New Low —

Posted in Politics with tags , , , on March 31, 2012 by Atchka!

So this Congressional Teabagger, Joe Walsh, is running against wounded Iraqi veteran Tammy Duckworth,

Duckworth ran for the US House in 2006 and lost. Two weeks later she was appointed Director of the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs.In 2009, she became the Assistant Secretary of Public and Intergovernmental Affairs for the United States Department of Veterans Affair. She resigned when she began running against Walsh for Congress.

Prior to her professional career, her dedication to military service is incredible. I know this is lazy, but Wikipedia has it summarized best:

Duckworth joined the Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (Army ROTC) as a graduate student at George Washington University in 1990. She became a commissioned officer in the United States Army Reserve in 1992 and chose to fly helicopters because it was one of the few combat jobs open to women. As a member of the Army Reserve, she went to flight school and joined the Illinois Army National Guard in 1996.[17]

Duckworth lost the lower part of both legs from injuries sustained[18] on November 12, 2004, when the UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter she was co-piloting was hit by a rocket propelled grenade fired by Iraqi insurgents. The explosion “almost completely destroyed her right arm, breaking it in three places and tearing tissue from the back side of it.”[19] Duckworth received a Purple Heart on December 3 and was promoted to Major on December 21 at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center, where she was presented with an Air Medal and Army Commendation Medal.[18]

While serving her country, she was also working on her Ph.D. political science at Northern Illinois University with research interests in the political economy and public health in southeast Asia when she was deployed to Iraq in 2004..

And this honorable woman who has sacrificed so much for her country, and who has the tenacity to run for Congress again, has had her career impugned by this piece of crap (and I’m holding my tongue here), Joe Walsh, the same guy who owes $117,000 in back child support, which is now affecting his campaign.

Right-leaning Politico recounts:

“I have so much respect for what she did in the fact that she sacrificed her body for this country,” said Walsh, simultaneously lowering his voice as he leaned forward before pausing for dramatic effect. “Ehhh. Now let’s move on.”  “What else has she done? Female, wounded veteran … ehhh,” he continued. “She is nothing more than a handpicked Washington bureaucrat. David Axelrod, Rahm Emanuel just picked her up and dropped her into this district.”

What in the everliving fuck of fucks!?

Who the fuck does this sleazy cretin think he is?

Which got me wondering, what has Joe Walsh done, besides teabag his way into Congress 18 months ago?

Again, I shamelessly turn it over to Wikipedia:

He attended Grinnell College then earned a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Iowa in 1985.[2][15] In the mid 1980s, he embarked on an acting career, taking lessons in stage, theater and television at The Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute in New York and Los Angeles.[8][20] He later completed a Master of Public Policy at the University of Chicago‘s Harris School of Public Policy Studies in 1991.[2][21]

Described as a “former social worker” by The New York Times, CNN, and Human Events[11][22][23] Walsh worked with the Jobs for Youth program in the inner-city Chicago area, teaching high school dropouts basic academic and job skills.[19] He later taught American government and American history at Oakton Community College and the Hebrew Theological College.[19]

He ran the Daniel Murphy Scholarship Fund, a Chicago-based privately funded school voucher program which gives private high school scholarships to low-income students.[19] He raised funds for two leading organizations advocating school choice; the American Education Reform Council, and the Milton and Rose Friedman Foundation.[19]

He raised nearly $1 million over a five year period for the Fabretto Children’s Foundation, an international charity which uses education and micro-enterprise to deliver Nicaraguan children from poverty.[24]

He also worked on state and local government policy issues for The Heartland Institute,[19] a libertarian free-market think tank based in Chicago. Walsh helped launch fiscally conservative organizations such as the Legislative Education Action Drive and the Americans for Limited Government; organization that are dedicated to limiting government and electing fiscal conservatives to state legislatures.[19] He also did consulting work with the United Republican Fund, an Illinois-state PAC helping to elect Republican state legislators.[19]

He has also raised venture capital for a living, according to the Chicago Tribune[3] with his campaign website indicating that he worked for Ravenswood Advisors, a Chicago boutique investment banking group which raised early-stage investment capital for new and small businesses.[19][24] However, he never made much money[8] and has pointed to salaries of $30,000 to $40,000 a year in the past.[15] In 2010, he had a negative net worth of $317,498 according to the Center for Responsive Politics.[25]

Walsh ran for US House in 1996 and the Illinois House in 1998, losing both times. And even though he was swept into Congress with Teabagapalooza 2010, he has managed to remain a loser.

