Links for February 25th through March 13th

These are my links for February 25th through March 13th:

  • It’s the Little Things – Obama administration to end use of term ‘enemy combatant.’
  • It’s not all that complicated, really – In 1776, a corporation was formed. Its incorporating document invested a certain group of people with the ability to make certain decisions about the way that corporation should be run. One of the things this group was permitted to do was decide on fees that must be paid in order to own shares of that corporation.Somewhere along the line, the corporation’s executive and board have decided that these fees should be charged, in part, according to the number of shares owned by the individual shareholders; from another point of view, the fees are charged according to the dividend that the shareholders get from holding stock in the corporation.

    Thus, a “lucky ducky” whose benefit from being a shareholder is mostly intangible – sure, that person has life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, but that’s a baseline: the initial incorporators decided that – pays almost nothing for their meager shares. On the other hand, a “titan of industry”, who derives maximum benefit from the infrastructure set up from the corporation, including, quite often, direct cash payments from the share fees paid by others, has to pay a slightly higher percentage of his or her dividends in fees. In return, however, this corporation has a better chance of continuing to provide a very high return on investment to that titan of industry well into the future.

    You can’t get something for nothing, and that includes participation in the greatest nation in the world TEE EM.

  • LGBT issues MIA at Tavis Smiley’s State of the Black Union – Again, rendered invisible. It’s hard to believe, given the explosion of HIV/AIDS in the black community, that the 10th annual State of the Black Union (SOTBU) symposium, held last Saturday and broadcast on C-SPAN from Los Angeles, had not a single guest on to discuss that topic—or the controversy over Proposition 8 and homophobia the black vote, both real and perceived.
  • Some things you can’t take back – Rod Dreher flips out over the fact that teenagers are increasingly comfortable with experimental bisexuality. This alone isn’t shocking, but that he singled this fact out as more disturbing than murder is pretty surprising. It’s not surprising that he believes it—I suspect that Dreher, in his heart of hearts, thinks that you spend more time in hell for violating patriarchal gender roles than for killing. But that he’d admit it is funny. He tries to take it back in a few updates, but with his fingers crossed behind his back…
  • Non-funny satires and how we even know how to spot them – I haven’t seen “The Watchmen”, but I’ve read it, so if you haven’t done either, spoilers….I have to say, there’s one indication that “Watchmen’s” bid for world domination might have run into a huge obstacle, which is that it’s being marketed as a straightforward superhero movie, and many people who watch it are bewildered and upset by it. For instance, Antigone at Punkassblog finds the movie incredibly upsetting, because she didn’t realize going in that it’s a send-up of superhero movies. And thus she makes the mistake of assuming we’re supposed to identify with the protagonists, which isn’t the worst assumption to make, since that’s true of 100% of superhero movies before this one, I’m sure. And if you watch the movie assuming that you’re supposed to be siding with Rorschach and the Comedian or even Dr. Manhattan, I suspect you will wonder what kind of topsy-turvy fucked up world the writers and producers of this story live in.

    …how do you characterize a story like “The Watchmen”? I called it a satire at Punkassblog, but it’s not funny in any way, shape, or form, so it’s not recognizable as a satire, even as it fills all the other requirements. It plays with common tropes and exposes them to a dark form of ridicule, or at least examination. The other movie that comes to mind that’s analogous is “No Country For Old Men”, which uses the format of a crime thriller to question the narrative structures of a crime thriller, particularly the way that your typical crime thriller uses the darkest parts of humanity to guide you to a place where you feel pretty good about yourself and the main characters. Instead, you’re asked to consider violence something to truly despair over and identify with a protagonist who has no power in the world to stop it. Needless to say, the book of “The Watchmen” does the same thing, except I think Alan Moore is overtly hostile to comic book conventions, whereas the Coen Brothers were just trying to look at the same kind of movie from a different angle in “No Country”.

    Is it satire when it’s not funny? […] Superhero movies have played with conventions and played on the dark side for awhile now, but that doesn’t mean that they’re all that subversive.

    […] The point is that [the attempted rape of Silk Spectre I is] deliberately resistant to traditional narrative tropes about rape, because the whole point of “Watchmen” is to alternate between questioning and laying waste to these traditions. Thinking back to the book, it really is a scorched-earth approach.

  • The bitterness of wingnuttery distilled – I can only conclude this—“Bridezilla” has morphed from a term that describes women who go completely over the top when it comes to wedding planning, and now is a term that can be applied to any woman getting married at any time. Jessica wrote a book about all the double standards that women are subjected to, but it’s worth noting that we’re also subjected to a lot of double binds. I go over this a lot on my podcast, because I see a lot of examples of how women are both required to engage in sexual intercourse and shamed and punished for it. But this is an interesting double bind—there’s a lot of pressure on women to get married, but as soon as you start to live up to that cultural expectation, you are shamed for thinking that you deserve the honor of getting married, and now it seems that showing even the slightest bit of interest in your own nuptials makes you a Bridezilla. But showing no interest at all would make you a heartless feminazi. Femininity is the overarching double bind. If you reject some requirement of it, you are a transgressor of gender norms, and that incurs people’s wrath. But if you live up to any kind of standard of femininity, then you’re a target for mockery and shaming, as well, because caring about feminine things makes you a shallow bimbo.Ace of Spades comes right out and pretty much states that women, by definition, are shallow pieces of shit who don’t care about anything but showing off.
  • “Some Democrats”: Infinity Personified – …the narrative of the next year’s already set – Obama was overambitious, overextended and unfocused, and even Democrat(s) agree.
  • Don’t worry! Stab yourself in the eye! – …I have to add a few words about Bristol Palin choosing herself over her supposed inborn obligations to sacrifice for the patriarchy. There’s a lesson in all this for the Republicans, though I doubt they’ll pay attention to it. The louder they wail and moan about how people aren’t sufficiently self-sacrificing to bullshit ideals that serve no purpose, the more extreme they get (like Ken Blackwell just condemning sex outright and suggesting on national television that people who use contraception are animals), the more people are going to be turned off, and the more hysterical the base will get as they get more isolated from the rest of the country. One thing that’s interesting me is that they’re not being able to keep a lid on the most politically damaging implications of the pro-patriarchy worldview—it’s easy enough to get ordinarily sexist swing voters on board with your agenda if they think women are the only targets, but since women and men’s lives are so intertwined, it’s pretty hard to hide forever that the Patriarchy Hurts Men, Too.This Bristol Palin/Levi Johnston situation is unmanageable for just that reason. Right wingers have gotten a lot of mileage out of demonizing female (and gay male) sexuality and wailing about single mothers, but it’s only effective as long as men can be painted as the victims of evil liberated women. But when a genuine white daughter of Republican privilege turned up pregnant at 17, and they had to put their money where their mouths were, it all went to hell. Because it’s not as simple as the woman fucked, the woman must pay. There’s a man in the picture, and he’s not so easy to classify as the victim of women’s liberation. “She” who did the wrong is now “they” who did it, and it’s really exposing how ugly and anti-human the whole pro-patriarchy movement that’s keeping the Republicans afloat is. […]

    Inevitably, the logic of sexism turns around and bites men, too. You can only conceal for so long that women’s liberation has more benefits for most men than drawbacks. Doing more dishes than maybe you had to in the past is a small price to pay for not being forced to get married to someone who hates you at 19 out of duty.

