Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Slow News Month

As you may have noticed (and I mentioned in “Silver Lining“), it’s become difficult to fill my news columns due to the pandemic; nobody’s talking about anything else (even though there are definitely other things to talk about), so there just aren’t enough stories to feature (because I have even less interest in writing a column about stupid epidemic memes than you have in reading one).  So for the time being, I’m rationing news items to seven per news column (instead of the usual nine to thirteen) until I start noticing the number of fresh items has increased again.  This also means I have fewer things to write full columns about, so you’ve probably noticed that most of them touch on the pandemic as well.  Since I’m not going to let some stupid collection of RNA that isn’t even actually alive (and its attendant hysteria) break a decade-long perfect record, you can be sure I’ll keep posting something every day (and look for The Essential Maggie McNeill, Volume II on Monday).  But until things get back to relatively normal, a lot of them may be meager pickings like this one.

I’ve received some criticism from people who seem incensed by the fact that I’m not freaking out about the pandemic, and even criticizing the actions of politicians who are far more motivated by winning votes and casting themselves in contrast to the “Disease? What disease?” Orange-utan than by any sincere concern for human life.  Some of that is simply because I’m battle-hardened enough not to freak out even when I’m being violently assaulted, and part of it is due to decades of study of mass psychology.  See, specimens of homo sapiens are always afraid of things they can’t see (“sex trafficking is hidden in plain sight!” “Fifth column!” “They look just like us!” “Zombies!”) and it doesn’t get much more invisible than viruses.  It triggers a very deep and irrational response in the amygdala, which manifests in panic buying, overreaction, innumeracy, etc.  So while I don’t judge anyone for being scared (because it’s natural and understandable), I also discount things that are clearly panic in preparing my own mental model of what’s going on.  And I’m very frustrated with those who fly up in my face for responding calmly & pragmatically to a situation instead of blindly panicking.  It reminds me very much of my 20s, when I used to get called “cold” or even “inhuman” for not being a fucking drama queen about everything.  So please do not approach me in that manner; I didn’t tolerate it three decades ago, and I’m a lot more ornery now than I was then.

People who haven’t had an online presence aren’t gonna make money right away.  –  Arabelle Raphael

Welcome To Our World

I hope you amateurs enjoy being hunted like animals by armed thugs:

[Cops are gleefully using violence to force peaceful] people [to] comply with the shelter in place orders across North Texas…[Pigs] have [been granted imaginary] authority to [harass] people to make sure they are…workers [the state has declared “essential”] and not [free citizens] out and about…“We did hear some complaints…of people being stopped going to work.  Let me be clear, [fuck you and we’ll keep doing it]” [oinked a pig] of the DeSoto [cop shop.  In addition, cops]…across the region are trying to…fill up the jails with people committing nonviolent or misdemeanor crimes [just as usual.  In fact, prosecutors]…will enhance crimes co[ps accuse people of] during this period [which means]…more jail time and higher fines…

But hey, I’m sure y’all won’t mind because politicians have declared that giving violent thugs permission to harass you just for existing, and robbing you of money you can’t afford to lose, is “for your own good”.

Maggie in the Media

I appeared last week on the All In A Day’s (Sex) Work podcast, speaking on (among other topics) how sex workers have often been blamed for epidemics.  Despite the grim topic, I think you’ll enjoy listening.

Property of the State 

The power to declare something “non-essential” is the power to ban it:

The Texas Attorney General’s office…ordered all clinics that provide abortion to immediately stop providing the procedure in order to comply with the state’s temporary suspension of surgeries that are not deemed “medically necessary” [by politicians]…Those in violation will face “penalties of up to $1,000 or 180 days of jail time”…

The Cult of Coupling

Too much “togetherness”, y’all?

Divorce filings are skyrocketing from quarantine-weary and financially stressed couples…matrimonial attorneys…are experiencing a 50 percent rise in inquiries from potential clients…[some] Manhattan family-law experts…[say] couples forced to spend time together while quarantined…haven’t fared well…[and] dramatic sways in the financial markets will further spur a wave of wealthy divorces, because richer spouses may decide they want out while their net worth dips…

Top Cop (#995)

This psychopath is still far too close to power for comfort:

Joe Biden is in the process of narrowing down his list of potential running mates, and his allies in the business community are weighing in with their favorite choices.  Since Biden announced earlier this month that he plans to pick a woman as his nominee for vice president, leaders of…industries have been reaching out to him and his presidential campaign about whom they think should join him on the ticket…The names being floated and pushed to Biden by this group include Sens. Kamala Harris and Amy Klobuchar…

Social Distancing

As always, sex workers take care of our own:

…workers…and…professionals whose livelihoods are tied to in-person meetings…are currently suffering from coronavirus-related job cuts….37 million jobs are vulnerable to layoffs due to social distancing measures…one group facing particularly acute challenges are sex workers, whose work is often illegal…or not covered by unemployment laws…many come from marginalized communities and have trouble accessing other forms of employment…the advocacy organization Bay Area Workers Support (BAWS)…launched a microgrant program that gives out payments of $50–$200 to sex workers in need…Similar efforts are taking place across the country: the Sex Worker Outreach Project…is organizing mutual aid fundraisers for sex workers in places like Los AngelesAustin and New York, and sex workers in Las Vegas have been fundraising via crowdfunding platforms such as GoFundMe …Taking their work online through photos, videos, phone sex and videoconferencing is one way sex workers have [adapted]…But changing how one does business is not as easy as starting an account…

The Pro-Rape Coalition (#1023)

“Sponsored content” means content a paper was paid to publish; it’s an ad, not journalism:

Over the past few months, several articles and editorials with a distinct War On Porn propaganda slant have been appearing under the banner of The Guardian, the influential transatlantic news organization…These articles look almost exactly like the rest of The Guardian online content, with the same font, design, artwork, layout and out-links to other stories…Recent articles…[gave] a platform to…Exodus Cry founder Laila Mickelwait…the “Exploitation in Focus” series is “supported, in part, through a grant…[from] Humanity United, a U.S.-based [prohibitionist] foundation…with [a] very vague name…and mission…[which] respond[s] to a billionaire p[rohibition]ist couple…who were embroiled in a labor human trafficking scandal of their own around the time they founded Humanity United…

Diary #509

Jae finished staining my bookcases on Thursday, and said they’d be dry enough for books on Saturday.  So about 11:30 Saturday morning I started shifting my books from where they were stored in three cupboards, and by the time I stopped for dinner at 6:30 I had them all divided into 25 groups by author name (or title if there was no clear author).  The reason it took so long was that at the same time, I was also shifting Chekov’s books from the boxes in my hall into the now-vacant cupboards, where they’ll remain until we get his cottage built this summer (he ordered a kit Saturday).  Soon after dinner I started alphabetizing the shelves, and got done about 1:30 AM; then on Sunday morning I shifted them to basically even out the shelves, as you can see below (the bottom shelves, for oversize books, are not visible in this picture).  In the initial process it became pretty clear that I wouldn’t need the shorter shelves at the top of each case, so I left them empty and moved my CD collection to them on Sunday evening after spending the afternoon rearranging the utility room shelves to make better use of the space and thereby clear the rest of the boxes out the hall.  Then yesterday, we started building shelving for my TV series DVDs, and later in the week we’ll be doing another unit for movies.  That will free up the area where they now live to build a bar, which will get the liquor and glasses off of my kitchen counters.  Oh, and I’m also working on getting the clutter out of the garage.  It’s rather like one of those number puzzles where you need to slide the numbered tiles around to get them into numerical order, but I’m getting closer and closer to a solution.  I don’t particularly like everything being closed and everybody panicking, but at least I’m using the downtime constructively!

Back Issue #81

Are you blind or just stupid?  –  “Deadbeats

Links #508

Somewhere in the darkness, the gambler he broke even.  –  Kenny Rogers

Country music legend Kenny Rogers died late last week after a long, successful career which started as a doo-wop singer in the late ’50s; this was his most famous song, but he was known for many which told the stories of hard-luck characters (such as “Lucille” and “The Coward of the County”), plus his duets with Dolly Parton.  The links above were provided by Dave Krueger, Brooke Magnanti, Zuri Davis, Mistress Matisse, Phoenix Calida, and Furrygirl, in that order.

From the Archives

We should be very careful about granting new powers to the government.  –  Norman L. Reimer

844,739

Waffle House is so reliably open, FEMA uses them as a measure of disaster severity:

Waffle House has now closed 365 locations across the U.S. due to the coronavirus pandemic…In a Facebook post on March 15th, Waffle House said that they were attempting to keep their customers safe and keep nearly 45,000 employees employed.

Like Houses

And guess who gets to declare that an “emergency” exists?

