Open Thread: Sailer Moon vs Wonder Woman, Vogue Style, In Sweden

Some contests are all the more appealing because I have no idea what the hell is going on. (Via Racewire.)

Let’s call this an open thread.

  1. I’ll be appearing at the Puyallup Public Library >Puyallup Mini-Comic Con in Washington state on the 28th. If you’re in the area, please come see me and introduce yourself.
  2. The Best Way To Help The Syrian People
  3. What do you do when someone pulls the pin and hands you a grenade? P.Z. Myers passes along a rape accusation, and starts a thousand debates.
  4. Related to PZ’s post, Harassment, Rape, and the Difference Between Skepticism and Denialism
  5. An Open Letter to DC Comics. An impassioned indictment of DC for everything they’ve done to destroy the superheroes little girls once loved.
  6. The Banality of Richard Cohen and Racist Profiling – Ta-Nehisi Coates
  7. The Mystical GOP Faith in Voter Suppression | New Republic And see also: Finally, Real Numbers on Voter ID | New Republic
  8. Skepchick on why The Good Old Days of, er, a few years ago, weren’t very good for women.
  9. I love these New prints by Jason Limon
  10. Your National Hispanic Heritage Month Assignment: Remember The Amazing Elfago Baca.
  11. The new Miss America is a nerd.
  12. Slowed-Down Dolly Parton sounds amazing and soulful.
  13. Aaron Horkey is pretty much my favorite living poster artist.
  14. Julie Chen on The Talk: I got plastic surgery to make my eyes less Asian.
  15. Why Obama shouldn’t care about backing down on Syria
  16. Holding Fast To My Own Experience | Disability and Representation | Changing the Cultural Conversation
  17. The Oberlin Hate Crimes Are Not “Just Trolling” » Brute Reason
  18. Ugliness in All Its Glorious Complexity
  19. Unskilled Immigration To Denmark Increased Wages For Low-Skilled Danish People
  20. This Week in Misogyny, Montana Edition – Lawyers, Guns & Money : Lawyers, Guns & Money
  21. New Study Finds That State Crime Labs Are Paid Per Conviction
  22. Is a war on the undocumented replacing the war on drugs? | Friends of Justice
  23. Legendary Pictures Turned Down a Movie Because Its Main Character Is a Female Action Hero | The Mary Sue
  24. Transition Transmission • The Emergence & Danger of the ‘Acceptable Trans* Narrative’
  25. What’s Causing the Rise in Obesity? Everything. » Sociological Images
  26. Texas AG: We Don’t Hate Blacks, Only Black Democrats | Mother Jones
  27. Yes, Richard Dawkins, your statements on Islam are racist » Godlessness in Theory
  28. The character of “Chance” in these new Washington State Obamacare commercials is really very creepy:

This entry posted in Link farms. Bookmark the permalink. 

87 Responses to Open Thread: Sailer Moon vs Wonder Woman, Vogue Style, In Sweden

  1. 1
    nobody.really says:

    Is the Pope Catholic?

    We cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods. This is not possible. The teaching of the church, for that matter, is clear and I am a son of the church, but it is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time.

    * * *
    A person once asked me, in a provocative manner, if I approved of homosexuality. I replied with another question: “Tell me: when God looks at a gay person, does he endorse the existence of this person with love, or reject and condemn this person?”

    We must always consider the person. In life, God accompanies persons, and we must accompany them, starting from their situation. It is necessary to accompany them with mercy. When that happens, the Holy Spirit inspires the priest to say the right thing.

    * * *

    This church with which we should be thinking is the home of all, not a small chapel that can hold only a small group of selected people. We must not reduce the bosom of the universal church to a nest protecting our mediocrity.

    There’s been something of a war within the Catholic Church: Should Catholics become more like Jews, comfortable in their status as a minority, speaking primarily for the benefit of those already within the congregation? Cardinal Ratzinger/Pope Benedict had emphasized this model in suggesting that the Church would become a smaller but more observant body.

    Pope Francis seems to take a different tact: We are Catholic, the Church Universal. We are sincere in our doctrine, but will not let doctrine become a wall between “us” and “them.” We are all Us; we are all Them.

  2. 2
    Grace Annam says:

    Speaking as a gun owner and proponent of the right of civilians to own and bear weapons for whatever lawful right they damn well please, I’d just like to say to this guy who wrote in to Matt Bors: Buddy, you are NOT helping. What you just did was like mooning an expert photographer with a live-feed videocam and a big audience.

    I would also staff the barricades for your right to say what you want in an e-mail, but I would die hating the idiot which made the barricades necessary.

    Grace

  3. 3
    Marcus the Confused says:

    Concerning the Syria situation:

    Rather than go in guns blazing, President Obama has taken the time to assess the situation, hear the opinion of the American people, of Congress and of the military leadership. In the meantime the mere threat of force has brought the Russians to to negotiating table. I don’t know how this is going to turn out but I’m thinking, so far, so good.

    Some people are complaining that not bombing right away is damaging American credibility. Well, yes, if you’re okay with American credibility being defined as “shoot first, ask questions later.” I rather like the idea of American credibility being more along the lines of “let’s think this through.”

  4. 4
    RonF says:

    @17, quotes from the article’s own quotes of Oberlin’s administration, except for the first:

    It all culminated when someone was seen on campus wearing, I kid you not, a KKK costume.

    Last I read it was some kid wearing a blanket instead of a coat. Rumor inflated it to a KKK outfit.

    We will not tolerate acts of hatred and threats of violence regardless of motivation.

    What, then, was done to punish the perpetrators?

    We are proud of the way our community came together to respond to these incidents with education, discussion, and reflection. As Oberlin’s people have since our founding in 1833, we will continue striving to make the world better for all through education and discourse based on reason, facts, and respect.

    Really? What discussion was held about the ethics and motivations of the perpetrators? What discussion was held about the actions that were taken by student bodies and the administration when it turns out that they were based on falsehoods and disrespect? What discussion was held about using reason and waiting before the facts were known before acting?

    What they’re missing is the fact that there are actual humans who feel hurt, excluded, marginalized, stereotyped, or even afraid for their safety when they encounter hate speech that targets them.

    Did that include the hate speech that stereotyped and marginalized social conservatives who were FALSELY blamed for the incidents? Are they not minorities on the Oberlin campus? Do they not deserve as much respect as anyone else?

    This author does make some valid points. The minorities on campus should be angry about what these guys did. But the big point missed here is that these actions were taken not to hurt minorities on the Oberlin campus but to cause the Oberlin students, faculty and administration to discredit and oppress social conservatives on that campus – and they succeeded. Why should that be let stand?

  5. 5
    Marcus the Confused says:

    Dag nabbit! Why is it you only notice the glaring typo after you click “Post Comment?”

    I know nothing about running a blog so perhaps I’m talking out of my ass here but is an edit button out of the question? I realize that you wouldn’t want people to be able to edit their comments months after they post (altering history, so to speak) but, I know of websites that allow an edit up to an hour or so after posting (after which the edit button disappears). This allows people to correct mistakes they didn’t notice right away. It also allows people to retract comments made in the heat of anger that they know they are going to regret.

    Just a thought.

  6. 6
    RonF says:

    “Tell me: when God looks at a gay person, does he endorse the existence of this person with love, or reject and condemn this person?”

    The former. But consider that Jesus teaches us that this sentence applies equally if “this person” is an adulterer, murderer, thief, etc., someone whose behavior is pretty generally condemned.

  7. 7
    RonF says:

    Marcus, there used to be an edit button on a timer, but there was a technical problem with it at some point.

    I sure as hell would like to see it back.

  8. 8
    RonF says:

    Rather than go in guns blazing, President Obama has taken the time to assess the situation, hear the opinion of the American people, of Congress and of the military leadership.

    That reasoning works if you look at the beginning of this situation as being when use of chemical weapons was supposedly recently confirmed. But if you look at it as starting when Pres. Obama reacted by claiming that use of such weapons was going to be a “red line” and that there would be severe consequences if that happened, only to turn out that the severe consequences are that we’ll talk out of both sides of our mouth until the Russians cook up a deal that may never in fact happen – then Pres. Obama looks pretty incompetent.

    If Pres. Obama had sounded out the military and Congressional leadership and the State Department before he made the original speech and then based that speech and his subsequent actions on that information, then he would have shown actual leadership instead of empty demagoguery.

    In the meantime the mere threat of force has brought the Russians to the negotiating table. [fixed it]

    Where as far as we know they are lying their ass off to our face and laughing uproariously with Assad behind our backs.

    Some people are complaining that not bombing right away is damaging American credibility. Well, yes, if you’re okay with American credibility being defined as “shoot first, ask questions later.”

    I’m by no means in favor of bombing. I have yet to see a clear explanation of what that would accomplish, especially since we telegraphed our punch so far ahead of time that all the WMDs are likely dispersed and hidden by now. But what’s damaged American credibility is not that we haven’t bombed Syria but that we’ve looked like we haven’t got a clue as to what we are doing.

  9. 9
    Harlequin says:

    Can’t remember if I’ve said this before, but I bet the culprit in the missing edit function is the same one that means you have to enter your name every time you leave a comment. I think editing is still enabled but the page doesn’t recognize that you’re the one who made the comment.

    RonF, did you read link 15? It lists some studies that day that backing down or making empty threats has a negligible effect on a country’s credibility. (At least to other countries; the leader’s own people may be a different story.) I’ll definitely give you empty demagoguery, though.

