Sunday, September 30, 2012

German Bishops to Congregation: "Pay Up or Go to Hell"

I have to be careful with this one; I'm afraid I'm going to have an aneurysm before I finish.

The German Catholic Church is essentially excommunicating members of the Church who don't pay a church tax.

Apparently, several European countries have already been levying church taxes, ranging from  about 4%-9% of one's income tax, on registered members of certain faiths and giving that revenue to their respective religious institution (after being paid a service charge for collecting the tax, of course). Some smaller religious communities collect the tax themselves. The obvious way around this is to tell the government that you're no longer a member of that faith and then practice it anyway, which is what many people have been doing.

Most of the religious institutions that benefit from this tax have not pursued those who practice their faith without paying the tax. But the Catholic Church in Germany will not stand for tax evasion! Render unto Caesar, damnit!

Last week, German bishops officially declared that "those who lack solidarity bid farewell to the community of believers" and will be forbidden from receiving sacraments. The Church hasn't outright said that those who don't pay the tax will be excommunicated, but I don't see much of a difference. Those who have been excommunicated are also barred from receiving sacraments, which the Church holds are necessary for salvation. The Church has to officially lift the excommunication in order for one to be accepted back into the flock; I don't know if such a formal recognition is required to lift the ban that results from not paying the tax.
Incidentally, it should be noted that the Church's rhetoric is (ironically) reminiscent of Pope John Paul II's  call for solidarity with the poor; it seems the Church is trying to implicitly use the memory of the popular John Paul II to legitimize this decision.

Now, aside from being a dick move, I think this is literally sinful. There is an act called simony, which the Catholic Encyclopedia defines as "'a deliberate intention of buying or selling for a temporal price such things as are spiritual of [sic] annexed unto spirituals'. While this definition only speaks of purchase and sale, any exchange of spiritual for temporal things is simoniacal." It goes on to say that "The various temporal advantages which may be offered for a spiritual favour [include] the munus a manu (material advantage), which comprises money...The spiritual object includes whatever is conducive to the eternal welfare of the soul, i.e. all supernatural things: sanctifying grace, the sacraments, sacramentals, etc." The Catholic Church generally considers this an extremely serious offense.

Now, the majority of Church income comes from this tax. So some will argue that any organization needs money to survive. But are magnificent cathedrals, innumerable acres of property, and billions of dollars in cash really necessary for the Church to perform its spiritual duty? As far as I can recall, the Christian god doesn't demand a payment in exchange for his grace. And there has almost always been a grassroots version of Catholicism that advocates a return to the simpler ways of early Christianity. I suspect their ranks in Germany may begin to increase.

So how the hell do they expect to get away with this? Well, the Church has convinced believers that its own interpretation of scripture alone is legitimate. When you convince people that you hold the keys to Heaven, you can get away with just about anything. This is probably why the Church resisted translations of the Bible into vernacular languages for so long; who can argue with the Church's interpretation of scripture when the common believer can't even read it?

Granted, it is true that a clergyman who is extremely knowledgeable in ancient Hebrew, Latin, Greek, etc. will have a better understanding of what the ancient scriptures really meant, but does that mean the Church alone is capable of correctly understanding the Word of God? The Church has utilized its authority to such an extent that people are too scared to think for themselves. As one German Catholic said, "I don't like paying [the tax], but I do because I fear the step of quitting the Church." He, and countless others, equates disagreeing with the church to eternal damnation. Are they really the same thing?

I didn't think the Catholic Church was still capable of surprising me. I thought this kind of blatant avarice and abuse of power was given up in the Middle Ages (as opposed to the subtle avarice and abuse seen today). Perhaps it's fitting, then, that this is occurring in the same country that gave birth to the Protestant Reformation.

It's no wonder Martin Luther consider the pope to be the Antichrist.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Suck It, Wholefoods: Philabundance Opening a Not-For-Profit Grocery Store

Philabundance, the area's largest food bank, announced plans to build Fare & Square the nation's first not-for-profit grocery store. The facility, located in the City of Chester, is being built in response to a problem that many low-income residents face: lack of access to healthy and affordable food. Fare & Square will accept food stamps and also offer other programs to the poor while still offering fresh produce, meats, and other common items at low prices to all other shoppers.

What's up now, Wholefoods?

