A Perfect Storm

The Seattle Storm have endorsed Biden/Harris

The team’s official Twitter account posted a graphic of the Biden/Harris campaign logo along with its team logo accompanied by a short statement that read: “Join us in support of @JoeBiden and @KamalaHarris.” The tweet also included a link for people to register to vote.

Now, get this: this was a move by management that they expected to be supported throughout the organization, but not one that came from the bottom up or even one that they felt the need to check in with others about. That’s right, the ownership of the sports franchise is moving forward with an endorsement of a political candidate on behalf not of themselves, but of the franchise – itself a violation of norms in the professional-sports category. On top of that, they’re doing it for the right reasons:

“We don’t typically endorse candidates, but these are NOT typical times,” Gilder wrote.

Added Trudeau: “Our country our world needs to show up and vote for a better future. …

Gilder said the group’s decision to come out in support of Biden and Harris was one representative of the team’s values. “There’s a certain value set that the Storm organization represents that we try to deliver on whenever the owners take a stand on anything,” Gilder said in a phone interview Wednesday. “I don’t think we caught anyone in our organization off guard.”

In endorsing Biden and Harris, Gilder said she hopes for a “return to civility,” along with a better handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and social justice needs. She also said she hopes for a White House that NCAA champions and women’s pro sports champions can return to.

That “social justice needs” quote? That comes in a context:

The WNBA, meanwhile, has been heavily involved in promoting social justice, highlighted by the league’s “Say her Name” campaign during the 2020 season, dedicated to Breonna Taylor

If we get the Seattle Storm & the rest of the NBA and the Trumpists get Chachi? I can accept that.

 

 

Ruth Bader Ginsburg is dead, and we’re the ones going to hell

Perhaps the most important civil rights cases ever to be heard were a series of suits deliberately engineered by Charles Hamilton Houston (mentor of Thurgood Marshall was one of the least of his accomplishments) to test the meaning of “separate but equal”.

While the general public remembers Brown v. Board of Education, Topeka, Kansas, SCOTUS’ decision in that case was unanimous only because of the Socratic groundwork laid in earlier cases that targeted law schools. There were several that attempted to nail down the legal deficiencies of Jim Crow before activists pushed to desegregate K-12 schools. One of the last was Sweatt v. Painter, which challenged the University of Texas’ regime. UofT attempted several tactics, but one of the last was the emergency creation of an ad hoc Blacks-only law school at a separate location.

RBG’s first historically important decision was the VMI case styled US v. Virginia, where the last public, men-only college or university was challenged. Virginia, too, set up a special military academy for women as a last ditch attempt to evade integration, but it fell to Ginsburg in her first important case to declare that the deficiencies of racially segregated eduction were just as unconstitutional when they appeared in the context of gender segregated education.

This is how I will remember RBG: from the beginning of her career on SCOTUS she was fighting a rear guard action against the regressives who were unwilling to admit that precedents or principles existed, that certain issues had been decided, that certain values held constitutional significance.

The most obvious of such fights is the struggle to preserve the rights of privacy, autonomy & conscience embedded in the reasoning of Griswold, Eisenstadt, Roe, and Casey. But this is far from the only battle in which she played the rear guard, making the argument for constitutional values that most of us wander about life not noticing are still being questioned, still under attack. Shelby County v. Holder was another, though in that case less successful, instance.

Shelby County notwithstanding, she has been wonderfully effective in this role, and to lose her at any time is tragic. To lose her during this presidency is devastating.

Senator Harris and the no good, terrible … yeah, whatever.

There are a lot of articles and even lists (and, yes, listicles) about Senator Kamala Harris’ worst actions and decisions, primarily as a prosecutor in San Francisco and the Attorney General of California. Let me be quite clear: I hate a number of things that Harris has done and a number of positions she’s taken in the past.

