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Archive for the ‘Miscellaneous’ Category

In the late Oughts, while we were building our house in Oklahoma, I received a phone call from a scientist who worked in wildlife conservation for the state.  He explained that a gas pipeline was going through our neighbors’ land; I already knew this because I had previously rejected the company’s offer to put it through mine, because the amount of compensation was inadequate to make up for having a 12-meter-wide path of destruction cut through my property.  The size of the right-of-way was the reason for the call; it seems our part of the state was one of the most important habitats for an endangered species of giant burying beetle, and this scientists’ job was to put out bait to draw the beetles out of the construction zone.  What he wanted was permission to come onto my land to throw out chicken leg quarters so as to attract the beetles, which bury small carrion (such as dead birds and squirrels) to lay their eggs in so the larvae have a food source.  I readily agreed, not merely because it was interesting, but also because I figured the more endangered species on my property, the more protection I’d have against gas companies trying to force their way in.  He didn’t have much luck with the bait, but mere hours after his final visit I happened to look down into the hollow where our water cutoff valve lay and saw a dozen of the critters, apparently unable to crawl or fly out of the piece of PVC pipe that kept the sides of the hole from collapsing.  So I dutifully called him to report them; I told him I wasn’t afraid to touch them, and could take them out one by one if he wanted.  He explained that since they were endangered, it was illegal for me to even touch them, and he asked me to put in a small slat of wood so they could crawl out (which they quickly did, each spreading its wings and flying off when it reached the top of the stick).

I thought about this last week because I saw a conversation on Twitter about the Fermi Paradox, with the participants expressing their opinions for why we’ve never seen any evidence of extraterrestrial civilizations.  One not-unusual suggestion is that some authority (a galactic empire or whatever) has declared us off-limits to contact, but that generally raises the objection that it’s egotistical for us to believe we’re worthy of that kind of protection.  But if intelligent aliens are at all like us, that might not matter.  Now, I’m not talking about a Star Trek-type situation in which most civilizations look like humans in makeup and everybody is of roughly the same general level of technology; I’m not even proposing a species like the one in my story “Millennium“, whose attitude toward less-advanced races is…let’s just say far too human-like for comfort.  All I’m suggesting is that if intelligence is rare, advanced spacefaring civilizations might consider all of it valuable, and could conceivably think of any intelligent species confined to a single habitat as “endangered”.  Most Oklahomans have probably never even noticed burying beetles, and few of those who know about them probably give a damn whether they go extinct or not; however, our governments have established laws to protect all endangered species, no matter how insignificant or unpopular to the general public.  They are, in fact, willing to expend considerable effort and resources to protecting such species, regardless of whether those species are relatively interesting or important in any way.  In other words, it might not be at all egotistical to imagine humans as a “protected species” to an advanced extraterrestrial civilization; they may not care about us specifically, but rather their own principles.  In other words, they may treat all young civilizations that way, even those they perceive as creepy little carrion-eating insects.

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Please don’t kill me. Please don’t kill me.  –  Angelo Quinto, last words

Some weeks I find a video worth sharing in the same way as I find other links, and some weeks I have to turn one up by myself.  Most weeks the videos are fairly substantial, but occasionally they’re just little moments like this very funny one contributed by Emma Evans, who also provided “what they are”.  The other links above the video are from Cop Crisis, Radley Balko (x2), Popehat, and Mark Bennett, in that order.

From the Archives

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The Constitution…also prohibits the government from using its immense authority to coerce private actors into censoring on its behalf.
–  Ben Wizner

A False Dichotomy 

Despite the authors’ use of prohibitionist terms like “trafficked into” (meaning “sold to”), insistence on pretending that Western cultural norms apply as clearly in impoverished Bangladesh as they do in middle-class London, and offensive presentation of cops and politicians as “rescuers”, the truth in this article still comes through:  that for girls in a brutally poor, overpopulated, patriarchal culture, sex work is often (as the authors themselves express it) “the least bad option”, even when those options include the monogamous marriage so beloved of the majority of white savior types.

Out of Control (#946)

What is wrong with doctors who do this?