Now, he has what could be described as a civic-minded CV, but bear in mind that he’s 50 and she’s 44, he’s bound to have a slightly longer list of accomplishments. Duckworth served in the military for 24 years and afterward she ran the Illinois Department of Veteran’s Affairs for 3 years, and that’s not enough to run for Congress?

What exactly is missing from her CV, Mr. Walsh? Not enough deadbeat debt?

And I’m a firm believer that you don’t have to “do” something to earn the right to run for office. There are tons of people out there who have accomplished an amazing number of things that I couldn’t even begin to understand who would be terrible Congresspersons.

You, for instance.

In your brief career as a “successful” Congressman, you have sponsored 11 bills, all of which failed (perhaps what Duckworth lacks in her resume is failure). In chronological order, those bills include:

  • Two balanced budget amendments to the Constitution
  • A bill to withhold contributions to the UN until it formally retracted the final report of the “United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict”
  • The Palestinian Accountability Act — “To restrict funds for the Palestinian Authority, and for other purposes”
  • A bill “supporting Israel’s right to annex Judea and Samaria in the event that the Palestinian Authority continues to press for unilateral recognition of Palestinian statehood at the United Nations”
  • Capital Gains Inflation Relief Act of 2011 — “To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to provide for the indexing of certain assets for purposes of determining gain or loss”
  • “To abolish the Office of Polar Programs of the National Science Foundation, and for other purposes”
  • Dairy Pricing Deregulation Act — “To amend the Agricultural Adjustment Act to deregulate the Federal milk marketing order program, to publish competitive milk price survey data, and for other purposes”
  • Save Christmas Act — “To repeal the proposed rule of the Agricultural Marketing Service relating to the establishment of a Christmas tree promotion, research, and information program and the assessment of fees to fund such program”
  • Second Amendment Protection Act of 2011 — “To express the sense of the Congress that the United States should not adopt any treaty that poses a threat to national sovereignty or abridges any rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution, such as the right to keep and bear arms, and to withhold funding from the United Nations unless the President certifies that the United Nations has not taken action to restrict, attempt to restrict, or otherwise adversely infringe upon the rights of individuals in the United States to keep and bear arms, or abridge any of the other constitutionally protected rights of citizens of the United States.”
  • Small Business Protection Act of 2012 — “To amend the Small Business Act with respect to small business concern size standards, and for other purposes.”

I find it interesting that Mr. What-Else-Has-She-Done has had a while to prove what kind of Congressman he is, and the fact is that he’s the kind of Congressman who failed to save Christmas.

I bet that if Tammy Duckworth wins this fall, she won’t stop until Christmas is saved from whatever monster or evil scientist has been threatening Santa. In fact, I know she would because she’s got the Purple Heart, Air Medal, and Army Commendation Medal to prove it.

What have you done, Joe?

Clean and Neat —

Posted in Uncategorized on February 19, 2012 by Atchka!

Back in 2000, when I was just 21, somehow I managed to land a job as Sports and Leisure Editor for the Fort Leonard Wood Guidon, a weekly newspaper for the military base.

As a civilian contractor, I had zero experience with the military and my limited experience in journalism included my year-and-a-half writing for The Maneater at Mizzou. But somehow I talked my way into what I thought would be the beginning of my budding career in journalism.

The best part of my new job was creating and formatting the cover story, which I always wanted to be colorful and interesting, so I got to use my right brain with reckless abandon.

Three months into my job, I had planned to sit in on a local radio station that featured live bands in the studio. That morning, the DJ informed me that they had to cancel my visit. Fortunately, just the week before I had created an emergency front page story of interesting websites to fritter and waste the hours in an offhand way.

The story went to print on Thursday, and when I got to work on Friday there were already three messages on my voicemail, each complaining about the cover story. My Editor-in-Chief had even more, including one from the office of the commanding general.

It turned out that one of the links I included, which featured celebrity mugshots, was a product of As such, it included many explicit jokes, including one particularly lewd joke about Hugh Grant’s blowjob.

I had thrown the backup cover together rather quickly and hadn’t properly vetted the link — after all it was just the internet, what’s the worst that could happen? But even if I had seen the jokes, would I have anticipated the reaction of the military families to a few racy jokes? Maybe, maybe not. But had I been more familiar with the family friendly nature of military culture, I might have been more cautious in my selection process.

I was fired, as you might imagine, though my EiC went to bat for me and secured me an opportunity to reapply when the position opened up. Ultimately, they hired a former veteran with a background in journalism. Go figure.

The reason I bring this up is that I’m getting some flack for my letter to the CEO of Carter’s in which I said “we support them” if they wanted to post billboards like this.

