August 15, 2017

A Gross Misuse of Tiki Torches

Filed under: 100 Days of Summer,Assorted Politics,In the News — Katrina @ 10:49 pm

So… stuff happened in Charlottesville, VA this past weekend.

A bunch of white supremacists heard the town was moving a Robert E Lee statue, so they flipped out and marched on the park, with their torches… Wait a minute!

Are those… those backyard barbecue mosquito repellent torches you can get at Target? What’s wrong, guys, not ruggedly manly enough to get a big stick out of the woods and ignite it? Seriously, look at these stupid assholes. I feel like this isn’t so much a mob of white supremacists as a boggart that initially appeared as a mob of white supremacists but you’ve already said “Riddikulus!” Are we supposed to be afraid of these fuckbags? 😆

Well, not afraid, but definitely not unconcerned. One of them did run his car over a crowd of the counterprotesters, killing one and injuring a whole lot of others. These public manifestations of theirs do embolden their supporters, validating their spurious white superiority beliefs and putting others in danger. Doesn’t help (if not the least bit surprising) that the Orange Thing currently occupying the White House took two whole days to even kind of sort of say anything close to “racism is bad, mmmkay” in response to this. And today pretty much walked it back and blamed leftists because of course he did.

And we of course have not seen the last of this. Not at all.
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May 26, 2017

WTF Montana?

So you may have noticed there seems to be more bad behavior than usual in US politics. I mean, this was painfully realized last November, confirmed in January, and has been a not-sure-whether-to-laugh-or-cry spectacle ever since. The Orange Thing that’s been occupying the White House the past few months has bragged about sexual assault, mocked a disabled person, advocated war crimes, and, dear God, I’d be here for the rest of the decade if I were to even attempt a comprehensive list. But his party and supporters still stick by him. They still excuse this behavior.

But I didn’t mean to talk so much about him. Montana just elected a congressman who literally physically attacked a reporter who was merely asking him questions.

That’s right, elected. This incident happened on Wednesday night, the night before Special Election Day. In any decent or just universe, this would have been the end of him. But sure enough, despite there being some question as the race has been kind of close, Montana voted him right in.

While some have chalked it up to early voting, that many or most Montana voters had already cast their ballots before this happened, surveys taken at polling places yesterday are less than encouraging. People who knew full well that this man, Greg Gianforte, physically assaulted an innocent journalist, Ben Jacobs, still happily voted for him.

Because they believed the liberal journalist deserved it.

You know, yeah, we all know politicians have always been kind of terrible, to varying degrees anyway. You sort of have to be kind of terrible to succeed in it, sadly. But for the most part, they tend to at least pretend they are not terrible. They at least acknowledge there are certain behaviors that are unacceptable, even if so many get caught in their share of scandals. Even when caught, they and those around them might not try to act like it was all cool. They might still support them otherwise, but they acknowledge some wrong was done. That’s how it’s supposed to work anyway.

But whether the Orange Thing or Gianforte or whoever else (including those who aren’t Republicans, not pretending Democrats or others are at all innocent), it’s like some sort of party unity comes before everything else.

It’s like…
“Did you know Candidate hasn’t paid taxes in two decades, is cheating on his wife, and likes to kick puppies?”
“Yeah, but Other Candidate is Other Party and therefore evil. Also, her e-mails.”

Again, this is nothing new. It just seems to be getting a lot more blatant. A lot more shameless.

That there is the problem. Where is the line? The Orange Thing seems to be going out of his way to cross it, and why the hell hasn’t he yet for so many? And Gianforte and who knows how many others seeking elected office are getting the clear message that they can behave badly all they want, that being violent and out of control is the path to success.

We need to hold our leaders and ourselves a LOT more accountable than this. We need to fully understand that, no, the journalist did not deserve to be straight up body slammed just because of his political affiliation and because he was asking a tough question which, you know, any elected official had damn well better have thick enough skin to handle if they expect to get anywhere. We can’t have so many people in this country not understanding that.

The survival of our country depends on us all getting this. Violence like this out of someone wanting to be a congressman, and violence against a member of the press no less, which undermines the First Amendment, is the kind of thing that, if it becomes more commonplace, we can say goodbye to considering ourselves anything close to a free society. As it is, we have a police brutality problem, and there are too many people defending that for sure. How much worse can we let this get? How much more is going to be excused because of authoritarian beliefs or partisan rage?

