Open Thread and Link Farm, Melting Butter Edition

  1. Amia Srinivasan · Does anyone have the right to sex? · London Review of Books
    A long read, but interesting. “The question, then, is how to dwell in the ambivalent place where we acknowledge that no one is obligated to desire anyone else, that no one has a right to be desired, but also that who is desired and who isn’t is a political question, a question usually answered by more general patterns of domination and exclusion.”
  2. The Media Must Stop Taking ‘Incel’ Agitprop Seriously
    “The proposition that sex is ‘unequally distributed,’ which is taken for granted in all of these chin-stroking arguments, is a highly contestable claim. Being outside of hegemonic beauty norms does not inherently deny you love or sex; your place in that hierarchy instead shapes other things untethered to your actual sex life.”
  3. It’s 2018, and people are suddenly screaming at each other about 85-year-old comic strip character Nancy
    The new “Nancy” – or at least, the strips that currently exist to be read – seems fresh and funny. I hope she can keep it up.
  4. State of Conflict: How a tiny protest at the U. of Nebraska turned into a proxy war for the future of campus politics
    Excellent, nuanced, a bit long.
  5. McInnes, Molyneux, and 4chan: Investigating pathways to the alt-right | Southern Poverty Law Center
    Basically they just compiled some numbers from a thread on an alt-right board about how people found the alt-right. They say something that strikes me as very foolish right at the start – “Respondents recount a transformation that takes place almost entirely online,” which seems like something that might be meaningful, but might also be just because the only people in their “sample” are people who participate in online communities – but there’s some interesting stuff here, too.
  6. Upstate NY farmer says ICE officers stormed his farm without a warrant, cuffed him, threw his phone | syracuse.com
  7. CIA Discrimination Against Disabled Officers Is Hurting the U.S.
  8. Why Is Charles Murray Odious? | Current Affairs
    Lots of stuff here I hadn’t know, from his teenage cross-burning (he says he had no idea it could be taken as racist) to his theory that virtually no Black musicians have made notable contributions to culture.
  9. For Survivors of Prison Rape, Saying ‘Me Too’ Isn’t an Option – Rewire.News
    Content warning for descriptions of rape.
  10. Emailed exchanged between Ezra Klein and Sam Harris
    A bit of a train wreck, but fascinating anyhow. As Harris comments, “Judging from the response to this post on social media, my decision to publish these emails appears to have backfired.” This exchange of emails eventually led to a podcast debate, which you can read and/or listen to here.
  11. The Woman Who Accidentally Started the Incel Movement
    “I can’t uninvent this word, nor restrict it to the nicer people who need it.”
  12. How White American Terrorists Are Radicalized – Pacific Standard
    “When hundreds of ‘lone wolves’ are reading the same websites, talking to each other, consuming the same stories, picking up easily accessible weapons, and killing the same targets, they have become a pack.”
  13. She Tried To Report On Climate Change. Sinclair Told Her To Be More “Balanced.”
  14. Trump to cancel TPS protections for Hondurans who’ve lived in US for decades – Vox
    All these folks are in the US legally.
  15. Teenager’s Prom Dress Stirs Furor in U.S. — but Not in China – The New York Times
    Definitely one of those “I’m embarrassed for the left” moments. But also an example of how the internet makes us worse off by turning what should have been a controversy for the school paper, into a national story involving tens of thousands of people criticizing a random teen for her prom dress.
  16. ICE held an American man in custody for 1,273 days. He’s not the only one who had to prove his citizenship
    The Obama administration deserves a great deal of blame for this.
  17. Sexual Assaults in Immigration Detention Centers Rarely Get Investigated, Group Charges
    Content warning, obviously.
  18. DNA blunder creates phantom serial killer | The Independent
    “The only clues that “The Woman Without a Face” left behind at 40 different crime scenes were DNA traces. These were collected on cotton swabs, supplied to the police in a number of European countries. Now police investigators have established that in all probability the DNA had not been left by their quarry but by a woman working for the German medical company supplying the swabs…”
  19. How the Border Patrol Faked Statistics Showing a 73 Percent Rise in Assaults Against Agents
    “Tomsheck said that during his more than three decades of police work, he has never heard of any law enforcement agency multiplying assaulted officers by the perpetrators and the weapons. When I asked Franklin Zimring, a criminologist at the University of California, Berkeley and author of When Police Kill, if he’d ever heard of such a method, he burst out laughing.”

