Oxford Shooter’s Parents Charged With Involuntary Manslaughter, As They Should Be

Jennifer and James Crumbley, parents of Oxford school shooter Ethan Crumbley, have each been charged with four counts of involuntary manslaughter, prosecutor Karen McDonald announced in a press conference on Friday morning.

In addition to buying their child a gun, taking him to a shooting range and keeping that gun unlocked, it appears the Crumbleys aggressively ignored all possible warning signs that their son might do something like this — warnings they had received up to and including that very day. When a concerned teacher called them about how their son was searching for ammunition in class, Jennifer Crumbley responded by telling Ethan to be better about not getting caught and assured him he wasn't in trouble. When — that morning — the school called them in to discuss their son's horrific and violent drawings, they insisted he not be sent home from school. Hours later, he killed four kids and traumatized God knows how many others.

All of this happened within four days, via CNN:

Nov. 26: Ethan Crumbley's father, James Crumbley, purchased a gun with his son present.

On or about Nov. 26: Ethan Crumbley posted photos of a semi-automatic gun on social media with a caption: “Just got my new beauty today. SIG SAUER 9mm.”

On or about Nov. 27: Jennifer Crumbley, Ethan Crumbley's mother, made a social media post that read, “mom and son day testing out his new Christmas present.”

Nov. 29: A teacher at Oxford High School observed Ethan searching for ammunition on his phone and reported that information to school officials. His parents did not reply when the school attempted to contact them. Later, Jennifer Crumbley exchanged texts with Ethan stating, “LOL I’m not mad at you. You have to learn not to get caught.”

Nov. 30: On the morning of the shooting, Ethan’s teacher came across a note that “alarmed her to the point that she took a picture of it on her cell phone.” The note contained “a drawing of a semiautomatic handgun pointing at the words ‘the thoughts won’t stop. help me.’" Also included in the note was a drawing of a bullet with “blood everywhere” written above it. Between the gun and the bullet is a drawing of a person who appears to have been shot twice and bleeding with a laughing emoji under it. The note also has “my life is useless” and “the world is dead” scrawled on it.

The parents were “immediately summoned to the school." A school counselor removed Ethan from class with his backpack and obtained the note, but the drawings of the gun, bloody figure and writings were all “altered.” At the meeting with school officials, his parents were shown the drawing and were told they had to submit their son to counseling within 48 hours. His parents did not ask the whereabouts of the gun and did not to inspect his backpack for the gun which he had with him, according to McDonald. His parents “resisted” the idea of taking Ethan out of school and left without him.

While it seems unusual to hold parents responsible for a school shooting, there is a very clear case to be made that the Crumbleys acted with an egregiously reckless disregard of the children their son hurt and in fact facilitated his ability to hurt others. They were the ones who bought him a gun he was legally too young to own and use without adult supervision. They were the only ones who had the full picture of what was going on with their son and what he was capable of and they didn't bother doing anything. The school should have sent him home immediately regardless of what they said — that's a "universal position" the prosecutor agreed — but the school didn't know he had access to a gun. Jennifer Crumbley literally texted "Ethan, don't do it" to her son when she heard there was an active shooter and James Crumbley called the police saying that his son had taken his gun. Most parents in that situation would be scared that their child could have been a victim, but they knew right off that their kid was the shooter. And they didn't want to take him out of school or get him psychological help.

Michigan does not have any safe storage laws or child access prevention laws — meaning that, technically, parents can leave loaded guns out anywhere they like. However, it's not entirely unprecedented for parents there to be charged with manslaughter in these scenarios. As Shannon Watts of Moms Demand Gun Sense noted in a tweet, "in 2000, a Flint-area man pleaded no contest to involuntary manslaughter and was sentenced to two years in prison after a 6-year-old boy who was living with him found a gun in a shoebox and killed a classmate at school."

During the press conference, prosecutor Karen McDonald suggested that perhaps Michigan might want to look into safe storage laws, so this kind of thing doesn't happen again. The fact that we can't even have reasonable gun regulations like that — one the NRA called for and then fought when Colorado tried to take them up on it — is a very big part of why these things keep happening, why kids are able to go and shoot up their whole school, why toddlers are accidentally killing/injuring themselves and others with guns their parents left lying around.

Much has been made of Jennifer Crumbley's nauseating letter to Donald Trump, in which she thanks him for protecting her right to bear arms (and also claims she can't be racist because she is at least part Italian, which I assure you is not a thing). She said she needed a gun, as a real estate broker, to protect herself in case someone she showed a house to had "bad intentions" — and as much as I hate guns, that is not an unreasonable fear, especially with open houses. But she raised someone who had "bad intentions" and left a gun around him, not caring about the people he might hurt. The "Second Amendment People," as Trump called them, love to claim that the only thing that can stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun, but in this scenario, a parent who locks up their gun and doesn't buy one for their obviously disturbed child would have been a whole lot more effective.


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Missouri Memory-Holed Its Own Study Showing Mask Mandates Work

When children are small, parents and those around them conspire to allow and encourage them to believe in a number of fantastical things. Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny, leprechauns, that their dolls have tea parties when they go off to school each day, etc. It's considered rude or cruel to tell children these things are not real, because believing in them is part of the innocence of being a child. This, I imagine, is why my parents kept trying to leave actual "evidence" of Santa Claus around after I stopped believing around age 4 or 5 when they failed to come up with a satisfactory answer for why the elves were working for free.

As adults, however, the preservation of our "innocence" or desire to believe a thing that is obviously not true should be a very low priority, particularly when it comes to health and safety concerns amid a pandemic that is freaking killing people. Unfortunately, the state of Missouri clearly does not agree.

Back in November, at the request of Republican Governor Mike Parson's office, the state's Department of Health and Senior Services conducted a study on the efficacy of mask mandates during the height of the Delta wave. The study found, fairly predictably, that mask mandates significantly reduced transmission in the areas that enforced them. The cities that had mask mandates started out with higher transmission rates than unmasked areas, but ended up with lower rates once the mandates were enforced. State Health Director Donald Kauerauf emailed Gov. Parson's office with the results of the study on November 3, and absolutely no mention has been made of it since.