First of all, this wasn’t the photo I had intended to use. I had planned to crop out just the photo of the kids and maybe the side which says, “Georgia is getting Strong4Life.” But this weekend I had to bring a bunch of work home and, rather than taking the time to crop it, I snagged the screen cap from this post and threw it in there, not thinking twice about the rest of the content because, in my mind, where intentions reside, all that was cropped out.

My intention was not to propose a new billboard featuring the talking points on this screen cap, but, as I mentioned, to make the point that anything is better than the current Phase 1 billboards, and by anything I was referring to the innocuous color photos and maybe the “Georgia is getting Strong4Life” line.

The other thing to keep in mind is my intended audience of one: CEO Mike Casey. I shared the email on Fierce Fatties to prepare people for Phase 2 of Get Carter’s, which would involve having everyone email Casey as I had done. I wanted to give my email as a sample. But the email I wrote was directed at Casey alone.

That email was not a recommendation for how Strong4Life should proceed, but an attempt to convince Casey that the people opposing these billboards aren’t necessarily against anti-obesity campaigns, since the coalition of voices now includes a sizable contingency of supporters of Leah Segedie and Mamavation, who are still fairly anti-childhood obesity.

When I said “we support them,” I wasn’t trying to officially represent Ragen or Marilyn or anyone else. The “we” was a rhetorical flourish alluding to the flood of emails we would be directing his way. I wanted to give the impression of an advancing horde preparing to take Carter’s by storm. My message was to Mike Casey alone, and was an attempt to persuade him to use his position of power to persuade Strong4Life to end the billboards, not to make any suggestion or endorsement of an alternative campaign.

And anyone who thinks that I support anti-childhood obesity campaigns in any form has not read this post, in which I said:

We’ve outlined, and will continue to outline, a clear plan of action. But supporters of Strong4Life have complained that we have not offered any alternative solutions.

Not true, but today I will outline a specific solution to solve the childhood obesity crisis.

Are you ready for it? There is no solution.

Let me repeat that for those who can’t believe what they’ve just read.

There is no solution to the childhood obesity crisis.

Primarily, because there is no childhood obesity crisis.

Did you just crap your pants in outrage a bit? Good. Now, before I explain what the real “crisis” is and how we solve it, let me explain why I do not believe there is a childhood obesity crisis.

While I understand the knee-jerk reaction that people had to seeing me endorse what appeared to be an alternative anti-obesity campaign, I really wish these criticisms would have been made to me privately through email, asking for clarification and maybe a revision to ensure that my words were not misconstrued. I am always open to criticism and am willing to make changes to ensure I’m not stepping on anyone’s toes.

Instead, this post now has the appearance of internal strife, when up to this point we have had a unified message and a single purpose.

And, yes, it is my fault for not anticipating how others would interpret my comments, but when I wrote this email, it was addressed to a single person, not to an audience, so my mindset was not on how my words would represent the movement, but on how my words would move Mike Casey.

Behind the scenes, Ragen, Marilyn and I had previously agreed that our three projects (the billboard project, the STANDards and my blogging and video projects) would each be independently run, while coordinating on that unified message.

As such, I have taken the lead on our write-in campaigns and our attempts to pressure CHOA and, now, Carter’s into ending Phase 1. Therefore, I have been sending emails and addressing these issues in the way that I felt would best suit our goals. In this case, I felt that putting forth a moderate voice to Carter’s management, rather than my slightly more abrasive activist voice, would work best, in order to strike a middle ground that would leave CHOA sounding irrational and extreme.

This was my decision, and I stand by it. If I had it to do over again, I would have cropped the photo to suit my message better, but I still would use “we” and I still would say that a billboard with those photos and the message “Georgia is getting Strong4Life” are significantly better than their current messages.

Likewise, although I disagree strongly (and will analyze it in the coming week) with the content of their latest video (don’t watch if you can’t stand fat bigotry and stereotypes), I don’t believe its content would have provoked the same kind of outrage from non-Fat Acceptance people because it does not blatantly target children. Plus, this video is only on YouTube and not in the public sphere where kids might see them.

Our campaign to stop Strong4Life has been incredibly difficult, and the most difficult part is getting enough people to respond strongly enough to be motivated to write emails and call CHOA and troll their FB page and complain to Carter’s until they just can’t stand us any longer. And the only way to generate that kind of public response is to appeal to moderates, as well as activists. Activists are outliers who create the passion and energy, but moderates provide the arsenal of voices that gets corporate attention.

