vaecrius: The infamous cartoon of Darwin's head on a chimp's body, superimposed with a MSPainted Nazi armband. (are you a monkey)
Been a long time since I've linkdumped here. But the series of links from Wednesday followed such a clear thematic pattern I have to save this.

Post-Christian America: Gullible, Intolerant, and Superstitious

One may rightly object to that last comment as a general thing, but given the links that I will link to below, it turned out to be prophetic.
Ross Douthat has written powerfully about the political consequences of post-Christian conservatism. It turns out that when men and women shed their faith, they don’t necessarily get more liberal, but they do get more tribal and vicious. Many members of the alt-right, for example, famously shun Evangelical Christianity (calling its adherents “cuckstians”). Indeed, as we learn from the battle between social-justice warriors and their right-wing counterparts — the emerging class of godless, angry populists — when you remove from your moral code any obligation to love your enemies, politics hardly improves.

The damage extends far beyond politics, of course. If there’s one abiding consequence of the shallow theologies and simple superstitions of our time, it’s the inability to endure or make sense of adversity. It’s a phenomenon that fractures families, fosters a sense of rage and injustice, and ultimately results in millions of Americans treating problems of the soul with mountains of pharmaceuticals. ...

South Park raised a generation of trolls
Is it just me or has South Park gone full cuck?” wondered fans on Reddit’s The_Donald immediately after that episode aired, and probably not for the first (or last) time. But in the aftermath of Trump/Garrison’s election, those same, vigilant cuck-watchers were back to crowing over how South Park had really stuck it to politically correct types in a scene where Trump/Garrison tells PC Principal, “You helped create me.” That South Park positioned this as less of a triumphant comeuppance than a suicidal backfire didn’t seem to matter. And the show more or less left it there—portraying Trump/Garrison as a dangerously incompetent buffoon, but also as the ultimate “u mad?” to all those liberals they fucking hate.

All of which makes Parker and Stone’s recent declaration to lay off Trump in the coming 21st season a real disappointment at best, cowardice at worst. The duo is, of course, under no obligation to tackle politics—or anything else they don’t want to, for that matter. They’re also right that mocking Trump is both redundant and “boring,” and also that everyone does it. For two dyed-in-the-wool contrarians, Trump comedy feels every bit as bland, lifeless, and sitcom-safe as an episode of, say, Veronica’s Closet. Furthermore, Parker’s complaints of the show just “becoming CNN now” and not wanting to spend every week endlessly restacking the sloppy Jenga pile of Trump-related outrage is completely understandable. Believe me, I get it.

That said: Man, what a cop out. South Park has already spent the past 20 years being CNN for its CNN-hating audience. Meanwhile, Parker and Stone have proudly, loudly thumped for a “fearless” brand of satire that’s willing to mock everyone from George W. Bush to Scientology to Mormonism to Muhammad, even under death threats. To shrug now and say, as Parker did, “I don’t give a shit anymore”—right when, by their own admission, the influence of the show’s worldview has reached all the way to the White House—feels especially disingenuous, and suspiciously like caving to the young, Trump-loving fans with whom they have forged such an uneasy relationship. (“South Park bends the knee on their fake-news-fueled portrayal of President Trump,” one The_Donald post gloated, followed by many, many more.) If they truly believe that those trolls in the mirror are “horrible people” who are helping to “fuck the country up beyond repair,” it would be truly fearless to tell them why, with no hint of ambiguous, everything-sucks irony that can be willfully misinterpreted.

