Open Thread: WTF Edition

Post what you like, as you like it. Self-linking makes me giggle like a small baby.

This video might not be SFW:

  1. A buncha links on “triggering” and “calling out”
  2. Sex, Gender, and Toilet Signs. A discussion of gender in bathroom signs. This is awesome, partly for the discussion, and partly for the enormous variety of signs that the blogger has collected and categorized.
  3. Who are the girls who need to bypass parental notification laws by going to a judge? It’s explained here, in painful and lengthy detail. This blogger really knows what she’s talking about; well worth reading.
  4. “Charles Darwin … imagined a world in which organisms battled for supremacy and only the fittest survived. But new research identifies the availability of “living space”, rather than competition, as being of key importance for evolution.” Interesting idea.
  5. Great point: But thinking of “choice” as the opposite of “discrimination,” as Brad Peck of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce did in his blog post about the pay gap, is wrong. Discrimination and opportunity shape choice, and as long as women see an unfairly matched, uphill battle in every election, they’re unlikely to jump in willingly unless they have an unusual amount of resources or support.
  6. Gov. Barbour Implicitly Criticizes GOP’s Tough Talk On Immigration
  7. The talented Ukrainian artist Vladislav Erko has created an absolutely amazing deck of playing cards based on authentic traditional Ukrainian costumes.”
  8. Riz Khan on Afghan Women: “One thing that Riz Khan’s program brought to light is that the damage done to women’s rights is not just a result of Taliban rule nor is it just a result of occupation. The problems have preceded both the Taliban’s rule and U.S. occupation and thus cannot be expected to be solved in just nine years of occupation.”
  9. The Argument For Getting Rid Of The Home Mortgage Deduction. Interestingly, what everyone says — that this deduction was created in order to encourage home ownership — isn’t true.
  10. Female Impersonator reviews The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. I really liked it, and would argue that it is a feminist novel (although not a perfect feminist work, but what is?).
  11. “South Sudan is planning to literally re-build its city centers from scratch…into the shape of… safari animals.” No, really. It’s worth clicking through to see the proposed city plans.
  12. Note to White House: It’s ugly out there. The base actually matters. Do something. Fast. Although really, I think it’s too late. I’d be delighted to be wrong, but I think the Democrats are going to get creamed in two months.
  13. The Quest for a Solid Ice Beer Tray
  14. Republican Candidate Michael Stopa’s Anti-Atheist Bigotry Ignored.
  15. I need a (non-copyrighted) drink
  16. Quote: “Really? No ‘more horrible person [can] be imagined’ than Alice Walker? Maybe if your imagination really, really sucks.”
  17. The economy is going to keep on sucking for a long, long time.
  18. Prostitution on CraigsList: the US and Singapore
  19. Ted Rall, of all people, argues that our mission in Afghanistan is doing some good.
  20. MLK’s Movement Was More Interested in Justice Than Harmony. There are also some really nice photos in this post.
  21. The Death Dealer — Rebecca Dart’s kitteny take on the famous Frazetta painting.
  22. I really like this 1916 photo of a mother and her son, a marine. Not sure why.
  23. You think your hospital experience was bad? This man’s was worse.
  24. Eunomia (one of the best foreign policy blogs out there — and I’m saying this about a conservative blog!) discusses and defends Feisal Abdul Rauf’s most controversial statements.
  25. (Yet Another Reason) Why immigration could help America
  26. Paul Krugman: This Is Not a Recovery
  27. The Ethos of an Advocate in an Adversarial Model of Democratic Discourse: “Indeed, I worry that the whole premise of a “contest of advocates” model is that there is someone sitting in the jury box, someone being convinced. But the more we sort into ideological tribes, the smaller the pool from which one might draw such a jury.”
  28. Should Retirement Be Nasty, Brutish, and Shorter?
  29. This cartoon cracked me up.
  30. A record backlog in immigration courts
  31. Propaganda Posters of World War Two. Includes some anti-American posters the Axis countries created!
  32. On fatphobia, thin privilege, and “eat a sandwich!”
  33. Below: An image from The LowBrow Tarot Card Project

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67 Responses to Open Thread: WTF Edition

  1. 1
    Magpie_seven says:

    Hey all!

    This is sort of a continuation from “This is what progress looks like“, in that one of the commenters there compared being fat to having asthma, and it sort of snowballed into a big derail. I could focus here on my own experiences with asthma; I’m severely asthmatic and it’s ashaped every part of my development. I could focus on my experiences with fat and fat acceptance; My weight fluctuates quite wildly due to a bunch of things, and every time it drops I seem to delight people around me, and that vexes me. But these things aren’t the issue.

    Asthma is not fat. Race is not sex. Gender is not sexuality. P, essentially, is not Q.

    Human beings love to tell stories. It’s an important, even essential, part of our being. One of the ways we tell these stories is by analogy or similie; for example, I sometimes tell people that my experience of an asthma attack is like someone tightening a belt around my chest. Not many people have experienced an asthma attack, and even if they have, it’s probably not been the same experience as mine, but a lot of people have put on belts. It gives them a mental hook to understand that particular experience- so far so good.

    If I tell people, though, that they are having trouble understanding my point about asthma and so instead they should think about diabetes, or lupus, or depression and maybe that will help them get my point, then I’m not telling a story to illustrate my point. I’m inviting my listener to tell themselves a story, based on their own opinions and experiences. Maybe they have diabetes. Maybe they know someone with Lupus. Maybe they’re currently depressed, and hearing me compare my respiratory disorder, which I have effective medication for, to their chronic depression is a kick in the face.

    P is never exactly like Q, and it damages our arguments when we say “imagine P were Q for a second, and then you’ll understand”. It doesn’t make sense, it doesn’t really helq, and at worst it renders our qerfectly reasonable qosition comqletely nonsensical.

  2. 2
    Roschelle says:

    Good morning all!
    1. Marriage and Motherhood – A Tragic Life Scenario? – my take on an article written over at Slate by the founding editor of Double X about a study posted over at Workplace Salaries: At last, Women on Top.

    2. All Muslims Are Bad and Slavery Wasn’t As Bad As You Think! – a bit of creative writing inspired by a conversation my sister had with her next door neighbor.

  3. 3
    Sage says:

    This might start a kerfuffle, but I quite like the new ads for pads. Anything’s better than women talking about freedom and dancing in white.

  4. 4
    Silenced is Foo says:

    You’re quite right Charles S, it wasn’t the right place for my comment.

    And I just want to clarify something: the stories fat folk post about verbal abuse and being mistreated by doctors are really horrifying to me, and they do make me aware of my privilege.

    However, I do part company with the fact activist community on the issues of public health. I think obesity is a health problem. I think the rising rates of obesity are cause for concern.

    But fatness is not a sin, and I think that it’s tragic that so many otherwise liberal people have either allowed or caused it to become one. And I really do think this blog has helped me see how big a problem that is. Thanks, all.

  5. 5
    Dianne says:

    However, I do part company with the fact activist community on the issues of public health. I think obesity is a health problem. I think the rising rates of obesity are cause for concern.

    The quote above is from SiF on the “this is what progress looks like” thread. I want to make a couple of comments about it.

    First, there are health risks of obesity. There are also health risks to being overly thin. The epidemiologic data suggests that we’re better at dealing with the health risks of obesity than of thinness. Consider, for example, the way the relative risk of death changed in the NHANES studies between the first and the most recent: the relative risk of death in the overweight and obese category decreased over time while the risk of death from being overly thin did not change much. (IIRC: being lazy and not rechecking the data.)

