Truth in Advertising: Photoshopping must be outlawed.

Photoshopping is using a special computer program that manipulates a photo to alter its appearance. Models that appear on magazine covers often have their pictures photoshopped to make them look more attractive than they really are (according to some standard of beauty held in most of the Western world, but not a universal one).

This unethical practice has been criticized for giving most girls a terrible self image by making them compare their imperfect bodies to what they see in magazines. A similar  argument has been made about Barbie dolls, with their unrealistic body proportions, but at least pictures of Barbie dolls are not photoshopped. Doing that to actual human models should be considered fraud. And fraud IS illegal, so it is not a stretch to outlaw photoshopping and require all magazines, newspapers, and news websites to only publish pictures that are not photoshopped. We should be able to see what is real, not someone’s idea of beauty that is not real!

Thou shalt not steal!

Imagine my shock at the sheer stupidity and arrogance of this group of radical “Christians”:

http://www.jesusradicals.com/calendar-grrlz/

On the weekend of Black Friday, a group of three people emptied a calendar stand of its entire stock of sexist and objectifying products.

Every day on the way to work, we had to walk by this kiosk.  Each passing encounter forced a specific sexuality and beauty standard upon us, and we couldn’t take it anymore.  We were sick of being told that our worth is equivalent to what aesthetic pleasure our bodies can afford someone else (typically a man).

If your environment disturbs you, disturb it.

Or even better, disturb it with your friends.  Together, we formulated a plan and decided upon roles that we were all comfortable with: the distraction, the bagger, and the lookout.  The area was scoped out beforehand for cameras, number of employees, and general foot traffic, and escape routes were elaborated.  We created placards with anti-sexist rhetoric to replace the calendars, being cautious to touch them only with gloves on.

The distraction pretended to shop until the other two entered separately, and then began to engage the sole employee in conversation.  The bagger stashed the product in a trash bag, while the lookout stood beside watching for passersby and police.  After the product had been replaced with the placards, the bagger took the trash out through a side door, appearing as a mall employee.  Once sure the bagger hadn’t been followed, the lookout exited and headed to the meetup spot.  The distraction ended the conversation with the employee and walked away without incident.  We all left laughing.

A big part of any action is strengthening bonds of trust with those whom you already know and love.  We invite you to disturb your own environments, with these suggestions:

- Always use gloves for everything you handle (no fingerprints)

- Make sure you have enough bags/baggers (we had to make several trips, and the employee at your kiosk may not be so inattentive)

- Wear a very different change of clothes underneath your outfit–if followed, you can hide and remove the outer clothing.

- Wear something to obscure your face from cameras and passersby (if a hat, look down at the ground while passing a camera)

Be cautious, but don’t be paranoid.  This was (and should be) easy and fun!

I would have expected this sort of crap from a group of radical atheists and feminists, not Christians!  But then again, we do have Christian bigots that have murdered abortion doctors too, even though the Bible says “Thou shalt not kill.”

If these people were at all sincere, they would have  destroyed the calendars in front of the store employees and customers and allowed themselves to be arrested and proceed afterwards to take a stand for their cause in court. Instead, they are just cowards, thieves and self-righteous @$$holes. In any case, I would put them in jail for a long time and/or fine them thousands of dollars!

Insanity on the Telephone

One of the most hilarious videos I’ve ever seen is this:

In only 1 1/2 minutes, this caller spits out plenty of bullcrap. What is really ironic is that there is also so much bullcrap out there that is Republican party dogma, such as that President Obama is a Socialist, that socialism is bad for America, that Obamacare must be repealed, that ultra-high military spending is good for Americans instead of spending more on our infrastructure, and that keeping taxes low on the rich helps our economy. ALL of those claims are baseless too! So why tolerate any of it?  Just because a lie is popular does not make it any less false!

How to Fight Gerrymandering

Gerrymandering is the unethical process by which one party which is currently dominant in a state attempts to maintain its dominance by drawing districts for state legislators or Congressmen to favor that party and its candidates. It is the very antithesis of democracy, in which the people are to elect their leaders and representatives; instead, in gerrymandering, the representatives choose what people they want to have voting for them. This allows certain extremist nutcases like Rep. Michelle Bachmann to be elected over and over again without fear of losing their seats to a more moderate opposing candidate.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gerrymandering

Illustrated in that Wikipedia entry are some particular examples of gerrymandering, but the most obvious one of all seems to be:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Illinois%27s_4th_congressional_district

GerrymanderingThere is simply no excuse for this, no matter what party commits it!  If Republicans filed a lawsuit to change or eliminate this district, I would support them too.

I have come up with an idea on how to identify gerrymandered districts.

CircleUsing the circle and the point indicating its center, I propose that any district that touches at least three points 45 degrees apart from each other and also contains the point at the center of the circle may be considered a fairly drawn district. By this test, the 4th Congressional District in Illinois would certainly not qualify. Nor would:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_Carolina%27s_12th_congressional_district

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California%27s_23rd_congressional_district

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Illinois%27_17th_congressional_district

All those districts should be opposed. I would lobby for a bill to be passed by Congress and in every state legislature mandating my standard for all congressional and state legislative districts. I would also ask for the federal courts to intervene. Indeed, I would strongly recommend that only federal courts, not state legislatures, be allowed to draw districts. Otherwise, it is like the fox guarding the hen-house.