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Posts Tagged ‘Washington (state)’

Collaborating with the police is not something…a mathematician should be doing.  –  Jayadev Athreya

Fallen Idol (#792)

These charges followed the accusations by almost three years:

Porn star Ron Jeremy has been charged with sexually assaulting four women on four separate occasions dating back to 2014…Jeremy…is accused of sexually assaulting two women at a bar in West Hollywood in 2017, and of forcibly raping another woman at that same bar during the summer of 2019.  He is also accused of forcibly raping a woman at a home in West Hollywood…In 2017…more than a dozen women had come forward accusing [him]…of sexual misconduct, including groping, inappropriate touching, nonconsensual digital penetration, and sexual assault.  Most of the women accusing him were in the adult industry…[one of them,] former adult performer Jennifer Steele, [said]…“[He] know[s] if someone’s a porn star and they say they’ve been raped, people aren’t gonna take it seriously”…

Lack of Evidence (#900) 

Removing excuses cops use to persecute people is always a good thing:

The Seattle City Council voted unanimously…to repeal the law [against “loitering” for the purpose of prostitution]…following a 2018 recommendation from a working group on reentry problems faced by people exiting incarceration.  “The prostitution loitering ordinance has a discriminatory legacy that impacted primarily people of color, women and our LGBTQ community,” said [politician Andrew] Lewis in a statement. “I’ve received hundreds of emails from constituents almost uniformly in favor of repealing these ordinances”…

Welcome to the Future (#916)

I’m afraid they’ve discovered their moral compasses at least 20 years too late:

…A group of mathematicians in the United States has written a letter calling for their colleagues to stop collaborating with police because of the widely documented disparities in how US law-enforcement agencies treat people of different races and ethnicities.  They concentrate their criticism on predictive policing, a maths-based technique…[that pretends to be able to] stop…crime before it occurs.  The letter, dated 15 June, is addressed to the trade journal Notices of the American Mathematical Society (AMS), and…more than 1,400 researchers have now joined the call.  In recent years, mathematicians, statisticians and computer scientists have been developing algorithms that crunch large amounts of data and [pretend] to help police reduce crime…the mathematicians write in the letter. “It is simply too easy to create a ‘scientific’ veneer for racism”…

Pyrrhic Victory (#979)

To the state, facial recognition systems’ false positives aren’t a bug; they’re a feature:

On a Thursday afternoon in January, Robert Julian-Borchak Williams was in his office at an automotive supply company when he got a call from the Detroit [cop shop demanding he] come to the station to be arrested.  He thought…it was a prank…[until] he pulled into his driveway…[and] a p[igmobile] pulled up behind, [vomiting out]…two [pigs who then insulted] and [brutalized] Mr. Williams…in front of his wife and two young daughters…[before dragging him] to a [cage and putting his biometric information into a database from which it will never be removed despite the fact that they were trying to frame him for grand theft based on]…a still image from a surveillance video…[which] was clearly not Mr. Williams…his case may be the first known account of an American being wrongfully arrested based on a flawed match from a facial recognition algorithm…

Working From Home

Most porn performers have long had to supplement film income with outside work:

…When COVID-19 shut down the adult entertainment industry, performers fell back on many of the things they were already doing, creating and selling content directly to their fans.  Realizing professional porn isn’t necessary for a lucrative career, many performers are now making even more money in a safe environment they control…the promise of [higher] payment may not be enough to entice performers back to set.  Three years after allegations of sexual assault enveloped the reputations of James Deen and Ron Jeremy, arguably the most iconic male performers of their generations, new alarms are being raised among female performers…women in the industry are speaking out on social media, exposing a rash of predatory behavior from companies, directors, and in some cases their agents.  Liberated from institutional misogyny, performers are creating content and cashing in on themselves for once, and not without a discernible sense of schadenfreude…

To Molest and Rape (#1047)

Notice how often rapist cops’ victims are underage?

A…Harris County [Texas cop attempted to molest]…a teen girl he was assigned to investigate after she was reported as a runaway.  Aaron Isaac Mayes…went to the [girl’s] home…in March…to speak with the girl’s mother…[and] discovered the girl was at home and not missing…the mom [later] told investigators Mayes seemed interested in [her daughter], but [idiotically] believed he simply cared “beyond the scope of the law enforcement duties…in a healthy way”…[but her] daughter…[showed her] screenshots from Instagram conversations…[with] Mayes, which included [dick pics and]…an exchange in which Mayes offered her $80 in cash…[which] Mayes [claimed was] trying to…help her avoid…prostitution [by paying her for sex]…

The Cop Myth (#1047)

A few statistics to further dispel the myth of heroic cops:

…Americans have witnessed video after video of cops assaulting unarmed demonstrators and even bystanders unlucky enough to cross their path…Many try to explain away cases like these as “isolated incidents” carried out by “bad apples”…[but] if anything, most public discussions may be too narrow and myopic to capture how extreme, pervasive, and multifaceted police abuse of power actually is…So far this year, 481 civilians have been shot to death by police in the United States…Since 2015, cops fatally shot at least 352 people who were unarmed (that is, not even possessing a toy, blunt object, or other instrument)…hundreds more civilians are killed by cops every year with taserspepper sprayrubber bulletschokeholdspositional asphyxiablunt force trauma, [pigmobiles] and other causes…Deaths…only represent a small fraction of overall police violence…at least 985,300 Americans experienced non-lethal threats or use of force from police in a single year:…There are also widespread…rapes, sexual assault, and sexual harassment incidents [committed by] on-duty cops every year…many more cases likely go unreported…cops also regularly commit crimes, and carry out violence, when they are off duty.  For instance, rates of domestic abuse are as much as four times higher among law enforcement than in the broader population…The level of aggression cops deploy in an area seems to have no correlation with that area’s level of violent crime—nor does it seem proportional to the actual danger law enforcement agents face on the job…the overall line-of-duty law enforcement homicide rate…[is] 9.74 per 100,000 officers…the homicide rate for men…[in the general population is] 9.5 per 100,000.  That is, police officers were just a little more likely to be a victim of homicide in the line of duty than the typical American male living his day-to-day life…

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Regular readers know that as the days grow longer, my brain becomes overstimulated by the excess of daylight, and it becomes increasingly difficult for me to slow down, relax and even sleep.  Well, this year I’m putting it to good use by plowing ahead on the bathhouse project, as you can see in my new regular Friday feature on it.  I’m also working on editing the essays for Ask Maggie, Volume I, and hoping to get it out in July; plus I’m still doing activist stuff, like appearing on Thaddeus Russell’s Renegade University Live tonight.  Tomorrow or Thursday I’m briefly returning to Seattle for my hair & nail appointments on Saturday, then on Sunday I’ll return to Sunset; before much longer I should also resume traveling, when the clients who have inquired about visits get their schedules straight.  It’ll be a while before I can relax again, and I can never do it as effectively as these critters can.  But if I’m going to be hyperactive, at least I’m getting things done!

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I can’t breathe.  –  Manuel Ellis

YouTube pushes videos based on some kind of algorithm involving what you’ve watched before, so I reckon it isn’t surprising I was dealt this one.  Like all of these pop-culture docuvideos it’s at least twice as long as it should be, but it’s still interesting.  The links above it were provided by Thaddeus Russell, Mama Tush, Grace, Kevin Wilson, Dave Krueger, and Elizabeth N. Brown, in that order.

From the Archives

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Last Saturday, Chekhov and I were spreading gravel over the bathhouse area, and just as we had come to the conclusion that we had pulled everything we could out of a pile left over from the French drain project, one of our neighbors showed up with a dump truck full (we had called him the day before but weren’t sure he had received the message) and gave it to me for free because I let him store his extra hay in my barn.  He’s a white man in his sixties of the type common in rural areas across the US:  a big, jovial, clever-but-uneducated, good-natured farmer.  So we chatted for a while, and naturally the protests came up; since very few older, rural white men have ever had a bad interaction with cops, I assumed there was no point in doing anything other than listen politely because arguing with him about it would be useless (possibly even counterproductive).  As I expected, he could not comprehend why people are talking about abolishing cops entirely; he has not had the life-experience and/or made a study of the topic, and therefore believes that cops exist to “protect and serve”.  But then he said something I didn’t expect: “They oughta lock them killer cops up!”  Despite believing the propaganda we’ve all been fed about the goodness of cops, he made no excuses for wanton murder and clearly stated his support for criminal penalties for criminal cops.  The cries and protests are being heard by the general public at last, and people are unhappy about the way cops can literally get away with murder.  And when you’ve lost ordinary older white rural men like my neighbor, you might as well give up.

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Diary #519

The last time I had my nails professionally done before everything started closing down was March 3rd; I was due to have them done again on March 23rd, but of course that didn’t happen.  By the first week of May they were a mess, and my friend Winnie did them for me; unfortunately she’s not a professional and lacks the proper equipment, so after about a week I started breaking nails again.  So it was a huge relief to have them done last Monday; now I can use my hands with my typical dexterity again instead of fumbling with a bunch of broken, soft nails alternating with awkwardly-overlong ones.  It was also a relief to get a proper pedicure again!  The day before I returned to Sunset from Seattle, my hairdresser called to set up an appointment, then on Friday my regular nail salon called to do the same; I have them both set up for Saturday the 20th.  I’ve been really able to get a lot of long-overdue care done on my house this spring; it’ll be great to get all my self-care on that same track.

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Tutti frutti, good booty
If it don’t fit, don’t force it
You can grease it, take it easy
Tutti frutti, good booty.

Rock and roll pioneer Little Richard died last week; I was at a loss to decide which of his songs to feature until I read a tribute to him by Thaddeus Russell, which included the information that the original lyrics to “Tutti Frutti”, which Richard performed as a drag queen, were about anal sex.  The links above the video were provided by Nun Ya, Wendy Lyon, Lenore Skenazy, Stephen Lemons, and Nun Ya again, in that order.

From the Archives

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Last weekend, we redid the floor in Grace’s room; on Friday I moved everything out other than her bed and nightstand, and I pulled out the grotty old vintage ’70s vinyl flooring and the old nailing strips for carpet which had been removed before I bought the house.

Then on Saturday (starting about noon) I pulled out the remaining furniture, made one last pass for staples and nails, swept, vacuumed and mopped, then laid down new laminate flooring (with the help of Jae & Chekhov).  So by just after sundown, it looked like this:

Which is why you didn’t get a really fancy column. But it is Friday, after all.

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Now that I’m starting to have reasons to be in Seattle again, I’m shifting to splitting my time between Sunset and the city.  Since we’ve discovered that lazy people will use made-up pandemic restrictions to avoid work they don’t want to do (such as mixing paint at Home Depot or dealing with chemical garbage at the dump), it’s also helpful for our projects for me to be able to get to places that have nearby competition; that’s how I was able to buy this last week (the box actually fit in the back seat of my sedan).  When I mentioned it to Matisse, she was rather amused; I guess a cement mixer, even a small one, is a rather strange thing for a whore to own.  Is a steam cleaner weird too?  Because I also bought one of those last week, to replace our old one (which seems to have been among the tools stolen from us in ’17).  I suppose I own a lot of unusual things; even my DVD collection includes a lot of movies most people have never heard of, and my kitchen includes gadgets that are seldom seen in modern American kitchens (such as crumpet rings and a manual meat grinder).  Anyhow, I’m headed back to Seattle again the day this publishes, and I plan to return to Sunset on Saturday.  And if I’m lucky it will be with the receipt for a newly-purchased hot tub.

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On December 2nd, 1996, I got my nails done professionally for the first time; since then I’ve had them done every three weeks, four at the outside during disasters like Hurricane Katrina.  It has always been something I’ve done religiously, as the visible sign of a covenant with myself.  I’ve always had a tendency to deny myself things my inner nun pronounced “frivolous”, and having my nails done regularly served as a clear refutation of that kind of puritanism, a reminder that self-care is important even when authoritarians declare such hygiene “non-essential”.  So those of you who aren’t blinded by puritanism can probably guess how frustrating April was for me; not only had my nails grown ugly and too long to be practical, they were also starting to lift and break.  And when one is used to nails of a certain length, a broken nail can make that finger so clumsy it’s almost unusable.  But last week I mentioned my irritation to my friend Winnie, and she told me that she knew how to do them and would be happy to do mine.  So yesterday I went to her place and, in the course of a lovely visit, got my fingers back looking like something to be found on a civilized woman’s hands.  Maybe in three weeks I’ll be able to get them done professionally again, and maybe I’ll need to ask Winnie again.  But in either case, it’s good to wrest a little more control over my life back from people I wouldn’t trust to manage my henhouse, much less the affairs of an entire state.

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Today is the day that the ill-conceived shutdown of public society was supposed to have been lifted in Washington state.  Of course, it wasn’t, because these shutdowns are based less in science than in politics, with the entire West following China’s authoritarian notions of how to deal with an epidemic.  Governors are afraid that if some worst-case scenario were to occur after they lifted their bans on conducting business, they would be blamed and their political careers would be destroyed.  So naturally, they’ve made the same kind of sheep-and-goats division they did when declaring that many people’s means of survival were “non-essential” and could be replaced by a single handout of $1200 for two months or more of destroyed income:  they deemed their political careers “essential” and most small businesses (especially those disproportionately owned by minorities) “non-essential”.  But some people have started to see through it, and a few are starting to rely on their own judgment rather than blindly obeying diktats from self-appointed commissars.  About half of my friends have started getting business again; some restaurants and bars in various cities are starting to operate secretly, speakeasy-style; and a number of physicians who disagree with the political response have started publishing op-eds and otherwise challenging the orthodoxy.  And the longer polticians drag their feet in establishing practical measures businesses can take to be deemed “safe” to re-open, the more people will simply move on and do what they need to do to survive without political permission.  Silly protests by MAGA-hat-wearers and other crackpots will not end the “lockdowns”; in the absence of some omen that will sway skittish state governors, only what Vaclav Havel called “living in truth” can do that.  And if the few small signs I’m aware of are any indication, it has already started. 

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