    That being said, though, if obesity is a public health problem, what is the best way to go about solving it? Nagging people has been demostrated over the last century or so to be a failure. I have some ideas. These are not proven, of course, but some thoughts…

    1. Decrease working hours. People who work too long are stressed (stress=increased endogenous steroids=weight gain). They also are likely to not be getting enough sleep and lack of sleep has been shown to be correlated with weight gain. They are also less likely to have time and energy to have active hobbies, cook at home (which is generally less caloric than eating out), and get get routine health care. If we really want people to lose-or stop gaining-weight, we need to get serious about the 40 hour work week. My suggestion would be to mandate triple time for any overtime, including for salaried positions. (Triple because in general the cost of a full time employee is twice their salary in benefits, etc so it is cost effective for a company to pay an employee time and a half rather than hire enough employees to not require routine overtime.)
    2. Raise the minimum wage such that a 40 hour per week minimum wage job provides a living wage. Yeah, I know, unemployment increase etc but at some level, if employers want their jobs completed they’re going to have to hire people to do it. Might have to have some mechanism to prevent employers from going to “part time” positions only…not sure how that would work best. Anyway, the correlation with obesity is basically as above: poverty creates stress, which leads to weight gain. Also many active hobbies are expensive. If we want everyone out on the ski slopes or hiking the Rockies we’ve got to make sure they have the resources to get there. The newly wealthy working class will stimulate the economy and offset the loss of jobs when the elite panics at the increase in their wage costs.
    3. Personally, I like having calorie and nutritional information in restaurants. But I’m a data junkie. What does anyone else think? Does the information change your ordering habits?
    4. Public transportation. First, it increases exercise, albeit only a little. Second, driving, especially in traffic is stressful. As above. Of course, waiting for a train that’s late is stressful too so it needs to be public transit that runs on time and is adequate for the situation. No stuffed full subway cars if that can be avoided by any reasonable mechanism. And get rid of the cars in urban areas. Car exhaust (particulates) is probably a bigger risk factor for arterial vascular disease than obesity anyway, so it’d help regardless of the effects on the national BMI.
    5. Health insurance for all. Some obesity is related to medical illness.
    6. Research, research, research. Who gains weight? Why? What can be done about it? When does obesity become a health risk? Does obesity cause diabetes or does diabetes (or rather the pre-diabetic increase in insulin) cause obesity? What, if anything, does fat in the peripheral tissue have to do with fat in the arteries? These are all unanswered or inadequately answered questions.

    So…those are my first thoughts on how to reduce obesity. I’m not sure if they’d work or not, but even if they didn’t, wouldn’t it be better all around to have a happy, healthy, well paid population rather than a poor, sick, overstressed population, regardless of its average weight?

  6. 6
    anonymous says:

    Moving my comment from the fatphobia thread here.

    Regarding Maia’s posts on Feministe: There’s nothing “beautiful” about telling people that you’re going to take your kid everywhere you go and that not only do you not set limits for her, but that it’s “not your job” to. Nor is there anything “beautiful” about telling women who don’t particularly like being around kids that we should be ashamed of ourselves. Or that being nurturing = being a “mama,” and that it’s somehow “radical” to “de-center” oneself and take care of others, especially if you’re a woman of color. That doesn’t sound at all like patriarchy, nosirree. Or like buying into “mammy” stereotypes, as one WoC pointed out on Maia’s 2nd thread.

    I forgot this link. Shorter Chally: It’s wrong to want to prevent heart conditions in babies, because that means you don’t want those babies to exist.

    And, of course, that thread and all the others I mentioned were closed because the OP couldn’t deal with disagreement.

  7. 7
    B. Adu says:

    Silenced is Foo, it doesn’t matter what the prognosis of fatness is or is not, there is no alternative. I’m not playing or being precious-this after all is my life and I value it more than anyone else. WLD and Michelle Obama type stuff is fools gold when it comes to weight loss, the existence of fatness in the face of the twin money makers of slimming and fitness industry proves that beyond any reasonable doubt.

    As for your question, it’s asked endlessly and I’ve got to admit, I can’t answer it satisfactorily at all.

    As far as I’m concerned those who want weight loss/slimmness should have it, I have no moral issue with them. But it’s not me who doesn’t want to find it for them. Fatness is not a choice for most people, and if people did choose it we wouldn’t have to be burdened with hearing about all the people that claim it is hell on earth.

    Secondly, the idea of de contextualising weight-which is yet another conceit of the wld industry- is one that doesn’t make any sense to me at all.

    For some people, weight is holding a depression, sometimes other mental or physical conditions at bay. By that, I do not mean that those or other people are mentally compromised anymore than anyone else anyway. It’s more a spontaneous defence of the body. Let’s take your 20lbs, and say that’s keeping them on an even keel by supporting their system. They might be very happy with themselves and their body and say no to your weight loss.

    However, if whatever was causing it to be needed was remedied and that weight was lost as a consequence of that, then they’d probably rather have that, than be what weight they are. That’s the kind of difficulty with your question is that it’s totally out of an artificial mindset that posits weight as ‘excess’ and somehow detachable.

    It is a part of you and the part its playing in the equation of you is as difficult to pin down as the part someone wishing to dress in a certain way, or have certain deeply held politics plays.

    Now I’d like to ask you and Rochelle a question, if you believe that fatness is life shortening etc., why aren’t you the ones saying that what we’ve had so far has failed and agitating, writing letters for more research into it?

    See, whether I agree with your prognosis or not, I can still say, you are acting in keeping with your views. You aren’t.

    If I thought you were going to die of some condition where only a false solution was offered up, I’d at least register some anger, maybe write an e-mail to someone, why don’t the both of you?

    PS. Examine to the behaviour of the ‘obesity’ industry and ask yourselves whether they behave as if they believe it either.

  8. 8
    Jadey says:

    Look, the issue with health is not about obesity. It is about poverty. Framing it as being about obesity (and thereby about the bodies that people live in, bodies that are constantly under attack from multiple sources) is not accurate enough for the issues at hand.

    Some people are fat and unhealthy. Some people are fat and healthy. Some people are unhealthy and not fat. Some people are fat because they are unhealthy. Some people are unhealthy because they are fat. Some people are both, or neither, for unrelated reasons. But when we talk about “obesity” as something to be gotten rid of, eradicated, reduced, etc., we are talking about bodies, all of these bodies with all of these realities. We are talking about the people who live in these bodies. And when we talk about health, and why people ought to be healthy, we are not just talking about, “Health is a factor in well-being and a positive existence” (and it is a factor, but not the only one, and not necessarily the most important one), but also about the societal obligation to be healthy, which, if you aren’t catching my drift, isn’t a good thing.

    When we talk about individual people’s bodies and individual people’s health (insofar as whether these people are obliged to be healthy as opposed to whether they have the right to access services that support their well-being), then we are not talking about the institutional structures or social forces that privilege some and abuse others. Structures which sometimes happen to express this abuse in the form of poorer health, and which sometimes impact the size, shape, and functioning of a particular person’s body. Even when we list off factors that reflect these institutions (notice, ALL of Dianne’s points above relate directly to poverty), when we label them as about “obesity”, then we are changing the course of that discussion away from where it needs to go.

    Because when we talk about the problem of obesity, we are not talking about the “institution of obesity” or the “social structure of adipose tissue” (there are no such things) – we are talking about people. We are making obese people the problem.

  9. 9
    Dianne says:

    I find the last poster in link #31 fascinating. If I understand it correctly (and I’ve been known to misinterpret propaganda in the past), it seems to suggest that the Nazis were trying to show how horrible the US was by, among other things, drawing attention to racism and lynching in the US. When your racism is so bad that the Nazis are calling you on it, it’s really time to rethink things.

  10. 10
    Dianne says:

    notice, ALL of Dianne’s points above relate directly to poverty

    Ok, I’m busted! My hidden agenda is about reducing poverty and I’m just trying to use the current anti-obesity fad to further that aim. The thing is, obesity may or may not be bad for you. Poverty certainly is. So…why not go for the worst problem first?

  11. 11
    Jadey says:

    Dianne, I don’t think we are in disagreement. I absolutely believe that poverty is a more pressing concern than obesity (which I don’t believe is a concern at all). My purpose was to argue against framing obesity as a problem instead, which the original Feministe post did in spades, and which so many commenters have continued to do throughout the various threads.

    I thought your list illustrated that point very well, although I have no idea if you wrote it that way because A) you believe obesity is a problem and it has to do with poverty, B) you believe poverty is the problem but you know your audience is more focused on obesity, or C) other.