Because this shit is not even close to okay!

This has been Day 3 of the 100 Days of Summer, Round 17.

December 30, 2014

Leelah Alcorn

What happened to Leelah Alcorn is tragic and infuriating.

She was transgender but stuck with super fundamentalist religious parents who told her that she’s really a boy and that she’s going through a phase. When she wouldn’t relent in wanting to transition, her parents pulled her out of school and removed her from social media and friends, completely isolating her for months. Finally, after leaving her suicide note on Tumblr, she committed suicide.

Why didn’t her parents accept her? Because she brought shame to them. Because they wanted to maintain for themselves an image of Good Christians. In their minds, she stood in the way of that. In their minds, she had to be removed.

So they did. They removed her from school and from public pretty much. They tortured her with religious pseudo-therapy. Did they think they would “cure” her? Or keep her out of “sin” long enough for her to outgrow this supposed phase?

Any way you look at it, they wanted Leelah gone. They might have preferred that she simply stopped being LGBT or maybe not. They wanted everything that Leelah was to be gone, out of their life, out of sight, so that she would no longer sully their image, their honor.

So now that she’s dead… problem solved! It may be more extreme than her parents intended, or maybe not. They saw her as a problem that needed to be removed, so she removed herself for them. In fact, given the treatment of her leading up to it, clearly this is exactly what they were hoping would happen.

They couldn’t kill her themselves without going to prison or – gasp! – tarnishing their image as Good Christians, so they drove her to do it herself, not only to keep their hands clean but to ensure, in their minds, that she goes to hell where she belongs. They wanted an honor killing, and they got one.

And, as a youth rights supporter, I must ask the very important question here. Why in the hell were her parents even able to put her through all this shit in the first place? She should have been able to transition whether they wanted her to or not. She should have been able to stay in school and stay in contact with everyone regardless of how her stupid parents feel about her. She should still be fucking ALIVE and happy!

But they had power over all of this. Because just like they cared more for their image than her life, our society cares more about their “parental right” to control her (even to death) than for her life. And that right there speaks volumes.

December 2, 2014

No Salvation for Male Teens

So apparently a homeless family of five sought shelter from the cold weather with the Salvation Army. Four of them were welcome, namely both parents, their 16-year-old daughter, and their 5-year-old son. The fifth, their 15-year-old son, was not welcome.

According to the guy’s father:

“They said he’s too old to stay on the women’s side, because of the women running around in their pajamas and they said he’s too young to stay on the men’s side in case some pervert wants to do whatever,” Lejeune said.

So he’s too dangerous to be with the women, while the men are too dangerous to him for him to be with them. Oh, God, it’s like wolf-sheep-watermelon riddle!

But seriously… what?! The Reason article calls it pedophile panic, but it’s quite a bit more than that. It’s yet another manifestation of the idea that teens equal trouble, both for themselves and for others. They are a danger to everyone, and everything is a danger to them. The curious ageist paradox that always seems to yield fewer rights for teens, who are never allowed a word in edgewise.

And it’s more ephebiphobic paranoia. “Help! It’s a teen! Is it a child? Is it an adult? Oh, Lord, I just don’t know. Let’s just shove it out of sight and not have to worry our heads with this freaky age-hybrid.”

The result? A young guy, whose only crime was existing and happening to be part of a family that fell on hard times, is forced to stay out in the cold, as is his family.
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December 13, 2013

Responses Again

Filed under: Christmas Time!,In the News,What the hell? — Katrina @ 11:45 pm

Oh, crimony, another damn school shooting, because Colorado is the shooting state apparently.

Just a day shy of the anniversary of Sandy Hook.

Uh oh, not again

“This is why guns should be illegal!”
“This is why we all need guns!”
“This is why young people need to be locked up until they’re 30!”
“This is why public schools must be abolished!”
“This is why we need more services for the mentally ill!”
“This is why we must do away with violent media!”
“JESUS! We all must accept JESUS!”

March 14, 2013

Sacked the Gunman

Now for a quick-thinking, death-stopping edition of…

Here’s to You!!!!

So I raise my glass and say, “Here’s to you, Cypress Lake hero!”

