Open Thread and Link Farm: Cetacean Edition

  1. Yet Again, George Zimmerman Proves He’s Violent, Aggressive, and Confrontational: “Now, either Zimmerman is the unluckiest guy on earth—surrounded by people who want to cause him harm—or he is an aggressive and confrontational man who knows enough to keep himself out of the criminal justice system.”
  2. Go to this Wikipedia page and check out what’s written where the little drawing of the whale in question is missing.
  3. Antibiotic Development and Market Failure: No Quick Fix | Brookings Institution
  4. US Border Patrol To Keep Using Deadly Force Against Rock-Throwers. Gee, that’s completely reasonable and proportionate.
  5. Forget Shorter Showers – Why personal change does not equal political change
  6. Blame a Feminist: The Top Tragedies Feminism Has Wrought
  7. Gender Gap Statistic Gets it from All Sides
  8. Do Political Campaigns Even Matter?
  9. The Causes and the Consequences of Controversies around Transgender Rights |
  10. A Stray in the Woods. A fun short comic that I read with my friend Maddox (8 years old). How it was made was neat, too.
  11. Cerebus #91: “The Applicant”. A short comic by Dave Sim, Colleen Duran and Gerhard.
  12. The Debate Link: Normal Identities. David comments on that awful Jon Rausch anti-ENDA piece.
  13. Why Shouldn’t Gloria Steinem Be a Disney Princess?
  14. Welcome To The Post-Roe World | The Raw Story
  15. One Lawmaker’s Plan To Fight Back Against Stores Ruining Workers’ Thanksgivings | ThinkProgress
  16. Star Trek economy: Federation is only mostly post-scarcity.
  17. Heaven Is for Doppelgangers: You will be replaced in the afterlife
  18. Page Not Found
  19. Kid Flash The Super Creep: The Problem With ‘Funny Harassment’ | Geek Feminism Blog
  20. Sexual Violence: Why It Can Destroy Us All. Article by a young male survivor of sexual violence.
  21. Unequal Pay Is Even More Unequal For Women Of Color | ThinkProgress
  22. Hurricane Katrina, The Obamacare Rollout, And Allowing Privilege To Shape Our Politics. “Republican legislators in over 20 states have refused to expand Medicaid, leaving many of their low-income residents with no good options… About five million poor Americans will have no access to basic health benefits…”
  23. True Moderates Are Rare. Even if you don’t read the article, scroll down and check out the chart.
  24. We’re Gayer And More Homophobic Than We Think « The Dish
  25. Over Half of Today’s Teenagers Are Virgins » Sociological Images
  26. Good deficit reduction: Here’s how to do it.
  27. Men’s Rights Public Relations: Don’t call all women crazy bitches, even if they totally are, because feminists might catch you. | man boobz
  28. The Atheist Philosophy Professor Strikes Back! (Or, “You’re Right, God’s Not Dead, But He Will Be When I’m Done With Him!”)
  29. Healthcare Triage: Sugar doesn’t make kids hyper | The Incidental Economist
  30. Singapore’s cheap taxis.
  31. Look what’s slowing down global warming | Grist
  32. Judge Faces Mild Punishment For Railroading A Defendant. Who knows if that’ll ever happen again?
  33. White Anti-Gay Activist Wins Election After Pretending To Be Black | ThinkProgress
  34. The Debate Link: Who Cares About Deficits?
  35. Serious As A Heart Attack About the Lisa Simpson Bridge – BlueOregon
  36. How A Modest, $12,000 Electric Car Could Be The Future Of The U.S. Urban Market
  37. Check out “Wonderland,” a really impressive series by photographer by Kirsty Mitchell.

Wonderland 'The Guidance of Stray Souls'

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89 Responses to Open Thread and Link Farm: Cetacean Edition

  1. 1
    Doug S. says:

    To be fair, a solidly thrown rock that hits someone in the head could very well kill them. (Do Border Patrol agents wear helmets?)

  2. 2
    Doug S. says:

    “Forget Shorter Showers” reads like a thinly veiled call for eco-terrorism…

  3. 3
    Hector_St_Clare says:

    Here’s to a post Roe world.

  4. 4
    Ampersand says:

    Hector, please try to post intelligent content, rather than empty gloating. Thanks.

  5. 5
    Hector_St_Clare says:

    Ok, well then. I read the entirety of the Marcotte piece, and I half agree with her. I actually do want to make elective abortions impossible to get, but failing that I think making them more difficult and burdensome is a first step.

  6. 6
    Jake Squid says:

    Oh, Heaven Is for Doppelgangers is wonderful. It opens a whole new avenue of creepiness about the concept that I hadn’t conceived of before.

  7. 7
    Eytan Zweig says:

    There is no single concept invented by human beings as horrifying as the idea of heaven.

  8. 8
    RonF says:

    “White Anti-Gay Activist Wins Election After Pretending To Be Black”

    Politican wins office after not correcting racists’ impression that he’s a different race than he is.

  9. 9
    Myca says:

    RonF:

    Politican wins office after not correcting racists’ impression that he’s a different race than he is.

    Oh, wow. Is that the standard now? I thought that a lying politician was “a blueprint on how to destroy democracy in America.

    And, make no mistake, this racist and homophobic piece of shit deliberately deceived voters, and admitted it:

    In an interview with a local TV station, the anti-gay activist turned higher education policymaker did not deny that he intended to mislead the electorate, instead justifying his actions by claiming that “[e]very time a politician talks, he’s out there deceiving voters.”

    —Myca

  10. 10
    rimonim says:

    [Begin shameless plug...] I have a new blog, Today I Am A Man, where I’m writing about my experiences as a trans man. Recent topics include metaphors for gender transition and having someone disclose my trans status during class. Stop by and say hi!

    Some folks might remember my long-defunct blog Dear Diaspora. I am tiptoeing back into the blogosphere under a different name.

  11. 11
    Alison Wilgus says:

    Hey, thanks for the shout out! I’m glad you (and Maddox) enjoyed my comic!

  12. 12
    Myca says:

    Re: George Zimmerman – Ta-Nehisi Coates has a great piece on this, entitled, “Why Black Folks Tend To Shout.

    —Myca

  13. 13
    Hector_St_Clare says:

    That gender gap article is terrible. Philip Cohen essentially admits that *most* of the gender gap is because of women choosing to do different jobs, study different things in school, work more flexible hours, take time off for childrearing, etc., but then he says ‘as long as the gender gap is not zero, we still have a gender inequality problem do address’. (I’d add that some of the gender gap is because women are more agreeable than men, and high agreeableness correlates to lower pay, but this punishes agreeable men as much as it does women, it’s not due to sexism per se).

    If women make less money in the aggregate because of their own choices, I don’t see that as a problem to be overcome, and I don’t know that women in general would be happier if we did overcome it. Nor do I see any reason to think that in an ideal, utopian society the gender gap in total income would be zero. Philip Cohen doesn’t even attempt to address *why* he wants the gender gap to be zero.

    I’m much more interested in narrowing the gap between upper-middle-class men and working-class men, than between upper-middle-class men and upper-middle class women

  14. 14
    Ampersand says:

    That women take “different jobs, study different things in school, work more flexible hours, take time off for childrearing” is not something that happens on a blank slate, uninfluenced by sexism. As I wrote in a post about the wage gap and motherhood:

    The American job market was designed for men – in particular, it was developed in a society in which workers were men who had a wife at home to take care of the kids. Society has changed, but our jobs haven’t, and that works to the disadvantage of all working mothers (and to mothers who would like to work, but can’t find a job that will give them the flexibility they need to combine work and motherhood). Isn’t it sexist to expect mothers to fit into a work system that was designed for Father Knows Best?