  • Stewart vs. Cramer – The Daily Show has been getting on my nerves big time lately, with the sexism and the fat jokes and the Girls Gone Wild advertising, but this shit is pretty good…
  • Here Comes the Bride(s)… – How to have a feminist and queer-friendly wedding.
  • How Odd – The misplacement of stories about various injustice done to women in the Odd News section strikes me as one of those nuances of sexism that many men don’t notice or understand. To have women’s experiences like this trivialized as “Odd News” is just infuriating, and being obliged to think about someone chuckling over the hilarious oddity of girls being forced into marriage and raped at 13 can make a gal angry as fuck, particularly as she recognizes that the constant positioning of humiliated women as the butt of jokes humiliates us all. […]The real cost of sexism to women is not in our paying a single emotional penny here for this insult and a single emotional penny there for that disgrace, but in the cumulative negative balance it leaves inside each of us. Even if we let this thing or that thing roll off of the thickened skins of our backs, we pay another penny each time; letting it roll off your back is just another way of saying keep your complaints to yourself, but it doesn’t change the reality that sexism takes its toll, whether one has the ill manners of mentioning the offense or not.
  • Five Domestic Abuse Myths – …this (shockingly) good Newsweek article by Raina Kelley about domestic abuse myths, specifically framed around “Five mistakes we make when we talk about Rihanna and Chris Brown’s relationship.” I was particularly pleased with Kelley’s takedown of the evo-psych bullshit that women are genetically disposed to return to abusive relationships.One thing I’d like to note with regard to the myth of provocation, and the issue of victim-blaming, is that they can really only flourish in the absence of any discussion of the institutional misogyny inherent to a patriarchal system. Brown’s cousin, Phylicia Thompson, is quoted in the article saying, “Chris was not brought up to beat on a woman. So it had to be something to provoke him for Chris to do it,” the clear implication being that Rihanna provoked him. […]

    I don’t doubt Thompson’s assessment that Brown “was not brought up [by his family] to beat on a woman,” but he was nonetheless brought up in a culture that tacitly condones domestic violence in myriad ways, starting with the routine dehumanization of women and treating images and incidents of their victimization as entertainment and humorous news-fodder.

    We’re all socialized in that madness, and we need to talk about that, and how that corrupts men, in order for us to ever stop looking at men’s victims as the source of their provocation.

  • Random Observation – One of the strangest things about maintaining a blog in which so much of the content is detailed deconstruction of material that’s misogynistic and rapetastic and homophobic and racist and otherwise ugly is that I’m constantly in the process of creation concerning stuff I want to smash with a hammer.
  • I Am Now in a Permanent State of Creeped Out – I don’t think I’ll ever stop throwing up. I don’t know what’s worse: my outrage at these girls being fucking brainwashed into being slaves for men in the name of God, or my extreme gross-out at the girls being made to do this for their fathers. The purity balls had some sort of mention of future marriage; this is simply treating daddy like hubby. Shaving is an act that’s a bit intimate to share with your daughter. Eew.
  • Oh Dear – Transcript:Ricky Gervais: Blah blah something totally inappropriate.

    Elmo: Zuh? Buh? Wuh?

    Gervais: Blah blah something totally inappropriate.

    Elmo: OMG my thin veil of professional children’s entertainer is falling.

  • Massive Dose of the Cutez! – Baby kangaroo/small dog interspecies snorgling.
  • Important Announcement – Appropriate and necessary use of the word rape: To describe what has happened to someone who has been forced or coerced into a sex act.Inappropriate and unnecessary use of the word rape: To describe what has “been done to you” by the IRS and/or US Government by requiring you to pay taxes.

    Important Corollary, subject to same rules as Important Announcement #10: If you are a rape apologist and/or teller of rape jokes, you are not a progressive; you’re a fauxgressive.

    [This announcement will be made annually during tax season until further notice.]

  • Rape Culture: Watchmen Edition – There are so many things wrong with Hayter’s letter that I can’t even point them all out. […]He thinks fans of Rorschach, who’s a sociopath, are a good audience to court. In the beginning of his letter, Hayter implies that he’s read Watchmen many times; it seems he hasn’t read it enough. […]

    …in Hayter’s mind, rape is something that happens to Others, i.e. women, and so it’s not real to him (see the discussion in comments here); and that women’s function is sex, so that must be why Sally “come[s] back, eventually” to the Comedian. Hayter probably also believes that the Comedian/Sally scene is what rape “normally” looks like: a man, probably a stranger or an acquaintance rather than an intimate, overtly using physical force to overpower a struggling, protesting woman while muttering clichés about how she’s dressed. That’s another clever trick of rape culture: teaching us that only the least frequent forms of rape count as “real” rape.

  • Beck Is Off the Rails – So, according to Glenn Beck, murderous rampages are the inevitable consequence of conservatives not getting what they want. Never mind that we’ve no idea whether the man in question was a conservative; it’s easy enough to presume a white man from Alabama is a conservative just to make the point that his killing spree is all liberals’ fault.Pretty dim view of his fellow conservatives Beck’s advancing there (which is to say nothing of his opinion of liberals, but that’s hardly news). He’s unapologetically suggesting they’re borderline nuts and on a hair-trigger, pushed beyond the edge of sanity in less than 100 days of a presidential administration that doesn’t pander to their every whim—and yet his contention is that liberals treat conservatives like shit. Interesting. Anyone remember Beck being concerned that liberals would go on a death bender during the eight years of Bush rule when liberals weren’t just “disenfranchised” and not being listened to or heard, but called traitorous? Yeah, me neither. But he’ll cast conservatives as unstable fuckos without hesitation to score a dubious political point. (With whom? The unstable fuckos. Great plan.)
  • What a Shocker! – So now that the Dems are back on top, Joe Lieberman is “open to” rejoining the party.Of course he is.
  • Friday Blogaround – The Red Queen: Getting Out Is Never EasyRenee: Big Girl Panties and the Cycle of Victimology

    Yolanda: Bearing Arms

    Resistance: Who Falls Under “People”

