Category Archives: Culture War

Attention ladies: Seattle’s Up-and-Coming Hot Male Musicians!

From an article (click on the link to see the full article and hot males) in The Stranger, an alternative weekly newspaper in Seattle. And home to the “columnist” Dan Savage. If this wasn’t written by two hipster Seattle womyn, I’m sure it’d be labeled as sexist.

“Not Only Are These Six Up-and-Coming Male Seattle Musicians Hot, They Also Know How to Play Their Instruments!”

Joe Axler


Who does your hair, and what are your ultimate hair tips and secrets? My hair is very expensive to maintain. That’s all I’m going to say.

How do you feel that creating music affects your life at home and romantic relationships? I’ve had the same girlfriend for a long time; she’s a real trouper, but I know that she is affected by the amount of time I am on tour. She knows that me being a male in the highly female-dominated metal scene means that I’m a commodity and constantly objectified.

Daniel Enders


Being a male drummer must wreak havoc on your hair. What’s your postshow hair-care ritual? My split ends and hair knots have been nearly unmanageable lately, so I’ve been experimenting with new techniques to conquer this, like switching from shampoo to straight coconut oil. I also recommend putting your hair in braids before you go to sleep and letting your hair dry naturally after a shower if you’re having trouble keeping your curls from going into the frizzy territory.

Kenneth Piekarski


Sure, his glorious blond-streaked curls and big blue eyes peeking out from underneath chic statement glasses make him an 11 on the 1-to-10 babe-o-meter, but don’t write him off as just a pretty face! Kenneth Piekarski is the man behind avant-pop solo project Slashed Tires—an unconventional Seattle noise outfit that continues to wow the world, in part because this indie siren actually writes all the songs himself.  Women may listen to Slashed Tires for the clever, intricate noise music, but men tend to love him for his independent spirit of male empowerment.

Frankie Crescioni


It’s rare to see men in the world of electronic music—do you feel like you have to work harder to be respected in your field? Well, considering that most electronic music is made by multinational brands or by artists pretending to be multinational brands, I’d say it’s harder to get respected. And by respected, I mean paid. But there are some good folks in the city who look past my masculinity and just listen.

Barret Anspach


Barret Anspach is so good-looking, he could have forgone school altogether to focus on modeling, but he got into the Juilliard School and is now a real-deal composer who not only writes his own arrangements but can actually play the viola!

As a male composer, have you felt like you had to work harder to be respected? I think society is at a point now where men are slowly becoming more accepted—even praised—for their musical talents and not just for their good looks or baking abilities.

Pajama Boy approved.

pajama boy


L.A. labor leaders seek minimum wage exemption for firms with union workers

do as i say

LA Times: Labor leaders, who were among the strongest supporters of the citywide minimum wage increase approved last week by the Los Angeles City Council, are advocating last-minute changes to the law that could create an exemption for companies with unionized workforces.

The push to include an exception to the mandated wage increase for companies that let their employees collectively bargain was the latest unexpected detour as the city nears approval of its landmark legislation to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2020.

For much of the past eight months, labor activists have argued against special considerations for business owners, such as restaurateurs, who said they would have trouble complying with the mandated pay increase.

Hypocrite Hicks

Hypocrite Hicks

But Rusty Hicks, who heads the county Federation of Labor and helps lead the Raise the Wage coalition, said Tuesday night that companies with workers represented by unions should have leeway to negotiate a wage below that mandated by the law.

“With a collective bargaining agreement, a business owner and the employees negotiate an agreement that works for them both. The agreement allows each party to prioritize what is important to them,” Hicks said in a statement. “This provision gives the parties the option, the freedom, to negotiate that agreement. And that is a good thing.”

Coalition representatives said the proposed exemption would ensure the city complies with federal laws which they say give collective bargaining agreements precedence over local ordinances. They also contend that it would keep L.A.’s ordinance consistent with previous city wage laws.

Some business leaders criticized the proposal, however, calling it ironic in light of union leaders’ past opposition to special considerations for some employers. “I’d refer everyone back to the statements of labor leaders over the past seven months that no one deserves a sub-minimum wage,” said Ruben Gonzalez, senior vice president for public policy and political affairs with the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, which opposed the minimum wage increase passed by the City Council.

Gonzalez said the change sought by labor officials could pressure companies into letting employees unionize as a way to seek relief from the mandated wage hike. “Once again, the soaring rhetoric of helping the working poor is just a cover for city government acting as a tool of organized labor,” he said.

