essentialsaltes: (that's not funny!)
Many people have recently opined about the justifiability of punching a Nazi(*) in the face. A surprising (to me) number of people are for it.

(*)To clarify, unless we're talking about these six Nazis, at best there are 'neo-Nazis' these days, or 'jerks with hateful ideas who are dangerously close to the levers of power'.

I test the Nazi punch hypothesis out in my own mind, and I just find it hard to accept. I mean, what if it was a lady Nazi? In Romeo Must Die, Aaliyah wisely observes that "in America, if a girl is kicking your ass, you do not have to be a gentleman." Honestly, I'm egalitarian enough that if a boy or girl is kicking your ass, you do not have to be a gentleperson.

And yes, if a boy or girl is kicking that helpless person over there's ass, this probably requires some intervention.

But these rules are not just about kicks and asses. They should be good for punches and faces. "Hey you! Anonymous coward punching an unsuspecting guy in the face! What's wrong with you?"

Anyway, some dudes may have some archaic patriarchal misgivings about punching a lady Nazi. Perhaps they could do something else generally considered illegal or antisocial? Maybe they could throw rocks at them or grab their pussies? This new moral hypothesis opens up so many interesting questions!

But it's fraught with so many logistical difficulties. I mean, not every neo-Nazi will go to the trouble of tattooing 88 on his forehead. They might look like anybody! If only we could form an organization that could identify them based on objective criteria and make them wear distinctive clothing or something, so we'd know who to punch.

But there seem to be deeper flaws that worry me. A lot.

If we decide that, for a certain class of people, we no longer have to treat them with the usual rules of civility and humanity, it would seem (to avoid being hypocrites) that other people could use this same hypothesis to justify treating other classes of people as sub-human.

Wait a moment! Have I fallen into Bizarro world? Nazis treating certain classes of people as sub-human is one of the justifications for treating them as subhuman. I have it all backward! It's not that we would be hypocrites to NOT allow other people to think this way in the future. It's that other people thinking that way in the past made US start to think like them.

You can't fight an ideology by implicitly accepting its tenets. You are strengthening it by making it the only way of looking at the world.


Now some have correctly pointed out that neo-Nazis can be experts at using 'the System' to quash opposition. "Oh, we're the victims, save us, save us, Law & Order!"

So then I ask: Why the fuck would you fall into their trap by punching people on the street? Are you stupid?

The good guys also have some experts at using 'the System', from politicians to judges to civil rights lawyers. I'm neither, but I expect they would advise you to refrain from punching people in the face.

Because it does play into their trap. Punch a few Nazis, set fire to a building, and the system might restrict the rights to "habeas corpus, freedom of expression, freedom of the press, the right of free association and public assembly, the secrecy of the post and telephone". In the name of security. To protect the crybabies.

And what is the goal of Nazipunch? What positive result is achieved?



When Obama was elected, the racists were gnashing their teeth, and afraid, and the left held out its hand and said:



And the dummies on the right were afraid Obama was going to grab their guns and put them in FEMA camps.

And so they hid in their bunkers, clutching their guns and bibles, despising the left, falling into their own groupthink, biding their time until... well, until their savior appeared. And they voted for him, to the astonishment of all those who thought they were safely and silently encapsulated in gun-lined bunkers where their unchallenged ideologies couldn't possibly hurt anybody.

And you know what? As dumb as they are, they played by the rules. In the state houses, the governor's mansions, the House and Senate, and now the White House. It's true that "democracy is the worst form of Government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time".

Now the shoe is on the other foot.



And the other side is afraid Trump is going to grab their pussies and put them in death camps.

It's all very familiar. Not all that different.

Now this is not to say that everything is fine. Trump's actions have real effects on pussies and Syrians and so on. But do you know how many pussies get contraception coverage on their insurance when you punch a Nazi?

Zero.

If anything, it plays into the hands of crybaby Nazis.


If you are conspiracy minded, well... probably you have already written me off as a closet Nazi, but consider this.

We know the Russians want to create chaos in our country.

We know the Russians have worked hard to get the dumb-dumb right to distrust the government, distrust the mainstream media, and listen only to RT.com and Breitbart.

Fortunately, we on the left are waaaaay too smart to be manipulated by Russian propaganda. Right? Right? No one would be suckered in by the idea that democracy or free speech are inherently flawed concepts, and are better replaced by punches in the face. Angry moron Trump voters wanted to blow up the system. Only idiots would want to blow it up bigger.
essentialsaltes: (diversity)
So there's been a bit of a kerfuffle.

The enigmachat email list has, over the years, died down in frequency to near moribund levels. But it perked up again with the campaign and questions about ballot initiatives. I gave my opinions. And there was a little back and forth. And then Darnell stuck his nose in with his usual flat-affected poorly-expressed stupidity. Now, I've only met Darnell in person a couple times, and nothing of much note occurred, but most of his email conversation has been repugnant and poorly thought out and expressed, as was this instance. So, because for me, he is only an object of disdain, detestation, and occasional humor, I tried to elicit further commentary from him, hoping to hear him express more poor, repugnant opinions for the edification of all (i.e. so that everyone would know he's an idiot with repugnant views).

But things took a turn. [livejournal.com profile] thefayth went off. "I am deeply distressed by the email I received today on the EnigmaChat mailing list by Mr. Darnell Coleman that continues a cycle of inappropriate statements and behavior over the last 5 years." [my emphasis]

For better or worse, this message hit me before dawn, before coffee, and the first couple responses I saw firmed up my impression, also influenced by certain whispers and gossip, that this was not just about ideas and words, but behavior. And then I fucking went off.

There was a blinding flash of crystal clarity that, although I saw Darnell as an object of ridicule with stupid ideas, and that (only in comparison, mind you) I could be Vol-fucking-taire in amusing myself in showing him up... in actual fact, he was causing harm to people. And so:

Thanks, Faith.

I detest Darnell. I have only met him once or twice, so most of my interaction has been online. But that has been quite enough to last a lifetime.

His opinions are usually offensive, and always poorly thought out and expressed.

Current leadership will have to decide whether his poisonous contributions to the club require action within the guidelines of the group.

I am sensitive to the issue of viewpoint discrimination. I wouldn't want him to be removed simply for holding, or even expressing, unpopular beliefs. But it may well be that his behavior has reached a point that necessitates action.

Looking back, Enigma has from time-to-time had its own little basket of deplorables. From the painfully socially inept, to the gropy, to the political morons, to the religious bigots, to the anti-religious bigots (hi!).

The (rarely used) solution has generally been to encourage the deplorables to 'self-deport'. Make it clear that many people in the club don't want them there. And maybe the best way to make that clear is for many people to actually express it to him.

For the sake of our inboxes, people should write to Darnell personally. However, it might be useful as a record if you could also post a comment in Faith's post to the Enigma Facebook group, so that the powers that be can gauge the sentiment of the members.

But while I have the floor...

Darnell... go away and don't come back. I don't want you in my club. Your negative presence distresses many members and detracts from their experience. I fear you may be a psychic vampire who derives some sick pleasure from distressing others; if so, please find help. Or at least find some other group to infest, because the villagers here are sharpening their stakes. If not, just go already.


I realize (both before and after coffee) that this was an extreme and extrajudicial step. But it was also clear to me that the judicial process had been tried, and those who had complained had received no satisfaction. I do feel for the people in leadership of the club, who are in a difficult position. But I mouthed off.

And pretty soon it was clear that the leadership was taking this seriously, and I tried my best to shut the fuck up, and let them work.

But the response to my incendiary post, and a few like it, was fascinating to me.

>>***: I think using a public forum to do this is unjustifiable and unnecessary, and I don't want to be a part of it.

>Thank you for saying that, ***. I agree fully that such an extremely public discussion is, at the very least, unkind.

Aye ***, well spoken sir.


My visceral reaction to the middle comment was: "Absolutely. Yes, it was unkind. I would be mortified if I was accidentally that unkind, no-- rude, to someone. This was calculated and intentional."

But the weight of these comments coming together in a row finally gave me some insight into what it is like to be 'gaslighted' to use the common parlance.

Maybe I was wrong for backing up Faith. Maybe going through official channels was the best way to deal with it. Maybe I was wrong to be intentionally and publicly rude to Darnell. Maybe this is a witch hunt, and for once I'm the torch-bearing idiot.

Then [livejournal.com profile] alpiyn dropped a nuclear bomb. As much as I was feeling gaslighted for picking on a moron who had done nothing worse to me than be a moron, how much worse or more alienated would people feel who had actually been harmed by this moron?




Now, I'm an old fart. And there's a new generation that's taken over. And that's as it should be. But I find it strange that I have (ok, had!) this idea that the younger crowd are much more up-to-date on this shit than the old fart brigade. We old farts roll our eyes at, "Do I have your explicit consent to nibble your left earlobe?" And we old farts who adore the First Amendment are a bit leery of the new guard's desire to curtail unpleasant speech. But I had this idea that the little pupal SJWs of today are out trying to make 'safe spaces' for everyone to enjoy. And at least in this case, it turned out to be a bunch of crap.

But at least I was right about the fuckdoodly First Amendment cuntborking.

When the official response came, part of it was this.

1) Many of these grievances spawn from online interactions and statements from this individual. In particular, many of them come from threads in the enigma-chat emailing list that is primarily populated by older alums of the club. The individual has been removed from these lists, as well as blocked from this group. That being said, it must stated that some in the officership were unaware of the existence of this list, and we believe that many of the current members who attend weekly meetings were also unaware of its existence. In light of this, we wish to formally disavow the enigma-chat list and leave it in the hands of the alumni. The enigma-chat list will remain as an opt-in option for all members, but we will not be responsible for its content. The transition of moderator responsibility shall take place in the coming week.
2) As for the individual’s continued membership in the club, we have yet to reach a verdict. We are speaking with our advisers on the best course of action to take to avoid repercussions.


Now again, I realize the leadership is in a tough position, and everything does have to be done in accordance with the guidelines (as I called for in my original rant), and this may take time. But I still think it's sad that the old farts on the email list get unceremoniously shitcanned, while judgment is reserved in the case of the malefactor. To be fair, this message was released before alpiyn unleashed hellfire.

It's also interesti.. no, infuriating, that some of the messaging has been that all of the complaints have been about just ideas and words. But Faith's message does mention behavior. My message explicitly protects ideas and expression, but draws the line at behavior. Again, I hope that the official response, when it comes, takes into account whether it was merely expression of unpopular views, or if it was behavior that created a hostile environment.

But getting back to one of the shortest of the many soapboxes I've stood on in this rant, enigmachat is too full of the free discourse of ideas and poopoo words to be a part of what the club wants to be in this day and age.

So in conclusion...

Fuck you in your fatherfisting cloaca!

/mic drop
essentialsaltes: (diversity)
Some of the same researchers involved in the 2003 American Mosaic Survey have released results of the 2014 study.

There a really glaring result relating to when people were asked to agree/disagree with the following statement across a variety of demographics:

This group does not at all agree with my vision of American society

Atheists 39.6% 41.9%
Muslims 26.3% 45.5%
Homosexuals 22.6% 29.4%
Conservative Christians 13.5% 26.6%
Recent immigrants 12.5% 25.6%
Hispanics 7.6% 17.1%
Jews 7.4% 17.6%
Asian Americans 7.0% 16.4%
African Americans 4.6% 16.9%
Spiritual, but not religious — 12.0%
Whites 2.2% 10.2%


First number is from 2003.

All of the numbers have increased. Some by quite a lot. Even white people, who are totally awesome and chill, went from 2.2% to 10.2%. Disagreement with conservative Christians nearly doubled to 26.6%. The previous study was not long after 9/11, but disagreement with Muslims jumped from 26.3% to 45.5%. Immigrants doubled. Hispanics, Jews, Asians, African Americans... all jump from single digits to double digits.

This is what polarization and demonization look like.
essentialsaltes: (dorian Gray)
Deep context: my conviction that Sam Harris is an idiot, and his idea of finding an objective measure of wellbeing is misguided from the outset. Making morality objective is like trying to make aesthetics objective -- it's just a fake way of baking in your own subjective opinions and declaring them objective.

Pull-quote:

The simplest explanation for biased algorithms is that the humans who create them have their own deeply entrenched biases. That means that despite perceptions that algorithms are somehow neutral and uniquely objective, they can often reproduce and amplify existing prejudices.

Headline: A beauty contest was judged by AI and the robots didn't like dark skin

Article also has a relevant link to a related story:

"To take just one example, judges, police forces and parole officers across the US are now using a computer program to decide whether a criminal defendant is likely to reoffend or not. ... If you’re black, the chances of being judged a potential reoffender are significantly higher than if you’re white. And yet those algorithmic predictions are not borne out by evidence.
...
The big puzzle is how the bias creeps into the algorithm. We might be able to understand how if we could examine it. But most of these algorithms are proprietary and secret, so they are effectively “black boxes” – virtual machines whose workings are opaque. Yet the software inside them was written by human beings, most of whom were probably unaware that their work now has an important moral dimension."
essentialsaltes: (city Hall)
I was intrigued by the idea -- an alternate earth where the guild of elevator repairmen is a big deal, and a story that (I was told) would shed light on race in America. But it just didn't quite deliver for me. Set in a nameless NYC-esque city in a roughly 1930s or 1940s era. Lila Mae Watson is the first black female elevator inspector (and one of very few black inspectors) and then something goes terribly wrong on a brand new elevator that passed her inspection. She investigates on her own and gets involved in internal politics, and the mysteries surrounding the founding of the Intuitionist school of elevator repair. I liked the loopy-but-recognizable alternate earth, and certainly the story felt accurate in what the black experience might have been like in such a place and time, but I don't really think it had much to say, and much of the ultimate resolution was unsatisfying. The book has drawn comparisons to Ellison's The Invisible Man, which I can see. Course, I didn't like that, either.
essentialsaltes: (playing With Fire)
Yesterday, Dr. Pookie and I went to the African American Firefighter Museum on S. Central to go to their first (annual?) BBQ contest/benefit. On a day when 90,000 people were going to the Coliseum to see the Rams play in LA, it was a chance to do a small-town kind of thing in a big town.

Fire It Up BBQ Competition

Of the food we tasted, I think Mark Curry's baby back ribs were the clear winner. The museum had memoribilia and clippings, but the best thing about it is its location in a firehouse from 1913.

Firehouse poles!

Back in the day, it was part of the LAFD's segregated force.

Fire Station No. 30, Engine Company No. 30 back in the day

The building is now on the register of historic places.

IMG_4263

The museum sits kitty-corner from the 1939 Streamline Moderne Coca Cola Building, one of the locations from my road rally.

The Coca Cola Building is kitty-corner to the AAFM
essentialsaltes: (pWNED!!! by Science)
Was considering Mexican places for lunch today. Discovered that Margaritas on Crenshaw wouldn't open until 2pm. [Ended up at the El Cholo on Western]

KCET showed a nice documentary [interspersed with begging for money] about Endeavour's trip down the streets of LA. As it trundles down Crenshaw, there's a nice shot of it through the archway at Margaritas.






ThisTV was (well, still is) having a Bond film marathon. ThisTV has an interesting assortment of advertising, including one for a little hand-operated food processor thing that has a pull cord that moves the blades. I was a bit shocked that the smiling loud man chopped some vegetables, dropped them into his stir-fry, looked into the camera, and said "Me so Hungry" as though he had done nothing wrong.

Then when the credits of A View to a Kill came on [I said it was a marathon of Bond films, not a marathon of good Bond films. Only watchable for Grace Jones and the fact that the ridiculous plot involving injecting water into oilwells to cause earthquakes has turned out to not be so ridiculous.] and it was hard to let a name like Papillon Soo Soo go by without further investigation.

"Papillon Soo Soo appeared as Pan Ho in the 1985 James Bond film A View to a Kill, the first of three films that she appeared in.

She is also well known for playing the role of the Da Nang hooker who uttered the famous "Hey baby, you got girlfriend Vietnam? Me so horny. Me love you long time," and "Me sucky sucky" lines in Stanley Kubrick's 1987 film Full Metal Jacket, which continues to be referenced in popular culture..." such as advertising on This TV.

[Since things come in threes, we can further connect synchronicities #1 and #2 via Moonraker, which is just as bad as I remember it.]
essentialsaltes: (diversity)
Step 1: Get Supreme Court to invalidate part of the Voting Rights Act.

Step 2: Implement Voter ID law.

Step 3: Increase Driver's License fees by 54%.

Step 4: Close all satellite DMV locations in the state.

"“Every single county in which blacks make up more than 75 percent of registered voters will see their driver license office closed. Every one,” Archibald explained."
essentialsaltes: (atheist teacher)
A History of American Secularism

A fascinating look at the idea of secular government from the Founders to the present, and how the idea has shifted from Enlightenment ideals to the Golden Age of Freethought in the 19th century, when the Great Agnostic Ingersoll could give the nominating speech for a Republican candidate for president (even in the good old days, when Republicans were the party of abolition). To the emergence of fundamentalism in the early 20th and its later common cause partnership with conservative Catholicism, and the response with the freethinker's coalition with liberal Protestantism and (secular) Judaism.

The historical detail is quite excellent, but as the time grows nearer the present, a hint of polemicism arises. I don't disagree with her, but the shift in tone is noticeable in the last chapter or so.

And yes, the blockquotes )
✓one-word title
essentialsaltes: (haha)
The family that creates performance art together, breaks apart together. Wait, that sorta rhymes, but doesn't quite work.

The Fangs, mother and father, are somewhat extreme performance artists, and they get their son and daughter involved in the act. Probably the most fun the author had was coming up with performance art ideas that are one giant leap beyond sensible. Unfortunately, some of them are zany enough that it's hard to take seriously. The novel leaps back and forth, primarily between artworks involving their children -- indeed, shamelessly exploiting their children -- and many years later, when the children have grown up and left home, left performance art (happily) behind, and are trying to deal with forging their own lives in the shadow of their parents, who always prioritized art over family. A good mix of funny and serious, and the novel made its way onto a fair number of top ten lists for 2011, and will soon(?) be making its way to theaters near you.

Probably because I've known a few Fangs, my initial mental image of the family was Asian American, though the context of the novel slowly eroded this. Sort of a peculiar feeling.

BookChallenge scorecard:

became a movie (soon)
written by someone under 30 (close, 32)
funny book
with a love triangle (maybe?)
by an author you've never read
essentialsaltes: (diversity)
Subtitle: A Sinner's Semester at America's Holiest University

It tells the story of a Quaker student at Brown who spends a semester at Jerry Falwell's Liberty University in 2007. OK, yes, it's a bit of a stunt, but at least it's an interesting one, and Roose definitely throws himself into the role, a lot more so than, say, Jason Rosenhouse in Among the Creationists. Roose enrolls at Liberty and presents himself as a Christian (At Liberty, "Christian" is synonymous with 'born again Christian') and (awkwardly) fakes up a recent conversion story to explain his presence (and why he has so little knowledge that he would flunk Sunday school for six year olds).

In short he comes to, generally, like the students and staff at Liberty, and a little Stockholm Syndrome sets in I think, and he finds himself simultaneously defending them, and disapproving of their (fairly common) homophobia and the one-sidedness of some portions of the 'education'. He even comes to have some appreciation for Jerry Falwell. And in "you can't make this shit up", he scores a one-on-one interview with Falwell for the school newspaper, gets praised for it by Falwell himself in convocation (I mean, what's not to praise, it was a puff-piece in the Liberty newspaper; the hard-hitting exposé uncovered the fact that Falwell had a peach Snapple every day at 3pm, which he slammed down in 6 seconds). A few days later, Falwell's dead, and this Quaker mole has published the last print interview Falwell ever gave, which comes to have a life of its own as it is reprinted in the memorial for the funeral.

I have once again abused the highlight feature of the Kindle...

if you click here, I'll reward you with Larry Flynt's parody ad featuring Falwell that led to a Supreme Court case )
essentialsaltes: (muslin)
Yep, it's that time again.

P Djeli Clark wrote an unflinching, exhaustive, and mostly fair essay on the topic.

I think the author dismisses the 'he was a man of his times' defense a little too cavalierly. People who use that line of thought are accused of "ignoring that victims of racism were also men and women of those times." Bwuh? I think I will continue to ignore it, because it seems to be a non sequitur.

Related to that is his correct observation that "[HPL] was a racist too. And he was very good at it." Yes, when a masterful word-user expresses ugly things, they are masterfully ugly. Is Lovecraft more racist than Joe Sixpack, *because* he is more eloquent (and his writings have survived)? I'm not so sure. But overall I'm in violent agreement with the author.

It was also a bit of a shock to see Bryan and the HPL Bust project appear at the tail end of the essay. Bryan and I have traded angry words on a lot of issues, so I'm not sure whether to rush to his defense or kick him when he's down. Okay, okay, it's really between kicking him when he's down, and refraining from kicking him when he's down. But knowing him, he'll be happy to stand all alone on his own two feet, and tell us all (and the author of the piece) how he feels. OK, next tough question: do I tag Bryan in the FB simulcast?
essentialsaltes: (Devilbones)
In a discussion on the Flood of Noah, and whether there is physical evidence of it. Obviously there is evidence of floods, but to be the Flood of Noah, it would seem to involve, in my words, "a flood that kills all the animals on earth, apart from Noah, his immediate family, and any other animals he saved."

Creationist: The evidence shows that Noah's flood did not kill all the animals on earth, so your [sic] dealing with a false premise.

Me: wat

Creationist: The only correct premise is to state that ALL animals on Earth that had the "breath of life in its nostrils died." The animals on the earth that did NOT have the BREATH of life did not die. In the Hebrew the words here are: "ruwach" and "naphach".If you do not understand the meaning of those two Hebrew blah bla-blah blah blahhh....

Me: Which animals on earth were spared, apart from those on the ark?

Creationist: I am pretty sure that the Kangaroo in Australia were spared and the Native American Indian in America. Because neither one of them had the breath of life.

Me (silently to myself): please be a Poe, because I think you've just said that Native Americans don't have souls.
essentialsaltes: (Nowtheysmell)
Argo last night. Cloud Atlas tonight.

Both excellent.

Since I have it on the brain... Argo is more like The Last of Us. Doesn't break any new ground. The story is... well, history (accentuated). But it does it all very very well, and compellingly.

Cloud Atlas is... I dunno, LA Noire? Trying to do something different... out of the box... possibly not entirely successfully. Sure it's based on a novel. And believe me, I was glad I had read it, though Dr. Pookie seemed to get along fine without a several hundred page cheat sheet.

As with the novel, I still think the separate stories don't really add up to anything much greater, though I think the screenplay actually makes some of the thematic connections in the novel stronger, primarily because of the different way the chronology is interleaved. The film tends to cycle through them all, allowing it to have the thematic and dramatic twists and conclusions of different stories side by side, accentuating their similarities.

I think my favorite section of the sextet in the novel is "An Orison of Sonmi~451", but the film version, though entertaining in exactly the right way to get Hollywood producers' coffers open, is a poor substitute. Then again, it might be hard to accurately film a 22nd century Bildungsroman written in the form of an interrogation.

The film has been criticized for its use of yellowface, but given all the whiteface, brownface, penisface and vaginaface in the film, not to mention the peculiar nature of the story, I can't find too much fault in it. So sue me.

Which is all to say that I think conversation about Argo (last week or ten years from now) will be "Great film!" "Great film!" and no more (and kudos to all). But conversations about Cloud Atlas may be longer and more full of meat.

Even if the whole goddamn thing doesn't mean anything much more than...

Don't be schmucks to each other!
essentialsaltes: (Diversity)
While I'd like to be optimistic about the (effective) removal of the preclearance requirement of the VRA, the examples of relatively recent naughtiness pointed out in Ginsburg's dissent are not very encouraging (refs removed):

In 1995, Mississippi sought to reenact a dual voter registration system, “which was initially enacted in 1892 to disenfranchise Black voters,” and for that reason, was struck down by a federal court in 1987.

Following the 2000 census, the City of Albany, Georgia, proposed a redistricting plan that DOJ found to be “designed with the purpose to limit and retrogress the increased black voting strength . . . in the city as a whole.”

In 2001, the mayor and all-white five-member Board of Aldermen of Kilmichael, Mississippi, abruptly canceled the town’s election after “an unprecedented number” of African-American candidates announced they were running for office. DOJ required an election, and the town elected itsfirst black mayor and three black aldermen.

In 2006, this Court found that Texas’ attempt to redraw a congressional district to reduce the strength of Latino voters bore “the mark of intentional discrimination that could give rise to an equal protection violation,” and ordered the district redrawn in compliance with the VRA. ... In response, Texas sought to undermine this Court’s order by curtailing early voting in the district, but was blocked by an action to enforce the §5 preclearance requirement.

In 2003, after African-Americans won a majority of the seats on the school board for the first time in history, Charleston County, South Carolina, proposed an at-large voting mechanism for the board. The proposal, made without consulting any of the African-American members of the school board, was found to be an “‘exact replica’” of an earlier voting scheme that, a federal court had determined, violated the VRA.

In 1993, the City of Millen, Georgia, proposed to delay the election in a majority-black district by two years, leaving that district without representation on the city council while the neighboring majority white district would have three representatives. DOJ blocked the proposal. The county then sought to move a polling place from a predominantly black neighborhood in the city to an inaccessible location in a predominantly white neighborhood outside city limits.

In 2004, Waller County, Texas, threatened to prosecute two black students after they announced their intention to run for office. The county then attempted to reduce the availability of early voting in that election at polling places near a historically black university.


In principle, I guess Congress could come up with a new criterion for picking places that need to have continued preclearance oversight (not a bad idea) but I'm guessing that's not gonna happen (a bad idea).
essentialsaltes: (Grinch)
when whites have murdered a couple federal prosecutors and scared another one off the case, it may be time for racial profiling and stricter government surveillance. I know some of you liberals will want to paint these terrorists as white "extremists", and suggest that the vast majority of white people don't share their views, or murder innocent people. But here we're talking about a direct attack on our government; we just can't go all soft on whitey in these circumstances.
essentialsaltes: (Nowtheysmell)
Wandering through the public domain, overly digitally compressed, 5 DVD set of 50 Mystery Classics that I got for $0.50 at a garage sale... to identify the worst yellowface, in my opinion.

Bad: Peter Lorre as Mr. Moto in Mr. Moto's Last Warning. As a film, the best of the three (ok, the only one I watched to the end) but still, it's... Peter Lorre being Peter Lorre with glasses and partially blacked out teeth. Possibly worse was George Sanders pretending to be French, or maybe Italian... I'm still not sure which.
Worse: Boris Karloff as Mr. Wong in Mr. Wong: Detective. It's... Boris Karloff.
Worst: Bela Lugosi as the bad guy in The Mysterious Mr. Wong. It's... Bela Lugosi. Y'know... Hungarian is barely related to other European languages, much less any Asian ones. I dare you to summon the suspension of disbelief required to make this less than hideously jarring.
(Not in the running, but still the all-time worst: Mickey Rooney in Breakfast at Tiffany's.)