A Stanford pediatrician has pleaded not guilty to…[trying to molest] an underage girl he met on social media…Dr. Dylan O’Connor…[sent] her [dick pics and]…requested [nudes] from…he[r, after which she apparently told her mother, who called the cops to set]…O’Connor [up].  He allegedly…brought a blanket and condoms with him, and [told cops he had]…a sex addiction [despite knowing as a doctor that there is no such thing]…

The Widening Gyre (#1005)

The “things on cars” branch of “sex trafficking” scarelore is driven by a kind of inversion of Occam’s razor:

Brittaney Strupe [of Ohio]…got engaged [on Valentine’s Day] and had plenty of leftover red roses…So [she]…her sister and daughter…[decided to] go to Walmart…[and put them on] vehicles [as a gift to others.  But when] customers and Walmart employees began to discover them [everybody succumbed to collective hysteria and]…called the Coshocton County Sheriff’s Office…[which started spouting ridiculous fantasies about] human traffickers…on Facebook [where]…Strupe…[saw it and]…call[ed] to [explain, after which the cops vomited out “if you see something, say something”]…

“The mentally disturbed do not employ the Principle of Scientific Parsimony: the most simple theory to explain a given set of facts.  They shoot for the baroque.”  –  Philip K. Dick, Valis

Torture Chamber (#1040)

When government is in charge, things can always get worse:

…As a once-in-a-generation snowstorm walloped the Lone Star State…already-dire conditions inside Texas prisons…got even worse…33 prisons lost power and 20 had water shortages after the state’s electrical grid failed…prisoners ha[d]…no options to stay warm…there…[were] ne[ither enough]…extra blankets and jackets to…go around…no[r sufficient staff] to [distribute them because]…fewer [screws] showed up to work…staff [didn’t bother] to pass out medication…and…the food…bec[a]me [even more] inedible and…unidentifiable [than before]…prisoners with [secret] phones sent pictures of their increasingly pitiful meals…more than a dozen prisons lost some or all of their access to water…so…the toilets are overflowing with waste…Advocates for prisoners say these problems have been years in the making…

See also the final item below.

You Were Warned (#1046)

Australian politicians are just as invested in demolishing the internet as US ones:

Back in September…Facebook publicly sa[id] that if Australia went forward with its ridiculous attack on the open internet, and instituted a “news link tax” on Facebook and Google, that it would block news links on Facebook in Australia… and basically everyone ignored it.  So…when Facebook announced that it was no longer allowing news to be shared in Australia (and relatedly, no longer allowing the sharing of Australian news services on Facebook), it should not have been a surprise.  And yet…almost everyone started blaming and attacking Facebook…[the] company…deserves lots of blame for lots of bad things that it does.  But this ain’t it…the simple facts of the situation are that Australia — pushed heavily by Rupert Murdoch — has decided to put in place a plan to tax Google and Facebook for any links to news…This is fundamentally against the principles of an open internet …”search engine optimization” and “social media management”…[exist] because everyone else in the world has figured out that having prominent links on search engines and social media is valuable in its own right…[the Australian government’s position] is like saying that not only should NBC have to run an advertisement for Techdirt, but it should have to pay me for it.  If that seems totally nonsensical, that’s because it is…

You Were Warned (#1082)

Congress won’t stop until it controls the internet:

For the third time in less than five months, the U.S. Congress has summoned the CEOs of social media companies to appear before them, with the explicit intent to pressure and coerce them to censor more content…[using the pretexts of] “falsehoods about the COVID-19 vaccine” and “debunked claims of election fraud”…[politicians claim] that “these online platforms have…[enabled] grim consequences for public health and safety”…House Democrats have made no secret of their ultimate goal with this hearing:  to exert control over the content on these online platforms…[even though] Congress violates the First Amendment when it attempts to require private companies to impose…speech restrictions which the government itself would be constitutionally barred from imposing

Torture Chamber (#1093)

“Give me your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, so I can torture and deport them”:

In Louisiana and Texas, immigrants seeking asylum are facing dire conditions [while locked in cages due to last]…week’s extreme cold.  At the South Texas Family [Concentration Camp]…parents and children have been living with overflowing toilets, thirst, poor hygiene, and [insufficient] heat…Twenty miles away, at [another] ICE [concentration camp, prisoners]…who complain…about the cold face…retaliation [from screws who] are turning on fans to make it colder…[some] have [even] thrown blankets into the garbage after [prisoners] complained…