    Echidne: And Some More Happy News

  • Corrective Rape (with Action Item) -
  • Baen’s Free Library Offers Fast Elves, Squatting Ladies [Lunchtime Reading] -
  • Open thread 120 – Irritatingly, “mores” is one of those words that doesn’t have a singular (like “measles” and “smithereens”). The Latin is mos, plural mores. Hence the saying that, if you travel too much, you’ll effectively be a stranger everywhere, unfamiliar with the customs of your own country as much as with those of any other: a rolling stone gathers no mos.
  • Victoria Strauss — Authors Guild Alert on “Text to Speech” Function of Kindle 2 – This presents a significant challenge to the publishing industry. Audiobooks surpassed $1 billion in sales in 2007; e-book sales are just a small fraction of that. While the audio quality of the Kindle 2, judging from Amazon’s promotional materials, is best described as serviceable, it’s far better than the text-to-speech audio of just a few years ago.
  • So You’d Like To Be An Explosion Scientist [Cool Science] -
  • The Last Watchmen Story You Need Ever Read [Watchmen] -
  • Help Send Readers Back In Time With Octavia Butler [Octavia Butler] -
  • How to Blog for a Global Audience -
  • Pet Peeves: An Open Letter to “Pregnant” Dads – Additionally, if your partner underwent the hell of IVF, with its rage- and depression-inducing hormones, frequent injections with huge horse needles and “egg retrieval” procedures so invasive they require general anesthesia, while you merely wanked into a cup, we strongly caution you never to say the offending phrase.
  • “Sexting” is Not to Blame For SexISM – But did “sexting” drive Jesse to kill herself – as this story reports in its headline – or did relentless slut-shaming and harassment send her over the edge? In all the stories about this incident, the blame is put squarely on the medium (mobile phones) rather than the behavior of Jesse’s peers. Slut-shaming has been around a lot longer than text messaging. Yet Cynthia Logan is not railing against the misogyny hurled at her daughter, just the “sexting” trend that presumably led to the harassment.The moral panic about “sexting” does not get to the root of the problem: boys using girls’ sexuality against them, and a general culture of slut-shaming among people of all sexes. Yes, “sexting” makes it a lot more convenient for lovers to share sexy photos with each other (and the rest of the world), but the technology did not create the hostile atmosphere Jesse Logan faced. Furthermore, the language used by Cynthia Logan and the writers who’ve reported on the story (”ramifications of their actions”) suggests that severe harassment is the natural consequence girls will face when they “sext” someone. In other words: boys will be boys.
  • But I Would Like to Have Had a School Uniform – Plenty of ink has been spilled in the last ten years about how there’s a “boy crisis,” and how that’s largely fostered by school, which, with its sit-down-and-focus ways, is inherently hostile to boys’ “natural” inclinations? (Which prompts me to ask: why then were girls excluded from it for hundreds of years? Wasn’t that because all that sit-down-and-focus stuff was hostile to girls’ “natural” inclinations? It was? Huh. How ’bout that.) So I’m a little skeptical about the fact that nearly all the male voices quoted in the article–a principal, the teacher, a student’s father, and a student–seem strongly in favor of single-sex classes, compared to the women–the president of NOW, a law professor focussed on educational opportunity, and the teacher–who are more skeptical, or at least concerned about how single-sex ed will play out beyond the classroom.
  • Feminist Food for Thought – This, I find, is the hardest thing to get across when doing feminist criticism: I am not making a claim about the superiority of women, necessarily. I am making a claim about the inadequacy of the male experience to capture everything, sure. But that has absolutely nothing to do with whether my own limited experience can “better” speak for the masses.
  • Quote of The Day – “I sign this order not just as a president, but as a son, as a grandson, a husband and a father. I saw my grandmother work her way up to become one of the first women bank vice presidents in the state of Hawaii, but I also saw how she hit a glass ceiling—how men no more qualified than she was kept moving up the corporate ladder ahead of her.”—President Obama, in front of a mostly female audience of activists and lawmakers in the East Room of the White House, during the ceremony to announce the formation of the White House Council on Women and Girls. [Video]
  • Read These Now Before Sen. Vitter Berates You – President Obama signs a $410 billion spending bill with a signing statement.A Kentucky bill that would ban adoption by unmarried couples is dead. (Courier-Journal)

    Maryland lawmakers take up gay marriage bill. (365 Gay)

    San Francisco archbishop bans gay play from ‘inclusive’ church. (Pink News)

    Charlie Vázquez interviews Mona Mason on Transgender Equality and Jerkaphillia.

    Senator Vitter’s new play, “DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM?” premieres at the Dulles International Airport. (The Hill)(CNN) The Petulant Times describes it “as one man’s journey of angst from Pampers to Depends.”

    Neel Kashkari, “Treasury Department official who directs the financial industry bailout said Wednesday that the government should not manage operations for banks that received government money.” (CQ)

    An ex-Biopure executive fakes cancer to avoid federal securities regulators. (AP via Yahoo)

    OH PLEASE! Cardinal James Francis Stafford told Vatican Radio that “bad bankers” must ask god’s pardon. (Reuters)

    Are rights universal? (Comment is Free)

    Cassandra: Plight of the sardines. (TimesOnline)

    The Ancient World’s Longest Underground Aqueduct.

    Filming begins on the ABFAB remake. I will refrain from any comments about this potential blasphemy because Jennifer Saunders is working behind the scenes.

    So sad… young love rarely lasts. (Radar)

    “A new testosterone patch, designed to pep up a woman’s flagging sex drive after womb and ovary removal, may not work, and its long term safety is not proven.” (Science Daily)

  • Watchmen Screenwriter Begs You To See It Again [Watchmen] – Is this the first time the maker of a film has ever suggested that his movie raped the audience?
  • File-Sharing Your Genome with the World [Evolution] – The first few genomes that the Personal Genome Project has sequenced will soon be available via BitTorrent, using a system developed by ProteomeCommons. The genomes are being released under a Creative Commons Zero (CC0) agreement, which places zero restrictions on how people use the data.Wilibanks explained that the genomes themselves would not be CC licensed, since you can’t copyright genomic data – but all the notes and information about the genomes would be available to the public. And the public is welcome to use the genomic data however they wish. Ultimately, he suggested, making the data available in such an accessible manner encourages scientists to share their research findings and may discourage companies from locking up the information in dubious patents.
  • Bamboo Review: Watchmen – The comic book-y look to it all was the smart choice. If the book “Watchmen” is about other comic books, then the movie should be about other superhero movies, which you can’t do without grounding it in the look that indicates that’s what it is.
  • abyss2hope: A rape survivor’s zigzag journey into the open: Proof That Men Who Say Rape Is Only A Women’s Issue Are Fools -
  • Gay Rights Activist Questions Hillary Clinton at EU – Towleroad, More than gay news. -
  • Media Matters – Why don’t we just pretend Rush Limbaugh has 50 million listeners? – And how amazing is this: Limbaugh in 1993 claimed he had 20 million listeners, and in 2009 the press is still mouthing the same statistic. Meaning that, until recently, Limbaugh’s audience hadn’t budged — not up, not down — in 16 years.. Obviously that doesn’t pass any kind of smell test.
  • Good Morning! The World Sucks. – Here’s the point, in case anyone hasn’t cottoned on by now: It doesn’t matter if you’re a raped little girl facing imminent death, or an elderly woman just being brought a bit of bread, or a woman who asserts her independence, or a woman who plays by the pornifying rules of the patriarchy, or a woman who looks good, or a woman who looks bad, or a woman who flirts, or a woman who turns a man away, or any kind of woman at all, really: No matter what happens to you, it’s your fucking fault and you fucking deserved it, you dirty whore.
  • Watchmen: Open Geek Thread – Ultimately, the alternative-universe, we-won-Vietnam, Nixon-as-five-term-pres stuff just seemed like a weird distraction and unnecessary complication. But, without it, Watchmen is just a middling superhero pic about trying to save the world, its only distinguishing feature from other middling superhero pics about trying to save the world being a huge blue dong.
  • Watchmen: The Triggering – But the most triggering scene for me, which I’ve not even seen mentioned in any discussion of the sexual assault content of Watchmen, is the scene in which Dr. Manhattan and Laurie are having sex, and the camera is on Laurie’s face as…
  • Love. This. – I love this PSA from the White House’s fatherhood initiative for all the reasons Tracey outlines here, most notably…
  • Love. This. – I love this PSA from the White House’s fatherhood initiative for all the reasons Tracey outlines here, most notably…
  • Quote of the Day – In case you were under the mistaken assumption that the GOP is interested in anything other than being obstructionist wankers, or that they might be putting forth an alternative agenda with new and innovative ideas to help America, they are officially not.Have a nice day.
  • L&O:SVU – The problem with L&O:SVU is ultimately this: If it reflected the reality of sexual assault, it would be a “boring” show. Woman gets raped; it’s her boyfriend. Woman gets raped; it’s her male lab partner. Girl gets raped; it’s her stepdad. Woman gets raped; it’s her male date. Girl gets raped; it’s her male teacher. Girl gets raped; it’s her dad. Woman gets raped; it’s her male boss. Woman gets raped; it’s a guy she met at a bar. Woman gets raped; it’s her male coworker. Boy gets raped; it’s his male scout leader. Girl gets raped; it’s her male soccer coach. Woman gets raped; it’s her ex-boyfriend…We’d have to go on a long way like that before we got to a female assaulter or a false accusation. It would even be awhile before we got to a stranger rape on the street (or in Central Park, ahem); women are three times more likely to be raped by someone they know than a stranger, and nine times more likely to be raped in their home, the home of someone they know, or anywhere else than being raped on the street.