  10. 10
    RonF says:

    I’ve seen a few postings on here about academia in general and the plight of adjunct faculty in particular. On that basis I thought this would be of interest:

    Death of an adjunct
    Margaret Mary Vojtko, an adjunct professor of French for 25 years, died underpaid and underappreciated at age 83

    On Sept. 1, Margaret Mary Vojtko, an adjunct professor who had taught French at Duquesne University for 25 years, passed away at the age of 83. She died as the result of a massive heart attack she suffered two weeks before. As it turned out, I may have been the last person she talked to.
    On Aug. 16, I received a call from a very upset Margaret Mary. She told me that she was under an incredible amount of stress. She was receiving radiation therapy for the cancer that had just returned to her, she was living nearly homeless because she could not afford the upkeep on her home, which was literally falling in on itself, and now, she explained, she had received another indignity — a letter from Adult Protective Services telling her that someone had referred her case to them saying that she needed assistance in taking care of herself. The letter said that if she did not meet with the caseworker the following Monday, her case would be turned over to Orphans’ Court.

    As amazing as it sounds, Margaret Mary, a 25-year professor, was not making ends meet. Even during the best of times, when she was teaching three classes a semester and two during the summer, she was not even clearing $25,000 a year, and she received absolutely no health care benefits. Compare this with the salary of Duquesne’s president, who makes more than $700,000 with full benefits.
    Meanwhile, in the past year, her teaching load had been reduced by the university to one class a semester, which meant she was making well below $10,000 a year. With huge out-of-pocket bills from UPMC Mercy for her cancer treatment, Margaret Mary was left in abject penury. She could no longer keep her electricity on in her home, which became uninhabitable during the winter. She therefore took to working at an Eat’n Park at night and then trying to catch some sleep during the day at her office at Duquesne. When this was discovered by the university, the police were called in to eject her from her office. Still, despite her cancer and her poverty, she never missed a day of class.
    Finally, in the spring, she was let go by the university, which told her she was no longer effective as an instructor — despite many glowing evaluations from students. She came to me to seek legal help to try to save her job. She said that all she wanted was money to pay her medical bills because Duquesne, which never paid her much to begin with, gave her nothing on her way out the door.

  11. 11
    Ampersand says:

    Where as far as we know they are lying their ass off to our face and laughing uproariously with Assad behind our backs.

    Okay, are you saying you’re against a diplomatic solution?

    Or are you saying that you think a diplomatic solution would have been possible without involving Russia?

    Because it really is one or the other. Syria is Russia’s client state; there is no way to do a diplomatic approach not involving Russia. So which is it?

    There is never any guarantee that anything will work out perfectly. But the situation now is significantly better than before, because Russia has now claimed ownership of the situation and publicly accepted responsibility for making sure that Syria doesn’t use chemical weapons any longer. This gives Assad much greater reason not to use chemical weapons than he had previously. Isn’t that a good thing?

    It’s also very possible that Russia genuinely wants Assad’s chemical weapons destroyed, are glad to have a reason to insist to Assad that they have no choice but to interfere, and will pursue getting rid of chemical weapons in Syria. Because they know that Assad’s reign isn’t stable enough so that they can depend on it not falling. If Assad falls, Russia has very compelling reasons to NOT want whoever replaces Assad to have a stock of chemical weapons.

    (Incidentally, I think that’s a more credible explanation for Russia’s willingness to be involved than “the mere threat of force.” The Russians are just as capable of counting heads in the House as anyone else; if they’re negotiating reluctantly and only because of the threat of force, then it would have been more logical for Russia to wait and see if Congress voted against striking Syria, since that probably would have led to the threat of force being withdrawn without them conceding anything at all.)

    Admittedly, had Romney been president, no doubt he would have raised his magic wand and POOF! all of Syria’s chemical weapons would have disappeared, leaving receipts behind so we’d know for sure. But if you don’t believe that, can you explain to me what, specifically, is the better outcome than Russian involvement you think was plausible, if only Obama had been more skilled?

  12. 12
    gin-and-whiskey says:

    I read about the Vojtko case. Her death is disturbing. Society should have provided for her better. But I don’t see the blame being put on Duquesne.

    She was an adjunct French instructor, right? I have no idea whether or not she held a PhD (which, FWIW, seems to be the minimum degree to be a Duquesne professor.) Perhaps you need a serious academic PhD to teach a detailed 500-level seminar (here is one of Duquesne’s French professors) but you don’t need to be a PhD if you are teaching the normal 101-201 “get the language requirement out of the way” stuff (here is a French teaching adjunct, as a comparison, who FWIW appears to be one of the more highly educated ones. At my own highly-ranked college, they used non-professor adjuncts for some low level foreign language courses, merely because they were native language speakers (this Duquesne adjunct doesn’t have a language degree at all.)

    The union frames the issue as “why is a Duqesne adjunct French professor who is working part-time not getting paid more?” but that’s the wrong framing. Perhaps a more reasonable framing would be “what should society do with someone who wants to practice a skill that isn’t in vast demand, and for which there is an ample supply of workers, like teaching college French, working in a museum, being a kayaking instructor or a park ranger, and so on?” What do you do about the fact that France is full of educated French speakers who may move to the USA, and there are many graduating French majors in the USA, and yet there are only a limited number of classes available?

    Or to look at it from another angle, we could ask “why didn’t Duquesne pay her more or hire her full time?” But the corollary is “if the job sucked so much and she was such a valuable worker then why did she do it for 25 years, through multiple boom/bust cycles?” And the followup is also obvious: if Duquesne was going to hire a full time highly-paid teacher would they have hired Vojtko or fired her? After all, the typical union argument “things would be better if folks worked full time” is a bit specious: sure, it’s better for the people who are lucky enough to get the jobs, but it reduces the # of jobs available and therefore increases the # of people with no work at all. Remember: “no work at all” is obviously worse than “part time adjunct,” or you wouldn’t have so many people who want to work as part time adjuncts.

    Expertise in teaching an not-so-useful* foreign language is, to put it mildly, not necessarily a skill which is destined to have a lifelong high pay structure.

    Vojtko chose to stay at Duquesne for many years. She chose to remain as a French adjunct–not a high school teacher (public or private) and not an academic, and not anything else. I have no idea if she possessed the skills to succeed as a high school teacher, or a Gap manager, or a lawyer, or a gardener, or anything else; I do know that she didn’t do those other things full time. And the fact that someone WANTS to spend her life teaching French doesn’t mean that Duquesne, or we as a society, are required to provide her with a job doing so, much less a job which is highly compensated.

    The union guy says:

    Perhaps cases like this one will force institutions to realize that those hired to teach college-level courses deserve to be treated as the professionals they are.

    What on earth does that mean? That teachers are in some special class where they need to get paid a lot, even if they are exceedingly fungible and in extreme oversupply? Hey, do you think we can get that rule for lawyers or stockbrokers or bond traders or journalists or programmers or any other group of people who would like to make more money (hi, there nice to meetcha!) and so on? Plenty of us high-degree-holding, high-skill professionals end up doing work for minimum wage if things aren’t going well–that is, if we have in-field work at all. Such is life.

    Vojtko should not have died sick, hungry, and cold. She should have obtained social services. But that is a failure of society, not of Duquesne.

    *More and more French-speaking people end up speaking English these days. As languages go, it’s a relatively useless one; in the US you’d be far better served by others. Which is a bummer, since I studied French. I wish I studied Spanish instead…

  13. 13
    nobody.really says:

    Amp, Amp, Amp – surely you can learn from history? Don’t you recall RonF’s high praise for Clinton’s handling of Rwanda?

    There was a situation in which a nation was slaughtering its own citizens in a manner that flouted international norms. But unlike that feckless Obama, the Clinton Administration assiduously averted its eyes, rigorously refraining from acknowledging the facts on the ground. And just look at what a boost that was to America’s prestige!

    I invite everyone who derides Obama’s reference to a “red line” to attend the next Holocaust Remembrance exercise and heap the same derision upon the rubes saying “Never again.” Because the bottom line is that international norms of decency are all pure poppycock unless someone is willing to speak up for them.

    Now, maybe the answer is to acknowledge that it is all poppycock, and the people solemnly intoning “Never again” really are rubes.

    Or maybe the answer is that we have a duty to speak – and act – to defend international norms of decency.

    Or maybe there is a third way – a way steeped in cost/benefit analysis. Maybe we speak as if international norms of decency are inviolate, precisely because talk is cheap. And maybe we calibrate our responses to violations of those norms, matching what we can hope to achieve with what we are willing to expend. Maybe we exploit the fact that other parties cannot be confident of how far we are willing to go in order to induce a compromise out of them. Yes, this path is murkier. No, this path does not lend itself to self-righteous chest-thumbing. But it might produce the best outcomes.

  14. 14
    Ruchama says:

    Plenty of us high-degree-holding, high-skill professionals end up doing work for minimum wage if things aren’t going well–that is, if we have in-field work at all. Such is life.

    Buzzfeed today published a list of the lowest-paying jobs that require a bachelors degree. I’ve got no idea how accurate it is (it is Buzzfeed, after all), but I’ve got a doctorate, and I’m working full-time in my field, and my salary is in the range listed.

  15. 15
    Jake Squid says:

    I received Mandolin’s new book the other day.

    http://subterraneanpress.com/store/product_detail/how_the_world_became_quiet

    I got #47. I haven’t had time to start reading (the stories I haven’t read, yet), but I’ve got to say that the book itself is beautifully made.