Porn is Destroying Dicks, and My Job
I should probably explain that I am Tantric healer, which means that I touch penises for a living. It's certainly not all I do, as an ordained priestess who supports men in cultivating sacred, conscious relationship with their authentic sexual expression, and the Divine Feminine herself. But, for our intents and purposes, all you really need to know is that I touch a lot of penises.
What's wrong with bucking and clenching and grinding? they ask. Well, these are the actions that speak to Voon's findings, which state that the porn addicted subjects "had greater impairments of sexual arousal and erectile difficulties" than those "healthy volunteers" we referenced earlier. The bucking and the clenching and the grinding are all indicative of desensitization, and of my clients' desperate attempts to generate some real-life arousal, because—as we've already determined—they have become tolerant to subtle sensations, and now require gross and exaggerated stimulation to feel themselves at all, let alone to achieve orgasm. [Graphic description follows of what to expect of a healthy male and a broken one.]
It's one thing to be numb and unreachable on your Tantrika's massage table. It's quite another when you are entwined in your lover's arms, and she wants to share a connected, mutually-satisfying, erotic experience, but all you can do is pummel and pound while clenching your eyes and your nether regions, calling up any number of online scenarios in your imagination to trick yourself into a semblance of turn-on. Because this is yet another downside of porn addiction: It makes your partner's needs and wants and humanity kind of irrelevant, if not downright annoying, because the porn addict is used to pixelated, 2D "women," who are so much easier to (not have to) deal with than the real life-version, what with their emotions, and their periods, and their clits.

"I prefer seeing you, because honestly, I feel sort of resentful when I have to give my partner foreplay," admitted a twenty-seven year-old client.

I spent 23 years as an elite fighter pilot, and it taught me that motivation is meaningless
A cure? A diagnosis? Pride and lust are wonderful motivators.
In real life, when fear, fatigue, and doubt set in, no speech can provide the motivation you need to keep going. The only thing you and your team can rely on is discipline.

"Discipline Equals Freedom" is Jocko Willink's formula for achieving success. ...

Literally overnight, my motivation evaporated – as did most of my interest in spending a career flying from a carrier. For the first time in my life, flying wasn't fun. I realized that the dream job was just that: a job. And it was a job that was going to require me to do things I didn't enjoy or find easy.

Fear can debilitate a carrier aviator, especially in combat. To succeed, I had to get past it. My self-discipline was all that I could rely on, and I needed every ounce that I had. ...

Most of my time was spent with men like Chris Kyle, who would sit next to me on rooftops, motionless for hours, observing the city through the scope of his rifle. Day in and day out, I watched him do the tedious, thankless, and unrewarding work they don't show you in recruitment videos or movies. Few things can sap your motivation and focus like Ramadi's suffocating dust and 115 degree heat. The only thing that gets you through an environment like that is discipline. And although that discipline often goes unrecognized, it doesn't go unrewarded: It allowed Chris to save countless lives and made him the most successful sniper in SEAL history.

DoD spends $84M a year on Viagra, similar meds
Not to suggest at all that the porn caused this too. But they are both repeated exposure to destructive, dehumanizing evils with significant neurological consequences.
A report published in September found that the incidence rate of ED among active-duty personnel more than doubled from 2004 to 2014.

Researchers at the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Center found that the overall incidence rate of ED climbed from 5.8 cases per 1,000 person-years in 2004 to 12.6 cases in 2013, or more than 1 percent of the total population.

According to the report, 100,248 cases of ED were diagnosed among active-duty members from 2004 to 2013.

More than half of those were classified as "psychogenic," meaning the dysfunction was related to psychiatric rather than physical causes.

A number of factors can contribute to ED, from mental health conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and anxiety, to medications for treating physical and mental conditions as well as injuries, illness and aging.

"Everything Except Country and Rap": What You Really Mean
Relevant for this one line at the end:
Do you really like everything, or do you just like everything you’re told to?
vaecrius: The blocky spiral motif based on the golden ratio that I use for various ID icons, ending with a red centre. (Default)
About time I started jotting down some of these thoughts that have been in my head about this.

Basic premise: The original Doom games (Doom 1 and 2) are a divinely inspired allegory of a man's repentance from sin.

As all pale shadows of the Truth, this is not a perfect analogy: in particular for this first post, no weapon in Doom is strictly necessary (except rocket against Icon of Sin).

