Tuesday, 31 December 2013


I don't know about you peeps, but I had a pretty good year. Let's try and keep that going into 2014.

And for those who will be glad to see the back of the unluckiest year of the 21st century (though it won't have a patch on 2197, mark my words), I hope this coming year shapes up and offers the success you deserve.

Unless you're a dick, of course. You people can go to hell.

Happy new year!

D CDs #481: Background Hum

Once again the North East's whitest man (TM) finds himself tackling a classic slice of African-American music, and tries his best to muddle through.

Actually, though, to my great relief, I get this (though the cover rather makes me wonder whether D'Angelo bought into the common fear that the Y2K bug would render everyone's shirts unusable).  Or, at least, there's a clear route through to something that makes sense to me. Who doesn't want to see soul rendered as funky and filthy as is humanly possible? James Brown can't do all this on his own, you know, though obviously he made a credible stab at the job.

With minimal-to-absent breaks between songs, and a consistent key and tempo, this feels less like thirteen individual slices of music and more a single composition of multiple movements.  Various hypnotic, snake-like bass lines wend their way through simplistic, prominent beats; a foreground for D'Angelo's high-pitched, beautiful croon. It's like a nervous miner bird stole a synthesiser and borrowed a horn section.

The end result is perhaps slight - if one is to rely on one's rhythm section, one perhaps needs to be more concerned about varying the tempo than D'Angelo seems to be - but it's also a perfect musical backdrop for those times when you need a backdrop, as oppose to a distraction. In other words, this is a disc you press into service when your brain runs as slow and laid-back as this does.  For when the business of the day is very not absorbing lyrics (rarely more than mildly diverting here, though "Devil's Pie" is a nice moment of realisation,"One Mo'Gin" a rather sweet love-and-loss song, and "Africa" a paean to a stolen past in the face of a new future; all of which break up the expected focus upon making people dance, making women swoon, and making naysayers uncomfortable).

Within that particular scenario, Voodoo does it's job with discipline and economy, and no small amount of soul.   Which, I think we can all agree, will very much do.

Seven tentacles.

Friday, 27 December 2013

Friday Talisman: Put 'Em Away, Love

From the largest Talisman character to the smallest. I painted this tiny sprite purely to help even out my average time per miniature; the Dragon Rider took ages and putting this together was almost absurdly simple (though the wing veins needed sensitive handling).

I quite like the final result, or at least the bit I really don't like - the pose - is out of my hands.  I realise we pretty much lost the high fantasy genre to the mouthbreathing perverts before I was even born, but once upon a time we at least tended to save the explicit sexualising for the humans.  Quite why this tiny woodland fairy needs to be shoving her arse out and bending over to reveal her (proportionally) cavernous cleavage is quite beyond me.  Given her size, it's impossible to believe she needs to bend over to pick anything up.  Anything but a SEX-CRAZED MAN, that is!

Thursday, 26 December 2013

Time Expands And Then Contracts

Perhaps a little under-cooked?
"Time of the Doctor"? Time of the bleedin' massive spoilers, more like!

A Tale Of Cocktails #44

Caribbean Milk

1 oz dark rum
1 oz Kahlua
4 oz milk
1/2 oz double cream
1 cinnamon stick
1 lemon slice
Taste: 8
Look: 5    
Cost: 9
Name: 8
Prep: 7
Alcohol: 3
Overall: 7.0

Preparation: Pour all ingredients into a saucepan, heating slowly and stirring occasionally until mixture begins to climb the pan. Remove from heat, strain, and serve.
General Comments: If I'd wanted a hot coffee Baileys with a dash of cinnamon, I'd have asked for it.

Actually though, I turns out I did want a hot coffee Baileys with a dash of cinnamon.  Is there any more?

Wednesday, 25 December 2013

Postcards From The Front

Merry Christmas from all here at Squid Towers. May your festive doggies be bright of coat and mischievous of temperament.

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Appropriate Reactions

Corey Robin's The Reactionary Mind is brilliant.  It is, perhaps, not quite as brilliant as its reputation suggests; its episodic structure means it revisits its central thesis in multiple different circumstances rather than building on that thesis' foundations.  As a result the basic principles outlined here are sketched broadly, rather than mined in depth.