    If you haven’t boughten it, yet, and you can afford it, you should get yourself one (or eight!) today.

  16. 16
    RonF says:

    Okay, are you saying you’re against a diplomatic solution?

    Nope. Didn’t say that.

    Or are you saying that you think a diplomatic solution would have been possible without involving Russia?

    Nope. Didn’t say that either.

    Because it really is one or the other. Syria is Russia’s client state; there is no way to do a diplomatic approach not involving Russia. So which is it?

    It has been well known for some time that Assad had stocks of chemical weapons, both his own and those that got trucked over the border from Iraq when Saddam was in power and being threatened by the U.S. So before Pres. Obama ever opened his mouth about the subject, he should have sat down with the Secretary of State, his national security advisers and our military leaders and reviewed his options from a diplomatic, security and military option. At that point they decide on what actions they take, whether diplomatic or military, should various events occur.

    Then he makes an informed statement to the world. If there’s a real “red line”, then we act when it’s crossed. Note carefully that I’m not defining that act. That was something that the President should have done before he ever opened his mouth.

    And then, finally, if the right path was a diplomatic initiative involving Russia, Pres. Obama should have been the one to propose it and propose terms with some specificity regarding actions, processes, consequences, timelines, enforcement, etc.

    Instead what we got was half-cocked speeches that resulted in confusion, conflicting statements from the Administration and precisely zero action when said red line was crossed and re-crossed. Until finally Russia stepped in and took advantage of the situation to increase it’s influence in the region and look actually competent, while we grab onto whatever Putin decided to offer like we were a stumped quiz show contestant grasping at a lifeline the host pulled out of his pocket.

    There is never any guarantee that anything will work out perfectly. But the situation now is significantly better than before, because Russia has now claimed ownership of the situation and publicly accepted responsibility for making sure that Syria doesn’t use chemical weapons any longer.

    Did they now? Have they explicitly committed to take responsibility to ensure that Assad will not use chemical weapons again? Or did they just say they’d make an offer to him and start negotiating to see if Assad would take it? What commitment to action have they made if Assad decides to use them again? What warnings has Putin given Assad?

    This gives Assad much greater reason not to use chemical weapons than he had previously. Isn’t that a good thing?

    What do you think will happen if Assad decides to gas some village or group of rebels tomorrow? What do you think Assad thinks will happen?

    Syria isn’t a client state of Russia because Putin likes playing Risk with real armies. Putin needs Syria to help provide alternative oil pipeline routes. Syria has leverage with Russia. He’s got more leverage with them than he has with us!

    Nothing is real here. There is no real commitment from Syria or from Russia, and nothing that we have any way of ensuring is enforced. We got NOTHING out of all this, except to look incompetent. Should we have gone in with bombs? I don’t know. What I do know is that apparently Pres. Obama didn’t know either – but unlike me he’s got both the responsibility to do so and the resources to find out.

  17. 17
    RonF says:

    I invite everyone who derides Obama’s reference to a “red line” to attend the next Holocaust Remembrance exercise and heap the same derision upon the rubes saying “Never again.”

    The people saying “Never again” are not looking to the U.S. as being the guarantor . They are looking to Israel, who, I suspect very much unlike the present U.S. Administration, will make good on that statement.

  18. 18
    nobody.really says:

    Don’t you recall RonF’s high praise for Clinton’s handling of Rwanda?

    There was a situation in which a nation was slaughtering its own citizens in a manner that flouted international norms. But unlike that feckless Obama, the Clinton Administration assiduously averted its eyes, rigorously refraining from acknowledging the facts on the ground. And just look at what a boost that was to America’s prestige!

    I invite everyone who derides Obama’s reference to a “red line” to attend the next Holocaust Remembrance exercise and heap the same derision upon the rubes saying “Never again.” Because the bottom line is that international norms of decency are all pure poppycock unless someone is willing to speak up for them.

    The people saying “Never again” are not looking to the U.S. as being the guarantor . They are looking to Israel, who, I suspect very much unlike the present U.S. Administration, will make good on that statement.

    And remind us, how did Israel intervene in the Rwandan genocide? Oh, that’s right: Genocide happened again, and Israel made good on its threat to sit on its ass – along with the rest of us.

    The bottom line remains.

  19. 19
    Elusis says:

    RonF – I read that article the other day with a terrible feeling in my gut. Because that scenario is what I have been referring to as my “retirement plan” for the past couple of years of working as, essentially, an academic “perma-temp” (multiple adjunct classes at multiple schools/programs, with no guarantee of classes beyond any particular semester/quarter and no benefits). “I’m going to die, frozen to death, in a ditch,” is what I tell people when they asked about my retirement plans. (After all, I won’t pay off my student loans until I’m 70).

    And yes, G&W, I have a PhD. Why do I “put up with it”? I don’t. I’ve been applying for full time jobs when they appear but there have been essentially zero full-time openings in my field in my area lately. Around 70% of classes are now taught by adjuncts. A new program in my field just opened at the university where I teach in two other related programs – they hired a director, but no faculty. Just adjuncts.

  20. 20
    closetpuritan says:

    Yesterday I was listening to “The Story” and they had a really interesting segment about witch camps in Ghana–sort of like leper colonies or refugee camps, accused witches have to flee to witch camps for their own protection. Most of the residents are adult women. There are some men. There are also some children, but most children accused of witchcraft have more difficulty escaping–in fact many are infants abandoned to die shortly after birth.

    I transcribed a part at the end that I found particularly interesting [I omitted some "yeah"s, "you know"s, repeated words, etc.]:

    Leo Igwe: The problem is growing. And it is being complicated by Pentecostal Christianity and also the traditional or local adaptation of Islamic beliefs.
    Dick Gordon: Wait a second. How are Christianity or Islam making it worse?
    Leo Igwe: Let me tell you how they’re worsening the situation. First of all, when the Christian missionaries came they were Europeans, they came here. Of course they looked down on the the beliefs of Africans. They said, oh, the beliefs of Africans, they are fetish, they are pagans, and all that. And they wanted to convert them to what they called the civilized Christianity. So to that extent, it wasn’t much of a problem. What they did was to drive the witchcraft accusations underground. Now, there are a lot of local evangelists, local missionaries, local churches, they call them sometimes African Independent Churches, there are very Pentecostal groups, and many of these groups, sometimes, are driven by what they call biblical literalism. They read the bible and tell you the bible is the word of God…. Now when you look at Exodus 22:18, it says “Suffer not a witch to live”. Many Pentecostal churches are capitalizing on this verse. Because it directly, it explicitly, it categorically resonates with the traditional belief in witchcraft and the traditional practice of torturing, executing, persecuting alleged witches. So this is what many local Pentecostal churches are using.
    …Some people say that witchcraft is local, primitive, African belief. What about believing in evil spirits? What about belief in demonic possessions? These are classical Christian teachings. And to many people in Africa, there are no differences. The belief in witchcraft is part of the ways people try to explain evil.
    Dick Gordon: It must be very discouraging for you.
    Leo Igwe: It is not discouraging for me. Do you know why? …. I have read a bit… about the witch hunt in Europe. And I want to tell you that what I’ve read about the witch hunt in Europe, so far, what I’ve read is quite horrifying. The situation was very bad.
    Dick Gordon: But it was 400 years ago, you know?
    Leo Igwe: But it does not matter! It is still part of our history. And let us also not forget that people are still fighting religious wars and killing others in the name of their religion even up to today. It may not be witch hunting–it may be another form of religious belief or religious delusion or superstition. At least it happened in human history and it came to an end. If it ended in Europe, I still think it will end in Africa. Definitely. It will end. I still think that why the thing is very slow is that the UN has not come out with a categorical, definitive program to address this. We should go beyond statements. We should get grassroots programs of education and enlightenment teaching people the basics of health education that a woman can not turn to a witch to cause diseases or death, that when people are sick they should go to a hospital, they should not go to a traditionalist, a traditional herbalist, or native doctor, or witch doctor, and that if somebody dies, they can conduct an autopsy, that people can die of heart attack and they can die of other diseases, and die as a result of disease that can be commonsensically confirmed, and not that people die as a result of malevolent magic of neighbors or enemies. This is basic education. So I think and I’m deeply convinced that it can become history if we muster the necessary political will, and stop shying away from the fundamental misconceptions driving this campaign, and stop thinking that witch hunting is part of African culture, and people don’t want to criticize it. We should criticize abuses in the name of culture and religion. We should do it now. If we are delaying it, we are delaying it at our own expense. Whether you are an African or not, as long as we are part of this global village, what is affecting, what is causing suffering in another part of the world, you can respond. You can do something. Whether the UN, or the EU, we can take measures. And the day we take measures, it will become history.

    There are two additional links to pieces written by Leo Igwe on The Story’s website.

  21. 21
    Hector_St_Clare says:

    That piece written in response to Richard Dawkins seemed particularly silly. I have rather little fondness or respect for Dawkins, but mockery / criticism of Islam can’t possibly be racist, because Islam isn’t a race.

    I’m certainly a ‘culturist’ in that I believe there are superior and inferior *cultures* (and the same goes for religion). This is distinct from ‘racism’.

  22. 22
    closetpuritan says:

    I left a comment here that is not showing up. Was it too long?

