Category Archives: Undead sexist cliches

Stoning women to death and other political links

A men’s rights rant argues that if feminists oppose a death penalty for female adulterers “see women as lifelong children: too weak, frail, stupid and mercurial to be trusted with adult responsibility when it comes to adhering to the strict requirements” of a proper marriage and unable to undertake “adult responsibilities.”

Quite aside from the implicit assumption that stoning to death is an appropriate penalty for women who cheat (yet not for men who cheat, because—the post is quite explicit—it’s more important to keep women faithful), the writer is completely wrong. Much of the Victorian concept of men and women having separate spheres was because women simply weren’t adults the way men were: they could handle domestic chores but nothing so coarse as politics or business. And a truly feminine woman never discussed that, she just gave light, fluffy babble to amuse the man.

Oh, the blogger does assert that we need more equal marriage, but to get that we have to restore economic inequality: if the man has all the money, then women will have to work harder to be sexy and keep the balance of power, so it’s a world of win for everybody!

•Corporations sponsoring the World Cup in Qatar (2022) are very, very concerned about human-rights violations and the treatment of workers building the stadiums … but not enough to do anything.

•According to GM, when you buy your car, you’re not really buying the software it runs on, which makes it very hard to deal with the hardware.

•Delta allegedly keeps small travel sites from tapping its data. Funny, corporations feel the perfect right to use our data when they want to …

•The Care.com website bans one member without saying why. But they reserve the right to tell other people.

•Local boys: A professor from Duke explains that Asian Americans are totally cool about acting white like a minority should, unlike those black people who refuse to assimilate and go around shooting each other all the time. And when he got criticized, OMG, thought police! Good discussion here.

•And more thought police—someone dared criticize a conservative!

•Subsidies to bring jobs to states or communities don’t work that well.

•Abortion bans around the Americas.

•The GOP’s core is dying off. But the party is still big on war.So is David Brooks who admits the Iraq War was mishandled but still wants intervention.

•Speaking of Iraq, a National Review writer explains it was all for the best—it got W a second term, so all the dead are a win-win!

Bryan Caplan, the libertarian who thinks women had more freedom in the 19th century than the 21st, also thinks the Shah of Iran was “strong on civil liberties.” Incorrect.

•Opening up the Arctic to oil drilling is a bad policy decision

•Some people like to tweet and drive. Or watch video and drive. What could go wrong? Which makes this post (and discussion in comments) quite pertinent.

•A painter in Iraq is facing prison for criticizing the regime.

•A congressman declines to explain why he pushed his wife and mistress to get abortions, but still supports an abortion ban.

•The FBI illegally spied on protestors fighting (peacefully) the Keystone pipeline. Sounds familiar.

•Once again Republicans show their devotion to state’s rights.

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Unlinked, unhonored and unsung: political linkage

What if Ayn Rand wrote the Baby Sitter’s Club?

•Verizon and Sprint will pay $158 million to settle charges they turned a blind eye to dubious third-party charges on phone bills because of related fees.

•I’ve mentioned Joseph Epstein before, as a believer we were better off in the days when white guys ran everything. His new theory: Obama and (if elected) Hilary Clinton are totally elected based on their minority status, whereas white guys ran for office entirely on merit.

Consumerist on the Salmonella risks of chicken and the ineffective regulations relating to it.

•Our old friend David Brooks is now whining that nobody’s having serious moral discussions. He’s wrong.

•Personally I find the idea of a computerized fitting room a little creepy.

•No, abortion is not easier to get in the US than in Europe.

•Google’s self-driving cars are already involved in accidents (though not necessarily the car’s fault).

•So much for supporting the troops: Texas right-wingers are worried new military exercises are setting up for a military takeover of the state.

•One peer review had a simple solution for improving a paper: have male co-authors to avoid “ideologically biased assumptions.”

•My current home state of North Carolina had its own religious-rights don’t-have-to-serve-gays bill that was even more generous to believers than any other that’s been passed around (they can disregard a law if it’s a “burden” rather than a “significant burden” for instance). It didn’t pass, but I’m curious how the pols who supported it would react when someone other than the religious right started exercising their freedom?