    Critics of the wage gap, like Ms. Hausman, claim that mothers freely choose to sacrifice work for family, but how free a choice is that? Mothers don’t have the option of simply ignoring their children’s needs (not only would that be inhumane, it’s also illegal). Even if a father is present, he may refuse to do half of the childcare – or his boss may not be willing to give him the time off. Nor is it practical to just say that “women shouldn’t have children if they want to work” – most families can’t afford to have mothers not work, and our society can’t survive if no one is producing the next generation.

    Finally, to whatever extent some women freely choose to stay out of the labor market, the choice isn’t made in a void. The fact that women – even non-mothers – get rewarded less for wage-work than men means that women give less up if they choose to trade off paid work for motherhood. Women’s lower pay means women have less reason to stay in the paid work market; it also means that when a married couple decides that the lower-paid spouse should give up work for children, the spouse who happens to be lower paid will almost always be the wife. Economists call this a “feedback effect”; it’s likely that women earn less because they work less, but it’s also likely that women work less because of lower earnings.

  15. 15
    Hector_St_Clare says:

    Ampersand,

    The Soviet Union had free, government run child care for everyone, but they still had a gender pay gap. So does Cuba. So does Sweden (a small one, but it exists). I don’t know what that tells you, but to me it suggests that the reasons women in developed, civilized countries make somewhat less than men, might have to do with biology at least as much as with “sexism”.

    I’d like a society in which men and women can negotiate with each other who takes time off to be with the kids, and who prioritizies their career. I don’t care who does what, personally, that’s up to the couple to decide. But I suspect that in a majority of cases, the primary caregiver will still be the woman, and the primary breadwinner will be the man, and that’s what will make *most* people the happiest.

  16. 16
    alex says:

    To be fair Hector, you can say people should negotiate, but it is in the shadow of the Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement. You can always walk out the door. Feminists are really coming hard up against the reality that an equal work life balance and high divorce / relationship breakup push in completely opposite directions. You need intact families to make egalitarian relationships work. It’s a tough one.

    I thought the gender gap piece was really good, Cohen has his politics, but separated that from the numbers as well as anyone I’ve ever seen.

    P.S. The American job market (to the extent it was designed) was designed for women, in a society where there was mass conscription of men. 9-5 and a weekend were the accomodation from the 20s and 30s job market regime or military hours. The current market is really from men adopting female work patterns rather than the reverse.

  17. 17
    RonF says:

    Yup, he lied – by omission at least. I wish I could say it makes him different from other politicians, but I can’t. However, it’s instructive that his deceit only made a influenced the vote of racists. It’s like they say – you can’t con an honest man.

  18. 18
    RonF says:

    I have a proposition for how to change higher education for the better. Hire all instructors full time and hire out the administrative posts to adjuncts.

  19. 19
    Sebastian says:

    RonF, while we are dreaming, can we fill legislative positions with a lottery amongst qualified applicants? Qualified applicants are those who pass a test on whatever their portfolio requires, and then a battery of Psychology (psychopathy, bias, decision making, framing) tests while hooked to a fMRI, EMG, and a lie detector (one that includes an anal probe) And of course, the results of the tests will be made public.

    Disclaimer: My wife has been using me as a guinea pig while she has been setting up/testing her EMG equipment and bias/decision making experiments. I know that any test I could pass won’t do.

  20. 20
    rimonim says:

    I posted a comment in this thread yesterday that never appeared–perhaps it was spammed. Any chance of rescue? :)

  21. 21
    Myca says:

    However, it’s instructive that his deceit only made a influenced the vote of racists.

    I’d like to know your logic here, considering his lies included things like “I was endorsed by *Name of popular former local politician*,” when what was actually true was that he was endorsed by *his cousin who happens to share the name of the popular former local politician and lives in another state.*

    Do you believe that being influenced by, “this man was endorsed by a politician I know and trust,” makes a voter racist?

    Or, as I suspect is more likely, did you not even read the article, and instead react with poorly-concealed (and more poorly-informed) glee at the opportunity to call black voters racist?

    This sort of, “haw haw haw, black people and liberals sure are racist,” horseshit that’s so very very common among conservative men of your generation is why I’m not very concerned about your comment here.

    It’s like they say – you can’t con an honest man.

    Is that why so many Republicans were taken in by the Iraq war lies? Because they’re all dishonest, right?

    —Myca

  22. 22
    Sebastian says:

    RonF: It’s like they say – you can’t con an honest man.

    Of course, you can con a honest man. But it is so much easier to con a greedy one, and it is easiest to appeal to greed when it is not restrained by honesty.

    Myca: Is that why so many Republicans were taken in by the Iraq war lies? Because they’re all dishonest, right?

    Right. But they were also greedy. They knew that pretending to believe the lies would net them more support than bringing to light all the data that the Bush administration and the complicit media was ignoring.

    It goes without saying, the above applies even more to those Democrats who acted in the same manner, because they went against their professed ideals when they did so.

    They is a Southern Slav idiom that perfectly expresses my feelings about both these flavors of scum: “Фани единио, удри другио” (Firmly grab one, and use him to smash the other)

  23. 23
    Sebastian says:

    Hmm… I guess the above is actually spelled “Хвани единия, удари другия”… or at least, Google returns thousands more results for the latter spelling. I blame my friends for not enunciating.

    Have I mentioned how much better I liked this site when you could pave over your mistakes?

  24. 24
    rimonim says:

    Tried to post this the other day but it appears my comment disappeared into the tubes. I have a new blog, Today I Am A Man, where I am writing about my experiences as a trans man. Come and say hi! Recent topics include metaphors for gender transition, good things about being trans, and thoughts on being outed in class.

    A few people may remember my now-defunct blog Dear Diaspora–I am venturing back into the blogosphere with a different moniker.

  25. 25
    Ampersand says:

    Whoops! My apologies, Rinonim! It’s a moot point now, but I’ve rescued your earlier comment from spam. And I’ve whitelisted you, so hopefully this won’t happen again.

  26. 26
    rimonim says:

    No worries, Ampersand! Thanks.

  27. 27
    RonF says:

    Myca, there were other things going on in that campaign for sure, but the point of the article was that people voted for him because he was thought to be black, not because he was endorsed by particular individuals.

  28. 28
    Ampersand says:

    Ron, how do you figure?

  29. 29
    Hector_St_Clare says:

    Re: Myca, there were other things going on in that campaign for sure, but the point of the article was that people voted for him because he was thought to be black,

    I don’t see how that equates to ‘racism’. Or, if you choose to call it racism, I don’t see why racism in this particular case is a bad thing. There are fewer Black politicians in government right now than there ought to be, so voting for a politician because they’re Black is a reasonable thing to do.

  30. 30
    RonF says:

    I don’t see how that equates to ‘racism’.

    If you vote for – or, since we generally only have two viable parties in this country, against – someone on the basis of their race, that’s racism.

    Or, if you choose to call it racism, I don’t see why racism in this particular case is a bad thing.

    Racism is always a bad thing. Shall I quote Rev. Martin Luther King’s “I Have A Dream” speech where he dreams that people will no longer be judged on the basis of the color of their skin?

    There are fewer Black politicians in government right now than there ought to be, so voting for a politician because they’re Black is a reasonable thing to do.

    On what basis do you judge how many black politicians there ought to be? What do you think that the qualifications for public office are?

  31. 31
    RonF says:

    Hm. I’d read another article on that guy, not the Think Progress piece. I was not aware he’d been as deliberately deceptive as he had been.

    OTOH, the main point of my criticism still stands. I’d say the main thrust of that article is that people voted for him because they thought he was black. While he did also deceive people about an endorsement he’d received, I’m thinking that was not the main reason he got elected. I will admit that I can’t say so for sure, but that’s the impression I got by reading that piece.