It seems counterintuitive (to me, at least) that basic food would be more expensive than heavily-processed food; you'd think all of that processing would jack up the cost to the consumer. That's not the case, however. And that's one of the major reasons that obesity disproportionately affects the poor. Philabundance is hoping that Fare & Square is successful and will provide a model for similar programs across the country.

Watch for the hipsters to jump all over this.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

All Day I Dream About...Slavery?

Designer Jeremy Scott has created a new high-end sneaker for Adidas, seen below.
Critics were quick to associate the ankle cuff with slavery, calling the design racist.  Of course, such claims have been denied by both parties.  But don't worry; I've figured it all out for you.

For the purposes of this article, I consider racism to mean a belief that one or many races are inferior to another.  Here, the shoes would be indicative of racist attitudes if the designer and/or Adidas are implying that black people ought to be enslaved or imprisoned, that black people are naturally suited to slavery or are more inclined to crime, or even if either party is jokingly suggesting such a belief.  I'll say now that I see no reason to think that the shoes are somehow supposed to satirize such notions.  More importantly, the designer hasn't made such a claim, either.

So, are the shoes somehow associated with slavery?  Despite the misleading title to this post (sorry), the shoes don't bring images of slavery to this white guy's mind.  But the shoe isn't out of the woods, yet.

Consider the name: JS Roundhouse Mids.  Perhaps you didn't know this, but "roundhouse" has been associated with jail for centuries.  Coupled with the prisoner jumpsuit-orange, it seems pretty clear that Scott was influenced by prison chic.

It's also worth noting the shoe's tagline: "Got sneaker game so hot you need to lock your kicks to your ankles?"  Given the particular type of vernacular English used, it's fair to assume that the sneakers would've been marketed to those influenced by hip hop culture.  So, young black men would have made up a significant portion of the target demographic, had the shoes actually gone to market.

So, we have the following equation.  Prison theme+black male demographic=x.  And what does x equal?  Racism?  Or was it merely naïveté?  Or, perhaps, Scott and Adidas merely observed the perceived glorification of criminal behavior in some rap music and tried to cash in on it?

Before I answer that question, though, I'd like to consider another one:  What if Scott was black?  Would the shoes, could the shoes, still be racist?  Or would it just be another example of the aforementioned glorification of criminal activity?  This raises the question of the ol' racism double standard; if it's OK for a black person to do it, why isn't it OK for a white person to?  To which I respond, "Because."  Sometimes, double standards are a good thing: guys can fart, but girls can't; college kids can drink every day without beign an alcoholic, real-world grown-ups can't; black people can say "nigga", white people can't, unless Kanye gives his mostly white concert ticket-buying audience permission or if you find yourself in the following situation:

Anyway, back to the shoes: are they racist?  Not intentionally so.  Racism is profitable, and it seems to me that the intention here was to cash in on the perceived tendency to glorify criminal behavior or serving jail time instead of snitching.  However, they are extremely ignorant.  So there you go.

You're welcome.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Oy Vey...

Compared to the other Abrahamic religions, Judaism generally does a good job of minding their own business (something Christianity and Islam will seemingly never learn to do).  When it comes to religious foolishness, though, Judaism is one of the worst.  Orthodox Jews exhibit what I consider the most personally and socially destructive religious "value": accepting suffering and injustice as the will of their god instead of trying to change things for the better.  But whatever idiotic religious practices might be particular to Judaism, there is one characteristic they share with the other major religions: hypocrisy.

Lauren Odes offers a prime example.  Odes was about to begin a new data entry job for a company in Manhattan.  She says she was told to observe other employees to get an idea of the dress code, which she described as casual.  Although she felt she complied with the unspecified dress code, the Orthodox Jewish owners of the company apparently felt otherwise, saying her attire was "distracting."  So the next day, Odes compromised and wore a more modest t-shirt to work the next day.  The company was still unsatisfied.  That's not surprising; a t-shirt is certainly less-than-professional.  The alternative offered by the company, however, was simply ridiculous.  Initially, her female supervisor actually asked Odes to tape her breasts down!  Refusing to do this, her supervisor gave her a bathrobe to wear over her clothes.  A bathrobe!

Odes complied nonetheless.  However, after teasing from her coworkers, the supervisor softened up and allowed Odes to go out and buy a long as it went down to her ankles.  I didn't even know ankle-length sweaters existed.  While shopping for the sweater, the company called her and fired her.  Odes has since filed a lawsuit for sexual and religious discrimination, claiming the Jewish owners fired her for offending their religious sensibilities.

