Link Farm and Open Thread, Factory Wall edition

Awesome wall art, from the Fame Festival website. They have a lot of photos of “upgraded” walls, and also this speeded-up video of a wall being painted.

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Post whatever you like! Feel free to publicize your own blog, too, or someone else’s. Just dance and be free, hippies!

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And here are some links for you, my lovlies:

  1. Is it now a crime to be poor? Barbara Ehrenreich runs down some of the many ways cities are criminalizing poverty.
  2. Gay men are being systematically tortured and murdered in Iraq
  3. An in-depth interview with the word “racism.”
  4. Why it’s never okay to say “so-and-so looks like a tranny.”
  5. Burqa Tourism at its Finest: How to Become an Expert on Muslim Women in Just One Week
  6. Painting dolls brown is not enough.
  7. NASA unlikely to put people on the moon by 2020.
  8. It turns out white people do see race… when mistaking people of color for service employees.
  9. Trans women in male prisons: Cruel and unusual punishment
  10. It’s always been the case that cops push around people for no good reason.
  11. The DOJ has filed another motion in a Defense of Marriage Act case — but this time, they’re trying a lot harder not to offend the LGBT community.
  12. Some good news: The HIV Travel Ban seems likely to be ended soon. Long overdue, imo.
  13. Delaware’s new statute makes it possible for children to have three legally recognized parents.
  14. Stargate:Universe’s casting call for an actress to play a disabled character is full of fail. “Do you have any idea how much most disabled people hate the oh-so-familiar story where a disabled character (always in a wheelchair) gets to *drum roll* WALK AGAIN?”
  15. Why the word “lame” hurts
  16. Kevin Moore draws The Continuum of Misplaced Skepticism. Nice one!
  17. Hillary Clinton has a moment of perfectly reasonable umbrage, and is roasted for it. Gosh, I hate our media.
  18. The important thing about the “death panels” nonsense is that it’s going to mean that more people won’t live any longer, but will die more painful, uncomfortable deaths.
  19. Health care reform goal posts have moved a lot over the years. The health care reform we’ll be disappointed to get this year, would have been amazing four years ago.
  20. A Tale of Masks and Mobile Consciousness
  21. US planning to shoot Afghan drug dealers without trial.
  22. And one more street painting, this time by Greek artist B. Check out B.’s gallery here (not safe for work, possibly.) (Via.)

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43 Responses to Link Farm and Open Thread, Factory Wall edition

  1. 1
    Kelly says:

    The Delaware link isn’t working.

  2. 2
    Mandolin says:

    WTF, Kevin Moore? Moon landing conspiracy theorists are off the chart compared to birthers?

  3. 3
    Kevin Moore says:

    Admittedly, it’s a close call. I drew this cartoon when the birthers were being stubborn. A week later, they left orbit, never to return.

  4. 4
    FilthyGrandeur says:

    i have some vacation pics up, mostly involving cute animals.

    there’s a new Fuzz Therapy, which I certainly need right now.

    i just had to share the most awesome traffic cop: this woman will make you smile.

    you may have noticed that i have a new layout. I also explain and apologize for my scant posts.

  5. 5
    Ampersand says:

    Kelly – sorry about that! The Delaware link has now been fixed.

  6. 6
    Robert says:

    The birther conspiracy theory has two…no, three advantages over the moon-landing hoax conspiracy theory. (None of the advantages involve a fanatical devotion to the Pope.)

    1. It’s recent. There haven’t been decades upon decades of refutation and patient scholarly explication. So the fever runs hot and fresh.

    2. It’s sociologically plausible. People do fake identities, there are reasonable motives for wanting your non-US-born-child to be identified as a US-born child, and it doesn’t take a vast conspiracy to insert a few recordkeeping entries into the sloppy bureaucracy, it only takes a few people. (As opposed to the literally thousands who would have had to be in on any moon landing hoax.)