The City Council voted last week to gradually increase the hourly minimum wage to $15 over the next five years. Since then, City Atty. Mike Feuer has prepared an ordinance that would put the increases into effect. The council’s Economic Development Committee is scheduled to review the language on Friday.

Last fall, the council approved an ordinance increasing the minimum wage at large hotels to $15.37 per hour. That law says that provisions of the hotel wage hike may be waived in workplaces that have collective bargaining agreements.


Majority of Americans, esp. Democrats, want to make “hate speech” a criminal act

The United States is exceptional in the world when it comes to the protection of free speech. But that distinction is now endangered.

Peter Moore reports for YouGov, May 20, 2015, that its latest research shows that many Americans support making “hate speech” a criminal offense, by a margin of 41% for vs. 37% against.

Hate speech is vaguely defined by YouGov as public statements which would “stir up hatred against a group based on such things as their race, gender, religion, ethnic origin, or sexual orientation.”

Note that “hate speech” doesn’t mean a public statement that explicitly advocates or incites violence against a group, instead it is about “stirring up hatred,” which is vague and subjective.

What does “stir up” mean? What does “hatred” mean?

The same statement may arouse ill will in someone, but not in another. In other words, what is considered “hate speech” means many things to many people.

On this issue of supporting criminalizing hate speech, as on others, there are partisan and racial differences:

  • The majority (51%) of Democrats support criminalizing hate speech; only 26% oppose.
  • In contrast, a majority of both Republicans (47%) and Independents (41%) oppose criminalizing hate speech, with 37% of Republicans and 35% of Independents in support.
  • The majority of blacks (62%) and Hispanics (50%) support criminalizing hate speech, with only 14% of blacks and 24% of Hispanics opposed.
  • In contrast, a majority (43%) of whites oppose criminalizing hate speech, with 36% favoring criminalizing.

criminalizing hate speech

Charles C.W. Cooke of National Review points out that

It’s important to note here that “stir up hatred against” does not mean “instruct a crowd to kill” or “explicitly incite violence against.” Both of those things are already illegal under the Supreme Court’s 1969 Brandenburg standard. Rather, it is a fancy way of saying “be really mean to.”

Cooke notes that in the UK, prominent British columnist Katie Hopkins is being investigated by the police and may be prosecuted under the Public Order Act, for referring to African migrants crossing the Mediterranean as “cockroaches”. But Hopkins did not threaten African migrants, nor did she ask her readers to meet her the next day and embark upon a violent crusade. She merely called African migrants by an ugly word.

Should Americans wish to become more like the British — as YouGov’s research shows a majority of Democrats, blacks and Hispanics want to — they would have to do no less than to repeal the First Amendment.

H/t FOTM’s MomOfIV


Please vote for a winner of FOTM’s Writing Contest!

Inspired by our Mike’s on-going tutorial on writing in the interest of encouraging us to help change our culture toward the good by writing, FOTM conducted our very first Writing Contest.

Contestants were asked to submit the opening paragraph(s) of a story or novel.

There were 11 entries. Before we continue, as the owner of FOTM and recognizing that creative writing is an arduous task,  I want to congratulate every one of the 11 readers who submitted an entry. I thought they were all well done, in that each entry piqued by interest to read more.

FOTM writers’ job was to winnow those 11 into a smaller group of 6 finalists, so that you — the reader — can then vote for a winner.

Here are the finalists in the order of the number of votes they’d received from FOTM’s writers, although that should not influence your choice, followed by a poll. 

1. evh

(This is from my short story, A Dog Named Bill)

He didn’t belong to the aristocracy of dogdom. The uncharitable called him a mutt, but those of us who loved him didn’t care that he’d never win a blue ribbon. His warm brown eyes were alight with devotion and his square, tufted muzzle seemed to wear a delightful grin when he looked up at a friendly face. His favorite pastime was rounding the park at night and he often came home bearing the aroma of a skunk that he had unexpectedly met up with. He could never understand why we would give him the cold shoulder until he smelled like a dog again.

Bill had affection for us all, but Sister was the one he chose to worship and adore. When she married and left home, Bill left too. It was a case of “whither thou goest, I will go.” Sister and her husband, Joe, moved to Birmingham, Alabama and Bill had the indignity of riding in the baggage car. Sister wrote, “When Joe and I got Bill from the crate, he alternately licked us and pee peed. I was so embarrassed.”

