Link Farm and Open Thread, Pumpkin Seasoned Edition

  1. Breaking Rocks, then Breaking Out: On “Freedomville: The Story of a 21st-Century Slave Revolt”
    “When we remove violence as a legitimate response to oppression, we condone the notion that the state has the only legitimate right to use force, and we exonerate those non-state elite actors who disregard that notion themselves and enact violence with impunity nonetheless.”
  2. Free Returns Are Complicated, Laborious, and Gross – The Atlantic
    Without really giving it any thought, I’d always supposed that returned stuff that’s basically new is resold as new. Nope.
  3. Facebook banned me for life because I created a tool that lets people control what they see on Facebook.
    They also used a lawsuit threat to force him to take his tool – a browser plug-in – off the web. Horrifying.
  4. Bring on the Publicity Trolls: Federal Appeal Court Ruling Drastically Undermines Online Speech | Electronic Frontier Foundation
    The ruling in effect means that social media companies can be sued if their users post something violating someone’s “right of publicity” under any state law.
  5. Artist tattoos over 70 people to recreate scene from Betty Boop film | SWNS – YouTube
    This is just super cool. Thanks to my niece Sydney (who I’m sure does not read this blog) for pointing it out to me.
  6. Opinion | The ‘New York Times of the right’ is … the New York Times – The Washington Post
    “Carlson, for instance, isn’t going to send an investigative team to probe a drone strike in some far-off land; he has no such team, so he relies on the Times.”
  7. The Methods of Moral Panic Journalism – by Michael Hobbes
    Really well-done debunking of the “cancel culture crisis” genre of article.
  8. Elephants born without tusks in ‘evolutionary response’ to violent poachers
    “However, it is not all good news. The trait [tusklessness] is only seen in female elephants and researchers said that genetic sequencing shows that the trait is linked to a mutation in the X chromosome, which can be fatal to male elephants in the womb.”
  9. Protocols, Not Platforms: A Technological Approach to Free Speech | Knight First Amendment Institute
    I’m a little suspicious of “magic bullet” solutions – they generally don’t work as completely as their advocates expect. But I think there are some good ideas here. Less power for Twitter and Facebook and more competition to create better interfaces both sound good. I do think having a thousand different moderation schemes that people can choose between is the best way to go, from a maximizing free speech perspective.
  10. Why Japan Looks the Way it Does: Zoning – YouTube
    Multi-use zoning doesn’t mean no-rules zoning. Interesting, I mean, I found it interesting, anyway, if someone else says “objectively that’s boring” I’m not sure I’d have a good counterargument.
  11. Why is the idea of ‘gender’ provoking backlash the world over? | Judith Butler | The Guardian
    “… there is no one concept of gender, and gender studies is a complex and internally diverse field that includes a wide range of scholars. It does not deny sex, but it does tend to ask about how sex is established, through what medical and legal frameworks, how that has changed through time, and what difference it makes to the social organization of our world to disconnect the sex assigned at birth from the life that follows…”
  12. Photos in this post are by Patrick Boucher and Ksenia Yakovleva.

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17 Responses to Link Farm and Open Thread, Pumpkin Seasoned Edition

  1. 1
    RonF says:

    I was shocked to see this in the State of Illinois:

    The Illinois Supreme Court ruled on Oct. 21 that two taxes on guns and ammunition in Cook County violate the state’s constitution because they affect law-abiding citizens’ Second Amendment right to acquire firearms for self-defense.

    Supreme Court Justice Mary Jane Theis wrote in a 6–0 decision that the taxes violate the constitution’s uniformity clause, while also pointing out that the revenue from the generated tax isn’t directed toward funds or programs that reduce gun violence.

    “While the taxes do not directly burden a law-abiding citizen’s right to use a firearm for self-defense, they do directly burden a law-abiding citizen’s right to acquire a firearm and the necessary ammunition for self-defense,” Theis wrote in a 14-page opinion (pdf) filed on Thursday.

