Open Thread and Link Farm, Brick in Washing Machine on Trampoline Edition

  1. Fixing the Eyewitness Problem – The New Yorker
    Excellent longread, about an innocent man’s conviction for rape in 1986 due to bad police ID procedures. This story could make a good movie, although movie producers would be tempted to focus entirely on the white characters.
  2. Ex-cop Daniel Holtzclaw was just sentenced to 263 years in prison for raping black women – Vox
  3. History News Network | Why We Should Junk the Electoral College
    The EC was created to protect slavery, not the small states. (The link currently isn’t working, so so here’s a link to the original article on Findlaw.)
  4. The Invisibility of Black Women | Boston Review
  5. Labeling sex offenders’ passports is overkill | Lenore Skenazy, New York Post
    A horrifyingly bad idea. However, contrary to what Skenazy claims, I don’t think it’s passed the Senate yet (unless it’s there under a different title). I asked her on Twitter but got no response.
  6. Inside The Persistent Boys Club Of Animation
    A good article, that both covers how much things have improved and how much things still need improving. I’m irrationally relieved that Glen Keane, whose drawings I love, comes off well in a brief reference.
  7. Waiting for Bowie — Sady Doyle.
    Probably the best essay about David Bowie I’ve read since his death.
  8. How Diversity Destroyed Affirmative Action | The Nation
    “Once race-conscious admissions stopped being about equity and reparation, the only argument for it was the enrichment of white students. That was never going to hold up.”
  9. Bernie Sanders Calls For Michigan Governor To Resign Over Poisoned Water Scandal | ThinkProgress
    This seems extremely reasonable to me. Mild and understated, really.
  10. How Twitter quietly banned hate speech last year | Ars Technica
    “We believe in freedom of expression and in speaking truth to power, but that means little as an underlying philosophy if voices are silenced because people are afraid to speak up.”
  11. Safe sex work: Britain declares 1st permanent, legalized ‘red light district’ open for business — RT UK
  12. Ted Cruz and the courts
    “Indeed, those who take the anti-Cruz argument seriously should read the text carefully and they explain why anyone alive today is eligible for the presidency given that none were alive at the time the Constitution was ratified.”
  13. Lynch, Waters, Soderbergh: A Generation of MIA Filmmakers | Flavorwire
    Ben showed me this, an interesting article about how movie economics mean that fewer and fewer people can get small films financed anymore – and some directors with lengthy, critically praised careers can’t get their movies financed anymore.
  14. The Schools Where Free Speech Goes to Die | The Nation
    Katha Pollit on draconian speech restrictions at Christian universities.
  15. From Pickup Artist to Pariah — The Cut
    A long read about the Waking Life coffee shop scandal in Asheville. I don’t feel sorry for the guy – you act like a mean asshole, people stop liking you – but I do think he should consider moving. It’s an interesting observation (if true) that for PUAs, getting what they want – that is, getting to have a lot of sex with many different women – tends to make them more misogynistic.
  16. “Crying” About Anti-Semitism Beyond the Dogwhistle
    “Whether there was an implied substitution of “Jew” for “New York” is in many ways a side issue. It is groups like the Jews, that is, the people who distinctively live in urban coastal centers, who are presented to the nation as worthy of scorn.”
  17. Panadaptationism strikes again!
    Why do women’s shirts and men’s shirts have buttons on different sides? Horses! Or maybe Napoleon. Wait, it’s weapons!
  18. This Bernie Sanders ad perfectly demonstrates his problem on foreign policy – Vox
    “Sanders wants to position himself as challenging the status quo, but on foreign policy he is pretty in line with that status quo.”
  19. Study: Increased cost sharing does NOT make better health care shoppers.
  20. Discrimination Against Transgender Women Seeking Access to Homeless Shelters | Center for American Progress
  21. Frozen Tardigrade Brought Back to Life After 30 Years
    Water bears are just the coolest.
  22. The Last 5 Years Have Been Terrible for Abortion Rights
    In the decade that followed Roe (1973–1982), states adopted 380 abortion restrictions, or an average of 38 per year. In 2011, however, 92 new restrictions were put in place nationally.”
  23. Nike Ends Independent Monitoring of Its Sweatshops – Lawyers, Guns & Money
  24. Why a “moonshot to cure cancer” is doomed to failure
  25. Claiming Crip: What You’re Really Saying When You Call Me “Inspirational”


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20 Responses to Open Thread and Link Farm, Brick in Washing Machine on Trampoline Edition

  1. 1
    Pesho says:

    I just read the article on buttons being on different sides on men and women clothes, and I did not see the explanation which is considered ‘canon’ in Bulgaria:

    Upper classes drove fashion. Men buttoned their own clothes. Women had maids for that purpose. Thus, our buttons are easier to handle for a right handed person.

  2. 2
    Harlequin says:

    They do discuss that in the comments, Pesho (and I’d heard it here in the US before as well). The problem there is twofold: one, we don’t really know when the button-side split became fixed and widespread, so no way to tell if specific upper-class servant systems of a particular time are responsible; two, upper-class men often had valets to help them dress as women had maids, and the idea that maids did buttons but valets didn’t is also a claim for which I’ve seen no evidence.

  3. 3
    Ampersand says:

    I didn’t think about this, but now that someone’s made the connection, I’m not surprised: Bernie Sanders Gets Group Endorsements When Members Decide; Hillary Clinton When Leaders Decide

  4. 4
    Harlequin says:

    There’s some discussion of a certain person getting un-verified in the Alas sidebar right now, which reminded me of this interesting video of Anil Dash showing Hari and Ashok Kondabolu how he got verified on Twitter (which has nothing to do with verifying his identity).