    Further, if L&O:SVU reflected the reality of sexual assault across the nation, much of the drama would be in the sexual assault victims trying to get the cops to believe them and investigate their assault. But it’s a show about hero cops, whose infrequent disbelief of their victims either turns out to be well-founded, or evokes in them great shame after they’ve endeavored to do their job despite their doubts and prove themselves wrong. In real life, cops who don’t believe you don’t investigate.

    Not like Benson and Stabler do, anyway.

    Especially not if you have the temerity of being an imperfect rape victim, like having been voluntarily intoxicated at the time, being a sex worker, lacking physical evidence, or appearing more angry and pragmatic or less upset and humiliated than the officer who takes your statement expects a “real” rape victim to be.

  • Quote of the Day – “I haven’t the foggiest idea what these people are talking about.”—My pal Steve Benen, on the inexplicable shock being expressed by conservative culture warriors that Democratic President Barack Obama is pursuing a Democratic agenda.I haven’t either, Steve. Let’s not try too hard to figure it out, lest our heads explode in twin clouds of mystification.
  • More SCOTUS Fuckery – The hat tip goes to Shaker Siobhan, who notes that the best line in the article is when Loyola Law School election-law specialist Richard Hasen dryly notes: “There might be a slight Republican benefit to this decision.”Ya think?
  • One Big Bag of STFU for Mr. Trump, Please – It’s not that I’m surprised Donald Trump would actually say something that fucking contemptible; it’s that I can’t believe I have to live on a planet where anyone is asked to publicly comment on the decisions of an assault victim…
  • Wednesday Blogaround – Recommended Reading:Leigh: Gender-based Violence Skyrockets Among Poorest Katrina Evacuees

    Sady: Oh, dear. It seems that, once again, I may have failed to appeal sexually to each and every member of the male gender.

    Jill: Honoring Abusers at the Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards

    Monica: Pecah Lobang

    Mannion: President Obama and the Teacher Meter

    Lauren: I Don’t Find This Funny

  • Mmm…Womany! – I fervently hope that the [new White House Council on Women and Girls] will be a functional and important addition to the administration and not one of the many sops of a similar nature various White Houses have thrown to marginalized constituencies in the past. Because if it does become something tangible and influential, that would be extremely exciting.Relatedly, a new post in the State Department has been created “to tackle global women’s issues.”
  • A World On Fire, As Seen From Space [Disaster] – Over the past few days, hundreds of wildfires in Laos, Burma and Thailand have grown so large that their smoke can be seen from space.
  • Easter Eggs (And Missing Parts) In Watchmen’s Titles [Watchmen] – The beautiful title sequence to Watchmen is loaded with secret references that couldn’t fit into the film (like the entire history of the Minute Men). Check what you may have missed and what got cut.Everybody wants to know more about Zack Snyder’s title scene from Watchmen and interestingly enough it was one of the first things that got the director rolling on this project.
  • The Coming Collapse Of Evangelical Christianity? [Future Of Religion] – According to Spencer, there are a few reasons for evangelicalism’s dire prospects. Evangelicals focused too much on the culture war, and didn’t spend enough time on promoting a compelling theology. And the only thriving churches are “megachurches.”
  • Download Kim Stanley Robinson’s Red Mars For Free! [Kim Stanley Robinson] -
  • Post-Apocalyptic Movies Should Point The Way To Utopia [Quote Of The Day] -
  • What Does Watchmen’s Weekend Mean? [Watchmen] -
  • The Unlimited Freelancer [Ebook Review] -
  • Download “Imprezz”, A Free WordPress Theme -
  • Two months into the era of Obama – It still surprises me every time I get an email from Barack Obama in my inbox. The President is communicating with me?!? Really? Obviously it’s not actually Barack sending me messages, but the fact that he has staff dedicated to communicating with millions of Americans is pretty incredible in and of itself.After Obama won, the emails didn’t stop. It’s so logical, yet so groundbreaking. I would posit that Obama is the first President to keep his campaign machine alive–now it’s called Organizing for America. Brilliant.
  • Trigger By Void – The female characters [on Lost] routinely find themselves isolated with unknown men, many of whom are violent and unethical, but never is there a suggestion that the women would be in any particular physical danger separate from their male allies.Lost is a perfect example of a show that doesn’t want to be “one of those kinds of shows,” so it just ignores the reality altogether.

    And it’s a tricky sort of conundrum—it’s not like I want my favorite show to be triggering, but, on the other hand, the premise lends itself so strongly to a situation which, in real life, would be a distinct sexual assault risk for women, that ignoring the subject for five years speaks as loudly as dealing with it head-on.

    It’s a weird phenomenon, the trigger by void. I’m certainly not the only woman who is prompted to thoughts of sexual assault by the absence of its threat in situations where it would exist in reality; I’ve been watching films/shows with female friends in which we openly laughed at the total lack of menace experienced by a token girl. (“Wouldn’t that be nice?!”)

    In one sense, it’s just another one of a million ways in which women’s experiences don’t comprehensively manifest onscreen; in another sense, the void is so deeply dishonest that it becomes itself a nifty little bit of rape apology, by suggesting rape isn’t nearly as ubiquitous as those darn feminists would have us believe.

    As pernicious as are the narratives that the token girl is exceptional, superior to girls who spend their time with other girls, and insulated from the nefarious machinations of other girls, the most dangerous narrative of all may be that the token girl is safe.

