Open Thread And Link Farm, How To Locate Bruce Willis edition

bruce-willis

Post what you like, when you like, dressed however you like. Self-linking turns caterpillars into butterflies, and who doesn’t want that?

  1. Children in Danger: A Guide to the Humanitarian Challenge at the Border | Immigration Policy Center
  2. Federal Government Sued for Failure to Provide Legal Representation for Children
  3. Haughty eyes in Murietta
  4. Atheist/Humanist Statement Condemning US Border Crisis & Nativist Attacks on Undocumented Immigrants
  5. Seven Reasons Police Brutality Is Systemic, Not Anecdotal
  6. Obama should say no to a religion-based exemption on hiring discrimination - Los Angeles Times
  7. Getting beyond how the ‘Factual Feminist’ is wrong about the prevalence of rape | Family Inequality
  8. “It’s not like he claims to be some great humanitarian, but you would think that Americans would understand the first amendment at this point.Ironically, this sentence itself is a good illustration of someone not understanding the first amendment.
  9. First Woman Arrested Under Tennessee Pregnancy Criminalization Law, for a Drug Not Covered Under the Law
  10. Whatever happened to the clobber texts for slavery? Wonderful post comparing the way that “clobber text” Biblical defenses of slavery – and the responses to them – are virtually identical to arguments we hear today over women’s place in the church and homosexuality.
  11. Here’s what the world would look like if we took global warming seriously – Vox
  12. Global climate change solution still possible … but barely, says report – CSMonitor.com
  13. Health Insurance Is Not a Favor Your Boss Does For You That virtually 100% of Conservatives seem to view employer-provided health insurance as some sort of gift given to workers – rather than payment owed workers in exchange for labor – is stunning. “Why don’t you pay for your birth control yourself” is one of the most ignorant political cliches ever.
  14. The 19th-century health scare that told women to worry about “bicycle face.” As a friend of mine pointed out, the association between suffragettes, being “unfeminine,” and bikes may be why the nasty neighbor in “The Wizard of Oz” is depicted as a bike rider.
  15. Colorado offered free birth control–and teen births fell by 40 percent. Also, teen abortions fell by 35%. But all the so-called pro-lifers are going to passionately oppose this and similar measures, because they think it’s worth baby after baby after baby being murdered (in their view) so long as sluts are forced to “take responsibility” for having sex. I sort of hope that they are insincere about thinking fetuses are babies, because if they’re sincere, then opposition to birth control is a genuinely horrifying stance.
  16. Unveiled: A Support Group For Ex-Hijabis
  17. The Summer’s Most Unread Book Is… – WSJ If you don’t want to click through, the answer is Thomas Piketty’s “Capital in the Twenty-First Century.” Although it’s only three months old at the time the data was collected – I wonder if it’ll do better once it’s a year or two old. Via Althouse.
  18. Speaking of butterflies, this Radio Lab episode includes information about how caterpillars become butterflies that I thought was really neat.
  19. Cathy Meyer: Dispelling The Myth Of Gender Bias In The Family Court System The anecdotal account here is worth reading. Be cautious, though – some of the statistics she quotes, when I tracked them down, turned out to be from “Dividing The Child,” which was an excellent study of California custody outcomes published in 1993.
  20. A response to some MRA statistics. I don’t agree with every word of this, but still found it worth reading. Generally, I agree with the critique of MRAs as not actually seeming interested in solving these problems, but disagreed with many details, such as the implication that workplace deaths are about machismo when elements like class, lack of labor union power, and lack of negotiating power are much more important.
  21. Mirror of Justice: Brendan Eich was only the beginning . . . An inappropriate survey at a major bank has conservatives worried about workplace discrimination. The survey was stupid, but I’m skeptical that it was meant as a threat or the start of  purge. Let’s not attribute to malice what’s probably caused by incompetence.
  22. ‘I’m a Survivor of Rape and Intimate Partner Violence–And I’m a Man’ | TIME I hate the headline, but the article is good.
  23. Who Gets Custody Now? Dramatic Changes in Children’s Living Arrangements After Divorce – Online First – Springer In a nutshell, mothers sole custody is heading down, joint custody is heading up. We need more studies to know what “joint custody” means in practice, though. If it means more equal parenting arrangements, great. If it means “mothers do nearly all the work but have less support and legal rights” then not great.
  24. Breaking the Science: Misrepresentation of Gender Bias in the 1989 Report of the Gender Bias Committee of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court This writer seems likely to be an anti-feminist, but his argument here is persuasive. I’ve used this 1989 report as a reference in the past, but I won’t do that again.
  25. Trigger Warning: Breakfast — The Nib  — Medium Extremely well-done cartoon about the kind of rape that George Will would claim isn’t a rape. Thanks for the link, Ruchama.
  26. Manassas sexting case: If the erect penis photo story is true, prosecutors have lost it.
  27. Fireworks filmed from a drone are seriously cool (via):

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98 Responses to Open Thread And Link Farm, How To Locate Bruce Willis edition

  1. 1
    ballgame says:

    The rate of false reports of rape is about 2% ….

    Sorry, just … no.

    Your own link to The Enliven Project’s says:

    Source: http://www.ndaa.org/pdf/the_voice_vol_3_no_1_2009.pdf page 2: “when more methodologically rigorous research has been conducted, estimates for the percentage of false reports begin to converge around 2-8%.”

    Note the complete lack of explanation as to why they chose the lowest figure in the range. (See Daran’s post for a deeper exploration of the Enliven Project page.)

    Moreover, the Urban Institute looked at DNA exonerations of a set of those convicted of sexual crimes in Virginia. The found that in cases where DNA was dispositive, 15 percent of the convicted defendants were exonerated.

    15. Percent.

    Roughly one out of six.

    Even if you were to assume that ALL incarcerated sexual crime defendants in cases where DNA was NOT dispositive were guilty (there would in fact be no reason to assume this), this would still mean the overall false conviction rate would be about 8 percent.

  2. 2
    Harlequin says:

    Ballgame, while I agree with you that 2% is the lower end, not the certain number, for false rape reports, and while I also agree that 15% is an enormously high false conviction rate and that we should be ashamed of how our justice system has served people in the past and should work hard to right those wrongs and make the system work better in the future, you’ve mixed two unequal things here:
    – Reports of rape which are false
    – People who were convicted of rape who were not the rapist in question

    “People who are convicted of rape” != “people who are reported to have raped someone else.”

    “The wrong person was convicted of the rape” != “the person who reported the rape was not raped.”

    The rapists in question were convicted between 1973 and 1987. At least at that beginning of that range–I’m sure others can speak with more authority on the entire time period in question–acquaintance and (especially) spousal rape was very infrequently prosecuted, if it was reported at all, and if it was criminal at all. (Spousal rape was not a crime in all 50 states until 1993.) So it’s likely that a large proportion of the prisoners in the sample were convicted for what we’d call “stranger rape” today, where false identification is much higher than it would be for a situation like the one in this post, where the woman knew her attacker. And even now, in conversation, I know people are more likely to excuse a rapist who knew his or her victim, and I don’t see why juries would be any less subconsciously biased in this way. (I would put numbers to this if I could, but I can’t seem to find anything on the proportion of people in prison for rape who were convicted of raping someone they knew vs a stranger.)

    I also want to mention–not because you made this error, but because I see it made all the time and it bugs–that “2-8% of rape reports are false” is not equivalent to “2-8% of people accused of rape were falsely accused.” False rape reports are disproportionately likely to be reports of the stranger-rape variety, in which case (if no one is arrested before the case is abandoned or proved false) no individual was accused of the rape, although a rape was reported to have happened. I mean–some will, and that is not okay, but it’s still smaller than the 2-8% of reports.

    Again: I don’t want to claim that it’s unimportant that people are falsely accused of rape, and I think our justice system in general has many failings that need work (not just on the part of the people who work for the justice system, but juries and politicians and people who attempt to influence public policy in this area). But your 15% statistic, while awful in itself, has very little to say about false rape reports.

  3. 3
    mythago says:

    ballgame @107, you do realize you shifted from discussing false reports to false convictions.

    I know you aren’t claiming that false convictions are always the result of false accusations, because you reference cases where ‘DNA is dispositive’, i.e., those where DNA shows that the rapist was not the person convicted of rape. It’s also clear from the study mentioned in your link, which can be reviewed in its entirety here – and which looked at homicide as well as sexual assault – was trying to determine whether the person convicted of a crime was the source of the retained DNA evidence in the case.

    BTW, the study does acknowledge serious limitations (on page 4), but for purposes of this comment I am assuming everything is statistically valid. It’s a good argument for careful DNA testing of forensic evidence. It’s an irrelevant argument as to the question of what percentage of rape consists of “false reports”.

