Category Archives: Politics

Comcast wreaks vengeance, allegedly

Consumerist reports the story of an accountant who tried getting Comcast to remove some bogus charges from his bill (according to the accountant anyway). Comcast called his accounting-firm employer and said he’d tried leveraging his status with them (they consult with Comcast) to pressure the company. The firm fired the accountant. Neither the firm (Price Waterhouse Coopers) nor Comcast have detailed exactly what the accountant said to pressure Comcast; the man says he never mentioned his employer (the firm doesn’t audit Comcast’s books). Comcast says it never asked for him to be fired, though as Consumerist points out, it’s hard to imagine Comcast didn’t want to get the guy in some sort of trouble.

•Not for the first time, a conservative compares court decisions legalizing gay marriage to slavery. (so the Supreme Court not reviewing lower-court decisions is bad) As LGM points out at the link, Matthew Franck’s argument is full of holes. And as I’ve pointed out before, process arguments from anti-gay conservatives are never in good faith. When judges authorize gay marriage, they protest that it overrides the will of the people. When legislatures approve gay marriage, they demand a popular vote. When the popular vote goes against them, they scream about how any approval of gay marriage takes away their rights. It’s not the process, it’s the marriage.

•What’s Uber’s legal responsibility if a driver goes nuts and attacks passengers?

No, taking pictures of yourself naked does not mean it’s okay for someone to steal them and show them publicly.

•Adobe ebook software used by libraries tracks your ebook reading and stores data (which books, how far did you get) on the servers. As Consumerist reports at the link, this violates the level of privacy libraries normally provide. And yes, I do think privacy matters. Nobody normally needs to know you’re reading about how to leave an abusive relationship, how to cope with problem drinking or even how white people are god’s chosen.

•AT&T is refunding $105 million to customers who got screwed by the telecom’s habit of putting unauthorized third-party charges on phone bills (profitable for AT&T, expensive for customers).

•US history, like reality, has a liberal slant.

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Game Changer

The Supreme Court’s decision not to review several cases striking down gay marriage bans makes gay weddings legal in five states (and will eventually affect several more, including North Carolina). Scott Lemieux argues it’s a very good outcome, as there’s no guarantee which way the court would have ruled.

Yes, I think Amazon workers should be paid while they’re standing in line for security checks.

•I’ve blogged about it before, but some male atheists are as sexist as any patriarchal right-wing Christian

•Norway decided not to bid on the Winter Olympics. Among the International Olympic Committee’s requirements for a bid were that Norway create separate lanes on any roads the IOC would use and keep all other drivers out of them.

•In 2012, Floridian Michael Dunn shot a teenager he said threatened to shoot him after Dunn complained about the rap music in the teen’s car. Dunn claimed self-defense and got a hung jury. Now he’s been retried and found guilty. In case you’re wondering, no other witnesses saw a gun and no gun was ever found.

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Hatred and other links

Not as much bicycling as usual due to schedule conflicts, but it was a beautiful ride in the cooling fall weather. First time I’ve had to wear my long pants to ride in a while.
But still it wiped me out, so nothing terribly deep.
The most striking blog post I read today was this one on Hullabaloo, showing former Executive Director of the Republican Party Todd Kincannon once again tweeting his heart out. Previously he’s discussed how Trayvon Martin would have grown up to be a drug whore (and deserved to be put down like a mad dog), and how a US soldier turned anti-war activist should have come home in a body-bag. His new assertion is that we need to wage war on Muslims “the way our forefathers did to the savages that infested America … A civilized people must never be afraid to charge through the savages and shoot all the males over the age of 12.” So much the same view as right-wing Christian Gary Kass, plus the added bigotry against Native Americans. Which doesn’t emerge as often in politics these days but it’s there (as witness Repub Pat Rogers two years ago saying for Arizona’s governor to meet with native tribes insulted and dishonored General Custer).
•A really grim article from Buzzfeed on how women who don’t stop their partners abusing their kids are sentenced to jail. Sometimes for as long as the abuser. Sometimes longer. Sometimes even though they were abused too, or tried calling police on their partner multiple times. And no, male spouses of abusive mothers are not held to the same standard. (Hat tip to Echidne).
•A look at how the story of the heroic marine who stands up to his atheist professor has developed on the Internet.
•Israel supporters often equate any criticism of Israel to anti-semitism. But here we have an open anti-semite (he’d love to see his neighbor sell his place, But Not to JEWS!!!) who explains no, he’s just anti-zionist.

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Some assorted links, because I’m too beat for thought

In El Salvador, all abortion is banned. Even if the fetus can’t be born alive. Even if it’s a nine-year-old. One 18 year old spent four years in prison because police found her miscarriage suspicious (it would have been thirty if she hadn’t had support).
•Jim Hines dissects one guy’s solution to “taking the power back” from men who cat-call women: Ask the guy for his number!
•California bans non-reusable plastic bags.
•In Louisiana, the state pays for the cost of rape kits at the E/R, but the hospital often charges victims for the visit, any drugs they get … While in another state, the victim has to pay for a drug test (if she thinks she was roofied) unless the prosecutor agrees the expense is justified.
•Transferring money from families to relatives in prison is very profitable for the companies that do it.
•Ms discusses “benevolent sexism, a kind of reworked version of putting your wife on a pedestal.
•If you think the GOP is conservative now, it’s going to get worse after the election.
•Lena Dunham had a wonderful idea for her upcoming tour: hire people to work as her upcoming acts and not pay them.
•In the wake of the recent beheading by that Muslim guy in Oklahoma, the right wing freaks out (surprise!).
•A North Carolina teacher explains that the public school system’s attack on Christianity is like the Holocaust.
•The FBI objects to the very possibility smart phones might become so secure the FBI can’t just access them.