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A few days ago I got a new subscriber at the top level, and it made me realize that it’s been too long since I thanked all of you for your support.  As I explained several years ago, “There’s something very comforting and flattering about getting those regular emails month after month; they say to me in no uncertain terms, this person admires you and cares about your work…I really do value those small but very regular payments, [and] not just because they help pay my bills…”  Of course, now that I’m semi-retired (and a year into the pandemic) the “paying the bills” aspect is even more important than it once was.  Of course, I value all of my subscribers, even those who can’t spare much or who find they need to cancel after a year or two.  But there’s a special place in my heart for those who subscribe at that top level, especially considering that a couple of you have been on board for seven years now!  I don’t really have any kind of premium system set up (as I’ve said before, marketing isn’t my strong suit), but I’d like to give my dollar-a-day guys an extra gift: if any of you don’t already have all of my books, please let me know and I’ll send you Kindle copies of the missing ones.  I know it isn’t much, but it’s at least one small way I can let y’all know how much your generosity and loyalty mean to me.

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Back Issue #92

Those who foolishly insist on viewing the world through the filter of dogma are blind to everything that dogma will not admit, even when the truth lies right before them.  –  “Not the Same Tree

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Give this man his money.  –  Judge Christine Underwood

Profit from Panic 

A pandemic can’t stop opportunists from wringing every penny they can from this hysteria before it implodes completely:

The B.E. A S.H.E.R.O. Foundation…hosted its 6th annual Awareness Gala, themed “Rising from the Ashes.” The event centered on raising…funds for [the organizers by exploiting the moral panic around]…sex trafficking…Because of pandemic health guidelines, guests were invited to host in-home parties with only their close circles, family or solo.  SHERO Founder Kimberly Miles hosted the online event from the Stirling Club, with special appearances from Terry Fator, Clint Holmes, Bucky Heard of the Righteous Brothers and more…

Disaster (#949)

Australia is joining the US in trying to destroy the internet:

If Australia genuinely wants to minimise online harm, we need to have more nuanced narratives than “won’t somebody please think of the children”.  The federal government’s Online Safety Bill…[will] impede upon our digital rights, harm vulnerable groups, and c[onstrict] the way the majority of Australians experience the internet…part [of the scheme] gives the eSafety Commissioner expanded “take-down powers”…[to] order the removal of…any sexual content…or content that is “unsuitable for a minor to see”…Sex workers, pornography creators…sex-positive educators and activists are just some who will struggle to work online due to the scheme.  As experience of the controversial SESTA/FOSTA laws in the US…has shown, crackdowns such as these incentivise online platforms to remove or censor sexual content altogether to avoid penalty…this forces sex workers offline and often into unsafe working environments…

A Moral Cancer (#1013)

Crypto-moralists won’t hesitate to add nationalism to “health” rhetoric to advance their anti-pleasure agenda:

British stores could be flooded with “dangerous” bacon and ham from the US, marketed under misleading labels, as the result of a transatlantic trade deal, says the author of a new book based on [statistical illiteracy and militant veganism]…The meat has been cured with nitrites extracted from vegetables, a practice not permitted by the European Commission because of evidence that it [marginally] increases the [very small] risk of bowel cancer.  But it is allowed in the US, where the product is often labelled as “all natural”…

Robocops

Court declares that cops are too stupid and evil to understand that intentionally burning an innocent person alive is wrong:

…On July 10, 2017, [Gabriel Eduardo] Olivas’ son called 911 to report that his father was threatening to kill himself…[responding cops] found Olivas “leaning against a wall and holding a red gas can”…[one cop] shouted…”If we tase him, he is going to light on fire!”…Olivas [had] poured gasoline over himself…[but pig Jeremias] Guadarrama “fired his taser at the gasoline-soaked man, causing him to burst into flames…The fire spread from Olivas to the walls of the bedroom, and the house eventually burned to the ground”…Olivas…died…the [family]…sued…and…the…court [ruled]…it…”reasonable”…[to set off high-voltage electrical] sparks that could easily ignite gasoline…after a[nother cop] had [already] emphasized it…the 5th Circuit has forthrightly declared that the Fourth Amendment does not prohibit police from firing Tasers at a suicidal, gasoline-drenched man…