  4. 4
    ballgame says:

    Harlequin & mythago, I appreciate your responses. I agree with some of what you say, but disagree with you on some important points. I’d like to respond (and I’m more than happy to do so), but I’m keenly aware that this is shifting what had been an interesting discussion about one set of issues onto an important and related but nonetheless distinctly different set of issues.

    I’d like to give Amp or one of the other moderators the opportunity to set up a different thread for this discussion if they’re so inclined. If not, I’ll respond here later.

  5. 5
    RonF says:

    Re: #13:

    First, I disagree with the premise that the people favoring Hobby Lobby hold the view that health insurance is some sort of charity that employers provide out of the goodness of their heart. I have not seen any arguments based on that.

    From the article:

    You work, and in exchange for that labor you are given a compensation package that includes salary and certain benefits like a retirement account and health coverage. Like the other forms of compensation, the details of that insurance are subject to negotiation between you and your employer,

    I agree with this. In fact, I do believe I’ve said this.

    … and the government’s involvement is to set some minimums—just as it mandates a minimum wage, it mandates certain components health insurance must include.

    I partially agree with this – but I partially do not. While government DOES have some legitimate involvement, we have to remember that it is a fundamental principle of American government that governmental power is limited. Governments in the United States do not have the power to enforce any public policy that a majority of a particular polity’s representatives think is a good idea. There are things that they cannot do, and people have rights that government is bound to not only not interfere with, but to actively defend. One of those rights is the right to freely practice one’s religion, and that covers not only what you do on Sunday morning in church (or Saturday morning in synagogue, or Friday afternoon in the mosque, or whatever …) but at any other time of the day and in any place, even if you own a company. Yes, those rights have limits. But so do privileges granted by legislation – such as provision of health insurance that includes contraception by your employer. And when the two conflict, it seems to me pretty clear that it is government’s duty to place a higher priority on a Constitutionally-protected right over a legislatively-granted privilege.

  6. 6
    Charles S says:

    RonF,

    Okay, so you take an extremely expansive view of the religious expression right established in the 1st amendment. But the majority in Hobby Lobby firmly rejects your expansive view. Scalia wrote the decision in Employment Division v Smith that re-established that generally applicable laws do not violate the 1st amendment rule against prohibiting the free exercise of religion. The majority decided based only on an expansive view of the privilege granted by the RFRA. No constitutional rights were harmed by the contraceptive mandate in the view of the majority (or the minority).

    So while you clearly think the RFRA (and its later expansion in RLUIPA) is good law, since it merely tells the court to take your interpretation of the 1st amendment, you should understand that the expansive religious expression right established by the RFRA is NOT recognized as a constitutional right by the courts.

  7. 7
    RonF says:

    No, not by the Courts, that’s true. But it was recognized as such by Congress, which is why it passed the RFRA to protect it when the Supreme Court declined to do so. And as long as the RFRA stands as written, so will those rights.

    Sometimes we forget that the Federal government is supposed to defend our rights, not constrain them – and that we should be able to depend on Congress and the President to do so. The Supreme Court is not supposed to be the only entity with the power to protect our Constitutional rights. It’s the job of all 3 branches. Sometimes Congress and the President (or the States) get it wrong and the Supreme Court steps in. Sometimes the Supreme Court gets it wrong and the Congress and the President step in, as with the RFRA. That’s why we have 3 co-equal branches of government with different defined roles, and the checks and balances that have been built in to the structure.

  8. 8
    Ampersand says:

    You’ve said that the alternative to health insurance is for people to pay for birth control themselves, which is nonsense, because they were already paying for it themselves with health insurance. They paid for that health insurance with their work. What you want is for them to double-pay – to pay for their health insurance which for all other workers WOULD cover birth control, and to pay a second time out of pocket. And the reason you want them to double-pay is because you want the right to shove your religion down their throat.

    Ron, the issue in Hobby Lobby is that Hobby Lobby wants a tax cut.

    There is nothing in the ACA preventing HL from not offering insurance to their employees, or even from offering substandard insurance (i.e., insurance that doesn’t meet the Federal government’s minimum standards to qualify for a tax cut) to their employees. They’re completely free to do that. Except that (prior to the SCOTUS decision) if they did that they wouldn’t qualify for the tax cut they want; and their employees would qualify for buying health insurance from a government exchange instead of getting it through Hobby Lobby.

    So what you’re arguing is that somewhere in the Constitution, it says that Hobby Lobby has a constitutional right to a tax cut it doesn’t qualify for.

    Yes, those rights have limits.

    And in the past, that limit was that their rights ended where another person’s nose began. That is, your right to religious freedom doesn’t include the right to injure me or take money from my pocket.

    But that right is obliterated by the Hobby Lobby ruling, which barely even mentions the word “women,” let alone weighs the harms done to women.

    You say “those rights have limits.” Are you sure? I don’t see how you can be, after the Hobby Lobby decision. The Hobby Lobby majority doesn’t describe those limits (except that there’s no religious right to racial discrimination). I keep on hearing that the principles of Hobby Lobby, if applied fairly, won’t lead to religious owners being able to refuse to employ atheists or LGBTs, or to refuse to provide health insurance that covers blood transfusions, etc., but there isn’t such a limiting principle anywhere in Hobby Lobby.

    And when the two conflict, it seems to me pretty clear that it is government’s duty to place a higher priority on a Constitutionally-protected right over a legislatively-granted privilege.

    Corporations aren’t the only people, you know, Ron. In theory, workers are people – even women workers – and that means, contrary to what you seem to say here, that they have constitutional rights, just like huge corporations do.

    Specifically, employees (should) have a constitutional right to equal protection of the law. If there was a law that said “the minimum wage is $12/hr, except for employees of religious employers (regardless of the type of business), for whom the minimum wage is $11/hr,” that wouldn’t be constitutional, because it would be arbitrarily putting a huge class of citizens outside of equal protection of the law. But Hobby Lobby says it’s fine to do that – so long as the wages being docked are coming out of the workers’ health insurance instead of out of their paychecks.

    If this were a constitutional case, then it would still be wrong to say that we’re looking at a class with constitutional rights (wealthy corporations) versus a class with no constitutional rights at issue (workers). What we’d be looking at is a situation where rights are in conflict, and some sort of balance would need to be struck.

    (Of course, Hobby Lobby wasn’t a constitutional case at all. In theory, Congress can overturn Hobby Lobby just by passing a law, which wouldn’t be possible if Hobby Lobby had been decided on constitutional principles. In practice, however, the Hobby Lobby decision is safe from a divided Congress, although it might well be overturned or limited if a Democratic president gets to replace one of the five Hobby Lobby majority.)

  9. 9
    gin-and-whiskey says:

    Ballgame, first decide what “false” means:

    1) Knowingly, maliciously, false. Consenting to sex and then deciding to lie about it; having sex with someone and then saying you were raped by someone else; anything else where an accuser is lying about the facts in an effort to get the accused in trouble.

    2) Legally false. Reports for conduct which is honestly believed by the accuser to be rape but which, had it been viewed by an omnipotent observer, would not violate the law. This is a shorthand for “slimy, but not illegal.” This includes two subsets of conduct. One type is where the accuser makes an error with respect to her own conduct, e.g. “I couldn’t legally consent because I was drunk” in a situation where the law does not exempt for voluntary intoxication, or “I don’t remember consenting so it was rape” in a situation where she did actually consent. The other type is where the accuser mistakes the conduct of the accused, e.g. “he knew I didn’t mean it when I said yes” in a situation where that was not actually true.

    3) Not provably true, CIVIL: Conduct which cannot be proven to be rape under the “preponderance of the evidence” standard, which is also called “more likely than not.” It may still be rape, but it can’t be shown to be rape.

    4) Not provably true, CRIMINAL: Conduct which cannot be proven to be rape under the “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard. It may still be rape (there’s a higher chance than for criminal) but it can’t be shown to be rape.

    5) Accidentally false: making a good faith report of a rape and having the wrong person get caught. (You can debate the “accidental” nature of this because it seems to mostly involve POC men who “all look the same” but I’ll give this a separate category anyway.)

    To say that those categories would produce different numbers is to put it very, very, mildly. So before y’all start talking about “false” things, you should start by agreeing what you’re talking about.

    The biggest split is about #2. This is a political decision, because from the accuser’s perspective, only #1 is false. If they aren’t lying then the accusation is true. Therefore a lot of writers focus on #1 in an effort to support accusers.

    However, from the accused’s perspective, #2 is also false. If they’re accused of a crime (rape) which they didn’t technically do (even if they were generally a slimeball and even if they did something else which was bad) then the accusation is false. Unsurprisingly, a lot of MRAs focus on this, usually trying to push it to #3.

    I know I come across as a semantics nerd, but sometimes it seems like a huge mass of the argument about rape is mostly caused by different definitions of “rape” and “false.”