"The statewide data shows that, from the end of April to the end of October, jurisdictions with mask mandates experienced an average of 15.8 cases per day for every 100,000 residents compared to 21.7 cases per day for every 100,000 residents in unmasked communities," the Missouri Independent reported.

Masked vs unmasked cases chart

The analysis wasn't presented in cabinet meetings and certainly was not presented to the public or to local governments.

Parsons and his cabinet have long pushed back against mask mandates, frequently insisting that "science" doesn't back them up and suing cities and counties to get rid of them.

Via Missouri Independent:

Parson has spoken out repeatedly against local mask mandates, calling them "WRONG" in a tweet and a contributor to the erosion of public trust. Attorney General Eric Schmitt has gone a step further, suing St. Louis, St. Louis County, Kansas City and Jackson County to block enforcement of their mask mandates.

“Jackson County has imposed an unlawful, arbitrary, and capricious mask mandate that is not supported by the data or the science,” the opening sentence to Schmitt’s lawsuit against Jackson County states.

Except for the "science" conducted by their own health department, of course. To be fair, that lawsuit was issued back in August, when there were still only eleventy billion other studies available showing that mask mandates worked to keep transmission down. True to form, Chris Nuelle, a spokesperson for AG Schmitt's office, looked directly at the evidence and said it did not exist.

“We dispute this premise and these charts,” Nuelle wrote. “We’ve been clear that Missourians should have the right to make their own decisions, and that government bureaucrats shouldn’t be mandating masks or vaccines. We will continue to fiercely litigate our lawsuits against mask mandates in Missouri.”

Look. We all get it. Some people don't want to wear masks and don't like mask mandates, while also really not liking it when their friends and relatives call them selfish assholes. That doesn't mean anyone needs to actually go around pretending that mask mandates don't work when it is very obvious that they do. I don't like broccoli but I don't need to be told "Broccoli is unhealthy, eat vitamin-rich cannoli instead!" in order to go on with my life. That would be weird.

Surely, Republicans could acknowledge the data showing that the mask mandates work and still say "You know what? We're still totally okay with not having them because frankly we generally don't care whether non-fetal human beings live or die anyway." That would be far less ridiculous than ordering studies and then simply ignoring them when they don't say the thing they want them to say.

[Missouri Independent]

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Don’t Tell An Anti-Vaxxer To Go Eat Dirt, Because They WILL Take It Literally!

If we were worse people, we would all be millionaires right now. Billionaires, probably. Because if we have learned anything over this pandemic, it is that there is a frighteningly large segment of the population who will turn their noses up at anything an actual doctor says, but who will guzzle bleach no-questions-asked at the suggestion of some random Instagram person. Each time they come out with a new thing — colloidal silver, white oleander, bleach enemas — it seems like they have hit rock bottom, or should have. "Well, at least it can't get any more bizarre than this," you said to yourself, probably, when they were putting horse paste up their butts.

Oh how wrong you (probably) were. Because this whole damn time they were eating and bathing in "magic dirt." Go figure!

Brandy Zadrozny at NBC reports that since at least May, anti-vaxxers and other fringe healthcare enthusiasts have been in the thrall of Black Oxygen Organics (called #BOO), a multi-level marketing company that sells dirt that cures basically every ailment known to man. Not only does it cure COVID, users claim, it also "detoxes" people from the COVID vaccine. It also "cures" cancer, Alzheimer's, and autism, the last of which is really just not the kind of thing you "cure."

Via NBC:

Black Oxygen Organics, or “BOO” for short, is difficult to classify. It was marketed as fulvic acid, a compound derived from decayed plants, that was dug up from an Ontario peat bog. The website of the Canadian company that sold it billed it as “the end product and smallest particle of the decomposition of ancient, organic matter.”

Put more simply, the product is dirt — four-and-a-half ounces of it, sealed in a sleek black plastic baggie and sold for $110 plus shipping. Visitors to the Black Oxygen Organics website, recently taken offline, were greeted with a pair of white hands cradling cups of dirt like an offering. “A gift from the Ground,” it reads. “Drink it. Wear it. Bathe in it.”

According to some enthusiasts, putting one's feet in water mixed with the dirt can even "detox" one from trauma, which is also not a thing.

I did my first BOO foot soak this morning. I added the grounding wire from my earthing sheets to the water. I felt floods of energy discharge and immense calm. I organically began breathing from my belly rather than my chest. All tightness in my psoas (inner groin and lower back) release and it felt like an electrical waterfall flushing through me. I was so relaxed my mouth started hanging open lol. I did not see parasites yet but I also didn\u2019t check really well. But I highly recommend adding a grounding wire to your bath or foot bath. Via AbbyLangerNutrition

I posted this to be helpful and to share the immense peace I felt from something I have researched thoroughly. The trauma that stores in the psoas and other parts of the body that is blocked grounding out the feet. And since I posted it I have been ridiculed, my intelligence scoffed at, my feet insulted, the bowl I used questioned for its metal integrity, accused of negligence and stupidity \u2026 Via AbbyLangerNutrition

An article on BOO by nutritionist Abby Langer provides an even longer list of things it supposedly cures:

According to some of the posts I’ve seen, Black Oxygen Organics dirt can ‘cure’ diabetes, rid you of the parasites that everyone seems to think they have right now (and probably don’t), cleanse your body, cure your mold toxicity, fix your trauma, improve your gut health, calm your stress, end your chronic fatigue, help prevent Alzheimer’s disease, heal autism, fibromyalgia, and wounds.

The site itself, before it disappeared, also made the usual snake oil claims with absolutely no proof, like "Improves brain function," "delivers usable oxygen into the cell," "reduces oxidative stress," "removes toxins, heavy metals, pesticides," "cell regenerating," etc.

One advertisement from the company suggested that pregnant women need to eat their dirt because "by child number 2 the mother has run out of mineral reserves and this leaves both the mother and the baby at increased risk for susceptibility to toxicity."

Pica, the desire to eat dirt or other non-food substances, is actually pretty common during pregnancy, but that doesn't mean it's a good idea.