THAT SAID: when you’re considering all the bad crap in one of those lists, consider that it is, quite literally, harder for women of color to get elected in the USA than for a white man with the exact same resume and political positions. A LOT harder. You can only rock the boat so much and still be electable because of the way the USA’s plutocratic electoral system operates. Black skin rocks the boat. Being female rocks the boat. Being a woman rocks the boat. That leaves Harris dramatically less leeway to rock the boat with her actions or positions and still get elected. She has to take conventional positions on a number of issues to get to the position where she might be considered as a VP candidate.

In other words, white men are allowed to be more liberal and still get elected than black women are.In other, other words, you would never have gotten a VP-candidate Harris if Harris had not taken those positions that we progressives so roundly criticize.

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Interview with a YOUNG HOT GAY

So, you don’t believe your friendly, neighborhood Crip Dyke that the protesters have, yes, in the past thrown fireworks and set small fires of wood or trash on concrete (where they could not spread), but that we were getting more peaceful over time, the BLM organizers were calling for more peaceful activities every day she was there, and that they’d even gone so far as to call on people to just go home after the rally and skip the courthouse protests (though they did not repeat that call last night, I can’t say why, but seemed instead to endorse staying in the park and partying over the fact that the worst of the feds were in town for only one more night)…

…and that therefore all this violence by the feds was majorly, unutterably, supremely fucking undeserved?

Well maybe you just don’t like hearing things from a woman. This is why I gots you a REAL MAN and a YOUNG HOT GAY to boot to ‘splain the same things I been telling you, only this time on camera where your Crip Dyke will not put her face.

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99% of Portland Moms “Not angry, just disappointed”

99% of Portland Moms “Not angry, just disappointed”

Portland’s wall of mothers has gotten a large amount of attention and their motivation to protect their own and others’ children has generated high praise. However, most Portland mothers have not attended any of the demonstrations that have occurred nightly in the city since the death of George Floyd. The reasons for this seeming lack of enthusiasm appear to have a common thread.

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Feminism Saves Men’s Lives

Don’t ask me why, but I was trying to look up a cissexist jerk’s comments on trans* folks in anti-DV shelters that I was sure had been in a pharyngula discussion. While looking those up, I ran across an old comment of mine about how feminism reduced women’s killings of men.

It’s been said in a number of contexts, of course. I’m far from the first to observe that increasing access to shelters and other anti-DV resources has saved the lives of men. (In fact it seems to have saved more men’s lives than women’s lives.) But still, I think outside of certain feminist circles, it’s a fact that gets too little attention. So after running across this old bit of analysis, I thought I’d subject you all to it anew. Here’s the text (although there’s also follow-up comments and more discussion in the original thread that you can read if you follow the link above):

24. Post-feminism, women kill fewer men.

From the USDOJ publication:
Cooper, Alexia, and Erica L. Smith. Homicide Trends in the United States, 1980-2008. (Annual Rates for 2009 and 2010.). Washington DC: US DOJ, 2011. Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Statistics. Web. 9 Feb. 2015. .
The murders of men/males by intimate partners as a percentage of all murders of men/males:*
1980: 10.4%
2008: 4.9%
The report concluded that this constituted a trend, which can be seen in graphical data included in the report. The report did not conclude that 2008 was an aberrational year. But perhaps women have been killing more men and yet men have been killing EVEN MORE men, giving wives and girlfriends a bigger death toll yet less market share? Let’s test that hypothesis.
Supplementary to the earlier report is the census bureau report on homicide trends (that itself relies on FBI/DOJ numbers, so they are using the same underlying dataset).*
How many men were murdered in 1980 and 2008?
1980: 17,803
2008: 12,731