(I should note that this does not work with the lore in Hideous Destructor at all, unless one were to assume an extremely unreliable narrator in the setting fluff I've written for it (which granted isn't too off base).)


There is much to be said for this - the basic plot, the aesthetic, the progression and changing appearance of the levels (especially in the first game, (as far as I can tell at the moment) getting weaker with each new official IWAD), even the monster designs (I am assuming that things represented as demonic influences in the game are exactly that, or at worst they are temptations in this world and our own brokenness) - but it's an unchewably big enough bite that this first post will only be one tiny nibble: a brief summmary of the role of each weapon.

Read more... )
vaecrius: a crude scrawl of a grinning, blazing yellow sun. (hier kommt die sonne)
The main difference is that his is actually worth reading. (If somewhat bare of Heavy Weapons Guy references, but that's probably related.)

Two articles worth mentioning:
A ‘free’ China, for him, is emphatically not ‘free’ in a bourgeois capitalist sense, nor even ‘liberated’ in a Marxist sense. It’s fascinating to see an intellectual, reckoned a ‘leftist’ in Chinese discourse, defend certain non-teleological and anti-modern Confucian political ideas and understandings as necessary for China’s continued ‘modern’ reform and development. Dr. Wang himself is likely quite aware of the irony; the reason he eschews the term ‘left’ to describe himself, after all, is because he feels a terminology imported from a Western revolutionary context has very limited traction in a Chinese one. ...

My own interest in China stems from the fact that an immensely long body of civilised tradition – a body which goes back, with few interruptions, for 3200 years – is brought into a constant, disruptive and disorienting contact with the most frantic, brutal and unvarnished forms of modernity. And unlike in other nations – like Japan or Korea – no serious attempt is made to paper over or downplay or explain away these violent juxtapositions. No soothing political noises are made to the effect that one can have a society grounded in Confucian values that is at the same time fully integrated into a value-demolishing global economy. Tradition has not yet been reduced to an ersatz of itself in the service of modern ideologies.
This dovetails well with some cultural observations I've made myself over the years, including where Chinese capitalism seems to avoid certain Western vices while exacerbating a few others. (Glaring example: the sometimes hilarious disjunct between the concerns of modern, updated Canadian estate and family law, the product of two generations of jurisprudence from post-industrial, post-sexual-revolution liberal gweilo litigants, versus what goes on on the ground with the majority of Chinese clients of similar socioeconomic status.)
Like Solovyov, Mencius recognises that human beings have the distinction of moral feelings to separate them from animals. And Mencius’s account of the ‘four beginnings’ bear an uncanny resemblance to Solovyov’s basic moral feelings. Mencius’s ‘sense of shame’ (xiu’e zhi xin 羞惡之心) and Solovyov’s are identical. His ‘sense of compassion’ (ceyin zhi xin 惻隱之心) is directly analogous to Solovyov’s moral feeling of ‘pity’. And his ‘sense of modesty’ (cirang zhi xin 辭讓之心) is somewhat culturally-coded into a Chinese mentality, deferring honours and rewards out of a knowledge of one’s place in the social fabric, but there’s enough of an analogy within that cultural coding to be drawn to Solovyov’s feeling of ‘reverence’ to be, at the very least, interesting.