I have attempted to act as a conduit between Fat Activists and the moderates, who may have never considered these issues before. As such, I may not always use the language of the activist.

And this is the reality of who I am as an activist: I am not naturally inclined to take a hardline stance on everything. I try to land somewhere between the activists and the moderates. As such, my language may not always be as carefully worded or delicate as some would like an activist to use. And maybe that’s why I will never make a great activist. But I am proud of the work I have done on this project and anyone who has read every post knows exactly where I stand on the issues.

Although I don’t feel the need to defend myself, I do feel as though the comments I have received on this issue required a more detailed response. I just wish I could have been given the benefit of the doubt and an opportunity to make this response in private, rather than in public in the midst of our campaign.

Why K —

Posted in Politics on November 12, 2011 by Atchka!

They’re calling Elizabeth Warren a socialist.

“They” being Karl Rove, The Architect, a nickname apropos for the Chief of Staff turned comic book supervillain.

The ad cites a few stories in support of its claim, the first of which being an October 18th Wall Street Journal article  by “Democratic Pollster” Douglas Schoen.

Now, take it for what it’s worth, but here’s the first paragraph in Wikipedia on Mr. Schoen:

Douglas Schoen is an American political analyst, pollster, author, and commentator. He is a political analyst for Fox News. He partnered with political strategist Mark Penn and Michael Berland in the firm of Penn, Schoen & Berland. He believes that lower taxes would be a successful Democratic strategy, opposed President Obama’s Affordable Care Act, warned the Democratic Party to reject the Occupy Wall Street protest, and recommended that President Obama not run for reelection in 2012.[3][4]

Yup. Sounds like a Democrat to me.

So, in this article, Schoen explains just how dangerous the Occupy Wall Street movement is, both for the Democratic Party and for the nation as a whole:

President Obama and the Democratic leadership are making a critical error in embracing the Occupy Wall Street movement—and it may cost them the 2012 election.

Yet the Occupy Wall Street movement reflects values that are dangerously out of touch with the broad mass of the American people—and particularly with swing voters who are largely independent and have been trending away from the president since the debate over health-care reform.

The protesters have a distinct ideology and are bound by a deep commitment to radical left-wing policies.

Radical left-wing policies? Oh no!

And, dear reader, it gets worse.

Much worse.

What binds a large majority of the protesters together—regardless of age, socioeconomic status or education—is a deep commitment to left-wing policies: opposition to free-market capitalism and support for radical redistribution of wealth, intense regulation of the private sector, and protectionist policies to keep American jobs from going overseas.

Good heavens! Who are these hooligans who dare oppose free-market capitalism, after all it’s done for them! Why, don’t they know that had it not been for King Chase and General Motors, among other notorious corporations, the Congress of Industrial Organizations wouldn’t have fought and Congress to pass the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, which established the minimum wage, overtime and the 40 hour work week, while prohibiting most child labor.

I’m beginning to think this Schoen character is onto something. Yet, later in the article he seems to backtrack a bit:

Today’s raucous revolt against Washington and Wall Street is a classic populist uprising.

Wow, that’s quite a flip flop within a single article. Why would he… wait… oh shit. I’m sorry, this is from a press release Schoen issued last year.

In Mad as Hell, political pollsters Scott Rasmussen and Doug Schoen discuss how the Tea Party movement is fundamentally remaking our two-party system and what it means for the future of American politics.


Well, surely his book is just as critical of the Tea Party’s opposition to Wall Street. I mean, after all, the book is described as, “[f]or political junkies of every stripe?from both the left and the right side of the aisle?Mad as Hell is mandatory reading” (incidentally, those question marks are included in the  Freudian slip the press release).

So, just what kind of diverse, bi-partisan reviews did Schoen get for his thorough Tea reaming?

  • Sean Hannity — Right-wing blow-comb
  • Christopher Ruddy — CEO and president of right-wing Newsmax Media Inc.
  • William KristolSmug, Pompous Douchenozzle Editor, right-wing The Weekly Standard
  • Joe Trippi — A left-wing Fox contributor (aka a Fox News Democrat, or DINO)
  • Pat Cadell — Another Fox contributor and DINO
  • Frank Luntz —A right-wing spin doctor who runs The Word Doctor, whose motto is “It’s not what you say, it’s what people hear,” and who devised strategies for opposing Health Care Reform.
  • Rush Limbaugh — An extruded horse turd

With these kind of bipartisan credentials, we can totally trust Schoen’s analysis on Occupy Wall Street. Plus, the man is a shrewd political observer, telling The Daily Caller last September:

I do not know now who the best candidate to challenge President Obama is. I can tell you that just based on this year’s primary season, the strongest candidate in the Republican primaries will almost certainly be Sarah Palin.