On the other hand, perhaps there is a strength in the simplicity here.  Robin's essential premise is certainly pleasingly bite-sized: conservatism (here mainly but not entirely meaning American conservatism) is neither a philosophy of moderation nor of nostalgia, but a philosophy that finds moderation and nostalgia useful as vectors for its true interest, which is social hierarchy. [1]

In the pursuit of the social hierarchy, shout-out to the halcyon days are of use only in so much as rigid social orders were all the rage before the French Revolution, the historical event Robin describes as the crucible in which the conservative philosophy as we understand it today was forged.  Changes to the social order that took place decades or even centuries ago receive no respect from conservatives unless they fit in with the desired structure to the world, and the always unconvincing calls for incremental changes and considered debate are always conveniently set aside in stampedes to tear down institutions that happen to be standing in the way. One need only look to recent Supreme Court decisions granting the rich unlimited ability to influence politicians with their money, or to the gutting of the Voting Rights Act, to discern this.  The goal is a society where those people Know Their Place, and all else is simply window-dressing.

Robin develops a secondary hypothesis here as well - one which interacts with the first - regarding the discomfort many conservatives face with a contented society.  One can barely dip into the banal morass of the American op-ed pages without bumping into a David Brooks figure informing us that moral complacency is threatening to destroy society.  As Charles Pierce likes to put it, these writers are obsessed with the idea that there might be people fking on couches of which the writer does not approve. Often this is no more serious than paternalistic busy-bodying, but on occasion it becomes more sinister - the same instinct to lecture the underclass about their sexuality mutating into the insistence that the financial crash had its roots in the refusal of the un-moneyed to live within the means fate had chosen for them.  One must not simply be, one must strive.  For the rich, this apparently always seems to mean striving to gain more money.  For everyone else... well, this is where we run into real problems. Almost invariably, the solution handed down is that those without money should have to work harder to get the money they are being intentionally deprived of.

The problems of both these strands when considered separately are already obvious. In combination, things become that much worse.  The constant desire conservatives have to see society tested is catalysed by the insistence that it is the lower rungs of society that need that testing the most urgently, and suddenly the working class finds its sons and daughters being shipped overseas to kill and be killed in the name of foreign excursions intended in ill-defined ways to somehow improve the soul of the nation. The constant cry of the conservative that they wish for smaller government is suddenly laid bare for what it is: the realisation that a properly enforced legal framework has become a hindrance to their desired socially enforced moral framework.  Since the fall of the Jim Crow laws it has become impossible to enshrine in statute the kind of pecking order the conservative wishes to see returned to civilisation (to the extent to which it ever actually left, of course), but with the money and entrenched power on their side already, it suffices simply to chip away at legal obstacles to a de facto social stratification they believe - almost certainly correctly - will create itself once all those silly laws concerned with equality are neutered. [2]

This, in the end, is the goal.  Whether it be a return to the courts of pre-Revolutionary France or some entirely new rough beast of capitalist debauchery and neoconservative violence, those people must be made to see that they are not us people.  True happiness is born in the minds of the people not when they believe their time to rule might some day come, but when they realise better men (always, always men) exist above them, and rightly so.  "Do not rise above your station", they intone sombrely as they hoover up another percentile of GDP. "We will take care of you".

That this is both abhorrent in philosophy and an utter failure every time it has been practised is apparently irrelevant, perhaps because those pushing this vicious prescription may always simply enquire "an utter failure for who?".  The central attraction for the social hierarchy is that there will always be someone below you, and if there isn't, well, you're clearly too far down to be worth worrying about in any case, right?

So does each man punch down. So do our minds and our hearts ossify. So does every injustice this world forces upon us somehow become the way things are supposed to be.

I'll pass, thanks.

[1] I suppose one could argue there is a genuine component of nostalgia involved, actually, if only because it always just so happens to be the rich white guys who are implicitly at the top of whatever terrifying new pyramid of civilisation these people would foist upon us. One might wish for them to choose black lesbians as the leaders of the new era, simply for a change of pace.  Of course, this would mean disassembling the social structure they swear does not exist in order to build the structure they swear they don't want, so hopes are less than high.

[2] One criticism I have of Robin's thoughts on this topic is that he draws a clear line between efforts opposed to racial equality and efforts opposed to economic equality.  I'm not sure the two are meaningfully distinct on a practical level.   That is to say, I think the closest thing the Republican Party has to a point when they object to being called racist is that they genuinely seem to just utterly fucking hate poor people, and don't particularly care how many of them are or aren't white.