Is this trend or aberration? Well, the census report doesn’t make conclusions like that, but over the course of 2 decades we fell from the 1980 high to a low of just over 11,700 in 1999. After that, the numbers never go lower than 11,700 or higher than 13,433. The mean over those years is 12,629 and the median is 12,664. Even rounding to the hundreds place, there is no repeat year and thus no valid mode.
But as 12,731 is very close to both mean and mode, it’s pretty typical for that last decade or so.
So how many murders is that?
10.4%*17803 = 1851 or 1852. Or thereabouts, within the limits of the 3 significant digits given in the 10.4% figure.
4.9%*12,731 = about 624.
As a percentage of murders, the murder of men by wives or girlfriends is down about 52.88%.
However, as a total number of murders, the murder of men by wives or girlfriends is down about 66.6%
But wait, there’s more!
According to this document, the population of men in the US in 1980 was 110,053,000. In 2008 it is not broken out by gender, but the total is 304,375,000 and in 2009 the total (which was 307,007,000) was broken out to specify 151,449,000 men. Even if the 2,632,000 person increase from 2008 to 2009 was all men, it would still leave 148,883,000 men in the US in 2008.
Dividing 110,053,000 by 1851 (being generous), we get 1 intimate partner murder of a man for every 59,456 men in 1980.
Dividing 148,883,000 by 624, we get 1 intimate partner murder of a man for every 238,595 men in 2008.
59,456/238,595 = 24.919%.
Yep, that’s right, post feminism the murder rate of men by their intimate partners has fallen 75%. You men now have only 1/4th the chance of being murdered by your intimate partners that you would have had in 1980.
Now use your very, very nicest tone of voice when you say, “Thank you,” boys.
*Note that the FBI/DOJ data upon which both these reports were based excluded deaths attributable to the 9/11 terror attacks, including those persons on the hijacked planes as well as those persons killed in/near the towers and the pentagon. However, since we are examining intimate partner violence, those murders would not have been relevant to our investigations anyway.

 

 

 

Why Feminism Isn’t Radical

There’s an article up on Vice as of a couple days ago. It’s about a particular feminist thinker Sophie Lewis and her call to eliminate the family as the social unit we embrace today. Her full argument is contained in Full Surrogacy Now, if you’re interested, but the article is not about the argument per se, but the social reactions of various groups of people to the publication of the book.

As one might imagine, it’s not an idea that skyrockets in popularity with the media attention it receives. The right is both dismissive and antagonistic, in fact the right wing appears to be dismissive of the work in order to justify not taking the time to understand it in order to make it easier to express antagonism. Some of the antagonism clearly targets ideas Lewis isn’t arguing, and if some does, well, it doesn’t seem to be as a result of intellectual rigor. Rather the explosive reaction sends antagonism in all directions, which necessitates some of it targeting Full Surrogacy Now’s argument: target everything, after all, and so long as Lewis’ book’s argument is part of everything it will eventually be criticized accurately.

But backlash is not limited to the right wing. The left also has its objections, well founded and otherwise. It is in exploring the objections of the left that Marie Solis, the author of the Vox article, goes awry:

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Caine Left Us A Gift

I normally don’t write much on Feb 14th. My own history with it is … complicated. It involves a violent relationship in which my abuser left me on the 14th thinking it would hurt me. Instead I had to conceal my relief. I was actually so convinced that I would be murdered by that partner that I still celebrate the 14th each year as my “Freedom Day”. Often the celebration is tiny, or private, but it’s not meant to be witnessed. The day is for me alone.

That said, a large number of people do celebrate romance on the 14th of February. For those people I thought I’d bring back something created by a collaborative effort of a number of Pharyngula Hordemembers, but really led and organized by our beloved and now departed Caine: our Crystal Clear Consent guidelines. (Thread where these guidelines were created is here. Search for Consent and/or Caine and you’ll get most of the conversation.) For all those people who want better and more ethical sex lives, you can thank Caine in significant part for the wisdom she collected on sexual consent.

Go forth and sexify:

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Representative Ayanna Pressley: Naked Courage

Ayanna Pressley has just released a video through The Root about losing her hair over the last 6 months as a result of alopecia areata.  This is a screenshot from that video:

Representative Ayanna Pressley goes bald in public for the first time.

I’ve written about Black hair before, but seriously, this is a doozy of a topic. It’s hard for white people to understand just how political Black women’s hair can be, even though we’re often the ones doing the politicizing (e.g. her hair isn’t professional, is she trying to be militant? etc.).

So right now, I’ll just say this.

The first Black woman I ever seriously dated had sickle cell trait-related alopecia. She wore a wig constantly – nice looking one, too – but was apparently freaked that I might “discover” she had very little, very short, and very patchy hair on her head. In the dark she took off her wig while I was in the bathroom. I came back and found her sitting straight up, rigidly, instead of relaxing on the bed. I could tell there was something different about her silhouette, too, though it took my eyes a little bit to refocus. By the time I sat down on the bed next to her, she was almost shaking.

For the Black women who have this, this is a huge deal with a lot of shame attached. [I am, of course, not saying that’s how it should be, just saying that that is how it actually is right now.] It took a fuckload of courage for that girlfriend to expose her natural hair to me, one on one and in the dark after I had already clearly expressed my affection for her and attraction to her.

It’s remembering that woman quivering with fear on my bed in the dark that makes me qualified to say, Pressly, you’re a straight-up BadAss.

Go watch the video. It’s under ten minutes, and you won’t regret it.

Thirty-Eight

Well, today the Virginia legislature ratified the ERA, making it the 38th state to have done so. This does not mean that the ERA will be immediately effective. There are two major problems confronting ERA proponents (including me, natch).

First, 5 states that ratified the ERA have since passed acts that purport to rescind their ratification. While this is a barrier, I don’t judge this a particularly high hurdle to clear. There simply is no mechanism in the constitution that discusses, much less actually permits, a state that has ratified an amendment to take that ratification back. The constitutional process simply demands that a state ratifies it. Once a state has done so, it has done so. Anything after that is likely (but not certainly) constitutionally irrelevant.

Of course, a right-leaning judiciary might still attempt to hang up ratification on that point, but since it’s pretty flimsy and in pretty flagrant conflict with the actual constitutional text, so-called originalists would prefer to have another hook on which to hang their argument that the ERA cannot be put into effect. As it so happens, they do. That’s the second barrier: the ERA as written is simple and includes no deadline, but passage of the ERA was accompanied by text that gave the states only a limited amount of time to ratify, after which the amendment would be presumed not ratifiable. This deadline was extended once, but not again, and according to the accompanying text (as amended) time to ratify passed in 1982.

Now, the constitution also does not specify that Congress may limit the time period during which states may consider ratification, but this argument has decidedly more sympathy than the any argument that states might be able to “take back” ratification. After all, if they can take back ratification, there is no obvious reason that they can’t take back ratification of an amendment already in effect. This could potentially reducing the amendment to support levels below the threshold needed to bring the amendment into force. At that point, what would happen? Repeal of an in-force amendment? What if a single state repeals their ratification of the 9th amendment? Since there were only 13 states at the time, and only 10 required to put the amendment into effect, rescinded ratification by one state could result in a need to ratify by 26-29 states to restore the amendment’s force. All these reasons make it unlikely that even die-hard conservatives hell bent on defeating the ERA would rely much on the rescinded ratification argument when they have any other argument to make.

So it seems likely that whether or not the ERA becomes effective on Jan 15, 2022 will be dependent on whether courts agree or disagree with the argument that Congress has the power to include accompanying text limiting the ratification window.

Of course, what seems more likely to me is that ratification by a 38th state will put new pressure on Congress to pass a new amendment textually identical to the ERA so that states can then ratify the new version, and that that new pressure will be successful within fewer than 10 years. At that point, we will have 33 relatively easy ratifications. To gain the other 5 might be easier than people think, but won’t necessarily be easy in any absolute sense. It’s arguably true that at least some of the reason why the 12 states never to ratify have not more recently changed their minds is because the question of the ERA was considered irrelevant by most. With a new window for passage and an enthusiastic base of women pushing for passage, it will likely be much harder for a state’s conservatives to effectively oppose ratification in the 10 years after a new ERA passes than in the 10 years leading up to today.

Nothing is guaranteed, and neither sex nor gender equality is yet enshrined in the US constitution, but Jan 15, 2020 should still be remembered as a day to celebrate. Reaching 38 is a very important victory.