USA in last place. I am not surprised.

NewScientist has a brief article on an international comparison of the health systems of 11 wealthy, industrialized nations. Each system was ranked on its performance within 5 different “domains”.

The domains were ease of access to healthcare, how equal access is to people of different incomes, administrative efficiency, how well the care process works for people who use it, and how good the health outcomes are.

So I know my friends in the States are dying to know, how did the US perform?

“We measured performance quality across five domains, and the USA fell short in all five,” says Eric Schneiderof the Commonwealth Fund think tank in Washington DC.

Of course you MAGA mavens out there are going to insist that this is all the fault of the ACA, but hold on to your hat, you’ll never believe this:

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Feminist Friday: Countdown

Feminist waves have been endlessly debated, and wave theory has been perpetually (and perhaps deliberately) misunderstood amongst the public generally and anti-feminists specifically. To give feminists the credit they are due and also to help clear up consistent misunderstandings, I have encouraged you all, my wonderful readers, to name feminists about whom you’d like to know more.

My series on the ethics and thought of various feminists will (I hope) be a regular Frigga’s Day feature here, but for various reasons it will not start until next week. In the meantime, I hope that you celebrate this Friday by reading (if you haven’t already) my post on the Seneca Falls convention which gave contractarian feminisms their initial shape, the document produced by the Seneca Falls attendees, my writing on why Crenshaw first elaborated the metaphor of intersectionality and how it is/was useful, or my thoughts on the limits of her initial articulation of intersectionality.

Or, perhaps, you could simply give me more ideas for which feminists deserve the attention of Pervert Justice in the comments of this post or the original announcement of this effort.

In the meantime, have a good Friday and a good weekend!

Gordon College and the Institution of Rape

A day or two ago PZ Myers put up a post about sexual harassment of graduate students, and I followed on with some speculations about how numbers might be relatively low in some programs, yet still dauntingly high in others. These writings were sparked by a forthcoming journal article in the Utah Law Review that reports, among other findings, a 10% rate of women graduate students self-reporting as victims of sexual harassment. The cases they were able to study weren’t mild, either, and did not support the fears and hyperbole of those screaming about squashed academic freedom and an environment in which one careless, ambiguous, but innocent statement can result in serious consequences for the careers of even tenured faculty. On the contrary, they found:

First, contrary to popular assumptions, faculty sexual harassers are not engaged primarily in verbal behavior. Rather, most of the cases reviewed for this study involved faculty alleged to have engaged in unwelcome physical contact ranging from groping to sexual assault to domestic abuse-like behaviors. Second, more than half (53%) of cases involved professors allegedly engaged in serial sexual harassment.

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Really, Christians? That’s what you want to go with?

The generation to whom the Christians’ bigwig directly spoke 2000 years ago will not pass away before the Most Momentous Day. Of course, they have all passed away, unless you want to believe that some god made a few of them immortal and commanded them to live in secret just so that this obviously wrong prophecy would turn out to be technically true. But if they’re immortal, then we can’t foresee a reasonable limit to the waiting for the end of days.

Wars and rumors of war will immediately precede the second coming of Jesus, the Rather Greasy. But wars are happening all the time, rumors of war even more often. So how is it that a good Christian theocrat is supposed to use these to establish a timeline?

The traditional methods have failed to establish the timing of the Battle of Megiddo Hill, AKA Battle of Ar Megiddo, AKA Battle of Armageddon.  Again and again “prophets” have told us that one day or another will be the last for the sinning sinners of sinland. And yet, again and again they have been proven wrong.

What’s a Christian in search of money got to do to lay down some impressive prophesying these days?

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Happy 169th Birthday

Declaration of Sentiments

When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one portion of the family of man to assume among the people of the earth a position different from that which they have hitherto occupied, but one to which the laws of nature and of nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes that impel them to such a course.

We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men and women are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; that to secure these rights governments are instituted, deriving their powers from the consent of the governed. Whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these rights, it is the right of those who suffer from it to refuse allegiance to it, and to insist upon the institution of a new government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.

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Ed Brayton Will Have a Field Day With This

So, this cannot compare to The Greatest Political Scandal Ever, but in California, the leader of the Republican caucus of the State Assembly is having an affair with the former leader of the Republican Caucus of the State Assembly. Of course Chad Mayes, the current leader of the State Assembly Republican Caucus (hereinafter SARC), and Kristin Olsen, the former leader, are more-moral-than-thou types, and protect-marriage-from-the-sinning-sinners types to boot. Mayes’ father is a preacher, and Mayes himself graduated from Liberty University.