  12. 12
    Dianne says:

    Jadey: Basically B. There are health risks to obesity, just as there are health risks to being overly thin. But they probably aren’t as big a deal as people are trying to make them out to be. I do worry that saying “we have to take anti-poverty step X to combat obesity” will end up throwing obese people under the bus since they’re still being framed as part of the problem. I’d much rather be able to say that we need higher wages and better protection against overwork because poverty and overwork are bad things in and of themselves. But who wants to hear that? At least, who that currently has money or power?

    However, my main point originally was how very little the standard “anti-obesity” campaign really addressed the root causes of obesity and really don’t at all address even vaguely plausible solutions. Telling people to watch the donuts is just NOT going to work. It hasn’t in the last 100+ years that US-Americans have worried about their weight and it won’t now. So I find the vast majority of anti-obesity campaigns to be failures even on their own terms (that is, even leaving aside the question of whether the goal is worth acheiving.)

  13. 13
    Jadey says:

    @ Dianne.

    Then we are in complete agreement. I apologize that my comment seemed overly directed at yours – the conversation has become quite fragmented for me now, distributed over so many threads.

  14. 14
    sannanina says:

    However, I do part company with the fact activist community on the issues of public health. I think obesity is a health problem. I think the rising rates of obesity are cause for concern.

    I am fat, I have been somewhat fat pretty much all my life, and while I am not sure if it would be fair to call myself a fat activist (I am not really taking enough action to claim that, I think) I certainly sympathized with FA. And here is the thing: After looking at quite a bit of evidence, I do actually believe that being fat increases your risk for some health problems although not to the degree that most people seem to believe. Nonetheless, I am also pretty sure that having my fatness framed as health problem has ironically impacted my life in a negative way. First of all, while I cannot prove it I think it is very likely that I would be less fat now if I wouldn’t have been encouraged to lose weight (or actually keep my weight stable while my body was still growing) since I was approximately three or four years old. “Watching my diet” and having my well-meaning parents ask me at every meal if I truly was hungry pretty much screwed up my relationship with food and over 25 years later I still haven’t managed to undo the damage. In fact, I am pretty certain that, combined with the abuse I got for being a fat and generally weird kid, being told again and again by doctors, teachers, parents, grandparents, siblings, friends, and about everyone else around me that I should lose weight “for my health” contributed to pretty severely disordered eating and at in a certain period of my life to a full-blown eating disorder. The irony is that I still cannot explain to most people the nature of my disordered eating since they just don’t believe or cannot imagine that while I have engaged in binge-eating (and still do binge from time to time now) I have also struggled with very severe restriction, borderline overexercising, crying spells because somehow sticking my finger down my throat did not make me throw up, strong anxiety concerning everything health or food related, and body image issues so bad that looking in the mirror made me want to physically injure myself.

    So considering that there is strong evidence that the vast majority of people is not able to lose weight permanently and considering my personal experience that worrying about my weight has made me quite a bit less healthy (both physically and emotionally) I think that “obesity” is not a good direct target for a public health campaign even though food and exercise might be. I just don’t see why we cannot focus on increasing accessibility of high quality food for everyone and creating safe spaces for people to be physically active (especially since being physically active in public is especially unsafe for fat people because of harassment issues) without focusing on weight. If these factors really are responsible for the increased average weight of the population then tackling them will also solve the “obesity epidemic”. If these factors are not responsible… well, then people might become healthier on average, but not thinner.

  15. 15
    kristinc says:

    “I think obesity is a health problem.”

    In order to think “obesity” is a health problem you have to misunderstand what obesity is. Obesity is a designation on the BMI chart, nothing more, nothing less. It’s arbitrary. Not too long ago the definition of “obese” was changed to include a lower weight than it had before, and in the blink of an eye, a large number of people suddenly became “obese” without gaining a gram. Did all of them suddenly have “health problems” at that moment, too?

    The person standing next to you that you may guess is obese might well not be. The person standing next to them, that you would not think of as obese, might well *be* obese according to their BMI. You should look up the BMI Project, which aims to show what various spots on the BMI chart look like for real people and how different one “obese”, “overweight” or “normal” person can look from another.

    Last year I signed up for a dance intensive (I am a dancer) and for the 4 or 5 months before the intensive I worked out very hard to be ready for it. I gained muscle, endurance and skill, and I got a clothing size smaller. I lost fat. I also moved from an overweight BMI to an obese one. At the strongest and most fit I have ever been in my adult life, I became “obese” for the first time. According to your reasoning, at the moment my new muscle weight ticked up enough to cross that line on the BMI chart, I became someone with “a health problem”. This is sheer nonsense.

    Poor nutrition is a health problem. Lack of movement is a health problem. Body size is not.

  16. 16
    BStu says:

    Of course fat people have unique health concerns. Those concerns do not get addressed by stigmatizing our bodies. Being a man increases my health risks in many ways and in a lot of ways is a much bigger risk factor than my being fat. Doesn’t make gender reassignment surgery a reasonable remedy.

    In more ways than one, too. Some little people can surgery to increase their height, but this does nothing for some of the unique health risks little people face. There isn’t any proof that fat people who become not fat people have any reduced risk of those health concerns.

    Fat people deserve to be respected, period. We shouldn’t need to validate our health to get respect. At the same time, though, the health concern trolling fat people face is still bogus on its face. It overstates the risks, overstates the capacity to do anything about being fat, and overstates the benefits of becoming not fat. None of it should really matter, but the fact that its all a fantasy still merits mention because fat stigmatization fails perfectly well entirely on its own terms.

  17. 17
    Freemage says:

    Anyone who found the posters at #31 interesting might also want to take a look at the war cartoons of Dr. Theodor Seuss Geisel. Yeah, THAT Dr. Seuss. The most striking bit is the difference in his treatment of African-Americans and Japanese-Americans. He considered black/white racism to be synonymous with treason in a time of war (since it made the country less efficient, and thereby put soldiers at risk), but was very clearly of the mindset that led to the American Internment Camps.

  18. 18
    kristinc says:

    (Edited: by the time I fnished this comment, of course, it wasn’t serial commenting anymore…) I forgot that on the original thread for Maia’s post I had wanted to comment on the mindblowingly point-missing question about magically losing 20 pounds.

    My answer is no, I wouldn’t, because: why would I? What would losing 20 pounds do for me except make my current lovingly collected and flattering wardrobe not fit me anymore? Magically give me 20lbs of new muscle and I’d be all over that. The ability to do the splits or stand on my hands? Gimme! Hell, thicker hair, smoother skin, stronger nails, whiter teeth, sure, why not. And if you want to make an offer I really can’t refuse, all you have to do is tell me you’ll give me evenly functioning and non-disabled brain chemistry.

    But if all your magic wand can offer me is a negative thing, the literal removal of part of my body, and you expect me to jump at that, then you’re insulting me. You’re implying that out of all the things I might want to change about my body, all the things I might wish my body could do better, the primary thing (or at least *A* primary thing) I would wish would be for there to be less of me.

  19. 19
    Dianne says:

    @Jadey: No need to apologize!

    @Freemage: I’ve been told that he eventually thought better of it and became an all around anti-racist and anti-war advocate, but am not sure of the accuracy of that claim.

    @krisitinc: My first response to the “magic loss of 20#” was something on the order of “sure, why not?” But then I read sif’s scenario more carefully and realized that part of the scenario was that there was no social pressure to do so, and therefore presumably one would not be seen as more attractive if thinner. Uh, never mind. No thanks. What’s the point?

  20. 20
    Phil says:

    The “Sex, Gender, and Toilet Signs” blog is really interesting, and many (perhaps most, perhaps all) of the paired signs are worthy of criticism, but I’m curious if the real issue isn’t that we gender-segregate and/or sex-segregate bathrooms in the first place?

