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Posts Tagged ‘Scientific Detachment’

Governments who employ [the Swedish] model know exactly what they’re doing and the harm they cause to [sex] workers.  –  Molly Davis

Scientific Detachment

The death of a rather unusual archivist:

Ralph Whittington [who died on August 6 at age 74] worked at the Library of Congress for 36 years…but he was better known for amassing one of the world’s largest collections of pornography…his collection was…a serious academic undertaking…Everything was catalogued and cross-referenced.  Boxes were carefully labeled with the name of a porn star or a thumbnail description…Whittington spent more than $100,000 on his collection and often accepted donations from heirs…In 1999, Mr. Whittington sold most of his materials to the Museum of Sex, a professionally curated institution in New York.  Before three 16-foot trucks hauled away almost 10,000 items in 848 boxes, his house was packed from floor to ceiling…

Damned If You Don’t

Picket-fence queers claim cops aren’t our enemies:

Police have arrested 26 men for cruising for sex in Washington D.C.’s Meridian Hill Park over the past 12 months…[disguised] cops entrapped the men by soliciting sex acts…Police…[call] the [deceptions] investigations…[and claim they] were prompted by public complaints…But…[in reality] the men arrested were propositioned by [disguised, lying cops]…posing as willing participants in a consensual encounter between adults…

A Procrustean Bed (#600)

Finally, some public skepticism about “diversion courts”:

…hundreds of [arrested] sex workers in Sacramento each year [are coerced under threat into]…a court-administered diversion program [but only if they first plead guilty to whatever bullshit the cops make up.  It should come as no surprise that]…RESET court…originated [from] a cop-founded nonprofit…Diversion courts…have…proliferated around the country…But…there is growing scholarly skepticism about whether…[they] are really as “woke” as their supporters claim….the Sex Workers Project of the Urban Justice Center broadly criticized these programs for a lack of accountability and a surplus of inconsistency.  Sacramento’s RESET court comes up 19 times in the paper…these programs still treat sex workers like criminals, even while telling the public they’re all victims…RESET enrollees must submit to HIV testing; attend health and wellness classes, group and individual counseling and trauma-based therapy; and make at least three monthly court appearances, where Judge Rockwell offers cookies…For completing the program, the women get expunged records…and Starbucks gift cards…

Yes, the “reward” for completing the program is a “free” cup of coffee.

Choke Point (#603) 

I’m skeptical that they wouldn’t hand-wave a sex exemption into this even if it were broader:

A recent ruling by the California Supreme Court is causing a stir among adult business owners…[and sex workers] who have been discriminated against by the global banking system…but misunderstandings may motivate merchants down a legal dead-end…“The ruling was very narrow,” [said] Larry Walters of FirstAmendment.com…“and limited to whether standing to sue can be established by alleging an intent to use the online services, as opposed to actually entering into a contract for services…The court specifically did not rule on whether a plaintiff can sue for discrimination under California law on the basis of occupation”…For adult merchants hoping that litigation over “equality of access to services” based on this announcement might solve…having their banking services revoked…this ruling provides no clear foothold…

Micromanagement (#731)

I’d really like to be wrong once in a while:

New York City detectives questioning a [12-year-old] boy facing a felony charge last year offered him a McDonald’s soda.  When the boy left, they took the straw and tested it for his DNA…[which] was entered into the city’s genetic database.  To have it removed, the [boy’s] family had to petition a court and file an appeal, a process that took more than a year…The city’s DNA database…now has 82,473 genetic profiles, becoming a…potent tool for [the police state]…that operates with [essentially no]…oversight…A growing number of [pig farms] throughout the country…have amassed genetic databases that operate by their own rules, outside of state and federal guidelines…

On the Simultaneous Having and Eating of Cake (#754) 

Will porn companies be the next to face the music for exploiting sex workers?