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Get Myself Arrested

Anyone who's already furious over the horrific "affluenza" trial (ably dissected with entirely appropriate rage by Jack Graham) might want to take a look at this link, if only in the hopes that your rage might reach such incandescent proportions that we can hook power lines up to you and save us a few months of munching through dead dinosaurs.

In brief, a white professional actively tries to get himself arrested for graffiti tagging, finds it almost impossible, and when he finally does get himself locked up for the night and has to appear before a judge, he learns a) the treatment of arrestees in NYC is abominable, and b) you can be literally banned from leaving New York for three years for your first misdemeanour, just so long as the judge is pissed off at you.

As usual, the point here is not to have a giggle at how outrageously screwed up the American justice system seems to be in just about every state (though it really, really is), so much as another reminder that legal systems are frequently horrendously capricious and prone to overreaction, and trying to bypass this with comforting thoughts that it's only those people who have to worry about it in the first place is a large part of the reason why.

(h/t to Kevin Drum)

Sunday, 15 December 2013

A Tale Of Cocktails #42/#43

(Sugarific) Ciderific

6 oz cider
1 oz rum
1 cinnamon stick
(1 tsp brown sugar)
Lemon slice to garnish
Taste: 6 (8)
Look: 6 (7)    
Cost: 9 (9)
Name: 8 (8)
Prep: 7 (7)
Alcohol: 3 (3)
Overall: 6.6 (7.4)

Preparation: Pour alcohol (and sugar) into a small saucepan. Add cinnamon and heat slowly for five minutes. Strain and pour. Add lemon slice and drink.
General Comments: A drink for Festivus! There are two variants to this concoction, one with and one without brown sugar.  Your preference will probably depend on how sweet your tooth is, but with the sugar added what you have here is basically mulled cider with the rum filling in for the spice; not flashy, but solid.  Without it you've got a fairly bland concoction that somehow conspires to taste a little like weak whisky - especially if you heat it up too quickly.  Either way it's a nice warming drink for cold winter nights, but it's only when you add the sugar that it really feels worth the effort (and as a bonus, it looks less like dehydrated piss).

Really, anything that ends with ...ific should be able to bring more to the party than this manages, but if you find yourself growing bored of mulled wine, this can certainly be pressed into service as an adequate substitute.

Friday, 13 December 2013

Warhammer 40K: 40Kool-Aid

One year almost to the day (that would be Christmas Day, obvs), and miniatures three and four from Dark Vengeance are off the production line. I've wanted to paint up some Red Corsair cultists for years, so I was delighted to see them show up in the new edition.  Of course, having read Legion in September I now want Alpha Legion cultists as well.  If only the boxed set contained two squads...

 These gentlemen continue my experiments with non-Caucasian skin colours.  They're a bit lighter than my Space Squids sergeants; I was aiming for something a little more Asian than the Kenya-inspired inhabitants of Four Feathers (a name I know deeply regret after finding out I wasn't the first to come up with it).  I spent some time worrying about applying the scheme to such villains - any force of Imperial lapdogs they end up facing will almost certainly be stern-faced Aryan motherfuckers - but I promise I shall redress the balance when I finally get around to starting an Imperial Guard army, currently projected to show up some time in the mid 2020s.

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Also, Actually...

Whilst I was headed into work Radio 4 had a segment on the Universities UK brouhaha mentioned earlier in the week, featuring Jack Straw and Nicola Daniels from UUK.

No-one seemed to be getting this argument exactly right, but it was Daniels who had the toughest time of it - though of course, I would say that, since hers is the position I have the least sympathy for.

Still, the flaws in Daniel's case strike me as pretty objective. Her argument seemed to stem from the idea that audience self-segregation should not be opposed. If segregation is banned, then we end up in the unfortunate position of telling an entire audience, every member of which wants to do something one way, that they must do it a different way.  Daniels went so far as to accuse the host (who, in fairness, was a bit too keen to sneak in low-blows about apartheid to actually bother with a rational dialogue) of being the one who was really telling women where to sit, because he was telling them they couldn't sit as a single bloc on one side of a lecture hall.

The flaws in this position are self-evident: it only works if literally every woman in the audience is in favour of segregation. Daniels is proposing that there are circumstances in which a speaker and the entirety of his audience want a certain arrangement to the seating, but that they somehow can't arrange this unofficially (like it'd be too hard for the first person to get there to sit wherever they want and everyone else filter accordingly), and that if such a thing does happen, some university busybody will arrive to set them straight.