This entry posted in Link farms. Bookmark the permalink. 

117 Responses to Open Thread and Link Farm, Melting Butter Edition

  1. 101
    Chris says:

    Every country teaches its children that it’s the best country.

    Does every country teach its children that they are a land of immigrants?

  2. 102
    lurker says:

    the democrats in US are trying too big of a fight i think.

    when party wins and then tries to do something they will do it. that is why they win the election. if the losing party tries to not let winning party do the thing after election, it will not work, they lost.

    but if the losing party tries to make them do their thing but in a different way that can work better, because winning party gets to do the thing and without a big fight, so they can change the way they do it.

    like: if boss wants to fire your friend you cannot stop boss. if you try to stop boss you will lose and you may get fired, that is too big a fight.

    but maybe you can make boss be nicer about it, or pay money to friend. it will help friend and you will not get fired.

    democrats in US are making too big a fight with trump. he is bad but he won. if you mess up and lose big fight he will win again and that would be bad. you should make smaller fight and then you can win.

  3. 103
    RonF says:

    Well, it turns out that 5 of the Supreme Court Justices agreed with my analysis of Pres. Trump’s travel ban. Objecting to a travel ban on the basis that it discriminates against a given religion is rather specious when it only affects 8% of the members of that religion, and that his statement expressing animus towards at least some Muslims are immaterial when weighing his authority to issue a travel ban that is neutral on its face and in its text to religion (and indeed included non-Muslim nations) and only affected such a small proportion of Muslims. Here’s a link to the decision itself if you are inclined to read it. I haven’t read through it yet to see what the minority’s rationale for rejecting the travel ban was.

    Justice Thomas’ concurrence has an interesting purpose – to start a review of whether or not it is legal for a given District Court to issue a stay or other action that purports to have effect outside of the District’s boundaries.

    The minority holds that in their judgement the issuance of the travel ban was based on what they perceive as Pres. Trump’s animus towards Muslims, and on that basis is illegal.

    If its promulgation or content was significantly affected by religious animus against Muslims, it would violate the relevant statute or the First Amendment itself. See 8 U. S. C. §1182(f) (requiring “find[ings]” that persons denied entry “would be detrimental to the interests of the United States”); Church of Lukumi Babalu Aye, Inc. v. Hialeah, 508 U. S. 520 (1993) (First Amendment); Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Comm’n, 584 U. S. ___ (2018) (same); post, at 2–4 (SOTOMAYOR, J., dissenting). If, however, its sole ratio decidendi was one of national security, then it would be unlikely to violate either the statute or the Constitution.
    Which is it? Members of the Court principally disagree about the answer to this question, i.e., about whether or the extent to which religious animus played a significant role in the Proclamation’s promulgation or content.

    This, of course, puts the Court in the position of being mind-readers. Perhaps not so difficult with this President, but it would be for others; and in any case that rationale seems to me to mean that the issuance of a travel ban like this would be legal for one President but not for another purely on the basis of public statement they had made before it’s issuance, which makes no sense to me at all.

    Actually, having read the majority opinion, I think that the minority’s last sentence is wrong. The majority did not disagree regarding the extent of the role that a presumed religious animus on the part of the President played in this proclamation. That’s not because they agreed with the minority. It’s wrong because the majority essentially states that it’s not their job to evaluate those statements – it’s their job to determine whether or not the EO was in its text religiously neutral and whether it fit within the statutory authority of the President.