  32. 32
    RonF says:

    So fine – here’s some GOP mendacity:

    The EPA wants to lower the amount of ethanol required to be used in gasoline. But that would lower demand for corn, which is not good for the Iowa economy. So the GOP leaders of that State are threatening to sue the EPA’s authority to do so.

    I agree with the article’s author. The requirement to put ethanol in gasoline should be dropped entirely.

  33. RonF:

    I have a proposition for how to change higher education for the better. Hire all instructors full time and hire out the administrative posts to adjuncts.

    The Fall of the Faculty: The Rise of the All-Administrative University and Why It Matters—the link goes to a review of the book, not a page where the book can be bought—by Benjamin Ginsberg traces and bemoans the rise of a professional class of higher ed administrators. It is scathing in its indictment, including stories like this one:

    In the book [I am quoting Ginsberg form the Q&A that follows the review I linked to above], I provide a number of examples. I tell the story from my own experience of our summer program, which had one administrator and 400 students. It was given over to a professional deanlet. It soon had 400 professional staff members and one student. And no one seemed to care.

    Two paragraphs from the beginning of Chapter 1:

    When I was a graduate student in the 1960s and a young professor in the 1970s, though, top administrators were generally drawn from the faculty, and even midlevel managerial tasks were directed by faculty members. These moonlighting academics typically occupied administrative slots on a part-time or temporary basis and planned in due course to return to full-time teaching and research. Because so much of the management of the university was in the hands of professors, presidents and provosts could do little without faculty support and could seldom afford to ignore the faculty’s views.

    And:

    Alas, today’s full-time professional administrators tend to view management as an end in and of itself. Most have no faculty experience, and even those who spent time in a classroom or laboratory hope to make administration their life’s work and have no plan to return to the faculty. For many of these career managers, promoting teaching and research is less important than expanding their own administrative domains. Under their supervision, the means have become the end.

    I have not finished the book yet, and I am sure there is a debate to be had about whether the golden age of the faculty-run university was the golden age that Ginsberg suggests it was, but his points about the about how professional administrators have changed the face of higher education, not always for the good, are important ones that get too little attention, I think.

  34. 34
    Ampersand says:

    If you vote for – or, since we generally only have two viable parties in this country, against – someone on the basis of their race, that’s racism.

    Whenever Black Republicans run against white Democrats, I’ve read some (not all) Republicans predicting large numbers of Black voters will vote for the GOP.. Those predictions have always been wrong, in recent decades. It’s obvious, if you look at the facts (rather than just look for an excuse to slam Black people), that Black voters choose to support candidates based on a lot more than race. That isn’t to say race is never a factor, but it’s never the sole or determining factor.

    In this case, the right-wing Republican wasn’t just pretending to be Black; he was pretending to be “one of us,” someone who fits in that community. He was pretending to be liberal (which is what the fake endorsement was about). Being pretend-Black was just part of a larger pretense to be a part of a community he actually doesn’t give a damn for.

    Shall I quote Rev. Martin Luther King’s “I Have A Dream” speech where he dreams that people will no longer be judged on the basis of the color of their skin?

    Allow me:

    There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, “When will you be satisfied?”

    We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality.

    We can never be satisfied as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities.

    We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro’s basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one.

    We can never be satisfied as long as our chlidren are stripped of their selfhood and robbed of their dignity by signs stating “for whites only.”

    We cannot be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote.

    No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.

    It’s obvious that we have not reached the state of justice MLK was calling for. “Whites only” signs are gone, and so are whites only hotels.

    But on all those other positions, I don’t believe MLK would look at today’s America and say “we are satisfied.”

    The point being, the time for colorblindness is after racism is a solved problem. Calling for immediate colorblindness when racism continues to matter so much in everyday life isn’t opposing racism; it’s asking that racism go unopposed. It’s saying “let’s be satisfied” before justice exists.

    On what basis do you judge how many black politicians there ought to be?

    In a society that has not yet overcome racism, it’s important that people of color (including, but not limited to, Blacks) have voices in the government. It is one of the defenses POC have against being crushed and destroyed by white racists.

    Blacks are about 12% of the populace, so I think that (give or take) 12% of the Congress members, Senators, Governors, Presidents and so forth ought to be Black. Currently, we’re pretty close on Representatives (10%), but there are zero Black Governors and zero Black Senators.

    Certainly, if all else were equal and I had a choice between voting for a Black or a white politician, I’d vote for the Black candidate.

  35. 35
    Hector_St_Clare says:

    RonF,

    You didn’t answer *why* ‘racism’ is always a bad thing, you just baldly stated it.

    If preferentially voting for Black people on account of their race produces fairer outcomes for society, then that’s a good thing, not a bad thing. Who am I being unfair to if I choose to vote for the black candidate?’ No one has a right to elective office, and we have a right to vote for people (or not) for any reason we choose.

  36. 36
    RonF says:

    Amp:

    “but there are zero Black Governors and zero Black Senators.”

    You appear to be wrong on both counts there, Amp. If Wikipedia is any guide, there are two black Governors (His Excellency Patrick Deval of Massachusetts and David Patterson of New York) and two black Senators (Tim Scott, R-SC and Cory Booker, D-NJ).

    We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality.

    We can never be satisfied as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities.

    We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro’s basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one.

    We can never be satisfied as long as our chlidren are stripped of their selfhood and robbed of their dignity by signs stating “for whites only.”

    We cannot be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote.

    No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.

    Well, let’s see. Points 2 and 4 you’ve already granted. Point 1 – poor whites get smacked around for their share of police violence as well. This is more an economic thing than it is a racial thing, I figure. It affect blacks more than whites because they are disproportionately poor, not because they’re black. Point 3 – I don’t think that as a general rule you see blacks who have enough money to get out of the ghetto being restricted to “blacks-only” middle-class enclaves these days. Point 5 – blacks in Mississippi can vote. And if blacks in New York don’t see much point in voting, there’s plenty of whites who feel the same way. It’s an issue, but not a racial one.

    Are there racists in America? Sure. I’ve met more than I care to. The summer before Obama’s first election I got my ear filled with a racist screed about him from a woman running a campgrounds I was about to register a canoe trip crwe into. I kept my mouth shut because it was the end of the day, the next campgrounds were not reachable before dark and I didn’t want to get told “the campground is full” and have nowhere to bed down half a dozen of someone else’s kids. Which pissed me off. I can number racists among my acquaintances and even a friend or two. But is America as a nation racist? No. Not from what I can see.

    Blacks are about 12% of the populace, so I think that (give or take) 12% of the Congress members, Senators, Governors, Presidents and so forth ought to be Black.

    My second question was asked after the first for a reason, and it in turn ties to your comment about choosing between two candidates of different races “all else being equal”. What do you think are the qualifications for public office? When I answer that question I think of things like education, accomplishments, experience and political philosophies. Race is down on the list. I’ve taken it into consideration before. I voted for Carol Moseley Brawn for Senator of Illinois the first time she ran basically because it seemed as though all else was equal between her and her opponent and she was both black and female. I voted against here the 2nd time because she turned out to be grossly incompetent – but she’d done 6 years of damage in the meantime. She’s one of the reasons why race has sunk down on my list of considerations for public office.

    A very long time ago I was at a public campground. It was late at night and my wife had gone to sleep in the tent. Being the gregarious type, I found myself sitting at someone else’s campfire with a friend of his. They were both black. We passed a bottle around and got to talking politics. I forget who was running for president, but they asked me if I was in favor of voting for the Democrat. I said I was considering it. Then they asked me if I would vote for him if he selected Jesse Jackson as his running mate. I said “No” and got accused of racism by one of them. My answer was that my objection was not one of race, it was an issue of competence and fitness for public office. I then named 3 black office holders who I said would make far better candidates for V.P. than Jesse Jackson, because they had experience in governance and the legislative process.