So, where's the hypocrisy?

The company is a lingerie wholesaler!  Firing this woman for having tig ol' bitties is like a gym firing an employee for being too fit!  The owners apparently have no qualms about making money from behavior they consider immoral, but you better cover up those forearms and shins if you expect to work for them.

I typically side with employers on issues like this; a company ought to be able to impose whatever legal requirements for employment they want, including a dress code.  But the "professional dress code" defense goes out the window when you ask your busty female employees to wear an old robe or ankle-length sweater.  Furthermore, the fact that she was asked to tape down her breasts shows that the owners took issue with her actual body, not the clothes she was wearing.  Remember last year when the oh-so-provocative Hilary Clinton was cut out of that picture published in a New York Orthodox Jewish newspaper because pictures of women are sexually suggestive?

I used to praise Judaism for the fact that it doesn't seek converts and shove its faith down your throat like so many other religions do.  But, as I look at all religions more critically, the Jewish opposition to conversion seems more and more to be rooted in elitism.  I was naive; there is no religion that does not tout itself to be their god's chosen people and therefore superior to everyone else (interestingly, some scholars translate Jesus's statement "Love thy neighbor" to mean your fellow Jews and that he never intended Gentiles to follow his teachings).  And the Abrahamic religions seem especially concerned with keeping women in their place.  It's a shame so many people are duped into buying this garbage.

Friday, April 27, 2012

A Flyers Prayer Against the Devils

I believe in Claude, and Jagr Almighty, scorers of goals and assists.
And in Danny Briere, the playoff Savior and King,
Who was conceived in the Frozen north, born of snow and ice,
Suffered under Phoenix and Buffalo,
Was doubted, mocked, and traded.
With his third team he rose again.
He ascended into Philly and is seated at the right hand of Claude and Jagr Almighty.
They will raise the Cup for fans living and dead.
I believe in Hartnell's Spirit,
The wholly impenetrable Bryz,
The corp of D-men,
The forgiveness of PIMS,
The checking of the body,
And Cups everlasting.


(based on the apostle's creed)

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Flesh and Blood is Overrated

This shit is surreal.  And really fucking cool.

I'm not much of a hip hop fan, but this goes way beyond that.  For all intents and purposes, we saw a dead man perform live on stage.  The technology used to create this hologram could very well change the face of live entertainment forever.

Most obviously, other dead musicians can essentially go back on tour.  We could see the resurrection of Elvis, Nirvana, Queen, Bob Marley, and countless others (Nirvana seems one of more likely possibilities; Courtney Love would make a whole lotta money).  Hell, you could have the Beatles play at your birthday party.

Dead comedians could conceivably take the stage again, too.  Using new material is questionable, but it's not out of the question to think that people would buy tickets to see a holographic Richard Pryor, even if it's the same routine from 30 years ago.

This technology might not be limited only to dead performers, though.  Now, I wouldn't pay to see a hologram, but there are a lot of fools out there who probably would.  The line between live performance and  fancy music video could be further blurred if there is a way to "stream" an artist's actual voice and movements through the hologram projector.  More importantly, the cost of touring would go down dramatically if artists could get away with holographic performances.  Insurance, lodging, transportation, security, and countless other expenses related to touring would all decrease.  An entire world tour could be done in one night.  You could have every single major artist from a particular genre perform on the same stage without any of them having to leave their homes.

This could even affect politics.  If this sort of thing becomes commonplace enough, politicians could avoid the dangers of going out in public entirely; you can't assassinate a hologram.  At the very least, they could cover the entire country on a virtual campaign trail.

I can't say for sure where this technology will lead, but it will be fun to watch.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

It's Time to Break the Seal

Perhaps you’ve heard of the former Massachusetts judge who , shortly before retiring, awarded guardianship of a 31-year-old schizophrenic woman to the parents, who had intended to use that authority to legally force her to have an abortion.  The judge, Christina Harms, also ordered the woman be sterilized.

Harms based her decision on the fact that being pregnant requires the unnamed woman to stop taking her anti-psychotic medications, which makes her incompetent and creates a danger for her safety and that of others.  Harms believes that, if the woman was of sound mind, she would abort the fetus.  Furthermore, the woman has been pregnant twice before.  One pregnancy was aborted, while the other child is being raised by the woman’s parents.  In an attempt to prevent more unplanned pregnancies and “serial abortions,” Harms ordered sterilization as well.