I don’t actually know his name. Very few people do. But he’s a high school student who, when another student on his school bus pointed a gun at someone else and threatened to kill, he and two others leapt up and tackled him, likely saving one or more lives. Yay! They’re heroes!

So they went to school where they got awards and medals not unlike the final scene from Star Wars…

Oh, no, wait, actually he got suspended. For being involved in an incident “where a weapon was present”.

Well, NYRA and others are on it! My always awesome fellow board member Jeffrey Nadel is on the case and has appeared on a couple of news spots and radio shows talking all about it.

Also, here: SchoolBusHero.com

Go there, watch the video, and sign the petition. And get others to do the same.

Seriously, that principal just isn’t backing down on this, insisting that she “knows the full story”. After the original suspension, they made up some junk about the heroic student being insubordinate and uncooperative, something they added after this story got media attention and they wanted to cover their tracks. Yeah, sure, okay. 🙄

Because the student should totally have instead done nothing like a good little boy and watched his fellow students get killed. And because he didn’t allow people to die in front of him, he now has this suspension blemish on his record because “only I know the full story, he was uncooperative! uncooperative!” Genius!

Come on. Expunge the suspension and move on. The school fighting this is nonsense, even by school administrator standards.

December 14, 2012

Response

Filed under: Christmas Time!,In the News,What the hell? — Katrina @ 4:19 pm

Oh, no. Seems there was a school shooting in Connecticut this morning. An elementary school shooting. :(

Just so fucking senseless. Something like 18 children are dead as of this writing. Little kids. What the hell could they have ever done to anybody?!

*bunch of people start talking*

Wait. What’s going on here?

“A shooting!” one squeals. “I’ll tell you what this means. It’s time we banned guns!”

Um, alright. I suppose.

“No!” squeals another. “This means we need MORE guns. If the teachers had guns on them, this wouldn’t have happened.”

Uh… huh? What is all this?

“How old was the assailant?” screams another. “Was he a student? A teenager perhaps? I tell you, this is a sign of just how rotten today’s kids are!”

Actually I hear the shooter was 24.

“I’ll tell you why this happened,” comes another voice. “It’s the schools. Public schools are awful places for children. This is why kids need to be pulled out of there.”

Wait, what? What the fuck does that have to do with anything?

“If these kids were unschooled, this would not have happened!”

Home with parents is significantly more dangerous statistically than being at school. Also, fuck you. You’re victim blaming.

“It’s all because our society treats the mentally ill so terribly!” says another. “If this man had had the care he needed, this would not have happened.”

Um, yes, mentally handicapped should be treated well and have access to care. No argument there. It’s just rather offensive toward those with mental disabilities to imply they’re always on the verge of severe violence as this.

“We’re in such a violent society!” screams still another. “With all the violent TV and video games! I’m sure that’s what messed this guy up.”

Or is it that YOU hate violent TV and video games and just feel like acting like something you just happen to hate was responsible here?

“This all happened because people need a healthy dose of JESUS!” declares another. “If everyone would just remember the LORD, this would never happen.”

I’m not even going to dignify that with a response.

God forbid we blame the shooter. 🙄

No, instead let’s just use this as proof positive for whatever personal cause of ours and hope that people will finally “get it”. Just like they finally “got it” after Columbine. And 9/11. And the Amish school shooting. And the Dark Knight movie shooting. But maybe THIS time! You can always hope!

June 28, 2012

Making Sure They Behave

Filed under: 100 Days of Summer,In the News,Youth Rights — Katrina @ 12:16 pm

Ever notice that the most common thing anyone tells a child is “behave!”? Is he/she behaving? Are they being good? Are they doing as they are told?

Because that’s the single most important thing ever regarding children, of course! 🙄

The trouble there is the expectation that this person is going to descend into “insufferable little bastard” mode at any moment.

It goes beyond that, of course. The other day I saw this article in the Guardian about cops stationed in school, and how this – surprise, surprise! – leads to students being arrested for the tiniest offenses, such as putting on perfume or not picking something up off the floor fast enough. They’re stationed there over constant concerns that, even if unlikely, some student might shoot someone, and you just can’t be too careful!

So the cops are a good thing, right? They just need to exercise better discretion and not arrest students for drawing on a desk or other stupid shit like that?

Yeah… I don’t think so.
(more…)

December 30, 2011

Temptations for Ageism

Now for a growed-up, snack-packy edition of…

YOU SUCK!!!!

