports who are appending #takeaknee to their social media posts. Today there are probably folks who are supporting the ‘take a knee’ movement NOT because they agree with it, but just because they’re just fed up with having an asshole for a president.

By the way, those NFL players? Some of them are assholes too. But a LOT of them, even though they’re making obscene amounts of money, are also showing up at soup kitchens, they’re standing up against bullying, they’re helping with flood relief, they’re raising and donating money to hurricane victims, they’re supporting research to cure diseases, they’re fighting homelessness, they’re actually out there doing stuff for their communities while assholes are sitting at home and complaining.

Let me also say this, since I come from a military family rather than a sports family. In the military ‘take a knee’ means to take an immediate break, right where you are, because you’re just fucking exhausted. It’s a moment — and only a moment, which is why you’re only taking a knee — to stop, catch your breath, allow your sore muscles to relax, and consider what to do next.

I think this whole nation needs to take a knee.

fuck you sexual harasser

I can remember being in high school, riding around in a car with my buddies, passing a couple of girls on the street, and the guys leaning out the windows, laughing and shouting. I don’t recall what they shouted. Probably something like “Hey baby, looking good.” I remember thinking it was a stupid thing to do — not because I thought it was harassing or threatening, but simply because it didn’t seem to me like an effective way to pick up girls.

I never gave much thought to cat-calling as a young man. It was just something some guys did. I did four years in the military and heard male troops catcall women, and didn’t think much about it. I did four years in college and heard undergrads catcall women, and didn’t think much about it. Then I became a counselor in the psychiatric/security unit of a prison for women. The inmates taught me a LOT about what life was like for women — or at least what life was like for women who ended up in prison. Every few weeks I’d be assigned weekend duty. That sometimes included taking low-risk inmates on local excursions — a movie, maybe. Maybe a trip to a nearby park. Maybe a visit to a local diner so they could get to eat something other than prison food. It wasn’t unusual for me to drive a prison van with six to eight women convicts into town, herd them into the local theater, buy them all popcorn, and watch a movie with them.

And it wasn’t unusual for local young men, seeing us all walk down the street, to shout out the windows of their pickups at the women. When that happened, I noticed a lot of the women would tense up. And I paid attention, though not entirely for the right reasons. I paid attention in part because I’d been trained to notice body language. But I was also very aware that when any group of inmates start to tense up, you’d best pay attention.

A big chunk of my job was to try to understand and help these women, so on various occasions I’d talk to some of them about their reaction to the cat-calling. I remember one of them saying something like “When I hear that, I get ready to run. They gonna have to catch me, if they want to rape me.” That’s when I first started to get it. I still tended to put that anxiety down to druggie paranoia and living in bad neighborhoods — but I got the first real inkling of what it was like for those women to move through the world.

Years later I was living with a woman — a feminist criminologist. She opened my eyes in a lot of ways. One of the many things I learned was that an intellectual understanding of feminism doesn’t give you any meaningful insight into how women have to live. There was a night when she asked me to go with her to fetch something from a local market. I was busy doing something and didn’t really want to interrupt it. I figured she just wanted me along for company. But she explained there wasn’t any safe place for her to park at the market — which made no sense to me, since there was plenty of parking spaces nearby. What she meant, though, was 1) a lot of navy men often went to that market for beer and 2) there wasn’t a street light she could park beneath. She needed to park under a street light, she said, to be sure nobody was hiding in or near the car.

And I began to understand a bit more. I could run to the market to buy a clove of garlic without a second thought. For her, a run to the market required strategies to stay safe. And it wasn’t just a run to the market at night — it was going to the gym in the morning, it was getting off work in the evening, it was going to the mall, it was taking the dog for a walk. Taking the damned dog for a damned walk, and just by doing that she knew there was a decent chance she’d get harassed. Just walking down a street with a dog.

To me, this was a revelation. To her, it was so glaringly obvious that it hardly needed to be mentioned. And this was a woman who taught feminist thinking.

And you know what? I still don’t get it. Not really. I mean, I get it when I think about it. But as a guy, I rarely have to think about it. Which is why I’m both ashamed and grateful when a woman reminds me. And that’s what happened this morning. A friend of mine, Lori Andrews, posted this on Facebook:

I just got cat called with “mommy”. Of course I was far enough away that I couldn’t identify which construction worker did it. But here is what I wanted to say to him.

