Category Archives: Politics

A day like any other day with puppies

Which is to say, I got important stuff done (movies watched for the book, exercise for the first time in a week, puppies petted and taken outside and dinner cooked. And not much of the little stuff I hoped to get done too. Guess I’d better get used to it. :)

So nothing really deep to blog about, just some political links:

•South Georgia religious conservative and congressional candidate Jody Hice claims that if government supported religion against secularism this would lead to limited government because religious people are “self governing.” Admittedly if Republican Christians ran the country, we’d have less welfare and less regulation on business. But we’d have more regulation on birth control, gay marriage, divorce and freedom of religion (Hice doesn’t think Islam qualifies). And taken historically, overtly religious government in America has supported mandatory school prayer, bans on blasphemy and bans on Sunday work (everything from forcing store closings to not allowing people to work on home repairs).

•A California politician insists his neo-Nazi past shouldn’t disqualify him for public office.

•Slacktivist looks at the evangelical assumption “mutual consent” in sex is a dog-whistle for “any sexual act is permitted.”

•The movie industry has decided not to allow Google glass in theaters to reduce the risk of piracy.

•Another non-Muslim suspected terrorist.

•The FCC considers another approach to net neutrality. Keep in mind broadband service in the US is already inferior to a number of other nations. And congestion in online traffic has more to do with business practices than physical issues.

•Jim Hines explains that just because some supporters of the Gamergate harassers include women, nonwhites and gays doesn’t make them the side supporting diversity or equality.

•Slate looks at how Obama dealt with Ebola compared to Reagan’s handling of AIDS.

•Some born-and-raised Texans can’t vote under the new ID law.

•Chip-enabled credit cards are supposed to be more secure, but some hackers have already found a weakness. Part of the problem is banks not applying proper security protocols rather than the tech.

Leave a comment

Filed under Politics

Crushed by the Canines (even more than I expected) #SFWApro

I told y’all Wednesday that the dogs were crimping my schedule but I figured by today I’d be back in the swing of things.

Not so much.

The big trouble is Trixie recovering from surgery. This requires rest and she is not a restful dog. So we’ve started putting her in the crate more, as putting her in the big pen leads to several minutes of frantic medically unapproved jumping before she calms down. Only today when I took Dudley out (I’m in favor of renaming Dudley “Plushie” but TYG isn’t convinced), Trixie set up a Noooo, Don’t Abandon Me wail that I caved after I got back in. Rather than put her in the pen as TYG really worries about her jumping, I took her onto my lap. Some franticness resulted, but eventually she calmed down, curled up (literally) and went to sleep. Which was sweet, but I couldn’t do much work that way. And after I finished with her, I felt an obligation to Dudley to give him some attention—you’d be amazed how fast that sort of thing sucks up time.

So while it really has been a wonderful week on a personal level, work-wise it’s been mediocre. However I did finish my latest And column and it’s already out. It’s on multiple incidents of online misogyny (several of which I’ve blogged about already).

I am determined to find some way to be more productive next week, because waiting until after Wednesday (when the incision will have fully healed) is way too long to wait. I love our new companiones, but I don’t want this to be NaNoNaNoDogMo!

Oh, well, at least I don’t have to worry about it for this weekend. :)

Leave a comment

Filed under Personal, Politics, Writing

Undead sexist cliches: Women who orbit men (#SFWApro)

So I was thinking about the movie Paycheck some more and then I also started thinking of this post about strong female characters by my friend and fellow writer Elizabeth Berger.

Liz’s post is about the need to have female characters who are more than just strong and heroic, they need flaws and distinctive personality traits (I’ve written my own thoughts about female protagonists here). But Paycheck reminded me of another problem with supposedly strong fictional women: for all their strength and ability (whatever their talents may be), a lot of them are just there to fall in love with the hero.

Uma Thurman’s biologist in the movie is presumably brilliant (CEO of Evil Aaron Eckhart is the kind of villain who hires the best), and the climax proves she can handle herself in a fight. But personality wise, the only drive or goal she has is to be in love with Ben Affleck. They knew each other, fell for each other, but his mind has been wiped of the past three years’ memory so he’s lost to her.

This is, of course, hardly a new idea. It’s a variation on the Bechdel Test—does the movie have more than two women? Do they talk about anything but their boyfriends?—does the heroine have a life that doesn’t orbit around the male lead? Does she have career goals that disappear as soon as she falls in love? Is she only there to love the hero and prove he’s a real man? Or to inspire him and motivate him by getting brutally murdered (known as “fridging” from one example back in the 1990s Green Lantern series)?

It’s not a lot to ask, but a lot of writing fails the test anyway.

1 Comment

Filed under Movies, Undead sexist cliches, Writing

Online complaints, writing links and other miscellanea.

It’s not just restaurants: even doctors have to deal with online reviews and some sue over them. I must admit, I remain unconvinced that online reviews are any more accurate a ranking than regular word of mouth used to be, but I don’t assume that the outraged reviewee is in the right either. Which isn’t much guidance.

*Speaking of reviews: if Yelp does, as some businesses charge, offer to remove online reviews in return for advertising, that’s not extortion according to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

•However California has made it illegal to enforce a non-disparagement clause — no negative online reviews, no unfavorable ratings, etc.—against a state resident. The feds are looking at a similar law.