    Plaintiffs argue that this President’s words strike at fundamental standards of respect and tolerance, in violation of our constitutional tradition. But the issue before us is not whether to denounce the statements. It is instead
    the significance of those statements in reviewing a Presidential directive, neutral on its face, addressing a matter within the core of executive responsibility. In doing so, we must consider not only the statements of a particular President, but also the authority of the Presidency itself.

  4. 104
    Harlequin says:

    RonF, one of the main points of discrimination law is that otherwise legal actions can be made illegal by discriminatory motive or discriminatory outcome. This doesn’t require any mind reading–only the actual, voluntary statements of the President. (The lack of mind reading is, in fact, why these cases are so hard to prove in most instances.)

    And, yes, that means this action, taken by another President, would likely be legal. Still morally abhorrent and shameful to all Americans, but legal. This administration could also have made actual factual claims that travelers from these countries wre dangerous, and the ban was legal under that motive. They didn’t. They said they had those facts, but did not supply them.

    And finally– the claim that this only applies to 8% of Muslims doesn’t mean it’s not discriminatory. Do you think most people who support it know that most Muslims live in southeast Asia? Being uninformed doesn’t excuse them from being prejudiced.

  5. 105
    RonF says:

    Harlequin:

    >

    RonF, one of the main points of discrimination law is that otherwise legal actions can be made illegal by discriminatory motive or discriminatory outcome. This doesn’t require any mind reading–only the actual, voluntary statements of the President.

    If there were no non-majority Muslim countries on the list and the number of Muslims affected by the ban were, say, > 50% of the Muslims in the world then you might have a point. But a ban that subjects only 8% of the Muslims in the world to heightened scrutiny (and actually bans fewer than that) is stunningly ineffective if the intent was to discriminate against Muslims. Generally when people had put “No Colored Allowed” or “No Irish Need Apply” signs up on their businesses they meant all blacks or Irish, not 8% of them. On that basis it’s reasonable to conclude that while the President wished to actually ban all Muslims from entering the country cooler heads prevailed and convinced him to base his EO not on animus against Muslims but instead on legitimate national security criteria.

    It seems to me that what you’re arguing for is that since Pres. Trump made discriminatory remarks towards all Muslims any action on his part that affects any Muslims (even a small fraction thereof) should be interpreted as being based on religious animus and thus invalid regardless of whatever rationale informs the criteria for the action. I reject that and so did the Supreme Court.

    This administration could also have made actual factual claims that travelers from these countries were dangerous, and the ban was legal under that motive. They didn’t. They said they had those facts, but did not supply them.

    Hm. The majority opinion gave a history of how the State Department actually did a review of various foreign states and evaluated whether or not they restricted dangerous travelers and thus whether or not the U.S. itself needed to restrict travelers from those countries, tried to get cooperation from those countries, failed, and then applied restrictions based on those criteria. I don’t see anything in the minority opinion that contests this.

    And finally– the claim that this only applies to 8% of Muslims doesn’t mean it’s not discriminatory. Do you think most people who support it know that most Muslims live in southeast Asia? Being uninformed doesn’t excuse them from being prejudiced.

    I became aware of that in 2004 when I went to Japan to attend the 6th All-Nippon Venturing Jamboree, met Scouts from Pakistan and Indonesia and then heard a lecture from the head of WOSM’s Asia-Pacific region. I bet you’re right that most people are unaware of that. But the issue is what effect the President’s public statements should have on his exercise of his authority in this particular case. The knowledge or prejudice of most people is moot.

  6. 106
    Harlequin says:

    If there were no non-majority Muslim countries on the list and the number of Muslims affected by the ban were, say, > 50% of the Muslims in the world then you might have a point. But a ban that subjects only 8% of the Muslims in the world to heightened scrutiny (and actually bans fewer than that) is stunningly ineffective if the intent was to discriminate against Muslims.

    And so, for example, it can’t be misogynist to hate female sex workers, because you like most women who are not sex workers?