(this last one is not the best quote by a long shot. The entire thing is well worth reading.)
vaecrius: Duke2 Rigelatin overlord: "We'd kill you, you see, but our religion prevents the interruption of suffering." (rigelatin)
A perspective, for those of us who have long looked from outside and been baffled:
For non-Roman Catholics, it is almost impossible to comprehend the attachment a Catholic has for the Papacy and our reaction was highly defensive. In the past, when we came across serious works of history which contradicted the Roman Catholic position, we were skeptical and if we found that the author was Protestant, or the book came from a Protestant publishing house, it was given scant attention and if it contradicted a dogmatic belief it was dismissed immediately. Only Roman Catholic historians have a pure line to objectivity, especially when it concerns articles of faith. This is what Catholics are taught and it is this belief that will keep their faith inviolate. This teaching is best exemplified by Pope Leo XIII in his celebrated Letter to the Prelates and Clergy of France (September 8th, 1899). While encouraging them to the study of history he reminds Those who study it must never lose sight of the fact that it contains a collection of dogmatic facts, which impose themselves upon our faith, and which nobody is ever permitted to call in doubt. Cardinal Manning of England is even more blunt, The appeal to antiquity is both a treason and a heresy. It is a treason because it rejects the divine voice of the Church at this hour, and a heresy because it denies that voice to be divine. 10 At another time Cardinal Manning wrote, The appeal from the living voice of the Church to any tribunal whatsoever, human history included, is an act of private judgment and a treason because that living voice is supreme; and to appeal from that supreme voice is also a heresy because that voice by divine assistance is infallible.

An important treatise on how to make friends and influence people.
The distinction between customs and crimes has special relevance to female genital cutting (FGC), also known as female genital mutilation (FGM), the preferred term of advocates. For several years now, the age-old practice of “purifying” girls by excising some portion of their external genitalia has been a serious concern of NGOs, the United Nations and some governments around the world. Laws have been passed against FGC, and messaging campaigns have sought to educate the public about its many ill effects. But these efforts have not eradicated the custom. On the contrary, they have tended to further entrench it, because traditionally minded people concerned about external threats to their corporate identity do not like having alien elites meddle with what is sacred to them.

What has worked is an unusual NGO called Tostan, which means “breakthrough” in Wolof, the predominant language of Senegal. Tostan began in a few rural Senegalese villages in 1991, and now runs additional adult education programs in Djibouti, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Mauritania, Somalia and Gambia. Tostan was not founded for the purpose of ending FGC, but rather as a way to provide “informal education” to a population ill served by the formal schooling provided by most African governments. That schooling is authoritarian in spirit, based on rote learning and focused on preparing a small elite for university entrance exams.

Based in the villages, the Tostan program is rigorous. Students (called “participants”) are required to attend three classes each week for three years. Teachers (called “facilitators”) must be from same ethnic group as the participants. The method is to use local folk crafts and storytelling to impart practical information about agricultural methods, health and hygiene, and the management of money. When the participants graduate, they are numerate, literate in their own language, and eager to use their new skills to tackle old problems. Today, Tostan is best known for its extraordinary success in ending FGC. To date, the organization has been instrumental in the decision of 6,778 communities in eight African countries to abandon the practice. But as noted earlier, this was not Tostan’s original purpose, and the organization did not achieve it by staging mediagenic events or shouting from a public rostrum.


[Tostan founder Molly] Melching first encountered FGC in 1975 while visiting eastern Mauritania with a friend who had grown up in a small village there. During that visit, she met a local doctor who confided to her that he opposed “the tradition” but could not change the minds of his wife and mother, both of whom were intent upon cutting his daughter. Thus did Melching, after only one year in Africa, gain a sense of how hard it is to change a deeply ingrained custom. If a girl’s own father cannot keep her from being cut, what chance does an outsider have?
They did this not by degrading their former shaman based faith but by showing them that Christianity was the fulfillment of that faith.
vaecrius: A little yellow ant in the grass on a sunny day. (yellow ant)
Civil Unions by Another Name: An Eastern Orthodox Defense of Gay Marriage

Every single paragraph of this is gold, so I'll just quote the most important part of the intro.
There will always be Christians who oppose "homosexuality" on moral grounds, but enlisting the state to protect "the sanctity of marriage" is a mistake. Such efforts demonstrate a fundamental - even idolatrous - misunderstanding of the meaning of "holy matrimony," effectively denying Christ by vesting the state with divine authority.

California's infamous Proposition 8 and similar measures sure to make it onto the ballots during next year's election fall prey to the so-called Constantinian temptation. When Constantine legalized Christianity in the early fourth century, some began to see an almost godlike authority in the state. An increasing number of Christians found it difficult to tell the difference between the things that belong to Caesar and the things that belong to God.