    “Under the plain language of the ordinances, the revenue generated from the firearm tax is not directed to any fund or program specifically related to curbing the cost of gun violence,” she noted. “Additionally, nothing in the ordinance indicates that the proceeds generated from the ammunition tax must be specifically directed to initiatives aimed at reducing gun violence.”

    The justice concluded that the case will be remanded to the circuit court “for entry of summary judgment in favor of plaintiffs.”

    In 2012, the Cook County Board of Commissioners approved a $25 tax on the retail purchase of a firearm within the county. The county’s Firearm Tax Ordinance was enacted in April 2013.

    A separate county tax was enacted in 2015, which added $0.05 per cartridge for centerfire ammunition and $0.01 per cartridge for rimfire ammunition. Americans who fail to pay those taxes are subject to a $1,000 fine for the first offense and a $2,000 fine for subsequent offenses.

    The trade group and gun-rights organization, Guns Save Life, challenged both taxes in a lawsuit against the county, saying they violate the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens.

    A spokesman for Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle said on Thursday they are disappointed in the ruling and will work to determine the next steps.

    I wonder if affected individuals will be able to apply for a rebate of the taxes they were unconstitutionally required to pay?

    I also wonder what the implication is for people forced to pay $150 to the State of Illinois in order to get a Conceal Carry License (CCL). By way of contrast, the State charges you $10 to get a Firearm Owner’s ID card (a.k.a. FOID) which is required to legally purchase, possess and transport a firearm or ammunition in the State. The Illinois State Police says that they need to charge that to offset the cost of a background check. That sounds reasonable to me. But $150 for a CCL sounds like a burden on the practice of a civil right. It’s not exactly analogous, but I bet after this – and especially considering it was a 6 – 0 decision – someone is crafting a lawsuit to get that fee knocked down.

  2. 2
    Eytan Zweig says:

    Ron @1 – The majority opinion was based primarily on the view that taxation should not be used for the purpose of regulation (one judge agreed with the judgment but not with that reasoning). That’s why they’re pointing out on where the money went – if it had gone directly to gun-violence related programmes, the county could have argued that this isn’t singling out guns for taxation, but rather as gun regulation, which at least some of the judges may have allowed.

    Which is to say, that the fee for CCL seems different, because it does go towards paying related expenses. Also, if the Illinois state police (rather than a muncipality) charges the $150, then that’s different in that the Illinois constitution considers the right to bear arms subject to police power.

    Which isn’t to say that you’re wrong, but that I’m not sure that there’s as clear a path from this lawsuit to a challenge to the concealed carry license fee as you think.

  3. 3
    Jacqueline Onassis Squid says:

    #5 is great.

    Thanks, Sydney!

  4. 4
    Görkem says:

    150 USD is about equivalent to what it costs to issue a passport. Is there about the same amount of administration work required to issue a concealed carry license as there is to issue a passport? I don’t know, not being familiar with the former process, but it doesn’t seem unreasonable

  5. 5
    RonF says:

    Good question Görkem. So I just looked over the application for a Illinois CCL. The amount of administration doesn’t look too lengthy. For a CCL you submit your Illinois Drivers License and your Illinois Firearm Owners ID card. To get those you already had to show your birth certificate (or other such documentation), prove your residency and undergo a background check. The only additional info is the certificate of training from a certified firearms instructor showing that you’ve taken and passed 16 hours of training and a new head shot photograph. Heck, you don’t even have to be a U.S. citizen to get a Illinois CCL. The only thing the Illinois State Police have to do is check to see if your license and FOID card are valid and run a report to look at your criminal record (if you have one). That’s not going to take $150 worth of someone’s time.

    The whole thing is costly. The training course is going to cost you another $150 to $300 depending on where you take it. This is a pretty high financial barrier to a lot of people who would want to exercise a Constitutionally-protected civil right.