  10. 10
    Myca says:

    But it was recognized as such by Congress, which is why it passed the RFRA to protect it when the Supreme Court declined to do so. And as long as the RFRA stands as written, so will those rights.

    This is the bullshittiest of bullshit.

    Look, what you’re saying is that Hobby Lobby doesn’t rely on constitutional issues. It relies on legislative issues.

    That you somehow think that this bit of legislation is equivalent to a constitutional amendment, while that bit of legislation is ‘more of a suggestion’ doesn’t matter at all.

    Hobby Lobby isn’t about the first amendment. It’s about how RFRA interacts with the ACA.

    Which are both pieces of legislation.

    —Myca

  11. 11
    Ben Lehman says:

    G&W: I think that’s a really good breakdown.

    I think that 2) includes a lot of things which are also illegal (as we just discussed, state law varies widely on what constitutes “rape” vs “sexual assault” and “sexual misconduct”), and I think that’s probably an important distinction 2a) and 2b) if you want. There’s also the realm of “might be criminally provable but the DA won’t prosecute” or “probably criminally provable but the victim doesn’t want to prosecute” which is definitely worthy of a 4b).

    yrs–
    –Ben

  12. 12
    RonF says:

    Re: # 21:

    Let’s not attribute to malice what’s probably caused by incompetence.

    I’ve been citing this on conservative blogs for some time now when the occasional person spouts off about Obama being a closet socialist Islamist who’s out to destroy America.

    Re: #27 – someone was flying a drone though my local Park District’s fireworks display on July 3rd. I don’t think this is it, though.

  13. 13
    Fibi says:

    Ben: a case can also simultaneously be in both 2a and 4a, because of the way rape laws are written. This occurs most commonly when the victim is drunk, but not legally incapacitated and the rapist then uses force to overcome the victim’s (now reduced) defenses. Prosecutors are left with a victim who may not be a “good witness” and typically less physical evidence to contradict a consent defense.

    Because many jurisdictions define incapacitated as being “physically helpless,” there are a lot of victims who fall into the zone where they are too drunk to be “reliable” witnesses but not drunk enough to legally claim rape by intoxication.

  14. 14
    Fibi says:

    On Hobby Lobby, one point I don’t see made very often, is that the current status quo is probably the best outcome liberals could have conceivably gotten through our political system. What I’m saying specifically is this, if there wasn’t an RFRA then there wouldn’t be an ACA today.

    In the Senate there was a vote on an amendment that would have given a blanket exemption to all employers (no requirement showing that the government could meet compelling interests through alternative, less restrictive means). This failed.

    Because the RFRA exists, that meant that when final passage was hurried up by Scott Brown’s victory, conservative Democrats in the House knew that religious exemptions would be decided by the Obama administration and the courts. If there was no RFRA, these House Democrats would have been faced with passing the Senate bill and knowing that the Obama administration alone would decide all religious exemptions.

    Would it still have passed? It was touch and go as it was, and abortion and contraception were hotly debated at the time. You can never answer counterfactuals with 100% confidence, but my guess is no, it wouldn’t have passed.

    Now we wake up and five justices have gone on record as stating that the government has a compelling interest in providing women’s health. Which means religious exemptions can only be granted if there alternative means of providing these benefits that are as effective* while being less restrictive.

    *The majority got creative and argued in a footnote that the Government in a brief on a separate case has agreed that they have the burden of showing that a proposed alternative would not be as effective.

  15. 15
    gin-and-whiskey says:

    I was absolutely not trying to set out a perfect classification of all rape cases. Nor do I mean to imply that those categories are entirely accurate.

    I was only trying to illustrate the extreme disconnect between the many common ways that people use “false” in the context of rape cases, and show a few of the reasons why that happens.

    Rape is an issue which is both very simple to describe generally (“sex without consent is rape”) and incredibly complex when it comes to specifics. My (probably too-frequent) point is to argue for the development of better terminology. Because talking about rape issues using imprecise terminology is like discussing biological differences without going much beyond phyla.

  16. 16
    Harlequin says:

    That’s a good summary, g&w. I read through the 2-8% report linked above again to try to figure out which definition they were using; it definitely includes at least #1 and does not include #3, #4, or #5, but I’m unclear on #2.

    In the thread where this statistic was first brought up*, it was brought up in a discussion of believing people who report they were victims of rape, in which case we should definitely include #1 under “false reports”, definitely exclude #2 and #5 (as having reported things that actually happened and were traumatic, although they may not have been criminal in the case of #2), and possibly include #3 and #4 depending on the facts of the case (was it unprovable because the accused was innocent, or because s/he was guilty and there was too little evidence?). Saying #2 isn’t false doesn’t imply I think we must treat the accused as a guilty party–just that being supportive of the victim is warranted in that case (and calling them a liar is right out).

    *Thanks for moving this here, btw, Amp

  17. 17
    Harlequin says:

    Unrelated: I notice that for some commenters, if you hover over the gravatar you get a little info card that has extra information on the commenter. (Mine has the name and info from a now-defunct wordpress blog I attempted to write with the same email address I use to comment here, for example.) Not everyone has this, though–anyone know how to turn it off?

    (I can turn it off for everybody for my own pageviews, but that still leaves it visible to everybody else. Not that that blog has any personally identifying information on it or anything, just…weird.)

  18. 18
    gin-and-whiskey says:

    Generally speaking, my understanding is that most “false” statistics are based on #1, or that they otherwise require something to be provably/demonstrably false.

  19. 19
    gin-and-whiskey says:

    Everyone likes analogs for rape. The most common one is “theft,” which is a horrible example.

    But there’s a pretty good analog: certain types of criminal fraud and fraud defenses to contracts (where someone has signed something and is trying to invalidate it.) Of course, fraud is not as serious as rape, but those types of fraud cases share the strange nature of rape: a situation where the physical evidence of the transaction could be either legal or criminal AND where both legal and illegal transactions are relatively common AND for which the legality is determined by the consent of the parties AND which often involves a power/education/competence differential AND which often involves some sort of impairment such as alcohol.

    Just as with rape, those fraud defendants will generally claim some sort of consent, agreement, or understanding, without which it isn’t fraud.

    Just as with rape, those fraud defendants will claim that even if there was not consent in fact, that they believed there was consent, so that they lack the mens rea for criminal fraud.

    Just as with rape, the line between “slimy conduct” and “illegal” is often not well understood.

    Just as with rape, the law doesn’t usually provide a defendant with protection against a really bad decision, which is why the “consent” or “didn’t know” defenses work so well.

    Just as with rape, a plaintiff could (in theory) easily lie about the lack of agreement/consent, since there’s no physical proof either way. Just as with rape, the defendants try to paint the plaintiff as “regretful” or “malicious” people who are abusing the system and lying.

    Just as with rape, there tends to be a lot of skepticism aimed at people who claim victim status, including the “why didn’t you ___” and “why did you ____” and “didn’t you know not to ____” and “what were you thinking” and “you should have known better” kinds of commentary.

    Just as with rape, social biases come to the fore in a serious way w/r/t age,race,gender and which people are thought to have been “asking for it” or “easy marks,” and which people are assumed to be “predators,” though obviously not in the precise same fashion.

    Just as with rape, it is notoriously difficult to get the cops involved, because they often believe at the outset (correctly!) that they cannot prove a case beyond a reasonable doubt;

    Just as with rape, the actual occurrence of fraud vastly outweighs the official reporting, even for fraud which is relatively serious.

    Therefore: If you want to use an analog, try that one.

  20. 20
    Fibi says:

    G&W, you wrote:

    Generally speaking, my understanding is that most “false” statistics are based on #1, or that they otherwise require something to be provably/demonstrably false.

    The exception is the <a href=", “>FBI data which includes #2 in the unfounded definition (which is the analog for “false report”). The FBI data is the source of the 8% upper end. The data is the “best” in one sense – it has the largest and most diverse dataset. It’s the “worst” in another sense, raters are poorly trained and there is no cross-rating validation done. Basically, the official definition of unfounded does include #2, but doesn’t include #3 or #4. However, the people who actually rate cases may overcount by including #3 or #4 and they may undercount by excluding #2.

    The other problem with the data is that they don’t actually report a rate for true reports. For example, the FBI report says that 53% of cases are closed by arrest or exceptional means. Exceptional means is defined as having a perpetrator identified and located but being unable to make an arrest (typically he is deceased, not subject to extradition, or not arrested because the victim is no longer cooperating with the investigation). So in at least 53% of the cases the investigators clearly believe the allegation is founded.

    That leaves 39% of cases that are neither unfounded nor closed with a perpetrator identified and located. This 39% includes cases where the investigator is convinced but can’t make an arrest because he or she can’t identify, locate, or arrest the perpetrator (not false by any of your definitions), cases where the investigator believes the report but can’t produce evidence beyond a reasonable doubt (#4) and cases where the investigator is unsure, or even disbelieves the allegation but doesn’t have enough evidence to classify it as unfounded (#3).*

    How many of which type are included in the 39% is not known. Which makes it impossible to estimate with any accuracy what percentage of reports are not-true (presumably some fraction of the #3 and #4 cases are not true).