  21. 21
    Doug S. says:

    This is an Open Thread, and I don’t think I’ve plugged this here yet, so…

    Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality by Eliezer Yudkowsky

    Aunt Petunia married a scientist instead of Vernon Dursley. Now Harry Potter has become an 11-year-old “gifted” child who grew up reading science and science fiction. Then he receives his Hogwarts letter. Armed with the scientific method and the spirit of the Enlightenment, rationalist!Harry sets out to Take Over – er – “Optimize” the World by using the power of SCIENCE. Too bad this universe’s version of Voldemort read the Evil Overlord list and isn’t going to be as easy to overcome as he was in the books…

    You need to go read this right now.

  22. 22
    kristinc says:

    Oh my god, Doug S., that is some amazing shit. I’m completely sucked in. THANK YOU.

  23. 23
    Hunter says:

    4. “Charles Darwin … imagined a world in which organisms battled for supremacy and only the fittest survived. But new research identifies the availability of “living space”, rather than competition, as being of key importance for evolution.”

    Actually, no. This is a false distinction — Darwin was quite aware that the competition was for resources; it was, I believe, Thomas Huxley who came up with the “Nature red in tooth and claw” meme. This is just bad reporting by someone who doesn’t know the field.

    It wouldn’t really matter even if that’s what Darwin did think — the role of environment in natural selection is more widely understood, and to say that “Darwin thought such-and-such” is really to misrepresent evolutionary theory as it’s presently recognized. Which makes this even worse reporting.

  24. 24
    Jake Squid says:

    I’m going to second kristinc in thanking DougS. for that link. I am going to be disappointed when I reach the end because there won’t be any more.

  25. 25
    Doug S. says:

    It’s not finished yet, but it is being actively updated. (And the author does know how he’s going to end it, so you can be confident that it will be finished.) Does that make things better or worse?

  26. 27
    Jake Squid says:

    Does that make things better or worse?

    Neither. It’s just the fact that it has an end that’s the problem for me.

    I can’t even tell you why I like it so much. That must mean it’s the writing.

  27. 28
    April says:

    I don’t really understand why we can’t agree that stigmatization of fat people and acknowledgement and fighting against systematic health problems that are caused by obesity, that are caused by poor nutrition, that are caused by poverty, etc… are not mutually exclusive.

    I think what gets most people up in arms in this “debate” is that FA folks see any post even loosely associating obesity with health problems as OMG stigmatization and oppression!!!. It’s simply not the case. We all have reason to concern ourselves with our collective health, and that concern need not be stigmatizing or shaming. Obviously, in order to make our society a more healthy one, we should be focusing on making ourselves healthier. That doesn’t necessarily mean we all lose weight, but it means that we engage in lifestyles that will probably also result in weight loss, whether we intended it to or not. We should all be able to be active, stress-free humans; there’s no reason why we should be poor, unhealthy, over-worked and stressed. Being poor, unhealthy, over-worked and stressed often accompanies being overweight; is that something we should actively ignore? No. But we shouldn’t necessarily focus on it either. If we could simply make healthy foods more accessible to everyone, and encourage education and physical activity without being called health or fat police, it wouldn’t matter whether or not people were losing weight; we’d be healthier, which is the ultimate goal.

    People critical of FA aren’t necessarily critical because they think fat people are the embodiment of sin or gluttony. Many people are critical of FA because the movement in general seems to be about blatant and deliberate oblivion and denial. As if the rise in obesity isn’t related to the rise in childhood diabetes and heart disease. As if children being on cholesterol-lowering drugs these days isn’t related to Americans eating more and more processed crap food combined with an entirely (chosen) sedentary lifestyle. This shouldn’t be ignored or outright denied just because someone’s feelings might get hurt. No one’s feelings have to get hurt, so long as the person discussing the topic isn’t an asshole, and the people listening aren’t knee-jerk whiners waiting for a chance to yell at someone for allegedly oppressing them.

  28. 30
    closetpuritan says:

    Agree with Hunter. “Survival of the fittest” was coined by Francis Galton (who used Darwinian ideas to justify “Social Darwinism”, which Darwin was not fond of). A quote from Darwin that better sums up his views: “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.”

    I liked the quote at the end of the article: “And in general, what is the impetus to occupy new portions of ecological space if not to avoid competition with the species in the space already occupied?” You can’t really separate the exploitation of new niches (whether new habitat-related, new food source, etc.) from the avoidance of competition in the old niches. Evolutionarily, avoiding competition is arguably a better strategy than trying to win it.

  29. 31
    closetpuritan says:

    I wish instead of so many fat-acceptance activists we had more activists fighting the food industry and the automobile industry.

    I think there actually are a lot of activists fighting for more sustainable food and more public transportation/walkability/bikeability. I’d go so far as to say that they both seem more numerous and seem to have more mainstream acceptance for their causes than fat acceptance does. Moreover, many people in FA have said that they’d be all for the sorts of things Michelle Obama is looking to do with her anti-obesity initiave, if she were framing as something to improve children’s health instead of something to wipe out obesity.

    Clarissa, this statement from you seems to indicate that you don’t think reducing fat stigma has any great importance. In my experience, people don’t make statements like this when they think that Cause A is slightly less important than Cause B, they make them when they think that Cause A is trivial. At the very least, you seem to think that if only the food and auto industries stopped being a problem, we wouldn’t need to fight fat stigma.

    The “obesity epidemic” has made the average person fatter, and has had less of an effect on the thinnest people and more of an effect on the fattest, so it has exaggerated differences somewhat–but it’s not as though everyone was a uniform weight before. If we implemented all the fixes you’re looking for, there would still be fat people, and fat stigma would still be a problem. It’s not as though fat stigma didn’t exist before the “obesity epidemic”.

  30. 32
    silentbeep says:


    I don’t think you get FA. At all. What a way to completely dismiss people’s actual experience of discrimination and stigma with this:

    “No one’s feelings have to get hurt, so long as the person discussing the topic isn’t an asshole, and the people listening aren’t knee-jerk whiners waiting for a chance to yell at someone for allegedly oppressing them.”

    Knee-jerk whiners? Yes all of this is totally in our head:

    “…little has been done to stop the bias and discrimination that obese children and adults face every day. The social consequences of obesity include discrimination in employment, barriers in education, biased attitudes from health care professionals, stereotypes in the media, and stigma in interpersonal relationships. All these factors reduce quality of life for vast numbers of overweight and obese people and have both immediate and long-term consequences for their emotional and physical health.” – Yale Rudd Center for Obesity

    There are various strands in FA. In fact, many people within FA agree with you regarding health concerns – many FA activists are also HAES activists and are pro-nutrition, pro-exercise and all that stuff that you seem to approve of (check the “fat nutritionist” blog sometime. I also suggest looking at the blog “the voracious vegan” and Linda Bacon’s website to see where health and FA concerns, intersect).

    What many within FA are saying though is simply this: our health isn’t any of your business, our bodies are not public fodder for scrutiny, and many of us resent being talked about like one big pathology. Scolding, judging, and lecturing human beings and in effect, treating people as just another problem to solve, is patronizing, condescending and infantalizing to many of us within FA. Many of us also resent the notion that just because we are fat, this means none of us care about our health – it’s incredibly frustrating to be effectively told over and over again “you are fat so obviously you don’t give a shit.” Many of us resent the notion that we are often put in the position of people insisting that we defend, explain and prove our health to others, just so we can be treated with a modicum of respect.

    Look: I’m actually very pro-HAES, pro-exercise and pro-nutrition. But so what.

    For an excellent source of fat acceptance 101 concepts, and where health talk does and does not intersect with FA, i suggest you go here:

    (tasha is doing a kick blog post series on some very basic FA posts. I suggest you also read some Kate Harding, who had plenty to say on how health and FA intersect).

    Personally this is where I’m coming from: I believe we should give people the means to make their own decisions on what they should do with their own bodies. I’m not against giving nutritional information in restaurants for example. If we were to get rid of food deserts somehow, make it easier for people to get exercise, and make it easier for people to choose all types of food (because sometimes poverty takes away true free choice when we talk about food selection) then great. I have no problem with this.