The Last Shall Be First (#1078)

Anti-trans hysteria has shifted from toilets to high-school sports:

A proposed bill introduced in…Georgia…called for banning transgender girls from participating in [organized] sports…a similarly-written law in Idaho…is currently blocked by injunction from a federal court.  So another proposal was introduced…that went even further.  House Bill 372 would redefine gender as “a person’s biological sex at birth” in state law, require state-funded schools and associations to ban participants they deem not “biologically” male or female from sports, and calls for a panel to examine information about the genitalia or chromosomes of any [prospective] participant who petitions otherwise…

I must point out that contrary to some online statements about this buffoonery, it does not call for the panel to inspect students’ genitalia, only “information about” them (presumably derived from a medical exam).  But it’s still akin to the creepy pretense that for students to voluntarily allow other people to examine their genitalia for the purpose of pleasure is a “crime”, but for the same students to be forced by law to allow strangers to examine their genitalia for the purpose of bigotry is “protection”.

The Next Target (#1099)

One day, “professional ‘survivor'” will no longer be a lucrative job:

…[Morality in Media] filed a…[law]suit in Birmingham, Alabama against Pornhub’s parent company MindGeek, [exploiting the claims] of two women who alleged illegal videos of themselves were uploaded to the platform by third-party users…The lawsuit alleges that MindGeek “conspired, facilitated and financially benefited, from sex trafficking ventures between [themselves] and others”…

A Broker in Pillage (#1101)

Nobody will be safe until this odious, contemptible practice is recognized as unconstitutional:

A district court judge in North Carolina is threatening to jail one town’s officials if they don’t return nearly $17,000 in cash they s[tole from] a man’s rental car…Jermaine Sanders was staying at a hotel in…November when he left his room and found police [ransack]ing his car.  Police [claimed] they found half an ounce of marijuana and $16,761 in cash.  They s[tole] both…[and] sent the cash to…CBP [in order to circumvent state restrictions on such robbery].  When Sanders lawyered up…Mooresville [bureaucrats] responded that [they were] no longer in possession of the cash…[Judge Christine] Underwood…found the city in contempt of her order [to refund the money] and…[gave] them seven business days to comply.  She told the city’s attorney…that she was not afraid to jail town commissioners, the police chief, or anybody else responsible for keeping Sanders from getting his money back…

Yet most courts still refuse to admit that this is about nothing other than profit:

Civil asset forfeiture…allows police to s[teal] property they [pretend] is connected to crime without arresting…the owner…the practice demolishes due process and undermines property rights, giving cops a license to steal from innocent people who often lack the resources to resist…[pushers] of [the scheme pretend] it deters and incapacitates drug traffickers…[but] in a new study published by the Institute for Justice, Seattle University economist Brian Kelly…analyzed data from five states that use forfeiture extensively:  Arizona, Hawaii, Iowa, Michigan, and Minnesota.  He reports no statistically significant relationship between increased forfeiture revenue and lower drug use rates or higher crime clearance rates.  To the contrary, Kelly found that clearance rates for violent crimes tend to fall as forfeiture revenue rises…[because] the lure of…money diverts law enforcement resources from predatory crimes to drug offenses…

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I think someone stole my chicken.  –  Thomas Ramsey

This week’s video is probably the best-known composition by jazz great Chick Corea, who died late last week.  The links above it were provided by Tracy Quan, Radley Balko, Dan Savage, Mike Siegel, Radley again, Amy Alkon, and Cop Crisis, in that order.

From the Archives

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When will we begin viewing women as human beings capable of making decisions for themselves?  –  Neha Choudhary

All-Purpose Excuse

In the West, “trafficking” rhetoric is used to block immigration. But in the East

…the government [of Nepal] has introduced a new rule, [requiring] women under 40…to produce consent from the family and permission from the ward office to travel abroad…Tek Narayan Paudel, a spokesperson with the Department of Immigration, [said]…“Women under 40 are at a higher risk of trafficking and other abuses. Therefore, the new rule is proposed for their protection”…Nepalis on social media were quick to slam the move, calling it a regressive rule that deprives women of their agency and curtails their constitutionally guaranteed right to move freely…

What the Hell Were You Thinking? (#603)

