sights & sounds

June 10, 2010

I really want some of what Cathy Young is smoking.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jay @ 4:16 am
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..if she seriously thinks the following is a remotely accurate description of Sarah Palin’s politics:

“Yet the audience for a different kind of feminism — one that seeks individualistic and market-oriented solutions, rather than big-government-driven ones1, and focuses on women’s empowerment rather than oppression — is clearly there. The women who embrace it are likely to transform both feminism and conservatism. The feminist movement ignores them at its peril.”

The above is a particularly smarmy excerpt from a piece of shit that Young wrote for the Boston Globe on Sarah Palin’s new brand of Totally Revolutionary right-wing ‘feminism’. Major problems with the article are as follows.: (more…)

June 7, 2010

freedom of association

Dear Rand Paul,

You sorely embarrassed yourself in the debate on the Civil Rights Act with Rachel Maddow a few weeks ago. You could have waxed lengthy on grassroots solutions to racist policies that don’t rely on state authority, but you didn’t – instead, you just hemmed and hawed about your (false) commitment to freedom of association and ‘the Constitution’; and as a result, many people accused you of being a racist. Although Maddow never accused you of racism herself, perhaps you deserve such accusations – you can’t invoke ‘freedom of association’ and then violate Americans’ freedom to associate with people born in Mexico1; you can’t claim to have a love affair with the Constitution and then proclaim your rejection of the 14th amendment2.

But not to worry! You have a chance to redeem yourself. (more…)

the authoritarian’s trump card

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jay @ 6:50 pm
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Just as any lengthy political discussion will inevitably involve a Godwin, any lengthy debate on anarchism must involve Somalia – just as your opponent must resort to ‘But that’s what Hitler would say!’ when he’s run out of arguments, the empty-headed statist who hasn’t bothered to engage in any independent research or critical thinking will say, “We can’t get by without the state! LOOK AT SOMALIA!”, and then smugly stew in his own ignorance, as though invoking Somalia automatically wins the debate. However, the seemingly self-sufficient ‘wut about Somalia, guise’ point actually rests on several assumptions, all of which are either highly dubious or blatantly incorrect.: (more…)

“Where is her mother?!”: on overblown reactions to Baby Gaga

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jay @ 4:26 pm
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So, this video of a toddler reenacting Lady Gaga’s ‘Telephone’ is making its rounds on the internet, generating some interesting buzz on youtube and in the blogosphere. While some commentators are simply shrugging it off as something innocuous (though a bit silly), most of the commentary has been rather alarmist and…well, silly. A few common objections I see people making to the video, along with my critique of them: (more…)

June 6, 2010

‘being gracious’

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jay @ 4:39 am
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Officer James Crooker

From; emphases mine:

In mid-May, Portland police Officer James Crooker  went to Southeast Portland on a patrol call. With a few minutes to spare, he decided to get a coffee.

So, he popped into the Red & Black  cafe on Southeast 12th Avenue near Oak Street, bought a coffee and was heading out when a customer approached him, saying she appreciates the hard job that police officers do every day in Portland.

One of the co-owners of the cafe, John Langley,  has another point of view. While the officer and customer were chatting, he walked up and asked Crooker to leave, saying he felt uncomfortable having a uniformed officer in the vegan cafe.

The incident, which was brief, speaks volumes about the tensions between Portland police and some members of the community who are more worried about police shootings than protection.

Crooker said he was surprised to be shown the door but left immediately. He said this marked a first during his nine-year in law enforcement, two in Portland and seven in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.

“The places that I’ve been kicked out of before have been places like the methadone clinic,” he said. “I’ve never been kicked out of a regular cafe.”

But the 36-year-old officer, who was born and raised in Portland, said it’s all part of working this city’s streets in a uniform.

“We have a unique relationship with the community,” he said. “You’re there to protect them but on the other hand they don’t know what that involves. Being gracious is part of it.”

When Langley asked Crooker to leave, [Cornelia Seigneur] was startled.

“It was shocking,” Seigneur said. “Everyone deserves to have a coffee, and he was served a coffee. It was humiliating.”

A former Marine who served in Iraq2, Crooker didn’t take the incident to heart.


