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Liberal Outrage

Hey, Baby, Why Don't You Smile? You'd Look More Approachable.

Once again, a woman who is trying to demonstrate the daily harassment women face when doing something as commonplace as walking down the street has been threatened with rape.

Shoshana B. Roberts -- who walked around New York City for 10 hours while being filmed by a hidden camera so that she could record the harassment she received from men on the street -- is already getting rape threats.

Roberts's video, which after a day online has already racked up more than 1 million views, documents the over 100 catcalls, whistles, and other forms of harassment she received over the course of the day. One persistent character walked alongside her for five minutes and wouldn't leave her alone.


Let's lay this out in plain terms. Women are forced to feel uncomfortable and scared for walking down the damn street. Then, when one woman takes the time to show just how uncomfortable those interactions are, people threaten to physically assault her. If the video reminded us that women are constantly made to feel unsafe when they leave the house, the response is a reminder that women are constantly made to feel unsafe when they simply turn on their computer.

The problem here isn't just that men are ignorant of how women are treated. The problem is that many know exactly what they're doing to women, and will try to intimidate and silence women who try to fight back.

Clearly, the way to prove that women in no way face any sort of sexism or harassment is to start and end your argument with "She was asking for it, the stupid cunt. I hope she gets raped." Who, i ask, could argue with that kind of logic?

By min | October 29, 2014, 5:55 PM | Liberal Outrage | Link

Voter Suppression in Texas

With the help of the Supreme Court. Good job, guys. Link

Kennie is one of an estimated 600,000 Texans who, though registered to vote, will be unable to do so because they cannot meet photo-identification requirements set out in the state's new voter-ID law, SB14 .

The law, which has been deemed by the courts to be the strictest of its kind in the US, forces any would-be voter to produce photographic proof of identity at polling stations. It was justified by Governor Rick Perry and the Republican chiefs in the state legislature as a means of combatting electoral fraud - in a state where in the past 10 years some 20m votes have been cast yet only two cases of voter impersonation have been prosecuted to conviction.

Earlier this month a federal district judge, Nelva Gonzales Ramos, struck down the law, slamming it as a cynical ploy on the part of Republicans to fend off the growing strength of the minority electorate in Texas by "suppressing the overwhelmingly Democratic votes of African Americans and Latinos". She linked SB 14 to a long history of racial discrimination in state elections spanning back generations, and declared the new law to be an unconstitutional poll tax.

But last week, in the early hours of 18 October, when most Texans were sleeping, the US supreme court snuck out a one-line judgment that allowed the voter-ID restrictions to be applied this election cycle. Without any explanation, a majority of the justices effectively threw Eric Kennie and many thousands of others like him - particularly black, Hispanic and low-income Texans - into a state of democratic limbo.

That Texas is doing this isn't surprising. That the current Supreme Court us upholding it is also not surprising. It's pretty distressing, but not surprising.

But the most distressing part of this story is this bit here:

On a usual day he makes about $15 to $20 from recycling the cans and other scrap. On a good day - after a holiday like Valentine's or Easter when people consume more - his earnings can rise to as much as $40 a day. He has no bank account or credit cards, and no savings - he only deals with cans and cash.

I asked him how much $23 means to him. His said what he does when he feels flush with money is decide to splurge on a special treat for himself and his friends. "I do chicken Tuesday at Popeyes."

What's that, I asked.

"Two pieces of fried chicken for 99 cents - one dollar seven with tax. When things are good I might get five or 10 boxes and hand them out to my neighbours."

So what passes as a reckless binge for Eric Kennie - a splurge on about $10-worth of fried chicken - is less than half of what he spent getting himself a copy of his birth certificate.

This man, who makes less than $20/day on average, who has probably lived a very hard life, can still be so generous that he'd spend half of that day's pay on his neighbors so that they too can benefit from his "good" times. This depresses me because it basically shows how most people are just shits. We are all such assholes.

By min | October 27, 2014, 2:23 PM | Liberal Outrage | Link


A concise, clear, and fearless summary of Gamergate.

By fnord12 | October 23, 2014, 10:56 AM | Liberal Outrage & Video Games | Link

Hey, We're Pretty Sure Most of Them Got to the Right People...


