Author Archives: SHG

Short Take: So Much For The Children (Update)

There weren’t enough chairs, so Jazmine Headley sat on the floor. Rather than get an apology from the security people at the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program office in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn, for treating her and her 1-year-old son so poorly for being poor, Headley was treated to a lesson in compliance when they called in the NYPD to teach her a lesson.

The New York Times takes progressive NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio to task for being too de Blasio. Continue reading

The Amy, Vicky and Andy Fine

On Pearl Harbor Day, 2018, Trump signed into law the Amy, Vicky, and Andy Child Pornography Victim Assistance Act of 2018 (AVAA). Not only was there a name change, with the addition of Andy from the originally proposed Amy and Vicky Act, but there was a far more substantive change as well.

[T]he Act requires a court sentencing a defendant convicted of a child pornography crime harming a victim to determine the full amount of that victim’s losses and then to order restitution from a defendant for amount reflecting the defendant’s relative role in the causal process. (Sec. 3(a)(2)(B)). But — and here’s a new innovation — a trial court must impose restitution in the minimum amount of $3,000.

They may call it restitution, but it’s a $3,000 fine that offsets the amount of restitution to be determined. And this is the good news, as the originally proposed amounts were astronomically higher. Continue reading

Your Feelings Or Your Life

It’s neither the start of a joke nor the thing a woke mugger would say. It’s a conflict happening within the walls containing two very different worlds, where woke meets dangerous machinery. For those unfamiliar, makerspaces are a relatively new concept that allow people to have access to a wide variety of equipment and machinery, from laser cutters to 3-D printers, that would otherwise be unaffordable and out of reach.

A makerspace is a collaborative work space inside a school, library or separate public/private facility for making, learning, exploring and sharing that uses high tech to no tech tools.

Much as the verbiage sounds inclusive, these aren’t toys, and people using this machinery don’t get a pass on safety or competence, unless they’re hoping for the new nickname, Lefty. As obvious as this may seem, a problem arises from the nature of “collaborative work spaces,” which tend toward more ethereal concerns such as diversity, inclusivity and, naturally, empathy. Continue reading

Abby Honold Act: Another Name, Another Bad Law

Abby Honold was raped. We know this because her rapist was convicted upon a plea of guilty and sentenced to 74 months, although the mere fact of a conviction happening was far more a testament to Honold’s fortitude than either a system that worked or police who gave a damn.

Guy Hamilton-Smith describes the disconnect that nearly ended any chance Honold’s rapist would be prosecuted, and threatened her with prosecution for pursuing her cause.

Three days later, the Minneapolis Police detective in charge of the investigation told Honold over the phone that he was dumping her case, warning her that if she tried to get it re-opened, she could find herself charged for making false allegations. Drill-Mellum was released, and the charges were dropped.

Continue reading

Short Take: Colour My World

Pantone knows color. Pantone’s business is color. So who better to name the color of the year than Pantone? And yet they got it wrong.

Something insidious is going down at the Pantone Color Institute. Each December, the company announces a new Color of the Year—and its 2019 selection, a warm pink tone called Living Coral, feels like a troll directed at a planet rapidly growing inhospitable to the many organisms that call it home.

What? Yes, the “warm pink tone” of Living Coral is . . . horrifying. Continue reading

WASP-ish

When Penn lawprof Amy Wax and San Diego lawprof Larry Alexander wrote about the breakdown of bourgeois culture, they were excoriated for being racist. From the sublime to the ridiculous, it was taken as an homage to a time in America when racism reigned rather than a commentary on the nature of human conduct and relationships that served to sustain us as a society. Hard work? Family? Education? Civic-mindedness? All tools of white supremacy, probably the patriarchy as well.

But what if these horrifying and exhausting characteristics of American society were divorced from other, negative aspects of society?

They could be followed by people of all backgrounds and abilities, especially when backed up by almost universal endorsement.

Continue reading

The Courageous 80 of Chapel Hill

The bronze statue, “Silent Sam,” stood on the campus of the University of North Carolina since 1913 until it was toppled by students on August 20, 2018. State law requires that the statue be maintained. Despite the fact that students, faculty and, perhaps, the administration would rather be rid of this homage to confederate soldiers, UNC came up with a plan to construct a new building to house the statue.

Any dispute over the maintenance of the statue at UNC is beside the point. That students and faculty today believe it should be removed as a symbol of racism is presumed as a given. That state law prevents this isn’t subject to dispute. So teaching assistants at UNC have decided to engage in an “action.

Several dozen teaching assistants at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill started a strike Friday, saying that they will withhold student grades as long as the university moves ahead with the idea of constructing a building to house the Confederate monument known as Silent Sam. The strike comes after classes have finished for the semester and students are preparing for final exams and normally would be soon receiving final grades. Continue reading

Revenge of the Nerds: Sexism In The Extreme

They claimed it was the will of the majority of the Harvard committee. That turned out to be a lie. Harvard didn’t care and did it anyway

The policy, announced two and a half years ago by College dean Rakesh Khurana and adopted by the Corporation in late 2017, prohibits undergraduates who belong to unrecognized single-gender social organizations (USGSOs) from leadership posts in student organizations or athletic teams, and from receiving College endorsement for fellowships like the Rhodes and Marshall scholarships.

They are now being sued, on top of their issues about excluding Asians from admission because there are too many smart ones, for, inter alia, violation of Title IX. Continue reading

Social Science Owns Itself

At Inside Higher Education, one side of the issue was joined.

When Melinda Wenner Moyer, a science journalist for The New York Times, was attempting to report on an unexpected aspect of a vaccine’s efficacy or safety, she found that scientists often didn’t want to talk with her. And when she did get them on the phone, she says, a worrying theme emerged: “Scientists are so terrified of the public’s vaccine hesitancy that they are censoring themselves, playing down undesirable findings and perhaps even avoiding undertaking studies that could show unwanted effects. Those who break these unwritten rules are criticized.”

The fear described is that virulent anti-vaxxers have forced social scientists who support vaccines underground. They fear being attacked by the nutjobs for doing science. This rejection of the expertise in favor of populist dogma, Linda Stamato notes, has found its way into the courts as well. Continue reading

Porn Censored, Women And Gays Affected Most

The argument is what I call the “low hanging fruit,” that censorship hurts everyone, but since people care more about some groups than others, pander to their feelz.

This week, the social networking site Tumblr banned the very thing that drove many people to its site: adult content. Many cheered that Tumblr had finally caught up with the times, echoing anti-pornography policies adopted by Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and others. But there was another set of voices you might not have heard — the voices of women and the L.G.B.T.Q. community — who pointed out that this change will destroy a safe space for self-expression, discovery and connection.

First, a couple confessions. I’m not a consumer of porn. It’s fine with me that your mileage may vary, but it’s just not my thing. If Rule 34 didn’t exist, I would lose no sleep. Don’t judge me. Continue reading