    3. Crap, I can’t remember what the third thing was. But it’ll come to me.

    Progressives flipping their shit about the birthers is overwrought but understandable; a lot of people are very committed to Obama and it’s hard to have something you’re emotionally committed to attacked by morons. Heck, I’m in the same emotional space – I cheered when Buzz Aldrin knocked the crap out of the asshole who called him a liar.

    You have to be pretty dumb-slash-ignorant to believe either conspiracy theory, but Kevin’s right to put the moon landing people in a separate category.

  7. 7
    Robert says:

    Oh, I remembered number 3! (I know you’re thrilled.)

    3. Obama has been less than forthcoming with various documents and records. Some of the demand for these materials is completely partisan – just people looking for things to snipe at him with. But there are legitimate complaints as well. I’d like to read the man’s thesis. I’d like to see his college grades. I’d like to see his health report (like I would have liked to see John McCain’s). I don’t care much about his long-form birth certificate (other than in the 0.00001% scenario where the birthers are onto something) but the concealed nature of his past raises suspicions among the suspicious. This I contrast to NASA, which will bury you under moon data and pictures and will probably follow you home and not ever leave if you sincerely ask for more information.

  8. 8
    Daran says:

    Second link in the list doesn’t work.

  9. 9
    Ampersand says:

    Thanks. Link has been fixed.

  10. 10
    Mandolin says:

    Conspiracies over NASA moon landing have an important point over birthers:

    They aren’t motivated by breathtaking racism.

  11. 11
    Robert says:

    Racism is an extremely common human phenomenon, and so the fact that some birthers are motivated by not liking blacks very much doesn’t seem all that breathtaking to me. Heck, many of Obama’s supporters are racist, just in the patronizing mode rather than the derogatory mode.

  12. 12
    Aftercancer says:

    Help me out and vote for Katherine B at O’Cedar’s Hope Helpers

    Also, I’ve got a piece up today about a woman who can’t breast feed because of breast cancer, who is not being allowed to deduct formula on her FSA. What do you think?

  13. 13
    PG says:

    Robert @11,

    I think you misunderstood how “breathtaking” modified the word “racism” in Mandolin’s comment @10. My understanding is that Mandolin is saying that the *level* of racism and how it is expressed by the birthers is “breathtaking,” because while Everyone’s A Little Bit Racist, most of us realized it’s a moral failing and that we ought to do better and endeavor not to express racism in our words and actions, even as it pops up in our thoughts. What is breathtaking about the birthers is their feeling apparently unconstrained by 21st century America’s social mores in thsi regard.

    In other words, that racism exists at all and motivates people’s actions takes Mandolin’s breath not at all. That some people are so brazen about it is more amazing.

  14. 14
    PG says:

    Robert @6 and @7,

    it doesn’t take a vast conspiracy to insert a few recordkeeping entries into the sloppy bureaucracy, it only takes a few people.

    Who, exactly? I’m always curious as to how people believe there’s even a 0.00001% chance that the birthers are on to something. I’ve never seen anyone spell out the entire scenario of how Stanley Ann Dunham got from Hawaii to Kenya (or was it Indonesia?) to give birth to Obama, then got someone in the Honolulu city records office to contemporaneously inform the local papers that, among the other babies born in the area that week, one was born to Barack Hussein Obama and his wife. And how she also either got from Hawaii to Kenya and back into the U.S. with her foreign-born newborn without a passport, OR later falsely declared to the local passport authority, when she married her second husband, that she’d not previously held a passport and that she and her son needed new ones.

    How has Obama been less forthcoming than any other presidential candidate? Has every presidential candidate who wrote a college thesis made it available? How about their college grades? How about their health reports beyond the kind of summary Obama released?

    What raises people’s suspicions about racism, even when race hasn’t been overtly mentioned, is when a black man is treated differently and held to a different standard than all the white men who preceded him.

  15. 16
    Robert says:

    I have no idea what the proposed mechanisms are, PG. I only know (having worked in records offices) that relatively small numbers of people can accomplish a records-related conspiracy.

  16. 17
    PG says:


    You have no idea how it would work, you just know it can happen based on personal experience? Yikes.

  17. 18
    Jake Squid says:

    Mr. Biggs needs some help.

    And my sister could use some help paying for Mr. Biggs’ care.

  18. 19
    Robert says:

    No, I know how it could work. I don’t know how the birthers think it happened. I paid a slight amount of attention to them during the election, because during the election it was more of a “what are the requirements for running and do McCain and Obama meet those” question.

    In fact it’s been interesting to see the devolution of the birther idea. It started in honest inquiry – probably an honest inquiry by racists in some instances, but these are legitimate questions in principle – and it became quickly apparent that, both McCain and Obama were constitutionally OK. So what happens? Well, everybody sane and rational drops the question and moves on – leaving the nuts to worry it over in their minds. So of course it’s gotten squirrelier and squirrelier as time has passed.

  19. 20
    PG says:

    OK, how could it work?

  20. 21
    leah says:

    None of the advantages involve a fanatical devotion to the Pope.

    What exactly does this have to do with anything?

  21. 22
    PG says:


    It was a Python reference, appropriate because Robert was getting muddled about the number of things he was talking about.

  22. 23
    leah says:

    Ah, comparing the birthers to the spanish inquisition. Good, I thought it was implying something else. I tend to get my back up about the gratuitous amount of Catholic-bashing resplendent on liberal blogs.

    I do love me some Monty Python (especially that sketch – that and The Thin Mint) and am chastizing myself for having missed the reference.

  23. 24
    Jake Squid says:

    … during the election it was more of a “what are the requirements for running and do McCain and Obama meet those” question.

    No. No it was not. The question about McCain, who was born in the Panama Canal Zone, was a response to the Kenyan Obama garbage. Never, in the original form, was the question asked about McCain. The question about McCain was a Democratic partisan response to the nonsense about Obama.

  24. 25
    PG says:


    The question about McCain, who was born in the Panama Canal Zone, was a response to the Kenyan Obama garbage. Never, in the original form, was the question asked about McCain.

    I don’t think so.

    There has been a longstanding Constitutional question about what “natural born citizen” means. If the question about Obama were constrained solely to a legal question — e.g., questioning whether someone with a non-citizen parent is correctly considered a “natural born citizen” as the phrase was understood in 1789 — I wouldn’t find it racist or otherwise problematic aside from being a bit silly. As my discussion with Robert highlights, however, the question being raised about where Obama was born is not a legal question; it is a challenge to the honesty of President Obama, his mother, Hawaii state officials, and whoever else is supposed to be in on the conspiracy. You can question whether McCain is constitutionally eligible for the presidency without calling him or his mama a liar. It is fundamental to the birthers’ worldview that Obama is a liar and so is his miscegenating mama.

  25. 26
    Felicity says:

    Link #9 isn’t working for me.

    Lots of great articles here — thanks!

  26. 27
    Robert says:

    OK, how could it work?

    You pay some $15/hr clerk $1000 to dummy up a file, or to insert the one you already dummied up, in the central registry. If the office is one with a lot of security (for a records department) then that means a supervisor will actually look at every entry with some attention, in which case you have to buy off the supervisor as well. It wouldn’t be hard. Risky, because US government functionaries can be very honest.

    (What, you were expecting Ocean’s 11?)

  27. 28
    Jake Squid says:

    Huh. Color me wrong. I never heard questions about McCain’s birth until after the questions about Obama’s birth. I guess I missed some stuff.

  28. 29
    Ampersand says:


    Link #9 isn’t working for me.

    Fixed! Thanks.

  29. 30
    PG says:

    You pay some $15/hr clerk $1000 to dummy up a file, or to insert the one you already dummied up, in the central registry. If the office is one with a lot of security (for a records department) then that means a supervisor will actually look at every entry with some attention, in which case you have to buy off the supervisor as well. It wouldn’t be hard. Risky, because US government functionaries can be very honest.

    (What, you were expecting Ocean’s 11?)

    And when does this happen, for there to have been contemporaneous newspaper announcements of a child born in Honolulu to Barach Hussein Obama and his wife?

  30. 31
    Robert says:

    PG, for the third time, I can’t justify the birther narrative. My original point was that at least basic elements of the birther concept were not individually implausible – it’s possible to plant fake records – as opposed to the moon landing’s elements, which were huge in number and each element of which is individually implausible.

    “He somehow fiddled the records to cover up some dark secret!” is a way more plausible human story than “Thousands of America’s smartest technical people were fooled for decades in the fields of their ultimate expertise”.

    But if you insist on me playing devil’s advocate, I’d say that I doubt anyone has come up with a paper copy of that almost 50-year old publication; nor, if they have, is it impossible to dummy up a fake paper (or a real paper with one changed story); nor is it impossible to put fake microfiche into the archives. How many microfiche copies are there of a relatively unimportant paper’s almost 50-year-old unremarkable issue? A few, I’m sure, but not that many. And since Obama’s ascent to the presidency was undoubtedly arranged by the Communist International or the Gnomes of Zurich or the Jooooooos, those shadowy groups would have no trouble in laying the foundation!

    You can kind of see why the shinier pennies have long since fallen out of this particular change jar.

    I think the funniest rebuttal of the birther nonsense was a cartoon I saw where Obama is (anachronistically) plotting with his handlers to set up the “perfect scenario” for his ascent to power – first, we’ll have him be born the illegitimate son of a poor Nigerian, then we’ll carefully groom him with long association with some of the least popular people and places in American politics – and for the final fiendish maraschino cherry in this ice-cream sundae of doom, we’ll give him three foreign names!

    IT CAN’T FAIL!!!

  31. 32
    PG says:


    I didn’t realize the moon landing conspiracy theory was premised on fooling the scientific establishment; I thought the point was that they were All In On It. And why is the standard for the Obama birther elements that they be possible, while for the moon landing it is that they be plausible?

    Incidentally, Obama’s father was from Kenya, not Nigeria.

  32. 33
    Jake Squid says:

    But if you insist on me playing devil’s advocate, I’d say that I doubt anyone has come up with a paper copy of that almost 50-year old publication;

    It’s funny. My ex-wife’s grandparents have/had copies of either the Advertiser or the Star Bulletin (or both) from the late ’40s and early 50’s. Her grandmother was a fashion artist and her drawings appeared in advertisements in the papers in those years.

    I wouldn’t be surprised at all to find that people have paper copies of those relatively unimportant publications.

  33. 34
    PG says:

    My parents still have the entire page from the newspaper announcing my little sister’s birth, so the two other kids born in Memorial Hospital that day also have their announcements preserved. Given that there were a couple dozen kids whose birth announcements came out in the Advertiser the same day as Obama’s, a paper copy of the page probably can be tracked down simply by contacting all of the families also listed and asking if any might still have their kid’s announcement.

    As for birther’s advocate, you picked out that role for yourself by declaring that “it’s sociologically plausible.”

  34. 35
    Robert says:

    Well, I learned my lesson. :)

  35. 36
    chingona says:

    And now for something completely different …

    Interesting article from the NYT about Theodore Olson (yes, that Theodore Olson) taking on a federal challenge to the same-sex marriage bans.


    Yesterday was the day Tennessee ratified the 19th Amendment. It was the last state necessary for adoption of the amendment, so this marks the anniversary of women’s suffrage. Some pretty awesome Schoolhouse Rock.

    And an interesting post from Edge of the American West on how that vote came to pass. Make sure to read comments too. The senator who cast the decided vote was influenced by his mother, his narcissism, and his racism. Just to keep thinks nice and clean. I also owe them a tip of my hat for the Schoolhouse Rock.

  36. 37
    RonF says:

    From Dennis the Peasant

    If Obama works the same sort of magic on DOMA that he’s worked on health care – excuse me, health insurance – reform, LGBTs will be lucky to avoid a mandatory stint in a fundamentalist gay reeducation camp.

  37. 38
    Radfem says:

    I’ve been following the world championships and as happened several years ago, a gold medalist faces gender testing.

  38. 39
    Sailorman says:

    Apparently the main thing they’re trying to determine is whether she suffers from a rare genetic condition which gives her both male and female chromosomes; I presume XXY.

    Which leads to an interesting followup: If she did have that condition, and if it gave her some benefit, how is that significantly different from the fact that she and all her co-competitors ALSO benefit from an also-rare genetic condition which makes them scary fast in the 800 meters as compared to, say, me? Becoming a world class athlete is related to training, of course, but the ability to do so is also seriously based on genetics.

  39. 40
    Jake Squid says:

    If she’s XXY does that mean that she is ineligible for both men’s and women’s events?

  40. 41
    PG says:


    I’ve never heard of someone’s being disqualified from a men’s event for being in any way female. For most world competitive sports, men’s biological tendency to greater muscle and less fat than women will give them an advantage. In all honesty, women’s teams basically exist to give more than one or two extraordinary women the opportunity to compete in sports. If we had all coed sports, very few women would be able to participate in most sports at the same level (in the standard quantitative senses of speed, strength, etc.) as men.

  41. 42
    Radfem says:

    XXY is associated with Klinefelter’s Syndrome and very unlikely here. Though it’s possible to see that combination with chromosomal mosaicism, so it’s a possibility in an athlete though it’s very rare.

    I think if anything, they’d suspect Congential Adrenal Hyperplasia (where females produce and/or are more sensitive to androgens) though this linked article defines the more “severe” form of it. So-called milder examples are more often found in girls and women and in fact, the East German and Soviet athletics programs used to screen girls to see if they had it and then recruited them for their programs. I think this condition might not be as uncommon as some others.

    Gender testing has always been screwed up in athletics because gender is so complex and defined by much more than chromosomes and even hormones. I think they stopped doing the “bar body” testing (with the argument that the extra X chromosome that a girl has is latent and can be detected in cheek cells) and now do it through different tests, examinations with different doctors. And they’re calling this athlete a “gender fraud” when even if this athlete were male, it’s very likely that this person doesn’t know they are under the IAAF’s definition of what gender is. And how does it impact this person if this is how they find out, especially in a public arena? The last person, an Indian runner, tried to commit suicide when she was disqualified as not being “female” due to some condition, possibly chromosomal mosaicism.

    A Spanish hurdler was tested and found to have Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome where a person has XY chromosomes but can’t respond to androgens. She was reinstated b/c experts found that her Y chromosome didn’t offer any advantages and the so-called gender test was expanded.

  42. 43
    PG says:

    Since a lot of folks here have discussed circumcision as an instance of males’ being oppressed, I thought y’all would be interested in this article: “Officials Weigh Circumcision to Fight H.I.V. Risk.” The studies showing that circumcision greatly reduces heterosexual men’s risk of HIV contraction in Africa seem to be getting accepted as credible among publich health officials in the U.S.

    Circumcision is believed to protect men from infection with H.I.V. because the mucosal tissue of the foreskin is more susceptible to H.I.V. and can be an entry portal for the virus. Observational studies have found that uncircumcised men have higher rates of other sexually transmitted diseases like herpes and syphilis, and a recent study in Baltimore found that heterosexual men were less likely to have become infected with H.I.V. from infected partners if they were circumcised.

    Moreover, the American Academy of Pediatrics appears to be on the verge of revising its recommendations from being neutral-leaning-negative on circumcision (which is one reason many state Medicaid programs won’t cover the procedure, in turn leading to low-income boys — especially those who are African American and Latino — being disproportionately likely to be uncircumcised) to being neutral-leaning-positive by pointing out the health benefits of reducing urinary tract infections as well as HIV.