And in a way, he’s right. Next to the current field of Republican contenders, Sarah Palin looks like Margaret Thatcher.

So, while Schoen is terrified of the influence of radical left wing politics, he seems perfectly comfortable with the Tea Party, which demanded a balanced budget amendment in the midst of debt ceiling debacle. John McCain called their calls “worse than foolish” and “bizarro.”

Forcing a vote that would surely prevent Congress from raising the debt ceiling in time for partisan gain is the very definition of radical right wing policy, in my opinion. So, why is it okay for conservatives to form an astroturf grassroots political movement with a deep commitment to radical right wing policies, but the minute progressives do it, we need to load the bean bag guns and break out the batons.

So Schoen wants to prove that OWS is too radical for America. Fair enough. How does he do it?

On Oct. 10 and 11, Arielle Alter Confino, a senior researcher at my polling firm, interviewed nearly 200 protesters in New York’s Zuccotti Park. Our findings probably represent the first systematic random sample of Occupy Wall Street opinion.


The results supposedly indicate that OWS protestors support “support for radical redistribution of wealth” and “violence,” a hallmark of any truly sinister socialist.

Except that’s not what the study found.

So, let me get this straight: twice as many people are uncertain of what they want out of OWS than know they want the radical redistribution of wealth, and this is cause for concern? You can read the entire study below and judge for yourself how “radical” these protrestors are.

And as far as his claim that those sampled are “dangerously out of touch with the broad mass of the American people,” one poll question seems to indicate otherwise.

Something I’ve really learned to love doing is combing through research to see what it’s made of. So, I’ve found two polls about the Citizens United case, both of which claim to show public support either for or against. The first is a February 2010 ABC/Washington Post poll of 1,004 adults which  found that 80% of Americans oppose Citizens United, while 65% strongly oppose it. The questions (PDF) asked include:

[D]o you support or oppose the recent ruling by the Supreme Court that says corporations and unions can spend as much money as they want to help political candidates win elections?


Would you spport or oppose an effort by Congress to reinstate limits on corporate and union spending on election campaigns?

The latter question received 72% support with 52% strongly supporting the recommendation.

Meanwhile, the Center for Competitive Politics, an organization run by James Bopp, Jr., whom Politico described as such:

Encouraged by the U.S. Supreme Court, conservatives are launching a wholesale legal assault on campaign finance laws.

His goals are big. He doesn’t want to just scale back the laws; he wants to pretty much wipe them out.

When the Center for Competitive Politics released a March 2010 poll which, shockingly, found the exact opposite findings of the ABC poll:

A majority of respondents supported the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission when asked about the facts of the case and its result: “that incorporated entities—businesses, unions and nonprofit advocacy groups—have a First Amendment right to spend money from their general treasuries to fund independent advertisements urging people to vote for or against candidates for public office.”

While that’s how the script described the Citizens United case at the start of the poll, the questions that the pollsters asked are remarkably different.

Again, read the actual results (PDF) and judge for yourself, bearing in mind that the poll found that nearly 60% of respondents were neither aware of nor followed the Citizens United case. It then goes on to ask leading questions about restricting corporate freedom, such as:

Do you believe that the government should have been able to prevent Citizens United, an incorporated nonprofit advocacy group, from airing ads promoting its movie?

Well, heck yeah I’m against the dag-blamed gubment censoring nonprofit groups! Why, that just ain’t ‘Merican! Turns out half of the respondents agreed: 51% said no, 27% were undecided, while just 22% said yes.

Do you think that the government should have the power to limit how much some people speak about politics in order to enhance the voices of others?

Well, that’s just Communism right, there, plain and simple, and ‘Merica agrees with 63% saying no, 14% were undecided, and 17% saying yes.

So, depending on which results you believe (and I know who I would trust for fair and balanced information on how the nation feels about corporations), either the 30% of OWS supporters who are frustrated by the influence of corporate, moneyed, or special interests in American politics are either slightly more represented than the push poll from the Center for Competitive Politics, or they are dramatically under-represented according to the ABC poll.

You read the Schoen study yourself and decide if OWS protestors are “out of touch” with Americans.

[docstoc docId=”99818396″ mId=”-10″ width=”630″ height=”550″ slideMode=”true” showRelatedDocs=”false” showOtherDocs=”false” allowdownload=”true” url=””%5DOccupy Wall Street Poll[/docstoc]

So, because Schoen found this 4% support for the “radical redistribution of wealth” among OWS supporters, and Elizabeth Warren has expressed her support for OWS, and dared to claim to be the “intellectual inspiration” for OWS. Republicans, of course, spin this to their advantage, encouraging headlines like, “Conservative group: Elizabeth Warren supports violent, drug-using Occupy Wall Streeters.”