In the US, this is now illegal thanks to FOSTA:

Thanks to a $1-million…donation from the Law Foundation of BC and an anonymous donor…sex workers and provincial organisations are building a province-wide “bad date” reporting system….[so] sex workers will be able to report their experiences…in an online database in order to warn others…Going to the police…isn’t an option, given the ongoing stigma and criminalisation of sex workers in Canada…sex workers across British Columbia have typically relied on more localised methods of reporting bad dates.  In Victoria, PEERS…relies on…re[ports]…to staff, who then…share the information with other sex workers in the area.  At SWAN Vancouver…warnings are passed along via text.  But, these methods have their limitations…which is why the launch of the database is so crucial…

A Woman’s Point of View

As with cannabis legalization, if enough of these are thrown at the wall one may eventually stick:

Mariah Grant…[of] the Sex Workers Project at the Urban Justice Center…[is] hoping Oregon will become the first state to decriminalize sex work statewide…state Rep. Rob Nosse…filed a bill at the request of the Sex Workers Project…[which] would invalidate the state’s prostitution statutes, decriminalizing those engaged in selling sex, their customers, and third parties…Similar bills have been filed in New York and a handful of other Northeastern states in the past few years.  None has passed…[but] the legal sex industry already operates more freely in Oregon that anywhere else, thanks to the state’s…relative lack of an organized religious…lobby…HB 3088 would implement what advocates call “full decriminalization”…not…legalization…or…the “Nordic model”…

An Avalanche of Bullshit (#926)

The way an individual or agency treats sex workers is a good indication of how they feel about people in general:

[Information] about a [pogrom] against a small chain of massage parlors in [Alabama] has [been suppressed by the police]…The owners, Yuping Tang and her daughter Jiao Liu, had their assets frozen and their string of businesses shut down in April 2019.  But the Alabama Supreme Court [has] ruled…the state failed to carry its burden of proof on [any] part…of its case…the testimony gathered from witnesses and [cops’] victims…conflicted with…the claims [made]…by [cops]…who went into the parlors [to rape the staff.  Woman infantilized by cops and prosecutors as]…human trafficking victims actually testified on behalf of the owners saying they were not kept against their will, and they always had access to their money, passports, and freedom of movement…

Pyrrhic Victory (#1039)

Remember when Clearview claimed it would no longer sell to entities that do not claim the “right” to a monopoly on violence?

Clearview AI…has proposed applying its technology to everything from policing to retail to dating, according to a[n August] 2020 patent application…[which] describes ways to apply…facial recognition…to…identify [homeless] people…drug…[users or] “a sex offender”…CEO Hoan Ton-That…has [a habit of publicly sharing his fantasies]…of child sex trafficking…

Devil’s Advocate (#1073) 

The absurdity becomes more obvious when we substitute “toaster” for “sex doll”:

South Dakota [politicians]…are considering criminalizing the selling, making or owning of a [toaster shaped] like a child…[by] a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison…[the psychologically illiterate] bill [declares such toasters]…a “gateway” into [eating] real children…The bill’s proponent, Sen. Jessica Castleberry…said the [toasters] create a market and demand for [cannibalism].  The [devices], which have [a plastic shell and a spring to pop up toast when ready]…make [burning people alive] easier…”It normalizes and desensitizes [cannibalism],” she said…[prohibitionist] Carrie Sanderson…said the [toasters] that look like children allow for inappropriate [cooking and eating] behaviors to fester…Justin Bell, lobbyist for the South Dakota Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, said…the bill’s language was too broad and doesn’t have a victim…

Winding Down

Your “leaders” know what’s best, so shut up and obey:

After turning to the courts to stop voters from legalizing recreational marijuana in South Dakota, Gov. Kristi Noem says she’ll also veto attempts by [legislators] to give voters what they’ve demanded.  Noem said…at a news conference that she would “not be inclined” to sign a bill legalizing marijuana…just days after a judge, as part of a legal challenge Noem supported and helped fund, ruled that a ballot initiative approved by 54 percent of voters was unconstitutional and subsequently voided it.  So, to be clear, Noem will listen to neither the lawmakers…nor the actual citizens of South Dakota…she’s even trying to force delays in the implementation of a medical marijuana program, which was approved in a separate November vote and has not been struck down.  Medical marijuana is supposed to launch in July, but she’s trying to…delay it until next year…

