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Profile Information

Gender: Male
Hometown: Detroit Area, MI
Home country: USA
Current location: San Francisco, CA
Member since: Wed Oct 29, 2008, 02:53 PM
Number of posts: 6,612

About Me

Husband, father and liberal Democrat. I am a native Michigander living in San Francisco who is a citizen of the world.

Journal Archives

Woman assaulted at GOP rally: ”He didn’t need to have his body pressed against my rear end,”

Tisdale would eventually be charged with trespassing, a misdemeanor, and obstructing an officer “by elbowing him in the right cheek area and kicking him in the right shin.” That last one’s a felony.

”He didn’t need to have his body pressed against my rear end,” Tisdale said Wednesday.

Linda Clary Umberger, chairman of the Dawson County GOP, followed the citizen journalist and the officer to an outbuilding. “I watched as a woman was bent over the counter on her face, with an officer over her,” Umberger said. “If I had been her, I would have elbowed him in the face, too.

“I was so upset at how they handled it – I walked out,” said the county GOP chairman. It was one of those seminal events, she said, likely to split relationships and end friendships. The arresting officer, fetchyournews.com would report Wednesday, has been suspended pending an internal investigation.

The rally went on without Umberger and Tisdale. But only Olens dealt with what everyone had witnessed. The attorney general couldn’t ignore what had just happened to the same woman he’d spent the last two years defending.

“Let me be possibly politically incorrect here a second,” Olens told the crowd. “If we stand for anything as a party, what are we afraid of with the lady having a camera, filming us? What are we saying here that shouldn’t be on film? What message are we sending? That because it’s private property, they shouldn’t be filming? What is the harm?


Reel Women: How Misogyny in Gamer Culture Hurts All of Us

One of the biggest issues in the news this week has been the ongoing rampant misogyny and outright terrorism in gamer culture, specifically the attacks on Depression Quest developer Zoe Quinn and feminist media commentator Anita Sarkeesian — both of whom have suffered exceedingly personal attacks and threats on their lives (including the horrible one in the graphic above, which was sent to Sarkeesian via Twitter). The former for merely talking sexual agency as an independent, adult woman, and the latter for criticizing the industry’s treatment of women in its games. What do these issues have to do with the rest of geek culture? Well …. everything. Misogyny in gamer culture is a symptom of a larger, systemic issue. And something needs to be done about it. Now.

I am not steeped in gamer culture, but I can tell you that what I’ve learned over the last week about the treatment of Anita Sarkeesian and Zoe Quinn has horrified me (you can read a great primer here from Andrew Todd at Badass Digest). This isn’t casual sexism — these are women who are being tormented and terrorized because they are women. And the men who are responsible for crusading against them are fighting against people they’ve labeled “Social Justice Warriors” — a derogatory term they’ve coined to insinuate that anyone who supports social justice and equality is limiting them and holding them down. These are men who were born with every right handed to them; the only struggle is the one they’re imposing upon themselves by fighting to repress women.

What Zoe Quinn did or did not do doesn’t matter. That Anita Sarkeesian has opinions that these men do not agree with does not matter. Nothing — nothing — makes the actions of these men and their crusade justifiable. Nothing justifies releasing the personal information of another person on the internet. Nothing justifies making threats to their personal safety and the safety of their loved ones to the point where they have to leave their own home. These men will never know what it feels like to be a woman on this planet, to fear for your safety and your well-being just for having a totally sane opinion and speaking up about it — and the idea that women should be treated equally and with respect shouldn’t even be an opinion; it should be an accepted reality, something we just acknowledge is right, that we do every day without even having to stop and consider whether it’s right.

This misogyny isn’t just endemic to gaming culture — it’s rampant in all geek culture, including movie fanboyism. There’s this sinister notion of ownership, that men have more claim over geek properties than women do, that’s been ingrained from childhood. We have toys for boys and toys for girls. Video games, comic books, and superheroes are all for little boys, while princesses and romance and hearts and flowers are for girls. When I — like many women I know — was growing up, this wasn’t the case. My Ninja Turtles and Ghostbusters were mixed in with my Barbies in one giant toy box, and I played video games with the little boys on my street without them calling me a “dumb bitch” or a “whore.”


GOP governors pay a price for blocking the ACA

Scott Walker, the Governor of Wisconsin, is in electoral jeopardy. This may come as a surprise, because for most of 2014 he was considered an odds-on favorite for reëlection against his Democratic challenger, Mary Burke. Recent surveys show that his median lead over Burke has narrowed from seven points, at its peak, to just half a point. The Princeton Election Consortium model (of which I’m a founder)* estimates that Walker’s probability for reëlection is fifty-five per cent, which is barely better than even odds.