The Trump Department of Justice has asked Congress to craft legislation allowing chief judges to indefinitely hold people without trial and suspend other constitutionally-protected rights during coronavirus and other emergencies…While the asks…will likely not come to fruition with a Democratically-controlled House of Representatives [until a future Democratic presdent asks for the same exact thing], they demonstrate how much th[e] White House has a frightening disregard for rights enumerated in the Constitution.  The DOJ [wants to]…allow any chief judge of a district court to pause court proceedings “whenever the district court is fully or partially closed by virtue of any natural disaster, civil disobedience, or other emergency situation”…Norman L. Reimer…of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, [said]…“you could be arrested and never brought before a judge until they decide that the emergency or the civil disobedience is over.  I find it absolutely terrifying”…

The Puritan Recrudescence (#892)

Hollywood actors really need to stop pretending expertise in sexology:

British actor Orlando Bloom…recently disclosed that he practiced celibacy for six months prior to dating pop-singer Katy Perry (now his fiancee) and further disclosed [his adherence to the bizarre but increasingly-popular puritancal belief] that pornography is very “destructive”.  Bloom’s comments were praised by [pro-censorship fringe group Morality in Media]…

Torture Chamber (#1010)

“Give me your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, so I can torture them until they kill themselves”:

A 27-year-old Honduran man [killed himself in a cage after being locked in it by]…Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Texas…The death is the ninth in ICE custody in the 2020 fiscal year, which began Oct. 1, and surpasses the number of deaths for the entire 2019 fiscal year when eight people died…The man had requested asylum [with his]…family…at a port of entry in Texas on Feb. 19…[but was denied by a pig] on Feb. 28, a decision that was later upheld by an immigration judge on March 11…

Social Distancing

How the pandemic is affecting sex workers in Germany:

At the “Lankwitzer 7” brothel…disinfectant dispensers have been installed next to the washbasins.  [Owner Aurel] Marx say he’s ordered staff to hot-wash all towels and sheets, and open the windows more often to let the warm, sticky air escape.  Still, customers just aren’t coming round anymore…since the virus arrived in Berlin…

And Bangladesh:

Sex workers from one of the world’s largest brothels appealed to the Bangladesh government…for emergency funding after a ban on customers to prevent the spread of coronavirus.  More than 1,500 sex workers are based at the Daulatdia brothel, about 100 km (60 miles) west of Dhaka, which is one of about 12 officially sanctioned brothels in the South Asian country, and receives an estimated 5,000 customers every day.  The government on [March 20th] announced the closure of the brothel…until at least April 5 but promised to give all of the sex workers a package of 30 kgs of rice, $25, and a freeze on rent…

And Bolivia:

A nighttime curfew imposed by the Bolivian president to try to slow the spread of the coronavirus…faces opposition from sex workers, who say their already precarious livelihoods are at stake…more than 50 licensed establishments have been forced to close after the Bolivian government imposed a daily curfew from about 5 p.m. to 5 a.m…Lily Cortes, a representative of Bolivia’s sex workers union, said that if the legal establishments cannot function, “unfortunately the sex workers will go out to work the streets and the result will be worse”…

Worse Than I Thought (#1023)

Wow, two politicians with a particle of human decency!

…Odessa [Texas politician]…Dan Jones [tried to use the fantasy of “sex trafficking” to sell his proposed]…policy [to deny strippers the licenses they need to work if they got behind on their water bills while out of work during an epidemic]…but…council member Peggy Dean…ask[ed] for the…change…to be pulled from the…agenda and so did…council member Tom Sprawls.  Both previously voted against the ordinance during the March 10 council meeting…Dean said that that she disagreed with the ordinance’s utilities policy especially in the current times where many people might be unable to pay their water bill after being laid off or have had their hours cut due to the coronavirus….“I don’t really understand how the past due water bills help stop human trafficking. That makes no sense to me.”  She mentioned that if anybody had a past due water bill, then they would be 18 [even though Jones pretended his petty, punitive]…policy would help us find out who is under age.  “Well it wouldn’t, a 16-year-old wouldn’t have a water bill…[this] is very invasive and way too far reaching”…

Social Distancing (#1024)

A glimpse into the violent sociopathy that is prohibitionism:

When the news alert from the Baltimore Sun popped up saying: “Baltimore State’s Attorney Mosby to stop prosecuting drug possession, prostitution, other crimes amid coronavirus,” I had a visceral reaction that was like a punch to the gut.  I’m most concerned about the inclusion of prostitution in her list.  By [stopp]ing [cops from stalking, deceiving and raping]…sex [workers, we rob freaks like me of material for our spank banks]…I sold sex for money in my early twenties…more than a decade later, I [started swallowing prohibitionist propaganda.  Blah blah “sending a message“]…In Baltimore we have a VICE unit specifically focused on [ra]ping sex [workers]…If I reacted so viscerally to Mosby’s statement, I can only assume that [the rapist cops must have had a similar reaction to news that they would temporarily be denied opportunities to rape women and destroy peaceful men’s lives]…