    This is the biggest problem with the 2-8% statistic in general usage. Most people assume it means that 92-98% of reports are true. But the studies have a large number (39% is typical) that aren’t classified as unfounded and also aren’t referred for arrest or other disciplinary action (in the case of studies of university students). I have never seen a data set that codes cases to separate out those where the investigator is convinced but can’t make an arrest from those where the investigator is unsure or even disbelieves.

    In the old days, the number was 20-40% and would come from police officer estimates. These reports are actually consistent with more modern research. They just reflect the fact that police officers tend to include all of the #3 and #4 (or at least all of the #3) cases with the #1 and #2 cases when estimating false reports. That’s clearly wrong and it’s a good thing that this type of estimate is no longer widely used.

    In the end, I tend to resolve all of this by emphasizing the higher end of the modern studies (8%). This reflects the fact that some of the #3 and #4 cases are not-true, but that most of them are true. Given the prevalence of rape myths amongst investigators I don’t think shading the estimate of not-true up any more than that is appropriate.

    *Again in some jurisdictions these would in practice be classified as unfounded but others adhere more closely to the FBI’s definitions and will either leave open or administratively close such cases.

  21. 21
    kate says:

    When I used the 2% figure, I was specifically thinking of cases in which a person falsely accuses someone s/he knows of rape or sexual assault, not false reports or wrongful convictions (thanks to Harlequin and G&W for taking up those distinctions). I still contend that the data indicates that if someone in your school, workplace, family or social group accuses someone else in that group of sexual assault, absent other evidence, there is a significantly better than 90% chance that the accuser is telling the truth. We need not treat the accused as guilty, per se. But, it is not o.k. to just go on as if nothing ever happened unless there is independent evidence that the accuser is lying (eg. DNA, a witness who is not good friends with the accused). Really and truly opening yourself to the possibility that someone you know and like might be a sexual predator can be very painful. Our initial instinct – even the instinct of many victims – is to deny. When an accusation is made, I think at minimum we should do a few things:
    1.) Try to look at the accused’s history in a new light to see if, in retrospect, there are any red flags. Has anyone who used to be in social circles, classes, work etc. with the accused “drifted away”, dropped, quit or otherwise stopped going to events where the accused is likely to be? If so, maybe ask them why they did that. Does the accused have a string of “crazy ex’s” who can’t handle being around at all? Red flag. Did any of them drop classes that they shared or wind up needing to drop out of school or quit their job altogether? Big red flag. Did the accused regularly help home drunk people? This is not a red flag in and of itself, but if some of those people subsequently drifted away; abruptly dropped a class or quit a job they had with the accused it sure is. Does the accused tell rape jokes? Red flag. You get the idea.
    2.) Don’t leave the accused alone with drunk people, or people who might be otherwise vulnerable to sexual assault. If the accused resists this plan, be suspicious.
    3.) Talk to the alleged victim about how you can help make safe space to continue whatever aspects of life you shared before the accusation. Help the alleged victim make those safe spaces. This will probably mean excluding the accused when you would not have before. That’s o.k.. You don’t need proof beyond a reasonable doubt to exclude someone from a party invitation or study group.

  22. 22
    kate says:

    I cross posted with Fibi. I think the use of percentages is taking away from my point, which is that the lives of victims of sexual assault are really adversely impacted when they make accusations against people they know. It is really easy for friends, family and coworkers to just ignore the accusation and go on treating both parties as they always have. This has profound impacts on victims. I also just don’t understand what people think an accuser might get out of making a false accusation against someone they know well.

    edited to add: Not that it never happens, but I just don’t think that false accusations of sexual assault are very common when compared to actual incidents of sexual assault.

  23. 23
    Fibi says:

    Kate,

    I saw that we cross-posted and was hoping you didn’t think I was intentionally putting the focus back on numbers. What I choose to talk about in comments isn’t always what I think is most important, but rather what I think I can say something about in a way that contributes meaningfully.

    I especially want to agree with the idea that you can support a victim and make a safe space (by excluding the perpetrator) without waiting for a court decision. I would add one thing to that, you should reach out to the victim even if you were actually friends with the perpetrator first or better friends with the perpetrator, especially if the victim and the perpetrator shared all of the same friends.

    So often a relationship starts out with uneven power, moves onto abuse and then to assault. By the time of the assault the victim doesn’t really have anyone left on her team, everyone is better friends with him.

  24. 24
    kate says:

    Thanks Fibi, actually, I just feel foolish for messing up my numbers – particularly because it’s really tangential to my points.

  25. 25
    Adrian says:

    I’m fascinated by how the Mirror of Justice blogger reacted to the bank survey. I agree that the question is intrusive and inappropriate for employers to ask. But I would have flinched in the other direction…the companies I worked for seemed more likely to fire a person for being “an ally of the LBGT community” than for not being such an ally.

  26. 26
    Jake Squid says:

    Oh, gods. We have employees who oppose our new no weapons on company property policy because they fear coyotes. We have had zero coyote attacks on an employee in our history. On or off premises.

    I just… I… What the fuck?

  27. 27
    Ben Lehman says:

    The coyotes have been kept at bay by fear of your armed workforce, clearly.

    Deterrence.

  28. 28
    Myca says:

    Oh, gods. We have employees who oppose our new no weapons on company property policy because they fear coyotes.

    Why does it not surprise me that the set “people who want to bring weapons everywhere they go” has significant overlap with the set “people who are scared of imaginary things?”

    It seems like that explains an awful lot about the NRA, in fact.

    —Myca

  29. 29
    Jake Squid says:

    I’m seriously considering implementing an Acme anvil policy.

  30. 30
    Ledasmom says:

    Jake Squid, would this policy require or forbid anvils? Or only forbid open carry of anvils?

  31. 31
    Jake Squid says:

    The Acme Anvil Policy would allow the carrying, concealed or open, of anvils as a self defense measure against coyotes. I’ll have to get our legal counsel to define the parameters of permitted anvils in accordance with state law.

  32. 32
    KellyK says:

    Ron, the issue in Hobby Lobby is that Hobby Lobby wants a tax cut.

    There is nothing in the ACA preventing HL from not offering insurance to their employees, or even from offering substandard insurance (i.e., insurance that doesn’t meet the Federal government’s minimum standards to qualify for a tax cut) to their employees. They’re completely free to do that. Except that (prior to the SCOTUS decision) if they did that they wouldn’t qualify for the tax cut they want; and their employees would qualify for buying health insurance from a government exchange instead of getting it through Hobby Lobby.

    Yes, exactly! They’re asking for a tax break for something that they’re not doing.

    This is exactly like someone who has a religious belief that charity should be personal suing to be allowed to take a tax deduction for the money they’ve given to homeless people as if they’d given it to a 5013c. Or like someone who believes that they shouldn’t own property because the world is ending any day now should get the same deduction on their rent as someone who deducts their mortgage interest.

    Additionally, they’re citing a religious belief that they don’t appear to actually hold with much sincerity. They covered emergency contraception until they were approached by a lawyer from the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty about a potential lawsuit.

    To me, if something is so deeply against your religion that you need an exception from a general law, then it’s against your religion enough for you to *bother to find out* if you’re doing it.

    Ron, do you think the really broad religious liberty protections you seem to be in favor of should apply to employees too? Say, for example, if I attend church only sporadically, but suddenly my company decides they need me to work one Sunday a month, should I be legally entitled to a religious accommodation to get that Sunday off for a “religious obligation” even though I don’t really treat it as an obligation? (Or I start attending regularly once I’m in the process of bringing the lawsuit?)

    I mean, I don’t think everyone is obligated to be perfectly consistent in their religious or moral beliefs, but I do think that if you want a religious accommodation under the law, you need to demonstrate that you actually consider the religious practice in question to be an obligation.

  33. 33
    Ledasmom says:

    I wonder just how voluminous one’s clothing would have to be to allow anvil concealment.

  34. 34
    Jake Squid says:

    Depends on the anvil material & weight, doesn’t it?

  35. 35
    Armondikov says:

    A response to some MRA statistics. I don’t agree with every word of this, but still found it worth reading. Generally, I agree with the critique of MRAs as not actually seeming interested in solving these problems, but disagreed with many details, such as the implication that workplace deaths are about machismo when elements like class, lack of labor union power, and lack of negotiating power are much more important.