In other words, it's an obvious fiction. Daniels doesn't want to get into the far more likely scenario where some women wish segregation [1] and others do not, so she treats an audience as a monolithic structure which can be known will agree with one position or another. I mean, I suppose one could colour an argument that says some of these religious speakers will be so horribly unpalatable to any woman who doesn't subscribe to gender segregation, but a) no-one should be in the business of deciding who women do or don't want to listen to and b) it rather undercuts Daniels "we are the ones empowering women" angle if you go down that road.

On the other hand, all this gives me an opportunity to revisit the more general point here, since Fliss pulled me up on my post from Monday to point out I was perhaps defining "outside speaker" too narrowly. I'm not sure who UUK are including in their definition, but Fliss is right that it might include, say, departmental seminars with speakers who may be at no higher than postgrad level.  I can't really shoe-horn them into my tirade on powerful religious figures dictating their terms for engagement. It's not just possible, but established (anecdotally) that postgraduates who feel they cannot talk to an unsegregated room face a genuine obstacle to career development, and while I'm obviously leery about the degree to which such requirements are acceptable, this part of the problem is more complex than the part I chose to shout about. I'd like to think that seminars of that type are something you can discuss arrangements for at the local level rather than UUK sticking their oar in, but that could well generate its own problems.

[1] Speaking of which, my biggest problem with the show's host was his refusal to even consider the possibility that some religious women might genuinely believe in gender segregation. As with the discussion on banning the burqa, it's much easier to believe the idea is invariably forced upon women, because then you can pretend legislating against religious preference is somehow a blow for equality.

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Down To The Wire

This condensed version of a talk Wire creator David Simon gave in Sydney recently is very interesting. Even for those with literal interest in US politics (and who don't believe the US is anything more than a test-case for where the Tory party sees the UK heading), it might be of interest just in terms of how Simon's politics were built into his most famous show from the ground up.

I don't think I'd sign up for all of what Simon is saying - it's not clear that consumer culture only becomes a problem once a country's internal social contract breaks down, and he makes a distinction between racial oppression and economic oppression that perhaps buries the link between the two - but his piece raises two very important points.

The first always reminds me of the time I argued with a libertarian who simply refused to listen to anything Keynes said on the subject of the economy because Keynes once said the government might want to bury treasure and pay people to dig it up. The fact that this idea isn't as stupid as it sounds (hiring people to do jobs that cost the government money is how stimulus packages basically work, and work they do) isn't the point. The point is that my opponent believed saying one arguably silly thing was enough to utterly invalidate all other comments by that same person. 

(This from a man who venerated Milton Friedman, who offered economic advice to Augusto Pinochet during the latter's brutal oppression of his own people, and who insisted in his final years that Islamofascism was the greatest threat the world economy faced, but I digress.)

In practice, this is transparently a tactic to avoid having to listen to and process conflicting arguments.  If you can dismiss someone as a crank, you don't have to pay attention any more [1].  It's the quickest ticket to epistemic closure one can think of short of locking oneself in a vault with nothing but ten years of emergency rations and a copy of Atlas Shrugged. Reasonable people can argue over how sensible Marx's alternatives to the capitalist state actually were, but Simon is right; that has nothing to do with how accurate Marx's criticisms were. Acting otherwise is just lazy, hackish anti-thought.

The second important point is this: you have to be straight-up out of your mind at this point to look at the state of company/employee relations in the US as a whole and conclude unions are the problem.  This was always a fiction, but perhaps once it was fiction of a Raymond Chandler stripe.  These days, it's fan fiction Dan Brown would be ashamed to print, or at least it would be if not for the staggering amount of money available for doing so.

Acquiring money simply cannot be so unquestionably awesome as to allow no breaks upon the process.  Unions simply cannot be so unquestionably unhelpful that there can be no situation in which they are not necessary. That so few of those who argue the contrary - or always seem to in practice, at least - can do so without pointing to the spectres of Stalinism and general strikes should tell you all you need to know.

[1] Dismissing someone as a liar/bullshitter is something else entirely, of course.

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Too Soon Returned?

"Who's that new guy behind Tyreese? He's never been in the show before.
I certainly hope nothing bad happens to him!"

Collected thoughts on the first half of Walking Dead season 4? That'll be chock-full of spoilers, then...

