kutsuwamushi: (Default)
I hate to be the bearer of late and redundant news, but this is too smile-making to assume you've all seen it already:

PROP 8: UNCONSTITUTIONAL ... for now

We haven't won the war, but winning a battle feels nice, doesn't it? Here is the Metafilter thread on this, which has the most informative discussion about the decision that I've seen yet. It was posted earlier today, before the decision was announced.

New York Times article with a briefer summary of what this probably means.

The Big Picture takes on same-sex marriage. Some beautiful pictures. Ignore the comments.

More links that I've been collecting over the past few weeks days:

Cordoba House, a Muslim community center whose founders' values include rejection of religious extremism, has come under attack; right-wing pundits and politicians are using it in a cynical attempt to capitalize on anti-Muslim sentiment, turning it into the "ground zero mosque." There are so many ways to respond to this: It's not a mosque and not even visible from the site; Muslims are not our enemies and in fact suffered and died on 9/11 as well; there is already a mosque as close to ground zero. Mayor Michael Bloomberg has responded to the outrage in a speech defending freedom of religion.

Those scanners that the TSA promised can't store the "nude" pictures they take of you? Actually, the U.S. Marshals now admit to saving tens of thousands of those pictures.

In 2004 then 19 year old Sara Reedy was raped at gunpoint. Six months later, she was jailed for false complaint. Today, a federal appeals court reinstated her lawsuit against the police detective who orchestrated her arrest. (Another MeFi link)

Probably everyone has already seen this, but here is Rachel Maddow's wonderful take on the difference between a democracy and a constitutional democracy: we don't get to vote on rights.

Iroquois Lacrosse Team was not able to compete in world championship because the British government did not accept their passports.

North Korean football team shamed in six-hour public inquiry over World Cup. The team's coach has apparently been forced to go into construction work.

A motorcyclist has been charged with wiretapping and faces up to sixteen years in jail for videotaping a police stop in which a plainclothes police officer approached him with his gun drawn and yelling.

Big cats on catnip
kutsuwamushi: (feminism)
Via Sociological Images, New Beetle Gets a Sex Change:
New Beetle is about to get a testosterone injection. A mean-looking chopped top, 200 H.P. motor, widened stance, and a larger interior will transform the quintessential chick car into a rock-hard rock star.
...

Okay, I'm not a particular fan of the New Beetle, but this irks me, because it's a prime example of how companies panic when they find out that their product has become "girly." It happens to television shows and now, to cars.

And I suspect it will backfire.

The thing is, people really are truly gosh-darn sexist, and it's not easy to get rid of the stigma of being "girly." If you're a guy who cares about such things, you don't want to be the one at the party who says, "Mine's the blue Beetle--but it's the new one, not the old girly one, stop looking at me like that oh god I can see my penis shriveling before your eyes."

The people who might have bought the Beetle because it's cute, nostalgic, and different, no longer have the same reason to, because they've gone and made it look like a not particularly handsome hatchback. They've brought it straight into "Why don't I just buy a Mini Cooper?" territory. Or, even worse, "Why don't I buy a Golf?"

Upgrading the engine is a good idea, though. Buy a Mini Cooper is precisely what my mom did. She loves the looks of the "girly" New Beetle, but she likes fast things. Shove that up your stereotypes.

Via [personal profile] telophase, The Great Escape From Slavery: an article about a married couple who escaped from slavery by the wife posing as a white man, and her husband posing as her slave.
kutsuwamushi: (Default)
It's hard to imagine the mindset of law enforcement that would do this:
Tabitha has been working as a prostitute in New Orleans since she was 13. Now 30 years old, she can often be found working on a corner just outside of the French Quarter. [...] New Orleans city police and the district attorney’s office are using a state law written for child molesters to charge hundreds of sex workers like Tabitha as sex offenders.
The only way I can wrap my head around it is to imagine them as full of contempt for sex workers; they think they're so low that they don't deserve fairness or empathy. They deserve to be treated like child molesters, even though many of them started sex work while children themselves.

If I adopt that view, then it makes sense that the majority of people convicted under this law are non-white, poor women. The person with the most privilege in the exchange--the john--escapes without charges.

Ignoring the fact that this is wrong, it doesn't even make sense from a practical standpoint: This will only make it harder for prostitutes to find housing and work, further narrowing their already narrow opportunities and trapping them in the sex work that law enforcement supposedly wants to stop.
kutsuwamushi: (Default)
I haven't said anything about the Caster Semenya "controversy," because I felt like it's private, and I didn't want to add to the tempest. But that was naive, because people are

And, after reading tonight that Caster Semenya is in trauma counseling due to recent events, I was overwhelmed with the desire to say this:

To everyone who has denigrated Caster Semenya because she does not conform to your gender expectations - fuck you.