    Since this page did end up driving a bit of traffic to that post, I wanted to clarify that I most-likely agree with your points on the details there. But, in particular, what you’re raising on workplace deaths is sort-of a classism issue, which is something of a pet cause I’m more interested in but simply don’t write too much about it. In a blog post that was already way longer than it should have been, it was a bit much to caveat absolutely every detail fully – it’s a blog, not a novel aiming for the Pulitzer prize. Hopefully the post isn’t/wasn’t worded in the way that implies some of the things mentioned are the be-all-and-end-all of everything. The section on custody, for instance, doesn’t even scratch the surface of a lot of complicated things such as how many cases even get to court – that would be another post almost the length of the full thing.

    But the overall conclusion is undeniable – MRA-types aren’t interested in solving those problems. They’re more interested in playing the victim card – otherwise why else would they claim wealthy women vs homeless men is a gender issue and not a class or economic issue?

  36. 36
    Harlequin says:

    For a comment on the Hobby Lobby thread I looked into market share for insurance companies, then realized this was long and derail-y, but I still found it interesting, so I’ll put it here.

    Here’s some data on insurance market share by state. 30 states have a single company insuring 50%+ of people in the private insurance market. 16 have a single company with greater than 2/3 market share. The most competitive marketplace is Wisconsin, with 5 companies represented in the top 3 each for individual, small group and large group markets, and no company with greater than 20% market share. The least competitive is Alabama, with over 90% covered by Blue Cross Blue Shield. The BCBSA insures over 100 million Americans; UnitedHealthcare, the largest single company, covers over 70 million.

  37. 37
    gin-and-whiskey says:

    AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!
    http://kotaku.com/terrifyingly-large-insect-found-in-china-1608219956

    I am not normally a completely anti insect kind of person except for spiders, but that is solidly in the GETITOFFMEGETITOFFMEHEEEEEELP category.

  38. 38
    Myca says:

    Since this is an open thread, I just wanted to mention that our very own Ben Lehman has a new supplement out for his (frankly, fucking magnificent) RPG Polaris.

    You can find information about Polaris or purchase a copy here!

    The supplement is called “The Wish We Wish to Night,” and though I’ve just purchased it and cannot speak as to its (no doubt astounding) magnificence, the fact that it’s a Polaris supplement is enough for me. Plus it’s $5! What a steal! You can buy it here.

    —Myca

  39. 39
    mythago says:

    I didn’t realize we had THAT Ben Lehman here!

    Also, word, Polaris.

  40. 40
    Ben Lehman says:

    Thanks, guys. (^_^;)

  41. 41
    closetpuritan says:

    That Bicycle Face one was interesting…
    I like the women’s bicycle fashions of the 1890s.

    Look! 1890s women & bicycles!
    More bicycles on this page, with a photo on the bottom left that I particularly liked. I used it in a recent (by my standards) blog post.

    I like this Hark A Vagrant comic about 1890s-ish women on bicycles. Also, I have boots that look like the ones the velocipedestrienne is wearing.

  42. 42
    closetpuritan says:

    Also, I was curious about whether the bike-riding neighbor in The Wizard of Oz was original to the book, or an invention of the movie, and it seems to be the latter based on a quick skim of the book.

    I would have been surprised if Baum had been trying to send an anti-bike-riding message, since he actually had pretty strong feminist sympathies.

  43. 43
    brian says:

    I argue with most of you but I must admit you find interesting links on these threads and it can take me a week to scan and glance them all.

    Anyone know if a charity-based veterinary insurance organization for guide/therapy animals exists yet? I’m considering starting one since none apparently exists. I’m counting on at least 12 of you breaking your backs to prove me wrong.

    Meanwhile, this.

    http://www.gofundme.com/c1pcl4 It’s for the guide dog of a friend of a friend. Yes, I have friends. And yes, I care about their friends too.

  44. 44
    gin-and-whiskey says:

    A good post on recent information regarding racial disparity in sentencing:
    http://blog.simplejustice.us/2014/07/25/too-great-expectations-2/#more-21654

  45. 45
    gin-and-whiskey says:

    An interesting paper studying anti-gay discrimination in housing:
    http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2284243

    Somewhat amusing (to me) is this part of the abstract:

    Study results in jurisdictions with state-level protections against housing discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation unexpectedly show slightly more adverse treatment of same-sex couples than results in jurisdictions without such protections.

    As they say: unexpected to who? Haven’t these folks taken economics? When you make a certain group of tenants less appealing (i.e. you grant them extra rights which are adverse to the landlord’s interests) then oftentimes the result is that there’s discrimination against those tenants. IOW, if you take away the ability to say “well, I don’t normally rent to gay folks but I’ll give it a shot and see if it works” then those landlords are less likely to do it at all. See, e.g., “people with kids,” “people on housing assistance,” etc.

    Of course there’s a point at which the penalties will override the initial discrimination, but that doesn’t always work.

  46. 46
    mythago says:

    That isn’t economics, g&w. That’s the libertarian belief in market-as-karma: people will always do the right thing in the long run because the Invisible Hand will punish wrongdoers.

    Of course, if we actually look at the study, they suggest that there may be factors at work other than the evils of regulation:

    Several factors could account for this unexpected finding, including potentially low levels of enforcement, housing provider unfamiliarity with state-level protections, or the possibility that protections exist in states with the greatest need for them.

  47. 47
    RonF says:

    That reminds me of a boss I had a while back. I was looking to hire a tech. She blatantly advised me not to hire a black tech. This was not a woman I had ever heard make a racist comment. When I asked why she said “Because they’re a lot harder to fire if they don’t work out – they’ll claim discrimination.”

    I promptly hired a black tech. A week later we fired him (I had to tell him). He flunked the drug test. Hospitals take a dim view of employees found to have cocaine in their system – go figure.

  48. 48
    RonF says:

    And no, nobody faked the test so they could fire a black guy – when I confronted him on the matter he said “I only use it on the weekends!”

  49. 49
    gin-and-whiskey says:

    mythago says:
    July 25, 2014 at 8:28 am
    That isn’t economics, g&w. That’s the libertarian belief in market-as-karma: people will always do the right thing in the long run because the Invisible Hand will punish wrongdoers.

    I honestly have no idea what you’re saying here. My point has nothing to do with “karma,” much less what is “right.” It has to do with the fact that attempts to restrict/penalize social preferences imposes a cost of the people so limited. That tends to result in people seeking alternate ways to express their preferences and limit the cost. The only way to stop the “loophole” effect is either to close the loopholes (often impossible) or to use sufficient penalties to deter the use of alternates by raising the cost of noncompliance.(*0)

    Similarly, if you restrict or penalize people’s ability to transact based on certain information(*1), you functionally impose a current cost on the transaction. And some people will try to avoid that future cost by making different choices in the current day.(*2) Unless, that is, you make it too expensive to avoid compliance(*3)

    In what way is that NOT economics? In what way does that say anything about karma or what is “right?”

    0* A good example would be the ADA: the post-hire costs of the ADA are so high that many employers will try to use every opportunity to try and avoid hiring people with ADA disabilities, and only the unusual penalties of the ADA prevent it from being even worse.
    1*Like, say, “any bias against ____ people is illegal”
    2*Like, say, rejecting people based on their credit scores or prior residence or names or other “codes” for gender/race/sexual preference, presumably in the hopes that this early rejection will be insufficient evidence to demonstrate bias.
    3* Like, say, holding that certain types of housing ads are per se illegal, or by functionally holding that certain types of questions like “are you married?” or “do you plan to have kids?” are not permitted.

  50. 50
    Fibi says:

    There is a CATO institute paper that documents the drop in employment amongst men and women with disabilities in the aftermath of the ADA. The economy was entering a recession so overall employment was dropping, but the drop amongst the disabled was substantially higher (8%). Also, there was no drop in disabled employment in businesses to small to be covered by the ADA.

    The other example of perverse incentives that comes to mind, is the Endangered Species Act. There was a paper in the Journal of Law and Economics (funded in part by the US Forest Service) that examined empirically whether landowners were responding to the perverse incentives of the ESA by proactively making their land unsuitable for endangered species. The paper examined the case of the Red Cockaded Woodpecker which requires mature forest. The conclusion of the paper was:

    For the endangered RCW in North Carolina, our empirical results indicate that the ESA has led some forest landowners to preemptively harvest timber in order to avoid costly land-use restrictions. Landowners in North Carolina who are closer to populations of RCWs, and are thus more likely to be restricted by the ESA, are more likely to prematurely harvest their forest and choose shorter forest rotations. This evidence indicates that some RCW habitat has been reduced on private land because of the ESA. Our findings add substance to anecdotal claims of preemption and are consistent with the concerns of those environmentalists who have noted that RCW populations have been declining on private land during the 30 years in which the RCW has been protected by the ESA.

    Bottom line, the phenomenon that G&W thinks may be behind the difference in rates of discrimination is a real one.