Bill’s happy, secure world fell to bits when sister became ill. He grimly understood that something was wrong when his beloved could no longer play with him. He’d pad softly into her room and lovingly lick the hand that lay so quietly on the bed. Then he’d give a sigh and lie unobtrusively in a corner. The day came when that dear hand was gone and once again Bill took a train ride — this time back to New Orleans. Bill was welcomed by Mama, Brother, and me, but he never stopped looking for Sister. He walked weary blocks to the place where he had started his life and went into the house he had known as a puppy.

2. Tim Shey

Here are the first two paragraphs from my non-fiction book High Plains Drifter: A Hitchhiking Journey Across America:

Chapter One

Hebrews 11: 8: “By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.”


I had been working on an apple farm in northern New Mexico when I thought it was time to hit the road. Or maybe I should say that the Lord inspired me to hit the road. As you grow stronger and deeper and more intimate with God, He uses your eyes, your ears and your circumstances to teach you things, and show you things and to point what direction you should go in. Who can resist God’s will? I knew that I knew that I knew that I must go, so I headed north into Colorado and by that evening I had made it to a community called The Spiritual Life Institute of Crestone, Colorado where I stayed one night.

The next day I hitched to Leadville, then Vail and then stopped at Glenwood Springs, where I turned off Interstate 70 and headed towards Snowmass. There is a Cistercian Monastery near Snowmass where the monks let me stay for four or five days. It is a beautiful place up in the mountains. The first day there I helped put away some pipe and the remaining few days I did some work in the garden. I remember well that it was very hot–it was the first week of July in 1986–and every half hour I would take a towel and go to a nearby water hydrant and soak it in water and then wrap it around my head to keep me cool. The monastery is–I am guessing–around five thousand to seven thousand feet in elevation so the air is thinner and the sun is hotter than at lower elevations. It really wore you out. That’s why many people wear broad-brimmed hats when working outdoors at that elevation.

3. Huntingfororcs

The shocking news began as whispers, passed from one Being of Light to another.

“Psst, there’s a mutiny! The First Born has rebelled and is taking a third of us with him!”

The whispers became louder and louder, like waves crashing on waves, until they became a deafening roar, as confusion and panic radiated down the ranks.

“What are we to do?”

“Should we follow First Born or stay true to Unus sint Deus?”

“Isn’t there someone who can lead us?” . . . .

Then, from amidst the lower ranks a voice spoke. At first small and hesitant, the voice grew stronger and bolder, “Who is like unto God?”

Raising his sword, the voice cried, “I am Micha-El, and I will lead you. Follow me!”

And so began the first battle in the Great War of the Angels that shook the very foundations of the cosmos.

4. I 53:5 Project

Not fully awake, I heard the voice but ignored it; it was part of a dream.

“Last stop!” I heard the voice again as I opened my eyes, expecting to find myself safely at home in the quiet darkness of my bedroom.

The zipper on the backpack I had been using as a pillow had dug into my cheek, my neck ached, my head was pounding.

“Last stop!”

I sat up and, as my eyes began to adjust to the light, I realized I was somehow on a bus.

“Last stop!”

“Alright, I’m going.” I shot back at the impatient driver as I moved through the impossibly white all plastic interior of the bus to the door.

“Enjoy your stay, Sir” I heard the impeccably dressed driver with a face as pale, cold, and lifeless as the hard plastic interior of the bus say as I stepped out into blazing hot sunlight.

Head, neck, and cheek aching, my eyes now burned as if I had just walked out of a movie theater in the middle of a sunny afternoon.

Where was I? What I had I been doing on a bus? Except for a handful of times in my 40 years, I never, ever traveled anywhere by bus, not since school anyway.

I sat on the curb, reached around to my back pocket, retrieved my cigarettes, opened the crushed and half empty pack, and; broken, broken, broken…all of them.

“Perfect.” I thought to myself.

“And the creepy bus driver took off with my backpack, wallet, keys, phone.”

I had to get out of the heat. I looked around and, as far as I could see in either direction, other than an endless rocky brown desert, was a freshly blacktopped two lane street with a sidewalk on either side, lined with blood red Japanese Maples, evenly spaced, all the same height and shape, none capable of providing any shade.

So I started walking. There had to be something or someone, somewhere, and some relief from the oppressive heat.

Although I could feel the heat of the sun it was impossible to determine its location, judge what time of day it was, or know what direction I was traveling in because, horizon to horizon, there was nothing above but blinding, hot, featureless, white.

So I walked.

And walked.

And walked.