As far as the “violence” claim, Schoen’s poll found that while 98% answered yes to the question “Would you support the use of civil disobedience to achieve your goals?” just 31% answered yes to the question, ” What about violence?”

Suddenly, Schoen’s shy about violent rhetoric? After all, the Tea Party he so effusively supports brought us the armed protester, part of last year’s toxic political environment; a time when four Arizona Republicans were intimidated into resigning, one of whom said, “I don’t want to take a bullet for anyone.” This is without even considering the number of public officials, such as Arizona governor Sharron Angle (what the fuck is wrong with Arizona?), who flirted with the rhetoric of armed revolution in America. And let’s not forget this classic political ad.

So, what it comes down to is that when conservatives express public outrage and participate in peaceful demonstrations against Wall Street, they’re “a classic populist uprising” and, as he described the Tea Party in this Daily Beast debate, “one of the most powerful and extraordinary phenomena in recent American political history.” Meanwhile, when progressives do the same, they’re “dangerously out of touch with the broad mass of the American people” and exhibit “a deep commitment to radical left-wing policies.”

And what has Ms. Warren done to  further earn her credentials as a “socialist whore”? She’s an author of middle class-focused economics books, an inexhaustible advocate of consumer rights and the key supporter of the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

If that makes Ms. Warren a socialist, then call me Karl Fucking Marx because I’m right behind her.

And if supporting Ms. Warren, along with a robust social infrastructure, including Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, corporate regulation and a political system with limited corporate influence, makes me a dirty, dirty socialist, then give me a fucking hammer and sickle, ’cause I’m ready to start investing in this nation and her people.

As I began developing the new Atchka! logo, I thought the original K reminded me of cold war era soviet propaganda and, you know what, I’m okay with that. I’m done hiding from the socialist label. I love society and I love the society that my grandmother and grandfather helped to build in the aftermath of the Great Depression.

I want my parents and myself and my children and my grandchildren to be able to retire at a reasonable age to enjoy the Autumn of our lives, not be forced to work themselves to death. So, here I am, embracing my inner-socialist and ready to take a stand for those economic rights and privileges that have long been, and should always be, a part of the wealthiest, most powerful nation in history.

Proud to be a socialist.

Black Licorice —

Posted in Uncategorized on April 14, 2011 by Atchka!

When I was in fourth grade, our teacher had a self-esteem building project she used throughout the year. Once a week a child was chosen and his or her classmates would have to decorate and write on a slip of paper one thing that they like about that child.

Obviously, they couldn’t be mean.

I eagerly anticipated my week. What would my classmates say about me? Would they celebrate my kindness? My generosity? My intelligence? My good looks?

My day came and one-by-one our teacher taped up each yellow strip as we quietly read. Of course, I couldn’t pay any attention to a stupid book with my peer reviews just out of reach. Finally excused for lunch, I ran up to the cabinet and read the first one: Funny.

The one below it said Funny.

On both sides? Funny.

Thirty slips of paper and twenty-eight said Funny.

The other two were Nice… obviously kids who struggled to come up with anything at all.

Continue reading

Many Ha Ha —

Posted in Uncategorized on October 1, 2010 by Atchka!

I’ve been told from time to time that I have a pretty good sense of humor. I love a good joke as much as the next person, and I’ve even been known to tell a self-deprecating fat joke or two in my time.

I believe the appropriateness of fat jokes depends upon the intent of the teller. Now, I know intent is not magical, but I give people the benefit of the doubt that they have the ability to discern between someone who is laughing with fat people and someone who is laughing at fat people.

I think the same rules apply to fat jokes as they do to race- or gender-based jokes: if your joke is intended to inflict pain or “take them down a notch,” then you’re an asshole.

The other qualification which, for me, determines whether a fat joke is acceptable is whether that joke is actually funny. If a person who typically has a sharp wit and finely-honed sense of humor, but they tell a cliched fat joke, it tells me that they didn’t have an actual insight to share so much as a need to laugh at fat people.

Perfect example: remember when Jon Stewart wore the fat suit and broke so many fatty hearts?

I tried to give Stewart the benefit of the doubt while watching it. “Maybe he has a good bit in mind,” I thought. “Maybe he’ll do some kind of mock Tyra-esque expose.”

And then it ended.