  51. 51
    Ampersand says:

    As I wrote in a response to G&W two months ago,

    Your commentary on the ADA is one-sided and wrong. First of all, you assume that disemployment effects of the ADA must come from fear of lawsuits. But there’s no justification for that opinion, that I know of. Even the Acemoglu and Angrist paper, which is usually the primary academic source for the claim that the ADA increased unemployment among the disabled, concluded that the ADA’s disemployment effects were caused by the increased costs due to accommodations (i.e., building a wheelchair ramp, buying accessibility software, etc), and concluded “it seems highly unlikely that the ADA led to a climate of fear of litigation that significantly reduced the overall level of employment.”

    Better, more recent research has used state-level data to be able to better separate the effects of accomidation and the effects of lawsuit fear:

    Before the ADA, some states had regimes identical to the ADA, under which employers must both provide special accommodations for individuals with disabilities and refrain from making firing and other employment decisions on the basis of disability. Other states prohibited employers from making firing and other employment decisions on the basis of disability but did not require special accommodations for individuals with disabilities. And, a few states did not provide any employment protection to people with disabilities in the pre-ADA period. By comparing employment level changes in states in which certain ADA provisions were innovations to employment level changes in a group of control states that already had such provisions, Jolls and Prescott are able to separate the effects of the ADA’s two main requirements.

    The authors find no evidence that the ADA’s traditional employment protection rule, prohibiting firing and other employment decisions on the basis of disability, reduced disabled employment.

    Those researchers concluded that there’s no ADA evidence that employment protection rules reduce unemployment, and the evidence that accommodations in the ADA reduced unemployment is ambiguous. In another paper, Tom Tolin questions virtually every aspect of the ADA research you refer to, pointing out things like that the data used isn’t actually a measurement of disabled people as measured by the ADA, the ADA if it worked as intended reduces employment (because more disabled people are able to go to college), and that a survey of disabled people (as defined in the ADA) showed increased employment amongst those able to work.

    So the anti-ADA case is not nearly as clear-cut as you claim, and even the most cited anti-ADA study doesn’t support your claim about lawsuit fear.

  52. 52
    Fibi says:

    Amp,

    I wasn’t aware that this was well trodden ground on this blog and didn’t intend to be one-sided. In my comment I pointed out that the passage of the ADA coincided with a recession because I recognize that disadvantaged populations almost always suffer most in recessions, and this offered an alternate explanation. I probably should have put that sentence in my original comment instead of leaving it there by implication.

    In this thread, G&W didn’t say anything to limit the different types of post-hire costs to traditional employment protections or fear of lawsuits So, I wasn’t responding in that context (I realize there was an intervening comment that I ignored that may have led you to think I was speaking strictly fear of lawsuit). I am not familiar with the other links you provided but will read up this weekend!

    The ESA argument I made is also controversial, although in that paragraph I did a better job of staying away from the strong form of the argument. Which is to say I linked to a paper that provides evidence that there are some negative impacts of the ESA, without taking a position on whether these outweigh the positive impacts.

  53. 53
    gin-and-whiskey says:

    Also, Amp, I specifically pointed out that it’s possible to counter the issues by sufficiently “scary” legislation.

    IOW, if you require accommodations then employers will discriminate. But if you make the penalties for discrimination big enough or if you use other incentives for nondiscrimination, then employers will not discriminate (at least not openly.) It doesn’t mean they don’t want to, just that the tradeoff is worse than doing what they want.

    But finding the right balance isn’t always an obvious road to walk.

    Perverse incentives are wildly commonplace. As are perverse outcomes.

  54. 54
    mythago says:

    A good example would be the ADA

    As Amp pointed out, we’ve already been over this. At length. And you still forget that the ADA and other anti-discrimination laws are not merely about hiring; they’re also about firing, and treatment of employees on the job. The ADA is particularly important in that respect because, unlike some other protected categories (such as race), disability status can change during employment, and therefore protects employees who were not disabled when they were hired.

    Incentives and disincentives are certainly economics. The assumption that disincentives are always worse than just letting the market deal with it (which you’re backpedaling from after Amp’s points, I see) is not. I mean, you said this:

    IOW, if you take away the ability to say “well, I don’t normally rent to gay folks but I’ll give it a shot and see if it works” then those landlords are less likely to do it at all.

    ….which flat-out assumes that the ‘perverse disincentives’ automatically outweigh the disincentives of discrimination, and that those landlords will act accordingly after having carefully and rationally weighed their various economic choices. You’ve already backed off the first, I see, but the second part of that is dumb: it assumes that discrimination is always a rational decision that is perfectly subject to market forces.

    That latter is not economics. It is a tenet of libertarian philosophy that ignores that in the real world, people who have bigoted beliefs often act on them in a way that doesn’t match the economic incentives. (Behavioral economics is, finally, starting to talk about this kind of thinking.) That is why people still do stupid shit even when the consequences are serious and long-term.

    BTW, you also are doing that thing where you assume antidiscrimination laws only apply to certain groups. Your ‘no gay folks’ landlord is also prohibited from discriminating against straight or bisexual couples.

  55. 55
    gin-and-whiskey says:

    For someone who purports to be having some sort of “this is what you said” type of reasonable discussion, it is pretty strange how you quote.

    I said:

    IOW, if you take away the ability to say “well, I don’t normally rent to gay folks but I’ll give it a shot and see if it works” then those landlords are less likely to do it at all. See, e.g., “people with kids,” “people on housing assistance,” etc.

    Of course there’s a point at which the penalties will override the initial discrimination, but that doesn’t always work.

    You left out the bold part, and simultaneously implied that I said the opposite:

    Incentives and disincentives are certainly economics. The assumption that disincentives are always worse than just letting the market deal with it (which you’re backpedaling from after Amp’s points, I see) is not. I mean, you said this:

    IOW, if you take away the ability to say “well, I don’t normally rent to gay folks but I’ll give it a shot and see if it works” then those landlords are less likely to do it at all.

    ….which flat-out assumes that the ‘perverse disincentives’ automatically outweigh the disincentives of discrimination, and that those landlords will act accordingly after having carefully and rationally weighed their various economic choices. You’ve already backed off the first, I see, but the second part of that is dumb: it assumes that discrimination is always a rational decision that is perfectly subject to market forces.

    WTF is up with that kind of cherry-picking misquote? It’s a damn obnoxious thing to do.

    Not to mention that you have either ignored the subsequent, clarifying, post–made three hours later, before Amp responded–or have qualified it as “backing off in response to Amp,” neither of which is true.

    Don’t abuse your mod status by acting like an ass.

  56. 56
    Ampersand says:

    Don’t abuse your mod status by acting like an ass.

    1) Please dial it back a notch.

    2) Mythago isn’t a mod. I mean, not that I know of, and I’m pretty sure I would know.

  57. 57
    Jake Squid says:

    Grantland writes about Diplomacy the board game and the people who play it ftf.

    Comments: He captures the environment pretty well. As to the author… I’d hate to play with this guy. It’s not that he sucks, it’s that it’s everybody’s fault that he sucks. It’s okay to suck, but you’ve got to realize it so you can improve your game. He will always suck and be the guy nobody wants to be on a board with if he keeps thinking that way.

    I wish that the environment at tournaments was a lot better than it is. It’s too bad it won’t change any time soon.

    Edi Birsan and Dave Miletsky are two exceptions to my dislike of Diplomacy players. They’re both genuinely nice people.

  58. 58
    Brian says:

    OK, I’m hoping someone somewhere finds this as innately hilarious as I do. It does a lot to prove my over-all “occasional bright spots do not equal lasting progress” thesis of the devolution cycle.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/07/31/blogger-fired-homophones_n_5637873.html

  59. 59
    Ruchama says:

    Good grief. I really need to stop discussing Israel with my family. I was just informed that any criticism of any action that Israel has taken, ever, is tantamount to supporting Hamas and praying for the destruction of Israel.

  60. 60
    Jake Squid says:

    I’m with you, Ruchama. It’s also bad when you have a bunch of relatives who are Israeli. I can’t begin to tell you how many family members I have email & fb blocked. The shit I’ve gotten in email has been so depressing I never even talk about it with sympathetic folks.

  61. 61
    Ben Lehman says:

    I’m lucky: My Israeli relatives are pretty much the only people I feel comfortable expressing my true opinions around. Americans always get squeamish when I talk openly about how much I hate Netanyahu and Likud.

    yrs–
    –Ben

  62. 62
    Jake Squid says:

    I envy you Ben. I get essays from 14 year olds, forwarded by their mother or grandmother, about how Palestinians are inhuman monsters who should be happy with the incredibly luxurious lives they live and leave the hard working, peace loving and friendly Israelis alone. I have no response to that other than blocking future communication.

  63. 63
    Ruchama says:

    I’ve got a ton of people who keep quoting Golda Meir at me.

  64. Oy! I sympathize. Part of my problem is people whom I would like to agree with but who refuse to acknowledge the antisemitism in their criticism of Israel.