    It wouldn’t be so terrible to contemplate if I hadn’t read so goddamned many survivor’s stories that start out with a sentence like, “I was the only girl in a group of friends…”

  • Dday: Employee Free Choice Showdown Begins (Hullabaloo) – The Employee Free Choice Act has nothing to do with the secret ballot. It has to do with real punishment for illegal worker intimidation and firings on the part of management, and the decision for who gets to set a union election process. Under current law, management gets to make that decision and then game the system through union-busting. Under the Employee Free Choice Act, workers make the decision either to use majority sign-up or a general election. And a minority of workers, as low as 30%, get to overrule the majority if they want a ballot. Buffett doesn’t want you to know that because it’s easier to demonize unions by saying “they want to take your secret ballot away.”Of course, the real problem with passage of the bill is not Warren Buffett but a small sliver of Senators whose support is wavering. […]

    Economic recovery is going to require a lot of factors, but certainly one of them is wage increases for a broader middle class. Inequality has led to a perverse and unsustainable economic structure. Historically rises in union membership are closely tied to rises in overall wages. The Employee Free Choice Act is not just a matter of basic fairness, but an economic imperative.

  • Prince Charles: we have 100 months to save the world – Telegraph – The Prince of Wales is to issue a stark warning that nations have “less than 100 months to act” to save the planet from irreversible damage due to climate change.
  • Read These Now Before Pat Buchanan Screams Even More -
  • Sooo… -
  • Are We Evolving Backwards? [Mad Science] – Scientists have discovered the first “resurrected” gene in human DNA – a gene that went inert during our evolution only to become active again in our current state. What does this mean for evolution?Cemalettin Bekpen, a PostDoctorate Fellow at the University of Washington’s Genome Sciences department, has discovered that humans possess IRGM, one of the IRG mouse immunity family of genes, despite the fact that it had previously been evolutionary extinguished long ago; apparently, a retrovirus called ERV9 revived it. According to Bekpen, this discovery opens the door to the possibility that all of the other dormant genes in our bodies may also one day reactivate…
  • Targeted Anti-Natalism from Kaiser Permanente – Sociological Images has two versions of a Kaiser pamphlet for pregnant women. The English-language version congratulates the woman on her pregnancy, and lists a series of options (six different classes). The Spanish-language version says “You’re going to have a baby!” and invites the reader to three of the six classes offered to English-speakers: A series of pre-natal care classes, a hospital tour, and a class on sterilization. The English-language pamphlet mentions sterilization as one option among six; the Spanish-language pamphlet highlights it.
  • Who’s apologizing to who now? – [Shorter Jill: Limbaugh gets away with being a disgusting racist, but Michael Steele doesn’t get away with calling Limbaugh an entertainer. –Lee.]
  • The next step for fair pay – While the Ledbetter law preserves the right to seek legal redress, the Paycheck Fairness Act would provide the tools necessary to give new teeth to equal pay laws, and provide incentives for businesses to follow the law in the first place.
  • Not Assvertising! – This is the first trans-inclusive ad for a mainstream service of any type that I’ve ever seen, and on those grounds is pretty exciting. The ad doesn’t normalize the woman’s identity; in fact, the storyline rests entirely upon the premise that she is different and her community recognizes it. Furthermore, the bank then shamelessly self-promotes for being so progressive—don’t we all want to bank with these inclusive capitalists, etc. However, it frankly discusses transphobia while encouraging open conversation. It portrays someone coming to terms with their own prejudice and actually apologizing for it. And for that, it deserves recognition.
  • Get Up Off My Minutes – Oh, my God – some guy at a homeless shelter took a picture of Michelle Obama on his cell phone. Now, keep in mind that nobody knows who this guy is (meaning that he could have worked there, or been volunteering, or just been some dude that heard Michelle Obama was there, or he could have also been homeless/poor), which hasn’t stopped conservatives from declaring him The Worst Drunken Negro In The World.
  • Obama Bets Big on Sweeping Health Care Reform in 2009 – This means Obama has two choices: (1) accomplish the sweeping goal he’s laying out; or (2) make it clear through an aggressive use of the bully pulpit that he’s doggedly on the job, in the event Congress balks and thwarts the effort. If he can’t do either one of these things, with (1) clearly being preferable to (2), voters will hold him accountable.Significantly, the reform must be ambitious for him to get credit. He’s referencing Teddy Roosevelt, 100 years of health buildup, and deriding “tinkering.” Voters will know the difference between a tinker and change you can believe in, and Obama seems to understand that.

    The speech is clearly one the White House feels good about. Calling the exploding cost of health care, “one of the greatest threats… to the very foundation of our economy,” Obama blames “failures of will, or Washington politics, or industry lobbying” as the culprit for the current crisis.

    As has become a recent trademark, Obama cites an election mandate to justify the aggressive goal.

  • Hoping He Fails? – Republican “holds” in the Senate, Bloomberg reports, are preventing two key economists from joining the President’s Council of Economic Advisers. […]Goolsbee, who has a reputation for competence and centrism, and Rouse, who specializes in education policy, are hardly the most controversial figures. Unless one of them has tax or nanny problems, they are likely to be approved by unanimous consent. If there were ever a time when our country needed economists like a fire needs firefighters, this is it. […]

    The real reason is probably simply that there’s a leadership vacuum in the Republican party. […]

    But if someone wanted to make the case that the Republicans were actively trying to promote the Administration’s failure, they’d be hard pressed to find a better example.

  • Gender stereotypes and mental illness – Researchers in the US have found people discriminate more against people with mental illnesses, if that illness matches gender stereotypes.
  • Quote of the Day – “When is a tax cut for 98 percent of taxpayers portrayed as a tax increase? When some of the small handful of people whose taxes will go up happen to control the nation’s news media.”—Jamison Foser
  • Feminist Food For Thought: Alice Walker – “Womanist is to feminist as purple is to lavender.”
  • The Right’s Favorite Scapegoat – What do low-income women and families really need in these dire economic times? Certainly not prenatal and maternal health care services, contraception, STD testing and treatment or cancer screenings. Good thing Senator David Vitter (yes, that one) has mounted an attack on the country’s leading source of reproductive health care information and services: Planned Parenthood. […]Why, what could a “pro-life” Senator Vitter possibly have against an organization that’s helped to reduce the US abortion rate? According to the Guttmacher Institute, publicly funded family planning servcies prevent 1.94 million unintended pregnancies each year, pregnancies that would otherwise result in 860,000 unintended births, 810,000 abortions and 270,000 miscarriages. And in fact, Title X funds may not be used in programs where abortion is a method of family planning. They are used for prenatal care for pregnant women. But healthy moms and babies don’t fit into the “pro-life” agenda.
  • This could only get better if Limbaugh puts together an exploratory committee – Ideally, Limbaugh and his massive ego will consume every other member of the Republican Party like some hokey B movie vampire, only to burn into a crisp once the sunlight of public opinion hits him.
  • Fundie feels the need to create ‘Christian’ alternative to kosher salt – The salt comes in packages with bright red crosses on it. He appears to be so into “Christian” alternatives to all things Jewish that he is contemplating a line of Christian-branded rye bread, bagels and pickles. I’m not kidding.
  • McCain and Dowd: Objectively pro-Biblical plagues – Look, if you don’t believe modern people, remember that plagues of locusts were sufficiently awful enough to be included in the horror show sections of the Bible. So there you have it—faced with a plague that they should remember from the Bible, if nothing else, McCain and Dowd both are too busy Twittering and twittering to do something as hard as think or remember. Which just makes Dowd’s ridiculous comparisons of McCain’s tweets to King Lear’s speeches even more irritating, because she apparently is too important to give a shit about understanding the works she cites. Yes, Lear and McCain are both cranky old men. That’s where the comparisons stop. If anything, McCain’s vicious tweeting in protest of government spending on our people, our infrastructure, and our future is the direct opposite of Lear’s famous speech in Act 3…
  • Galtin’: The Bow-Out Gang – “Going Galt” is demeaning to the very idea of America – that we make a valuable contribution to society by being good citizens, working hard and raising families and anything else you’d put in a Norman Rockwell painting…
  • North Carolina RNC member calls for Steele’s head -
  • The command-line phrasebook – Linux Format: “You can take a similar approach to the command line. There are times when it’s advantageous to ditch the graphical interface and get your hands dirty, but you don’t have to be a certified technical guru in order to do so. Some key commands and variations on them can get you by, just as you can get by overseas with just a few key phrases.”
  • Dereliction of Duty – The New York Times published a depressing and frightening graphic today titled “The Geography of a Recession” which represents the unemployment situation across the country, by county:[Image]