Jell-O. And they’re little Temptations pudding advertising. See, the idea is that it’s not like their other desserts (somehow). I mean, it probably still contains the exact same ingredients. But somehow this one isn’t for kids. They’re not only saying so. They’re forbidding kids from getting free samples of it through fancy machines!

The current offer is for Temptations by Jell-O, the brand’s first product designed specifically for adults. The machine is equipped with technology to determine the age of the person requesting a sample. If the machine senses a child, a panel lights up with the words, “Sorry, kid. You’re too young to experience indulgence like this. Please step away so the adults can get their free treat.”

You’re too young to experience indulgence like this? Even if I weren’t outraged on youth rights grounds, I’d want to smack the person who came up with this. Are they actually implying eating this particular pudding constitutes sex?

We’ve been discussing this a bit on the NYRA board e-mail list, and Eric Goldstein suggested the restriction could be for liability purposes. And he’s probably right. Except if that were all it is, you’d think they could at least try to be respectful about it. Having a machine say the equivalent of “ha ha, you can’t have this!” pretty much shows there’s more to it than that.
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June 27, 2011

Final Boss Defeated

And by final boss, I mean the Supreme Court has rendered its verdict in Brown v EMA, formerly known as Schwarzenegger v EMA. This was the case where California has been defending its ban of selling M-rated video games to people under 18. It went all the way to the Supreme Court. On November 2, 2010, day of the oral arguments, we NYRAnians rallied in front of the Court in defense of youth rights and free speech. And Usiel gave this amazing speech, of which I totally shot the video! And after that it was just a matter of waiting and seeing…

And today came the verdict at last…

7-2, in favor of EMA. Two dissenters were Stephen Breyer and (surprising absolutely no one) Clarence Thomas.

WE WON!!!!

Check out the official document here!

I’ve been retweeting a lot of remarks and articles today in response to this ruling, so here’s a nice roundup.
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May 12, 2011

Culture Is No Excuse

Filed under: Decrees!,Estrogen,In the News,What the hell?,Youth Rights — Katrina @ 9:31 pm

I hereby decree…

Your cultural traditions are NO excuse for harming others!

In the New York Times today was a piece by Nick Kristof about female genital cutting, and after glancing at Feministing’s mention of it, found a piece from two years ago in American Prospect, Rights Versus Rites.

Rights Versus Rites is about the debate about female genital cutting. That’s right. Debate. As in there’s a side that’s all for it. Seriously, go read it. It’s long and horrifying, but read it.

Okay, seeing as the practice is still going throughout Africa, despite little victories here and there where small areas decided “meh, let’s not do this anymore, seems harmful”, of course it has supporters and lots of them. How do they defend it? Why, with the well-worn: “It’s our culture!”
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April 6, 2011

No Sugar for Students

Filed under: Foodz,In the News,Rants,What the hell?,Youth Rights — Katrina @ 9:44 pm

Dear Overzealous Anti-Sugar School Official,

Awww, isn’t that cute? You hear that sugar is evil and want to keep kids away from it. You’ll go to any ridiculous lengths to keep them from buying it themselves!

What’s this? You soooo badly don’t want students drinking anything other than water ever that you’ll bully stores into not selling anything to them? Stores that, I might add, have no connection to your school whatsoever? Oh, well, isn’t that just lovely. I mean, that’s totally justified seeing as the students aren’t people or anything and as their principal, I believe they are officially your own property! Goodness, why stop at dictating food and drink choices? But I digress.

Or, wait a minute. That’s not right. I’d say that students are PEOPLE. And as real individual people, they belong only to themselves. You aren’t even their parent. All you do is act as administrator of the place they’re forced to spend several hours of their day whether they like it or not. Does that make them constitute your property? And doesn’t the idea I even have to ask that question raise concerns over whether you should be teaching or even being near any children ever?

So sugar is just sooooo bad for children that it’s abuse if an adult were to allow a grain of it to touch the child’s lips. Is that what you believe? No, moron, I’ll tell you what’s abuse. The abuse here is dictating the living shit out of every little thing a child does, denying her the choice of what food and drink she consumes, and preventing her from exercising even the tiniest bit of economic autonomy just to buy a goddamn bottle of juice if she wants it!