Walker achieved prominence in both Republican and Democratic circles when he took away collective-bargaining power from government-employee unions. This was met with angry backlash, leading to massive protests and a recall election, in 2011, which Walker survived, making him a hero to Republicans and leading some to tout him as a potential Presidential candidate. This year, Burke, the C.E.O. of Trek Bicycle Corporation, has run a campaign focussed almost entirely on being the Democratic alternative to Walker, as well as on job growth, which has been anemic in Wisconsin. The strategy—part “I’m not Scott,” part bread-and-butter policy—seems to be working.

Walker isn’t the only incumbent governor who could lose his seat. There are thirty-six gubernatorial races being held this year. This chart, from RealClearPolitics, shows elections that are competitive or likely to result in a switch.


My Labor Day Election 2014 predictions:

Here are my predictions pulled straight out of my ass:

House: Republicans make small gains. Nancy Pelosi announces retirement (rumor circulating around the City. RUN, AMMIANO RUN).

Senate: Republicans pick up sets in West Virginia, South Dakota, Montana, and Arkansas. Louisiana will go to a runoff. McConnell will squeak through in Kentucky.

Governor: Democrats pick up Pennsylvania, Maine, Florida, Kansas, and Georgia. Republicans pick up Arkansas and Illinois. Wisconsin and Michigan are too close.

Police Department Fires Cop Who Called Ferguson Protestors 'Rabid Dogs'

A St. Louis-area police department announced on Thursday it had fired on officer who posted offensive comments online about people protesting the fatal police shooting of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown.

CNN reported that Glendale, Mo. Police Officer Matthew Pappert was fired after posting comments to Facebook that likened the Ferguson, Mo. protestors to "rabid dogs" that should be "put down."

The Glendale Police Department was notified of the comments and initially suspended Pappert on August 22. He issued an apology via a written statement because, as his lawyer put it, according to CNN, "He's a mess right now. It's an embarrassment."

Pappert's comments are part of a slew of incidents that have occurred in the midst of the Ferguson protests involving police officers making inappropriate comments. Officers such as Kansas City officer Marc Catron, who was being investigated for his Facebook post of a man he mistook for Michael Brown, and Lt. Ray Albers, who was forced to resign from the St. Ann, Mo. police department after he told protestors he would "fucking kill" them.


DKos Post: You're hired! But you don't get any hours

My young adult daughter applied for a couple of part-time jobs recently--one with a national bookstore chain, the other with a department store photo studio. In both cases she was told, if hired, she would be guaranteed 0-15 hours per week, depending on how busy things were and how well she worked out. Zero hours? Who guarantees zero hours? Who hires for zero hours? What sort of hire is that?

She told me this past spring she overheard a woman in one of her community college classes talking about getting only one hour of work that week from one job, and two from another. This woman has two kids and is making the effort to get an education. A couple of her friends who don't have families have complained of the same situation--one or two hours a week from a job.

My daughter has done the math of what it looks like to support yourself on minimum wage and concluded it's doable if you work full-time and are happy just barely getting by and don't have any emergency expenditures and don't own a car. So, she asks me, how in the hell do you support yourself and a family--especially if you don't have even one full-time job, but two that add up to less? How do you get yourself to work? And what happens if both jobs suddenly offer you more work and there's a scheduling conflict, but no guarantee of continuing work from either employer?

I don't think I'm romanticizing the past when I recall my first part-time job at a fast-food restaurant that required I work at least 15 hours a week and take more hours if needed. I was called in frequently to help cover rush times. Other minimum wage jobs I held when I was in high school and college required a certain number of shifts. Most of my shifts, managers aside, were staffed by kids in my age range--16-20 years-old, and few or none of my fellow workers had families (afternoon and evening hours). I never had a week of one or two hours of work and frequently negotiated with co-workers to cover hours for each other when we couldn't work.


Marvel's Black Panther Movie Confirmed By Stan Lee

Stan Lee was speaking at the Fan Expo Canada on Friday (via Comic Book Resources), and let it slip that the Black Panther movie indeed was happening (instead of being this juicy rumor that no one at Marvel will confirm just yet). When addressing the question of whether or not Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow character soon will get her own solo movie, Lee explained:
The chances are she will have her own movie because eventually all the superheroes are going to have their own movies. They are already working on Ant-Man, Doctor Strange and the Black Panther, and there are others I am not allowed to talk about."

Oh Stan, you tease. Let’s talk about his comments. Obviously, we know all about Ant-Man. After a director shuffle, that movie recently began filming in San Francisco with Peyton Reed at the helm, and a cast that includes Paul Rudd, Michael Douglas and Evangeline Lilly (to name just a few).

