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Welcome to the personal website of Andrew Turnbull. This outpost features tons of stupefying and trivial things pertaining to various and diverse interests of mine. Chances are, if there's something I know about or like that doesn't much other representation on the 'net...there's a bit of it here.

April-June 2023 Archive

8 June 2023

Pat Robertson, the extremist directly responsible for the rise of the white-supremacist Christian Dominionist right in North America; the man who spent 60 fucking years waging war against feminists, non-Christians of all stripes, and especially the LGBTQ+ community on his media platforms; the man who was directly responsible for commandeering the U.S. Republican Party in the late 1970s and 1980s and transforming it into the sociopathic Trump-deifying terrorist group that it is dead. Thread.

As with Rush Limbaugh and Billy Graham...I don't want to commemorate him. I want to commemorate and remember the innocent people that he hurt.

24 May 2023

Lately, I've been thinking a lot about Doom. Hard as it is to believe, the classic computer game is wrapping up its third decade of existence this year.

Despite its "macho" posturing, Doom always struck me as a game grounded in social justice. The player fights against supernatural beings invading the realm of secular reality. The cruelty of Hell is shown in explicit detail...and you aren't expected to blithely accept it. On the contrary: You apprehend the perpetrators of these horrors in episodic battles, you hold authority figures to account, and you work to preserve and avenge Earth's humanity.

So driven with enthusiasm, I was inspired to create a feature: A Look at Doom: The First 30 Years. With a walkthrough of the original game that took me two weeks to write.

Just in time for the lead programmer to remind everyone that he's an unempathetic piece of garbage...not that that's even a surprise to anyone who knows even a cursory bit about the man. But John Carmack didn't develop the creative content of the game: Tom Hall and John Romero did. And both have made passionate defences of trans rights, leaving little doubt in my mind that Doom has a heart.

6 May 2023

What it really means when "You can't go home again."

James Haught, "The yearly torment of living in red states:"

In the 2023 West Virginia legislative session, which ended last weekend, the troglodytes tried to (1) force rape and incest victims to bear babies, (2) pass a "religious freedom" law to let Christians voice hate for gays, (3) force all public schools to display "In God We Trust," (4) forbid doctors to treat transgender youths for their condition, (5) let schools teach "intelligent design" to counteract evolution, (6) give tax money to church-backed anti-abortion clinics, and (7) let college students carry pistols on campus.

Statehouse correspondent Phil Kabler summed up:

"Our legislators act like they are hell-bent on turning West Virginia into a fundamentalist Christian theocracy.

Last summer, soon after Roe v. Wade was overturned, legislators enacted a near-total ban on abortion, not based on the findings of medical science, not because a majority of West Virginians demanded the ban, but because of a fundamentalist Christian belief that abortion is sinful.

Many legislators sought a total ban on abortion, eliminating exceptions for rape and incest, which would have effectively required crime victims to carry unwanted pregnancies to term. Indeed, a bill this session to eliminate those exceptions had 13 cosponsors in the Senate."

Jamie Lynn Crofts, "No, $12k is not enough to make me move back to West Virginia:"

In the end, though, the absurd attempts to eliminate the state income tax ended up being among the least bad things to happen in West Virginia while its lawmakers were in Charleston. When the state legislature is in session, stupidity and bigotry reign supreme. Lawmakers mocked mask requirements and wore mesh masks that looked like jockstraps. Every member of the legislature was offered the COVID vaccine - and about 30 percent of them were just like, "Nah, I'm good." One of the people who declined the vaccine was Delegate Brandon Steele, who managed to contract COVID twice (TWICE!) during the 60-day legislative session.

And naturally, West Virginia's celebration of willful ignorance does not begin or end with covidiots and mask freedom fighters. The state's lawmakers took care to pass as many bills as possible hurting people who live within WV's borders.

The state that has been hit hardest by the opioid epidemic, and which is already in the midst of one of the worst HIV outbreaks in the country, decided to criminalize needle exchange programs that follow the CDC's best practices for harm reduction. Trans kids have been banned from participating in sports that match their gender identities. The legislature exempted gun and ammo manufacturers from state sales and use taxes, opened up concealed carry permits to out-of-state residents, passed a bill saying the state can't close gun stores or shooting ranges during states of emergency, and banned the state from enforcing federal gun laws.