  23. 23
    Ampersand says:

    Closetpuritan: It had been mistaken by the spam filter for spam, for some reason. Thanks for letting me know; I found it and marked it “not spam.” Please let me know anytime that happens. :-)

  24. 24
    mythago says:

    As to academia, I think some folks are forgetting that, twenty years ago or so, the career model was very different. The use of adjuncts and part-times and whittling down tenured faculty in order to keep all the money for administrators was not yet the norm. The mantra was “this generation of professors is going to be retiring soon and then lots of jobs will be opening up for you.” Well, yes and no, in that order.

    Lest you think I am merely being snippy about administrators, the University of California system has an ugly and quite recent history of sweetheart deals, dishonesty and circle-jerk salary-raising in order to “stay competitive”, meaning, making sure the people at the top had high salaries so they didn’t need to feel inadequate that the Ivies pay people more.

  25. 25
    RonF says:

    nobody.really: with regards to

    Don’t you recall RonF’s high praise for Clinton’s handling of Rwanda?

    and

    And remind us, how did Israel intervene in the Rwandan genocide?

    What are you talking about?

  26. 26
    RonF says:

    Hector:

    I have rather little fondness or respect for Dawkins, but mockery / criticism of Islam can’t possibly be racist, because Islam isn’t a race.

    Well, yeah, but if you can’t accuse someone of racism you can’t cut off debate by placing unacceptable taint on your opponents, you actually have to treat them seriously. So he needs an accusation of racism in there.

  27. I have not read the Dawkins piece and so what I am going to say has nothing to do with whether or not what was said about Islam in his piece, whether by him or by a person he was criticizing, is racist, but I could not let this comment of Hector’s pass:

    I have rather little fondness or respect for Dawkins, but mockery / criticism of Islam can’t possibly be racist, because Islam isn’t a race.

    Islam may not be a race, but it certainly can be, and often is, racialized in the same way that Judaism has been (viciously, hatefully, and with deadly intent) racialized in various and sundry ways for centuries. If what Dawkins said–or what Dawkins was criticizing–isn’t racist, and it may very well not be, defend it on its merits, not on a general principle that is demonstrably inaccurate.

  28. 28
    alex says:

    I sort of see what you’re getting at, but Islam is easily the most racially diverse of the world religions and people who commit anti-Islam violence have a notable tendency to fuck up and target non-Muslims. You can’t really compare it to what’s happened to the Jews.

  29. 29
    Harlequin says:

    people who commit anti-Islam violence have a notable tendency to fuck up and target non-Muslims

    I’d say that demonstrates, not disproves, that anti-Islam violence has racial overtones. Based on interviews with suspects (at least on the US), those crimes are often the result of a thought process like “all Muslims are Arabs, and this person looks Arabic [and possibly has non-Christian clothing/religious symbols of a form I don't recognize], therefore they are a Muslim.”

  30. 30
    RonF says:

    but Islam is easily the most racially diverse of the world religions

    Interesting assertion. I’d like to see you support it with facts. Christianity is found all over the planet. We know it’s throughout the Islamic world – we keep seeing news stories on how Christians are being killed and churches burned in Muslim-majority countries, so there must be Christians there. And it’s found throughout Africa, Asia, Europe and North and South America. What’s left?

  31. 31
    alex says:

    “all Muslims are Arabs, and this person looks Arabic [and possibly has non-Christian clothing/religious symbols of a form I don't recognize], therefore they are a Muslim.”

    Arabs are a cultural group not a racial group, but the overwhelming majority are Caucasians, in the census they get classed as White. The people most easily victimized on the basis of physical appearance – because they read non white – are Asiatic, and from outside Arabia (Iran to India).

    If people beat up someone who’s Asiatic, because they see a turban, and their mental image of Arabia is from stuff like the Thief of Baghdad, where Caucasians playing pre-Islamic Arab Caucasians wore turbans, which reads to them as Muslim – that’s a very fucking confused cultural interpretation which is genuinely deeply ingrained in parts of our culture. But I’m not sure race is at the heart of it.

  32. 32
    Ampersand says:

    Well, yeah, but if you can’t accuse someone of racism you can’t cut off debate by placing unacceptable taint on your opponents, you actually have to treat them seriously. So he needs an accusation of racism in there.

    Ron, this nasty, mean-spirited accusation of bad faith is as annoying as it is shallow.

    There are many ways that you can respond to an accusation of racism. You could, for instance, attack the definition of racism, as Hector did. You could look at the specifics of the argument I linked to, and argue that they are inaccurate, are based on assumptions that we wouldn’t really want to endorse, etc etc..

    However, what you’ve just done is make a blanket accusation of bad faith of everyone who is concerned with racism or ever brings it up. That, unlike racism, is actually a argument-killer, because it is a pure ad hom based on no rational evidence. You think you’ve got magic mind-reading abilities, and you accuse everyone who disagrees with you of arguing in bad faith.

    Well, as a matter of fact, I know (because I’m in my mind, and you’re not) that I’m not arguing in bad faith, and that I genuinely believe that racism is a significant problem.

    If you choose to assume I’m a liar and that no one who disagrees with you could be arguing in good faith, however, then there’s nothing I can say to you.

  33. 33
    nobody.really says:

    If you choose to assume I’m a liar … then there’s nothing I can say to you.

    There’s really nothing Amp can say?

    Yeah, like we’re gonna believe that….

  34. 34
    alex says:

    Ron. Do want to go through the demographics. Roughly Xtians get: the Americas, Europe, bottom half of Africa, Australasia, Philippines. Muslims get: top half of Africa, near east, good chunk of the Indian subcontinent, Indonesia.

    I’d call it a roughly a tie on people of African and Far Eastern decent. Xtians then skew very White. There are plenty of White Muslims in Arabia and SE Europe, but there are also plenty of non-white Muslims in from central and south asia. That seems to throw it decisively to Islam. Now you could argue the pardos and mestizos for the Xtians, but I’m not sure that adds more diversity than the various asians. I think Xtians do get a respectable second place though.

  35. 35
    Hector_St_Clare says:

    Re: Roughly Xtians get: the Americas, Europe, bottom half of Africa, Australasia, Philippines.

    The really genetically distinct races (i.e. the ones which are farthest away from everyone else- Khoisan, Melanesians, Aborigines, to some extent Indian tribal groups) are largely neither Christian nor Muslim, but they skew more Christian than Muslim. Indonesians share racial origins with Filipinos, so I don’t think Islam has an advantage there. And I do think once you take into account that nearly all people of Native American stock are Christianized, then Christianity is more racially diverse than Islam. It’s a pretty interesting question though, and I’m glad you brought it up. We could debate how to quantify racial diversity, which would be an interesting and hopefully productive debate in itself.

    South Asians aren’t a single racial group, for what it’s worth, they’re a mixture (like Latinos), in this case of Ancient South Indian and Ancient North Indian origins. The ASI were racially as distinct from Europeans and Chinese as either of those two are from each other.

  36. 36
    Hector_St_Clare says:

    Re: Islam may not be a race, but it certainly can be, and often is, racialized in the same way that Judaism has been (viciously, hatefully, and with deadly intent) racialized in various and sundry ways for centuries

    I’m not quite sure what you mean. It is certainly possible to criticize *Muslim people* in racialised ways, but it isn’t possible for criticism of *Islam* as a body of thought (or, for that matter, Judaism, or Hinduism, which like Judaism and unlike Islam is sometimes viewed, incorrectly, as being an inherited faith) to be racist, any more than it is to criticize any other set of ideas. One can strongly disapprove of Islam, or Judaism, or Hinduism, based solely on the content of those faiths and not the genetic descent of the people who happen to practice them. I think most people who strongly criticize Islam, at least in Europe and America, would have no particular opposition to former Muslims who converted.

    Re: Well, yeah, but if you can’t accuse someone of racism you can’t cut off debate by placing unacceptable taint on your opponents, you actually have to treat them seriously. So he needs an accusation of racism in there

    Yes, much easier to accuse your opponents of racism than actually to defend Islamic ideas.

  37. 37
    Harlequin says:

    If people beat up someone who’s Asiatic, because they see a turban, and their mental image of Arabia is from stuff like the Thief of Baghdad, where Caucasians playing pre-Islamic Arab Caucasians wore turbans, which reads to them as Muslim – that’s a very fucking confused cultural interpretation which is genuinely deeply ingrained in parts of our culture. But I’m not sure race is at the heart of it.

    Whether or not it’s about race as opposed to some other prejudice is, I guess, debatable; I think the difference you’re drawing is more semantic than practical, but me calling other people pedantic is definitely a pot, kettle, black situation. But in any case, “some people who engage in racist behavior are ill-informed” is not an argument against their actions being racist. If they meant to target a person of a particular race, and in fact target a person of a different race, the fact that they got it wrong doesn’t magically make the act not-racially-motivated.

  38. 38
    Ampersand says:

    Apologies to Ron for the overly grumpy tone of my response to him. Sorry, Ron. I failed to live up to my own standards.

    I’ve crossed out some the snarkier bits of that comment. I still stand by the substance of what I wrote (which is to say, the bits I didn’t cross out).

  39. Hector:

    I’m not quite sure what you mean. It is certainly possible to criticize *Muslim people* in racialised ways, but it isn’t possible for criticism of *Islam* as a body of thought (or, for that matter, Judaism, or Hinduism, which like Judaism and unlike Islam is sometimes viewed, incorrectly, as being an inherited faith) to be racist, any more than it is to criticize any other set of ideas. One can strongly disapprove of Islam, or Judaism, or Hinduism, based solely on the content of those faiths and not the genetic descent of the people who happen to practice them. I think most people who strongly criticize Islam, at least in Europe and America, would have no particular opposition to former Muslims who converted.