Mia Khalifa…was…[only] modestly compensated for a brief career that catapulted her into worldwide stardom…[as] the most-searched adult-film star on the planet…[but] she [only] received about $12,000 for about a dozen shoots over three months before she left the industry in early 2015, and never a “penny again”…on Pornhub…she is ranked No. 2 among actor searches…but she does not get any residuals from that site or any others…[in] adult film…there are two options with wildly different compensation paths.  One is the traditional production studio that pays actors as contractors…that is what Khalifa did…another is an independent model that provides a bigger cut and options for residuals…sites such as Pornhub have monetized the infinite loop of the Internet by uploading a stream of videos of actors long after some of them, like Khalifa, have left the business — creating a scenario where adult-film scenes will follow the actors and perhaps outlive them…Three of the top 10 actresses on the site now are either retired or inactive in the business, an industry veteran said, and have little recourse to claim compensation or remove their videos if they are shut out from the revenue…

If Men Were Angels (#864)

“Youth pastors” are as bad as cops:

Paxton Singer…is the youth minister at the Harvest Bible Chapel in Aurora, Illinois.  The church’s bylaws say that…homosexuality and bisexuality are sexual sins…[but] Singer has been making inappropriate advances toward an unnamed 16-year-old boy…Singer also worked at a separate Harvest Bible Chapel campus in Rolling Meadows, Illinois…[w]here…[he] behaved inappropriately toward three other male teens…

Shift in the Wind (#933)

Pro-decrim articles are even common on conservative sites these days:

In a recent National Review story, Madeleine Kearns…claims [decriminalization] “would make a grave problem worse.”  The premise…relies largely on fear tactics, sprinkled with stories of women who have had bad experiences in the sex industry…But she fails to address how keeping prostitution illegal will help solve any of the problems she targets in her story.  Kearns’ solution is [the Swedish model]…but this policy has failed to work in the various countries where it’s been tried and only perpetuates the problems she illustrates…

Torture Chamber (#950)

I hope they get every last cent they’re asking for, plus punitive damages as well:

…taxpayers could be on the hook for more than $200 million in damages from parents who[se]…children were [abused] while in government custody…dozens of families…separated at the border as part of the Trump administration’s zero tolerance policy…are now preparing to sue the federal government, including several who[se]…young children were sexually, physically or emotionally abused in federally funded foster care.  With more than 3,000 migrant children [abducted] from their parents at the border in recent years, many lawsuits are expected, potentially totaling in the billions…[they] are represented by grassroots immigration clinics and nonprofit groups, along with some of the country’s most powerful law firms…

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Today, the aim seems to be [a] Starbucks…city…a commodity instead of a living breathing place to live and work.  –  Jemima Hobby

sex141Safe Targets

…As Hong Kong law criminalizes [advertising and “living on avails”, sex workers] cannot run…individual websites and are exploited by those who are capable of running sexual service promotion sites overseasThere are three major porn sites in Hong Kong, with sex141 being the most active…it…allows sex workers to publish ads [and also] offers a forum…Yet sex141 wants to extract more from the sex workers in addition to their monthly ads fee.  [A sex worker called] Miss Ho…[explained] “Money-Drop Review”…a recently added feature…[which] encourages members to write bad reviews…[for which they need not] offer proof…“It costs $200 to delete a bad review.  If the smeared sex worker was not a paid member of sex141, she has to pay 1,300 HK dollars [about 180 US dollars] to become a member, and another 1,000 HK dollars [about 130 US dollars] for FeiLung [a ghostwriter recommended by the website] to write three good reviews in order to maintain a positive image and business”…

Something Rotten in Sweden

Meet the new and improved version of the Mann Act:

U.S. lawmakers have introduced a bill to strengthen federal laws against child sex trafficking…Members of Congress say arresting and prosecuting pimps is not enough, that those who pay to have sex with children must also face federal penalties…The End Sex Trafficking Act of 2013 mandates that those who seek sex with children will be prosecuted under federal law, which comes into play when there is trafficking activity across more than one state…

If the final language really is this vague – “those who seek sex with children will be prosecuted under federal law” – this Act will essentially overturn all state age of consent laws because federal law defines anyone below 18 as a “child”.