No More Steubenvilles: How To Raise Boys to be Kind Men

The whole thing is worth a read, so all I can will be arsed to do is cherry-pick a single quote that happens to continue from a theme referenced in one of the links here:
We must teach our boys what it truly means to be brave.

Bravery doesn’t always feel good. I’ve heard it said that “Courage is being afraid, and doing it anyway”. How many of those young men in Steubenville knew in their sweet boy hearts that what was happening was wrong, but still they remained silent? They were afraid to ruin their own hard-earned reputations, afraid of what their peers would think of them. They were afraid of getting in trouble, afraid they wouldn’t know what to say. Teach your boys that bravery can be terrifying. Courage can be demanded of you at the most inopportune times. Let them know that your expectation is that they are brave enough to rise to the occasion. And show them how.

If I Admit That ‘Hating Men’ Is a Thing, Will You Stop Turning It Into a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy?

Part Four pretty much explains how between 2005 and now I went from typical Nice Guy to wannabe PUA to whatever the fuck I am now (but I would like to think better than what I was before).

Also, analogy of the week:
Imagine you're reading a Dr. Seuss book about a bunch of beasts living on an island. There are two kinds of beasts: Fleetches and Flootches. (Stick with me here! I love you!) Though the two are functionally identical in terms of intellect and general competence, Fleetches are in charge of pretty much everything. They hold the majority of political positions, they make the most money (beast-bucks!), they dominate the beast media, they enact all kinds of laws infringing on the bodily autonomy of Flootches. Individually, most of them are perfectly nice beasts, but collectively they benefit comfortably from inequalities that are historically entrenched in the power structure of Beast Island. So, from birth, even the most unfortunate Fleetches encounter fewer institutional roadblocks and greater opportunity than almost all Flootches, regardless of individual merit. One day, a group of Flootches (the ones who have not internalized their inferiority) get together and decide to agitate to change that system. They call their movement "Flootchism," because it is specifically intended to address problems that disproportionately disadvantage Flootches while benefiting Fleetches. That makes sense, right?

Now imagine that, in response, a bunch of Fleetches begin complaining that Flootchism doesn't address their needs, and they have problems too, and therefore the movement should really be renamed Beastism. To be fair. The problem with that name change is that it that undermines the basic mission of the movement, because it obscures (deliberately, I'd warrant) that beast society is inherently weighted against Flootches. It implies that all problems are just beast problems, and that all beasts suffer comparably, which cripples the very necessary effort to prioritize and repair problems that are Flootch-specific. Those problems are a priority because they harm all Flootches, systematically, whereas Fleetch problems merely harm individual Fleetches. To argue that all problems are just "beast problems" is to discredit the idea of inequality altogether. It is, in fact, insulting.

Junkfood Science: How we’ve come to believe that overeating causes obesity

Major takeaway points, with the interesting backstory removed:
The last part of the Minnesota Starvation Study revealed perhaps the most important effects. When the men were allowed to eat ad libitum again, they had insatiable appetites, yet never felt full. Even five months later, some continued to have dysfunctional eating, although most were finally regaining some normalization of their eating. As they regained their weights, their suppressed metabolism and energy levels returned, although even three months after ending the diet none of the men had yet regained their former physical capacity, noted Dr. Keys.