    It is also possible to assume, as has been done about Jews for centuries–and I am not going to get into a discussion here of the intellectual history of antisemitism; if you really care about this subject, you can do that research on your own–that Judaism, its values, it laws, its way of seeing the world, is somehow congenital in the bodies of people who are born Jewish (which means, in mainstream Judaism anyway, that they are born to a Jewish mother). I’m not sure what you mean when you say that Islam is not an inherited religion–at least if I have understood your prose correctly–but if you mean by that that it is not passed down from parents (mainly fathers) to children, in the same way that Judaism is understood to be, then you are wrong.

    Of course one can disapprove of any body of thought, strongly or otherwise, without racializing the people who hold to that body of thought, but just because one asserts that such disapproval is not racist does not make it not racist. The devil is in the details, and the point of my comment was that you elided over all the details

  40. 40
    RonF says:

    An accusation of racism when you’re talking about race is one thing, Amp. But when it’s used when you’re NOT talking about race the motives of the accuser became a lot more suspect.

    Cool on the original comment. Everyone gets to be grumpy once in a while.

  41. 41
    gin-and-whiskey says:

    mythago says:
    As to academia, I think some folks are forgetting that, twenty years ago or so, the career model was very different. The use of adjuncts and part-times and whittling down tenured faculty in order to keep all the money for administrators was not yet the norm. The mantra was “this generation of professors is going to be retiring soon and then lots of jobs will be opening up for you.” Well, yes and no, in that order.

    That was the kool-aid, sure, but it was never real. I remember serving on a faculty search committee in the early 1990s. We had well over 100 applicants, and over 75 well-qualified applicants, for a junior tenure track position. The majority of them were not laterals. That was common then and now; tenured professorships are one of the hardest jobs to get in the world. The knowledge of that reality–available with a bit of research–was why I personally didn’t go into a PhD program in the early 90s.

    Sure, the market was different, and better. I don’t deny that. But the market for professorships was never what I would call “good;” even with the rosiest sunglasses available, it’s not as if you could credibly state that there were EVER going to be enough academic jobs to provide slots for more than a small fraction of PhD graduates, much less MA candidates. And for those who were not able to obtain the tenure track positions (which was most people, right?) there was less academic work since there were fewer adjunct positions available. (I know, I know; I keep saying this. But “fire four adjuncts and hire someone full time” is only good for one of those four people. Most people neglect to mention, or acknowledge, that reality.) Getting a PhD was never a guarantee of work. Even in the 1980s or 1990s it was a losing gamble unless you really focused on a few selected fields. It’s hard to believe that people who would decide to get a Masters in Art History or a PhD in French would be thinking that the jobs would drop from the rooftops.

    And that was 20 years ago. 20 years is a long time: time enough to start a new career, or even go back to school. Should we still give “reasonable reliance” status when the reliance happened in 1993? How many years does the writing have to be on the wall before you start saying “seriously, you need to stop pretending that you’re getting a professorship; you need to either change careers or deal with what you have?”

    Elusis says:
    And yes, G&W, I have a PhD. Why do I “put up with it”? I don’t. I’ve been applying for full time jobs when they appear but there have been essentially zero full-time openings in my field in my area lately.

    Elusis, I deliberately spoke in the abstract, and I’m happy to return there. For the moment I’ll assume you’re OK with personal specifics, since you brought them up on your own.

    Do you “put up with it?” Yes, unless you’re otherwise unemployable in a competing field. If adjunct work pays shit and if you don’t have any realistic hope of obtaining a full time job, then are probably not justified in focusing on “full time openings in your field in your area.” For a highly educated and highly intelligent person who isn’t a top-of-field graduate from a top school, adjunct work is probably not the best long-term earning potential.

    You may need to work out of your field. You may need to try to teach high school; you may not be able to use your PhD at all, depending on your degree. But since you have a PhD then you’re probably one of the most highly intelligent and educated people on the planet. And there have never been a ton of teaching jobs. So presumably you did some basic planning and anticipated the possibility that you wouldn’t have paying academic work, just like you presumably did some basic evaluation over the last decade and adjusted your plans for the reality of hiring trends.

    If you are looking for full time in-area jobs, you may be focusing on teaching. If so, I have no idea whether or not that’s a good decision. Statistically it is not, or so it seems to me: there’s a lot of oversupply and few opportunities to get ahead. Perhaps you are an exception.

    Of course, I assume “teaching, in field of PhD” is what you want to do. That’s OK, but not incredibly relevant. There are lots of things that I would like to do. There is a very small set of things that people will pay me to do, only a subset of which involve my law degree. I’m going to do something in category #2 because it’s what I need; category #1 is a luxury. Same for you and everyone else. I am one of a gazillion folks I know who have had to rejigger our whole practices (and in many cases, our careers) to accommodate societal and economic changes. As you’re probably aware, “lawyer” isn’t exactly a golden ticket these days, unless you’re in the elite of the elite.

    Around 70% of classes are now taught by adjuncts. A new program in my field just opened at the university where I teach in two other related programs – they hired a director, but no faculty. Just adjuncts.

    Aaaand… if you were the director, would you do it differently? Would you fire 75% of your adjuncts (bummer for them) and hire some folks full time, knowing that you then couldn’t easily fire them later if your needs and department weights and school wanted some changes? And if most of the schools did that, how certain are you that you would end up in the “full time professor” group and not in the “full time unemployed” group? Are you sure it would be a better outcome?

    People who want a full time teaching job (much less a tenured one) are a bit like people who want to be in professional sports, or who want to be name partners at a law firm, or who want to make a living in a chorus line or as a Yellowstone park ranger or as a writer for Rolling Stone or as a TV personality. There simply aren’t many of that type of jobs available and there are tons of folks who want them. Moreover, the PhD admission-screening and degree process virtually ensures that you’ll have extraordinarily harsh competition from highly intelligent and equally-educated folks, at every step. I don’t see how the decision is financially reasonable in most cases unless you are already rich.

  42. 42
    Varusz says:

    “But since you have a PhD then you’re probably one of the most highly intelligent and educated people on the planet.”

    This has nothing to do with Elusis, but in general I just don’t buy that statement at all. Sorry, I’ve run into too many morons with PhDs. The hard sciences definitely have a tilt toward higher IQs among the PhDs, but many other subjects have no tilt at all. Some couldn’t learn how to add fractions more quickly than Koko the Gorilla could learn it.

  43. 43
    gin-and-whiskey says:

    Varusz says:
    September 24, 2013 at 11:20 am
    In general I just don’t buy that statement at all.

    If you don’t buy it at all, you probably don’t have a PhD. ;)

    Sorry, I’ve run into too many morons with PhDs.

    Anecdotes are not data.

    The hard sciences definitely have a tilt toward higher IQs among the PhDs,

    This is true in a relative sense.

    but many other subjects have no tilt at all.

    This is not true.

    Some couldn’t learn how to add fractions more quickly than Koko the Gorilla could learn it.

    This is almost certainly true, but wholly irrelevant. Math is only one aspect of intelligence.

    On average it’s more than a fair statement that you can’t realistically get a PhD unless you’re really smart and capable: you have to get through college, and get into the PhD program, and survive years of classes, and write a dissertation.

    Yes, there are exceptions. I’m sure that there are stupid PhDs just like there are stupid lawyers and doctors. But by and large PhDs are extremely smart.

    In literally 10 seconds on google “average iq of phd graduates” I found a NYT article which says:

    What Your I.Q. Means

    116+: 17 percent of the world population; superior I.Q.; appropriate average for individuals in professional occupations.

    121+: 10 percent; potentially gifted; average for college graduates

    132+: 2 percent; borderline genius; average I.Q. of most Ph.D. recipients

    143+: 1 percent; genius level; about average for Ph.D.’s in physics

    158+: 1 in 10,000; Nobel Prize winners

    164+: 1 in 30,000; Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and the chess champion Bobby Fischer.

  44. 44
    Varusz says:

    “If you don’t buy it at all, you probably don’t have a PhD.”

    Well, I got my GED at age 24, and I think I’m real smart. So that don’t prove nothin.

  45. 45
    Varusz says:

    “164+: 1 in 30,000; Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and the chess champion Bobby Fischer.”

    Puh-leeze. They are considering the wrong things, and I doubt Mozart took one of the modern-day tests. Those two had more likely idiot-savant, very focused abilities in one area, not the capability of solving logical puzzles on current-day IQ tests. I’d more likely put Einstein, Newton and (maybe) Goethe in that top category.

  46. 46
    Harlequin says:

    “fire four adjuncts and hire someone full time” is only good for one of those four people

    I am in the hard sciences, where the job market is a little different. But it is generally the case among adjuncts I know (even the few that I know in humanities/social sciences) that they teach several classes. Certainly they’re taking on more than 1/4 the load a faculty member would be expected to take; sometimes they even teach more than a faculty member would. And since the number of classes offered is really not that elastic at most universities, the numbers don’t end up working out like 4 adjuncts = 1 full-time job. (There’d still be some losses due to restructuring of courses, etc, but it’s nowhere near that ratio. Everyone I know who advocates for more full-time/tenure-track positions knows and expects that it will mean more money spent in salary.)

    Re: Mozart, he was also good at math and languages (though nowhere near his abilities with music, of course). Also, just to emphasize the usual remarks that IQ doesn’t fully determine success, 1/30,000 means there are ~10,000 such people in the US right now.