I have hated you my entire life. You drove beside me when I was a child and terrified me. You followed me and tried to touch me when I was a young woman. You have yelled at me from cars, broken my reverie in quiet walks, assaulted me verbally on my bike. You still talk about me and call out to me just out of view but always in earshot. Always when just I alone can hear it and no passers by are aware. Every day of my life I have endured your endless taunts and frightening threats. I’m 48 years old.

Fuck you sexual harasser. Fuck you.

It’s difficult for me to imagine the ridiculous lengths women have to go through every day just to avoid being harassed or harmed. Most of my life I’ve been in careers that required me to try to understand what life is like for other people. I like to think I’m pretty good at it. But every time I come across an experience like Lori’s, I’m reminded that I still don’t really get it. Despite having the lesson repeated to me countless times by so many women, it still doesn’t entirely register in my brain that women deal with this shit every day.

Here’s proof of that: earlier today I mentioned to a woman friend that I was thinking about writing a blog post about cat-calling because another friend had posted about an incident on Facebook. I said something like “More women should talk about this crap, so men will be reminded of just how hateful and pernicious it is.” My friend said “Why should it be a woman’s responsibility to remind men not to be assholes?”

There’s no good way for me to end this post. There’s nothing I can say that won’t come across as self-serving, or patronizing, or stupid in some way. But this has been on my mind all morning and it’s important that this stuff gets discussed.

I want to thank Lori for allowing me to quote her Facebook post and use her name. And I want to thank all the women who responded to her Facebook post, and as long as I’m at it, I should thank all the women who’ve been patient with me over the years. It’s not your responsibility to remind men not to be assholes — but thank you for doing it anyway.


Right. Okay, you guys say you want to talk about the Great Bird Sanctuary Treason Plot of Harney County. I can do that. It’s an extraordinarily stupid act, and it’ll probably just dissipate in a couple of weeks, leaving behind nothing but some trash and the fetid stink of disappointed testosterone — but sure, we can talk about it. First, though, I’m going to insist on a tangent. Maybe two tangents; I haven’t decided yet.

Harney County, Oregon. Named for William Selby Harney, a 19th century military man who fought in the Indian Wars, and the Mexican-American War (which, I should point out for Trump supporters, was a war between Mexico and the United States and NOT a war on Mexican-Americans), and the American Civil War. General Harney was also deeply involved in the Pig War.

General William S. Harney

General William S. Harney, who knew a thing or two about escalating a minor fuss.

Okay, the Pig War. I’m going to guess you’re probably unfamiliar with the Pig War of 1859. I’m also going to guess you’d be happy to remain unfamiliar with it. Too bad, on account of it’s sort of relevant. The Pig War was basically a dispute over who controlled a chunk of land. In this case, the chunk of land was the San Juan Islands, which are located between Vancouver and the U.S. mainland. Both the U.S. and the U.K. claimed sovereignty over the islands. They set up a commission to settle the fuss, which of course meant the dispute dragged out for years.

However, while the commission was doing whatever bullshit commissions do, people went on living on the islands. One of those people was an American named Lyman Cutlar, who had himself a nice little garden where he grew potatoes. Another of those people was a British citizen named Charles Griffin, originally from Ireland. Charles raised pigs. On the 15th day of June, 1859 one of his pigs (identified in court documents as ‘a large black pig’ though it’s unclear if that’s a physical description of the pig itself or a reference to the creature’s breed–a Cornwall Black, which is generally referred to as a Large Black) ate some of Lyman’s potatoes. Lyman shot and killed the pig. Charles objected to what he perceived as unmerited swine assassination. Lyman offered to pay Charles US$10 for the dead pig. Charles refused, demanding $100 (which, let’s face it, is an astonishing price for a dead pig, regardless of how large and black it is). Lyman refused, saying “Your pig was trespassing and eating my potatoes.” Charles responded “My pig doesn’t recognize your property boundaries, and besides it’s your responsibility to keep your potatoes out of my very fine pig.”