While it seemed the men were “overeating,” Dr. Keys discovered that their bodies actually needed inordinate amount of calories for their tissues to be rebuilt:
Our experiments have shown that in an adult man no appreciable rehabilitation can take place on a diet of 2,000 calories a day. The proper level is more like 4,000 kcal daily for some months. The character of the rehabilitation diet is important also, but unless calories are abundant, then extra proteins, vitamins and minerals are of little value.
In other words, they weren’t really “overeating,” it was a biological, normal effect of hunger and weight loss. The men regained their original weights plus 10%. The regained weight was disproportionally fat, and their lean body mass recovered much more slowly. With unlimited food and unrestricted eating, their weights plateaued and finally, about 9 months later, most had naturally returned to their initial weights without trying — giving scientists one of the first demonstrations that each body has a natural, genetic set point, whether it be fat or thin. Despite the fear that with unrestrained eating everyone would continue to grow larger, it isn't true.
When obese people are at the size genetically normal for them, their energy balance and requirements per unit of lean body mass are indistinguishable from you or me or any other ‘normal’ weight individual, said Dr. Rudolph L. Leibel, M.D., now at Columbia University, whose laboratory at Rockefeller University, New York, has conducted some of the most detailed, complex metabolic research on energy balance and the biochemistry of fat. “An obese person is metabolically just like a lean person, except they’re bigger,” he said.
In the years following this classic study, Dr. Keys put no stock in weight loss diets or height-and-weight charts. He called those charts “arm-chair concoctions starting with questionable assumptions and ending with three sets of standards for 'body frames' which were never measured or even properly defined.” And “diet fads are for the birds, if you don’t like birds,” he said in a 1979 University of Minnesota Update. He also noted diets such as those promoted by Adele Davis, based on natural foods and fears about processed foods, are “just full of hogwash.” There’s “no great sense to them at all.”

The Most Ridiculous Scene in Jurassic Park

A piece about people, work, and of course Hollywood getting it wrong again by assuming all techne is indistinguishable from majjick.
vaecrius: a crude scrawl of a grinning, blazing yellow sun. (hier kommt die sonne)

The basic pro-technology, anti-fundie message should be new to no one who reads the Stainless Steel Blog-like Object, though I think Specter's given one of the best deliveries of that message.

But for me at least there are a few take-away points that, if I already knew them, I need to think a lot harder on.
  1. Forgiveness and redemption = vehicles for change for the better. Change, not condemn.
  2. There is the tool, and the one who holds it... and then what they do with it and what they ought to do with it.
  3. When working out how people should deal with a thing, if you conflate a thing with the worst thing that someone might want to do with that thing, you have already failed.
vaecrius: a crude scrawl of a grinning, blazing yellow sun. (hier kommt die sonne)
  1. All words are always loaded.
  2. Never let the definition cover anything you are not willing to destroy.
  3. Keep your finger off the Send button until your senses are on the referent.
  4. Be sure of your referent and what is beyond it.

Also, remember that guy with the oughts being ises? He's got a furthermore to show you.
vaecrius: The blocky spiral motif based on the golden ratio that I use for various ID icons, ending with a red centre. (Default)
Lately I've been considering what qualities a good law ought to have. [ profile] sanctusmortis has helped me with this by showing me the antithesis as a starting point.

This act, in effect,
  • erodes substantial portions of individuals' basic rights and freedoms;
  • inflicts severe punishments for minor trespasses without being reliable enough to work as a deterrent;
  • meddles pervasively in people's private lives;
  • creates and necessitates enormous amounts of bureaucracy;
  • stifles innovation in quasi-legalistic paranoia;
  • protects private industries from the natural consequences of the free market without any non-theoretical return to the public common good;
  • leaves enforcers accountable only to a costly and haphazard appeals process;
  • protects and furthers no interest except the continued power of those already in power;
  • in its overbreadth and punitiveness puts the administration of justice into disrepute; and
  • is founded on the fears and callousness of deep pockets and smaller minds.

It does exactly everything I believe a good law ought not to do, except kill people and discriminate against individuals based on accident of birth and heritage. And to the extent that it affects less affluent people who rely on publicly available services, it can be argued to do the latter too.
vaecrius: The blocky spiral motif based on the golden ratio that I use for various ID icons, ending with a red centre. (Default)
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Notwithstanding Mr. Grant's concerns as to form, I'm going to address what the question was obviously intended to ask - a requirement that a marriage be required to be renewed or otherwise caused to lapse.