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Was There Ever Such A Dreadful Revolt?

One hundred sixty-nine years ago today, after a lengthy planning period totaling ten days, a group mostly consisting of Quakers (including the visiting Lucretia Mott and a number of Seneca County locals) held a convention to discuss the state of women’s political and social rights in the United States. They were largely inspired by a local non-Quaker Elizabeth Cady Stanton who was an important part of the organizing team and the lead-off speaker.

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More Hospital Fun

Lots going on in BC this weekend, including the Folk Fest, which I’ll be attending in part. Also going into the hospital very briefly for some tests, may not even be there overnight. But together it means sparse/no posting until maybe Tuesday.

In the meantime, please feel free to keep suggesting the names of feminists whose ethics and thought you’d like to see this blog to explore. We’ll soon start have our first entry in the new Feminist Friday series with one feminist you’ve nominated.

Right Thing, Wrong Reason

It’s not that often that one person will say that another lacks a moral compass, or has a moral compass that points in the wrong direction, on the basis of a decision on which they agree.

However the case of Afghanistan’s competitors in the FIRST Global Challenge, an international robotics expo/competition is that rare basis for calling amoral someone with whom I agree. The Afghanistan team, apparently made up entirely of girls, had been denied visas two times already on the basis of the Trump travel ban. A third, last-minute denial would have crushed their dream to meet other roboticist and participate personally in the challenge (though there was a back-up plan where organizers would agree to operate the Afghani team’s robot while the team, like any non-participant, watched a video stream of their own creation). Trump was criticized by a broad spectrum of people familiar with the event, and after several weeks or months of that criticism met with his advisers and very quickly they settled on a course of action where the girls were denied that visa for a third and final time, but given notification that they would be admitted under parole.

Parole is a long-standing procedure that is used much less routinely these days than in times past. Essentially, it allows border control agents to admit a person without a valid visa when travelling to the US on a passport from a country that does not have a no-passport agreement with the States. It is of course still used – people forget their passports, get pickpocketed in airports, or what have you. Normally people are denied entry under those circumstances, but if you know the right people and can have the right calls made on your behalf, it is sometimes possible to be admitted anyway. This procedure can also be used in cases where a person’s status as an asylum claimant is not certain, but turning the person away might result in risk or otherwise be an undesirable course of action. As I (imperfectly) understand how the system is used, it is very rare to be given notice in advance that you will be allowed entry on parole (rather than having that status be in doubt until you are physically present at a border entry point).

But Trump was in a quandary: if he issued visas, then he would be undermining his own policy, currently waiting for review by SCOTUS. How is it possible to insist that this really is a blanket, neutral policy and yet issue these visas? It seems especially dangerous if these Afghanis were described in the way that we are more used to seeing muslims attempting to enter the US described:

Amateur electronic engineers with a collection of circuits, gears, and structural and other elements that could be assembled to serve any number of purposes sought entry to the United States today despite lacking the proper visas. Officials said that they had determined these muslims taken to soldering together unknown devices were intending to travel to Washington DC where they would gather with others with similar skills at a location within walking distance of the White House, the Supreme Court, Capital Hill, and other sensitive locations.

But despite fitting this description to a T, the girls were given advance parole. Why can I not give credit to Trump for admitting the Afghani team? It’s a simple case of right decision, desperately wrong reason. Trump wishes to escape political consequences for his policies’ affects on sympathetic subjects. But if there is truly a national security need to deny entry to all Afghanis, then Trump is putting his personal political convenience before national security.

I believe we all know that there is no such national security need, but Trump defends himself and his policies by pretending one exists. It simply is not possible that Trump actually has a working moral compass and either

  1. Maintains a discriminatory policy without believing that there is a valid national security reason for that policy.
  2. Exempts certain persons on a case-by-case basis, even when they have technical skills that are frequently painted as dangerous by the administration, while believing that there is a valid national security reason to maintain their policy.

These are mutually exclusive and fully comprehensive possibilities. Either the ban is needed or it’s not. If not, the ban is immoral. If it is, then admitting persons who constitute a national security risk is immoral.

And this is all before we get to the fact that sexism likely plays a role in the Trump administration’s assessment that the team should be given entry parole.

Donald Trump is immoral. It’s nice to have it laid out so simply for all to see.