    Unfortunately all things are rarely equal. So I don’t go along with ratios. People come to public prominence for all kinds of reasons, ones that very often have little to do with how good a job they can be expected to do once elected. So I don’t think that if the country is 12% “x” then 12% of office holders should be “x”. I think we are in desperate need of competent public officials and that the present day sees a great many people who are not competent become candidates and get elected. The issues are too important to give much weight to the race of the candidate.

  37. 37
    Jake Squid says:

    Patterson hasn’t been governor of NY since 2010 and was never elected as governor – he was Lt Governor when Spitzer resigned and so…

  38. 38
    Ampersand says:

    Ron, thanks for the correction on the number of black governors and senators (and thanks Jake as well).

    I don’t find it surprising that (a couple of bad-apple whites aside) you spend most of your post denying that white racism is a significant problem in the USA. I’m sure you would have said the same in MLK’s day.

    1. It’s obvious that there’s more going on than just poverty when it comes to police abuse (and shootings) of Blacks. Contrary to what you think, it’s not just an inconsequential coincidence that Oscar Grant was black; nor do “self-defense” shootings of unarmed poor whites (both by cops and by ordinary citizens) happen with the same regularity.

    3. Actually, there’s a lot of evidence that middle-class Blacks still wind up in worse neighborhoods than middle-class whites (on average). And I think the “larger” ghetto can also refer to larger concepts – discrimination, glass ceilings. Moving out of the ghetto doesn’t mean freedom from racial barriers.

    5. In 1963, Blacks had a formal legal right to vote in Mississippi and elsewhere. And of course, you could find white people unhappy with all the candidates in 1963. So it is your view that MLK’s statement was invalid in 1963?

    MLK was objecting to voting laws that were race-neutral on the surface, but which were nontheless designed to make it less likely that Blacks would vote. That same injustice is going on today.

    What do you think are the qualifications for public office?

    I didn’t answer this before because the answer seemed too obvious – the qualifications for various positions are spelled out in the law, and typically have to do with age, citizenship, etc.. Now I see that when you ask about qualifications, you’re really asking me what I think the traits of a good politician are. (Political philosophy, character, etc.) But a person can lack the traits of good politicians, and still be qualified for office, alas.

    I voted for Carol Moseley Brawn for Senator of Illinois the first time she ran basically because it seemed as though all else was equal between her and her opponent and she was both black and female. I voted against here the 2nd time because she turned out to be grossly incompetent – but she’d done 6 years of damage in the meantime. She’s one of the reasons why race has sunk down on my list of considerations for public office.

    This makes no logical sense at all. When you initially voted for Braun (not Brawn), you didn’t yet have the data point of “incompetent” to take into consideration. You did have the data point of the lack of Black women in the Senate (and in high levels of government generally). At that point, it would have been illogical to vote against her based on her being incompetent, because you did not yet have that information. Six years later, you know that Braun is incompetent, and vote against her for that reason – so it’s no longer “all else held equal.” But the lack of Black women in the Senate hasn’t gone away, and isn’t logically rebutted by “I elected a Black woman once and she was not a good Senator.” It’s a completely irrelevant point.

    (By the way, how on earth was Braun ever an “all else held equal” candidate for you? She’s about as far left as the Senate gets, while you’re very conservative. How could you not have found a single policy-based reason to find her opponent preferable?)

    Regarding “all else held equal,” for me it only comes up in primaries or in local non-partisan elections, but it does happen. In general elections, no matter how drunk, corrupt and incompetent the Democrat is, I can’t imagine voting for the Republican. (Might vote for a third party, though, if the polling isn’t close.)

    Finally, among the important issues the country faces is racism. A government consisting near-exclusively of white people is likely to be less responsive to the problems of non-white people, and for that reason is a bad government.

  39. 39
    Harlequin says:

    I don’t think that as a general rule you see blacks who have enough money to get out of the ghetto being restricted to “blacks-only” middle-class enclaves these days.

    I don’t know about the racial makeup of the neighborhoods where affluent Black people live, but the economic makeup of those neighborhoods is markedly different than the ones where white people live. Check Fig. 12 at the bottom of Pg. 15. On average, affluent Black people live in neighborhoods with a higher poverty rate than white people who are actually in poverty themselves. (And here’s a report documenting that neighborhood poverty in childhood has an adverse effect on economic mobility in adulthood. I first saw both of these reports thanks to links in posts by Ta-Nehisi Coates, by the way.)

  40. 40
    Harlequin says:

    Um, Amp, that link’s supposed to stop after “adulthood”, mind fixing it? Thanks.

  41. 41
    gin-and-whiskey says:

    RonF says:
    November 27, 2013 at 1:47 pm
    Point 1 – poor whites get smacked around for their share of police violence as well. This is more an economic thing than it is a racial thing, I figure.

    Well, no.

    You can’t as easily compare poor whites and poor blacks, because they’re poor and therefore generally targets of the police. But it’s true that even there you have a mugh higher incidence of police violence w/r/t POC (not necessarily blacks only) than w/r/t whites.

    And the process becomes glaringly obvious when you start getting up in the ranks. Yes: a poor white and a poor black are both fairly likely to be treated like shit. But rich whites are almost never treated that way, and rich blacks are treated that with with alarming frequency. The higher you go, the more obvious it gets.

    Maybe Wally Whiteguy and Bob Blackguy are equally likely to get beat up by the cops if they get caught selling coke on a corner (though I doubt it.) But make them both into blue collar workers and send them into Macy’s and things get different. Make them both into college professors and things get different. Make them both into 19 year old girls who just had a car accident. And so on.

    I can understand the concept that economics matter. They do; race isn’t everything. But to say that in a way that suggests that racism DOESN’T matter much… well, that doesn’t even come close to passing the “utter bullshit” test.

  42. 42
    Ledasmom says:

    RonF, it’s Deval Patrick, not Patrick Deval.

  43. 43
    RonF says:

    MLK was objecting to voting laws that were race-neutral on the surface, but which were nonetheless designed to make it less likely that Blacks would vote. That same injustice is going on today.

    No it’s not. If you mount a voter registration drive in Mississippi in a black neighborhood these days nobody’s going to carjack you or blow up your church with you in it. There aren’t men with baseball bats and axe handles giving the stinkeye to any black person who comes near a polling place. And while voter ID requirements are hypothesized to cut down on participation by blacks, I have yet to see demonstrated that this is the actual effect in those States where such laws are in effect.

    As far as Sen. Braun goes, yes – I didn’t know she’d be incompetent and I did know that there were (at that time, anyway) no blacks in the Senate. So on that basis I voted for her. The GOP candidate ran a lousy campaign and I didn’t pay as much attention to either the issues or either one’s qualifications as I should have.

    But the lack of Black women in the Senate hasn’t gone away, and isn’t logically rebutted by “I elected a Black woman once and she was not a good Senator.”

    No, what it rebuts is the concept that a candidate’s race or sex should be a major consideration in choosing them. After that election I decided that I wouldn’t give any weight to those factors.

    In general elections, no matter how drunk, corrupt and incompetent the Democrat is, I can’t imagine voting for the Republican.

    Which is how the State of Illinois has ended up $100 Billion in debt just to it’s State employee unions’ pension funds alone. Not to mention Cook County’s public employee unions’ pension funds and the City of Chicago’s public employee unions’ pension funds, all of whose legislatures are and have been dominated by Democrats for years. The State has a bond rating just above junk bonds because not only have they diverted pension payments to various projects and programs, they’ve borrowed as well. “Democrats no matter what” has run this State into a ditch.