    The anti-Muslim bias in the US is intertwined with a racist (or at least ethnic, depending on your definition of “race”) bias against people from the middle east and north Africa. This is obvious in every single public conversation about the dangers posed by Middle Eastern countries, particularly the ones on Fox News that we know Trump watches and trusts. Again: incompetence is not a defense against prejudice.

    (Incidentally, Muslim immigration to the US–which I would assume, but don’t know for sure, tracks with tourist visas etc–is weighted more heavily to the Middle East than the pure population numbers, so the 8% number is probably not the correct one to be thinking about.)

    This is an especially bad argument given that the first version of the ban excluded more countries. He’s not as racist as he could have been, because he was literally legally prevented from doing that. This also applies to the point about the evidence presented that it was for national security reasons, and that it includes some non-majority-Muslim countries: this action was clearly undertaken to provide a basis for a ban that the President wanted; it was done to enable something motivated by a prejudiced desire, and is less prejudiced only because the more prejudiced version was stopped by the courts.

    ETA: And just to be clear: you’re right, I was wrong that zero information on national security was presented in the proceedings. I still think it was an insufficient pretense, but it wasn’t literally zero information.

  7. 107
    Harlequin says:

    Sorry, this is quite delayed, but:

    Gracchus:

    Every country teaches its children that it’s the best country.

    Are you sure this is true? I have a bunch of friends from Europe who are very weirded out by American patriotism, for example, and who seem to think about moving to different countries very differently than Americans do even when considering, like, Canada. You can be proud of your heritage without necessarily believing it is intrinsically superior to all others, and I imagine the same can be true about your feelings about your country of origin.

  8. 108
    nobody.really says:

    Q: Do anti-religious remarks taint a government decision?

    A: Yes—if we’re defending the rights of Christian conservatives to reject gays. This holding prevails even if (1) the allegedly anti-religious remarks were made by only two of seven members of a unanimous civil rights commission, (2) the allegedly anti-religious remarks were FACTUALLY TRUE, (3) the commission’s decision corresponded with the ruling of an untainted administrative law judge, as well as with every state court’s review, and (4) the Supreme Court is not even reviewing the decision of the commission, but is instead reviewing the decision of the state’s supreme court—a decision that was rendered de novo and thus was legally unaffected by the commission’s ruling.

    But no—if we’re merely discussing outrageously anti-religious remarks by the man who exercised sole discretion over the formation of the policy, such as the following:

    December 7, 2015 press release: “Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on. According to Pew Research, among others, there is great hatred towards Americans by large segments of the Muslim population…. Mr. Trump stated, ‘Without looking at the various polling data, it is obvious to anybody the hatred is beyond comprehension. Where this hatred comes from and why we will have to determine. Until we are able to determine and understand this problem and the dangerous threat it poses, our country cannot be the victims of horrendous attacks by people that believe only in Jihad, and have no sense of reason or respect for human life. If I win the election for President, we are going to Make America Great Again.’”

    December 8, 2015, on MSNBC:
    >Geist: Donald, a customs agent would then ask a person their religion?
    >Trump: That would be probably—they would say, “Are you Muslim?”
    >Geist: And if they said, “Yes,” they would not be allowed in the country?
    >Trump: That’s correct.

    December 12, 2015, on Fox News: “We can’t allow people to come into this country that have horrible thoughts in their mind.”

    March 9, 2016, on CNN: “I think Islam hates us. There is something – there is something there that is a tremendous hatred there. There’s a tremendous hatred. We have to get to the bottom of it. There’s an unbelievable hatred of us…. we can’t allow people coming into this country who have this hatred of the United States and of people who are not Muslim.”