Quiet Genocide (#1100)

Fascist corporations are happy to assist in a genocide:

Amazon…faces questions from [politicians] over a reported contract with Dahua, a Chinese security camera company…[whose] facial recognition software [alerts the cops when it] identifies members of the Uighur ethnic group…Dahua product support documents [state]…that suggest the company’s technology can sort passersby by race…[to] track “Uighurs with hidden terrorist inclinations”…Dahua is among the Chinese companies included on the Commerce Department‘s entity list for its ties to “human rights violations and abuses”…The U.S. doesn’t restrict American companies such as Amazon from buying from businesses on the entity list, though it urges caution…Dahua sold 1,500 thermal imaging cameras to Amazon in a deal estimated to be worth close to $10 million…

Morality Lessons (#1112) 

This unconstitutional bill has already failed in over a dozen states:

The Iowa House of Representatives’ Commerce subcommittee declined to advance a bill that proposed blocking adult content on electronic devices by default, as well as creating a special $5 tax on adult entertainment to fund initiatives against “human trafficking”…The bill is a version of one recently re-introduced in Utah, part of a “Project Blitz”  campaign by evangelicals to pass “copycat legislation” restricting adult content on a state-by-state basis….representatives of ATT, T-Mobile and CenturyLink pointed out that several content-blocking apps are already available and “the use of those apps is at the discretion of parents…rather than the internet provider”…

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At last, Ask Maggie, Volume II is available for purchase!  I was finished with the text back in October, and even uploaded it and assigned a release date; however, I then sort of ran out of steam with regard to commissioning the cover and other finishing details.  I started to get back into the swing of it around Christmas, but not quickly, so it wasn’t until a few weeks ago that I ordered my proof and put the Kindle edition together.  But now it’s all done, and you can buy it on Amazon in either paperback or Kindle form!  If you prefer an autographed copy, you shouldn’t have long to wait; I’ve already ordered a box, and as soon as it arrives I’ll add this book to my store along with all the others.  If you’re wondering what’s next, I think I’m leaning toward a third fiction collection, which will bear the title Lost Angels; I want to write several original stories for it to go with the usual reprints, and I’m hoping Chester Brown will agree to do a cover so the three volumes match.  It will probably be out in the autumn, but I’m not going to commit myself to a specific time frame; though I was able to pull off four new collections last year (counting this one, which was officially published in October), it was tough and a bit stressful, and a bit too much by the end.  So I’d rather not do that again.  As usual, if you buy and read this one, please review it; I’m not sure how Amazon’s algorithms work, but I know good reviews help.

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If the First Amendment will protect a scumbag like me, then it will protect all of you.  Because I’m the worst.  –  Larry Flynt

R.I.P. Larry Flynt

The last of the “Big Three” of men’s magazine publishing, Larry Flynt, died of heart failure a week ago today at the age of 78 (Hugh Hefner preceded him in 2017 and Bob Guccione in 2010).  Flynt’s magazine Hustler was (intentionally) the raunchiest of the three, and its brand had the greatest commercial viability in the long run due to its expansion into home video and strip clubs.  As I’ve repeatedly pointed out, infringements of civil liberties always start with those nobody wants to defend, and Flynt intentionally set himself up as a target for censorship attempts by prominently featuring the nasty, the grotesque, and the deliberately offensive, especially in Hustler‘s cartoons and cover art.  He was prosecuted for obscenity several times, always prevailing in the end, and battled fundamentalist blowhard Jerry Falwell all the way to the Supreme Court in the ’80s; after 1978 he was paralyzed below the waist due to being shot by a racist who objected to Hustler featuring interracial couples.  Despite attacks from dried-up “feminists” like Gloria Steinem and prissy editorialization from bluenosed “journalists”, the fact is Flynt was a bona fide free speech hero, and not merely in his own mind as the WaPo’s pearl-clutching headline pretends.

Droit du Seigneur 

What did this guy think he was, a cop?