•One small victory: The NSA’s fondness for collecting bulk metadata about phone calls without any connection to national security is illegal.

•I was never under any illusion the culture wars were fading away any time soon. But if you were, Digby has the scoop.

•If you think your hospital being “in plan” for medical insurance means all your tests and treatments are in-plan—no, not always.

•Slacktivist once quipped that some conservatives are curdled with horror at the thought of food stamp recipients getting decent cheese. Unfortunately,  it’s impossible to parody right-wingers any more (more here).

•I’ve read plenty of assertions that if people would just be good and do whatever the police command, they’d be fine. Which is a)not true. People, particularly black Americans, have been shot or beaten while handcuffed, on the ground and generally not fighting back. Some white people on the other hand, can threaten and point guns at the cops and be fine. Digby has more. Me too.

•A reminder how blatant and ugly sexual harassment can get.

•A 10 year old in Paraguay has been raped, is now pregnant and can’t get an abortion. Because having a 10-year-old bear a child is healthier! Oh, and the mother, who reported that the stepfather was abusing the girl but got no response from authorities, is now jailed for not doing more to stop it.

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Political miscellanea

Mindy Kaling’s brother, Vijay Chokal-Ingam claims he was able to win admission to medical school by pretending to be black on his admissions forms, when the real him couldn’t make the cut. This article shows that it’s nonsense—among other things, Chokal-Ingam didn’t apply to the same schools as himself, so how does he know?

And of course, if it were possible to fake being a legacy admission and get admission that way, surely it would be just as un-meritocratic, but critics of affirmative action just skip over that bit.

•Tucker Carlson of the Daily Caller

has a brother, Buckley who’s charming message to a New York official is described here. Suffice to say, he implies she’s some kind of frigid bitch who has never engaged in certain sexual acts, which proves she’s worth of mockery.

Tucker Carlson says his brother meant it in “the nicest way.” I am … unconvinced. And he can’t imagine why anyone thinks this is worthy of fuss and ooh, his brother has been very hurt by the public response.

Cry me a river.

•Textbooks used in Texas schools must emphasize how the Bible and Moses are the foundations of American democracy.  Never mind facts when you can force religion on schoolkids.

•A conservative predicts how gay marriage and birth control (except the rhythm method which is totally different from all other birth control) will destroy America. Meanwhile, over in Iran, the religious authorities continue restricting access to birth control and abortion (as well as not meeting clothing rules and other mandates).

•As I’ve mentioned before, when men snap, some people are willing to blame women. Some men’s rights activists in fact think it makes perfect sense to take violent action against the oppressor feminists.

•Libertarians frequently invoke the danger of ridiculous customer lawsuits to justify tort reform. They rarely acknowledge that lawsuits and the threat of lawsuits can be just as bad in business-to-business courtroom action. Like the Italian pizza-making association threatening to sue McDonalds for a commercial implying kids prefer burgers to pizza. Or patent trolls who claim to have patented podcasting so everyone better pay up.

•A number of companies have adopted an on-call approach to retail work: workers don’t know until right before their shift whether they’re actually working or not (which makes a mess of both scheduling and budgeting). New York’s attorney general is looking into the legality.

•Equally nasty, Amazon makes warehouse workers sign non-compete agreements that ban them from working with any company that sells competing products for 18 months after they leave Amazon (as the article notes, what products don’t compete with Amazon). Non-compete agreements are supposed to protect against employees walking off with trade secrets; targeting warehouse workers feels more like a way to discourage them quitting grueling jobs that pay poorly for the work.

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The coming Republican race and other links

Digby catches a Washington Post article about high-powered Republican donors who were serious players in 2008 and 2012, but now they can’t get anyone to return their calls. Poor millionaires just can’t compete with billionaires who can dash off a seven-figure check without thinking about it. Which is actually scary, in a way, but damn, it’s also funny.

Given the scary part, I agree with another Digby post that it’s not entirely a bad thing religious conservatves are organizing to anoint its own chosen candidate, specifically positioning themselves in opposition to the Big Money (as Digby notes, this is an old, old conflict). Sure, anyone the religious right wants will be someone who makes me vomit, but they’re well within their rights to fight for the candidate of their dreams.