    Possibly even more scary is the accompanying article, in which the author makes some rather stunningly bad assertions based on alarmingly stupid premises.

  • The Language of Immigration, Continued – In between the disparate uses and meanings of “immigrant” and “ex-pat” (expatriate) falls everything that underlines the racism, classism, and xenophobia of the immigration debate in America.White, (relatively) wealthy, and English-speaking immigrants are ex-pats, with intramural rugby leagues and dues-drawing pub clubs and summer festivals set to the distant trill of bagpipes.

    Non-white, poor, and non-natively English-speaking immigrants are just immigrants.

  • Quote of the Day – This is what we’re dealing with in this country when it comes to violence against women. Usher suggests that maybe, just maybe, it’s a little bit callous to be taking a little public R&R before the bruises you left on a woman’s face have even healed, and, within days, he’s the one apologizing because, hey, he didn’t mean to pass judgment or anything.
  • Quote of the Day – “We consider this murder.”—Marcio Miranda, a lawyer for the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Olinda and Recife in northeastern Brazil, after a judge granted access to an abortion to a nine-year-old girl carrying twins after being raped by her stepfather.Though abortion is illegal in Brazil, judges can make exceptions based on extreme circumstances, like, for example, an 80-pound child whose uterus is too small to carry one fetus to term, no less two.

    Still, the Catholic Church wants to you know that this raped, impregnated, nine-year-old survivor of a life-saving surgical procedure to terminate her pregnancy is a murderer.

  • Gray Skies Are Gonna Clear Up… – Put on a gay face!Civil Union Bill Passes Illinois House Committee
  • IconDock Selects WordPress – …this beautifully designed site allows for the downloading of free icons and the purchasing of paid ones as well.
  • Watchmen Proves The Cold War Is An Alien World [Watchmen Review] – Watchmen, opening Friday, is a masterpiece of alienation. For a beautiful two hours and forty minutes, people freak out about nuclear holocaust – and you’re hard-pressed to care. I suspect that’s the point. Spoiler alert!
  • Posthuman Stories Are Creation Myths Turned Upside Down [Quote Of The Day] -
  • OCD kitty -
  • Wolverine Vs. Rorschach: “I’m A Marvel, I’m A DC” [Watchmen] -
  • Vote to Make Serenity Into a Real Space Vessel! [Space Race] -
  • Quantum physics cat . . . -
  • Blame The X-Men For California’s Prop 8 [Political Science (fiction)] -
  • John W. Campbell’s Worldview Became Reality In Isaac Asimov’s Lifetime [Quote Of The Day] -
  • Electro-kitten is -
  • A Chronic Dose: A Chronic Illness Blog: On Work and Chronic Illness -
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  • Op-Ed Columnist – Wars, Endless Wars – – The U.S. economy is in free fall, the banking system is in a state of complete collapse and Americans all across the country are downsizing their standards of living. The nation as we’ve known it is fading before our very eyes, but we’re still pouring billions of dollars into wars in Afghanistan and Iraq with missions we are still unable to define.Even as the U.S. begins plans to reduce troop commitments in Iraq, it is sending thousands of additional troops into Afghanistan. The strategic purpose of this escalation, as Defense Secretary Robert Gates acknowledged, is not at all clear.
  • Prop 8 Goes to Court – …it will be important to see how this court rules because it provokes a dilemma for the defenders of the status quo: if same-sex marriage is such a threat to the fabric of our society that they claim it is, how can they then argue that Prop 8 does not substantially revise the California state constitution? You can’t have it both ways. Either depriving an entire class of people of the right of equal protection under the law is a substantial revision, or it’s not. Unless, of course, you believe that gay and lesbian citizens aren’t worthy of equal protection in the first place. If that’s the case, we have a whole new ball game.The court will also decide whether or not the same-sex marriages performed when they were legal are still valid. I’m not a lawyer, but I think the concept of applying a law retroactively is contrary both to the letter and the spirit of our laws and Constitution. If the marriages were once legal and performed legally with all the proper forms filled out, the state shouldn’t be able to declare them invalid. It would be like passing an assault weapons ban and then trying to enforce it by going house to house and seizing any weapons that were purchased before the ban took effect. Let’s see how long the NRA and the gun-owners would stand for that.
  • The Word – The Word today is not good. How can Obama be for hope and change when his lawyers plead “state secrets” in court? For those who still suffer illusions, all presidents are conservative. No matter how liberal in appearance, a president will seek to conserve whatever executive powers accrue from his predecessors, no matter how dubious the arguments for those powers.
  • Speaking of Double Standards – Now, granted, picking on PETA for sexism is a little like complaining that Sports Illustrated’s swimsuit issue is heteronormative. But there’s a key difference. PETA’s main trick (when they’re not dabbling in racism and anti-Semitism) is humanizing animals by objectifying women (using the all-purpose excuse “sex sells,” and anyway their leader’s a woman so it can’t be sexist!). No group that cares so little about half the human race can convincingly profess to care about animals. I just don’t believe them.
  • Serious DOMA Challenge Under Way in MA – In October 2006, I posted about Dean Hara, the surviving spouse of openly gay Massachusetts Representative Gerry Studds, who was denied death benefits guaranteed to all other congressional spouses because the federal government does not recognize same-sex marriage. Hara and Studds were legally married in their home state of Massachusetts, which has legalized same-sex marriage, but the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) allows other states and the federal government to refuse to recognize the union.At the time, I noted the case was a perfect example of why the “states’ rights” argument about same-sex marriage is an intellectually bankrupt. Leaving each state, and the federal government, to recognize or not recognize same-sex marriage prevents even couples in states where same-sex marriage has been legalized from enjoying full equality, as the are yet denied federal benefits and are barred from relocating to any other state that doesn’t recognize their marriage.

    Well, now Dean Hara, along with fourteen other Massachusetts residents, is suing to challenge the constitutionality of DOMA.