A Cornwall Black pig

The Cornwall Black pig, a breed notorious for their appetite for pilfered potatoes

Charles asked the British authorities to arrest Lyman for murdering his pig. And they said “Yeah, okay, why not?” Lyman in turn asked U.S. authorities to protect him from the British. And they said, “Sure, okay, we can do that.” Because people are generally really fucking stupid, by August 10th, the British had five warships anchored off the San Juan islands, with some 2000 troops prepared to arrest Lyman Cutlar for killing Charles Griffin’s potato-eating pig. The U.S. had about 400 men with a couple dozen cannons under the command of Gen. Harney, prepared to help Lyman Cutlar protect his potatoes from being molested by wandering swine.

This standoff lasted for thirteen years (during which Harney and many of the troops went off to fight in the American Civil War, and most of the British troops went off to wave goodbye to some other part of the fading British Empire) until October of 1872, when an international tribunal chaired by Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany in Geneva, Switzerland ruled that the San Juan Islands belonged to the United States. Therefore, Charles Griffin and his tuber-ingesting pig could go fuck themselves.

Seventeen years after that, in 1889, Oregon established a county comprised of more than ten thousand square miles and named it after Gen. Harney, who at some point in time probably had to pass through the area on his way to someplace else. We’re talking about 10,000 square miles, you guys, with a population of just over 7,000 people. This place is seriously rural. And in 1908 the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge was created in Harney County.

This guy claims he couldn't spend Christmas with his children because he had to drive to Oregon to defend the right of a large black pig to eat potatoes. Or something.

This guy claims he couldn’t spend Christmas with his children because he had to drive to Oregon to defend the right of a large black pig to eat potatoes. Or something.

And hey, nobody paid a lick of attention to the place until a couple of days ago. Which is when a dozen or so ten-gallon fuckwits, mostly from Idaho and Arizona, ‘seized’ one of the unoccupied buildings on the refuge. By ‘seized’ I mean they broke open the door, walked in, and marked their territory by spraying White Christian Cowboy musk all over the place.

A lot of folks are outraged that these guys aren’t being referred to as terrorists. They’re angry that these people aren’t being treated to the same sort of rapid response military force commonly used against unarmed black pedestrians. Which is totally justifiable anger and outrage. There’s absolutely no doubt this event would be reported differently and handled differently if the occupying fuckwits were fuckwits of color or Muslim fuckwits.

But are these guys terrorists? I have to say no. I mean, terrorists cause terror. It’s right there in the name. Terrorists are scary. These guys are terror-asses. For the most part, the public is treating them with well-earned derision. Their dramatic Red Dawn farewell YouTube messages are alternately sad and hilarious. Their insistence that they’re fighting tyranny by occupying a bird sanctuary in seriously rural Oregon in the middle of the goddamn winter is so patently ridiculous that it belongs in a Monty Python skit.

This guy claims he went to Oregon to die for the cause so that no other person ever has to suffer the injustice of going to prison for setting fire to government-owned land.

This guy claims he went to Oregon to die for the cause so that no other person ever has to suffer the injustice of going to prison for setting fire to government-owned land.

But hey, they’re there and something needs to be done about it, right? So, what to do? I’d suggest the very worst thing we could do would be to treat these as a threat to national security. This is NOT an armed insurrection. It’s NOT an act of sedition that warrants an armed assault. It’s a pathetic, testosterone-driven cry for attention.

Don’t get me wrong. I think every one of these paunchy, beef-witted, potato-heads ought to be arrested and charged with a Federal crime. I think those who can be proven to have carried a firearm in this mewling exercise should be charged with a felony, in the hope that they’ll be prohibited from legally buying or owning a weapon again. I also believe these idjits who yearn for another civil war in the United States can be a genuine existential threat to the security of the United States. But occupying the Welcome Center of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge doesn’t merit a major response.

I think it would be a serious mistake to turn this clay-brained episode into the sort of military stand-off the occupiers (and the newsfotainment media) are after. That would just grant them legitimacy, which they don’t deserve. Even the folks on FreeRepublic are mocking these guys–that’s how completely fucking stupid this is.

Here is a pig stealing a potato. Alert the media.

Here is a pig stealing a potato. Alert the media.

This is only a big deal if we make it one. This ‘occupation’ doesn’t deserve the attention we’d give to a potato-thieving pig.

right in the neck

The Athabaskan people who lived near the mountain called it Denali, which meant ‘the high one.’ It’s a pretty name for a mountain. I like it. Another local tribe, the Dina’ena, called it Doleika, which meant ‘big mountain,’ which is less poetic but still pretty accurate. It really is a big mountain.