  44. 44
    RonF says:

    Jake, thanks also for the correction. Note that I did use the weasel word phrase “If Wikipedia is any guide” rather than do any more extensive research.

    Yes, Amp, I was not talking about the legal criteria for office holding but what manner of characteristics we should look for in a candidate.

    (By the way, how on earth was Braun ever an “all else held equal” candidate for you? She’s about as far left as the Senate gets,

    Well, she wasn’t in the Senate when I first voted for her, and I frankly didn’t do the research I should have. Also, it was kind of hard back then to research someone’s record. The internet was in it’s infancy then, so I had to depend on the MSM, which predictably fell in love with “OMG a black woman in the Senate” and gave the issues, her history and her opponent short shrift except for noting that he was a boring old white guy and a Republican too. That was 20 years ago. I’ve gotten smarter since then, and research tools have improved.

  45. 45
    gin-and-whiskey says:

    Black female professor reprimanded for pointing out existence of structural racism to white male students

    See also

    Shannon Gibney, MCTC prof, also took heat for structural racism comments in 2009

    Fascinating stories both, aren’t they?

    My initial take on some of the side issues:

    1) Rules that privilege the perspective of the listener can easily produce results that are firmly in the “huh?” category? See, also, my occasional protests w/r/t hate speech legislation, etc. I have no idea what the precise rules are for that school, but I doubt they exclude reprimands for “____ are ____” statements just because they start with “whites are ___.” Couldn’t we have seen this coming?

    The administrator said that she had acted inappropriately, which is apparently their decision to make. The admins may, as always, be wrong/lying/covering their ass. I generally distrust administration and I won’t change my views here–but it’s an interesting case to illustrate some problems of admin enforcement of wonky regulations.

    2) The professor seems to think that she was “being put on the spot in the middle of class,” as a result of the challenge, which I think is one of the weirdest things about this mess. If you stand up in front of a bunch of college students and talk about an important and controversial issue you should be prepared to explain and/or defend the argument, just as with every other argument. Right? Isn’t that what professors and students DO? I mean, sure: students can be rude and inappropriate, and perhaps these students were being rude. But professors can be rude and inappropriate as well. “Putting on the spot” and “being rude” are very different things.

    3) She seems to have been upset by the complaint, as if she wasn’t expecting it. But speaking as a lawyer, if you tell people “feel free to go down to legal affairs and file a racial harassment discrimination complaint” then you shouldn’t be surprised if they do it. There’s a reason I don’t write “go ahead and sue me” letters, which is that people usually do.

    4) The professor says “[the administration has] helped those three white male students succeed in undermining my authority as one of the few remaining black female professors here.” That, as with #2, is very strange. She has no special authority or privileges from being black or female, and they have no special responsibilities or limitations from being white or male. That is especially true in the classroom setting.

  46. 46
    Charles S says:

    g&w,

    You are misparsing ‘as’ in the bolded section of that statement. Or rather, you are misparsing that statement, ‘as’ is not doing what you think it is doing.

  47. 47
    RonF says:

    Regarding #4:

    Let me throw a fist-sized rock at you and then you can tell me how innocuous it is.

    Maybe the solution here is for people to stop throwing rocks at cops. What an odd notion, eh?

  48. 48
    Ampersand says:

    But the lack of Black women in the Senate hasn’t gone away, and isn’t logically rebutted by “I elected a Black woman once and she was not a good Senator.”

    No, what it rebuts is the concept that a candidate’s race or sex should be a major consideration in choosing them.

    No, it doesn’t. There is no logical connection there, Ron.

    What it DOES rebut, is your choice of not paying “as much attention to either the issues or either one’s qualifications as I should have.” If you had done a fairly minor amount of research – and I was alive and voting 20 years ago, btw, so I know it wasn’t THAT hard to discover people’s positions on the issues back then – you would have known the two candidates were not actually “all else held equal.”

    I don’t believe being in debt is something unique to states where Democrats have run the government. Nor, frankly, is debt my major focus. If I want a party that doesn’t actively support homophobic and racist laws, the Democrats are my only choice, alas. (Actually, that’s exaggerating how good the Democrats are. I should say instead, “if I want the party that is less enthusiastic about supporting homophobic and racist laws…”).

    And while voter ID requirements are hypothesized to cut down on participation by blacks, I have yet to see demonstrated that this is the actual effect in those States where such laws are in effect.

    If you were shown that, in fact, voter ID requirements cut down on participation from blacks, will you renounce and oppose such laws?

    MLK was objecting to voting laws that were race-neutral on the surface, but which were nonetheless designed to make it less likely that Blacks would vote. That same injustice is going on today.

    No it’s not. If you mount a voter registration drive in Mississippi in a black neighborhood these days nobody’s going to carjack you or blow up your church with you in it.

    You’re blatantly changing the subject from what I wrote. (Incidentally, the Birmingham Church bombing – in Alabama, not Mississippi – took place three weeks after MLK’s March on Washington speech.) MLK objected to anti-voting violence, of course, but he also explicitly objected to facially race-neutral laws designed to keep minorities from voting. As MLK said in a 1959 speech:

    The other problem that we confront in seeking to obtain the ballot is that of external resistance. This resistance includes threats and intimidation from white extremists, conniving methods set up by boards of registrars, such as, literacy tests, written and oral, and occasional physical violence against Negroes seeking to vote. [...] We must press for stronger civil rights legislation.

    There is no honest reading in which you can say that MLK was referring only to men with axe handles and church bombings when he spoke about the right to vote.

    Literacy tests are history (for now), but facially-neutral laws designed to deter Blacks from voting are a major goal of the Republican party, and with the conservatives on the Supreme Court striking down much of the Civil Rights law that MLK fought for, it’s only going to get worse.

    Also, let’s not forget that part of North Carolina’s new voter ID law basically makes it legal for the GOP to create roaming bands of “poll watchers” to challenge and intimidate black voters — although, to be fair, presumably they won’t be carrying axe handles.

  49. 49
    Ampersand says:

    Let me throw a fist-sized rock at you and then you can tell me how innocuous it is.

    I have had stones thrown at me, and I didn’t say it was innocuous. It’s a violent assault. But the response should be proportionate, and responding to protestors throwing rocks by shooting them to death is not proportionate. And it’s not wise policy.

    Maybe the solution here is for people to stop throwing rocks at cops. What an odd notion, eh?

    It’s a stupid-ass notion, because the people throwing rocks are not within the command structure we control. We don’t have the power to make people stop throwing rocks. We do have the power to decide not to shoot those people unless that’s genuinely the only option available.

    Please don’t speak as if the lives of people who get shot are something of very little value.

  50. 50
    Ampersand says:

    Ron, is the principle “shooting live firearms at civilians ought to be a last resort” really something you disagree with?

  51. 51
    gin-and-whiskey says:

    People have been throwing rocks at cops as long as there have been cops. We don’t usually shoot them with designed-to-be-lethal ammunition, nor should we.

    Lots of people would argue for “non-lethal” ammunition. And yes, there are an increasing number of putatively non-lethal alternatives which range from rubber-coated bullets, to beanbag rounds, to water cannons, to tasers, and so on.

    But those have MAJOR problems of their own: because they’re non lethal, they’re much more likely to be used and less likely to get anyone in trouble for overuse. (You can use a “drive stun” Taser to torture a suspect and you won’t get caught; you can’t shoot a suspect without someone knowing about it.) And they cause significant damage, which certainly includes death.