    However, I think this is where the “health concerns” stuff needs to end because then we get into a situation where we badger fat people to live a life, that “we” (whoever that is) thinks is socially acceptable. Plenty of people do unhealthy things. Some people text while they drive, skinny people are also known to eat fried foods, and so and so on. Where does the oppressive nannying stop? That’s my concern.

  31. 33
    RonF says:


    I wonder what juristiction this woman is talking about? Anti-abortion as I am, I’d agree that ‘parental notification’ requiring notification of both parents and a lack of definition of what constitutes notification are bugs, not features.

    Read @5. Read the linked post. Saw this:

    “In 2008, a woman in the United States earned only 77 cents for every dollar earned by a man.”

    I’ve seen this kind of thing before. But now I’m moved to ask what it means. Does it mean

    (0.77)*(all money earned by men/# of men) = (all money earned by women/ # of women)


    (0.77)*(average $ earned by man in occupation ‘x’/all men in occupation ‘x’) = (average $ earned by woman in occupation ‘x’/all women in occupation ‘x’)

    or something else?


    When I bought my (current, first and only) house, for the grand sum of $90,000 long enough ago that I can actually see the end of my mortgage in sight, the interest deduction was instrumental in my ability to purchase it – in fact, instrumental in my ability to purchase any house, period. It’s worth probably around $2000 in lower taxes now, which would certainly affect my income but would not be a killer. Limiting the deduction to people buying homes at the lower end of the scale, which would capture a lot more of such people while tending to exclude people who would end up buying a home anyway, makes sense to me. So does not giving it out for anything but a primary residence.

    OTOH, this statement seems incongruous to me:

    You can see why home builders are upset: their margins are fattest on luxury homes; a policy that pushes prices toward the middle, as egalitarian as it might sound, would end their party.

    That party was over a while ago, folks. Luxury homes are a glut on the market right now. Inventory on them is pretty high. But the dollar amount of what constitutes a luxury home needs some tuning that would make it … interesting … to implement on a national basis. It would have to be tuned on both the basis of where the house was bought and when. I bought my house for $90,000 in the 80’s. Right now I could likely sell it for $250K. If I then moved down to where people I know live in Arkansas I could build a similar house for half that, and have lower property taxes in the bargain (which is why someone I worked with until just recently did just that).

    So you can’t just set a number and say “anything above this is a luxury house”. My house is cheap as far as the area goes. Within my neighborhood a new house with a similar lot and about the same square footage would cost ~$250K. But no one built such houses, they buillt homes with twice the square footage and offered them for twice that amount. Then the $h!t got kicked out of the real estate market. There’s a number of houses for sale around here now. People can’t afford to buy them. Hell, the people who are selling them often couldn’t afford to buy them. Creative stuff like the “interest-only” mortgage mentioned in the article is killing these people. And the banks don’t want to short-sell, but they also don’t particularly want to own houses, which is what happens when people default either voluntarily or involuntarily. Bad business all around.


    The administration has always seemed annoyed by its partisan base. All we’ve asked is that Obama keep his campaign promises. For that, we’re castigated and mocked by the geniuses in the White House — the ones who destroyed the vaunted Obama brand and all it stood for.

    The base should have paid a lot more attention to who it was voting for. A Chicago politician stands for getting elected, and for rewarding the groups – unions, campaign supporters, etc. – that got him or her there with jobs, etc. Campaign promises are just something to get the chumbolones to the polls; keeping them is generally a pretty low priority. Your job is to vote for the politician. Actually getting policies, legislation, etc. that you want is not part of the process. Unfortunately for the President and his crew, the U.S. Congress is not the Chicago City Council or the Illinois General Assembly. Speaker Pelosi and Senator Reid don’t have nearly the power that, say, Ill. House Speaker. Madigan (my rep., as it happens) has. It’s not a rubber stamp for a few powerful people. Also, the Federal system of handing out money and jobs to your supporters is a lot less personally malleable (so to speak) than it is here. He can’t get the votes the same way and he can’t reward his friends in the same fashion. Two years in the Senate didn’t teach him what he needed to know. Or maybe he bought into his own hype and wasn’t paying attention.

    I still don’t think that the Dems will lose majorities in either house. But I think it’ll be closer than I thought 6 months ago. I don’t think picking a fight will help. What’s he going to pick a fight over that will energize the base?
    @20 – damn right. Remember, the man was a Baptist preacher. I bet he gave or could have given a real good sermon on Jesus kicking around the money changers and animal sellers at the temple, or reminding us that Jesus said that he’d come to bring the sword and divide families over issues like this.


    Far from spelling economic doom, America’s immigrant population could help ensure enough young workers to drive the labor pool and support the growing ranks of retirees. Immigrant families tend to have more children than the native population, and the Latino birth rate is higher than that of other ethnic groups. Restrictionists often use such figures to argue that immigrants are a drain on public resources, and the right-wing crusade against “anchor babies” evoked a fear of overpopulation via excessive immigrant fecundity.

    1. “Restrictionists” is a new term to me. What does it mean? Who is it meant to describe?
    2. When I’ve seen the term “anchor baby” used, it’s meant to describe the concept that an American baby born to a woman who’s here illegally can end up becoming a reward for illegal activity. I’ve never heard anyone complain about it on the basis of overpopulation.
    3. Mr. Klein makes his comments too vague to be useful by failing to make a distinction among naturalized citizens, resident aliens and illegal aliens in his citations of fertility. Instead he uses the general term “immigrant”. Since very few people object to immigration into the U.S., it’s hard to see what his comments have with the current issues and actions surrounding the presence of people being in the U.S. illegally.

  32. 34
    Ampersand says:

    Ron, regarding #5, “the pay gap” in gender usually refers to the average wage of all full-time, year-round female workers as a percentage of the average wage of all full-time, year-round male workers.

  33. 35
    RonF says:

    Hi! I just came back from a week in northern Wisconsin either a) fishing for smallmouth bass, b) lying talking about my fishing exploits to my brother, nephew and a friend, c) playing poker, and d) drinking what even I must now confess was likely too much Irish whiskey. I did catch bass – we even had a fish dinner one night. Fun was had.

    The Chippewa Flowage in Wisconsin is gorgeous. It’s 15300 acres of water that has some private property, some public access and some that is part of the reservation of the Lac Courte Oreilles band of Ojibwe (all the water is accessible, you just can’t get out of your boat onto land for non-emergency purposes in some few areas). I was on that water all week and during that entire time I saw exactly one piece of trash, and that was big enough that it was probably thrown where it was by a storm as opposed to being thoughtlessly tossed out. No plastic bags, pop cans, empty water bottles, old tires or appliances, not a scrap of paper. Considering how many people use it that’s incredible. Just beautiful.

  34. 36
    kristinc says:

    April, even assuming that weight does cause health problems and even assuming that other people’s health choices are your business (both pretty big assumptions), what do you suggest we should do about the “obesity epidemic”?

    Because over and over the data shows that 95% of people are simply unable to sustain long term weight loss.

    The data also shows that weight-loss dieting tends to make people fatter over the long term.

    So what should we do? No copping out with answers like “we should make good nutritious food available to everyone and enable everyone to move their bodies regularly” because that agrees with basic FA principles, and you disagree with FA. You think we’re in denial about fat needing to be addressed. So how do you think we should directly address the fattification of America, in a way that’s not FA?

  35. 37
    RonF says:

    Hm. Then that takes you to all the arguments about different gender roles in parenting, who’s available for what kind of hours, outright sex-based discrimination, etc.

    So what would be the government’s role in this? Dealing with outright sex-based discrimination I’ll accept. If Jill has the same education, experience, ability, performance and so forth as John, they ought to be paid the same. A misogynist employer should be held accountable. But obviously cultural factors often lead to Jill not having the same such things as John. Jill takes care of the kids or her aged parents. John does not. So John can hold my job – which is 24 x 7 and occasionally requires me to tell my wife at 2:00 AM “I’ve got to go in to work. Now.”, whereas Jill can’t. Now, I can choose to be the caregiver. If “Jill” is my wife, she can hold that job (and now I can’t).