I assume that the hypothetical situation is this: every X years after marriage, you must fill out some paperwork to extend that marriage or it becomes void ends as though the couple had divorced, effective from the missed renewal date. Any custody, support or division of assets would at that point be treated as though the couple were in a common-law marriage-like relationship.

Pros: It will force people to really think about what their marriage means to them, by making the continued marriage the marked non-default. Under the organ donor effect, we should see much fewer people trapped in marriages they do not actually want.

Cons: Creates a whole new mess of busy paperwork without any substantive or procedural benefit. Fails to address the true problem of people stuck in relationships they don't want - neither party may want to move out, for instance, or are still under pressure of being trapped in the religious marriage if not the civil one.

Big Con: The most vulnerable people (illiterate, unsophisticated, naive, trusting of a negligent partner) are the ones most likely to lose substantial benefits they had not been prepared to lose when they seek a divorce for a lapsed marriage or some other marriage-related benefit e.g. from insurance.

Conclusion: The state should not create new layers of bureaucracy and arbitrarily deprive people of their rights just for the sake of sending a message to people, even if it's a good one like "don't take your relationships for granted".

Side note: Contrast the conclusion with the same sex marriage issue: in that situation it is the old status quo that arbitrarily deprives people of their rights and creates a new layer of bureaucracy (making sure each member of the couple is a particular gender) to send no better message than "we don't believe homosexual relationships are real" which is not conductive (if at all relevant) to any articulable principle of justice or societal health.

Except, I suppose, the principle that people need to be made to follow some arbitrary rules to keep them in line with regards to the important ones.
vaecrius: The blocky spiral motif based on the golden ratio that I use for various ID icons, ending with a red centre. (Default)
"I have written 350 restaurant reviews for The Times and i have never ended on an unstressed syllable. Fuck. fuck, fuck, fuck."

If I can learn to apply five this week, it's all good.

"She reminds me of my grandmother". Involves depiction of black people and shitting bricks when you see it.

"What this means for you is this: You should overtly raise the race issue when race is not salient to the story itself, and not do so when race is central to your case facts." I'm not going to quote the story that follows that line, but any of you who have to deal with people who might belong to a race should click and read it for yourselves. (The story itself is also a great example of priming people for a particular reaction to something that, without context, might have seemed utterly neutral.)

Nothing in particular that really sticks out for me on this one, but I'm posting this to remind myself to check out the related links.

"The single best strategy for mitigating racial bias is to discuss it." This is, for better or worse, one of the best takedowns on the Sotomayor nontroversy I have ever read.

And a further note to self:

"Passive language" is a mode of rhetorical thought tha seeks to downplay, obfuscate or scrub out identity, agency and immediacy in a narrative.

Passive voice is a grammatical variation that lets you put a verb's usual object in subject position.

Passive voice, used well, can fuck passive language right the fuck up.
vaecrius: A stylized navy blue anarchy sign juxtaposed with a pixellated chaos symbol made to resemble a snowflake. (anarchy and chaos)
I've mentioned before that I don't believe in there being an objective, scientifically grounded bright line between fetus and baby, and as such abortion is not to be taken lightly. However, despite this belief I also stand firm on the belief that the individual carrying that fetus must always have the absolute unfettered legal freedom to terminate that pregnancy - and the fetus inside it - at any point before the child draws its first breath.

Why? Because laws are coercive rules made by human beings, and human beings with the power to coerce, like all human beings, are flawed.

EDIT: Because I am easily distracted despite actually having stuff to do... )

vaecrius: A stylized navy blue anarchy sign juxtaposed with a pixellated chaos symbol made to resemble a snowflake. (anarchy and chaos)
It is about people. And numbers.

Because America is not China or Brazil or downtown Vancouver. But may well be in the future.