  5. 5
    Nancy Lebovitz says:

    Vindictive responses actually work sometimes– one of the reasons a white supremacist drops is that his parents lives are screwed up because of publicity.

  6. 6
    desipis says:

    “Social Justice” strikes again:

    It was a trying week for A Wider Bridge and the movement of LGBTQ people and allies, Jews and non-Jews, who care for Israel and the advancement of the Israeli LGBTQ community.

    A Wider Bridge came to Creating Change to tell the story of our work and give the conference participants an opportunity to talk with the leaders of Jerusalem Open House. Instead, at a conference with close to 4000 participants , a group of 200 protesters , many from outside the conference , were allowed to disrupt our program, prevent our guests from speaking and create an atmosphere inside the hotel that felt very threatening to our participants.

  7. 7
    nobody.really says:

    “Indeed, those who take the anti-Cruz argument seriously should read the text carefully and they explain why anyone alive today is eligible for the presidency given that none were alive at the time the Constitution was ratified.”

    Have we checked Sanders?

  8. 8
    Nancy Lebovitz says:

    There’s definitely anti-urbanism which isn’t anti-Semitic– consider the Khmer Rouge.

    For more about this, see Occidentalism, a book about the idea that opposition to cities, Jews, trade, rights for women, decent treatment of sexual minorities, and probably some other good things I’ve forgotten is a fairly modern memplex beloved of those who would prefer simple peasants led by their well-defined betters.

  9. 9
    RonF says:

    Re: #3:

    Even if the reason why the Electoral College was created was to protect slavery – which I by no means necessarily accept – so what? There’s no slavery now, and just because some people supported an idea for bad reasons 200+ years ago doesn’t mean that wasn’t a good idea then and isn’t now.

  10. 10
    Nancy Lebovitz says:

    RonF, why do you think the Electoral College is a good idea?

  11. 11
    RonF says:

    Why are you presuming that I think it is? Because I’m attacking the sloppy reasoning of someone who opposes it?

  12. 12
    Nancy Lebovitz says:

    Because your comment wasn’t terribly clear.

  13. 13
    JutGory says:

    Nancy Lebovitz @ 10:

    I think the electoral college is a good idea. So, if RonF declines, I can respond.

  14. 14
    nobody.really says:

    Does anyone have a viable plan for getting rid of the Electoral College? If not, then the question seems moot.

  15. 15
    Nancy Lebovitz says:

    What been going on is states choosing to divide their Electoral College votes in proportion to the popular vote. This isn’t quite the same as going to a popular-vote only system, but it makes it less likely that the president will be the person who lost the popular election.

  16. 16
    Charles S says:

    So far, The National Popular Vote law has been enacted in states with 165 electoral college votes, and movement towards adding more states is currently active (Oregon passed this in the state House of Representatives last year). If states with 270 EC votes join this interstate compact, then it becomes active, and all states participating will appoint EC electors for the presidential candidate who wins the national popular vote.

  17. 17
    RonF says:

    My comment wasn’t clear on whether or not I support the Electoral College, but that wasn’t the point of the comment. The point was to highlight the flaw in the reasoning of the author of the piece I was commenting on, and I thought I was quite clear in that.

    Or does your acceptance or rejection of my original comment hinge on whether or not I favor or disfavor the Electoral College?

  18. 18
    RonF says:

    Charles S, with regards to the National Popular Vote law, it seems to me that it is unconstitutional. Here is Article I, Section 10, Paragraph 3 of the Constitution (my emphasis):

    No State shall, without the Consent of Congress, lay any Duty of Tonnage, keep Troops, or Ships of War in time of Peace, enter into any Agreement or Compact with another State, or with a foreign Power, or engage in War, unless actually invaded, or in such imminent Danger as will not admit of delay.

    It seems to me that the National Popular Vote law is an agreement or compact among States that proposes to go into effect without the approval of Congress.

  19. 19
    Charles S says:

    The NPV project webpage has a good response to that claim. Apparently, Supreme Court precedent does not interpret I.10.3 as either of us might necessarily guess. Compacts that do not impinge on Federal authority do not require Congressional approval. If a state merely decides to do a particular thing that is entirely within its authority on the condition that other states also decide to do that thing, that is not the business of Congress (so the SC has ruled). States are given plenary power to decide how electoral college electors are appointed, unlike how representatives or senators are elected.

    However, the NPV project also intends to seek Congressional authorization should the compact reach the point of coming into effect (presumably as a convenience to avoid the risk of lawsuit).

  20. 20
    Ampersand says:


    The point was to highlight the flaw in the reasoning of the author of the piece I was commenting on, and I thought I was quite clear in that.

    If your point is that the article itself didn’t actually answer the question in the title – that is, why we should junk the electoral college – then I agree with you. (Despite the title, the article actually just answers “why this common argument in defense of the electoral college is mistaken,” and I think it does a good job of that.)

    However, in defense of the article’s authors, most likely they didn’t write that bad headline. Looking at the article now, I see it says that it’s a reprint from; after googling, I found the original article on Findlaw, and it has a completely different title there. (“History, Slavery, Sexism, the South, and the Electoral College” – a much more accurate title.)

    They also wrote two followup articles: A Critique Of The Top Ten Modern Arguments For The Electoral College and How To Achieve Direct National Election Of The President Without Amending The Constitution.