Just a short, stupid, pointless sketch about how Jon Stewart ate like a pig and got fat.

Continue reading

Spinning Infinity —

Posted in Uncategorized on September 28, 2010 by Atchka!

Warning: This post deals with my health and efforts I’m making to improve it. If it ain’t your thing, sorry! I talk very briefly about the possible side effects of exercise, such as weight loss, but am in no way promoting it.

Oh my poor, neglected blog. I’m sorry I’ve been away so long, but so many priorities are stacked so high and, sadly, you’re at the bottom.

But tonight I begin a new adventure and I want to try and document my efforts so that years from now, when I’m looking back I can laugh at the idealism I began with.

Continue reading

Yo Mama —

Posted in Uncategorized on August 18, 2010 by Atchka!

Today I took a sick day, so I haven’t been able to get on since I left work yesterday and, wow, wasn’t expecting the response, but I’m loving it because if there’s a subject I love to discuss more than Fat Acceptance, it’s morality and it’s frequent co-topic, theology.

Please don’t read this as meaning that only religious people have morals, but with my Catholic upbringing, the two are inseparable to a certain extent. I think the main difference between my view of morality and a non-religious-based view of morality is that I believe that if there is some cosmic scorecard tallying moral vs. immoral behavior, then the only person who would have a more accurate guesstimation than I would be God.

Without religion, the only person capable of grading our moral performance in life is me (assuming absolute honesty with oneself, which is no small request). And yes, by “me” I’m referring to me, Shannon Russell. I’ve got detailed records on all of you assholes, so you best watch your shit.

Okay, so, I want to respond to each one of you, but I’d rather write one long response than 22 separate small ones. If there’s a response to you (and KellyK was the last response I’ve read), you can Ctrl-F and search for your screenname, or read the whole thing… you know, whatever.

Here we go:


I get what you’re saying about social morality, but I disagree that majority rules — just look at the fight for civil rights or Prop 8. I think majority definitely determines what is socially acceptable, but as a priest once told me in confession, “Not everything that is illegal is immoral and not everything that is immoral is illegal.” (And I bet you’re wondering what sin inspired this response.) I agree that our fatness is not immoral, but I still think that engaging in a behavior, or series of behaviors, when you know it is impacting your health (let’s say in the case of unhealthy eating and a sedentary lifestyle) is self-destructive, unless there is a legitimate reason not too, such as the wheat allergy we’ll get to later or financial difficulties or upbringing or whatever. But it’s not just what you eat and whether you exercise, but whether you smoke or exceed the speed limit or don’t get enough sleep or get drunk and so on and so forth.

This is not about singling out one type of unhealthy lifestyle, it’s about discussing the morality of fatness, and it’s surrounding issues, in the context of all morality. Saying poor diet and exercise is immoral by itself doesn’t tell us much. Poor diet and exercise are on the same table as smoking, drinking, stress, speeding, sexual promiscuity with inadequate protection… it doesn’t matter what behavior we’re referring to, if it is inherently self-destructive, there is an element of immorality in the willful engagement in such behavior.

It’s not good fatty vs. bad fatty. On the subject of morality, it’s good behavior vs. bad behavior.

And again, we ALL have our weaknesses, our vices, our secret indulgences. There’s nothing inherently shameful about being immoral. Hell, even St. Paul said, “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” You can easily secularize that and say, “We’re all a little stupid.”

Now, in Catholicism, morality is divided into Venial Sins (no big deal) to Mortal Sins (your soul is on the line). This makes me believe that there is a hierarchy to morality. And if God is the Divine Scorekeeper (I don’t think he is, but God would certainly be capable of doing so), then I’m sure he has some incredibly complicated calculus he uses to tabulate our Morality Score.

Into this calculus would go intent, harmfulness to self, harmfulness to others, harmfulness to family, harmfulness to offspring, harmfulness to environment, and pretty much any other ethereal metric you could imagine and a million more you’d never come up with.

I think drinking and driving would be so high up on the scale of immorality that including a child would make it worse, but not noticeably so in the grand scheme of things.

Now, all that being said, I agree with the end of your comment completely regarding not judging your parents as immoral. I tried to get that across in the post as well. The fact that the only accurate judge of our ultimate morality is me and/or God means that there’s no point in either me judging the personal morality of others (barring socially immoral conduct, such as drinking and driving) and there’s no point in me letting others’ assessments of my morality bother me.