Black Oxygen Organics was founded by Marc Saint-Onge, of Ontario, Canada — an "orthotherapist, naturopath, kinesitherapist, reiki master, holistic practitioner, herbalist and aromatherapist" who has been trying to sell people mud for several decades now. Saint-Onge had found himself in trouble with authorities a number of times for selling said mud and for practicing medicine without a license, but that apparently did not stop him from getting into the MLM game.

As far as grifts go, it was a relatively successful one — for a time.

Black Oxygen Organics’ vice president of business development, Ron Montaruli, described the craze in September, telling distributors on a Zoom call viewed by NBC News that the company had attracted 21,000 sellers and 38,000 new customers. Within the last six months, sales had rocketed from $200,000 a month to nearly $4 million, Montaruli said, referring to a chart that showed the same. (Attempts to reach Montaruli were unsuccessful.)

Four million dollars, A MONTH, from selling literal dirt! I'd like to say "And if you buy that I have some land to sell you in Florida," but this customer base would probably sign right up so long as I told them the land cures "leaky gut syndrome."

Unfortunately for Saint-Onge, Montaruli, and — per the law of MLM marketing — the five or so people at the top of the pyramid who were actually making some kind of money from this nonsense, it didn't last long. By September, Health Canada had recalled their products due to “potential health risks which may be higher for children, adolescents, and pregnant or breastfeeding women,” and the FDA was reportedly holding their products at the border and not allowing them into the country.

As it turns out, the magic mud that these people were being sold was from a bog in Canada that just so happened to be next to a landfill and, as such, contained a whole lot of lead and arsenic and, ironically, heavy metals.

In an effort to verify BOO’s analysis, NBC News procured a bag and sent it to Nicholas Basta, a professor of soil and environmental science at Ohio State University.

The BOO product was analyzed for the presence of heavy metals at Ohio State’s Trace Element Research Laboratory. Results from that test were similar to the company’s 2017 certificate, finding two doses per day exceeded Health Canada’s limit for lead, and three doses for daily arsenic amounts.

Growing concern among BOO sellers about the product — precipitated by an anti-MLM activist who noticed on Google Earth that the bog that sourced BOO’s peat appeared to share a border with a landfill — pushed several to take matters into their own hands, sending bags of BOO to labs for testing.

The results of that testing led to a class action lawsuit against BOO, and soon after that, their online merchant dropped them, making it impossible to send the products they weren't technically allowed to sell people anyway. Then, finally, two days before Thanksgiving, sellers and customers were told that BOO was officially going out of business.

Alas, as much as we'd all like to celebrate, it looks as though the fulvic acid enthusiasts have already latched onto a new multi-level marketing company called "The Solution," which also sells colloidal silver, because of course it does.

As easy as it is to make fun of people who eat magic dirt or join up with shady MLMs, the whole reason these scams are successful is because people are desperate. They're not all anti-vaxxers who are just being ridiculous — many of them are just people who are simply desperate for a cure they've been told by doctors they're never going to get and who are willing to try anything, or they're people who are desperate for money and financial security, and it's awful to take advantage of people in those situations. It would be bad enough just to sell them products that don't do anything, like homeopathic solutions and what have you, but selling people things that are actively harmful or business opportunities that will leave them in debt is a whole other level of cruelty.


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So We’re Probably Going To Lose Roe.

The future of reproductive rights is up in the air this week, as the Supreme Court hears arguments in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, and gets ready to decide whether or not to overturn Roe v. Wade. It's not looking real good! The conservative justices have been telegraphing their plays all over the place and are making it pretty clear they are looking for a reason, any reason, to say "fuck precedent," overturn the 1973 decision, and just let states go ahead and ban abortion. Or birth control. Or invading people's private lives and private decisions in anyway they deem appropriate.

Brett Kavanaugh, who supposedly assured Susan Collins that he believed Roe was settled law, spent quite a good deal of time explaining why he wasn't actually all that into "settled law."

Via CBS:

Kavanaugh listed several of the Supreme Court's major rulings, including Brown v. Board of Education, which found unconstitutional racial segregation in schools, and Obergefell v. Hodges, which legalized same-sex marriage, to demonstrate that the court has overruled precedent, as it is being asked to do in the Mississippi dispute.

"If we think that the prior precedents are seriously wrong, if that, why then doesn't the history of this court's practice with respect to those cases tell us that the right answer is actually a return to the position of neutrality and not stick with those precedents in the same way that all those other cases didn't?" Kavanaugh said, noting that if the Supreme Court had adhered to precedent in those cases, "the country would be a much different place."

Those decisions were quite different in many ways, one of them being the idea that anyone having "come to rely" on them being in place the way those of us who can get pregnant have come to rely on Roe being in place is absolutely absurd. No one had planned their life on the expectation that someone they don't know would not be allowed to get married or even the expectation that their children would be allowed to attend racist schools — although it was certainly a boon for the private "Christian" school industry when school segregation was putatively outlawed. People have, however, absolutely built their lives with the expectation that they will be allowed to control their own reproductive futures.

Forced-birth enthusiasts believe that the only thing that will result from Roe being overturned is hundreds of thousands of adorable babies for them to look at and hundreds of thousands of women "learning their lessons" about being brazen hussies. That is very much not the case.

At one point during the hearing, Chief Justice John Roberts asked, "Why would 15 weeks be an inappropriate line? ... Viability it seems to me doesn't have anything to do with choice. But if it really is an issue about choice, why is 15 weeks not enough time?"

"Viability," or when a fetus can survive outside the mother's body, averages 23 or 24 weeks — an extra two months from Mississippi's proposed cutoff. I think it's a reasonable, balanced standard, if there are exceptions for fetuses with terrible abnormalities that would only cause a brief life of pain. Many people still don't know they're pregnant at three months, and 15 weeks is based on nothing but an arbitrary number.

That he doesn't know the answer to this himself certainly does not bode well for the future of reproductive rights in the United States (and also suggests that he did not pay a whole lot of attention to his own wife during her two pregnancies). He and the other conservative justices are on the verge of making a decision that will affect half the country without considering what any of it actually means other than "Oh, the anti-choice people will be so happy about getting to force other people they don't know to give birth against their will!"