  47. 47
    marmalade says:

    I don’t usually repost . . . but this is moving, brave, and beautiful.

    27 male survivors of sexual assault

  48. Marmalade,

    Thank you for posting that.

  49. 49
    Hector_St_Clare says:

    Re: but if you mean by that that it is not passed down from parents (mainly fathers) to children, in the same way that Judaism is understood to be, then you are wrong.

    Islam is a creedal religion: the *religious* definition of a Muslim is a person who believes and affirms the Shahadah. (There might be some countries which treat Muslims to some extent as defined by common descent too, for political purposes, but that isn’t what fundamentally makes one a Muslim). I’m not sure if, in Judaism, one is considered Jewish ‘by default’ if one has a Jewish mother, but if so that would be a difference from Islam. (Some Hindus argue that Hinduism is something you inherit too, which I consider nonsense: a body of beliefs is properly something that should be chosen, not inherited).

    In this particular case, this fellow was arguing that Dawkins and others don’t reserve the same criticism for Christians in Uganda, for example, who share similar views (in this case, about killing gay people) as many Muslims do, and that different treatment was ‘racist’. To which I’d make two points: 1) Personally, I’ve never been shy about pointing out that there are plenty of Christians, Hindus and others in the world who hold to barbaric beliefs- Hindus in northern India, for example, generally hold substantially more backward views about women than their Muslim compatriots; 2) Even if one was more critical of the same conduct coming from a Muslim than from a Christian, that would indicate at most that one had a particular antipathy towards Islam, not towards a particular racial group (since Muslims, like Christians, come from lots of different races).

  50. 50
    gin-and-whiskey says:

    Sigh. I need to vent anonymously.

    I hate, HATE it when opposing counsel (or opposing parties) simply will not see any reason at all.

    If I have a good case I have a good case. If I have a bad case I have a bad case. No, I don’t roll over and play dead–but I don’t sit there and assert that the law is 100% on my side when I know damn well it’s a stretch that I’ll survive summary judgment.

    I am dealing right now with multiple opposing counsel who are in that category. I’m not asking them to roll over and die–but I am asking them to be able to have a good faith settlement conversation. Which isn’t possible unless they are willing to at least face reality.

    For example: when a plumber drafts his own contract with a GC, and the contract that the plumber provides is crystal clear about written change orders… well, if the plumber is suing the GC for damages which arose from NON-written change orders, you’d at least expect the opposing counsel to concede that it’s an issue. Right? I don’t mean that the plumber just ups and dismisses the case, but perhaps it might be wise for the idiot to demand a tiny, TINY bit less than 100% payment for every single alleged “damage” under the non-written change orders? Especially when, say, the plumber turns out to have no idea what he was billing the GC, and when he admits in a deposition that he invoiced and collected for some stuff twice, and so on? Because I am going to crucify this guy at trial, and it’s just a waste of everyone’s time.

    Sigh. that is what I am dealing with. And an idiotic landlord who violated pretty much every law regarding tenant money; who rented an apartment which (we now know) had no occupancy certificate; and who flat out refused to return the funds in our initial demand. And now, of course, the consumer statutes provides for automatic multiple damages and attorneys fees (as a way of discouraging this type of “fuck you, sue me if you don’t like it” response to such demands) and he’s whining that we don’t agree to accept basic single damages NOW. Um, no. that ship has sailed.

    Grrrrrrr.

  51. 51
    Myca says:

    I am dealing right now with multiple opposing counsel who are in that category. I’m not asking them to roll over and die–but I am asking them to be able to have a good faith settlement conversation. Which isn’t possible unless they are willing to at least face reality.

    OH LORD I FEEL YOUR PAIN.

    What we keep encountering are attorneys who seem to let their crazy-ass clients call all the shots – who refuse to rein them in, (I assume) because “they’re the client!”

    The problem with this is that the attorney is the only one who CAN rein in a client with unreasonable expectations, and for the love of god, it’s their freaking job! It’s part of being a good attorney to your client! The amount of time and money that gets wasted on motions that are never never never never going to go anywhere is absolutely astonishing.

    Just recently, for example, our client was served with a divorce petition filed in a county where neither our client nor their (ex-)spouse live, and where we don’t do business. In California, you have to file where you’re a resident, and it takes 3 months to establish residency, so the attorney who filed this on OP’s behalf knew it would be quashed. And (of course) it was. It just took a hell of a lot of time and money to do it.

    Grrrr.

    —Myca

  52. 52
    gin-and-whiskey says:

    I ask for discovery.

    “It’s coming.”

    I point out, as politely as possible, that her client is the freaking plaintiff, and that the discovery I’m asking for (“please explain, Mr. Plumber, precisely what parts of the contract you think my client broke”) is something that they should have known AND EXPECTED prior to filing a verified complaint. Because if you can’t explain why my client owes you money, why the fuck are you suing him?

    “It’s coming.”

    So after weeks of this I sigh and file a motion to compel. And then, in hopes that they’ll just be reasonable I also grant some extra weeks for reply. And after a period of non-response I put it forward and eventually the court rules in my favor without a hearing, and today was the reply deadline, and–surprise!–no discovery.

    Grrr.

  53. 53
    Ruchama says:

    A student just emailed me begging for an extension on the homework assignment that was due Wednesday night. He says that he wasn’t able to log in to the online homework system on Tuesday (we already discussed this in relation to why he didn’t do the assignment due Tuesday night), and therefore he didn’t have enough time to complete the homework that was due Wednesday night. He asks me to please, please, consider giving him an extension on that Wednesday homework, because it will really horribly affect his grade if he has a zero on it.

    My first instinct was to say no. If the system was working on Wednesday, then he had all day Wednesday to do the homework. (I also don’t really believe him about it not working Tuesday, because this kid already has a history of lying to me, after just a month of class.) But then I realized — there was no homework due Wednesday night. So now I have no idea what he’s talking about.

  54. 54
    Jake Squid says:

    Ruchama,

    I think that what you need to do in this case is clear. You must give the student a zero on general principles. He is convinced there was an assignment that doesn’t exist. This student just had one more assignment than the rest of the class and got a zero on that one.

    A convincing case can be made for giving him an extension w/ a 10% penalty just so you can find out what homework he’s doing.

  55. 55
    nm says:

    Why do I get the feeling that (1) he’s not doing any of the work for any of his classes, (2) he’s using the same set of excuses for all of them, and (3) got his e-mail addresses confused?

  56. 56
    Grace Annam says:

    A convincing case can be made for giving him an extension w/ a 10% penalty just so you can find out what homework he’s doing.

    I think this is brilliant. I’d be curious to see what he turned in, or what the next step in his dance would be.

    Grace

  57. 57
    Grace Annam says:

    Marmalade,

    Thank you for posting that.

    Second.

    Grace

  58. 58
    Ruchama says:

    There’s no way to have him turn something in — it’s an online homework system. I select problems, and the kids log in and type in their answers, and the system grades it. When they log in, they should see a list of assignments, with due dates. And there just isn’t one that was due on Wednesday. Although, considering that the first time he logged into the system was three weeks after class started, and that was only because I reminded him that it’s a required part of the class, I’m not really too certain that he even looked at the list. There’s usually a homework due on Wednesdays, but because I was sick on Monday, there isn’t one this week.

  59. 59
    Nancy Lebovitz says:

    43 gin-and-whiskey:

    [IQ] “158+: 1 in 10,000; Nobel Prize winners”

    1 in 10,000 means 700,000 in a world of 7 billion people. There aren’t that many Nobel prize winners. I doubt there are nearly that many plausible potential Nobel prize winners.

  60. 60
    mythago says:

    What we keep encountering are attorneys who seem to let their crazy-ass clients call all the shots – who refuse to rein them in, (I assume) because “they’re the client!”

    Or, more likely, because not reining in the client = PROFIT.

    I have often wished I could take defendants aside, without their counsel, to say “Look, we could have been done with this case months ago for much less money, but your attorneys churned the file with a lot of bullshit delays, motions and stalling so they could bill you. If they’re telling you they had to drag it out this long, they’re lying.”

  61. 61
    closetpuritan says:

    43 gin-and-whiskey:

    [IQ] “158+: 1 in 10,000; Nobel Prize winners”

    1 in 10,000 means 700,000 in a world of 7 billion people. There aren’t that many Nobel prize winners. I doubt there are nearly that many plausible potential Nobel prize winners.

    Me, too. But are you trying to say that therefore the quoted part must be wrong? The wording is a bit unclear, but I’m guessing they meant that 158+ IQ is typical of Nobel Prize winners, not that only Nobel Prize winners, or plausible potential Nobel Prize winners, have an IQ that high. Winning a Nobel Prize is about a lot more than just IQ. In addition to all the factors that most of us reading a social justice blog can think of that would affect someone’s likelihood of earning a Nobel Prize, are they ambitious enough? (Do they just want a 9-5 job and time to pursue their hobbies, or to be a stay-at-home-parent?) Are they ambitious in the “right” way [to earn a Nobel Prize]? (Do they want to be a CEO? The greatest comic book artist ever? A famous chef?) If they are ambitious enough and in the right way, did they pick the right avenue of research? (They could be highly intelligent and wrong and not have much to show for years of work.)

  62. 62
    gin-and-whiskey says:

    How did an open thread miss this?

    http://gawker.com/the-privilege-tournament-the-somber-16-1410951774

    I find the results fascinating. As is the thought process required in voting. I mean, how the hell do you distinguish between the exceedingly small privilege of homeless people versus the incarcerated?