Friday, 6 December 2013


I was eight years old when I heard a slice of Sangoma on the radio. My father was driving me home from a swimming session in Loftus. It would be nice - if not particularly original - to say I'd never heard anything like it before, but honestly my parents were so supremely disinterested in music that I could say that about almost any song I was exposed to at that age.  I don't even remember which song it was or how it went.

What I remember is what the radio DJ said afterwards: that the singer, Miriam Makeba, was in exile from her home country of South Africa, and would never return until it was free, remaining until then what she called "a spotted leopard among cheetahs".  I asked my father to explain why her country wasn't free.  Did my father mention Nelson Mandela?  Did he even know who Mandela was?  I no longer recall.


I knew who Mandela was by 1994.  Who didn't?  I remember thinking two things when Mandela became the President of South Africa for the first time. The first was a deep respect for the outgoing president F.W. de Klerk for knowingly torpedoing his political career in favour of doing the right thing.  The second was a feeling of elation that the singer I had heard six years earlier could finally go home.

Nelson Mandela was never a man who it was hard to respect.  There is nothing in my life that can allow me to comprehend the suffering he endured in his involuntary tour of various prisons at the hands of a system that needed to despise him simply to justify its continued existence. That he emerged from over a quarter of a century of incarceration without any obvious desire to tear his tormentors apart is alone is nothing short of miraculous. I couldn't imagine how anyone could be so calm and forgiving, not when I was fourteen, and not now.  Maybe even less so now; I've just absorbed so much more about the world and about people that I despise.


In early 2002 I was in my final year as an undergraduate in Durham.  There was a girl in the next block I had something of a crush on, so I spent a lot of time on her corridor.  Also on that corridor was an Afghan student by the name of Taj.  I won't pretend we were close, but we chatted from time to time, and thousands of miles and years of cultural differences never seemed so important as our shared annoyance at who had set off the fire alarm at 3am or why our college charged us for glasses broken in a bar we spent no time in.

One night he told me how much he'd enjoyed the celebrations back home when the Twin Towers went down.  How there was no such thing as a Westerner who didn't have it coming, so long as they were old enough to vote.  If they can vote, they should vote to stop being imperialist monsters in the Middle East.  If they can't find a party to vote for that will do that, they should start their own party, with as many demonstrations in the streets as possible along the way. Whether anyone in the Twin Towers was attempting just this remedy was unknown,  but such people were "collateral damage".

As were the children.


In 2003 we met David Brent's Labrador, named after Nelson Mandela, and someone nearby objects to Brent's hagiographic gushing over his pet's namesake. Mandela was not, after all, in the business of flower-arranging in the years before his arrest and trial (either his original one which was kicked out for lack of evidence, or the second one that began once the state had had time to twist things around a little bit).  Brent, as one would expect, sneers shakily at this as racist.


My then girlfriend had taken a summer job in London when bombs started exploding on the 7th of July, 2005.  It took hours for me to confirm she was safe.  A girl I'd known well years before and lost track of after university seemingly disappeared that day; it wasn't until several days later that someone was able to confirm she was fine. I thought of Taj, and wondered whether he was somewhere celebrating.


A few days ago Phil Sandifer reached "Planet of the Ood" in his epic analysis of the entire history of Doctor Who. "Planet of the Ood" is a remarkably original slice of Who for one major reason: the people the Doctor believes deserve freedom win that freedom with minimal help from him.  He is far more observer than he is participant in the Ood revolution.  Not only that, but there's a total absence of hectoring from him about how one should go about fighting ones oppressors.  He understands that it is none of his business. The oppressed can - and must - decide for themselves how they are to win their freedom.

Except... that isn't some kind of iron-clad rule.  The Oodsphere contains exactly two types of people: the Ood themselves, and the humans who have deliberately - almost comically so - mistreated and oppressed them.  Either you have a faceful of tentacles, or a mouth sneering at your slaves whilst waiting for them to make your tea. The only form of oppression shown is the deliberate lobotomising and enslaving of sentient creatures.

Out in the deserts of the Real, we cannot rely on such simplicity. When the planes slammed against their targets, there was no special escape route for those not affluent white men.  The bombs in London killed those who benefited least from life in the UK along with those who gained the most.  People the US and the UK both have happily subjected to economic oppression died because they were judged to more properly belong to the category of oppressor. There must be more to deciding how a world is run than simply granting total moral authority to whichever group of oppressed people happen to get the guns - or the Merkava tanks - first.