5. Jason

Everything changed today. Change is a fascinating narrative for our lives. Slow, monotonous change. Beginning at the moment of our conception, our decisions, their outcomes, reactions and so on; this collective of instants make up the unique and precise intersection of these accumulated changes. This infinitely momentary juncture determines who and where we are, at any given point in time. Sometimes change is much more abrupt. A car accident, murder, these things are violent and malevolent in their intent. Only one person wins the lottery everyday but, there are countless devastating events that could affect any one of us during that same day. Every so often, life changes suddenly, sometimes it’s hard to tell if that change is violent and malevolent or benign and gentle in its purpose. Perhaps in the moments following these types of changes we determine its impact on our lives by how we react. Or, conceivably, we are doomed to fate. Without free will, our entire universe predetermined, nothing unique, nothing beautiful, no responsibility; Barren and lifeless. At least that was how I used to think, before the first time she came to see me.

6. TheSmaug

There is a monster that roams society, without any regard for decency. It eats pregnant women whole and spits them out… Without the baby. It is not stoppable, and the government helps it. It is a disgrace. It’s name is Abortion.

Here’s the poll, which will end this Sunday night. The winner will be announced next Monday, followed by the return of our Caption Contest on Tuesday morning!

For the other writing contest submissions, go here.


California Medical Association drops opposition to doctor-assisted suicide

Hippocratic Oath

According to a report from California Catholic Daily, May 22, 2015, the state of California has added a new first to its dubious list of achievements.

Formerly opposed to physician-assisted suicide — euthanasia in non-PC parlance — last Wednesday, May 20, 2015, the California Medical Association (CMA) removed its opposition to a controversial bill in the state legislature that would allow terminally ill Californians to end their lives with doctor-prescribed drugs.

In so doing, CMA became America’s first state medical association to drop its opposition to euthanasia.

Although CMA has long opposed doctor-assisted suicide on grounds that it violates doctors’ ethical and moral obligations to provide the best treatment possible, the medical association recently changed its bylaws so that it is now neutral on the issue by deleting the term “physician-assisted suicide” and replacing it with “aid in dying.” Its rationale is that it is simply acknowledging a shift in doctor and patient attitudes about end-of-life and aid-in-dying options. Dr. Luther Cobb, president of the California Medical Association and a Humboldt County general surgeon, said, “I’ve always felt that way, but I was surprised the membership of the organization had changed.”

Luther Cobb, MD

In January of this year, Sacramento lawmakers introduced SB128: End of Life Option Act, three months after Brittany Maynard, 29, set off a worldwide movement in support of “aid in dying” by sharing her own decision to die with the help of her doctor. Maynard, who had terminal brain cancer, moved to Oregon to access the state’s Death with Dignity law, which the California legislation uses as a model. Maynard claimed her final months were made more difficult by not being able to access life-ending drugs in her home state. She died Nov. 1, 2015, after using the lethal prescription. Her husband and mother have continued to share her story in the state Capitol to encourage lawmakers to change California’s laws so that others don’t have to move for similar end-of-life options.

SB128 would require two California physicians to agree that a mentally competent patient has six months or less to live before prescribing life-ending drugs. A terminal patient seeking the lethal prescription would then be required to make a written request and two oral requests at least 15 days apart.

Opponents of the bill argue that vulnerable people can be coerced into seeking the deadly prescription by heirs looking to profit or by health insurers who find it cheaper to offer aid in dying rather than chemotherapy to live. “It’s a bad bill because it has the possibility of impacting the most vulnerable in California who don’t have access to health insurance or the best of care and whose options are limited,” said Tim Rosales, spokesman for Californians Against Assisted Suicide.

SB128 passed along strictly party lines (Democrats for; Republicans opposed) in two Senate committees — health and judiciary. But since California voters persist in electing Democrats to a majority to the state legislature, the euthanasia bill is likely to become law.

Certainly, CMA’s move paves the way for passage of the bill, although opposition remains in the Catholic Church and among some disability rights groups. 

In removing its opposition to SB128, California Medical Association had sought an amendment to the bill to ensure that doctors who did not want to participate would also not be required to provide information on assisted-dying or refer a patient to a medical provider willing to offer such services, although there will still be other sources and opportunities for patients to learn about aid in dying.

The amendments are expected to be finalized and made public this week.


Irony Alert: Shell protesters damage West Seattle dive park habitat

shell protestors The activists protesting Shell oil and the impacts drilling has on the environment left behind material used to anchor their protest barge in a popular dive park. The barge known as “The People’s Platform” was parked over the dive park near Seacrest Park during last weekend’s protest of Shell and the Polar Pioneer oil rig.