Case in point, Ted Cruz’ views utterly repel me. And they didn’t even include his proclamation that America needs 100 more Jesse Helms in the Senate (here’s some background on why that stinks). Although LGM links to some discussion that concludes Cruz doesn’t have enough support, even among the Republican base.

•Richard Cohen proclaims that liberal outrage over Ferguson is as absurd as Republican outrage over Benghazi. As noted at the link, Cohen’s views on race include that biracial families trigger a natural gag reflex and this in no way indicates bigotry.

•My own latest And article, on the topic of right-to-lifers who think rape is a beautiful way for God to give some lucky woman a baby.

•Roy Edroso often mocks right-bloggers (deservedly) for the fondness for proclaiming This Show/Music/Movie I Love Is Really Conservative!” Case in point, just because Arthur Miller wrote The Crucible about McCarthyism, if he were writing it today, he’d undoubtedly be attacking liberals! In point of fact he rewrote the play heavily for the 1990s movie adaptation and no, he didn’t suddenly become conservative.

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The sleep of reason

Despite all the insistence that the business world is a meritocracy, it ain’t. Hullabaloo links to a Guardian piece reporting that Wall Street bonuses have gone up the second years straight, while profits have continued to sink. Because they have to retain valued employees, dammit (the Guardian piece points out that’s not so). One might think the employees can’t be so great if profits are down, but the standard explanation for that (in the past, the Guardian doesn’t offer this as a quote) is “well, it’s been a rough year, they did the best they could.” Which somehow never applies when the years are flush, then the employees are super-geniuses.

The article says 40 to 50 percent of revenue raised by the Wall Street firms goes out in bonuses.

•Yet another Republican says rape can create a beautiful child. He’s not unique.

•The true leader of America and the free world? According to some conservatives, it’s the leader of Israel. So much for all that stuff about how Obama defers to much to foreign leaders … just kidding, that’s totally different.

•The federal investigation concludes Darren Wilson was indeed acting in self-defense when he shot Michael Brown (which doesn’t justify portraying Brown as a thug in the media because he liked rap). However it also finds massive problems and racism in the PD in general. Bill O’Reilly agrees the force was targeting black citizens. More here.

•Another police department claims medical-privacy laws prevent it saying anything about a man who died in custody.

•The White House has cracked down hard on leakers. Except when they’re someone important, of course.

•Michael Schiavo on the nightmare of trying to disconnect his wife from her life support (with court approval) when Jeb Bush didn’t want him to.

•Big business’s power to arbitrate our complaints is gutting the right to sue them.

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As twilight falls, I link politically

It’s common for the religious right to refer to evolutionary theory as “Darwinism,” implying it’s just some kind of cultish belief (it has “ism” on the end, just like Muhammedanism!). Jonah Goldberg not only uses the word, he accuses liberals of using evolution to “other” religious true believers. In other words conservatives are the real victims, as always.

•Lenovo laptops come with a pre-installed adware program that’s also a big security hole.

•A judge has ruled that American Express merchant agreements that prevent retailers from favoring cards with lower merchant fees violate antitrust law.

•Samantha Fields posts about consent, kink and boundaries for people who haven’t had much training or experience in them.

•The airline industry claims we love having fees for things like checking bags instead of one bulk price because that way we can carry onboard and save money. Consumerist disagrees.

•Echidne of the Snakes on sexist jokes.

•Despite the conviction of some conservatives that Obama not doing everything Israel wants from the US is some kind of abomination, Reagan was willing to disagree with the Israelis, vehemently. Although Franklin Graham still thinks the White House has been infiltrated by Muslims—why, they might have access to the president.

•No, the Republicans are not going to fix Obamacare if the Supreme Court kills it.

Another non-Muslim terrorist plot.

•Even though we’re dropping bombs on ISIS, some conservatives insist we haven’t taken military action.