Between the Ears

Dear Family Research Council:  More sex ≠ better sex; “feeling loved” during intercourse ≠ better sex; buying sexy underwear ≠ better sex; not knowing what good sex is ≠ better sex…see the pattern yet?

Devout, married Catholics have the best sex of any demographic group, the Family Research Council said…pointing to…statistics from the University of Chicago’s last National Health and Social Life Survey, conducted in 1992, which found the most enjoyable and most frequent sex occurring among married people, those who attended church weekly – any church, whether Catholic or not – and people who had the least sexual partners…[FRC fellow Patrick] Fagan said it was clear “those who are monogamous have the best sex they ever could – because its [sic] the only sex they’ll ever know”…68 percent of Catholics professed to have sex at least once a week versus 56 percent of non-Catholics; 30 percent of Catholics had bought erotic underwear versus 20 percent non-Catholics; and 80 percent of devout Catholic women approved of having sex for pleasure alone…the Family Research Council…also cautioned…of the possible negative effects of enjoying sex outside of marriage, or of watching porn…

Those “negative effects of porn” include sharp decreases in the rate of rape, divorce, abortion, sex crimes against children, teen pregnancy and domestic violence.Chinese judge scandal

Do As I Say, Not As I Do

Two top Shanghai judges and another court official caught on a videotape apparently taking prostitutes to hotel rooms after dining with a contractor have been stripped of Communist Party membership and will likely lose their jobs…[an official] statement did not clarify whether the contractor paid for prostitutes, but party rules forbid both involvement in prostitution and accepting bribes…Whistleblowers in China run the risk of retribution from powerful officials…[but] the man who leaked the hotel videos…has appeared to face no repercussions from his actions so far…

Meanwhile, in another police state where whistleblowers run the risk of retribution from powerful officials:  “A high-ranking priest with the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston is facing a prostitution charge…the Rev. Arthur Coyle…was arrested just after 5 p.m. Sunday after he was allegedly found with a prostitute behind a Lowell cemetery…

The Pro-Rape Coalition

My former co-guest blogger Drew Johnson was recently fired from the Chattanooga Free Press for doing the job they hired him to do, namely stating his opinions.  The week before, they had declined to print his editorial telling the truth about porn:

A miracle product exists that is responsible for dramatically reducing the number of rapes and sexual assaults in America.  This invention has even contributed to lower divorce and teen pregnancy rates.  Even though this invention has proven so beneficial, millions of Americans want to…eliminate it…because the thing…producing a safer, more family-friendly society, is…low or no-cost, high quality online pornography…

Parable

Jemima imagines what it would be like if all workers were prohibited from interacting with each other in the name of “protecting them from exploitation” as sex workers are in many legalization regimes:

…When the law on non-contact of workers came out it had been much harder to not accidentally look at others on the commute to the office.  Now there were a whole range of blinkers…was everyone really safer this way?  The argument had been: if no one could interact and if the cameras could zoom in on anyone who broke the law, then assaults and rapes would be almost impossible.  All interaction with other people could be done safely over skype or by phone, and thus women were protected…Opium

Presents, Presents, Presents!

This week I received a large bottle of my very favorite perfume, Opium, courtesy of Nevada Cody; thank you so much not just for the present, but also for tracking it down when it got lost en route!

Scientific Detachment

The sexual climax gives the whole brain a good workout…Professor Barry Komisaruk said.  The sensation can…block pain and…depression, anxiety and addiction could also benefit if scientists can harness the…mechanism in the brain that produces orgasm and put it to other uses…The 72-year-old US researcher has been studying female sexual pleasure since the 1960s, beginning his experiments on rats before moving on to women in 1982…Prof Komisaruk has reached his conclusions after studying female volunteers…[who] lie in a…magnetic resonance imaging machine and achieve orgasm despite the clinical surroundings…

Broken Record

Did the fake ad actually state “I am 13”, or did they simply use pictures of mature-looking girls who were (supposedly) that age when photographed?