The woman is fighting Harms’ decision, claiming she is a devout Catholic.  Her parents, however, say that isn’t true.  This is the aspect of the story that most interests me.  This judge had the authority to mandate that someone do something that goes against their religious principle.  Granted, the decision was over turned, but the initial ruling may help lay some very early foundations for changes in the law regarding certain religious practices.  Specifically, the Seal of the Confessional.  

I’m not saying that the government ought to be able restrict religious practices at will (or forcibly sterilize people), but respect for religion ought to be secondary to the effectiveness of the criminal justice system if the two come into conflict.  Why is it that one citizen can be subpoenaed and forced to testify, but another, who happens to be a priest, cannot?  Because some guy said so 1,500 years ago?

Anyway.  The Seal of the Confessional, or priest-penitent privilege, requires that a clergy member who, as part of an official religious ritual, hears a confession must keep that confession absolutely secret.  For some reason, this holds up in the courts of secular countries (although an Irish Member of Parliament is attempting to change that in his own country).  

It’s no wonder that priests got away with raping boys for so long.

Proponents of the Seal argue that legally requiring priests to report confessions would violate their religious freedom.  However, the Supreme Court has previously ruled that government can restrict certain religious practices if there is a “compelling interest” to do so.  For example, even the most ardent follower of the Aztec religion would not be allowed to make a human sacrifice.  I find it downright disturbing that our (secular) government allows priests to keep secret the confessions of murders and rapists.  Maybe they’re OK with waiting until the afterlife for justice to be served, but I sure as hell am not.  More importantly, our government shouldn’t, either.  One of the most critical means for governments to protect their citizens is through an effective criminal justice system, and allowing this irresponsible practice to continue seriously undermines that system.

And why do so many people assume that religious tolerance means catering to every religious (or at least Christian) belief out there?  Some religious beliefs are simply incompatible with the values of a secular society.  You know, the kind that America is supposed to be.  When such practices begin to threaten the safety and rights of other citizens, they ought to be curtailed.  The Church can make whatever rules it wants to, but America isn’t subject to a single one of them.

The best part is that the Christians themselves could easily resolve this whole thing.  After hearing a confession, priests give the confessor what is called a penance, which is some task to perform that will finalize the forgiveness of your sins.  Typically, a penance is a set number of prayers to say.  Even when I was a Catholic, I wondered why the priests didn’t simply require murderers to confess to the authorities as their penance.  

I assume the official response would be something to the effect of, “If we did that, the poor rapists and murderers wouldn’t confess their sins and they’d be damned for all eternity.”  Gays burn in Hell, but murderers are cool as long as they tell a priest they’re sorry.

The religious won’t like it, but this isn’t supposed to be a theocracy.  Everyone likes to rail against all those oppressive Islamic societies that run their countries according to the tenets of the Quran, but apparently it’s OK if you use the Bible.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Pete for President!

I have good news, America.  There is a man who, I believe, truly wants to serve the United States of America as its President.  After reading the speech he sent me, I feel that he honestly wants nothing more than to make this country as great as it ought to be.  

His name is Peter Wychunis. Here is his speech.

There are those who will say that my campaign is a joke; that I am making a mockery of our political system.  But look at the state of American politics today. The only mockery is the current system running our nation.  Policies are determined not by the Will of the People, but by the highest bidder.
The United States government has furthermore violated some of our most precious rights.  Whether that be a president unofficially waging war without the consent of Congress or something as seemingly innocuous as printing “In God We Trust” on American currency, there is no excuse for trampling on the Constitution of the United States.

American politics is already a joke.  I am here to make a promise.  I will not sell myself to private interest.  I will not be bought out by lobbyists.  I promise to lead this country as it was meant to be led.  By the People.  Instead of getting  votes through the support of private interest groups, I appeal directly to you.  I will uphold those American ideals that have been disregarded by far too many of our so-called leaders. 
If the People see fit to elect me as their next President, I will do everything in my power to pull the government back within the limits laid out in the Constitution.  I will appoint men and women who truly believe in the ideals on which this country was founded.  Men and women untainted by prejudice or by religious or anti-religious influence, whose only goal is to ensure that our society lives up to those standards.