While there are many reasons for why abortions should be allowed after 15 weeks, including a person just deciding that they do not want to give birth or have a child, a pretty big one is the fact that the multiple marker test for chromosomal abnormalities is conducted between 15-20 weeks into a pregnancy. This is the test that determines if a child has Down syndrome or Edwards syndrome — a diagnosis that is nearly always fatal either before or soon after birth. Tests for Tay-Sachs are done at around 15-18 weeks. Tests for other severe birth defects — such as anencephaly or exencephaly which are always fatal — are conducted between 18-22 weeks. One woman in Ireland didn't find out that her child had thanatophoric dysplasia until 23 weeks into her pregnancy and that upon taking her first breath, her daughter would "die from respiratory failure as her chest cavity would crush her lungs."

Things happen. Horrible things. That's why abortion is meant to be a private decision between patient and doctor, not between a patient and their legislator or a patient and their nosy neighbor as is now the case in Texas.

It may be a crass thing to bring up, but it feels important to note that we do not have universal health care in this country. We do not have parental leave in this country. This is not a pitch for Medicare for All or other social programs, it is a fact. It is unbelievably expensive to give birth here, even, in many cases, with health insurance, and without complications. In Mississippi, the average cost of a vaginal birth without complications to a mother with health insurance is $6,545.41. That is a pretty big deal in a state where the median income for individuals is $24,369.

One of the reasons that people might put off having an abortion past the 15th week is because they can't afford an abortion. If they can't afford an abortion, how the hell do we expect them to be able to afford to give birth? Or to take care of a baby?

Oh, and if we're talking adoption? A private adoption through an agency can cost parents from $60,000-$70,000 due to lawyers fees, physicians fees, and living expenses for the birth mother — costs which are unlikely to go down due to increased "supply." How many people can afford that and then the subsequent cost of actually raising a child?

The fact is, as important as bodily autonomy is and as horrific as it is that so many are going to lose theirs, there are a whole lot of practical concerns here and there's going to be a whole lot of fallout as a result of Roe being overturned. It's going to be very bad. If states are allowed to meddle in the personal medical decisions of citizens as it concerns abortion, who is to say they can't get involved in other personal decisions, medical and otherwise?

Another major concern, as Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan pointed out, is that the Supreme Court will lose the ability to claim that it is not just another political institution that will change significantly depending on whoever is on it at the time.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor noted that in the years since Roe and Casey, 15 justices have reaffirmed the viability line, while four — two of whom currently sit on the court — disagree with the standard.

"Will this institution survive the stench that this creates in the public perception, that the Constitution and its reading are just political acts?" she asked. "I don't see how it's possible."

Justice Elena Kagan echoed Sotomayor's concerns, saying a major goal of adhering to precedent is to "to prevent people from thinking that this court is a political institution that will go back and forth depending on what part of the public yells loudest and preventing people from thinking that the court will go back and forth depending on changes to the court's membership."

If that is the case, which it appears to be, it is unclear what purpose the Court actually even serves. It also removes any argument against President Joe Biden packing the court, because if it is now agreed upon that the court is meant to be partisan, and meant to achieve the goals of whichever party nominated the most judges, instead of just adhering to the Constitution and court precedent, then why shouldn't he?

If we somehow don't lose Roe, it will be a great day for all of America — including, quite frankly, many of those who oppose it without realizing why it would be bad for the Supreme Court to overturn it. But we probably will, and it's not going to be very pretty.


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Capitol Rioter/Jesus Christ Superstar Actor Claims Divine Right Not To Be Prosecuted

Congratulations to the understudy for Judas in the North American touring company of Jesus Christ Superstar, as the man who has played the role since 2019 has been "suspended indefinitely" and may now be going to prison for his part in the January 6 capitol riots. Whoops!

According to court documents, James 'Delisco' Beeks, also known as James T. Justis, teamed up with a bunch of Oath Keepers to storm the Capitol and obstruct Congress.

From the Justice Department:

According to court documents, Beeks joined with others to forcibly enter the Capitol on Jan. 6 and obstruct the Congressional proceeding occurring that day. At about 2:30 p.m., a group of Oath Keeper members and affiliates marched in “stack” formation into the Capitol grounds and then up the east steps of the Capitol to the area outside of the Rotunda doors. Beeks was part of a mob of people, including some who attacked law enforcement. At 2:38 pm., the doors were breached, and the group stormed into the Capitol. Once inside the Capitol, the group split up. Half of them, including Beeks, tried to push their way through a line of law enforcement officers guarding a hallway that led to the Senate chamber. Law enforcement forcibly repelled their advance. Beeks and others with him regrouped in the Rotunda and then left the building at approximately 3:04 p.m.

Prior to the confrontation, Beeks joined with a group of Oath Keepers while walking from the Ellipse to the Capitol. Unlike the camouflage-combat attire of many individuals in the group, he was wearing a Michael Jackson “BAD” world tour jacket and a black helmet, and he was carrying what appeared to be a homemade black shield.

The reason he was wearing a "BAD" world tour jacket, by the way, was because he is also a professional Michael Jackson impersonator. He also appeared in Broadway productions of Kinky Boots (as one of Lola's angels and also as the understudy for Lola and Simon Sr. in the replacement cast) as well as in the replacement casts of Aida, Ragtime and Smokey Joe's Café.

Though he is a resident of Florida, Beeks was arrested in Milwaukee following a performance of Jesus Christ Superstar.

Just think. Imagine getting to play what is by far the best male role in the entire Andrew Lloyd Weber canon and throwing that and any hope of a Broadway career away in the hope that being a giant asshole at the Capitol would somehow make Donald Trump president again. That is ridiculous. Even more ridiculous, however, was Beeks' performance in the courtroom on Monday.

Via Politico:

At a contentious hearing held via videoconference Monday, James Beeks — a Michael Jackson impersonator who starred as Judas in a traveling “Jesus Christ Superstar” company until his arrest last week — narrowly escaped being jailed after a tense exchange with Chief Judge Beryl Howell of the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C.

“I am an American standing under public law and I am here by special divine appearance,” Beeks told Howell.
Beeks, whose cast bio was removed from his theater company’s website over the weekend, initially refused to accept assistance from the two public defenders on the line, but he also demurred when Howell asked if he wished to [represent] himself.