    May 11, 2016, on Fox News: “I’m looking at it very strongly with Rudy Giuliani heading it. I’ve spoken to him a little while ago. We’re going to put together a group of five or six people. Very, very highly thought of people, and I think Rudy will head it up, and we’ll look at the Muslim ban or the ‘temporary ban’ as we call it.…”

    January 29, 2017, on Fox News:
    >Jeanine Pirro: I want to ask you about this ban and the protests. Does the ban have anything to do with religion…?
    >Rudy Giuliani: I will tell you the whole history of it. When he first announced it, he said, ‘Muslim ban.’ He called me up. He said, ‘Put a commission together. Show me the right way to do it legally.’”

    June 15, 2016 speech: “[W]e have to stop people from pouring into this country until we find out what the hell is going on…. [I]t’s a temporary ban, in particular for certain people coming from certain horrible—where you have tremendous terrorism in the world. You know what those places are.”

    June 27, 2016, in an NBC phone interview: Trump said his Muslim ban would apply “in particular [to] the terrorist states.”

    July 17, 2016, on CBS:
    >Lesley Stahl: In December, [Mike Pence tweeted], “Calls to ban Muslims from entering the U.S. are offensive and unconstitutional.
    >Trump: So you call it territories. OK? We’re gonna do territories….
    * * *
    >Stahl: So you’re changing your position?
    >Trump: No. Call it whatever you want. We’ll call it territories, OK?
    >Stahl: So not Muslims?
    >Trump: You know, the Constitution, there’s nothing like it. But it doesn’t necessarily give us the right to commit suicide, as a country, OK? And I’ll tell you this. Call it whatever you want….”

    July 24, 2016, on NBC:
    >Chuck Todd: The Muslim ban. I think you’ve pulled back from it….
    Trump: I don’t think it’s a rollback….
    * * *
    >Todd: Should it be interpreted as that?
    >Trump: I don’t think so. I actually don’t think it’s a rollback. In fact, you could say it’s an expansion. I’m looking now at territories. People were so upset when I used the word Muslim. Oh, you can’t use the word Muslim. Remember this. And I’m okay with that, because I’m talking territory instead of Muslim. But just remember this: Our Constitution is great. But it doesn’t necessarily give us the right to commit suicide, okay? Now, we have a religious, you know, everybody wants to be protected. And that’s great. And that’s the wonderful part of our Constitution. I view it differently. Why are we committing suicide? Why are we doing that? But you know what? I live with our Constitution. I love our Constitution. I cherish our Constitution. We’re making it territorial.

    July 25, 2016, on Fox News:
    >Hannity: What is your position? Because you were trying to explain yesterday [on NBC] that your position has not changed….
    >Trump: No. I think my position’s gotten bigger now. I’m talking about territories now. People don’t want me to say Muslim. I guess I prefer not saying it, frankly, myself. So we’re talking about territories.

    October 9, 2016, in a debate:
    >Moderator: Your running mate said this week that the Muslim ban is no longer your position, and if it is, was it a mistake to have a religious test?
    >Trump: …The Muslim ban is something that in some form has morphed into extreme vetting for certain areas of the world.
    * * *
    >Moderator: Why did it morph into that? Answer the question. Would you please explain whether the Muslim ban still stands?
    >Trump: It is called extreme vetting.

    December 21, 2016, in an interview:
    >Reporter: Have you had cause to rethink or reevaluate your plans to create a Muslim register or ban Muslim immigration to the United States?
    >Trump: You know my plans all along….

  9. 109
    nobody.really says:

    Justice Thomas’s concurrence has an interesting purpose – to start a review of whether or not it is legal for a given District Court to issue a stay or other action that purports to have effect outside of the District’s boundaries.

    That’s a fascinating purpose! It often struck me as odd that a mere federal district judge could overturn a national law. Does that apply even if other district courts had ruled to the contrary? That is, is this a one-way ratchet?
    No disrespect to these judges, but that seems like a weirdly unbalanced kind of power.

    [T]he issue is what effect the President’s public statements should have on his exercise of his authority in this particular case. The knowledge or prejudice of most people is moot.