The Russians moved into the neighborhood in 1783; they called the mountain Bolshaya Gora, which also means ‘big mountain.’ They didn’t really change the name; they just said it in Russian, which is appropriate. But the Russians left in 1867, and I suspect folks in the area just continued to refer to it the ‘big mountain’ in whatever language they happened to have handy at the moment. Because it really IS a big mountain.


Then in the late 1880s, the white folks in the region decided to call it Densmore’s Peak, after Frank Densmore — a gold prospector who was, apparently, inordinately fond of the mountain. I don’t have any solid evidence to base this on, but I’m going to guess the natives continued to call it Denali or Doleika regardless of what the white folks did. Because what did the white folks know about it? Fuck them in the neck.

Then politics happened. A guy named William Dickey, who’d been prospecting for gold in the Susitna River, returned to the Lower Forty-eight and wrote an article about Alaska for the New York Sun newspaper. This was January of 1897, shortly after Republican William McKinley had been elected President of These United States. McKinley, you see, was a proponent of the gold standard (on which to base U.S. currency) — and Dickey was a Republican who’d been a gold prospector. McKinley’s Democratic opponent in the election, William Jennings Bryan, was in favor of a silver standard rather than a gold standard. Dickey had met a lot of silver prospectors while in Alaska, and they all favored the Democrat. This is all important information because in his article, Dickey made this rather suspect claim:

We named our great peak Mount McKinley, after William McKinley of Ohio, who had been nominated for the Presidency.

Whether that was true or not, it struck a chord for Republicans in Congress, and twenty years later they made the name official: Mount McKinley. They also named the area around the mountain McKinley National Park. Basically, it was Republicans saying ‘fuck you in the neck’ to Democrats (and to all the native folks in Alaska).denali3

It seems nobody in Alaska liked the name, and most folks just continued to call the mountain Denali. Who cared what the people south of Canada called it? In the 1970s, Alaska made the practical decision to officially change the name back to the original Denali. They petitioned the U.S. Board on Geographic Names (yes, there’s actually a government agency that oversees geographic names) to do the same. And hey, the board seemed open to the idea.

Then politics happened again. The Republican Congressman who represented the Ohio district when William McKinley spent most of his life (a complete jackass named Ralph Regula) intervened and basically stopped the process. Basically, he was saying ‘fuck you in the neck’ to the people of Alaska. The people of Alaska sort of shrugged off the whole fuss and in 1975 the Alaska Board of Geographic Names (yes, the state has its own government agency to oversee its geographic names) went ahead and changed the name anyway.

In 1980, President Jimmy Carter decided to change the name of the park from McKinley National Park to Denali National Park and Preserve. Basically, he was saying ‘fuck you in the neck back’ to Congressman Regula. But while the president was authorized to change the name of the park, Regula could still prevent him from changing the name of the actual mountain, which officially remained Mount McKinley. Basically, Regula was telling the president ‘re-fuck you in the neck.’Denali1

And that’s how things stayed until Regula retired. At that point Alaska again petitioned the Board on Geographic Names to change the damn name. Then politics happened yet again. Two members of Congress from Ohio — both Democrats — decided to carry on Regula’s profoundly stupid fight to retain the name of Mount McKinley. Basically, it looked like Ohio saying ‘fuck you in the neck’ to Alaska.

But the people of Ohio spoke out and told their members of Congress to grow the fuck up and stop interfering with Alaskan politics. And they did. So today, President Obama is officially authorizing the Board on Geographic Names to recognize what Alaskans have always recognized — that the mountain deserves to be called Denali because it really IS a big, high mountain.

And hey, guess what. Politics are happening. Republicans — and particularly those from Ohio — are rebuking the president’s decision. Speaker of the House John Boehner stated he was “deeply disappointed in this decision.” Senator Rob Portman decried the decision as “yet another example of the President going around Congress.”

And, of course, the proud patriots of FreeRepublic are voicing their considered opinions on the issue.

— Why not call it Glorious Jihad?

— If Hussein cared about what the people of Alaska thought, he would ask Valerie for permission to open up the northern slope for drilling. Alaskans want that, too.

— Obonzo didn’t do jack. He’s going up there to fundraise and kiss some minority @$$ for his ‘RAT comrades up there. Everyone in Alaska already refers to the mountain as Denali. The bastard Kenyan didn’t need to do anything. This is just another one of his “historical” In Yo Face Whitey Moments.

— Mount Barack….in honor of Bareback Mountain

— stupid bammy has to interject himself into normal people’s lives like the narcissist he is

— This is the work of a tyrant.

— I’m surprised it’s not going to be Kilimanjaro to make Zero feel more at home.

— Islam could easily be involved. Pakistan is close. Jihadis are everywhere.

To be fair, not everybody on FreeRepublic is a lunatic. Many of them have pointed out the fact that most Alaskans want the mountain to be called Denali. They don’t necessarily object to renaming the mountain; they just object to President Obama renaming the mountain. Basically, the people of FreeRepublic are saying ‘fuck you in the neck’ to the president.

Barack Obama

But hey, it’s a done deal now. And it’ll be Obama’s smiling face we’ll see standing in front of Denali on the national news tonight. And guess what he’s basically symbolically saying to the folks of FreeRepublic.

Right in the neck.

i think we can all agree with that

“The church has gotten it wrong a few times on science, and I think that we probably are better off leaving science to the scientists.”

Well, yeah, I think we can all agree with that. The Catholic Church has had a rather testy relationship with science. They’ve done some good work (so to speak) in science. Like the Big Bang Theory. Not the television series, which the Church denies being involved with, but the actual concept of the Big Bang. It was a priest, Father George Lemaître, who came up with that idea. On the other hand, the Church pretty much stepped on its own dick when it came to that Earth-is-the-Center-of-the-Universe business. But still, it was an Augustinian friar, Gregor Mendel, who developed the field of genetics. Of course, the Church turned around and pissed all over the theory of evolution. So yeah, the Church got it wrong a few times. I think we can all agree with Rick Santorum on tha….

Whoa, whoa, wait just a fucking minute here, buddy. Rick Santorum? The smarmy, homophobic, supercilious prick with the pedophile haircut and the sweater-vest — that Rick Santorum? Dude, c’mon — you expect us to agree with him on anything? What the hell was he talking about?

Santorum was talking about the Pope’s views on climate change. He was basically saying that the Pope isn’t a scientist and that…

Jeebus on cheese toast, Rick Santorum…let me get this straight…you’re saying Rick ‘Man on Dog’ Santorum is arguing that we should listen to scientists? On climate change?

That’s what he said. We’re better off leaving science to the scientists. He was….

Okay, okay. This is the same Rick Santorum who said “I always have problems when people come up and say the science is settled. That’s what they said about the world being flat.” Right?

Yeah, same guy. Only now he’s…

The same unctuous Rick Santorum who said “The idea that the Crusades and the fight of Christendom against Islam is somehow an aggression on our part is absolutely anti-historical.” Is that who we’re talking about here? That Rick Santorum?

Yeah, that’s him. My point, though, is that Santorum…

Rick ‘Obamacare is a plot to kill off Republican voters’ Santorum. You’re talking about that particular species of Rick Santorum.

Yeah, but what I’m trying to say here, if you’ll let me finish, is…

Hold on, hold on. Just want to be clear here. We’re talking about that overbearing toffee-nosed putz who argued that contraception is “a license to do things in a sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be.”

Yes, that’s correct. That’s the Rick Santorum we’re…wait. Toffee-nosed?

It’s an old expression. It means…never mind what it means. You know what it means. My point is that Rick Santorum is a festering pustule on the ass of the body politic. He’s a self-righteous, hubristic prig who wants to force everybody to abide by his own medieval religious beliefs. He’s a hypocritical, pretentious, small-minded, petty, pasty-faced bigot who’d be running a cult, except he has the charisma of an under-baked biscuit. There’s no good reason for anybody to listen to anything he has to say on any subject whatsoever. That’s my point.

That’s my point too. That’s exactly the point I was going to make.

Oh. Well yeah, I think we can all agree with that.