“I cannot represent myself because I am myself,” he said. “I reserve all rights at all times and waive none, ever.”
Howell snapped back at Beeks, declaring his statements unintelligible.

“That’s all gobbledygook. I have no idea what you’re saying,” the judge said.

The judge also suggested that two of the affidavits Beeks submitted to the court looked like sovereign citizen nonsense, which Beeks very much took exception to, stating, “I’m not a sovereign citizen. There’s no such thing. That’s an oxymoron and it’s even an insult." To be fair, he's not wrong about the oxymoron part, but one would have to imagine those affidavits were pretty strange to elicit such a comment.

Despite her very obvious reservations, Howell agreed to let Beeks out to go back home to Florida, with several conditions for his release.

But one of the public defenders, Washington, D.C.-based Michelle Peterson, huddled privately with Beeks on Monday and convinced him to agree to strict terms of pretrial release that include GPS monitoring and a curfew.

Howell briefly puzzled over how to ensure that Beeks would travel from Wisconsin to his home in Gotha, Fla., in order to check in with the court there. Beeks said he planned to drive as soon as the FBI returned his car keys, cash and “gold and silver” seized from him at the time of his arrest.

I feel uncomfortable dragging him too much because, quite frankly, he does not seem well. Then again, very few of the Capitol rioters do.

The sad thing? He's actually good. He's no Carl Anderson, Ben Vereen, or Tyrone Huntley (my top three Personal Judases), but I vastly prefer him, even in just his audition, to some other major Judases I could name but will not because I am nice and also because I'm pretty sure no one cares about my Judas rankings.


It's always sad to see talent wasted


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QAnon Weirdos Explain Michael Flynn’s One Weird Trick To Not Actually Denounce Them

This weekend, wingnut attorney Lin Wood released a recording of a conversation between himself and Gen. Michael Flynn, with whom he is currently on the outs, in which Flynn disparaged "the QAnon movement" as "total nonsense," suggesting that it was a plot by the CIA and "the Left." As if we actually wanted to know that we live in a country filled with people who would fall for that crap.

Via The Daily Beast:

In the call, Wood complains to Flynn that his QAnon supporters had attacked Wood online. But Flynn attempts to disown QAnon, claiming it’s a “disinformation campaign” created by the CIA.

“I think it’s a disinformation campaign,” Flynn said on the call. “I think it’s a disinformation campaign that the CIA created. That’s what I believe. Now, I don’t know that for a fact, but that’s what I think it is. I think it’s a disinformation campaign.”

Later in the recording, Flynn called QAnon “total nonsense.”

“I find it total nonsense,” Flynn said. “And I think it’s a disinformation campaign created by the left.”

Now, one might think that this would be cause for hurt or sadness or confusion over on Q-centered message boards like The Great Awakening, but they are going another way entirely. They have decided that because Flynn said QAnon and not simply "Q," he wasn't actually talking about the Q that sent them secret special messages through 8chan during Donald Trump's presidency, but QAnon, which they believe is a media creation meant to discredit them (and Q).

This of course makes no sense given that followers of Q were the ones who initially referred to Q as QAnon, but pretty much nothing they do makes any sense to begin with, so why should this? Whenever this comes up — for instance if one of their major heroes, like Flynn or Trump is asked about QAnon from the media -- they drag out a "drop" from October of 2020 in which "Q" laid this distinction out to them:

There is 'Q'. 1
There are 'Anons'. 2
There is no 'Qanon'. 3
Media labeling as 'Qanon' is a method [deliberate] to combine [attach] 'Q' to comments _theories _suggestions _statements [and ACTIONS] made by 2.
Not all 'Anons' are authentic [injected].

Well that certainly is convenient.

Several participants have claimed that those of us in the media say QAnon because we're scared of Q, don't want people looking into Q, and/or are forbidden to do so for some unknown reason.

The media doesn't want people looking in to Q, so they created QAnon, which they use to beat us over the head. What better way to brand us all crazy than by presenting "QAnon Shaman" to the world.

Several others talked about how they themselves have "denied" Qanon when speaking about this nonsense to their friends and relatives.

I had someone ask me how I felt about QAnon this past spring... I thought they said QNN and I had no idea what they were talking about, and didn't take their bait.

Later I realized it was "intervention" of sorts because I'm off the deep end for believing there is fraud in our elections. 😂 And this circle of " friends" had been talking so much shit about me.

It hurt then, but now I am more in awe of the level of insanity out there.

We can only imagine.

Lin says Q came out of Flynn's digital soldiers - no, other way around.

They are disavowing "I never read them" "It's a CIA op by the left" because now the plan moves into real world effects, and this move limits blowback.

It is to limit the mess when this situation (worldwide corruption imploding) goes nuclear. "Nobody knows why" so there is no one to immediately attack. Everyone should be playing dumb as far as Q or Qanon goes, at this point in the game.

Put your seatbelt on. Just be ready with solutions: sound money, law, liberty and all the rest.

Still others said that of course Flynn is a believer because he wears his Where We Go One We Go All bracelet all the time, or because took the special QAnon pledge with his whole family.

Q specified this many times, probably because he knew people like trump and flynn would use 'idk what qanon is' for plaussible deniability

Anyways Flynn is on video doing the wwg1wga thingy, so either he got tricked by the psy-op or he's just plaussible deniabiliting

But remember Flynn taught CIA about doing psy-op's

Of course, it's extremely clear in the audio that Flynn is not referring to "QAnon" as a media creation meant to make "patriots" look crazy, but rather that "Q" itself was a creation by the CIA or "the Left" to make them look crazy. What is unclear, however, is why they think we would need any help with that, since they do such a good job of it on their own.

[Daily Beast]

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NY Times Columnist Unsure Why ‘The Feminist Movement’ Has To Be So Feminist About Everything

If there is anything the New York Times loves, it is a good op-ed about how the Democratic Party or the left in general would do well to abandon causes and issues that matter to them, in hopes of becoming more palatable to Republicans who are never going to vote for them anyway. They also love a bad op-ed on this particular subject, as is traditionally the case.

This weekend, we were gifted a meandering essay from columnist Tish Harrison Warren titled "Why The Feminist Movement Needs Pro-Life People," which, rudely, was not subtitled "Like A Hole In The Head." Warren is a priest in the Anglican Church in North America, which is far more conservative than the Episcopal Church and which, notably, opposes same-sex marriage.