Seven men have been arrested as part of an undercover sex sting during the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally…[using fake] ads for 12 and 13-year-old girls on Craigslist and Backpage.com…“When there are these large kind of gatherings…it makes it ripe for trafficking, prostitution, exploitation to take place,” [said] Susan Omanson…[of] Be Free Ministries…

Gingerbread House

A child sex trafficking victim…was raped just days after being sent to a newly opened Miami “safe house”…[which] quietly closed after the April assault and child advocates say they are now rethinking their plans to house trafficking victims together in an unsecure group home setting…

“Unsecure” means the inmates aren’t locked in cages.  So “rethinking” that means…well, here, let’s allow the “authorities” to spell it out for you:

…the [FBI] boasted that “Operation Cross Country” had successfully rescued 105…children…but the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children…says that some of those rescued children may now end up behind bars.  “If there is nowhere to hold them, and nowhere safe for them to go, law enforcement has no alternative,” says Staca Shehan…”If they aren’t placed in a juvenile detention facility, the child could run back to the prostitution scenario.”  To avoid this, police charge the children with prostitution…

Little Boxes (TW3 #44)

Catarina MiglioriniCatarina Migliorini, who auctioned off her virginity for $780,000, now claims that she was “tricked and exploited”, that she’s still a virgin, and that the Japanese millionaire who won the auction “didn’t look like” a Japanese millionaire.  This “HuffPost Live” segment is short on actual content, but does have one interesting feature: the male host shooting down his female co-host’s suggestion that selling one’s virginity is something “unfortunate” that “people are resorting to”.

Obfuscation via Dysphemisms (TW3 #319)

Presumably, the cops wanted her to snitch on the girl instead:

…Alaina Paige Lamecker…allegedly introduced [a Tulsa cop] to a 14-year-old girl…and worked out an agreement for the two to engage in a sex act in exchange for $120…She was booked…[for] human trafficking and soliciting prostitution within a 1,000 feet of a church…

Sleeping With the Enemy

Though Russia’s not officially Marxist any more, three generations of anti-whore propaganda are not quickly overcome:

Human rights activists in St. Petersburg have decided to take Russia’s Justice Ministry to court, after its officials refused to register a non-profit partnership of sex workers…Prostitution is illegal [and punishable by imprisonment for up to eight years]…and according to rough estimates of the…Health Ministry, up to one million people are involved…Serebryanaya Roza (Silver Rose)…[says] the numbers…are much bigger – about three million…Irina Maslova…head…[of] this movement…feels that on the basis of the human right to privacy, protected by the Constitution, prostitution can be removed from the list of criminal trades, and people can become masters of their own bodies…the experts often agree with the Serebryanaya Roza…criminal psychiatrist Mikhail Vinogradov…explains…[that] the sex industry is a normal characteristic of any society…

Rubbing Elbows

Joyce Arthur writes about her impressions of the Desiree conference and the fight to overturn Canada’s anti-prostitution laws:

…A diverse cross-section of the sex work industry was…represented…[as well as] academics, lawyers, writers, health-care workers, and activists…Many Americans I spoke to…were quite envious of Canada’s situation, especially in regards to our recent Supreme Court challenge…another difference is that Canada’s sex worker movement enjoys the public support of social service and health agencies…[which] are critical for gaining broader public support and reducing stigma…

And Tizzy Wall’s recap said such very nice things:

No matter how many clients I have charmed the pants off of…there is nothing as nerve-wracking as walking into a room of fellow adult entertainers…finding myself face-to-face with brilliant activists, entertainers, and writers like Miss Major, Kristen DiAngeloStacey SwimmeMaggie McNeill, and Emi Koyama was almost too intimidating to consider.  On occasion, my tongue swelled and a stammer developed as I faced these heroes in real life.  Turns out, though, that all of these people are so approachable and kind that it is hard to feel intimidated for very long…