    In Illinois you have to take a Drivers Education class to get a Drivers License; but the State caps the fee at either $50 or $250 (to get the latter the local school board must hold a public hearing and then vote on it) subsidizes the rest and requires the district to waive the fee for someone who cannot afford it. Seems like that would be a good policy for a firearms training course; teach it to all High School students and subsidize it for those who can’t afford it. I bet it would cut down on the number of accidental shootings.

  6. 6
    Eytan Zweig says:

    Ron @5 – In the case of DC vs. Heller, 2008, the Supreme courty of the US declared that the second Amendment does not protect a right to concealed carry. Similarly, as far as I can tell, the constitution of the state of Illinois does not recognise the right to concealed carry, just the right to bear arms.

    So you are not correct when you describe concealed carry as a “constitutionally-protected civil right”.

    You could argue that since open carry is illegal in Illinois, then the right to concealed carry is equivalent to the right to bear arms. But that’s starting to become a much bigger legal issue than the cost of the license.

  7. 7
    Görkem says:

    “The only thing the Illinois State Police have to do is check to see if your license and FOID card are valid and run a report to look at your criminal record (if you have one). That’s not going to take $150 worth of someone’s time.”

    I am not so sure about that. These kinds of processes are often more costly than one might imagine from outside the administrative system.

  8. 8
    RonF says:

    You could argue that since open carry is illegal in Illinois, then the right to concealed carry is equivalent to the right to bear arms. But that’s starting to become a much bigger legal issue than the cost of the license.

    Actually, in Moore v. Madigan the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals held that the right to bear arms in public is Constitutionally protected, one way or another. The case was predicated on the fact that at the time the suit was brought (by private citizen Moore against the State of Illinois Attorney General Madigan) Illinois denied its residents the general right to carry firearms outside of one’s own property (with exceptions for hunting, etc.). It never went to the Supreme Court because the State of Illinois responded to the decision by passing the current law requiring the State to issue Concealed Carry Licenses to people who qualified. That mooted the suit. Illinois being the last State to do so there’s no basis for anyone to bring a similar suit in any other State, so right now the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals’ ruling stands.

  9. 9
    RonF says:

    I’ll add that I personally am not a fan of open carry. Not that I am offended or frightened by the sight of a firearm, but I do fear that people who carry in an insecure fashion are more likely to have someone else grab their firearm. But it seems that the 7th Circuit decided that a State has to allow people to carry firearms in public; whether open or concealed or both is apparently up to the State. If DC v. Heller didn’t require States to permit concealed carry, did it permit States to block carrying firearms in public altogether? The 7th Circuit doesn’t think so.

  10. 10
    Lauren says:

    An addition to Nr. 7, with a perspective I found interesting – and familiar, as I have struggled with the issue of letting go of a formerly beloved work because the creators actions made it no longer enjoyable:
    When “Cancel Culture” means letting go
    https://www.damemagazine.com/2021/10/27/when-cancel-culture-means-letting-go/

  11. 11
    JaneDoh says:

    @Lauren thanks for that link. That is EXACTLY how I feel about some of the artists and personal heroes I have given up. I was devastated when I realized how much of an asshat James Watson (of double helix fame) is, and was absolutely disgusted by his treatment of Rosalind Franklin (on whose work his Nobel Prize depended). It was crushing, not exhilarating to give him up. Ditto for Bill Cosby (who I loved as a kid). Seeing him/his work brings only negative associations now, so I avoid it.

  12. 12
    RonF says:

    I heard about Rosalind Franklin when the school I got my M.S. in Biochemistry from renamed itself from Chicago Medical School to Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science. My introductory Biology course at MIT (7.01) used “The Molecular Biology of the Gene” which was written by Dr. Watson (who dedicated the book to Dr. Salvador E. Luria, the professor teaching the course); I already knew who Watson was. But nothing I had ever read mentioned Dr. Franklin; at least not enough to stick in my memory. Had she lived she should have shared in the Nobel Prize that Watson and Crick shared, but I doubt she would have.

    I should add that although Prof. Luria clearly knew Watson he never dropped his name or discussed his relationship to him or anyone else who worked on this.