To late night comedians making jokes about hermaphrodites - fuck you.

To the people who decided that her private business was everyone's business - fuck you with a bargepole.

Caster Semenya is a woman regardless of the results of her sex test. All of you bigoted dimwits need to shut your fucking mouths, put away your fucking keyboards, and let her deal with this in private, without the worldwide humiliate-the-freak carnival you're gleefully participating in. It doesn't matter whether she has "unfair" advantages over other women; that could have been dealt with quietly.

Caster Semenya is a woman. More importantly, she's a human being who deserves to be treated with basic dignity.

You, however, are acting worse than animals. Try exercising that basic human trait, empathy, and imagine yourself on the world stage, being mocked and derided because it was revealed against your wishes that you are different in a very private way. Imagine having to assimilate this new information about yourself in that environment. You're not a freak, but how hard is it to believe that when the entire world is treating you otherwise?

FUCK ALL OF YOU. SHE'S EIGHTEEN YEARS OLD.

I hope enough people raise their voices in support of Caster Semenya that she can hear us.
kutsuwamushi: (Default)
Via Feministe:
Dr. George Tiller was shot dead as he was walking into his Sunday morning church services.

Dr. Tiller was one of the few late-term abortion providers in the country. He had previously been shot, his clinic burnt down, harassed by ideological anti-abortion attorney generals, and threatened with death countless times.
There is no suspect in custody, although the Wichita police have a basic description of the man and (hopefully) his license plate number.

I probably don't have to mention that late-term abortions are almost never a woman's first choice; they happen because of medical necessity. This man has not only murdered Dr. Tiller, but he has attacked the lives of women who need his services.

Pandagon
Metafilter
Jezebel

Update: Apparently the suspect is in custody now.
kutsuwamushi: (Default)
I'm currently reading the first book in the Dresden Files series by Jim Butcher. Most of what I've heard about it is the same: It's good paranormal-detective fun, but the first book is pretty bad. It gets better as the series progresses.

I don't mind the prose. It's not good, but it's not obtrusively bad either; it sort of fades into the background most of the time and only jumps out to go "BLARRRHGH" at you when there is a clumsy info-dump. I'm not far enough along to really judge the plot.

What does stand out is the sexism.

Harry Dresden, the protagonist, is a self-proclaimed "old fashioned" man. For example, he holds doors open for women--not something I would blame him for, but he continues to do it even after they tell him that they don't appreciate it.

In his own words, "men ought to treat women like something other than just shorter, weaker men with breasts." Women should be treated differently, regardless of their feelings on the matter. And this is portrayed as if it makes Dresden more noble.

I'm alright with flawed protagonists--in fact, I love them, but when it seems like those flaws are reflections of the author's prejudices, I'm uncomfortable. I don't like it when an author's racism, sexism, or other -ism is showing. I could accept that this was Harry Dresden's problem, not Jim Butcher's, if not for how sexism suffuses the portrayal of women in the book, which can't always be explained away as being due to Dresden's point of view.

And then it gets worse. )

So, Harry Dresden's old-fashioned values:

Women should be treated differently than men regardless of their opinions about it. Women are more hateful than men, and more subtle than men. It's unexpected if an attractive one has a traditionally male job. They love romance novels land chocolate, and what they're looking for in a man is money. Using a mind-altering substance to get a woman to fall in love with (read: sleep with) is bad because it makes you look desperate.
kutsuwamushi: (Default)
I'm sure that most of the people who read my journal remember the outrage over Wasilla charging rape victims for their rape kits under Sarah Palin's watch. Well, that wasn't an isolated incident -- and it's still happening across the United States.

VAWA funds are contigent on discontinuing the loathsome and deeply discriminatory practice, but the regulations aren't being enforced.

Texas Charging Rape Victims for Rape Kits
The State of Texas is currently demanding that rape victims pay for their own rape kits—and if they don't, they face ruined credit and debt collectors. An average rape kit can cost up to $1800.
Link is to the Jezebel post, since it contains a good collection of links if you want to read more.

And on a completely unrelated note:

I have an external drive that I use to keep large files like videos. It's 500GB, and currently has about 250GB on it -- in other words, it's not full.

I'm having recurring problems copying files over to it. I get an error message that says that the file can't be read or written. It's not the files. They're from various sources and in various formats and they'll copy to the hard drive fine.

It was used with a Windows machine before (I'm now on a Mac) and so I tried reformatting it, but as soon as I had gotten about 200GB worth of files back on it, it started acting up again. It's gotten worse as it's gotten more full--it was just every once in a while a file wouldn't copy before, but now most won't copy.

Does anyone have any idea what to try next?

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August 2012

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