  65. 65
    brian says:

    If you’re all feeling beat up by family/friends over disputes over the “disputed territories” I suggest you take a page from Bartcop’s old blog. Bart always said that if the USA really wanted to help, they would offer Oklahoma as a new homeland for the Palestinians.

  66. 66
    gin-and-whiskey says:

    What really tweaks me is when someone posts a link/quote/picture/cartoon together with some sage comment like “this says everything we need to know about Gaza” or “this explains it all”

  67. 67
    neverjaunty says:

    You left out the bold part, and simultaneously implied that I said the opposite:

    1) because it was not relevant; 2) no.

    Your comment said ‘X is what happens under these laws; of course you could change that if you made the laws super harsh, though that doesn’t always work’. I pointed out that your ‘X is what happens under these laws’ is, for many reasons, wrong. So no, there wasn’t any cherry-picking or sinister motive in omitting your observation that it’s possible under other circumstances for your dire warnings to be muted. And yes, you are right, I should not have said “backed off”. “Retconned” was the word I was looking for.

    Part of my problem is people whom I would like to agree with but who refuse to acknowledge the antisemitism in their criticism of Israel.

    Yes, this. It’s very tiresome to try and talk meaningfully about what’s going on in Gaza with people whose beliefs about the rights of all people to safety, dignity and self-determination suddenly evaporate when the Jews are involved.

  68. 69
    RonF says:

    Hi, kids! Back from a week in the woods with my Venture Crew up in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. We took 4 Scouts and one Scouter who had never been on a wilderness trip up there for a week. We took it easy – 16 miles of paddling and 3 miles of portaging. Lots of rain the first half of the week, topped off by us getting dumped in the water when a 30 – 35 kt squall caught us in the middle of a lake. Worst conditions I’ve ever encountered. Fortunately a) everyone remembered their training and grabbed the canoes, b) all our gear (except one rod and reel) floated, and c) we were on the windward side of an island where we gained the shore and waited the squall out.

    Thoroughly soaked – but telling each other “This is going to make a great story!” – we paddled back to the campsite only to see the other Scouter that accompanied us standing out on a rock telling us “I’m allright!” WTF? You’re allright? Yep. Turns out the same squall uprooted a 50′ tall tree about a foot in diameter and dumped it over missing the tent he was in by about 6 feet. It was tied by a stout rope to another tree so as to suspend our dining fly (which, had we been in camp, we would have all been standing under), and that rope probably kept it from falling directly on his tent. That kind of put getting dumped in the lake and washed up against an island into perspective.

    The next day it was sunny and we all got all our gear dried out and it was all good. We didn’t catch too many fish, but the boys got an experience they’ll be talking about for the rest of their lives. How was YOUR week?

  69. 70
    gin-and-whiskey says:

    http://www.slate.com/blogs/bad_astronomy/2014/08/05/illusion_rotating_rings_change_directions_when_you_look_away.html

    One of the best optical illusions I’ve seen recently. (Scroll down for the GIF)

    Look at the yellow circle and you will see that the yellow one is spinning counterclockwise. Use your peripheral vision to see the red one, and it goes clockwise.

    Simple! Cool!

    But:

    Switch your attention to the red circle and now IT is going counterclockwise—and the yellow one in your side vision has started spinning the other way.

    And, focus on juuuuust the right spot in the middle and they are both spinning the same way together.

    Super cool. Who thinks of these things?

  70. 71
    RonF says:

    Sen. John Walsh (D-Montana) decides not to run for re-election due to the revelation that he appears to have plagiarized his War College Masters’ thesis. He was already struggling in the polls against his GOP opponent. I should think that it’s unlikely that the Democrats can at this date find a candidate to run for the seat who would be able to run a strong, organized campaign.

  71. 72
    brian says:

    Wondered if anyone here had comments/concerns/complaints on this one? I’m a blog tourist, wondering if anyone here (besides Amp obviously) has pro experience in these things? Is it a legit way to get paid for work or not?

    http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2014/08/07/political-blogger-outs-herself-as-paid-troll-for-big-telecom/

    The editor of a politics website geared toward communities of color revealed that she is paid to be a “consultant” for a lobbyist group that has represented both the tobacco industry and the cable industry, Vice magazine reported.

    Politic365.com co-founder and editor-in-chief Kristal High revealed her ties to the lobbying firm the DCI Group during an interview on Wednesday with talk show host David Pakman in which Pakman mentioned that both High and a past guest, Everett Ehrlich, were pitched to his program as guests by DCI.

  72. 73
    Jake Squid says:

    Nope. Not a legit way to make money. I have a (now former) friend who’s a paid troll for bright Bart dot com. He spends a not insignificant amount of time trolling mutual friends on fb as well as generally trolling liberal blogs. It’s basically being paid to bully. Anybody who does that is a dirtbag. A lot like how you’re a dirtbag if you run a payday loan business – which former friend also does.

  73. 74
    KellyK says:

    Welcome back, Ron! I also just got back from a week of sleeping in a tent and getting rained on, although I don’t have quite as cool a story to tell. I was at Pennsic, the SCA’s big week-long event in PA. I hung out with some very cool people, sat around a campfire listening to and singing songs about Agincourt and Anglo-Saxon England—oh, and drinking songs…there were lots of those. And I ran around in armor and shot people with a ballista (foam-padded bolts).

    I even got a tan, which is highly unusual for me. Granted, I did it by forgetting to put on any sunscreen the day we packed out, so yesterday I looked like a lobster. Now, I get to do mountains of laundry and probably febreeze the car.

  74. 75
    KellyK says:

    Oh, and I neglected to mention that I’m really glad you and all your Scouts are all right.

  75. 76
    RonF says:

    Thanks1 That’s what I needed out there. Drinking songs. Also something to drink besides water and ersatz drink mix, but the B.S.A. has some unfortunate rules about whiskey on canoe trips. Yeah, the kids were all O.K. The funny thing was that the one who was least an “outdoorsman” and who was in my canoe was the one who said – while he was waist-deep in the water pulling the canoe onto the island in mid-squall – “This is going to make a great story!” Great attitude.

  76. 77
    Jake Squid says:

    Hey everybody! You should all be planning on going to Psychostock on August 23rd.

    Come and enjoy a nice day in the park in Sweet Home, OR while listening to fantastically performed Metal (of the Heavy and Death varieties, mostly) by and with some of the nicest people in the world. Seriously. These are some of the nicest people I’ve ever met.

    Come and show your support for the fabulous people (and musicians) of Sweet Home. Or come and show your disdain for me! (I will be there).

    Come to Psychostock and have a fun filled, pressure free day! (Do you feel pressured, yet? That pressure will disappear the moment you arrive.)

  77. 78
    Lee1 says:

    I have it on pretty good classic rock authority that Sweet Home is in Alabama.
    (I’m sure that joke has never ever in the history of SH, OR been made before.)

  78. 79
    KellyK says:

    That’s what I needed out there. Drinking songs. Also something to drink besides water and ersatz drink mix, but the B.S.A. has some unfortunate rules about whiskey on canoe trips.

    Yeah…The one and only Scout trip I went on, one of the tagging-along adults (as opposed to actually chaperoning and running stuff) camped separately so she could drink. (This was also the trip that was cut short because one of the boys jumped out of a tree barefoot and got a stick lodged in his foot.)

    I don’t know if it’s still true, but I remember hearing from my father-in-law that the Canadian Scouting organization allows adults to bring alcohol on camping trips. (I think there was some sort of exchange or international get-together and the Canadians were surprised and disappointed that they couldn’t bring booze.)

    As far as the drinking songs, I’m pretty sure the Boy Scouts would enjoy having Finnegan’s Wake and The Old Dun Cow added into the campfire song mix. (While it’s not exactly a drinking song, Barrett’s Privateers was popular with my husband’s troop way back when he was a Boy Scout, largely because it was an excuse to sing “GOD DAMN THEM ALL” good and loud.)

  79. 80
    KellyK says:

    Lee1, even if it has been made before, it’s still funny.

    Speaking of classic rock, my local classic rock station decided to play *Green Day* this afternoon, making me feel approximately a million years old. Bands that were new when I was in seventh grade are not freaking classic rock. (Also, alternative rock is its own subgenre anyway, and get off my lawn.)

  80. 81
    Lee1 says:

    KellyK,

    Yeah, I probably dated myself even by calling Lynyrd Skynyrd classic rock, when a lot of people now would probably put them in oldies. I grew up listening to the Police (one of their first albums was one of the first tapes I bought); when I first heard them on a classic rock station I was fine, but when I first heard one of their songs referred to as an oldie a little bit of me died inside. (Then another little bit of me sang “giant steps are what you take walking on the moon” in a high-pitched voice and I was fine again, so that worked out OK.)