In short, go die in a fire. Or at least stay away from kids. You’re a thousand times worse for them than sugar ever could be.

Wishing You Great Pain,

Katrina

December 29, 2010

Interference

Filed under: Christmas Time!,Foodz,In the News,What the hell?,Youth Rights — Katrina @ 3:18 pm

Oh, my good God…

Mother Sues McDonald’s for ‘Interfering’ With Kids

Happy Meals just got a little more expensive for McDonald’s: the fast food chain has been sued by California mother Monet Parham for using toys to make her two young daughters want nutritionally unsound Happy Meals…

Parham, mother of a six-year-old and two-year-old, said in a CSPI press release that: “I object to the fact that McDonald’s is getting into my kids’ heads without my permission and actually changing what my kids want to eat… what kids see as a fun toy, I now realize is a sophisticated, high-tech marketing scheme that’s destined to put McDonald’s between me and my daughters… I want McDonald’s to stop interfering with my family.”

Owwwww! My head hurts! Soooo much concentrated stupid!

*clutches head*

*takes ibuprofen*

Sigh. Okay, feel a little better now.
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December 27, 2009

TSA Fail

Filed under: Christmas Time!,In the News,What the hell? — Katrina @ 11:22 pm

So on Christmas Day, there was another terrorist attack attempt on some flight from Amsterdam to Detroit. As always when such occurs, TSA craps out some more passenger restrictions in its predictable kneejerk reaction. Here’s the article.

So, basically, some guy tried to blow up the plane but failed miserably. The passengers saw what he was trying to do, seeing how very close they were to a horrible fiery death, and leapt up and subdued him, stopping what could have been a horrible Christmas for a lot of people.

How does the TSA respond? By making it illegal for passengers to move around in the last hour of the flight. So in other words… what the heroic passengers did is now against the rules. Because how dare they move around during a flight, when they should have been good little people and… let the terrorist kill them all. *headdesk*

And because a fucking terrorist will totally obey these little rules, right?

Some other rules I heard of include not allowing passengers to know the flight path or what cities or landmarks they are near. Which pisses me the fuck off because I think this means that airlines that allow you to watch your flight path on the little screen in front of you, such as JetBlue and British Airways, will now no longer be allowed to have that feature, a feature I fucking LOVE! What the shit?! :doitnow:

That’s the TSA. It’s not important for them to actually stop terrorists when the most important part is to just LOOK like it.

November 19, 2009

This Makes Me Want to Crush Skulls

Filed under: In the News,Rants,What the hell?,Youth Rights — Katrina @ 7:42 pm

With other skulls.

Taser gun used on 10-year-old girl who ‘refused to take shower’

The officer had been called to the girl’s home in Ozark, Arkansas, by her mother because she was behaving in an unruly manner and refusing to take a shower.

In a report on the incident the officer, Dustin Bradshaw, said the mother gave him permission to use the Taser.

When he arrived, the girl was curled up on the floor, screaming, and resisting as her mother tried to get her in the shower before bed.

“Her mother told me to take her if I needed to,” the officer wrote.

The child was “violently kicking and verbally combative” when he tried to take her into custody and she kicked him in the groin.

He then delivered “a very brief drive stun to her back,” the report said.

The girl’s father, Anthony Medlock, who is divorced from her mother, said the girl showed signs of emotional problems but did not deserve to be “treated like an animal”.

He said: “Ten years old and they shot electricity through her body, and I want to know how the heck in God’s green earth can they get away with this.

“If you can’t pick the kid up and take her to your car, handcuff her, then I don’t think you need to be an officer. She doesn’t deserve to be treated like a dog. She’s not a tiger.” Local Mayor Vernon McDaniel said the FBI should investigate.

He said: “People here feel like that he made a mistake in using a Taser, and maybe he did, but we will not know until we get an impartial investigation.” The local Police Chief Jim Noggle said no disciplinary action was taken against Bradshaw.

“We didn’t use the Taser to punish the child, just to bring the child under control so she wouldn’t hurt herself or somebody else,” he said.

He said if the officer tried to forcefully put the girl in handcuffs, he could have accidentally broken her arm or leg.

Mr Noggle said the girl will face disorderly conduct charges as a juvenile.