All of this is whirling around my head today. The Brentish urge to gloss over those aspects of Mandela's past which make white people uncomfortable must be resisted. Not in order to sully the memory of a great man, but so as to contextualise what he did and why he did it. So as to understand what it means to dedicate ones life to fighting the state in situations where it is so clearly true that fighting is necessary.

Further, for all that I sympathise deeply with the basic point of Sandifer's rhetoric - it is obscene for the oppressors to lecture the oppressed on how they should approach their struggle for freedom - the corollary that I can state no support for Nelson's approach to the struggle compared to that of the suicide bomber or the carpet bomber sits deeply uneasily with me.  Doubtless this cannot be entirely untangled from the fact that my preference is for revolution that doesn't end up getting me or my loved ones blown to pieces (though that day in July 2005 remains the only time in my life I've felt any personal connection to an act of terror; even during the IRA bombings of the '80s it all felt very far away from the North East of England) but I cannot believe that there is no more to it than that.

I do not believe that my respect for Nelson Mandela is born simply from the fact his approach kept me and mine safer than the random murder so beloved by Taj.  Nor does that respect force me to ignore the fact that under Mandela the ANC bombed civilian targets in the 1960s. Civilian casualties were not the aim, simply an inescapable consequence of attacking the state's infrastructure.  The people those bombs killed are no less dead for that fact.

A life like Mandela's is deeply complex by necessity. We cannot glaze over.  Nor can we argue every violent act he is responsible for is outside our right to parse. Not if we want to pay tribute to the man, the whole man.

As a whole man, Mandela left his country and the world better than he left it, and did so at every point under the guiding principle that violence was only ever a last resort, when every other possibility had been identified and honestly attempted. He was not, nor did he claim to be, perfect; by his own admission, there was far more he could have done to fight the AIDS epidemic that currently sees almost one fifth of the adult population suffering with HIV/AIDS.

But what he did do, surely, must be considered enough for any one man. How many black South Africans owe their careers and status and even their lives to him? How many white South Africans are where they are today because Mandela had so little interest in the kind of collective punishment so many might have believed was just? How many of the racist bigots that infest our political class are having to spend today paying tribute through gritted teeth to the sworn enemy of their abhorrent philosophies.

All because Nelson Mandela fought and won. You can either accept all this is true and that Mandela believed terrorism was preferable to capitulation, or you can't.

Me? I say he earned his status in the world.  He has most certainly earned his rest.

Wednesday, 4 December 2013


The problem with Universities UK coming out in favour of gender segregation in talks given by outside speakers does not particularly strike me as an issue of religion freedom.

This is important, because actual conflicts between the right to religious freedom and the right to equal treatment can actually be a pretty tough area, with any number of different scenarios one must navigate. A lot of them boil down to the idea that if someone voluntarily joins an organisation which offers them less than equal treatment, does the state have the right to interfere in that choice?

(Consider the discussion on banning burqas, for instance. The mighty Jane Carnall takes this apart pretty thoroughly here, rooting her argument in the fact that the state has no business telling women they must submit to its definition of equality or face prosecution.)

But this isn't that.  Consider what is happening here.  Students are being asked to comply with the demands of religious speakers from outside their institutions. Speakers who, in the main if not exclusively, represent important figures within their communities and with a profile high enough outside those communities to get speaking gigs.

People, in other words, with power.

This is not about religious folk asking for exemptions on the grounds of their beliefs.  This is about men with power refusing to talk to those with less power unless those people agree in advance to comport themselves according to those men's rules. And then to complain that others refusing to unilaterally concede to their terms violates their free speech (freedom of expression obviously not applying to a university student who wants to sit next to her boyfriend whilst listening to a talk.)

In that sense, this is no different to the cases the Supreme Court in the US is busying itself with right now, in which corporation owners are actually arguing they should not be expected to pay for birth control for their female employees; this despite the fact that said corporations receive tax relief in exchange for providing health insurance for their employees. Essentially, these people are saying they should be allowed to partially pay their employees with health care in in exchange for lower wages, but only provide the health care they themselves consider moral.  Naturally, smart money has the court upholding these objections, because the only thing the Roberts Court likes more than helping out big business is dicking around with Democratic healthcare priorities.

In other words, the powerful demand that their own beliefs should be allowed to trump those with less power, and all of a sudden people are falling over themselves to talk about "fairness".

Odd, that, isn't it?