The Ohio Supreme Court suspended the law license of a [lawyer who]…was charged with human trafficking involving six women — most, former clients…Michael Mearan…say[s]…the allegations [a]re [a frame-up by cops using] testimony from [prisoners] who [were given] favorable treatment for co[lluding with cops]…Mearan…was [also a politician who sat on the]…Portsmouth…city council…he [is alleged to have] targeted women who were poor, addicted to drugs and facing criminal charges to take part in [what cops label] a prostitution ring during a 15-year-period beginning in 2003…

Thought Control

US institutions often need to be reminded that they do not own people:

…Kimberly Diei, a pharmacy graduate student [was expelled from] the University of Tennessee…[after] her posts on Twitter and Instagram were…[the subject of a poison pen accusation by] an anonymous [busybody]…She was given two days to appeal, and she scrambled to find a lawyer.  With the threat of a lawsuit looming, the dean of the college reversed the decision to expel her.  But the experience was so painful that…Diei filed a federal lawsuit with the help of a pro bono lawyer, arguing that the public university had violated her constitutional right of free expression “for no legitimate pedagogical reason”…universities are…fumbling to [extend campus censorship] policies…into the world of social media…And young people are fighting back, contending that their off-campus speech is no business of their school…the Supreme Court agreed in January to hear the case of a high school cheerleader in Pennsylvania who was removed from the junior varsity squad after she posted vulgar complaints about not making the varsity team…

Acting and Activism (#556)

Predictable ugliness from the “celebrity” prohibitionist trash who once called stripping a “gateway to slavery”:

Red Table Talk…[hosted by noted bigot] Jada Pinkett Smith, her daughter Willow…and mother…“Gammy”…tout[s] itself as a space where three generations of women can discuss various topics in a judgment-free environment…But…Ava Louise Lockner…[revealed that] the “open and honest” policy the show pushes is not what she experienced when she was set to be featured in an episode about being a sugar baby in the fall of 2019…she [was verbally] attacked during the several hours she spent at the Smiths’…home, [with] Pinkett Smith…rolling her eyes and Gammy…slut-shaming her throughout filming.  When the segment failed to air, Ava Louise spent weeks chasing up once-eager producers.  Finally, she…received a…call from a high-level executive on the show…[who] told her…they would not be airing her episode because…the hosts found her “gross and disgusting…they don’t want to be associated with sex work”…

Banishment (#870) 

This Orwellian tyranny is part of how governments are getting around the push to reduce prison populations:

Twenty states, the District of Columbia, and the federal government have laws that authorize civil commitment of [human beings arbitrarily branded] sex offenders…after serving their prison terms…The state punishes people…based on the [claim] that they could and should have controlled themselves.  But when it is time for them to be released after completing the punishment prescribed by law, the state says that was not actually true; now they must be locked up precisely because they can’t control themselves.  If the government decided to retroactively increase an offender’s penalty, it would be clearly unconstitutional…The trick is to cast continued confinement as treatment rather than punishment.  But…in Minnesota, only 13 [prisoners] have been unconditionally released since the program was established in 1994; more than six times as many have died in custody…the Supreme Court [says that’s okey-dokey]…Joe Morrissey…argues that Virginia’s [similar] program is “abhorrent”…[and] introduced a bill that would have abolished the program [but other politicians]…derailed [the] bill

Cooties (#884) 

UK cops are still shoehorning people into their public masturbatory fantasy of “pop-up brothels”:

Three men and a woman have been arrested for [consensual sex dysphemized as “]slavery[” in a raid on an apparent incall dysphemized as]…a “pop-up brothel”…Two [migrant] women…were [also arrested and]…are currently being [held pending deportation]…

“Safeguarded” is the UK euphemism for “held without trial or charge pending deportation”.  The term is Orwellian even in a field littered with such propaganda.

Torture Chamber (#1098) 

Stop faking!

An Alabama man [locked] in a prison mental health [cell] overheated and died in December after temperatures inside his cell topped 101 degrees Fahrenheit.  Tommy Lee Rutledge was found unresponsive in Donaldson [cage stack] on the night of Dec. 7, sitting near the window of his s[olitary-confinement] cell with his head “facing out the window,” in an apparent attempt to breathe cool air…his core body temperature [had] reached 109 degrees…[Screws refuse to explain] how temperatures inside the…cell skyrocketed past 100 degrees on a winter night with a low of 31 degrees…citing an “ongoing” investigation…

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