Rick "I'm a little teapot' Santorum

Rick “I’m a little teapot’ Santorum

i love fútbol — i fucking hate fifa

I love fútbol. I love the game and I love the term fútbol. It just sounds and looks so much more interesting than either ‘football’ or ‘soccer’. Plus fútbol more appropriately reflects the international nature of the game.

I particularly love women’s fútbol. It’s not quite as fast as the men’s game, but I prefer their style of play. There are fewer players who engage in diving, there is more emphasis on teamwork, there are fewer prima donnas, and above all there is more pure joy from the players in their athleticism. Women’s fútbol is simply more fun to watch.

So I’m completely over the moon that, in just over a week, the Women’s World Cup will begin in Canada. And I’m completely pissed off about the way the best women fútbol players in the world are being treated.

Women's Soccer vs. Iowa

There has never, in the entire history of the World Cup, been a match played on artificial turf. Until now. All of the venues in which the Women’s World Cup will be played this year have artificial surfaces. That’s bad — bad for the players and bad for the game.

It’s bad for the players because playing on artificial turf increases the chances for injury. We’re not just talking about turf burns, which may seem relatively minor (but aren’t); we’re talking about serious injuries. There are more ankle injuries — some of which might only slow a player down, some of which might cause a player to miss a game, some of which might end a career. Artificial turf can cause a metatarsophalangeal joint sprain — more commonly known as ‘turf toe’ — in which a player’s big toe becomes hyper-extended. Have you ever had a toe injury? It changes the way you walk (assuming you can even wear a shoe), so imagine how it affects a player in a running sport. And if that’s not bad enough, playing on artificial turf increases a player’s chance of concussion. That’s true even for American football players — and those guys wear helmets.

Turf burn

Turf burns

It’s bad for the game because the increased risk of injury affects the style of play. Here’s what Heather O’Reilly — a midfielder on the US team — had to say about playing on artificial turf:

“Slide tackling on grass – you know, you get up, you shake the grass off, get the dirt off. On turf unfortunately, a little layer of your skin comes up with every slide tackle so you get turf burns. Those diving headers that are so exciting on the world stage aren’t going to happen on artificial turf because you can get injured. So it changes the game quite a bit.”

Another problem is the ball moves quite a bit faster on artificial turf. That means more balls going out of bounds, which translates into more throw-ins, which results in less action on the field. The rhythm and fluidity of the game changed.

wambach 2012 olympics

Let me say it again. Playing fútbol on artificial turf is bad for the players and bad for the game. Here’s former Canadian national team player Carrie Serwetnyk on the issue:

“[The decision to use artificial turf] like saying that women’s Olympic track would be taking place on a cinder track instead of a rubber one.”

It’s pretty much unthinkable that the same decision would be made in the men’s World Cup, or in any of the qualifying matches. So why is the Women’s World Cup being played on artificial turf? Because FIFA, the organization that runs international fútbol, has no respect for women as athletes. That’s it. That’s the entire reason.

How do we know that? Because when the women players learned they’d be playing on artificial turf, they complained to FIFA. Sixteen months before the World Cup starting date, more than 70 top-ranked players from at least 17 national teams signed a letter, asking FIFA to insist on grass surfaces. FIFA ignored them. So the women sued FIFA, accusing them of gender discrimination, arguing that men’s teams would never be forced to play on an artificial surface instead of natural grass. FIFA refused to publicly address the lawsuit, and stalled. Eight months ago the women asked the court for an expedited hearing, since the turf would have to be changed before the games began. FIFA continued to stall and refused all attempts to negotiate. According to their lawyer, some of the women involved in the suit were threatened with suspension from their local governing bodies.

In January, when it became clear nothing was going to happen, the women withdrew their suit to concentrate on preparing for the World Cup. FIFA didn’t comment.

alex morgan ankle injury

There’s a lot of money in FIFA. A lot of money and a lot of secrecy. The bonuses — not the salaries, just the annual bonuses — for FIFA officials in 2012 amounted to more than thirty million dollars. The recently indicted FIFA officials were accused of taking more than US$150 million in bribes.

How much would it have cost for FIFA to equip the World Cup 2015 stadiums with grass? Between three and six million dollars. Money wasn’t the issue. The issue was the health and safety of the women players. The issue was respect.

I love fútbol. I love the Women’s World Cup, and I’ll watch almost every match. I love fútbol. But I fucking hate FIFA.