    Question: if Jill does not suffer sex-based discrimination from an employer but can’t hold my job because she and John have decided that she’s going to be a caregiver and he’s not, are the consequences of that decision with regards to how much money they each make something that requires government action?

    Here’s another difference. There are 38 people in my group at work, where we design and support networks for corporations. There are four women, one of whom is the sole black person in the group. Two of the women (not including the black one) are the sole administrative workers in the group. Everyone else is technical. One of the other two women has kids. She gets a lot of flexibility to work from home. As far as I can tell everyone is cool with this – we mostly all either have or have had kids, she gets the job done, and our job lends itself to the work from home gig anyway. There are a couple of Hispanic males. The rest are white males.

    Not too many women have the education and experience to do what we do. Not too many men do either, but fewer women than men. Suggesting it’s because women can’t handle it is absurd. Suggesting that women don’t have those because they are not attracted to a highly technical job is worthy of debate. More women than men go to college. But what are they getting degrees in? Go into the engineering college’s building at a university and you won’t see more women than men, I assure you. Why? Cultural factors discouraging women from being interested in math and science? Lack of role models? Hostility among faculty/staff/fellow students? MIT was 9:1::M:F when I went there. Now it’s 53:47::M:F. The Institute started to include an emphasis on communication abilities (while not backing off on math and science aptitude and abilities) when selecting it’s incoming student body. I wonder, though, what they do when they get out?

    Or is the imbalance because women find other areas more attractive? Is it a push away from technical fields, or a pull from others now that women can go into any profession they want?

    And, again – is there any legitimate governmental interest in changing this? Are there any legitimate actions it can take?

  36. 38
    Radfem says:

    Another domino falls as more scandal breaks this time involving a departing management employee possibly for brokering side deals with police personnel among other things.

    I had written about that here.

    But I’ve been spending most of my time tracking down family living in Christchurch, NZ that was hit by a major 7.1 quake yesterday. Lots of damage and New Brighton near where my sister’s family lives was flooded but the family’s fine. Lots of things broken and no water (well, except the ocean) and the bridge from the South Brighton/South Shore area to main Christchurch is damaged. My niece couldn’t fly out yesterday either b/c of airport closure.

  37. 39
    Ampersand says:

    Hm. Then that takes you to all the arguments about different gender roles in parenting, who’s available for what kind of hours, outright sex-based discrimination, etc.

    Ron, I’m not sure you understood the implications of what I said. If the pay gap statistic compares only full-time, year-round workers, then folks like Jill, who “can’t hold my job because she and John have decided that she’s going to be a caregiver and he’s not,” aren’t included in the pay gap statistic. If she’s not holding down a full-time job, then she’s not included in that statistic.

  38. 40
    Doug S. says:

    That’s not quite what RonF said. He said that Jill can’t hold his job because his job requires him to spend more time than a “normal” full-time job.

  39. 41
    Robert says:

    Also, noninclusion in the statistic makes a difference. Jill is a highly-trained engineer. She will earn three times the average salary, IF she is working the full-time job. (Whereas Joe is a bit of a dullard and will pull in only half the average salary if HE works.)

    The decision of which one of them works and which one stays home will have an impact on the equity statistic; Jill working would move it closer to equity, Joe working would move it further away. Ron’s point was that there is this huge private non-governmental decision making an enormous impact, and asking a very legitimate question – the government can make IBM hire Jill if she applies and is qualified, but what can the government do to make Jill and John come to different decisions about their roles in the relationship?

    What ought they do?

  40. 42
    mythago says:

    RonF @37: Jill and John’s private decision (who stays home) is going to be affected by cultural factors – but also workplace factors, overt and covert. If John gets two weeks’ paid paternity leave but Jill gets three months’ paternity leave, that will weigh against John staying home with the new baby. If John’s workplace is going to penalize him for being ‘not serious’ about his job much more harshly than Jill, that will affect their decision too.

    And some of those decisions get made long before Jill and John met. Over on Pandagon we were just having a discussion (sadly, with somebody I otherwise consider a feminist) about how many women have to pick a college and career path on the assumption that they’ll be the primary caretaker of their children.

  41. 43
    closetpuritan says:

    “I don’t really understand why we can’t agree that stigmatization of fat people and acknowledgement and fighting against systematic health problems that are caused by obesity, that are caused by poor nutrition, that are caused by poverty, etc… are not mutually exclusive.”

    April, I think based on the rest of your comment you meant NOT stimatizing fat people? It might be possible to focus on the health problems caused by obesity and not stigmatize fat people, but what I don’t understand is how anyone can deny that that’s NOT how it plays out. Fat people DO get stigmatized; it’s as simple as that.

    I’m an agnostic about whether any health problems are caused directly by obesity; however, there is no doubt that it’s a lot easier and a lot more reliable to improve people’s health with HAES than it is to try to make them thin. And you will also improve thin people’s health, not just fat people’s! Statistically speaking, the number of people able to achieve significant, permanent weight loss is insignificant. So I think it just doesn’t make sense to make obesity the primary focus even if you are able to eliminate any associated stigma.

    I think that, to the extent that obesity is caused by poor diet and lack of exercise, it’s perfectly possible to focus on diet and exercise independently of weight loss (including focusing on poverty’s contribution to them) and if they’re so important in determining weight, the problem will be fixed. If they don’t have a big influence on weight, people will still benefit from better diet and exercise, and everyone should shut up about fat people sitting on the couch eating donuts. (I don’t think that it should be framed as an obligation to society to be healthy, though, but rather as something people can do if they want to improve their quality of life.)

    Take exercise as an example of something that generally has a stronger effect on metabolic syndrome diseases than obesity. Even people who feel it necessary to state that they are “not an apologist for obesity” will tell you that exercise is more important than weight in determining mortality. Yet we don’t hear about a “sedentary epidemic”, and most often when exercise/sedentariness is discussed in the media, it’s in relation to its influence on weight, not for the health benefits inherent in exercise. Even though exercise is at best one of several contributing factors to obesity, and exercise has more of an impact on health than obesity, the focus is still on what exercise can do to prevent/reverse obesity. It is obvious that obesity is seen as a bigger problem than being sedentary by most people. And I’m supposed to believe that the concern about obesity is all about our health?

  42. 44
    B. Adu says:

    I don’t really understand why we can’t agree that stigmatization of fat people and acknowledgement and fighting against systematic health problems that are caused by obesity, that are caused by poor nutrition, that are caused by poverty, etc… are not mutually exclusive.

    Apart from the obvious, the question that occurs with this kind of framing is why it’s centred on fatness alone.

    For example depression has increased over the years, the amount of people on anti depressants has increased. People tend to put that down to genes and call it an illness and those with depression in general don’t tend to want to analyse it publically, unless it’s in a sympathetic and non judgemental light. There is a sense of reticence about the remotest accusatory rationale.

    Yet in truth, self management is way more directly applicable to it than fatness. Yet the people who insist on characterizing fatness as personal mismanagement don’t tend to say the same for depression or mental crisis in general or eating disorders etc., even if they feel it, they tend to keep quiet about it on the whole, because it is seen as unacceptable line to go down.

    Thing is, even if fatness was directly my fault, it would still be far less so than depression and other things and yet I don’t hear the same terms of reference being used with the ubiquity that there is with fatness, where it is least meaningful.

    FA’s line of rationale, is fully in keeping with the above way I describe, yet it is singled out as ‘in denial’.

    If that is so, we are all in denial because the mainstream FA rationale is in keeping with the rationale I described and it is less applicable to other things.

    If our ‘issues’ were all subject to the fat frame, virtually no-one would escape the extreme censure that comes with being fat-then you’d be able to judge personally whether fat people are being ‘oversensitive’ or not.

    If we were all pressed under pointlessly self destructive view, presented as ‘honest’ self analysis, we’d all learn to be more civilised about (what is seen as) our foibles.

    We would all have to learn the lesson of fat acceptance and that is self harm is not a route to a positive outcome of any kind. So until you have to bear the same judgement for what ever is seen as your imperfections and you can tell us how that turns into gold.