The gist of it is simple: feminists should stop making reproductive rights and bodily autonomy such an issue, so that we can include people who think they are feminists despite their desire to force us to give birth against our will.

Warren starts off the op-ed by talking about how she herself has been a feminist since college.

When I was a freshman in college, a professor asked our class to define the term “feminist.” We fell silent. I attended a broad-minded liberal arts school, so I assumed our professor was a feminist, but the word carried enough ambiguity and ideological baggage that I was uncertain what to say, and I was not sure if I was one. I am from a fairly conservative background, and my impression of feminism at the time was vague and conflicted.

“A feminist,” she said, “is someone who thinks women have been oppressed and continue to be oppressed, and that that is wrong.”

From that day on, I’ve identified as a feminist. I’ve held on to this definition for decades now. It has the elegance and persuasiveness of simplicity. Unfortunately, the feminist movement in America hasn’t always embraced such a clear and expansive definition. In recent years, I’ve watched in dismay as American feminism has often defined itself by its commitment to legalized abortion on demand, excluding pro-life women like me.

Curious, I decided to look into Warren's feminist credentials, expecting to be very impressed by how much she devoted herself to feminist issues outside of abortion. Sadly, I could not find too much on that. I did, however, find one essay about how she found it personally annoying that people thought her becoming an Anglican priest was a feminist statement of any kind, and how she really didn't want anything to do with the debate over whether or not women should be ordained in the church. I found another about how she believes that "complementarianism," the religious doctrine that men should be in charge both in the home and church, is not necessarily more sexist than "egalitarianism," the belief that women can share power without God getting all upset and turning everyone into pillars of salt or any other condiment. She also shared, in that particular essay, that she and her husband had a complementarian marriage before they had an egalitarian marriage, which seems like an unusual choice for a person who thinks the oppression of women is wrong.

Back in the Times op-ed, Warren goes through a typical argument we've heard before, one that can be pretty much summed up as "there were pro-life feminists before Roe v. Wade and then they were pushed out onto the street by the mean pro-choice feminists who wanted to make feminism all about abortion." Of course, there is a massive difference between the illegal and dangerous abortions that were happening at that time and the safe and legal abortions we have today.

Anyway, this includes some real bad history lessons.

The history of pro-life feminism is long and complex. Pro-life feminists assert that “without known exception,” the feminist foremothers, including Susan B. Anthony, opposed abortion, though critics say this claim is overly speculative. Fissures between pro-life and pro-choice feminists formed shortly after Roe v. Wade was decided in 1973. Still, pro-life groups (like Feminists for Life) and pro-choice groups (like the National Organization for Women) banded together to support legislation like the Equal Rights Amendment.

That actually did not happen. The official website for Feminists for Life, which was founded in 1972, says the group opposes the Equal Rights Amendment "as rewritten in 1972" and claims that Alice Paul, who wrote the original amendment, was upset about this alleged rewrite.

The ERA as rewritten in 1972 denies the right to life of the next generation and does nothing to advance the unmet needs of women at highest risk of abortion, including the poorest among us, women of color, women working to achieve their post-secondary degrees, and working women.

Furthermore, the ERA would enshrine abortion in our Constitution for all nine months — even during the birth of a child — and could force taxpayers, including Feminists for Life, to pay for abortions.

This is somewhat confusing, as Section One of the 1972 ERA is Paul's exact text from the last time she revised the Amendment in 1943.

Warren goes on about the ways "pro-life feminists" have been kept out of the feminist movement, noting that New Wave Feminists were booted out of sponsoring the 2017 Women's March, and that feminists were upset about Amy Coney Barrett becoming a Supreme Court justice due to the likelihood of her taking their reproductive rights away, instead of just being super jazzed about a woman becoming a Supreme Court justice.

Last year, Amy Coney Barrett was denounced as “not a feminist” by other women primarily because she is conservative, a devout Catholic, a mother of seven children and pro-life. “Feminists support upholding Roe v. Wade. Amy Coney Barrett does not,” Jennifer Lawless, a politics professor at the University of Virginia, told HuffPost at the time. She continued, “Opposing a female nominee who is antithetical to feminist principles reflects a commitment to the cause.”

I understand if people disagree with Amy Coney Barrett’s views. I disagree with some of her views myself. Still, a woman — a wife and a mother — being appointed to our nation’s highest court was an impossible dream for much of its history.

Oh sure. Let's stop caring about the rights and bodily autonomy of all women in order to cheer for one specific woman who made it onto the Supreme Court. Sounds great.

Warren appears to have no idea what the fuck feminism even is, beyond a general Spice Girls "Girl Power" ethos.

We need to broaden the tent of feminism. If, in order to be a feminist, one cannot simply be against the oppression of women but also must affirm abortion or other left-of-center causes, then feminism does not actually exist as a movement. It is merely pro-choice progressivism marketed for ladies.

Yes, let's just broaden it until it means absolutely nothing whatsoever. Warren seems to believe that by focusing on not wanting to be forced to give birth against our will, feminists are losing out on the support we could get from anti-choice women who might be okay with some other feminist issues.

Pro-life women need to be included within the feminist movement precisely because there is still much that needs to be improved for women. The United States is the only wealthy country in the world (and only one of six in total) that does not have some form of national paid leave for new parents. The gender pay gap has not improved in the last 15 years. Globally, women are far more likely to experience poverty and hunger, as well as domestic violence and homicide, and one in three women in the world experience physical or sexual abuse. The vast majority of human trafficking victims are women and girls. Around 140 million girls are “missing” as a result of sex-selective abortion. Women have less access to education than men and make up two-thirds of the world’s illiterate population.

The fact is, many of these issues Warren brings up would be exacerbated by lack of access to safe, legal abortions — poverty and domestic violence in particular. Pregnancy and giving birth are outlandishly expensive in the United States, even if one decides to give up their child for adoption, so that doesn't help poverty too much. Additionally, forcing women and girls to have the children of their abusers will tie them to those people for life and make it even more difficult for them to get out of a bad situation. In order to have control over our lives, we must be able to have control over whether or not we give birth and have children. Without that, everything else falls apart.