The other two titles that Stan Lee dropped, however, are eye-catching… if only because Marvel hasn’t solidified anything on its Cinematic Universe schedule beyond Joss Whedon’s The Avengers: Age of Ultron (May 1, 2015), Captain America 3 (May 6, 2016) and James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy 2 (July 28, 2017). There has been a lot of movement surrounding Doctor Strange. Scott Derrickson (Sinister, Deliver Us From Evil) has been tapped to helm the movie, with Jon Spaihts hired to work on the screenplay. There have been rumors that Strange will land in the July 8, 2016 date circled by Marvel, but nothing has been announced… and likely won’t until Marvel locks up its leading man for Doctor Strange.


The minimum wage debate is proof that Republicans have ultimately won.

When I was a growing up, minimum wage jobs were occupied by high school and college-age kids for the purpose earning some spending money, saving up for the next semester or developing basic job skills like showing up on time. They weren't designed to live on as an adult much less support a family. Yet here we are with politicians pledging to spend weeks on a minimum wage budgets. But what no one in office or the m$m will point out is the very fact that we are having this discussion is proof of how throughly vulture capitalists and their friends in the Republican Party (along with a few Democratic friends) have thoroughly pillaged the American economy, leaving adults to fight with teenagers over jobs that were designed to fund a Saturday night out.

Gov. Perry withdraws 'unauthorized' Twitter post

A message on Gov. Rick Perry’s official Twitter feed was removed Sunday, with an announcement that the post was unauthorized.
Shortly after the tweet referring to Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg’s drunken-driving arrest last year was posted, it was withdrawn.

“A tweet just went out from my account that was unauthorized. I do not condone the tweet and I have taken it down,” the later tweet said.

The governor’s office could not be reached for further comment.

The original tweet included an image of Lehmberg and drew a connection between her and Perry’s recent indictment on charges that he had threatened her politically.

Perry’s indictment stems from his eliminating $7.5 million in state funding last year for the Travis County Public Integrity Unit. The Republican governor did so after Lehmberg, a Democrat, rejected his calls to resign because of her DWI conviction.


The dark side of Snapchat: How the image-sharing app brought out the worst in humanity

When Snapchat launched three years ago, its destiny seemed clear-cut. The ephemeral nature of the image-sharing app — send an image, then watch it go poof! in 10 seconds or fewer — indicated that its main reason for being was as yet another advancement in the realm of boner pic dissemination. And God knows, it’s fulfilled its mission on that front. But along the way it’s become so much more. It’s become the greatest lie the online community ever told itself.

Internet culture thrives on its gotcha element. You can delete that regrettable tweet you sent out about a tragedy, claim that bulge shot was the work of a hacker, or reconsider whether you really ought to have told someone to go kill herself, but it’s generally understood that your actions will live forever via screenshots and archives. You screw up online, you can assume you may never, ever live it down. Snapchat co-founder and chief executive Evan Spiegel is certainly no stranger to that phenomenon himself, as his trail of observations about “sororisluts” and “fat chicks” will attest. You really thought this guy’s product was going to change that?

The illusion shattered almost from the beginning. Back in 2012, BuzzFeed revealed directions for saving Snapchat videos – along with a comment from Snapchat’s Evan Spiegel that “There will always be ways to reverse engineer technology products — but that spoils the fun!” And in a story for Forbes last year, writer Kashmir Hill further uncovered how inaccurate Snapchat’s tantalizing image of transience really is, and how easy it can be to pull supposedly deleted images from it. There are now a bazillion tutorials out there on how to take a screenshot of a Snap without the sender even knowing. Last spring, Snapchat settled with the FTC over charges it had “made multiple misrepresentations to consumers about its product that stood in stark contrast to how the app actually worked.” At the time, the company announced it would “continue to invest heavily in security and countermeasures to prevent abuse.”

And then earlier this month, the “nothing ever really disappears” reality came home when a University of Alabama student’s Snap of three females with the message “Chi O got NO n*ggas!!!!!” went viral – and got her booted from her sorority. What was going through that young woman’s head when she sent that message? Probably damn close to nothing. But the fact that she sent it out via Snapchat certainly implies a sense of invulnerability, a belief that she could express her sentiment and then have it vanish like a wisp of smoke. Behind that act there’s an implied arrogance that’s even more profound that your typical “just kidding” backwalk on offensive behavior. It’s pure self-absolution. That girl likely thought what she said wouldn’t haunt her. It wouldn’t hurt her. She could be a racist jerk and then just move on. But she was wrong. It takes remarkably little effort to uncover a whole wide world of alleged Snapchat grabs, many of which are unflattering.

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