[...] Hilarious rebukes of Jim Justice aside, this entire session was a demonstration of the very reasons people leave. Elected officials regard and treat their constituents with open contempt. The only part of the Bill of Rights they believe in is the Second Amendment. And if you happen to be a woman, not white, not Christian, or a member of the LGBTQ community, well, good luck. Don't forget that all of the horror of West Virginia's 2021 legislative session is in addition to all of the other ways the state has been trying to go back to the stone age. West Virginia has discrimination against women and people who can get pregnant literally written into the state constitution, no statewide protections for LGBTQ people, some of the laxest gun laws in the country, and a wannabe supervillain attorney general who helped incite the January 6 insurrection. It is kind of incredible to see the people who are the actual reason no one wants to live in West Virginia pontificate on how to attract more people.

Reddit, "What would it take for you to stay in WV?"

That being said, the politics here have done a number on me. I cannot stand the idiocy, hatred, lack of compassion, and pseudo-Christian fascism that has taken root in our statehouse. I never cared about local politics until all of a sudden some jerkoff I went to High School with votes away my family's right to reproductive healthcare. The fuck! So, to answer your question more specifically, the politics of this state need to change. If anything drives me away from my beloved home, it will be the political environment. I'm of the opinion that we are spiraling toward another civil war and I don't want to be in WV when that war breaks out because I know I'll be on the losing side.

I fear for family and friends who aren't "alt-right and white". I fear for my family and friends who are LGBTQ+. I fear for not only my children's future, but all women's futures in WV.

It is simply unsafe here. From abortion restrictions to further marginalization of trans people; it's not safe to have children or raise them. Heck, even straight people are scared to drink the water. It's leave or die for many.

A massive shift in politics and an increase in opportunities (employment and entertainment). Specifically, I don't feel welcome in the state as they continue to prove and attempt to pass legislation to push me out of it (Member of the LGBTQ+ community) and there just isn't much to do and hard to find like minded people.

It's unfortunate, but now I must leave. I am Hispanic and gay, and frankly, I was better accepted socially before a lot of recent political divides. It seems our government constantly is shooting us in the foot; think mountaintop removal, excessively regressive social politics, etc. I really do love so much about it here, but it's getting inhospitable, and watching the government legislate my rights away is getting tiresome. That, and I have virtually zero job opportunities as a history major, which is in part my choice but nonetheless a determining factor.

West Virginia will forever be my home state. Hard as it is to believe today, this is the exact same state that voted to the left of secular Vermont in my lifetime.

As a kid in the 1990s, I swore that I'd spend my whole life there, following the lead of my parents and family's friends in leveraging education and public policy to be part of the solution to the state's problems.

Then I started questioning my belief in God...and I was knocked flat. And I started questioning my straightness...and I was knocked flat. And I watched on as the people who surrounded me in my community, who were friendly and neighbourly so long as you agreed with them, started treating right-wing reactionaries like Cecil Underwood, Shelley Moore Capito, Joe Manchin, George W. Bush, Don Caruth, and John McCain as if they were the second coming of Christ. And started boasting about the guns they owned. And how obsessed they were with the (locally-nonexistent) immigrants they wanted to deport from the country.

And if I so much as spoke back, I felt as if I had a target on my back.

And I left the state, with some regrets, in 2008. Before it was afflicted by fifteen more years of radicalization and brain drain, with no end in sight. Before Trump. Before the 2023 West Virginia legislative session turned the state into a fundamentalist Christian theocracy.

Now, I question whether it's even safe to visit.

And I don't know what the solution is. It's a vicious cycle: People flee the state because of existential threats from theocratic bigots...which results in the theocratic bigots assuming more political power among the shrinking populace...which results in even MORE people fleeing the state. How do you break out of this? Getting guns out of the hands of angry people, cutting off access to Fox News and hate radio, and squelching the fear and paranoia that they influence would be a great step...but it would require political leadership that doesn't exist federally, much less in WV.

Meanwhile, the state of Minnesota is working to pass a Reproductive Defense Act and Trans Refuge Bill. "I wish that other legislatures across this country shared our values. They don't. But guess what? If you need gender affirming care—and that is life-saving care, it's medically necessary care. If you need it, you can come to Minnesota. If you're scared, or you're looking for a new place to build your family, we want you here in Minnesota. We want you to take refuge here." —Clare Oumou Verbeten, DFL-St. Paul.

I have no doubt that a fair number of the pregnant and transgender people taking refuge in the Gopher State are going to be from West Virginia.

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