Election Day (TW3 #330)Kristin Davis again

As regular readers know, I have no love or trust for Kristin Davis; however, I have far less of both for the FBI, and the timing of this stinks on ice:

Kristin Davis, a candidate for New York City comptroller…has been arrested on charges of selling prescription painkillers…according to federal officials, Davis allegedly sold hundreds of pills, including oxycodone, for Ecstasy and cash.  Adderall and Xanax were also involved in the transactions, prosecutors said.  Davis, 38, was charged with four counts of distributing and possessing with intent to distribute a controlled substance.  Each count carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison…

The Mote and the Beam (TW3 #331)

Florida officials support a campaign to give them more power; what a surprise!  “Adding just two words to one of the nation’s first online laws might step up the war against prostitutes, pimps and child sex traffickers…police and prosecutors in nearly every state…are calling on Congress to amend the Communications Decency Act of 1996 so state laws can be used to bring charges against websites such as Backpage…”  Ken White explains why this would be a spectacularly bad idea:

Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act…is crucial to freedom of expression on the internet.  It gives broad immunity (with the exception of copyright and federal criminal law) to blogs, forums, news services, and other web sites for…content left by visitors.  Thanks to Section 230, I can’t be sued for what you say in the comments to this post…several Attorneys General want to weaken Section 230 to create an exception for any federal or state statute.  Their justification, not surprisingly, is Think of the Children! — specifically, the children who are victims of sex trafficking…What could possibly go wrong?…

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The good news is that Jesus is coming back.  The bad news is that he’s really pissed off.  – Bob Hope

Three new stories and six updates from the fifth week of 2012.

Good News, Bad News

Sometimes, reading stories about prostitution law is like the classic joke format.  GOOD NEWS:  77% of Canadians support decriminalization of prostitution and UNAIDS has condemned criminalization of sex work (including the “Swedish Model”, “end demand” schemes and the rescue industry) as a danger both to sex workers and to public health:

…Forced rescue and rehabilitation practices lower sex workers’ control over where and under what conditions they sell sexual services and to whom, exposing them to greater violence and exploitation…this leads to social disintegration and a loss of solidarity and cohesion (social capital) among sex workers, including reducing their ability to access health care, legal and social services.  Low social capital is known to increase vulnerability to sexually transmitted infections among sex workers and therefore has a detrimental impact on HIV prevention efforts…undermining sex worker organisations is one of the most important negative effects of law enforcement practices…anti-trafficking efforts typically ignore the possibility of engaging sex workers as partners…[even though they] are often best placed to know who is being trafficked into commercial sex and by whom, and are particularly motivated to work to stop such odious practices…Organised groups of sex workers are also best placed to establish safe working norms within the sex industry, and influence other[s]…to ensure that trafficked adults and children are not retained in sex work…

BAD  NEWS:  Western Australia is starting to buy into the “trafficking” narrative:

Federal police have launched an operation to rescue people trafficked into WA for forced labour, prostitution and servile marriages.  There are fears that an increasing number of women are being brought to Perth and forced into the city’s sex industry.  Supt Glyn Lewis…said human trafficking was insidious and abhorrent and many victims were never found…There have been only 14 convictions for human trafficking since legislation came into force in 2003.  People working in the area in Perth fear trafficking is a real and emerging issue “under the radar” of authorities and the public.  Australian Catholic Religious Against Trafficking in Humans said the problem had to be addressed…

None of these people stop to consider that maybe the reason that there are so few convictions and “many victims were never found” is that there was no crime in the first place.  But hey, we can’t let facts get in the way of hysteria and fear-mongering by cops and religious groups.

Scientific Detachment

The ability to look at sensitive subjects dispassionately and to present evidence without emotion is an admirable one, but as Professor G.S. Brindley (the doctor who developed the first medical treatment for erectile dysfunction) discovered in 1983, it’s probably best not to assume that the majority of one’s audience possesses that capacity to any great degree.  This January 27th article on the Discover magazine blog explains, and since synopsizing it in any way would do it a disservice, I’ll just leave you with the link.