    Take those who are actually going through it, fools gold glitters too.

  43. 45
    RonF says:

    And some of those decisions get made long before Jill and John met. Over on Pandagon we were just having a discussion (sadly, with somebody I otherwise consider a feminist) about how many women have to pick a college and career path on the assumption that they’ll be the primary caretaker of their children.

    Wow, does that take me back.

    My wife and I have known each other since our Junior year in high school. We discussed at that time what colleges we were planning to apply to. The concept of what we would do for a living – and therefore what degree we would get and thus where we would go to get it – came up.

    This was 1969. I was going back and forth among chemistry, chemical engineering, biology, etc., etc. I didn’t see any limitations on what I could choose to do. My then-girlfriend figured her choices were pretty much either nurse or teacher. I couldn’t believe it.

    Now, she was somewhat overly restrictive. There were female lawyers and doctors and even chemists back then. But she came from a background where a girl going to college at all was unusual (SW Chicago suburbs, working class parents, Polish ethnicity). Neither her mother nor her several aunts had gone to college. Her father in particular was not at all supportive of her going to college. Why would a girl go to college if she was going just to get married? Not that he was particularly excited that it was going to be me. But that came a few years later.

    In any case, even then women going into those professions (or any professions) were unusual, and she didn’t have the academic chops for it anyway. She did go to college and graduate in education. She’s not a teacher now, though. She didn’t go to her first choice in colleges in part because when her father drove to the campus he saw black kids there. So she ended up at her second choice – and was assigned a black roommate. Heh. I was highly amused when she wrote me a letter and told me.

  44. 46
    RonF says:

    Radfem, I’m glad to hear that your family is O.K. I hope they haven’t been displaced or suffer any loss. How about any of your friends back there?

  45. 47
    Havlová says:

    Hello peeps! I am shamelessly self-linking 3 days late. That’s pretty shameless.

    At The Czech:

    Alternative holidays! Use these as an occasion for organizing, personal action, education opportunities, or simply alternatives to holidays celebrating jingoism, imperialism, genocide, and consumerism. The list is incomplete and US-heavy. Please add any additions in the comments!!

    And BTW Over-Population Is a Myth. Poor, third world women of color are NOT Teh Big Eeeevil here peeps. Can I get a little critical analysis up in here [by “here” I mean Western society at large, most certainly not Alas people in particular]? This somewhat ranty post was provoked by the latest in a long line of white feminists talking about how we needed to “control” and “limit” women’s fertility- there are too many babies! Dontcha know third world women’s fertility is the source of all our worldly woes… famine, climate change, poverty, disease… oops, ranting again.

  46. 48
    Gene says:

    B. Adu, please speak for yourself with regards to depression and self-management. Not everyone’s depression responds to lifestyle modifications. Or medication. Or CBT.

  47. 49
    B. Adu says:

    @ Gene,

    You are missing my point, which is the peculiarily specialized frame used for fatness and how it’s less fit for it than virtually any other state I can think of.

    So why apply it where it’s least useful, if you do not tend apply it where it is likely to bemore useful?

    Ironically, your kind of response if translated into fatness, is exactly the kind of response that gets labelled as “oversensitive”, my point is not whether it is or isn’t, but that it is not in any way, unique to fat people, as you’ve just shown. Therefore if fat people are “too sensitive” everyone else is too sensitive, because that is a general kind of response. So why are fat people singled out for this? What is the underlying use we are being put to here especially by progressives who tend to take a dim view of this in other areas?

  48. 50
    Gene says:

    I agree with fat acceptance completely. But I don’t think your example was particularly helpful or sensitive. And it’s untrue that everyone frames depression as a genetic misfortune that just happens to some people. There is no shortage of blame.

  49. 51
    B. Adu says:

    What kind of example would you consider more apt?

  50. 52
    mythago says:

    Now, she was somewhat overly restrictive. There were female lawyers and doctors and even chemists back then.

    Perhaps ‘realistic’ rather than restrictive. There were certainly women in those professions, but discrimination was not only rampant but in many cases perfectly legal. And sadly, while today your wife might have more choices than nurse or teacher, there’s a good chance that family issues would mean her limiting herself within those fields; a doctor, but not a neurosurgeon; a lawyer, but not a trial lawyer. Certainly there are more men these days who consider those issues, and more flexibility for women than their used to be. But in your example, Jill was probably worrying about jugging career and babies long before she met Jack.

  51. 53
    RonF says:

    Obama’s Justice Department has also failed to fill an eyebrow-raising number of judicial vacancies in immigration courts. As of March, one out of every six positions remained unfilled, the Center for Investigative Reporting notes. At the time, the agency had promised to hire 47 judges by Sept. 30, but only five new immigration judges have been sworn in thus far. (The empty slots are also a reminder of the glaring number of judicial vacancies that have yet to be filled in the federal courts as well.)

    Hm. That’s not good. Why is this? Have these nominees been made up not scheduled for hearings? Are they being blocked or voted down? Or have they not been made?

    In the meantime, hundreds of thousands of immigrants are stuck in limbo. Some are being held in detention centers, and others are being monitored at large. It’s a diverse group, on the whole: 27 percent of people in the backlog are from Mexico, 9 percent are from China, and Armenians have the longest wait time (938 days, on average). They and their families are all just waiting to hear whether they must stay or go. And both sides of the immigration debate would probably agree that the decision should come sooner than later.

    I would have guessed that the percentage of Mexicans would have been higher than 27%. So I guess that this whole thing isn’t just anti-Mexican racism after all.

  52. 54
    Jake Squid says:

    Why is this? Have these nominees been made up not scheduled for hearings? Are they being blocked or voted down?

    According to Yahoo News they are being blocked by the Republicans.

  53. 55
    RonF says:

    Judging from that article the answer is “all of the above”. There are 102 Federal judicial vacancies. President Obama has submitted 45 nominees for them. So around 55% of the problem is that the answer to my last question – “Have they not been made?” – is “Yes.”

  54. 56
    Jake Squid says:

    You’re either misreading the article or assuming things that are unsaid. There are 45 nominees awaiting action at the time the article was written. There were also 102 vacancies at the time. However, the article also claims that, “… fewer than half of Obama’s nominees have been confirmed…” So we have no idea whether or not Obama nominated folks to fill the 55% to which you refer. Maybe he did, maybe he didn’t. We can’t tell from that article.

    He’s certainly at fault for being slow to get names to the Senate, but we have no idea of anything else he failed at from the article that I linked.

    I think that this is a great example of the Obama admin’s weaknesses, but I don’t think that we are able to say, using the linked article as our source, why there are 55 open positions currently without nominees.

  55. 57
    RonF says:

    @24: interesting posting. One thing jumped out at me, though:

    Sanctions on Iraq did terrible harm to the civilian population, resulting in the unnecessary and premature deaths of at least one hundred thousand people, and the U.S. government was the one most responsible for imposing those sanctions and keeping them in place. All of this is true.

    During the time that sanctions were in place Saddam Hussein spent vast sums of money on weaponry, fortresses, palaces, monuments to himself, etc., as well as enriching himself and his family, tribesmen and friends. Had he instead spent that money on food, medicine, civil engineering, etc., I daresay that most if not all of those civilian deaths would not have occurred. Then there’s the actions and policies that he adopted that caused the world to impose and keep in place the sanctions in the first place. I think the responsibility rests with Saddam Hussein, not the U.S.

  56. 58
    mythago says:

    So I guess that this whole thing isn’t just anti-Mexican racism after all.

    Nobody has suggested that anti-immigrant sentiment is “just” one thing or another (including racism), RonF. If you’re going to assume everybody here is too stupid to catch that little piece of rhetorical bullshit, you might as well just flat out say we’re all too unintelligent to be worth your time, k?