  13. 14
    Ampersand says:

    LOL thank you to nobody!

  14. 15
    RonF says:

    That is brutal. And my birthday comes up soon, too!

  15. 16
    RonF says:

    Re: Link #10 –

    The video discusses Residential, Commercial and Industrial zoning, but there’s one kind it does not discuss at all: Agricultural. When I was on a bus tour in Japan we saw a small field of rice in what appeared to be an office building area. We asked the lady running the tour why it was there. She said that rice has a very unique and quasi-sacred status in Japan. She said that if you grow rice on a plot of land you can claim the entire plot as agricultural even if only a fraction of the property actually is used for growing rice. There was no follow-up as far as what percentage of the land had to be dedicated to growing rice to get that status, but there were a lot of patches of rice around.

    Re: Link #5 –
    I actually remember seeing that Betty Boop cartoon when I was a kid on Saturday morning. I recognized it immediately. But that was back in the days of quality television on Saturday mornings.

  16. 17
    RonF says:

    There has been a development in the Scouts B.S.A. program that I think some here might find interesting. In order to achieve the 3 highest ranks in Scouts B.S.A. (Star, Life and Eagle) one of the requirements is that you earn 21 merit badges by the time you get to Eagle. These are badges that have requirements specific to particular skills or bodies of knowledge. There is a particular set of merit badges that must be included in the total of 21 in order to earn those ranks – these are known as “Eagle required” merit badges. The rest can be any of the other 100 or so merit badges that exist.

    The B.S.A. has just created a new merit badge and made it Eagle required. It is “Citizenship in Society”, complementing the existing Eagle required Citizenship in the Community, Citizenship in the Nation and Citizenship in the World. The requirements follow. There is also something unique about this merit badge; there is no and will be no merit badge pamphlet for it. Every other merit badge has a pamphlet that has definitions for all the terms and gives you everything you need to guide you on discussions, learn the skills, etc. But the B.S.A. says (in the FAQ in this link)

    The Citizenship in Society merit badge encourages a self-guided/self-exploration approach to learning. While there is no official pamphlet, there will be a counselor’s guide to serve as the foundation for the merit badge. The intent is for Citizenship in Society merit badge counselors to guide Scouts on their journey of self-discovery and facilitate discussions as Scouts seek to further understand the diverse world we live in.

    I haven’t seen the counselor’s guide yet. It occurs to me that since there is no pamphlet there is no easy way for the parents to see what the Scout is learning or being taught. I will certainly share the counselor’s guide with all the parents in my Troop. The FAQ does say that parents will be welcome to play a role in the process.

    This is bound to be controversial! But I can see value in it. Kids of this age can be cruel. It has always been a maxim of Scouting that a Scout is a friend and brother to every other Scout – and yes, there have been times in my career in Scouting where I have had to stress this to Scouts and parents on occasion.

    1. Before beginning work on other requirements for this merit badge:
    a. Research the following terms, and then explain to your merit badge counselor how you feel they relate to the Scout Oath and Scout Law:
    • Identities • Inclusion
    • Diversity • Discrimination
    • Equity • Ethical Leadership
    • Equality • Upstander

    2. Document and discuss with your counselor what leadership means to you. Share what it means to make ethical decisions.
    a. Research and share with your counselor an individual you feel has demonstrated positive leadership while having to make an ethical decision. (It could be someone in history, a family member, a teacher, a coach, a counselor, a clergy member, a Scoutmaster, etc.)
    b. Explain what decision and/or options that leader had, why you believe they chose their final course of action, and the outcome of that action.

    3. Consider ethical decision-making.
    a. Think about a time you faced an ethical decision.
    • Discuss the situation, what you did, and how it made you feel.
    • Share if you would do anything differently in the future and if so, what that could be.
    b. List three examples of ethical decisions you might have to make in the future at school, at home, in the workplace, or in your community, and what you would do.
    • Share how your actions represent alignment with the Scout Oath and Scout Law
    c. Explain to your counselor how you plan to use what you have learned to assist you when that time comes, and what action(s) you can take to serve as an upstander and help other people at all times.