It’s definitely dehumanizing and I think that’s why people do it. People who like to judge the morality of others are engaging in the same sort of hateful confidence building as grade school bullies who pick on others to cover their own self-esteem issues. Those who preach morality loudest are often the ones most in need of the preaching. And you’re absolutely right about not being able to tell behavior from outward appearance. In a way, I feel that “Health is not a moral imperative” is just another way of saying “Don’t judge me by the way I look.”

Sam Knox

What an excellent rebuttal to Constant. I’m just a Wikipedia scholar, reading what I can in the time I have, but wish I’d had more time for school. I love the topic of philosophy and the reason why I would never partake is because there’s never any answer where nobody says “You’re wrong, and here’s the many reasons why.” But it’s fun to listen to them rip each other to pieces.

As far as taking up space on a blog, I disagree. The subject is worth exploring because many of us use the morality argument in our discussions of  Fat Acceptance, as in the Mantra. All behavior has third-party impact, but how much and how negative are the differentiators.

Finally, I disagree that the influence of lifestyle on obesity is thoroughly discredited, although if you want to make the case, please do and share your resources because if you have an excellent argument in this vein, it would be immensely valuable for FA. I think there is a segment of the population for whom diet and exercise habits will have little effect, while others are capable of physically altering their weights through changes in diet and exercise habits. It’s just my gut feeling on this subject at the moment, but as with anything, should I read evidence to the contrary, I’m willing to see things another way.

Fat Academic

Bri is that you? That’s a really bizarre story. Religions are constantly trying to control us through our sexuality (take it from a Catholic ;) ) You would think that church’s would be the last places to judge the morality of others since Jesus’ whole thing was “Judge not lest ye be judged.” But I guess only certain red letters are worth keeping.


Welcome to No need to take issue with my Kantian ethical theory. I have no Kantian ethical theory. :) I’m just a schmock with access to Wikipedia and a curiosity of the origins of “moral imperative.” I agree with your assessment. Health is a personal issue, as are the ways in which I pursue health (if I choose to pursue health). Hell, ignore the fact that we have physical differences, just trying to find out what “healthy” eating is today is damn near impossible. Don’t eat frozen vegetables, don’t eat any meat, eat some meat, don’t eat butter, eat nothing but butter, don’t mix your foods, and so on and so forth.

Again, I have a deistic perspective which tells me that God will ultimately judge me and based on Jesus, I think God is a fairly compassionate, fairly reasonable judge and will take our personal circumstances into consideration. And if there’s no God, then I’m the ultimate judge and I KNOW I’m going to be compassionate and reasonable in judging myself. :)

Undercover Punk

Thanks! Always happy to spark some thought. And anyone who says that morality is objective is a moron.


Maybe we should tally the mortality rates of various benign activities and compare to various lifestyle choices and see how they stack up. :) Having a discussion on morality is like striking a pond with a stick… you never know how far the ripples will reach. Great points on the dangers of driving. I’m not sure where that would fit into the scheme of things, although I think that if you are driving carefully and doing everything you can to contribute to overall driving safety, then are acting morally within the context of driving. What can I say, I’m a moral relativist. It’s the difference between crossing the street in heavy traffic and crossing the street in heavy traffic while drunk.


I love your point about no dessert vs. sanity. Balance is key and understanding how to balance your health and your life is key to not taking something good (like eating healthy) and turning it into something as dangerous as not eating healthy (like orthorexia). I like your point about parental martyrdom. It is a lot of pressure just to try and turn out some relatively sane, relatively kind, relatively polite little people without your mortal soul being at risk. I do still think that as a parent, my morality is just like any other parental attribute: our kids will pick it up.

So, if I smoke in front of my kids, I increase the odds that they will smoke. If I swear in front of my kids, then I increase the odds they will swear. If I rob banks in front of my kids…

Therefore, I think parents have a special responsibility to give careful consideration to their behaviors, regardless of what they are, because it can be passed down to their children. It is that responsibility, rather than the mere absence of a prematurely deceased parent, that is the real danger and real weight of my choices and my morality.


I hope I haven’t offended anyone or freaked anyone out with my mention of God. I’m not an evangelist, but I do believe in God and on a subject such as this, I feel I need to put my own beliefs in context. I am not by any stretch of the imagination putting myself up as a moral model. Being a lapsed Catholic, I do indeed have a Morality Scorecard, issued to me by Sister Mary Platypus, which is in danger of total red ink saturation.

This is not meant as an exercise is determining who is and is not moral. That fact is between you and your personal deity, or not. But, again, if we’re going to use the Mantra, then it is fair game for detailed discussion, which I will be happy to host.

Incidentally, if you’re wondering about the title of this post, it just happened to be the song on Sonic Tap when I was thinking of a title for this post.


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