    I don’t know what the solution is. There are conceivably circumstances in which putatively non-lethal force could reasonably be met by lethal force. I think that this would be a difficult decision to make by statute. What would be better is to actually discipline and fire the people who make the WRONG decision and end up shooting someone, which never actually happens but which would vastly change the situatino on the ground.

  52. 52
    Marcus the Confused says:

    I will take advantage of this open thread to pay my respects to Nelson Mandela.

    Nelson Mandela was a radical. Anyone able to forgive their enemies and seek true reconciliation is going against the usual grain of the human race (vindictive little snots that we usually are) and that is indeed a radical notion. May whatever gods there be grant him peace.

    Over the next few days we will hear and read a lot of praise for Mandela as well as a lot of vitriol before the man passes into history and the media gets caught up in the next big story. Let us strive to honor his legacy by not giving the haters and the trolls the attention they seek nor the “vindication” they feel when we stoop to their level. Yeah, I know, they can piss you off so bad that it is easier said than done (I make no claims to sainthood) but in honor of this great man . . . let us try.

  53. 53
    RonF says:

    Shooting live ammo at innocent civilians ought to be a last resort. Start throwing rocks (I presume we’re talking something that can do some damage, not pebbles or gravel) at cops and a) you’re no longer an innocent civilian and b) the options the border patrol has to successfully defend both the border and themselves start to get limited.

    If a group of people started throwing rocks at a bunch of cops in Chicago it would not surprise me at all if the cops started shooting. Don’t throw rocks at cops.

  54. 54
    RonF says:

    In the coming days you will read that Nelson Mandela was honored by being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. This is incorrect. He was not honored with the awarding of the prize. The Nobel Peace Prize was honored when he accepted it.

  55. 55
    Ampersand says:

    Yes, the options are limited. They are not, however, so limited that the only acceptable option is shooting live ammo at civilians.

    If the cops in Chicago gunned down someone for throwing a rock, would you defend that?

  56. 56
    RonF says:

    … the people throwing rocks are not within the command structure we control. We don’t have the power to make people stop throwing rocks.

    Yes they do. They can shoot them. That definitely exerted control over them and stopped them from throwing rocks.

    We do have the power to decide not to shoot those people unless that’s genuinely the only option available.

    Quite true. And (in answer to another comment you made) I don’t consider those people’s lives of no value. This is a tragedy both in the broad scheme of things and for the families of the rock throwers. But actions have consequences, and getting shot if you throw rocks at people armed with guns is a pretty predictable consequence. Don’t confuse that with considering that it’s a desirable consequence. It’s not. But it’s certainly a predictable one.

    Control is an interesting word. If the rock-throwers had had self-control this would not have happened. The article does not say what side of the border the rock-throwers were on, but it does say that there have been numerous such incidents. If they are on the Mexico side of the border I wonder why there is no one from their command and control structure (e.g., Mexican police) around to stop them. They should know it’s going on, and I presume it’s a crime in Mexico to throw a rock at someone with the intent to harm. Or is it not a crime if a U.S. Border Patrol agent is the target?

  57. 57
    RonF says:

    If the cops in Chicago gunned down someone for throwing a rock, would you defend that?

    It would depend on the circumstance. One guy throwing a couple of rocks at 3 cops? No. A gang of 6 people throwing a bunch of rocks at one or two cops with no easy way to get away from them? Very likely.

  58. 58
    gin-and-whiskey says:

    Under current policy, agents can use deadly force if they have a reasonable belief that their lives or the lives of others are in danger. So the rules already require some sort of proportionality w/r/t opposing force–at least in theory.

    So the question here is not “generally speaking should we be killing rock-throwers?” That’s a simple “no:” most rock throwing is not potentially lethal, so most agents cannot respond with deadly force.

    So, since we ALREADY have a high standard for the use of force, the question is really “should we entirely forbid the use of deadly force against rock throwers and assailants in vehicles?”

    At that point it starts to make a lot less sense. There’s nothing abut rocks and vehicles which PREVENTS them from bring lethal, and there are plenty of other situations where the agents can respond with lethal force… why make a carve-out? The carve-out would never pass muster in a normal USian police force and it makes little sense here.

  59. 59
    RonF says:

    Just to show you that I don’t think that cops are automatically virtuous in the use of deadly force, here’s an example of excessive use of deadly force – and how the D.A. in the area is trying to put the responsibility for the cops having shot bystanders on the person they were shooting at.

    Cops see someone wandering into traffic and throwing himself at oncoming cars in the middle of Manhattan in the middle of the day. He’s 250 pounds. The cops try to grab him. He reaches into his pocket. Fearing that he was going to pull out a gun, two cops open fire. They miss him. They hit two people in the crowd. He’s finally put down with a Taser. The local D.A. charges him with the shooting of the bystanders on the theory that if he had not created the situation that led the cops to shoot at him, no one would have gotten shot.

    If he actually HAD pulled out a gun I can see some logic there. I can certainly understand the fact that there have been cops shot by people pulling guns out of their pocket. But in a crowded street in Manhattan the danger of him shooting the cops or someone has to be balanced against the unfortunately demonstrated danger of the cops shooting someone. Thank God no one was actually killed, but – well, this needs some more analysis by the people in charge of the cops as to whether this kind of situation can be handled without shooting bystanders.

  60. 60
    Grace Annam says:

    One thing which often gets lost in discussions like these, and is getting lost here, is that a shooting can be simultaneously justified and tragic. In fact, there is an argument to be made that ALL justified shootings are tragic, since the tragic outcome is that a human being is injured or killed and the “justified” means that under the circumstances there was no dramatically better option available.

    Example: an officer is called to a prowler, described as a man dressed all in black, lurking in a back yard, with something in his hand. Officers respond, and see the man. They draw their sidearms and order him to show his hands. He turns quickly toward them, extending the dark object in his hand toward them. Believing him to be armed and about to shoot them, they shoot. He dies, and turns out to be a teenager with a water pistol, playing a game of “Killer” with his friends. Presumably, he thought they were his friends. We’ll never know, because he’s dead. But he acted aggressively in the moment. (This example is drawn from a real incident, and there have been more than one of these.)

    Are the officers justified? Absolutely. Required to make a split-second decision to shoot or not, with limited information all suggesting they were about to be shot at, they made a reasonable call.

    Is it a terrible tragedy? Of course it is.

    So, if we want this discussion to get anywhere, it would help to acknowledge that “Officers should almost never shoot people throwing rocks” is beside the point. OF COURSE officers should almost never shoot people throwing rocks. Officers should almost never shoot people, period.

    But in the Venn diagram including “never” and “almost never”, there’s that troublesome slice where acts which are ordinarily deplorable become reasonable, and sometimes even ethically mandatory.

    And the results are still tragic. Just less tragic than the alternative.

    Grace

  61. 61
    Ampersand says:

    I’m not sure if I agree with the carve-out suggested by the report. But since the Border Patrol has chosen not to release the report, we don’t really know what it says, or what the logic is. Which brings us to the real issue, when it comes to shootings by the border patrol – the lack of transparency and public accountability.

    It is obvious and clear that there are cases in which rocks represent a lethal threat, and a lethal response would be appropriate. I don’t deny this, at all.

    But I don’t think we can assume that ALL shootings are justified. And without real transparency, there isn’t any way to distinguish between the two kinds of shootings.

    Justified shootings happen. And so do unjustified shootings. And I don’t think there’s any viable way to keep unjustified shootings in check without much more transparency.

  62. 62
    closetpuritan says:

    RonF
    “… the people throwing rocks are not within the command structure we control. We don’t have the power to make people stop throwing rocks.”

    Yes they do. They can shoot them. That definitely exerted control over them and stopped them from throwing rocks.