    1. Employer is accused of discriminating against women. Employer refuses to hire applicants who cannot lift a specified amount, even if it’s not a bona fide occupational qualification. Roughly 100% of male applicants can pass the test, but only 92% of women—that is, the policy only burdens 8% of female applicants. How should the court rule?

    2. Employer is accused of anti-Muslim bias. Employer refuses to hire bearded men in turbans. Of all the people burdened by this policy, 33% are Muslim, 33% are Sikh, and 34% are people with atypical fashion sensibilities. Employer argues that, because the policy does not impose most of its burdens on Muslims, it cannot constitute anti-Muslim bias. How should the court rule?

    3. Employer is accused of discriminating against black people. Employer agrees that he engaged in the conduct alleged for the reasons alleged. But he explains, “I only did this because I had in my mind the idea that black people are basically sub-human monkeys. Now I see that the object of my malice was just a cartoon. I wasn’t prejudiced against REAL black people, just the black people of my imagination. Indeed, notwithstanding my repeated expressions of hatred for ‘black people,’ I was happy to hire Ella Eyre—precisely because she did not conform to my expectation of ‘black people.’ So I’m not really prejudiced against black people, just ‘black people,’ and there’s no law against that!” How should the court rule?

    [I]t can’t be misogynist to hate female sex workers, because you like most women who are not sex workers?

    Uh … I guess you can define “misogynist” any way you like. But I don’t know if I’d associate a person’s attitude about female sex workers with a person’s attitude about females in general. Knowledge of the person’s attitude toward male sex workers might help illuminate the person’s perspective.

  10. 110
    Harlequin says:

    The “female” the was meant to specify the person didn’t feel the same about male sex workers, but I see now that was unclear. In any case, I bow to your far superior counterexample skills!

  11. 111
    desipis says:

    nobody.really:

    But no—if we’re merely discussing outrageously anti-religious remarks by the man who exercised sole discretion over the formation of the policy, such as the following:

    There’s an important difference between the civil rights commission and the office of the president. The civil rights commission is a judicial (or quasi-judicial) body that has a due process (i.e. legal) obligation to not just be unbiased but to also appear unbiased. The president is a political position in the executive government and does not have such an obligation when setting policy. It is up to the superior courts to defend against undesirable motivation in the lower courts and up to the electorate (and/or congress) to defend against undesirable motivation in executive government policy.

  12. 112
    nobody.really says:

    It is up to the superior courts to defend against undesirable motivation in the lower courts and up to the electorate (and/or congress) to defend against undesirable motivation in executive government policy.

    So the executive branch is immune from civil rights laws–and, indeed, from the 14th Amendments obligation to provide equal protection of the laws? I hadn’t heard that before.

  13. 113
    RonF says:

    SCOTUS rules in favor of Janus in Janus v. AFSCME.

    After what was going on yesterday on Facebook I think I’m not even going to bother to go on Facebook today after this ….

    No, I’m not opening debate on this, I haven’t read the decision and don’t anticipate having time to do so today.

  14. 114
    RonF says:

    And so, for example, it can’t be misogynist to hate female sex workers, because you like most women who are not sex workers?

    That depends on why you hate them. Not that I personally am big on the emotion “hate”. I don’t use that word much.

  15. 115
    Grace Annam says:

    RonF:

    This, of course, puts the Court in the position of being mind-readers.

    Ron, you know intent is an element of many criminal statutes which must be proven in court, right? And that judges and juries make these determinations every day, all across the country?

    Grace

  16. 116
    RonF says:

    Harlan Ellison has died. One of the first Science Fiction authors I read after working through the ancients.

  17. 117
    RonF says:

    True, Grace. But as you point out that’s with regards to criminal statutes. Pres. Trump was not the subject of a criminal proceeding here. The issue at hand was whether or not his action was within his authority and whether his statements that demonstrated prejudice made his exercise of his authority a violation of the Establishment Clause. The Supremes said “No, it didn’t.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *