If you read one thing today, make it this

The Baton Rouge advocate reported yesterday that the mother of a baby killed in a car crash has been charged with negligent homicide.

I’m not one to say that the loss of a child is by definition punishment enough when a parent or parents are responsible for fatal injuries to a child. I’m perfectly fine with charging parents who refuse to get medical care in the face of an obvious health crisis. I’m fine doing that whether they did so because of some issue that ultimately has a reasonable basis (:cough: Tuskeegee :cough:) or whether they did so because of some issue that has nothing rational even at some distant core (:cough: faith healing :cough:). The charges, however, need to be proportionate. In this case, they clearly are not. But you’ll have to stay with me to get more on that later.  [Read more…]

The Nature of Reality Denial

PZ has an excellent post up, which I hope you’ve seen already, regarding the hatred of the Catholic bishops. I want to call out a small piece of that larger statement here:

Children especially are harmed when they are told that they can “change” their sex or, further, given hormones that will affect their development and possibly render them infertile as adults.

If you read this as the bishops obviously intend you to read it, this portion of their statement says:

You can’t actually change your sex, so telling this to children is bad. Also, it’s even worse when you change the sex of another human being, particularly a child.

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Who Does He Think He Is? Harvey Weinstein?

Because I write a blog, I can subject you to any damn fool thing I want, and they only thing either of you can do, my readers, is to stop reading. But then who suffers, huh? Huh?

And thus, while strung out on painkillers trying to find the way to finish the rest of my move today, I am taking the opportunity to write for you about a story that is years old, and not one like the Tuskeegee Experiments, which might occasionally still have up-to-the-minute relevance, or the Tuskegee Airmen, who were fortunate, indeed, to be part of a segregated air force unit so they didn’t have to fight side-by-side with Gungans. (I’m telling you, it was a pretty close call, there.) No, it doesn’t even have anything to do with slavery.

It’s just not that important. And yet, it is the very quotidian nature of it that stuck with me. I keep thinking every so often that I should write about it, then don’t because it’s never important enough. Well, today, strung out on a bit less than the prescribed dose of my prescription painkiller, so obviously not competent to consent to keyboard, there is nothing to stop me. Today is the day you get to hear me talk about the everyday horror that is vagina.

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Doing Libertarianism Wrong

Rand Paul has gotten libertarianism wrong again. Despite the fact that he has attempted at times to throw off the libertarian label as too limiting and ultimately inaccurate in describing the whole of his political philosophy, Paul has also clearly embraced the label many times. More importantly for our discussion, many movement libertarians have embraced Paul as a movement leader, giving the initial fundraising momentum necessary to Paul’s political success. So why is Paul seemingly so intent on violating whatever limited principles libertarianism might hold?

It’s no surprise that most libertarians are doing libertarianism wrong of course: most of us don’t think through most of our positions, even many times on important issues. There simply are too many important issues for us to be educated or even thoughtful about every single one. I’m sure I do progressive queer feminism wrong many times as well. In fact, that’s part of the reason why I’ve chosen the life path that I have, with its focus on study that permits more time to examine those positions, more exposure to knowledgable, thoughtful takes on important issues I haven’t yet considered, and more support for rethinking issues that one had previously thought settled.

Nonetheless, you don’t exactly expect movement leaders to do that movement wrong. If a person wasn’t competent on issues important to a movement why would that person have been accepted as a leader?

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What Fascist Policing Looks Like: Harris County Edition

As I have said before (a number of times) in this series, a principle component of fascist policing is an environment where police misconduct routinely goes unpunished. This is not to say that such misconduct never goes unpunished, but that even egregious misconduct is not guaranteed to be punished when brought to light.

Harris County, Texas gives us yet another example of cops going unpunished despite egregious behavior. The fascist cops in this case are Ronaldine Pierre and William Strong. Yet I want to question the extent to which a fascist policing mentality is exclusively to blame.

All the trigger warnings, should you choose to continue.

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Breaking News: Trump Is Kind of an Asshole

I won’t provide you with a tedium of links because if you’re following along at home with US politics and you’re doing so at least partly through mass media, you’ll have already encountered this multiple times, but I do wish to comment on Jake Tapper, Don Lemon, Kat Timpf, Nicole Wallace, and so many others in the media who are acting surprised at Trump’s behavior.

Trump is a horrible excuse for a human being. He didn’t pander to the White Supremacists in the election or this past weekend, he fucking is a White Supremacist (capital letters intended). To see the media simply oozing concern that Trump would issue a classic bothsiderism talking point instead of saying something simple, like “it’s kinda bad when racists kill anti-racists where and when they openly gathered to speak out against racism” (so that there could be no doubt he was killing anti-racists in the act of countering racism).