A little girl was violently electrocuted by a police officer, at her idiot mother’s consent, because she didn’t want to take a shower and was upset at being forced to.
(more…)

December 6, 2008

Smile! You’re Speeding

Filed under: Christmas Time!,Going Places,In the News,Youth Rights — Katrina @ 3:19 pm

Ah, speed cameras. Not a problem if you’re like me and know to watch for them. Then I slow way the hell down to a crawl while passing them, with cars behind me surely getting angry but, well, I’m doing this for their own good.

Except I did get caught by one earlier this year because it was hidden in a parked car. So I received a lovely photo of the back of my car and was out $40. Meh.

Anyway, the other day, saw this article come over NYRA’s youth rights news wire.
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December 1, 2008

Self-Defense

Filed under: Christmas Time!,Estrogen,In the News,Rants,Youth Rights — Katrina @ 7:44 pm

I hate to kick off the December montage of entries with something so disgusting, in a time of year that is supposed to be happy and joyful, but, well, there are a lot of things I hate. This is pretty high up on the list.

Girl Punched Dad During Spanking

CRESTVIEW, Fla. — A 16-year-old Florida girl who hit her father when he tried to spank her has been charged with misdemeanor domestic battery.

An Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office report said the father told a deputy that he was attempting to spank the girl when she turned around and struck him in the face with her fist.

The report said she tried to hit him several more times before leaving with friends.

Both father and daughter said the argument started over an item that had been broken. She acknowledged that when he went to spank her, she punched him, the report said.

….

Do I even need to point out everything that is very WRONG with this scenario?
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October 23, 2008

Red-iculousness

Filed under: Assorted Politics,Check It Out,In the News — Katrina @ 6:44 pm

So I was reading the Economist today when I came across an article about how Obama’s campaign is kicking the living ass out of, well, everything, setting us up for anything from a landslide to another Dewey Defeats Truman. But that’s not what I mean to talk about here today. In the article, it begins describing the lopsided attention being given to the Republican and Democratic booths at some North Carolina fair. And then I saw this little gem.

[Some redneck]’s backing John McCain because the Arizona senator “thinks murdering little babies is not a good idea”.

Ah, we saw this four years ago. And eight years ago. And so on. Many Republicans’ persistent belief that if an anti-abortion president takes office, abortion will become illegal and never be done again. You know, I wonder what life is like to live in such a strong delusion, for these people seem to completely ignore that even though we’ve had anti-abortion president George W. Bush in office for the past eight years, abortion is still legal. I’ve got news for you. John McCain is not going to make abortion illegal. He and Sarah Palin may talk all the time about how bad it is, but the fact is, it won’t be made illegal even if they are elected. So you Republicans thinking the McCain-Palin team is going to be the saving grace of embryos and fetuses from women making an excruciatingly difficult decision, and you Democrats thinking the McCain-Palin team will take away a woman’s inalienable right to kill her unborn child, you’re living in a serious fantasy world.
(more…)

April 23, 2008

Obama Is Keyst-owned

Filed under: Assorted Politics,In the News — Katrina @ 6:00 pm

Ugh, here I am talking about current political stuff. What is this, a blog?

Anyway, so we all know Hillary Clinton just won the Democratic primary in Pennsylvania. Kind of expected. In any case, Barack Obama, as some suggest, pretty much screwed himself in a comment he made about small town Pennsylvanians. Here’s a quote from the Lexington column in the Economist:

He told a group of fat cats in San Francisco that the reason why he is finding it hard to appeal to blue-collar voters in Pennsylvania is because they are “bitter”. They have suffered from so many broken promises that they prefer to “cling” to God, guns and xenophobia rather than reaching out for a helping hand from the government.

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January 10, 2008

The Humiliated Teen

Filed under: In the News,Rants,What the hell?,Youth Rights — Katrina @ 6:52 pm

First, have a look at this news story.

It was early last month when Jane Hambleton of Fort Dodge found the bottle under the front seat of her 19-year-old son’s pride and joy.

Her next move was a call to The Des Moines Register’s classified advertising department:

OLDS 1999 Intrigue

“Totally uncool parents who obviously don’t love teenage son, selling his car. Only driven for 3 weeks before snoopy mom who needs to get a life found booze under front seat. $3,700/offer. Call meanest mom on the planet.”

The son soon found himself on foot. And the meanest mom on the planet became the target of accolades from across Iowa and beyond.

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