  81. 82
    RonF says:

    I have two – count them, two – Barrett’s Privateers CD’s. One of my friends and fellow Scouters was in charge of the Council’s annual Cub Scout weekend overnight camp, which they would run 4 sessions of in the summer. There is a cycle of themes to Cub Scout camps, and one of the 5 is “Pirates”. We’re talking costumes, program areas set up like theatrical sets with fake ships and all this. He thought that it would be a good idea to teach the kids some pirate songs, so he bought the CD’s.

    Unfortunately for that idea, most reasonably authentic pirate songs quite reasonably center on what were pirates’ main interests; drinking, stealing, fucking and killing. So very few of those songs made it into the program. But they sing great, in 6-part harmony at times, so he made me copies of them and I’ve played them on occasion. I’d like the guys in my chamber choir to learn a couple of them.

  82. 83
    Harlequin says:

    RonF, did you look at not-necessarily-pirate-related sea shanties? I mean, they, too, are mostly drinking/fucking (less on the stealing/killing part I guess), but possibly a wider pool would mean more songs that pass your content requirements. Plus, you can talk about how the different rhythms of the songs lined up with different tasks on ship, etc.

    Actually, do I remember that you’re in the Chicago area? (Someone around here is…) If so, sometimes in the winter there’s a guy who runs a sea shanty workshop at the Old Town School of Folk Music–just a weekend afternoon, he talks about the history of sea shanties and then everyone sits in a circle and sings as loud as they can. It’s a lot of fun. The guy works on tall ships in the summer, so it’s an off-season gig for him–I think he runs one every year or two, or used to when I lived in the area.

    Do you have a link to those CDs you mentioned, by the way? 6-part harmony sounds interesting, but I’m finding a bunch of songs with that name, and no musical groups. I’ll trade you one of my own favorites: Bellowhead, a British band that came about when two folksingers said, “Why don’t we just invite all of our friends to play with us? Who cares if they play traditional folk instruments?” with the end result of something like folk music mashed up with swing-band brass. They do a lot of sea songs, too.

    (Looking for the band led me down a very pleasant rabbit hole of discovering there’s an entire book of sea and sailing songs online, complete with sheet music, and also revisiting a favorite Mudcat thread about confusing modern-day, known-authorship songs for traditional works, containing many stories of folk song writers coming across their own songs in the wild–and being generally pleased about that. So thanks for mentioning the topic, I enjoyed the distraction this afternoon!)

  83. 84
    gin-and-whiskey says:

    If you find law interesting, there’s a REALLY interesting discussion of sentencing here.

    http://herculesandtheumpire.com/2014/08/14/more-ostrich/

  84. 85
    KellyK says:

    Do you have a link to those CDs you mentioned, by the way? 6-part harmony sounds interesting, but I’m finding a bunch of songs with that name, and no musical groups.

    Same here, and I was referring to the Stan Rogers song. I saw Ron’s post and went, “Wait, there’s a group?”

    There’s a pirate-themed group called Pirates for Sail in Baltimore that has a few CDs out. Some of their stuff is probably Scout-appropriate. (Some, not so much.) “Time Flies When You’re Having Rum” is probably my favorite of theirs.

  85. 86
    RonF says:

    “Actually, do I remember that you’re in the Chicago area?”

    Yepper, that’s me.

    “Wait, there’s a group?”

    Ah, hell no, my memory betrayed me. The name of the group whose CD’s my friend copied for me are The Bilge Pumps, singing “Barrett’s Privateers”. Sorry!

  86. 87
    Myca says:

    Ron, if you’re ever out in the SF Bay Area, let me know … the first Saturday of every month, there’s a 100% free Sea Chanty Sing on a 19th century sailing ship moored at the Hyde Street Pier.

    It runs 8-midnight, and the last hour, once we can be assured the kiddies have gone home, is all ‘bawdy’ chanties. It’s fantastic.

    —Myca

  87. 88
    closetpuritan says:

    Barrett’s Privateers! Stan Rogers!
    Here’s Stan Rogers talking about writing Barrett’s Privateers.

    Stan Rogers is one of my favorite singers. My favorite version of Barrett’s Privateers is on a concert album of his called “Home in Halifax”; I don’t think that version is on YouTube, but this is a good version, too.

    He does quite a few sea-related songs, including some traditional sea chanty songs:
    Rolling Down to Old Maui (I heard that there was traditionally one more-bawdy verse that Stan Rogers did not include)
    Leave Her, Johnny

    But also some that he wrote:
    The Mary Ellen Carter
    White Squall
    Make and Break Harbor

    OK, I will restrain myself from further spamming the comments with Stan Rogers.

  88. 89
    RonF says:

    Oh Lord, Myca. Is sheet music available for those of us looking to try a part?

  89. 90
    Harlequin says:

    Oh man, Myca, that sounds awesome–and you got my hopes up (because I have a 12-hour layover in SF on the first Saturday of September) but then I realized it was the evening, ie right when I have to be getting back to the airport! Sigh…

  90. 91
    Myca says:

    Ron: Nope, no sheet music – it’s all “show up, listen to them singing, join in if you like.”

    There’s a lot of Stan Rogers, though. Mary Ellen Carter, Rolling Down to old Maui, and Barrett’s Privateers often make appearances, and they always close with “Leave Her, Johnny.” In fact, there’s a new verse that’s been written by the Chanty Sing guys:

    It’s the simplest machine known to man,
    It a lever, Johnny, lever.
    Just a fulcrum point and a long crossbeam
    And that’s how you make a lever.

    Oh, and if you bring a mug, they’ll fill it with coffee, tea, or cider, free of charge.

    Harlequin: Aw! Well, if you happen to be out here again, let me know! I’m always happy to lead a Chanty outing.

    —Myca

  91. 92
    Grace Annam says:

    I have to second Closet Puritan’s recommendation for White Squall, a gorgeous lament which I have heard has been described as “the song Gordon Lightfoot was trying to write when he wrote The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.

    Grace

  92. 93
    RonF says:

    O.K., folks, here’s the question of the day:

    Who took the better mug shot, Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) or Steve McQueen? Take your time, I know it’s tough.

    If I’m Gov. Perry that goes on my campaign posters. It IS Texas, after all.

  93. 94
    gin-and-whiskey says:

    Latest news from gaza:

    As fighting continues (though somewhat less in size) Hamas summarily executes 18 people suspected of collaborating with enemy.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/23/world/middleeast/israel-gaza.html

    This sort of thing makes it very difficult to imagine a solution.

    From previous articles it seems that many/most Palestinians would, unsurprisingly, prefer not to be at war. But things like this make it clear that even if the peaceful Palestinians are in the majority they’re screwed.

    They are afraid of making public statements in opposition to Hamas for fear of reprisal–no surprise there, right?. They can’t assist Israel or anyone else to remove the militant leaders in the hopes that it would help, for fear of execution. They can’t try to form a competing government and call for elections because last time that happened there was a civil war. They can’t ignore Hamas and rebuild because Gaza is a war zone. And they can’t negotiate with Israel without some sort of leadership/government even though they, and Israel, might be able to find agreement more easily than the militants; not to mention that even if they found agreement they would have a lot of trouble unless they could actually control the militants–normal governments don’t have uncontrolled “militant wings”–which, so far, nobody in the area has been able to do.

    And of course this doesn’t help the negotiations with hamas. If they can’t or won’t find and deal with the shooters then it reinforces Israels’ belief that Hamas is incapable of actually controlling its own troops–and there’s not a ton of incentive to negotiate peace with someone when you have a strong belief they can’t enforce it. And if they implicitly authorize it then it makes them look generally more frightening, which is also not great from a negotiating perspective.

    Sigh.

  94. 95
    gin-and-whiskey says:
  95. 96
    RonF says:

    “during the Israeli offensive”

    That’s an interesting phrase. What do they call the firing of all those rockets into Israel from Gaza? The Hamas offensive?

    “PCHR calls upon the Palestinian National Authority and resistance groups to intervene to stop such extra-judicial executions ”

    I didn’t think that the PNA’s writ ran in Gaza – I thought that was Hamas territory.

    If they can’t or won’t find and deal with the shooters then it reinforces Israels’ belief that Hamas is incapable of actually controlling its own troops

    Or that Hamas does have control of its troops, but is saying one thing in order to gain time for its troops to do something else.

  96. 97
    Elusis says:

    So, apparently setting up some voter registration booths in Ferguson, MO is “disgusting” and “offensive.”

    http://www.thenewcivilrightsmovement.com/conservatives_furious_voter_registration_booths_are_popping_up_in_ferguson

  97. 98
    mythago says:

    Re sea shanties (WOOOO STAN ROGERS), they do, indeed, steal the show, and you can listen to them on online if you’re not a gaming sort of person:

    http://kotaku.com/the-best-sea-shanties-of-2013-1486865100

    Irrationally, I am sad that “Barrett’s Privateers” was not included, although it would plainly be stupid to put a song set in 1778 in a game taking place decades earlier.

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