In my mind (if nowhere else) there's some sort of sliding scale of year vs. caricature that regulates my opinion of these things. Peter Sellers as Charlie Chan Sidney Wang in Murder by Death may be later than Breakfast at Tiffany's, but it's still not as bad. I mean, Yunioshi (Rooney's role) is a minor part in the film. Even in these low-budget low-brow films from the 30's & 40's, bit parts could be played by actual Asian people. Speaking of which... hello, Lotus Long:


Milo Perrier: What do you make of all of this, Wang?
Sidney Wang: Is confusing.
Lionel Twain: [from moose head] IT! IT is confusing! Say your goddamn pronouns!
...
Sidney Wang: Oh, there, voice come from cow on wall...
Lionel Twain: Moose, moose you imbecile!
essentialsaltes: (narrow)
You just can't make this stuff up. Representative Roddenbery of Georgia spoke out on the issue of 'traditional' marriage:

"No brutality, no infamy, no degradation [of the past] ... possessed such villainious character and such atrocious qualities as the provision of the laws of ... Massachusetts, and other states which allow the marriage of [same-sex couples].

[It] is repulsive and averse to every sentiment of pure American spirit. It is abhorrent and repugnant to the very principles of ... government. It is subversive of social peace. It is destructive of moral supremacy, and ultimately this ... will bring this nation a conflict as fatal as ever reddened the soil of Virginia or crimsoned the mountain paths of Pennsylvania.
... Let us uproot and exterminate now this debasing, ultra-demoralizing, un-American and inhuman leprosy."

Disgusting. Of course, you're all suspicious of all those freaking ellipses. And rightly so, since I have been lying to you. This did come from Representative Roddenbery. And it was in the House of Congress. And it was December 11th, '12. But it was 1912. But 100 years ago today, Roddenbery (D-GA) was speaking in favor of his Constitutional Amendment to ban interracial marriage. (Do have a look at what I elided, if you can bear it.)

One of the things I find most interesting is his prediction for the future, which was comically wrong. While interracial couples certainly faced legal opposition and stigma (and worse) for many more decades -- and that stigma hasn't entirely disappeared in some quarters, even 100 years later -- I think we can safely say that interracial marriage did not result in civil unrest equivalent to the Civil War. And the same is true of the sky-is-falling predictions of those who disapprove of same-sex marriage.
essentialsaltes: (jasmine)
Haaretz has gone behind a paywall, but the Guardian reports on the results of a recent poll in Israel. While certainly the current situation in Israel and the Occupied Territories is unusual in a variety of ways, I think the results show the dangers of a population considering themselves exceptional.
More than two-thirds of Israeli Jews say that 2.5 million Palestinians living in the West Bank should be denied the right to vote if the area was annexed by Israel, in effect endorsing an apartheid state...

...58% believe Israel already practises apartheid against Palestinians...

A third want Arab citizens within Israel [my emphasis; these are Israeli citizens] to be banned from voting in elections to the country's parliament. Almost six out of 10 say Jews should be given preference to Arabs in government jobs, 49% say Jewish citizens should be treated better than Arabs, 42% would not want to live in the same building as Arabs and the same number do not want their children going to school with Arabs.

Almost half the poll's respondents said Israeli Arabs should be transferred to the Palestinian Authority...


Obviously, since some of the figures hover around half the population, the results have also been met with dismay and criticism by many within Israel: 'A commentary by Gideon Levy, which accompanied the results of the poll, described the findings as disturbing. "Israelis themselves … are openly, shamelessly and guiltlessly defining themselves as nationalistic racists,"
"It's good to live in this country, most Israelis say, not despite its racism, but perhaps because of it. If such a survey were released about the attitude to Jews in a European state, Israel would have raised hell. When it comes to us, the rules don't apply."'

Etymological note: ghetto "was originally used in Venice derived from the word Borghetto, meaning Little Borgo, a cluster of homes and buildings often outside Italian city walls, to describe the area where Jews, tradespeople or agricultural workers were compelled to live."

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