Divers found cement blocks, cables and chains used to anchor the barge, according to Joe Smillie, spokesperson for the Washington State Department of Natural Resources aquatic division. “They were mooring [the barge] with cement blocks and cables,” Smillie said. Those are now on the floor of Elliott Bay.

The damage to the park was minimal, Smillie said. Protesters will not face a fine, but will have to pay for the cost of cleanup; that cost has not been determined. It’s a popular dive location because it’s a habitat for octopus, Smillie added. The barge is being relocated to an approved area for non-commercial vessels, Smillie said. It can remain there for 30 days.

Meanwhile, the Department of Natural Resources is requesting more information regarding Foss Maritime’s plans with the oil rig parked off the Port of Seattle’s Terminal 5. The oil rig is in an area that only allows for temporary use, Smillie said. The department is asking Foss how long it plans to keep the Polar Pioneer at its present location.

State-owned aquatic lands platted as waterways are generally reserved as “highways” for navigation under state law. Short-term use, such as loading and unloading, is allowed. However, the oil rig may be violating those laws, Smillie said.

“We’ve asked them for information for their plans, how long they plan to be there, and if they need a permit from us to be moored outside Terminal 5,” he said.

Any long-term storage in the area where the oil rig is moored is not allowed under the State Constitution, Smillie added.

I wonder if all these protestors rode their bikes to the park, wore plant-based material clothing, and used kayak’s made of wood?

See also:


Native American mascots have to go, Oregon State Board of Education rules


Oregon Live:Fourteen Oregon public schools that have fought to maintain their Native American-themed mascots in the face of state changes must pick new names by 2017, the Oregon Board of Education ruled this week.

State board members voted unanimously against an amendment that would have allowed schools to continue to call their athletic teams and other student organizations nicknames such as the Warriors, Braves, Indians and Chieftains.

“It’s a great victory,” said Sam Sachs, one of the activists who has fought to ban the names. “They stood their ground and said we’re not going to do it.” Native Americans have been asking state leaders to ban tribal-themed mascots since 2006.

Schools in Banks, Molalla and Roseburg still used Native American mascots. Seven Oregon schools called themselves the warriors. (Another, Aloha High School, earned a reprieve after proving its warrior mascot was Hawaiian, not Native American).

The state board studied the issue for years before agreeing, in 2012, to do so. The board ordered all schools with Native Americans mascots to choose new ones. Those who didn’t would lose state funding.

Republican legislators fought back. State Sen. Jeff Kruse, R-Roseburg, and Rep. Sherrie Sprenger, R-Scio, proposed bills that would allow some schools to keep their name. Governor John Kitzhaber vetoed a 2013 proposed bill but a year later agreed to allow schools that have the OK of an Oregon tribe to use a mascot with tribal significance.

The 2014 bill also directed the state board to come up with the rules for the agreement process. State officials created work groups to develop the rules and propose an amendment to existing standards that would allow some tribal mascots. Workgroup members spoke with members of nine federally recognized tribes. Some, such as the Siletz, did want to allow a local high school to use a tribal mascot. The workgroup considered whether to allow schools to ask permission from multiple tribes. They debated time frames for receiving approval.

Board members reviewed studies that said Native mascots promote discrimination, pupil harassment and stereotyping. They studied dropout rates and discipline data. Both painted bleak pictures: Last year, 3,130 Native American students enrolled in Oregon high schools. About 200 of those attended schools with Native American mascots. They comprise about 2 percent of enrollment but represent 4 percent of dropouts. They also are disproportionately suspended.

Finally, education board members agreed to vote on an amendment allowing some schools to keep their names. They rejected it, essentially reaffirming the initial 2012 decision to ban Native American mascots.

“For (the board), this really is a civil rights issue,” said Crystal Greene, a spokeswoman for the Department of Education. “It’s an equity issue. They felt like the action that had been taken in 2012 was an important one, and that this was in the best interest of kids.”

In February, the Banks School District asked more than 1,000 community members who they felt about changing the school mascot. Nearly 95 percent voted to retain “the Braves.” At least one school has changed its mascot during the back and forth. Last year, The Dalles High School dropped its mascot, the Eagle Indian. They played this year as the Riverhawks.

And this month in Lebanon, crews began working to sand down their gym floor to remove a logo of a Native American. A Native American “warrior” still appears on the school’s website and in its hallways.

So with this “civil rights” and “equity” issue now resolved, I look forward to seeing a positive reduction in the disproportionate number of Native America students who drop out and are suspended.