Here’s a look at a Portland map of a century ago, mapping out locations of vice, sin and “sporting women.”

•Making your payoff scene count.

•Amazon’s Kindle Scout program will apparently give readers a chance to vote on which potential authors should be published. Jim Hines looks at the program and finds it underwhelming for other reasons.

•If you use a lot of data (and some of us do), a suit against AT&T over data-throttling “unlimited” plans may be good news. Though AT&T says it’s groundless.

•I’m also fascinated as a writer by unusual copyright and trademark cases such as the cronut. And here’s one where MGM threatens to sue a race recreating Rocky Balboa’s workout run (the issue being the use of the Rocky name, not the route)

•I can’t critique this book, as I haven’t read it, but it annoys me when someone suggests that a super-hero story where heroes aren’t perfect and some heroes are outcasts is a radical new idea.

•A couple of freelancer websites in competition.

Leave a comment

Filed under Politics, Writing

Let’s talk politics!

First off, here we have a handful of right-wingers who are attempting to milk Gamergate for whatever notoriety they can get out of it.

Echidne and Jill Filipovic look at claims that more American men are raped than women, based on the number of prison rapes. As the two posts point out, this takes a lot of statistical fudging, such as ignoring that “prisoners are raped” is not the same as “men are raped” (it happens to women too).

And I think it’s telling that the issue is not framed as prison rape but as men raped—i.e., men have it worse than women so stop all that blathering about rape. This is not a novel approach: men’s rights activist Warren Farrell devoted a chapter of one of his books to all the things that happen to men that are just as bad as getting raped (getting fired is like getting raped! Getting c-word teased is as traumatic as rape! [I have been fired and I have been teased—which I quite enjoyed—and I think Farrell's full of it]). The point is not to fix the problem of prison rape but just to shut feminists up.

•A National Review writer is unsurprisingly shocked that the issue is “are people who refuse blacks or Latinos service racist?” (not a direct quote) rather than “how can the government tell me who I can or cannot serve?” Except as LGM points out, the norm under English common law and later American was that anyone who offers food or a bed for the night couldn’t refuse a legitimate customer. So the idea of turning people away was an aberration.

•George Will asks why the Democrats think anyone might take away women’s right to use birth control when it’s been legal for decades. As Digby points out at the link, so has abortion—and he has plenty of Repub quotes to show they don’t like birth control much either.

•Government prosecutors not only seized the assets of one Las Vegas gambler, they did it under a secret court seal so there was no public record, and even the victim didn’t know anything about the case.

•The Convention Against Torture bans countries from using torture, even outside their borders. Obama may come out against that part as W did before him. And as detailed here, our government is already violating other provisions: not providing redress for torture victims, keeping information and names of torturers classified, refusing to cooperate with foreign investigations.

•Current federal law bans “disparate impact” in housing: if there’s a pattern where blacks or Latinos don’t get loans to buy homes in Town X, that’s illegal even if the people redlining don’t specifically admit to discrimination. A Supreme Court case may gut that rule.

•Remember how the Gremlins in the movie Gremlins turned evil? One South Carolina Republican says that’s what will happen with gay marriage.

•White people riot in New Hampshire, some throwing cans at cops. Some people notice the difference in the police response to Michael Brown.

•LGM looks at right-wing enthusiasm for suffering and how it builds character. Why don’t we have more Americans like the the cannibals of the Donner Party (yes, William Bennett did express great admiration for them, also for the suicidal military mess called the charge of the Light Brigade)? This post discusses other conservatives who think a happy, thriving economy and easy living are bad, bad, bad.

Leave a comment

Filed under Politics, Undead sexist cliches

New And column out

A look at the way some forced-birthers see miscarriages as equally suspicious to a woman standing over her child’s body with a gun. I mean, sure, she says she didn’t kill the child, but hmm …

Leave a comment

Filed under Nonfiction, Politics, Undead sexist cliches, Writing

Sex and Sexism Links

In South Carolina, one man shot and killed a teenager in the mistaken belief he was shooting at the female bullies who’d threatened his daughter. He got off using Stand Your Ground.  However when a woman stabs her abusive boyfriend in self-defense, state prosecutors object that this is a total distortion of the Stand Your Ground principle and shouldn’t be allowed.

•A long, detailed look at the aggrieved mindset and supposed issues behind Gamergate (which I’ve written about before), which the author sees as stemming from the same resentments that fuel the Tea Party. Echidne adds some thoughts.

•California law now requires colleges dealing with rape/harassment accusations to use a standard of affirmative consent—someone has to give assent, even if it’s non-verbal. This freaks a lot of people out, but Jessica Valenti says it’s not going to make relationships that complicated. LGM looks at some legal issues. That blog also tackles another debate over consent.

I will say, contrary to Valenti, that it’s quite possible to think someone’s into you and interested in making love (or making out or whatever) when they’re not. I wasn’t very good at reading sexual signals at all (I can think of a few times in college they flew right over my head) and I suspect I’m not alone. But there’s no way that would have justified me jumping someone because I was sure they wanted it. Double-checking, getting a clear go signal, I think these are good things.

1 Comment

Filed under Politics, Undead sexist cliches