•Yesterday I linked to David Brooks’ column on how we need to teach the poor better morals. Of course he doesn’t seem to think big banks that file inaccurate documents (leading to a $50 million settlement) indicates an ethical flaw. Nor the ethics of gutting workers comp. Or preventing cities from requiring businesses offer sick leave. Echidne also dissects Brooks’ theories.

•A right-wing blogger insists Todd Akin was right that rape can’t get women pregnant. After citing one theory that only a few hundred rape victims get pregnant (rather than the thousands in some estimates), said blogger asserts that nobody knows the true number but obviously the smaller one is right. How does he know this if the true number is unknown? Don’t ask.

And while the implication, I think, is that with so few rape victims, it’s not a big deal, doesn’t that cut both ways? Wouldn’t that also mean that a few abortions would be no big deal? I’m sure if asked the writer would say no. It’s the same logic by which the deaths of 9/11 were an unimaginable tragedy, but the deaths of even more soldiers in the Iraq war were nothing (“That’s less people than die in traffic accidents every year!”).

•A really detailed analysis by Echidne of ISIS’ views on women. And part two on the group’s views of sexual slavery and rape.

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Still whirling

So I’ve spent the past week visiting friends back in Ft. Walton Beach where I used to live. Now I’m home in the frigid, snow-covered wasteland we call Durham. Even so, I’m glad to be back, but I’m not focused enough to post about my trip yet. So, some political links!

The FCC authorizes a couple of cities to launch their own broadband network despite state laws against it (and complaints from dissenting commissioners that this destroys capitalism!). It’s a ruling of limited effect, though, as other cities covered by the laws will have to petition the FCC for permission. Still, better than the alternative.

•The FCC has also signed off on net neutrality, though there are some questions about what the final rule will look like. Consumerist looks at the fallout.
•Morgan Stanley has settled a Justice Department investigation into whether the bank sold securities backed by unsound mortgages. A number of right-wingers have insisted that the fault lies in the federal government forcing banks to issue mortgages to poor non-white people who can’t afford to pay them off. But shit like securitizing the mortgages clearly has nothing to do with anything but banks’ yen for profit.

•Yet another right-winger mansplains how feminism is all about sex, and that’s bad. Oh, and also pathetic. Plus every woman who complains about sexism in videogames is fat.

•Privacy rights advocates call for an investigation into Samsung’s smart TVs and their voice recognition technology.

•Cereal sales are generally down, and Kellogg in particularly has lost its luster. Though I’ve seen enough companies written off, then recover, not to count Battle Creek out yet.

•Go, Denver! The article describes students walking out of school in protest of proposed new standards that would focus history classes on such topics as ““promote citizenship, patriotism, essentials and benefits of the free-market system, respect for authority and respect for individual rights” (OK, the last one sounds fine). No wonder one Fox news host thinks we should have no public schools at all.

•A Nevada lawmaker explains cancer is a fungus so kill it with fungicide and flush it out of your body!

•Idaho State Rep. Christie Perry says parents should have the right to take their children to faith healers and deny them conventional medical treatment. And if it’s a choice of conventional treatment or death, well, everyone dies eventually so what does it matter? And forcing parents to save their kids is an attack on Christianity. Unless they’re fetuses, apparently, because Perry is also pro-life, er at least that’s how she defines herself. If I were cynical I’d suggest it’s less any standard related to life and more to “what do right-wing Christians think parents should be allowed to do.”

•Meanwhile, Wisconsin state senator Glenn Grothman wants a bill that identifies unmarried parenthood as a cause of child abuse.

•So if a job applicant wears a hijab or a turban (for example) but doesn’t specify it’s for religious reasons, can the company reject them for violating the dress code? The Supreme Court discusses.

•Slacktivist once again discusses the problem of assuming that hardliners in a religion represent the purest, truest manifestation of the faith (links to early discussions in the post).

•Chicago police have maintained a black site where they can interrogate prisoners without reporting the arrest, notifying anyone or letting the prisoner contact a lawyer.

•Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker asserts that as he can stare down protesters opposed to his policies, he’d be the kind of commander-in-chief who could take down ISIS.

•The NCAA’s no-compensation rules for college athletes impose a burden other students don’t have (a music student can sell records or perform for pay, forinstance).

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