    Technically, no, they didn’t/don’t. There have been multiple shooting-at-rock-throwers incidents*. They can stop a particular individual if they kill him or paralyze him so that he’s incapable of throwing rocks–but that’s making a particular person stop throwing rocks, not “the power to make people stop throwing rocks”. They may deter some people from throwing rocks. But they cannot prevent future rock-throwing incidents.

    *The Border Patrol reported 185 rock attacks last year, and in twenty-two cases lethal force was used. Another forty-two times, “less-than-lethal force” was used, which can include batons and pepper spray.

  63. 63
    gin-and-whiskey says:

    Charles S says:
    December 4, 2013 at 2:24 pm
    g&w,

    You are misparsing ‘as’ in the bolded section of that statement. Or rather, you are misparsing that statement, ‘as’ is not doing what you think it is doing.

    How do you propose it should be parsed?

    She says:
    “[the administration has] helped those three white male students succeed in undermining my authority as one of the few remaining black female professors here.”

    One could parse it differently, of course. For example, one could argue for a generic appeal to professorial authority. But that would suggest that the comments regarding the white male / black female status were… what? Wholly unrelated to the issue? Non sequiturs? That doesn’t make sense to me, at all.

    If she wanted to talk about the general, she’d have said something more like “[the administration has] helped those three white male students succeed in undermining my authority as one of the few remaining black female professors here.”

    Or, perhaps, “the administration is taking a stance which restrict professors’ authority.”

    But she didn’t say that. How would you suggest it be parsed?

  64. 64
    Charles S says:

    I interpret her to mean, [because I am one of the few remaining black female professors, the administration helped those 3 students undermine my authority.]

  65. 65
    RonF says:

    closetpuritan – well, that depends on how you interpret the phrase “make people stop throwing rocks”. I interpreted it differently than you based on my perception as I read it.

    However, in reading up on this, the statistics show that on a year to year basis rock-throwing incidents have decreased each of the last two years. There’s a lot of factors that could affect that, but certainly one of them could be that people found out it was a way to get shot.

    The statistics you cite, showing that 88% of rock-throwing incidents were NOT met with the use of lethal force, supports a contention that Border Patrol Agents are in fact trained to use lethal force only when appropriate and are showing restraint in doing so. Whether it was appropriate in a given incident is certainly worth questioning – it should be question in every case where it is used. A lack of transparency for a given incident is a very reasonable concern, as Amp has noted. But the article cited has the tenor that it should never be used, and that’s as unreasonable as saying that it should always be used.

    Grace Annan:

    One thing which often gets lost in discussions like these, and is getting lost here, is that a shooting can be simultaneously justified and tragic.

    One thing that has infested American thinking is that somehow every tragedy can be avoided or prevented. That’s unfortunately not true, and never will be no matter how you try to engineer society.

    With regards to the professor who was reprimanded because of how she treated white students in her class; in reading up on this what I see is that the students were reacting to her repeatedly bringing up her theories on racism in a class whose core focus was not racism. I tried looking up “Introduction to Mass Communications” in this college’s course catalogue but found no such course listed under either “Communications Studies” or “English”. However, from the title one would think that issues of racism-related issues and the professor’s theories thereof would not be a major component of the course. If it came up once or twice during the semester that might be understandable, but based on the comments of the students, the action of the school and the misdirection in the professor’s reaction to it I’d say that I’d side with the school’s action.

  66. 66
    gin-and-whiskey says:

    Charles S says:
    December 9, 2013 at 12:42 pm

    I interpret her to mean, [because I am one of the few remaining black female professors, the administration helped those 3 students undermine my authority.]

    But in that case, it not only adds a wholly different type of statement (there’s no “because” anywhere else) but it also makes the race of the three white students entirely moot: if the admin is agreeing with the students because of HER, then it doesn’t matter what they are.

    Generally speaking I don’t think your interpretation matches the quote. At least, not if you assume that the best evidence for “what she meant ” was “what she said.”

  67. 67
    Charles S says:

    Sure, whatever. I’m sure she meant something nonsensical and you are totally right to rant for multiple multi-paragraph comments about how what she said doesn’t make any sense. Carry on.

  68. 68
    gin-and-whiskey says:

    Dude, don’t be a dick.

    You accused me of “misparsing” the language–but it turned out that your idea of “parse” apparently means “rewrite to suit an agenda,” not “parse.” Don’t start insulting me because you’re embarrassed about it. And don’t start a debate about language and then reclassify it as “ranting” when you lose.

  69. 69
    Ampersand says:

    Aaargh. I’m not in love with “taking sides,” but G&W, I do think Charles did no more than engage in somewhat hostile sarcasm – something you yourself do quite frequently. It’s not ideal, but it’s also something as moderator I let pass all the friggin’ time, including when you do it.

    On the other hand, what you just did was a combination of direct name-calling, and pretending that you can read another person’s mind. In my view as a moderator, that’s not something I generally let pass.

    I’d really like it if the insulting statements stopped right now.

    Regarding the more substantive argument: G&W, I certainly don’t agree that Charles “lost” the argument.

    As I understand it, in the statement you’re discussing, she was speaking extemporaneously while being questioned by lawyers. It’s common for people speaking extemporaneously (or even from a prepared speech) to say something that they don’t mean if parsed literally, especially if it only involves accidentally skipping over or transposing one or two words. This is true even of some of the best public speakers in the world – think of Mitt Romney saying he likes to fire people, for example. Or Obama getting the number of US states wrong.

    Like Charles, I think the Professor probably intended to say something along the lines that the administration “helped those three white male students succeed in undermining my authority [because I'm] one of the few remaining black female professors here.”

    Particularly since she’s part of a discrimination lawsuit alleging that the administration has systematically discriminated against professors who are people of color, I don’t think that’s a wild or unreasonable interpretation of her statement.

  70. 70
    Ampersand says:

    I’m going to repeat a question I asked earlier this thread.

    Ron wrote:

    And while voter ID requirements are hypothesized to cut down on participation by blacks, I have yet to see demonstrated that this is the actual effect in those States where such laws are in effect.

    If you were shown that, in fact, voter ID requirements cut down on participation from blacks, will you renounce and oppose such laws?

  71. 71
    closetpuritan says:

    RonF:
    To be clear, I’m not in favor of a policy of shooting at rock-throwers under NO circumstances. I am in favor of shooting at them under only extraordinary circumstances. I don’t know enough about these incidents to say how many were justified.

    Given that the context of this was that, sure, people not throwing rocks might be a solution if we could control that, but we can’t, so what should we do if people throw rocks? And your response has been a) rocks can be dangerous, b) people who throw rocks are not innocent civilians, c) we can deter people from throwing rocks by shooting people… you don’t seem to see it as a serious problem. But also, the point was that we still have to deal with the question of when to shoot at rock-throwers, and deterring some of them doesn’t change that.

  72. 72
    Elusis says:

    This is a rather long article, and wanders a bit around its main point, but I thought was worth the read.

    The central thesis is that while snark(a “hostile, knowing, bitter tone of contempt,”) may have its problems, it is essentially a reaction to smarm:

    What is smarm, exactly? Smarm is a kind of performance—an assumption of the forms of seriousness, of virtue, of constructiveness, without the substance. Smarm is concerned with appropriateness and with tone. Smarm disapproves.

    In other words, smarm is concern trolling. Smarm is “you’re hurting me by calling me a racist.” Smarm is “talking about class warfare is divisive.” Smarm is the tone argument. Smarm is manufactured outrage (“Obama bowed to the Japanese Emperor!”)