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And of course, there’s sexism (because when isn’t there?)

Back in the 1990s, Camille Paglia’s supposedly edgy, outside-the-box cultural criticism gave her a reputation as a deep thinker (I read one of her books. She’s not). And the fact she bashes feminists at every opportunity doesn’t hurt, I suspect. Of course, a lot of her bashing was how feminists are all uptight prudes who hate het sex. Now the no-I’m-really-sex-positive Paglia has joined Rod Dreher and George Will in explaining that all these campus assaults are just “oafish hookup melodramas” and girls don’t realize dressing slutty gets you raped (“They assume that bared flesh and sexy clothes are just a fashion statement containing no messages that might be misread and twisted by a psychotic.

•Cathy Young of Reason magazine has apparently found a steady gig at Time. One column argues that Hope Solo, the soccer star who allegedly assaulted her husband is benefiting from a double standard—she’s still playing where Ray Rice got canned. Except, of course, Rice was caught on video, where the charges against Solo haven’t been proven. If they are, yeah, drop her.

Young also oddly acknowledges that Emma Watson’s recent speech mentioned that gender stereotyping discriminates against men—“I’ve seen my father’s role as a parent being valued less by society, despite my need of his presence as a child as much as my mother’s.” And then goes on to complain that men are discriminated against as parent and therefore feminists like Watson are wrong. And here’s more right-wing reaction to Watson’s speech.

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Lets link about telecommunications!

Scam artists have a variety of ways to charge you for services or text messaging you never asked for. Telecoms insist the practices victimizes them even though they take the money.

•The number of IP addresses and web users is overloading the routers that manage web traffic.

•Even in towns where they don’t offer Internet service, ISPs don’t want competition from public networks. AT&T says if there’s any chance a service provider might want to move in someday, municipal broadband should be illegal. The FCC, however, admits there’s not enough competition and no incentive to speed up broadband rates. And when there is competition, wow, service suddenly improves.

•Of course, Comcast argues the FCC should approve its proposed Time Warner merger because as there’s no competition in most areas, most consumers won’t find a Comcast-ruled world any less competitive.

•ISPs also aren’t happy with the FCC proposing “broadband” should be redefined to a higher speed level. And AT&T and Verizon think data caps on home broadband use are perfectly reasonable, if not downright good for Internet users. But despite AT&T’s claims it needs caps to ease Internet congestion, it’s willing to offer much more data to new cell-phone subscribers.

•Some people who use the Tor super-secure browser claim Comcast threatened to kill their Internet service on the grounds they must be doing something dirty. Comcast denies it.

•Do you know what’s really in that WiFi hotspot terms-of-use page?

•Netflix asks why ISPs should charge Netflix for streaming to people’s homes (Netflix has paid several companies that seem to be bottlenecking the service) instead of paying Netflix (“[W]e’ll pay 10% of your network costs if we get 10% of broadband revenue. Or we’ll pay 10% of your network costs if you want to pay 10% of our content costs.”)

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Sexists behaving badly (as usual)

Emma Watson makes a speech saying that gender stereotyping hurts men two, so both sexes should work to end it. So some 4chan users vow to release nude pictures of her online, to teach the Evil Feminist Bitch a lesson. And no, allowing nude photos of yourself does not mean you asked for it. (Update: It’s a hoax put on by some anti-4chan group).
•The Boston Globe provides a quick guide to the events that had gamers freaking out and making rape threats this summer.
•Missouri now requires a 72-hour waiting period before abortion because—well, because they don’t want women getting one. And a Missouri politician is arguing that if Hobby Lobby can deny employees birth-control coverage, then his daughters (two of them adult) shouldn’t be able to get birth control from his insurer.
•Rush Limbaugh’s take on the recent NFL spousal abuse case: Maybe the wife thought being married to a rich and famous guy was worth being hit. A lot of other right-wingers are busy explaining how it’s all liberals’ fault.
•Men are more likely to get flextime requests than women.
•A recent article argues that men actually get harassed more online than women. Echidne takes a closer look.
•A miscarried fetus is found in a school bathroom. Police investigate because dammit, you can’t have girls miscarrying those precious babies! In Iowa, a woman falls down the stairs, then gets charged with feticide because she admitted she was uncomfortable about having the baby, so maybe it wasn’t an accidental fall, eh? Apparently the charges were only dropped because she was in her second trimester, so even if it was intentional she wasn’t a criminal under Iowa law. I’ve covered this topic before.
•In the same vein, a woman faces 18 months in jail because she bought her daughter an abortion drug.
•Here’s an oldie: Marriage counseling columns from the pre-feminist days when everything was the wife’s fault including loneliness and abuse. Which is an era I’ve blogged about here. On the plus side, domestic violence has declined since that era.
•A Brazilian woman goes to a skeevy illegal clinic to get an abortion. It appears she died and the doctor burned the body.
Now an upbeat ending:
•California makes affirmative consent a standard in campus sexual assault: people need to have “affirmative, conscious, and voluntary agreement to engage in sexual activity,” though it can be nonverbal.

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