One would think that if they really cared about these issues, we'd see these "pro-life feminist" organizations advocating for literally anything other than taking our reproductive rights away. Which we don't. If people who oppose abortion want to fight for issues outside of opposing abortion, they should go and do. They do not need permission or hand-holding from me or anyone else to do that. If someone cannot advocate for women's literacy if I don't stop fighting for my reproductive rights, I honestly don't know how to help them.

[New York Times]

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Right-Wing Conspiracists Come Up With Most Moronic Theory Yet

One of the main things that make conspiracies "work" for those who believe them is a fervent belief that everything those who are conspiring against them in whatever capacity do is symbolism. That way, everything those people so or say is "proof" of whatever evil think you think they are doing. In fact, almost no conspiracies make sense unless you think that "they" are literally sitting around all day Herman Melville-ing it up in hopes of making the sheeple look foolish. One of the big Q sayings, even, is "Their need for symbolism will be their downfall."

The idea is that the whole evil cabal either gets together at Bohemian Grove and decides "OK! So here's what we're gonna do — we're gonna wear red shoes to symbolize our love of eating babies in Satanic rituals and then laugh and laugh and laugh about how we are rubbing our love of eating babies in everyone's face and they don't even know it! Because that is a good time for adults." It's like a never-ending game of updog.

What We Do In The Shadows GIF "Does anyone here have any updog?"

Sometimes they don't even need to go to Bohemian Grove or the Denver Airport, because they can just hep the fellow cabal members to what is going on by posting pictures of their dogs on Twitter.

Now that the latest COVID variant has dropped, all of the aspiring Robert Langdons out there cannot believe how blatant the cabal is getting ... by calling it the Omicron variant. And why are they doing this? Because omicron is an anagram for moronic and literally no other reason. They just want to laugh at the idiots going along believing that this is a real pandemic that is happening, just because people keep dying of an easily transmissible virus.

Probably they are just standing around doing this all day, every day. Just laughing and being evil for no reason.

But not everyone fell for their evil wordplay tricks.

Jack Posobiec tweet: Omicron is an anagram for Moronic

Juanita Broadrick tweet: Omicron > Moronic.  They\u2019re  f\u2022\u2022king  with us.

Tweet: OMICRON > New C19 Variant  .....check it; it's an anagram for MORONIC  Moronic definition:  adjective; very foolish or stupid.  THEY ARE JUST MAKING FUN OF PEOPLE NOW. PLEASE WAKE UP AND QUIT BEING THE BUTT OF THE JOKE....WE ARE WAITING TO PROGRESS FORWARD.

This one is my favorite, as it gets real deep, noting that the Omicron variant dropped 666 days after the WHO declared COVID-19 a global threat. 666 being Satan's favorite number and all.

OMICRON (an anagram of MORONIC) announced November 26th\u2026 exactly 666 days after WHO declared the COVID-19 virus a global threat on January 30th 2020.  Designated number 1.1.529\uff1d18\uff1d666 too!  The Globalists cabal love their satanic symbolism, just another \u2018coincidence\u2019.

That's not exactly true. COVID-19 was actually declared a pandemic on March 11, 2020, but whatever that number is is probably not good for symbolism purposes. And you know how we Satanists love our symbolism, a thing we have totally done a lot of since we bullshitted our way through our 12th grade AP English paper on Ophelia's flower speech.

It's also not exactly true that the evil cabal chose Omicron because it is an anagram for "moronic" so much as it is the Greek letter "O," and all of the variants have been Greek letters. The WHO skipped over Nu because it sounds like New and skipped over Xi to avoid confusion with the Chinese leader Xi Jinping. Also perhaps to avoid people accusing Kamala Harris or whomever of pronouncing it "the COVID" in a French accent in order to sound fancy.

Of course, it is entirely possible that the Ancient Greeks were up to some shit in calling the letter O omicron, in anticipation of Henry H. Goddard coining the word "moron" in 1910 and also in anticipation of a fake pandemic naming variants of the fake virus after letters in the Greek alphabet, because they too wanted to troll people three thousand years in the future. It does make a certain amount of sense.

Anyway! This is your open thread for the day! Hope you all had a lovely Thanksgiving. Allow me to leave you with some quality Sondheim, performed by some amazing ladies and also Niles from Frasier. RIP.

Patti LuPone, Audra McDonald, Bernadette Peters, Elaine Stritch, Donna Murphy & Marin Mazzie youtu.be

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The Days Of Black Friday Starting Thanksgiving Night Maybe Coming To An End (Thankfully)

Black Friday is rough.

As a former mall employee, I hate it with every fiber of my being. It's just a whole long horrible, unavoidable day of people screaming at you and making a mess and pulling you in different directions and asking you to do shit that is not your job and having to call security because someone left their baby with you to go shop at another store (true story!) while the same awful perky/weirdly depressing songs play over and over again on a loop. I swear to God I actually start to itch every time I hear "Christmas Wrapping" by The Waitresses.

Lucky me, though, I was out before it got really bad. It was around a decade ago that stores, big box stores at least, started on their "Now we open at midnight on Thanksgiving!" shit, which swiftly morphed into "Now we open at 5pm on Thanksgiving!" shit, meaning that employees could not celebrate Thanksgiving with their families. For those of you who have never worked in that industry, most stores have "blackout dates" where you can't request any days off from a little before Thanksgiving to Christmas, so it's not as if the employees could say "Oh no thank you, I have plans."

But that's all starting to change, in part because of COVID. Last year, many of the stores that had been torturing their poor employees by forcing them to work on what should be a day off to spend with their families, decided not only not to open on Thanksgiving, but to spread their Black Friday sales out over a number of days to reduce the crowds. Not only were things a little less horrifying for their employees, who had certainly been through enough that year, but their sales actually increased by 8.5 percent above the previous year.

This year, Target at least has decided to make some of those changes permanent.

Via AP:

"What started as a temporary measure driven by the pandemic is now our new standard — one that recognizes our ability to deliver on our guests' holiday wishes both within and well beyond store hours," Target CEO Brian Cornell wrote in a note to employees.