    4. Repeat the Scout Oath and Scout Law for your counselor. Choose two of the three following scenarios and discuss what you could do as a Scout to demonstrate leadership and your understanding of what it means to help others who may seem different from you:
    a. Scenario 1: While at camp, a youth accidentally spills food on another camper. The camper who gets spilled on gets angry and says something that is offensive to people with disabilities; their friends laugh. What could/should you do?
    b. Scenario 2: Your friend confides in you that some students in school are making insulting comments about one of their identities, and that those same students created a fake social media account to impersonate your friend online and post messages. What could/should you do?
    c. Scenario 3: A new student in your class was born in another country (or has a parent who was born in another country). Your friends make rude comments to the student about their speech or clothes and tell the student to “go back home where you came from.” What could/should you do?

    5. Document and discuss with your counselor:
    a. Ideas on what you personally can do to create a welcoming environment in your Scouting unit.
    b. An experience you had in which you went out of your way to include another Scout(s) and what you did to make them feel included and welcomed.
    c. Things you can do to help ensure all Scouts in your unit are given an opportunity to be heard and included in decision-making and planning.

    6. With your parent’s or guardian’s approval, connect with another Scout or youth your own age who has an identity that’s different from yours. (This means a trait, belief, or characteristic different from you.)
    a. Share with each other what makes the different aspect of your identity meaningful/special to you.
    b. Share with each other either one of the following:
    i. A time you felt excluded from a group.
    • What was the situation?
    • How did it make you feel?
    • What did you do?
    • Did anyone stand up for you?
    • What did you learn?
    • Would you do anything differently today?
    ii. This imaginary situation:
    • You’re attending a new school and don’t know anyone there yet. You notice they dress very differently than you do. At lunchtime, you decide you’ll try to sit with a group to get to know other students. People at two tables tell you there is someone sitting at the currently empty seat at their table, so you end up eating by yourself.
    o How would that make you feel?
    o What could the students have done?
    o If that happened at your school, what would you do?
    c. Discuss with your counselor what you learned from the discussion with the other Scout or youth.

    7. Identify and interview an individual in your community, school, and/or Scouting who has had a significant positive impact in promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion. If you feel your community, school, or local Scouting group does not have such an individual, then research a historical figure who meets these criteria,and discuss that person with your counselor.
    a. Discover what inspired the individual, learn about the challenges they faced, and share what you feel attributed to their success.
    b. Discuss with your counselor what you learned and how you can apply it in your life.

    8. With the help of your parent or guardian, study an event that had a positive outcome on how society viewed a group of people and made them feel more welcome. Describe to your counselor the event and what you learned.

    9. Document and discuss with your counselor three or more areas in your life outside of Scouting where you feel you can actively provide stronger leadership in.
    a. Making others feel included.
    b. Practicing active listening.
    c. Creating an environment where others feel comfortable to share their ideas and perspectives.
    d. Helping others feel valued for their input and suggestions.
    e. Standing up for others.

    10. Discuss with your counselor how stereotyping people can be harmful, and how stereotypes can lead to prejudice and discrimination. Share ideas you have for challenging assumptions and celebrating individuality.

    11. Scouting strives to develop young people to be future leaders in their workplaces, schools, and community environments. As you look at your current involvement in school, your family, Scouting, your job, and/or community, think about how you can have a positive impact in diversity, equity, and inclusion.
    a. Describe your ideas on how you can and will support others with different identities to feel included and heard at your school, workplace, and/or social settings in your community.
    b. Explain how including diverse thoughts and opinions from others with different identities can:
    • Make your interactions more positive.
    • Help everyone benefit by considering different opinions.
    c. Give three examples of how limiting diverse input can be harmful.
    d. Give three examples of how considering diverse opinions can lead to innovation and success.

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