  57. 59
    RonF says:

    I think it’s pretty clear what they mean. “fewer than half of Obama’s nominees have been confirmed” means that of all the nominees he’s made so far since he became President fewer than half have been confirmed. The number 45 refers to those nominees who have been proposed for current openings and have neither been confirmed, denied nor withdrawn. The number 102 refers to the current number of openings, not the total number of openings that have existed and are either still currently open or that have been filled since he became President. The 55% I’m talking about is ((102-45)/102)*100, the percent of currently unfilled Federal judgeships that have no currently proposed nominee from the administration.

    So President Obama has proposed nominees for fewer than half of the currently open positions. That seems pretty amazing to me. I do agree that at this point it’s highly unlikely that any more seats will get confirmed by the current Senate, unless there’s an untimely death or resignation on the Supreme Court. It’s too close to November and a likely gain of seats by the Republicans for that. But you’d think that there would have been a group of people in the Justice Department with the assignment to put forward a slate for the President’s use many months ago.

    I wonder how long those seats have been open? If only a couple of months, that’s one thing. It would be useless at this point to put forward a name when you know it’s just going to sit there. However, a while back there were certainly opportunities to put forward a name that might attract a couple of Republican votes such as Sen. Snowe, et. al. After all, 40 positions were filled. How was he able to get those through but not others?

  58. 60
    RonF says:

    Sorry, mythago. I should have posted a sarcasm tag. There’s been a pretty steady commentary from many on the left about there being a close tie between racism and opposition to illegal immigration. Go on sites like Migra Matters and they pound the racism drum pretty loudly. Certainly the Tea Party Movement has been called out as racist at least in part because of their stance on illegal entry into this country. But the group posting here has not held that it’s the only cause. The level of debate has certainly been more sophisticated than that.

    I’ve gotten the general impression that people here seem to think it’s one of the major ones, though.

    I’m still surprised at that figure of 27% for Mexican nationals. I’d love to see the total breakdown. I’ll bet a lot of those 9% Chinese are people overstaying student visas. I wonder what the rest are, and what the source was that the author of that article used for that number.

  59. 61
    nobody.really says:

    Are courts sitting idle because 1) Republicans block the nominees, or 2) Obama hasn’t nominated anyone?

    These reasons are not as distinct as you might think. Suppose Obama called you today and asked whether you’d like to be nominated as a federal judge; what would you say? Good pay, job security, lots of monotony (listening to people plead guilty to drug possession cases day after day, and then sentencing them according to the sentencing guidelines), etc. You in?

    Now realize that as soon as you’re nominated, you’re communicating to your current employer and all your other potential employers that people should not rely on you being around. That’s not generally a good move for advancing a career.

    And then you’re name is going to sit in nomination. And sit. And sit. And sit. Opportunities for good cases, promotions, tenure track positions will come and go as you wait. Your kids need to decide which high school to attend. That new house near the courthouse will go on the market – and be bought by someone else. As you wait. And wait.

    The people who are best qualified to be a federal judge are also well qualified to do pursue other goals – including goals that have much less uncertainty attached to them. People who fear being held in limbo decline to place their name in nomination, or subsequently withdraw their names. In short, Problem 1) creates Problem 2).

  60. 62
    RonF says:

    If a tenured academic or a sitting judge are the nominees that’s not so much of an issue. It’s not going to be a big deal for an ACLU lawyer either, or some other lawyer involved in liberal advocacy. Somehow I don’t think that Pres. Obama is going to put a lot of corporate lawyers or non-tenured academics up for nomination.

  61. 63
    Gene says:

    B. Adu, when you’re talking about anti-fat stigma, why not talk about anti-fat stigma? You can make it clear that fat people are oppressed without saying that the world is an understanding place for people with depression.

  62. 64
    B. Adu says:

    when you’re talking about anti-fat stigma, why not talk about anti-fat stigma? You can make it clear that fat people are oppressed without saying that the world is an understanding place for people with depression.

    I would not use the term ‘oppressed’ to describe the condition of fat people. How would I make it clear that the framing of the discussions on fatness is so singularly applied to fatness by only referencing fatness?

    That is precisely why this hypocrisy is still so intact, because that same thing is not routinely applied to other things.

    For example a while back a thin writer wrote about her very fat brother and complained about FA saying that she would not accept that people ‘give up’ on starvation etc., and did the tedious comparison with drug rehab.

    This was someone in a happy second marriage, if the comments had been open, I would have been tempted to tell her to go back to her unhappy first marriage because I was not prepared to accept that she give up, the sanctity of marriage etc,.

    But really, why should I feel the need? If people stopped this complete disconnect that they’ve acquired with fat people, they’d be doing the thing in their minds automatically and recognize it immediately as unfair. It’s the fact that people are behaving in this manner, their choice that means we are supposed to keep whining about the unfairness of it all, why should we be put in this position when people know it that’s why they’ve disconnected, in order to keep that singular frame intact?

    I have difficulty parlaying this into ‘social justice’ when people do not ask how they’d feel if any issue they felt vulnerable about was given this treatment. I just want to say, reconnect mentally with fat people and we won’t have to.

    And I didn’t say the world is an understanding place for PWD but there is recognition, in certain circles and amongst professionals, that although changes can effect or alleviate depression, it mostly may not.

    That may seem like nothing to you, but it’s a world away from being fat where it’s quite possible to spend your whole life with no one acknowleging that it is not a direct choice, that you have tried for years to make the ‘interventions’ work and they haven’t at all and have sometimes given you other disorders and health problems, none of which are routinely acknowleged by a group of understanding people.

    It is routine for everyone including those around you to deny everything and that view counts yours doesn’t. It is disconcerting, I call it the Rebecca syndrome after the book where the housekeeper unhinges the new wife by doing things like putting up curtains of one colour when the wife goes into the room and then changing them when she exits for another colour, that everyone else sees.

    Then using that to say, you are losing your grip. Even though you know you are telling the truth, you actually feel like you are lying, you are right to fear that.

    I would love to make this kind of subjective self assertion;

    Not everyone’s depression responds to lifestyle modifications. Or medication. Or CBT.

    And for it to actually not sound like a falsehood, evasion or wishful thinking, but for it to sound like what it is, someone expressing their experience, even if people disagree with what I’m saying.

    It’s actually possible to disagree with respect, even if it doesn’t feel like it, experience has taught me the difference.

    I’d like fat people to re-gain that sense of trust. I’m sorry if you found me blunt, but I just don’t feel the same way about depression as you do, in part because I can make comparison with fatness.

  63. 65
    Dianne says:

    During the time that sanctions were in place Saddam Hussein spent vast sums of money on weaponry, fortresses, palaces, monuments to himself, etc., as well as enriching himself and his family, tribesmen and friends.

    While I think most people would agree that the monuments to himself and tossing money to friends were egregious foolishness and corruption, given that the most powerful country in the world and many of its powerful allies, not to mention a larger neighbor, were actively hostile, I don’t see how Hussein’s spending money on the military could be considered wasteful. Aren’t libertarians always arguing that the government’s primary job is to protect the country not to prevent its people from starving anyway? Much as it makes me feel dirty to defend anything Hussein did, if I had Iran and the US breathing down my neck I’d want to arm myself as well as possible too. One could argue that his biggest mistake was not spending enough on the right sorts of military: the equally bad if not worse dictator of N Korea is still in power and there isn’t even much posturing against him going on. Could be a coincidence: Middle Easterners are the current favorite villains, not Koreans, but one can’t help but notice that Kim has a nuke and wonder if that doesn’t intimidate the US.

  64. 66
    Jake Squid says:

    How does sports fandom feel about rape?

    I never ceased to be amazed by how little consideration is given to victims in discussions of professional athletes who are also rapists.

    Readers of that blog are more well informed and, generally speaking, more interested in baseball than the average fan. It seems that the fortunes of the team that one roots for are more important than not rooting for violent criminals. I shouldn’t be disappointed, but I am.

  65. 67
    littlem says:

    B. Adu, I’m with Gene. The comparison isn’t necessary.

    If you feel you need the analogy to make your point, perhaps you need to rethink the point you’re trying to make. Or, at minimum, brainstorm with yourself about another way to make it.