June 1, 2010

reclaiming the streets

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jay @ 12:56 am
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From the NY Times; emphases mine:

Starchild is one of a handful of working men and women fighting a proposed city law that would make it illegal to sit or lie on public sidewalks in San Francisco for most of the day. Backed by the city’s Police Department and Mayor Gavin Newsom, the “sit-lie” law is being hailed by supporters as a weapon to combat aggressive behavior by the city’s myriad sidewalk dwellers.

But advocates of the homeless and some sex workers see it as a direct attack on the city’s weakest, as well as on the city’s own image as a tolerant refuge for live and let live.

Advocates for men and women of the night like Starchild say the proposed law has the potential to make their difficult lives — what with the fear of arrest, disease and occasionally dangerous clients — even more arduous.

Tony Winnicker, a spokesman for Mr. Newsom, a Democrat who is running for lieutenant governor, said the law was not meant to target any specific group, but to protect residents from harassment in neighborhoods like the Haight-Ashbury, the hippie-friendly enclave where groups of youths still congregate to drink, panhandle and smoke marijuana.

“It’s about unacceptable behavior,” Mr. Winnicker said, “and giving police another tool to deal with it.”

Leaving aside the utter absurdity of denying someone’s right to occupy a public space they’re forced to maintain with their own tax dollars1, the fact that cops are focusing on petty ‘infractions’ like loitering speaks volumes about their priorities – it’s completely disingenuous for supporters to pretend that this law has anything to do with public safety. (more…)

May 31, 2010

Gaza Flotilla Attacked

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jay @ 3:44 pm
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May 29, 2010

‘the humanity of ordinary people’

Lynndie England, Abu Ghraib torturer.

From a post on Feministe about women in military. Emphases mine:

I don’t know why, but I’m a sucker for slideshows. Add a feminist theme, and I’m all over it. So I really enjoyed stumbling upon this collection of images of women in the military, starting way back with the American Revolution.

According to the story that goes along with this image, this is Sharon Hanley Disher and she’s part of “the first [family] in American history to send every member to the Naval Academy” – which is pretty awesome, I say. Her story is pretty cool, I suggest you read it if you have some time.

We’ve covered the WASPs (Women Airforce Service Pilots) before, but what are your favorite stories of women in the military?

Needless to say, I was unpleasantly surprised at seeing military service lauded on an ostensibly progressive, leftist blog; and in my initial comment, I said as much.: (more…)

May 18, 2010

police accountability

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jay @ 9:40 pm
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7-year-old Aiyana Stanley Jones

From Associated Press; emphasis mine:

DETROIT — State police will take over the investigation of the fatal shooting of a 7-year-old girl by a Detroit police officer during a weekend raid at the girl’s home, a prosecutor said Monday.

Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy said bringing in the state police to investigate the killing of Aiyana Jones would avoid any appearance of a conflict of interest.

“I agree that it is most appropriate that this be done independently,” Worthy said.

Aiyana was asleep on the living room sofa in her family’s apartment when Detroit police, searching for a homicide suspect, burst in and an officer’s gun went off, fatally striking the girl in the neck, family members said.

Her father, 25-year-old Charles Jones, told The Detroit News he had just gone to bed early Sunday after covering his daughter with her favorite blanket when he heard a flash grenade followed by a gunshot. When he rushed into the living room, he said, police forced him to lie on the ground, with his face in his daughter’s blood.

“I’ll never be the same. That’s my only daughter,” Jones told WXYZ-TV.

Assistant Chief Ralph Godbee said officers set off the flash grenade as they entered the apartment with their guns drawn about 12:40 a.m. Sunday with a warrant to look for a suspect in the Friday slaying of a 17-year-old boy. The lead officer’s gun went off after he encountered a 46-year-old woman inside the front room of the home and “some level of physical contact” ensued. Police do not believe the gun was fired intentionally. (more…)

Nun excommunicated for saving patient’s life.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jay @ 9:11 pm
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Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted

From AZCentral:

A Catholic nun and longtime administrator of St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix was reassigned in the wake of a decision to allow a pregnancy to be ended in order to save the life of a critically ill patient.

The decision also drew a sharp rebuke from Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted, head of the Phoenix Diocese, who indicated the woman was “automatically excommunicated” because of the action. (more…)

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