  • Number of the Day – $249,999.00. The number to which a total fucking idiot attorney interviewed by a total fucking idiot reporter wants to reduce her salary to avoid Obama’s proposed tax increase on those making $250k or more.As J.Chait correctly notes, “the tax code doesn’t work that way. A tax increase affects the marginal dollar that a person gains. That’s means only every dollar over $250,000 is taxed at a higher rate. Obama is not proposing a tax system whereby somebody who goes from $249,999 to $250,000 suddenly becomes poorer. Nobody has ever enacted a tax hike like that in the history of the United States.”
  • Hmm – So the AP reports that an arrest warrant has been issued in association with the 2001 murder of Chandra Levy, and either the AP or Yahoo News sticks the report under the headline: “Warrant issued for immigrant in Chandra Levy death.”For immigrant?

    It’s accompanied by a mugshot of the suspect, a brown-skinned Salvadoran man named Ingmar Guandique. Clearly, we’re meant to infer that he is an undocumented immigrant, and he may be, although the story never says that.

    I’m going to go out on a limb and guess if Iain made the headlines for some reason, he wouldn’t be referred to as “immigrant,” despite the fact that he is one. And I’m further going to go out on a limb and suggest that’s related to the fact that when people have said nasty shit about “immigrants” around me, and I point out I’m married to an immigrant, they explain to me like I’m the fucking idiot that he’s not “that kind” of immigrant.

    But the immigration debate in this country has nothing to do with racism, of course.

  • GOP = Grovel to One Person -
  • YOUR PRAYERS HAVE BEEN ANSWERED MARINE BIOLOGISTS! – [Pink dolphin. I say again: Pink. Dolphin. Truly, these are the end times. –Lee.]
  • Michael Chabon, Matt Fraction, and the Nerd Cultural Insurgency (NCI) [Nerd Cultural Insurgency] – This narrative was framed within a larger story of a kind of nerd cultural insurgency by which the literary and artistic worlds are gradually being made safe for geekdom.
  • Get Psychoanalyzed By Rorschach [Watchmen] – Warner Brothers has just released their 10-minute long interactive Watchmen trailer, where Rorschach asks you what you see on his ink-blot test. [This is not a disturbing idea at all. –Lee. (/sarcasm)]
  • At Last Microsoft Has Upgraded Clippie To Personal Lady Slave [Reinventing Slavery] – Apparently there is no option to turn Laura into “Bill” or “Ray.” I’m excited that Microsoft has finally figured out a way to create something that is not only more annoying than Clippie, but also genuinely disturbing.
  • A New Doctor Deserves A New Tardis [Doctor Who] – The decision was, according to the paper, made by incoming showrunner Stephen Moffat, in part to make sure that the time machine will look good in high-definition.
  • Stan Lee’s New Mission: To Make British Children Cry [Who Wants To Be A Superhero] – The British version of Stan Lee’s reality TV series Who Wants To Be A Superhero is under fire for sending many hopeful super-kids in tears. Oh Stan, how could you?Thirteen children cast in the reality program are competing to have their character made into a comic strip. Each one child is eliminated by being “powered down,” but only after a panel of judges have ripped apart the child’s superhero performance. Which is a great way to encourage imagination and creative thought – by telling children their ideas are crap. So far two children have broken down on camera when their characters were cut or “powered down.”

    Three child psychologists, quoted in the Daily Mail, took real issue with the show’s rough treatment of the children.

    The show’s winner will travel to LA to meet Lee himself, who I can only assume will have to piece together the fragile shattered psyche of the poor child long enough to write a comic about his/her make-believe character.

  • Unapologetically Female: GameStop Teaches Employees How to Talk to Female Customers -
  • Arizona Legislature Considers Numerous Abortion Restrictions : The Curvature -
  • Everything is Funamentally Changed Forever – – The Republican Party and the conservative movement got their collective asses kicked by a Democratic movement that looked nothing like the people who’d been bullied around and cowed since 1994. And it’s a new and unexpected thing, changing the post-Republican Revolution narrative that was supposed to change politics for a generation. An unpopular radio host spoke to a small gathering of rabid conservative activists, told them what they wanted to hear, and happened to do it on the same weekend that a handful of small protests convened around the country against a bill which the American public largely support. Their argument is laden with the heavy conservative narrative of paranoia and convoluted backstory, simultaneously reinforced and denied as inklings of their own futility seep through.The conservative movement, however, is aided by one thing and one thing only – a media which views, at all times, the conservative viewpoint as the one which motivates and drives debate in America. If Democrats had put together tiny protests in early 2001, and Ed Schultz had spoken to 9,000 people at a MoveOn event, it would have been derided as the last gasp of a party left rudderless after a crushing electoral defeat, and Tony Blankley and JC Watts would have told us exactly why it was so bad for liberals. The conservative machine excels at one thing anymore, and that’s getting its chosen message on cable news and Sunday shows (when they have a message to get there). However, making fart noises and calling it the Gettysburg Address only gets you so far.
  • Paul Krugman – Op-Ed Columnist – Climate of Change – -
  • Time to acknowledge science’s debt to Islam? – science-in-society – 25 February 2009 – New Scientist -
  • The only thing Buttars did wrong was open his trap about the homos, say lawmakers -
  • A dramatic reading of Bobby Jindal’s 1994 ‘Beating a Demon’ exorcism paper -
  • I’d say it’s more Sears or Dillard’s than Claire’s – The other thing that’s missing is the fact that conservatives don’t actually hate the federal government’s massive power if it’s used towards their ends. The federal ability to tax citizens and streamline that money into the coffers of Halliburton and Blackwater doesn’t seem to bother right wing warriors, and certainly the all-out worship of the military is an important aspect of right wing mythology. True, the Bush administration took the anti-government, pro-corporate ideology so far that they tried to privatize the military, but I don’t think your average wingnut is cognizant of the extent of that problem, and generally they think that the Army, Navy, etc. are the best thing that’s ever happened in the history of things that have happened. I personally can’t think of a better example of federal power than the military, so clearly it’s not, for wingnuts, strictly a hostility to federal power.Really, the demonization of federal power makes no sense if you think it’s primary and prejudices like sexism and racism are secondary. […]

    The problem is that liberals tend to see feminism and anti-racism as side issues, when for our opposition, anti-feminism and racism are central, motivating concerns. […]

    Our opposition is organized in very fundamental ways around hating women and racial minorities. Really getting this is going to be incredibly important when it comes to the battle for universal health care.