Obviously, the state of our economy is of utmost concern.  I aim to implement major changes that will help stimulate our fragile economy.  For example, I intend to pave the way for the privatization of space exploration.  The process has already begun, and there is no reason for America not to lead the way during this Second Space Race.  The private sector will be able to view spacefaring technology in new ways, bring fresh ideas to the table.  This will inevitably lead to the creating of jobs, from rocket scientists to secretaries.  This is not to say that the government will not maintain its presence in space.  I also intend to lay the groundwork for more in-depth exploration of the Moon; specifically, we will be investigating the possibility of lunar mining.  With natural resources dwindling here on Earth, and no life disturb on the Moon, this may be a viable means to help stabilize the economy.  Unlike some of my competitors, I can’t promise to have a permanent lunar colony by 2020, but I will get the ball rolling.  I will also institute tax policies to encourage businesses to manufacture in America and, conversely, discourage relocating overseas.  Manufacturing will not have as prominent a place in America as it had 50 years ago, but I do not believe that our economy cannot have both manufacturing- and service-based components.  Other policies, such as the legalization and regulation of prostitution and marijuana, will bring in billions in tax revenue.  Though these actions will be considered controversial, I see no legitimate reason for our society to outlaw them.

Another major facet of our current economic state is the national debt.  Considering that a president has eight years at the most with which to work, I can’t promise some incredible surplus by the end of my time as president.  I can promise, however, that my administration will take a hard look at how this government spend the money it does have.  For example, our current military budget seems neither sustainable nor justified.  As official combat operations near an end, the time may be right for an appropriately-sized peacetime military.  While research and development will still be a high priority, there simply is no need for such massive forces in times of peace.  A standing army during peacetime was one of the greatest fears of the men who fought to establish this great nation.  However, the American military will maintain its standard as the world’s most effective fighting force.  As the son of a Vietnam veteran, I know that war is a reality.  But, as in World War II, we will have policies in effect that will enable America to militarize as efficiently as possible.  We will be ready and able to face any threat.

Another target of my spending cuts will be the salaries of our so-called public servants.  Benjamin Franklin once said, “Place before the eyes of [greedy, ambitious] men, a post of honour that shall be at the same time a place of profit, and they will move heaven and earth to obtain it.”  Although political offices inherently grant power to the person who holds that office, decreasing the salary for such offices will help prevent those from ever running for office who intend only to fatten their wallets.  True public servants are not in it for the money.  The President’s official salary, and those of all other major national political leaders, will be equal to the nation’s average poverty line.

That being said, I am not a wealthy man.  I do need money.  My administration will also be known for its transparency, so I will tell you that, though the President’s official salary will be equal to the nation’s average poverty line, I will utilize my position to increase my personal wealth.  I am not a rich man simply filling his already overflowing coffers.   And I am not taking money from lobbyists; I will do things like make paid appearances in various media, give speeches, write books, etc.  These jobs will be strictly apolitical.

Religion, too, is an issue at the forefront of the American consciousness.  Frankly, the sway that Christianity holds over the policies of this great nation is embarrassing.  Whatever your opinion of our Forefathers’ religious beliefs, it is clear that this country was meant to be run by a secular society.  As those very men who shaped the future of this country said in a 1796 treaty, “the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion.”  Contrary to what my opponents may say, this is not a war on religion.  It is a fight to uphold core human freedoms. 

This undue religious influence only holds our society back.  Stem cell research, arguably the most promising scientific advancement in history, is being stifled for purely religious reasons.  Homosexuals are being denied to marry the person they love for purely religious reasons.  The right to die with dignity is being stripped of those who would utilize it for purely religious reasons.  Many of my opponents criticize the theocracies of the Middle East, yet don’t bat an eye at Christianity’s dominance of American society.  Apparently, separation of Church and State doesn’t apply to the religion of our current leaders.

I know there have been people before me who made similar boasts, only to betray the People’s trust.  My campaign appeals directly to you so that you will know that my power does not come from corporate backers and industrial magnates, but from your votes.  Where my predecessors have won votes by selling themselves to private interests, I hope to win votes by doing what is best for America.  I don’t have millions of dollars in anonymous donations to finance my campaign.  I will not come to power by working with private interest groups, and so I will owe them nothing.  I will be free to make the truly right decisions.

My name is Pete Wychunis.  I hope you approve this message.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Manifest Destiny 2.0

Newt Gingrich says there will be an American base on the moon within eight years.  He also expects to have men on Mars in the near future.  Experts call his predictions lunacy (get it?), but I think we should run with this.