Fundraiser for St. James Infirmary

I’ve been asked to publicize an online fundraiser for St. James Infirmary, which provides compassionate healthcare and social services for sex workers in San Francisco.  It will be held tomorrow (February 19th, 2012) at 3 PM EST on BlogTV; even if you can’t attend please spread the word!

Week 5 of 2012 Updates

Nothing in the Dark (August 8th, 2010)

This story demonstrates not only the reason for considering condoms a “safety net” against disease rather than a first line of defense, but also the reason I’m hesitant to entrust my health to a government bureaucracy:

…South Africa’s leading anti-AIDS group said…that…faulty condoms are among more than 1.35 million handed out at the African National Congress’ 100th birthday party…[they were] recalled but the Treatment Action Campaign said no warning has been issued to people that they may have carried away defective condoms…The third recall in less than five years raises questions about the quality of some of the 425 million-plus condoms that the government gives away each year, and the competence of the South African Bureau of Standards [SABS] that is supposed to ensure their quality…In 2007, the government recalled more than 20 million defective condoms…but recovered only 12 million…a [previous] recall…[resulted after] a testing manager at [SABS took] a bribe to certify the faulty contraceptives…

[AIDS activist Sello Mokhalipi] said people started coming with complaints about the condoms…three days after the celebrations ended…”We poured water into the condoms and they were leaking, not just in one place, they were leaking like a sieve,” he said.  Looking at them, “you can see there are small pores” like pinpricks…the Sex Workers Education and Advocacy Taskforce, said many of the 10,000 to 15,000 prostitutes they work with often complain about the free government condoms…[so] they instead use a brand provided by an international charity…South Africa’s government sources its condoms from several companies and rebrands them with its colorful CHOICE packaging, in bright blue, red, yellow and green…

Any time there’s a lucrative government contract, there’s going to be graft.  And anything sourced out to the lowest bidder…

Who Did Your Tits? (October 1st, 2010)

Most women who have boob jobs feel they confer psychological and/or financial benefits, but I never considered this possibility:

A 41-year-old Florida woman says the breast augmentation surgery she had three months ago saved her life…her ex-fiancé’s new girlfriend…attacked her…stabbing her repeatedly in the left side of her chest…the knife had punctured the implant and she was soaked with saline.  Doctors say the salt water and walls of the implant prevented a deadly blow.

The Camel’s Nose (October 2nd, 2010)

Yet another spooge sneaker; this one is so reprehensible he constitutes a one-man argument in favor of sex offender registries:

…Mark Berndt, a third-grade teacher [at Miramonte Elementary School in California]…is charged with committing lewd acts on 23 boys and girls, ages 6 to 10, between 2005 and 2010…[he] was removed from classwork in January 2011 and fired within the month, but only parents of children identified as victims were told…some angry parents…complained that they only learned of the investigation through the media after Berndt’s arrest this week.  School officials and investigators said proper procedures were followed…but…two former students…said school officials were informed about [Berndt’s] odd behavior two decades ago

…Berndt is suspected of snapping nearly 400 photographs of…students, some with a giant Madagascar cockroach from a classroom terrarium on their faces.  Others were blindfolded or had clear tape over their mouths, and some were shown with a spoonful of milky liquid placed near their lips…The photo sessions were treated as a game and some children were given sperm-laced cookies to eat as treats…The investigation began in the fall of 2010 when a film processor became suspicious about the photographs and turned them over to…police…an investigator…found a blue spoon…in a trash can [in Berndt’s classroom] that appeared to be the one seen in the photographs, but it took months before analysis determined there was semen on the spoon and more time before DNA testing matched it to Berndt…Meanwhile, investigators kept trying to identify children in the photographs…

I would hope that prosecutors build their cases on photographic and DNA evidence, and that they, cops and parents have the sense not to question the children or (even worse) subject them to the ordeal of trial participation; adult eyewitness testimony is unreliable at best, and that of children is often worse than useless.  Alas, I fear that’s a vain hope; adults just can’t resist traumatizing young children by subjecting them to frightening and confusing interrogations and filling their heads full of horrible images, thus exploiting them just as monstrously as the criminal did.