  63. 63
    closetpuritan says:

    Something feels not quite right about me trying to decide, for example, whether a black or Native American person has less privilege. I mean, I don’t really know what it’s like to be either one. On the other hand, I feel even weirder about voting in the categories where I know what it’s like to be one but not the other, such as fat vs. amputee. I guess lopsided knowledge seems like it makes me even less qualified to say. And then I get stuck on, “How are we defining/thinking of ‘fat’? Everyone above normal weight? Only those who stand out in a crowd because they’re fat? For that matter, are we counting people who lost a toe as ‘amputees’? What about all the people with diabetes, many of them fat, who lost toes?”

    I don’t think it’s necessarily a harmful exercise IF we keep in mind that it’s measuring how privileged the categories are perceived to be.

    Also, FWIW, musician and activist Gaye Adegbalola, who knows what it’s like both to be black and to be a lesbian, thinks being black is harder, but thinks there are definitely similarities between the two groups and the way they are oppressed. There’s a clip from her speech about it, third video down.

  64. 64
    closetpuritan says:

    I managed to stick to my ~1 blog post a month average this month (just in time!) and wrote about the Rat Park experiment–basically, I think that the way lab animals are usually studied may contribute to the addiction-like eating behavior of rats and mice when studied in the lab–and also, the insight of Rat Park that animals in good, interesting environments have little to no interest in morphine, which has been seen as one explanation for why poor people are more likely to abuse drugs, may also apply to why poor people are more likely to be fat.

    If you like comics (and who here doesn’t?!) the page where I linked in my blog for more on Rat Park also linked to a comic about it.

  65. 65
    Ruchama says:

    Pick-up artist discovers that his Game doesn’t work in Denmark, because socialism. http://www.dissentmagazine.org/article/cockblocked-by-redistribution

  66. 66
    RonF says:

    So, open thread:

    This article highlights the rather large gender gap in college degrees awarded, and projects based on current trends what those will look like going forward. I have no idea how they did the projections, but the current numbers are quite disparate in and of themselves:

    Associate Degrees: M:F:L38:62
    Bachelor Degrees: M:F::43:57
    Master Degrees: M:F::40:60
    Doctorate Degrees: M:F::48:52
    Total: M:F::42::58

    I propose that if this were reversed we would see a great deal of pressure put forward by various advocacy groups to get both public and private entities to reverse this and bring it close to even – as indeed we did back when these were reversed, and as we still see in the STEM disciplines where men are still predominant.

    So, a couple of questions for the group:

    1) Is there a gender equity issue here? Is there any issue here that needs to be addressed at all?
    2) Why don’t we see any advocacy or policy initiatives to even this up?

  67. 67
    Ruchama says:

    I just looked at the North Carolina voter registration website, and it does use the “plan to reside permanently” language. Which still just makes no sense to me — I’ve never planned to reside permanently anywhere, and neither have most of my friends. In fact, most of my friends’ parents haven’t, either — most of them always knew that they were going to move to Florida, or to a smaller house in a town with lower taxes, once their kids were out of the house.

  68. 68
    Ruchama says:

    Ack. Wrong thread.

  69. 69
    nobody.really says:

    How the federal shutdown is going to play out:

    1. We wait until 10/14.

    2. Boehner won’t be able to do a deal; the US defaults.

    3. Except Obama then announces that he directed that a $ 1 trillion platinum coin be minted and deliverd to the Treasury, thereby extending the debt limit by $ 1 trillion or whatever. Obama acknowledges that this was a goofy manuver, but argues that default would have been goofier.

    4. The Tea Party goes apeshit and riots. Moreover, various Tea Partiers will sue, arguing that Obama has breached the law, acted like a tyrant, whatever. Everyone will see that these people, whatever their conceptual arguments, are bent on pure destruction. Because a court cannot engage in political negotiations, prevailing in the lawsuit could achieve no political ends; it would merely trash the US’s credit rating.

    5. Eventually, 24 big business Republicans will band together and nominate one of their members as the new Speaker of the House – and he’ll win with the support of all the Democrats. The new Speaker will then put the continuing resolution up for a vote, and it’ll pass overwhelmingly. Shutdown over.

    6. This will lead to a rupture in the Republican Party – and also in the Democratic Party. The new Speaker will attract the support of pro-business politicians of varying stripes. Populists will then rally to the Democratic Party, driving it leftward. And we’ll end up with a pro-business/crony capitalist/establishment party, and a social safety net/hippy-yippie party – not an unfamiliar arrangement.

  70. 70
    RonF says:

    So I’m wondering how this will affect the 2014 elections. I don’t think that the scenario that “people will be disgusted and vote against the GOP” is as open and shut as a lot of people seem to think. Whose mind is going to be changed here? The people that are most affected by the shutdown generally vote Democratic anyway. The people that are least affected by the shutdown generally vote GOP anyway. The shutdown is more likely to affect turnout than it is to affect which way a given voter votes. The Democrats had higher turnout in the 2012 elections compared to the 2010 elections than the Republicans did, so the Republicans have a higher upside. Sen. McCain didn’t inspire the more rightward portions of the GOP base, so more of them stayed home in 2012 than did in 2010.

  71. 71
    Jake Squid says:

    Sen. McCain didn’t inspire the more rightward portions of the GOP base, so more of them stayed home in 2012 than did in 2010.

    What do you mean? McCain ran for POTUS in 2008 and had a delayed effect on turnout – not decreasing it until the 2nd election cycle after his run? I feel like you either miswrote or I’m hopelessly confused.

  72. 72
    nobody.really says:

    I’m wondering how this will affect the 2014 elections.

    True enough, mostly the shutdown will serve to reinforce the opinions people already have. Especially in the short run, this may not matter much.

    But as even the Republican’s own analysis shows, the party is in a death-spiral at the national level. Having lost its most moderate members, the remaining elected officials find it ever more necessary and agreeable to adopt hard lines that play well in their home districts but disastrously as national policy. This will cause the party to lose its next-most-moderate members. And so on.

    Recall Romney’s position on immigration. He was no immigration hawk – until Rick Perry started rising in the polls. Suddenly Romney declared himself to be adamantly against any accommodation of undocumented immigrants – unlike that wishy-washy Perry, who actually had to govern in a state with a sizable Hispanic population. Thus did Romney give himself an advantage during the long, contentious primary in which every candidate was playing the “more doctrinaire than thou” game. And thus did Romney shoot himself in the foot for the general election.

    The Republicans have two advantages. First, they tend to have the support of the wealthy. As we approach the debt ceiling, this support is evaporating. Second, they gained lots of state seats in the 2010 off-year “whiplash” elections following Obama’s first win, and thus were able to control gerrymandering. This advantage will last until around 2022. Once the Republicans lose this advantage, well, the party will be over.

  73. 73
    closetpuritan says:

    RonF
    So, a couple of questions for the group:

    1) Is there a gender equity issue here? Is there any issue here that needs to be addressed at all?
    2) Why don’t we see any advocacy or policy initiatives to even this up?

    Since no one else has put forward any ideas, I’ll make a couple guesses WRT #2.
    –Many advocates/potential advocates are concerned primarily with education as a means to the end of greater job opportunities and economic equality, rather than as an end in itself. Since men are still doing better than women economically, on the outcome they care most about men are doing fine.
    –Inertia. We’re used to thinking that women and girls are the ones who need help–and perhaps that is about more than just inertia–perhaps that’s also about a tendency to see women and girls as more passive and having less agency than men.

    As far as #1, whether there is a gender equity issue… hard to say. It depends on what the cause of the disparity is. I guess I wouldn’t call it an “equity” issue, anyway–in fact, I’ve heard that in schools that have significantly more female than male applicants, the male applicants have a bit of an edge in getting accepted because the people in admissions consider gender balance when admitting students. But there could be an equity issue earlier in the students’ life, if you go with the theory that schools are set up to be better for girls’ learning styles than boys’. (I’m not convinced of this theory, and in any case, this would apply more to boys whose grades aren’t good enough to go to college than boys choosing not to go, and my impression was that the latter was what was happening.)

  74. 74
    dragon_snap says:

    Jake Squid (comment #15) – I don’t know why my copy of How The World Became Quiet took two full weeks longer to arrive than yours, but I’m quite confident it was worth the wait : ) My copy is number 245, which is a very nice number I think, and I agree that physically the book is absolutely gorgeous (a fitting match for the words and stories it contains then!).

    Thanks, Mandolin, for writing such thoughtful and riveting works < 3

  75. 75
    RonF says:

    Ah, Jake, my pardon. I meant Mitt Romney, of course.

  76. 76
    closetpuritan says:

    Putting this response to comments here in the open thread because I don’t want to derail.

    Robert, I was going to say that you’re being overly literal in your interpretation of “probable”, but the sense in which gin & whiskey is using it is covered by definitions 2 and 3 at dictionary.com, so I guess you’re just insisting on only using it in the strictest possible sense. (I think you’d have a somewhat better case if g&w had used “probability” instead of “probable”.) Don’t be like the people who only recognize the use of organic as a chemistry term, and pretend not to understand you if you use it in any other sense!