What got America its start?  Taking land.  And there's a giant chunk of it, unclaimed, right up there in the night sky.  And who has more of a right to it than the country that got there first?

Here's the plan.  We start out on the moon to get our method of space colonization in order, just like we did with the original 13 colonies.  It should be much easier this time around without any pesky natives.  Aside from the space industry boosting our economy like WWII did, I'm sure there are some valuable minerals to be mined. While there is a treaty that says no country should exploit lunar resources, no spacefaring nation has signed it.  However, America has signed a treaty stating no military installations are to be built on the moon.  We'll have to find a way around that. Regardless, we'll be back on top in no time!

Once that's up and running, we can set our sights on Mars.  Mars!  The Red Planet will look so much better with some white and blue in there.  The best part about space colonies is that there will be new land out there for the taking.  Anyone (who can afford a trip to space) will be able to establish their family in the New New World, just like America's founders did when they came over from Europe.  It could be a whole new aristocracy!

Here's the best part.  There's at least one theory holds that the name Allah, as in Islam's name for god, comes from the title "al-" and the name of a pre-Islam Arabic moon god called Ilah.  What better way to win the War on Terror than to stick an American flag right in their god's face?  Vote Newt!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Fuck the No Cussing Club

McKay Hatch, some 18-year-old nerd from Pasadena, thinks he has the right to decide what you can and can't watch on TV.  He and 35,000 other nerds are up in arms over the episode of Modern Family that aired tonight because Lily, a two-year-old character, drops an F-bomb.  You know, "fuck."  Well, the girl actually says "fudge," but her lips are blurred and the word itself is bleeped out, but it seems like she says "fuck."
In 2007, Hatch founded the No Cussing Club in 2007 in response to the "rampant" cursing at his high school and what he sees as a link between profanity and bullying.  Which is to say, other kids called him names.  Not surprisingly, he now goes to a mormon college.

Hatch claims to have 35,000 supporters.  Assuming they are all regular viewers of Modern Family, that accounts for less than one half of one percent.  Would any TV show, business owner, politcician, etc. succumb to the demands of 0.49% of the people they are trying to please?  Furthermore, this kid isn't even really part of the demographic that Modern Family targeting.  Call me crazy, but my guess is that a show called Modern Family that follows three families is meant to appeal to...FAMILIES!  I don't know if this whiny douche bag is aware of this or not, but the issue of kids cursing is something nearly every parent has had to deal with.  If TV isn't allowed to be relevant, who the hell would watch it?

And what exactly does this kid hope to accomplish?  It's the taboo nature of words like "shit" and "cunt" that give them their power.  As words are used more and more in daily speech, they lose more and more of their offensive connotations.  That's why so many white kids get away with "nigga."  By making such a big deal about a bleeped-out word, you create a Pandora's Box situation that makes cursing seem even cooler than it already is.  And, aside from the fact that membership in a No Cussing Club is like a bulls-eye for bullies, does this kid think that preventing cursing will stop bullying?  Even if we ignore physical bullying, this club cannot hope to achieve any real results.  Languages evolve and new profanities are constantly developing, whether from a change in the meaning of a current word or the invention of a new one.  This club is akin to breed-specific legislation.  In an attempt to curb dog attacks, our wise legislators ban certain breeds to keep them out of the hands of people like dog fighters.  Lo and behold, the dog fighters just pick different breeds to torture until they become just as vicious.

What about name-calling that isn't exactly "profane?"  Is it that much better to be called a loser than a bitch?  Maybe a little, but not enough to justify so much anti-bullying energy into a pointless cause.  More focus should be devoted to understanding the motive behind bullying and raising awareness about its effects, not simply eliminating one of countless tactics used by bullies.

But I digress.  What really pisses me off about this whole thing is that I'm sick of being told how to live my life.  You've got "activists" like Morgan Spurlock who want to decide what I can and can't eat, "public servants" like Nutter who want to tax drinks they deem to be unhealthy, and now we have yet another asshole who knows what's best for society in this kid with two last names.  What happened to personal responsibility?  Why is McDonald's or Coca-Cola liable for your poor decisions?  It's not up to government or corporations to tell us how to eat, and it's not up to TV networks to raise our kids.  Aren't there all kinds of parental controls avaialable on TVs and through cable companies? 

The networks decide what they will air.  If you don't like what's on, change the fucking channel.