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What is the purpose of “Do Not Drink” warnings?

In some sense, of course, I know the answer to this: a combination of tort law and government mandated warnings, but I don’t think this really adequately explains why those warnings are there and especially not how they are worded.

Why are blanket statements equivalent to “do not drink” used so routinely on prescriptions? For prescriptions in British Columbia, the warnings against driving or operating heavy machinery for at least some medications read, “Do not drive or operate heavy machinery while using this medication until you know how it affects you.” And yet the anti-drinking warnings still read simply, “Do not consume alcohol while using this medication.”

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Newsweek Shocked – Shocked! To Find Racism Happening In Dress Codes

I nearly laughed myself silly over this recent piece at Newsweek.com:

Two black female students attending a charter school in Massachusetts were recently kicked off their sports teams and prohibited from attending a prom because they wore their hair in braids. The Mystic Valley Regional Charter School in Malden, about 9 miles from Boston, enforces a strict dress code preventing students from wearing their hair in any unnatural way, which includes braids.

Twin students Maya and Deanna Cook, African-American sophomores, told local news outlets they were first told to take their braids out two weeks ago by school officials. The girls’ adoptive mother, Colleen Cook, told Boston’s 25 News that she received a call from the school informing her that students weren’t allowed to wear “anything artificial or unnatural in their hair.”

“We told them there’s nothing wrong with their hair the way it is. Their hair is beautiful, there’s no correcting that needs to be done,” Colleen Cook said, adding that the hair policy seems to target only students of color, who wear their hair in braids or extensions reflecting their African-American culture.

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Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes Girls’ Night

So, I didn’t pick the title, that was a Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes forum user named JynErso42. But she has a post up on the Galaxy of Heroes forum that resulted from a conversation that mainly took place between the two of us.

If you’re not familiar with SW:GoH, it’s a tablet/smart phone game that’s a bit Magic the Gathering- or Pokemon-esque. The narrative sets you up as a player of a combat game at the HoloTables in a Cantina in some unspecified portion of the Star Wars galaxy. As you play your battles, you earn pieces of equipment (or pieces of pieces of equipment) that you use to equip your characters. You also earn “shards”. These shards enable you to “unlock” heroes you don’t yet have or to promote characters that you do. You also earn experience points. As you level up as a player, you can also level your characters up to the limit of your player level.

While naturally, there’s some fun to be had in actually playing out the battles, in “winning”, a great deal of the fun is simply in collecting the different characters and experimenting with them. JynErso42 – far more knowledgeable on the SW story-verse than I – noted a distinct lack of women or female characters. She posted to the boards noting that at the time of her message there were 91 male, masculine, or gender-unspecified-droid characters and 19 female or femininely-gendered characters. This seemed particularly odd to her since this ratio is, in her opinion, even more skewed than the source material from which SW:GoH draws. Apparently the books and even past games have been more gender-diverse.

EA/Capital Games – the programmers of SW:GoH – aren’t entirely unaware of this. They ran a brief event last year focusing on women characters. However there is nothing to indicate ongoing attention to the disparity or even to the many great women characters of the SW galaxy. JynErso42 wants to do something about that.

The suggestion won’t make any sense to those who don’t play the game, so I won’t discuss it here, but if you do play this fairly fun and greatly popular game, you might want to head over to the official game forums and lend your voice to a suggestion to move EA/CG towards greater emphasis on both its existing female/femininely-gendered characters as well as the many great characters in the SW source material that have yet to be translated into collectible toons.

I haven’t pushed for the portrayal of trans*, non-binary and/or complex genders because all the characters that have shown up in the game have existed in some form or other in the movies, books, TV series, and previous role-playing games, so I believe we’d have to get those portrayals into the books, movies & TV series first, but if you like you should feel free to push for those portrayals and I’ll back you up. It may ultimately be more productive, however, if you focus that effort on Disney itself.


Front page of the EA forums for SW:GoH is here.

I haven’t been able to figure out exactly where to send feedback on the Star Wars source material.

Hold My Beer: United Airlines, Part Duh

We’re all familiar with the fact that United repeatedly sells more tickets for their flights than they have room for passengers. They hope that among a hundred or more passengers, at least a couple will miss a connecting flight, get sick, or otherwise fail to make the gate. Lots of times this is true and the money United gives out to compensate travelers for voluntarily bumping themselves to a later flight is less than the money United takes in by selling the same seat twice. Occasionally, however, the fact that United sold the same seat to two or more different people creates an awkward problem for them. No volunteers? Well, for failing to aid United in committing fraud by selling a product that does not, in fact, exist, you can be dragged off the plane by police officers, beaten, and seriously injured.

Yep. That’s bad.

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