The new standard at Target, on top very healthy sales last year, could push other retailers to follow in its path.
Distribution and call centers will have some staff on Thanksgiving, Target said Monday, but stores will remain closed.

Target began opening its stores on Thanksgiving a decade ago, joining other retailers in kicking off Black Friday sales a day early and creating a holiday rush after the turkey feast. Many did so to compete with Amazon.com and other rising online threats.

But the shift seemed to merely cannibalize Black Friday sales. And big retailers suffered some blowback from critics who said thousands of people were forced to work, rather than being with family during the holiday.

You think?

On the surface, Black Friday is an exciting day full of discounts to kick off the shopping season and get everyone in the holiday spirit. In practice, it's class war. It's super rich people and corporations profiting off the labor of underpaid, miserable employees who are overwhelmed by and set against customers, many of whom are just trying to take advantage of the one day a year they are able to buy some nice things for their families for Christmas. This is followed by half the rich and upper middle class looking at pictures and videos of those customers in horror the next day and going, "Oh my goodness, can you imagine being so driven by greed and consumerism that you'd wait in line for hours or camp outside overnight and put up with all of that just for a big screen TV? I would never. Look at them, they're like animals! Let's go to Whole Foods and spend $6 on asparagus water!" Meanwhile the other half cry about how probably all of the overworked retail employees said "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas."

It is the worst of everything (almost) about America writ large, and there is a lot to be gained, I think, by making it slightly less horrible for everyone involved. Give retail workers a break and a nice day with their families, don't make poor people a spectacle to be sneered at, and make more money in the process, because you didn't actually need to torture poor people in order to make a profit? What a miracle!

It would be lovely if this newfound understanding could lead to stores like Target deciding to knock off all their union-busting and other anti-worker bullshit but that may take a while.



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Texas Teens Tasered, Arrested While Protesting School’s Handling Of Sexual Assault

Students and parents at Little Elm High School in Little Elm, Texas, are furious following a demonstration Friday where several students were tasered, pepper sprayed, dragged by their hair, thrown around and shot with rubber bullets for, according to students, protesting the school's lax attitude toward sexual harassment and assault. Four students were also arrested. Curiously, while city spokesperson Erin Mudie initially told Fox News Digital that the "four juvenile students were arrested … for assaulting/spitting on officers," this was later amended in the Dallas Morning News to say "she couldn't comment on what they were arrested for as a result of the incident."

Either that or as a result of video footage of the police attacking students published on social media after she initially spoke to the media.

Content warning here, as this is some extremely disturbing footage of what clearly appears to be police brutalizing children:


MAJOR TW: s/a, police brutality. this is my school guys. JUSTICE FOR JAELYN. we only wanted peace, not violence. it broke my heart to watch it all.

Parents of the students involved in the protest spoke to the media later that day to express their horror over what happened to their kids, at school, where they are supposed to be safe.

According to students on social media, the protest was sparked by an incident in which a girl was sexually assaulted by a male student, reported it to the school administration (as did two eyewitnesses), and was given in-school-suspension for falsely accusing him and lying, because he said he didn't do it and because they found video footage of her talking to him on the bus prior to the assault. They say the demonstration they planned had been peaceful until the school called the police to come in and take care of it.

The female student whose complaint sparked the demonstration initially posted about her assault and the aftermath on Snapchat, leading to the demonstration on Friday. Other witnesses posted their own corroborating statements to social media as well.

Here is one of the statements, edited for clarity and with the names of the students redacted:

Myself and one other girl gave statements as witnesses who had heard and seen these events take place. The school's response? Talk to the boy. The boy who denied it all and said "I can't believe she would accuse me of something like this." The school even checked the camera footage on their bus, and determined that since [female student] had been seen speaking to [male student], that she had allowed it. Officer Pham asked her the day she reported it "Did you do anything to allow it?" In the end, not only did [male student] walk away with no consequences for his actions, but [female student] received 3 days of ISS for "falsely accusing him and lying about the situation.

Students at Little Elm High School FREQUENTLY report instances of sexual assault, harassment, abuse and rape, a considerable amount of those taking place on school grounds or property. The school? They do nothing. The administration as a whole but specifically our lovely [assistant school principal] Dr. Mohammed. Little Elm High School admin CANNOT keep ignoring the students crying for help. They CANNOT keep victim blaming. They CANNOT keep putting their students in harms way and then punishing them when they get hurt.

All it teaches these boys is that if they can get away with touching a girl, maybe they can get away with raping one too.

Little Elm High School cannot keep ignoring these girls and encouraging their abusers.

Posts on Facebook and TikTok make it clear that while students and parents were upset about this particular incident, they also felt this was part of a larger pattern with the school's attitude towards complaints of sexual harassment and assault — an accusation that will likely not come as much of a surprise to any woman who has gone to high school, or college, or even middle school. Or even just existed in this world for more than a day.

The school's initial statement to the media about the incident was that "the demonstration was a result of a social media post the day before that contained inaccurate information regarding an incident that happened a month ago."

However, after a full weekend of parents and students flooding the school's Facebook post about the demonstration and the arrests with their own stories of the school ignoring complaints of sexual assault and harassment — and making it clear that they would not stop doing so, regardless of how many times the post "disappeared" and was reposted — the school's tune sharply veered into "I feel your pain"-town by Sunday night.

At Little Elm ISD, our mission is to Engage, Equip, and Empower each student to realize their full potential. We want our students to feel they received a great educational experience while attending a Little Elm ISD school. What led to Friday's student protest hits us at the core of who we are and we have to find a way to restore the trust you need in order for all of us to move forward.

Your questions, thoughts, and concerns are very important to me. I have heard and read each of them and I can feel your pain. I am a parent as well who knows how important it is that our children feel safe, valued, and heard. I will be as transparent as possible, but due to federal privacy laws we are restricted on providing certain details related to students. With that said, I want to assure you that our Board of Trustees, District administration, and the administration at Little Elm High School are focused on student safety and restoring public trust.

That statement, from school superintendent Daniel Gallagher, also now appears as a pop-up on the school's website, which suggests they've been getting more than a few calls from angry parents. But good for those parents, good for these students, good for camera phones and good, on this rare occasion, for social media.

[Dallas Morning News]

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