    I’m basically in g&w’s camp, myself, on this issue. While people tend to get less passionate about ghosts, fairies, and Bigfoot, than about religion, there are people out there who believe they have good evidence of these things, but I believe their evidence is not good, and I don’t go about my life worried about offending the Fair Folk. So I generally keep it brief and say that I don’t believe in fairies, instead of saying, “Well, yes, it’s possible that the Fair Folk exist and you can’t disprove that the Fair Folk exist, so I’d have to say that technically I’m agnostic about the existence of the Fair Folk.” (Which is, of course, how a fairy-agnostic would refer to fairies, in order to avoid offending them.)

    Or, I guess the shorter version of that would be, “I’m not going to worship a possibility.”

    (One of my coworkers seems pretty convinced that it’s at least possible that Bigfoot and mermaids exist. Now I have to remember not to make casual comments about mermaids not existing if I want to avoid stirring him up. Thanks a lot, Animal Planet.)

  77. 77
    gin-and-whiskey says:

    Robert says:
    October 6, 2013 at 8:06 pm

    “…we consider it about as probable as…”

    Probability – even estimates of probability – are data-driven math. What are your numbers, and where do you get your data?

    It’s in the “ever so slightly more probable than zero” camp, which I functionally treat as “zero.”

    The universe is full of an infinite number of possibilities. We all have a “squelch” control which allows us to avoid constantly asserting the theoretical existence of very small outcome possibilities.

    To put it another way, I also believe that there are no Ford Fairlanes orbiting Jupiter; I believe that because all of the known spacecraft to have gone to Jupiter published their cargo and instrument packages, and lots of people who empirically, provably know what a Ford Fairlane looks like also looked at the manifest of the space probes, and there are too many of those people to keep a secret, so it’s very unlikely to have happened.

    How do you know god didn’t put one there, just to tweak the atheist who made that comment? Heck, how do you know that aliens didn’t transport one there, or that the intelligent computer at Jupiter’s core didn’t decide to manufacture one as a signal to the same atheist?

    When you assign a probability assessment, as an atheist, to God’s existence, are you in a similar position of having a large amount of confident data?

    Data proving nonexistence? Seriously, you of all people are asking for that?

    You know what God looks like, and you’ve looked in the places where He could be?

    See above.

  78. 78
    Harlequin says:

    Responding to a small piece of a comment of Conrad’s in this threat-t0-default thread:

    Remember what a disaster sequestration was going to be?

    I know a lot of people who work at governmental or largely-government-funded institutions (scientific, diplomatic, and military-related though not directly military) and the sequester has been terrible for them: I’ve heard of places having to fire tens of percents of staff, even beyond those who left voluntarily. Not immediately, there was belt-tightening, but it only goes so far and the last few months have seen institutions move to firing when even the money from barely-tolerable levels of belt-tightening couldn’t sustain the staff levels any more.

    To move away from anecdata, here’s a Washington Post piece (from June 30) comparing predictions of the sequester to results. It’s split about 1/4 happened as predicted, 1/4 unknown, and 1/2 didn’t happen as predicted–but more than a third of those are “Congress allocated money for this specific thing so sequestration wouldn’t have an effect, or allowed departments to shift money they wouldn’t ordinarily be allowed to shift”, which means that sequestration may have had that effect except that Congress decided the results were too dire. So if you count those as successful predictions of the sequester that were mitigated by later actions of Congress, there’s a slight advantage to the correct predictions side of the ledger, at least among the results known as of June 30. I’ll also note that the many of the things that didn’t happen were avoided by getting rid of some of the forward-looking support work of those institutions, which will make them less effective in the long run if the budget stays at the level where it is.

    I found the whole post pretty interesting, actually.

    Tl;dr the sequestration is having an impact but not in a way that generally makes the news. It is definitely not a case of “poof, everything runs just fine on less money.”

  79. 80
    Sebastian says:

    I have a question, for all your ethicists around here. Here are a few scenarios. More than half are real. For which is “Drunk people do dumb shit, and deserve what they get” a horrible thing to say. Does the horribleness of the statement change depending on how far you have gotten through the post?

    1. Person A gets very drunk. He gets in his car, but Person B has broken down in the same lane. Despite the B’s having turned on her hazard lights, and having deployed her roadside warning triangle, A’s reaction time is much too high. He crashes into her car, and kills himself. (B was smart enough to wait outside out of the car, be like her, kids!)

    2. Person A gets very drunk, drives off, but a Person B has stupidly parked on the road, on the the inside of a curve and left her car unattended and dark. His peripheral vision having shrunk too much, A does not even notice the car until it’s right in front of him, and dies without even leaving skidmarks.

    3. Person A gets very drunk. He still gets on the dinghy to go back to the boat with his friends. The dinghy runs into a submerged mooring line, no one notices he needs help, he drowns.

    4. Person A gets very drunk. She still gets on the dinghy to go back to the boat. One of her drunk friends guns the outboard, and spills her. By the time she is fished out, she has been without air for long enough that she will never be able to work in her field again.

    5. Person A gets very drunk. He still gets on the dinghy to go back to the boat. He tries to grope one of his drunk friends. She pushes him away, he goes over the prow, under the dinghy, into the propeller. He’s disfigured and disabled for life, but he’ll live.

    6. Person A gets very drunk. He decides to walk home, but gets confused and falls off the pier and drowns.

    7. Person A gets very drunk. She decides to walk home, but person B has failed to cover the trench he worked on, and A falls in. Being drunk, she suffocates in ten centimeters of mud.

    8. Person A gets very drunk in a seedy dive where no one give a shit about her. Person B takes her in to the restroom, and rapes her.

    9. Person A gets very drunk in the Shark Room, where she is with her ten best friends. Unfortunately, no one does anything when Person B takes her home and rapes her.

    10. Person A and person B get very drunk and still manage to have sex, swapping theirs STDs around.

    So… does the horribleness of “Drunk people do stupid shit, and deserve what they get” change depending on how far down the page you are? Does it depend on how bad the lapse of judgement of the drunk person was? Does it depend whether the straw the broke the camel’s back was malicious or accidental? Does it depend whether the consequences were trivial like death and disfigurement, or unspeakable like rape? Does it matter whether the situation is hypothetical or actually happened. Does anyone bother to read through all of this? I know I can’t be arsed to read the whole thing before I post.

  80. 81
    closetpuritan says:

    Does it depend whether the consequences were trivial like death and disfigurement, or unspeakable like rape?
    Maybe you’d get better-quality answers if you didn’t write shit like this. But never mind, against my better judgment, I will engage.

    does the horribleness of “Drunk people do stupid shit, and deserve what they get” change depending on how far down the page you are?
    Well, I kinda predicted that this was some sort of “I won’t start the rape examples until later, and TOTALLY catch them in a ‘gotcha’!” So maybe I’m not a good test case. But no.

    Does it depend on how bad the lapse of judgement of the drunk person was?
    This gets the closest to my thought process, but still isn’t quite it. The examples where the drunk person puts other people in danger are the examples where I feel little to no sympathy for them. [Though it's still not drunk people do stupid things--more like, "this person couldn't care less about other people".] #1 and #5 are the only examples where I feel almost no sympathy for the drunk person. I’m giving #2 the side-eye for drinking and driving even if I’m not sure that a sober person would have seen that parked car, either.

    Does it depend whether the straw the broke the camel’s back was malicious or accidental? Meaning the non-drunk person’s actions were malicious or accidental? It matters a bit, but not quite as much as the stuff in the previous paragraph. I’m putting 3, 4, 6, and 7 in the “tragic accident” category even with no one acting maliciously.

    Does it matter whether the situation is hypothetical or actually happened.
    I don’t know anyone that any of these things has happened to, as far as I know, so they’re all hypothetical to me.

    I know I can’t be arsed to read the whole thing before I post.
    You posted something you didn’t read? Or didn’t proofread? Or you don’t normally read other people’s long comments?

  81. 82
    closetpuritan says:

    Ah, I hadn’t read your comments in the other thread, Sebastian. I think I’ll add you to the list of “this person couldn’t care less about other people”. FWIW I’m a teetotaler and don’t have any self-interest in the question of whether to stop caring about people when they’re drunk.

  82. 83
    nobody.really says:

    Latest totals: From 2003 to 2011, the Iraq War killed nearly a half million people.

    Does this qualify as the worst humanitarian intervention ever?

  83. 84
    closetpuritan says:

    Ta-Nehisi Coates has some thoughts on the tendency to despise weakness (ignorance, stupidity):

    The people I was raised around were humans, and so it is not shocking that the same rituals we practiced there, the same feelings of contempt, are all around us–the Germans inventing reasons to invade Poland, the rapist who claims the short dress made him do it, an entire town organizing to back him up.

    Weakness, misery, does not always elicit sympathy. Perhaps that is because the weakness reminds of what we we fear for ourselves. Or perhaps it reminds us of our own complicity in some broad crime, and more, our presumed helplessness for it to be any other way.

  84. 85
    Nancy Lebovitz says:

    At this point, I believe that, for a great many people, cruelty is a pleasure, or at least an obsession. There may be underlying fear, but it’s buried pretty deep.

    The reason many people attack the weak is that they can get away with it. Some aggressive people are looking for a fight, but many, and perhaps most aggressive would rather be safe rather than take the risk of having someone fight back.

  85. 86
    Jake Squid says:

    Remember the lady who got millions from McDonalds when their coffee spilled on her?

    https://www.upworthy.com/ever-hear-about-the-lady-that-spilled-coffee-on-herself-at-mcdonalds-then-sued-for-millions?c=upw1

    Not a frivolous lawsuit. It’s always nice to be reminded of that.