    “Smarm” and “smarmy” go back to the older “smalm,” meaning to smooth something down with grease—and by extension to be unctuous or flattering, or smug. Smarm aspires to smother opposition or criticism, to cover everything over with an artificial, oily gloss…. Smarm should be understood as a type of bullshit, then—it expresses one agenda, while actually pursuing a different one. It is a kind of moral and ethical misdirection. Its genuine purposes lie beneath the greased-over surface….

    Smarm offers a quick schema of superiority. The authority that smarm invokes is an ersatz one, but the appearance of authority is usually enough to get by with. Without that protection, to hold an opinion is to feel bare and alone, one voice among a cacophony of millions.

    Snark is often conflated with cynicism, which is a troublesome misreading. Snark may speak in cynical terms about a cynical world, but it is not cynicism itself. It is a theory of cynicism.

    The practice of cynicism is smarm….

    Smarm [...] is never a force for good. A civilization that speaks in smarm is a civilization that has lost its ability to talk about purposes at all. It is a civilization that says “Don’t Be Evil,” rather than making sure it does not do evil.

    The sin of snark is rudeness, the anti-snarkers say. Snark is mean. And meanness and rudeness are the worst misdeeds in the world. So Robert Benmosche, the chief executive of AIG, told the Wall Street Journal that the hard-working, heavily compensated employees of his disastrously run company were being persecuted—that the critics of AIG, “with their pitch forks and their hangman nooses,” were “sort of like what we did in the Deep South. And I think it was just as bad and just as wrong.”

    Ever since the global economy imploded, the people who imploded it have been talking this way. The plutocrats are hurt that anyone should resent the power of wealth. They spent the past election fretting aloud about “class warfare,” which under the rules of smarm means any mention of the fact that classes exist, and that some classes have more or less money than others.

    Why should it not be pleasing to learn that these people’s feelings are so tender? That even as they fly their helicopters over the broke and frustrated masses at whose expense they have profited, they perceive that they are despised?…

    To actually say a plain and direct word like “corrupt” is more outlandish, in smarm’s outlook, than even swearing. A disagreeable attitude is one thing, but a disagreeable fact is much worse.

  73. 73
    RonF says:

    If you were shown that, in fact, voter ID requirements cut down on participation from blacks, will you renounce and oppose such laws?

    I’d want to know why. And I’d want to see what the actual correlations were. Is it “blacks” or “poor people” or “people with low education” or whatever. If the issue was racial discrimination, that would be one thing. If the issue is that people with low education don’t value voting enough to take simple steps to get an ID to vote, that’s entirely another.

    Here’s someone who didn’t think that getting an ID to vote was a bad idea:

  74. 74
    RonF says:

    Hm. Guess I can’t embed images. Well, here’s the image

  75. 75
    Ruchama says:

    Sign language interpreter at Mandela memorial was a fake — just waving his hands around, not using any actual sign language. http://news.yahoo.com/outrage-over-sign-language-interpreter-madiba-memorial-082056835.html

  76. 76
    RonF says:

    Re: #1: Now George Zimmerman’s GF has recanted, saying that the cops misinterpreted what she had said. So, what do we have here? Stockholm syndrome? Or someone making false accusations to gain an advantage only to find out that there are unintended consequences to doing so? Don’t ask me, there’s no way to tell. Should the local D.A. either charge him anyway or start thinking about charging her with filing a false police report?

  77. 77
    RonF says:

    “Don’t ask me, there’s no way to tell” -> I have no way of knowing – flip a coin as far as I’m concerned.

  78. 78
    RonF says:

    This coming Sunday at 4:00 PM an ensemble I sing tenor in, Canticum Novum (of Oak Lawn/Chicago, not the much more famous one in New York) will be singing a program of Christmas music at St. Catherine of Alexandria’s Catholic Church, 4100 W. 107th St. in Oak Lawn, Ill., at 4:00 PM on Sunday, Dec. 15th. All are welcome!

  79. 79
    Ruchama says:

    As an antidote to the story about the fake interpreter at the Mandela memorial: A kindergarten girl with deaf parents signs her school holiday concert for them, and it’s pretty much the most adorable thing ever. (I was laughing all through Rudolph — she can’t sign quite fast enough to keep up with the singing, and there are a few words in there that she realizes she doesn’t know how to sign, but she makes the best of it, and totally makes up in enthusiasm what she lacks in accuracy. She also spells it Rudof.) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zQeygYqOn8g

  80. 80
    RonF says:

    Allegations that Ed Schultz of MSNBC was paid at least $177,000 last year by labor unions, backed up by what is purported to be a search of union records at the U.S. Department of Labor. That’s a lot of money for someone who is supposed to be an objective purveyor of facts to be paid by the people he tends to favor on the air.

  81. 81
    closetpuritan says:

    That “On Smarm” essay is great! I probably would have read it even sooner if I’d known it was by Tom Scocca. I haven’t been following him that closely since he left Slate, but I liked his stuff when he was writing there.

  82. 82
    Ampersand says:

    Yup, if that’s true, Ed Schulz is an asshole. Journalists shouldn’t be taking money from people they report on. It’s particularly galling with someone who makes a more-than-healthy amount anyway.

    That said, I mind it less with someone like Schulz, who (as I understand it – I don’t watch his show) doesn’t pretend to being objective at all, and is open about his political biases. But he should also disclose the money he takes from unions on his show. (I don’t know if he does or not, but suspect that he doesn’t.)

    That said, I think the site you linked to is ridiculous, Ron. They put the word teachers in scare quotes.

  83. 83
    Charles S says:

    Apparently, Ed Schultz LLC is the company you pay to advertise on Ed Schultz radio and tv shows. It is also the company you pay to have Ed Schultz come and speak. Ed Schultz LLC donates all speaking fees to charity (as required by his contract with MSNBC), so some fraction of those payments get passed on to charity and the rest of it is advertising money. Advertising money has its own problems, but those are spread across all of television news, and the presence of union advertising on Ed SChultz shows is visible to anyone who watches or listens to them.

    That information was easily available by googling “Ed Schultz LLC” and looking at the first piece that didn’t come from part of the Right Wing Hall of Mirrors.

  84. 84
    Jake Squid says:

    That information was easily available by googling “Ed Schultz LLC” and looking at the first piece that didn’t come from part of the Right Wing Hall of Mirrors.

    But that could take, literally, seconds of time! It’s ridiculous to expect that kind of effort and you know it.

  85. 85
    gin-and-whiskey says:

    Can’t believe I missed this cartoon:

    http://www.eatliver.com/i.php?n=11281#BQb86Hy8Mw6B0FID.01

    Oh, boy! I love Thanksgiving!
    Made by Ruben Bollin

  86. 86
    RonF says:

    At the time, no – I didn’t have the time. In fact, normally when I see something like this I try to find it on a couple more websites that source it independently to a) confirm it and b) avoid the kind of web sites that put the word “teachers” in scare quotes. A lack of time caused me to short-circuit that process (that, trust me, has kept me from posting a lot of what turns out to be whack-nut stuff). So the thrust of the posting was true (they pay him money) but incomplete (he donates it to charity). Fair enough.

  87. 87
    Jake Squid says:

    Nope, I’m not buying that excuse. To do the search and look at the first link that wasn’t from a site biased to the point of propaganda would’ve taken about the amount of time it took you to type the comment. If you didn’t have time to do the search, you didn’t have time to post the comment.

    (I wouldn’t remark on this if it wasn’t a years long practice of yours)

  88. 88
    Harlequin says:

    Reminded by something Grace said on the C4M thread: English Has a New Preposition, Because Internet.

  89. 89
    Elusis says:

    I haven’t been writing much at my professional blog in a while, but I did put up a (better late than never!) post about taking care of yourself and your relationships during the holidays. A bit prosaic, perhaps, but I’m hoping to write more in 2014.