Welcome To Our World (January 20th, 2011)

I think my readers can answer David Reber’s questions, which he seems to consider rhetorical:

…What could a teacher possibly know about education?  Countless arguments used to denigrate public school teachers begin with the phrase “in what other profession…” and conclude with practically anything the anti-teacher pundits find offensive about public education…In what other profession, indeed.  In what other profession are the licensed professionals considered the LEAST knowledgeable about the job?  You seldom if ever hear “that guy couldn’t possibly know a thing about law enforcement – he’s a police officer”, or “she can’t be trusted talking about fire safety – she’s a firefighter.”  In what other profession is experience viewed as a liability rather than an asset?  You won’t find a contractor advertising “choose me – I’ve never done this before”, and your doctor won’t recommend a surgeon on the basis of her “having very little experience with the procedure”.  In what other profession is the desire for competitive salary viewed as proof of callous indifference towards the job?  You won’t hear many say “that lawyer charges a lot of money, she obviously doesn’t care about her clients”, or “that coach earns millions – clearly he doesn’t care about the team”…For no other profession do so many outsiders refuse to accept the realities of an imperfect world.  Crime happens.  Fire happens.  Illness happens…People accept all these realities, until they apply to public education…

Well, Mr. Reber, there is at least one other…

The Enlightenment Police (October 1st, 2011)

One would think the usually-sensible Dutch would have waited to see what the European High Court will do with the French version of this first:

The Dutch…government plans to ban Muslim face veils…”People should be able to look at each other’s faces and recognize each other when they meet,” the interior affairs ministry said…The ban will also apply to balaclavas and motorcycle helmets when worn in inappropriate places, such as inside a store, Deputy Prime Minister Maxime Verhagen told reporters, denying that this was a ban on religious clothing…The face-veil law, which still needs to win approval in both houses of parliament, excludes clothing worn for security reasons such as that worn by firemen and hockey players, as well as party clothing such as Santa Claus or Halloween costumes.  The ban does not apply to religious places, such as churches and mosques, nor to passengers on airplanes or en route via a Dutch airport…

Hark, Hark, the Dogs Do Bark (January 11th, 2012)

Since neofeminists insist that all gendered behavior is “socially constructed”, I’m sure they’ll deny these findings just as creationists deny fossils and carbon dating:

Testosterone makes us overvalue our own opinions at the expense of cooperation, research from…University College London has found…Problem solving in groups can provide benefits over individual decisions as we are able to share our information and expertise.  However…collaborating too closely can lead to an uncritical groupthink, ending in decisions that are bad for all…research has shown that people given a boost of the hormone oxytocin tend to be cooperative.  Now…researchers have shown that…testosterone has the opposite effect — it makes people act less cooperatively and more egocentrically.

Dr Nick Wright and colleagues…[tested] 17 pairs of female volunteers who had previously never met…On one…day…[they] were given a testosterone supplement; on the other day, they were given a placebo.  [Men were not used because supplements can trigger a drop in their own testosterone production, invalidating the results]…as expected, cooperation [in a task] enabled the group to perform much better than the individuals alone…but, when given a testosterone supplement, the benefit of cooperation was markedly reduced.  In fact, higher levels of testosterone were associated with individuals behaving egocentrically…”Most of the time, this allows us to seek the best solution to a problem, but sometimes, too much testosterone can help blind us to other people’s views,” [said Dr. Wright.]  “This can be very significant when we are talking about a dominant individual trying to assert his or her opinion in, say, a jury”…

One Year Ago Today

Not the Same Tree” showcases a Detroit reporter’s excellent and very perceptive article about the federal persecution of an escort service.

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