I'm hesitant to summarize for the tl;dl crowd - there's some great analysis in this and you really should watch it. But as a preview only it seems to me the biggest bullet-point problems involve the following:
  1. real estate matters: getting "a house" being restricted to these huge mansions that have nothing to do with a family starting out.
  2. why I want the GOP to be driven into the sea like Lazarus's pigs: the erosion of the safety net that created the 20thC middle class to begin with.
  3. 99 hours of education and a math ain't one: K-12: 12 years, public money. Now it takes another 6 years (2 pre, 4 post) of highly expensive time-consuming whatever to even feel like one is competent enough for the middle class. While it's still not clear just what all that schooling does.
  4. debunking myths: people are in fact spending a lot less on non-necessary consumer goods than before, saving whenever they can. I've got shit around the house my parents bought 30+ years ago that works better than shit I bought five years ago.

And this was all, keep in mind, presented before the 2008 crash.
vaecrius: The blocky spiral motif based on the golden ratio that I use for various ID icons, ending with a red centre. (Default)
(mostly [ profile] furikku really, but if anyone else with me on their flist knows someone feel free to chime in.)
Our system in this country, at least for the moment, is that prosecutors prosecute and defenders defend. Hopefully, the one whose position is factual will be able to muster better evidence and arguments, and they'll win the contest.

You could not be more wrong. While defense attorneys are indeed supposed to seek acquittals at all costs, prosecutors are supposed to seek justice, not necessarily convictions. Hence the requirement that prosecutors turn over any exculpatory evidence they find to the defense, while the defense need not tell the prosecution about incriminating evidence they discover.

If you are a prosecutor and you have, with knowledge of all the evidence, reasonable doubt as to the guilt of the defendant, you should end the prosecution. That's not simply my opinion, that is the law.
That's pretty much what the policy is up here in Canada, but I had no idea there was anything like it down in the States. o_O Anyone care to verify/clarify this?
vaecrius: A stylized navy blue anarchy sign juxtaposed with a pixellated chaos symbol made to resemble a snowflake. (anarchy and chaos)

Why it's important to use the right word.

In your defense, I would state as stone, solid fact: It's not entirely your fault. Not by a long shot.

Words are dangerous. Words are powerful. Language is control. The words in that article were not chosen haphazardly. They are also not neutral.
When someone is saying you're making a racist or sexist (or heteronormative, cis-privileged, whatever) assumption in what you're saying, keep that bit I've bolded in mind. It's amazing what sorts of insipid yet insidious crap seeps into our porous skulls.
vaecrius: A stylized navy blue anarchy sign juxtaposed with a pixellated chaos symbol made to resemble a snowflake. (anarchy and chaos)

Sure, I'd read about the repression, the deaths, the clashes, the beatings, the cries for revenge... but somehow the thought of going from gunshot to injury, injury to fatal injury, dead body, funeral, burial, estate all without being able to go through some official state channel hits home just how stark the situation is.
vaecrius: The blocky spiral motif based on the golden ratio that I use for various ID icons, ending with a red centre. (Default)
Sex trade:

Inquiry fails to find single trafficker who forced anybody into prostitution - not quite evidence of absence, but certainly an absence of something.
Ruth Breslin, research and development manager for Eaves which runs the Poppy project for victims of trafficking, said: "I don't know the ins and outs of the police operation. It is incredibly difficult to establish prevalence because of the undercover and potentially criminal nature of trafficking and also, we feel, because of the fear that many women have in coming forward."
I'm not sure what to make of this. I see her point, but I'm getting a bit of an "unfalsifiable conspiracy theory" vibe here.

The Salvation Army does a lot of good work. This isn't it. Also, argument by analogy which will completely and utterly fail to convince people who look at it from the sex angle.

A better linkdump than mine.

Sorcerer minus Sorcerer.

Applied concept of privilege outside class, gender, or race.
vaecrius: A round squishy plush lobster bursts out of the blue. (cock lobster)

I feel terrible for laughing at this, but.

I feel less terrible about laughing at this. (nsfw)

In other, more safe for work news, well played with the perspective shift, Sooz. :D

I know this

if life is illusion, then I am no less an illusion, and being thus, the illusion is real to me. I live, I burn with life, I love, I slay, and am content.


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