  • 10 things to tell your kids when you’ve ditched windows for linux | Handle With Linux -
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  • How to Design a Dramatic Winged Dragon with Gimp | – Gimp , tutorials , brushes , downloads, forum. – In this tutorial, we will be taking a picture of a baby iguana and another picture of a bat and we will combine them to be a full-fledged dragon.
  • The Secret Origin Of Watchmen’s World-Building [Watchmen] – In the traditional superhero comic, you get the first issue where you meet the superhero and discover how he/she became super, says Gibbons. And then in the second issue, you see the superhero fighting more villains and discover more of why he/she wants to fight evil. Watchmen mixes up both those stories into one seamless whole.
  • Linux News: Business: Open Source, the Recession and the Lower-TCO Promise -
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  • GNOME Do: The King of Launchers – Do it with Do – Softpedia -
  • Creating an adhoc host with Ubuntu — Ubuntu Geek -
  • BleachBit – Cleans unnecessary files to free disk space and maintain privacy — Ubuntu Geek -
  • Download,Extract Audio From YouTube Videos using UTube Ripper in Ubuntu — Ubuntu Geek -
  • PrefixSuffix – Gui application that renames batches of files in Ubuntu — Ubuntu Geek -
  • The Battlestar Galactica Reboot You <i>Didn’t</i> See [Battlestar Galactica-ish] -
  • 9 Questions You May Have About Watchmen [Watchmen] -
  • The Seth Godin Interview: How to Become a Leader – * People want to belong, they want to be missed when they don’t show up.
    * Charisma doesn’t make you a leader, leading gives you charisma.
    * Most of all, people care about themselves.
    * Faith is belief in the future and it is critical. Religion is a set of rules designed to amplify faith at the same time it guarantees the status quo. As you can guess, heretics have a lot of faith, but not so much patience with religion. And heretics are the ones who make change.
    * When in doubt, work with small groups. If you can’t find 5 followers, how will you find 1000?
    * Talk to people with respect, don’t advertise at them.
    * Transparency is your only option, because the tribe will smell artifice.
  • Terminated: Why the Women of Wall Street Are Disappearing – – The high proportion of men in public finance, coupled with the large numbers of women laid off, are a “clear indication that gender was a reason for selecting the people who were let go,” says Wigdor. He recently filed charges with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission–a first step before seeking a class action–alleging they were terminated because they were women. He calls it a case of “recessionary discrimination.”
  • Front Row Washington » Blog Archive » Think the U.S. deficit is bad? Check out the interest payments | Blogs | – [I love how this article keeps referring to the Obama budget, as if our debt didn’t come from all those Bush budgets of yesterminute. –Lee.]
  • Economy Shrinks at Faster-Than-Expected 6.2% Pace – -
  • Sow this, Asshole – A Mikwaukee right wing talk radio show host Mark Belling called women who breastfeed “sows” on his show the other day in response to a proposed breastfeeding bill.
  • The Gender Confusion Among Some Religious Leaders – Apparently Randy doesn’t know his Bible very well…
  • “By August 31, 2010, Our Combat Mission in Iraq WIll End” – On a conference call just now, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said that the reason for extending from Obama’s campaign promise of 16 to his announcement of 19 months was logistical and related to 2010 summer elections. Had troops been out by the end of May, key logistical support for related to protection around those elections “really would present some difficult security and logistical issues.”
  • Obama to Rescind HHS “Conscience” Rule – So by now, I hope we all remember that dangerous HHS rule that Bush implimented during his final days in office? The one that prevents health care providers from “discriminating” against employees who refuse to to do their jobs, when they include things like providing patients with birth control and accurate reproductive health options?And indeed, the one that we were all hoping Obama would overturn once he entered office?

    The news has come out today that rescinding the rule is exactly what he apparently plans to do…

  • I Will Be Your Father Figure, On Dollhouse [Dollhouse Recap] – The show keeps finding new ways to let us know that all of your social ties are created by meaningless rituals.
  • Is President Mugabe Doctor Who’s Newest Nemesis? [Doctor Who] – Does the African nation of Zimbabwe really possess the holy grail for Doctor Who fans? A British newspaper is claiming that the country may have the last remaining collection of the series’ 1963 first season.
  • Neurologists Explain Why You Hate George Lucas [Mad Science] – Over at VeryEvolved, a lengthy and fascinating article on the nature of nostalgia explains how our brains process memories. And how the disruption of fond, nostalgic feelings can result in extreme emotional backlash…
  • A Map of the Galaxy’s Most-Traveled Portal Stations [Space Chart Porn] – [I think I just JIZZED! IN! MY PANTS! –Lee.]
  • Tragedy for NASA’s Climate Science Satellite Program [Space] – [Where tragedy = horribly unfortunate snafu.]
  • R.I.P. Philip José Farmer [Philip Jose Farmer] – [I have not read this man’s work, so to me the most interesting discovery in this mini-biography is that Farmer wrote and published a fanfic novel.]
  • What Would Happen to Your City If It Got Nuked? [Dystopia Can Be Fun] – A new Google mashup reveals what kind of damage you could expect after a nuclear attack on your city, and highlights the effects of radiation spreading outward from the blast.
  • 4 Science Fiction Books Every Social Media Junkie Must Read [Books] – [None of them by women. –Lee.]
  • How 9/11 Changed Watchmen [Watchmen] – All in all, using 9/11 as an excuse [for the changes]. The loss of those images creates more confusion, and dilutes the seriousness of the movie’s grand finale.[I don’t like using 9/11 as an excuse, either, but I do agree that those images on film would have more impact than on the comic book page, and that it might be so graphic and overpowering as to drown out the intended meaning of those images. –Lee.]
  • Moore’s Law Won’t Create The Singularity On Its Own [Vernor Vinge] – Moore’s Law, which predicts a doubling of processing power every 18 months, won’t give us superhuman intelligence in a reasonable timeframe by itself, says author Vernor Vinge in this new video from the Ideas Project.Vinge packs a lot of ideas into a short video, including the fact that we’re already seeing more embedded networks everywhere, and networks can visualize the geometry of their idea based on the “ID number of the node they’re pinging off of, and the round-trip time.” And he’s confident that cyberspace will be everting, and we’ll be living in a consensual reality, sooner than we think.
  • Unfair Burdens – As feminists, we talk a lot about something society seems to not even really notice: That one of the biggest burdens of sexism, outside of violence, is unpaid carework. This can range from the obvious, like parenting, to the hard to quantify, such as remembering birthdays on someone else’s behalf. But most of the time, when we are discussing these burdens, we are talking about the work that grown women do. There is, however, another group of people that the unfair burden of unpaid carework sometimes falls upon.I’m talking about children and teenagers who are the primary caretakers of family members.

    For most of recorded history, women have shouldered the primary responsibility for family carework, but in families where there was just too much to do, or especially those poorer households where women took on paid employment (as they have always done since paid employment began, whatever Republicans may believe), the burden then fell to their daughters. Sometimes, it fell on sons if there were no daughters or they were very young.

    In the United States, the phenomenon of children taking care of adults is on the rise, due to a number of factors. Obviously, one of the largest in that most women now have some form of paid employment by necessity…

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  • Plugin Authors, Are you making the best of Readme.txt? – I visit the WordPress Plugin Directory a lot during my constant hunt for plugins for our release posts. If you’re a plugin author and you’re not hosting your plugin on the Repository then you’re definitely missing out a lot in getting your plugin out to all WordPress Users, especially now with the Plugin Directory search improved. So, if you’re a plugin author and if you release your plugins as GPL, then do remember to add your plugin.
  • Atlanta Journal-Constitution Switches to WordPress MU – The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has relaunched their very popular suite of blogs on WordPress MU. They were previously powered by Six Apart’s Movable Type…
  • BuddyPress Video – BuddyPress, a set of plugins which will transform an installation of WordPress MU into a social network platform, is nearing a 1.0 final release – scheduled for Thursday February 12th.We’ve received lots of interest about this project, and to help provide more info we’ve produced a short video with a great overview of BuddyPress and a hint as to what’s possible with this great new platform