Video footage released by Isis shows what appears to be one of its fighters for in desert scrubland with a stack of boxes attached to a parachute. The boxes are opened to show an array of weapons, some rusty, some new. A canister is broken out to reveal a hand grenade.

The Pentagon said it was investigating the claim but admitted that one of its airdrops had gone missing.


Kirby confirmed the weapons shown in the video were the kind that were dropped. "So it's not out of the realm of the possibility in that regard," he said.

"I do want to add, though, that we are very confident that the vast majority of the bundles did end up in the right hands. In fact, we're only aware of one bundle that did not."


As well as grenades, the boxes appeared to contain parts for rocket-propelled grenades.

Yeah. Tell me again how precise your targeted drone strikes are, too.

By min | October 22, 2014, 10:50 AM | Liberal Outrage | Link

All politics is national

Why won't black voters vote for politicians like Mary Landrieu and Alison Grimes that have been doing nothing but running away from Barack Obama and the Democrats' national agenda? The mind boggles!

By fnord12 | October 19, 2014, 3:11 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (1)| Link

Where *is* my panic button?

More good news. Austerity and irrational inflation fears are getting ready to plunge the world back into recession. More of the same from Krugman.

By fnord12 | October 15, 2014, 3:08 PM | Liberal Outrage | Link

WMDs in Iraq

As Kevin Drum says, this isn't a "Bush wuz right" moment, but if you click through to the New York Times article it does look like our troops were treated very very poorly. Again.

By fnord12 | October 15, 2014, 3:01 PM | Liberal Outrage | Link

Maybe tell them not to hate people for no reason

Social conservatives react to good changes coming from the Vatican:

"What will Catholics parents now have to tell their children about contraception, cohabiting with partners or living homosexual lifestyles?" asked Maria Madise, coordinator of the Voice of the Family, which counts pro-life and conservative groups as members.

"Will those parents now have to tell their children that the Vatican teaches that there are positive and constructive aspects to these mortal sins? This approach destroys grace in souls."

I'm sure the phrase "destroys grace in souls" has some special meaning, but it makes them sound like crazy people.

By fnord12 | October 13, 2014, 4:35 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (1)| Link

Drum on Klein on Krugman on Obama

Everybody reacts to Krugman's Rolling Stone article. Klein suggests that Obama turned things around by giving up on his promise of lovey dovey bipartisan agreement on everything. Drum wonders if that was ever an actual goal of Obama's in the first place. I kind of think yes, based on another Drum post about Obama closing Guantanamo by executive order. My first thought on seeing that was "If he thought he could do that, why didn't he do it sooner?". Then i said to myself, you complain when he does things and complain when he doesn't. So i didn't blog it. But now this post lets me blog it anyway. I'd say that earlier he still hoped that he could come to a bipartisan agreement with Republicans in Congress, but now realizes that's impossible. So he's given up on bipartisanship in order to get things done.

By fnord12 | October 10, 2014, 2:19 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (1)| Link

Good reason to vote for something, actually


The Republican challenger to Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) on Thursday blamed his double-digit lag in the polls on single women and mothers who vote Democratic because they are "wed" to the social safety net and "need benefits to survive."

Jeff Bell's solution is for everyone to get married, by the way. Not a jobs program or a living wage or anything like that so people can survive without benefits.

By fnord12 | October 10, 2014, 2:15 PM | Liberal Outrage | Link


Kevin Drum shows why we can't save the Kurdish town of Kobani on the Syria/Turkey border from ISIS. The answer again leaves me wondering what we are doing there at all.

By fnord12 | October 10, 2014, 10:14 AM | Liberal Outrage | Link

The deficit is down

"and nobody knows or cares" - more from Krugman.

By fnord12 | October 9, 2014, 7:59 AM | Liberal Outrage | Link

Krugman on Obama

In Rolling Stone, Paul Krugman has a (longish) fair but mostly positive assessment of Obama's record. Somewhat surprising for a guy that supported Hillary in the primary and has been fairly critical of Obama. I'll say that i think the section on "national security", which i think is meant to include the NSA and state secrets stuff (or else those areas are left out altogether), is pretty weak. Krugman acknowledges that it's not his area of expertise, but there's a lot more to say there, and brushing past that will definitely leave the overall assessment more positive than it should be (from a liberal/civil libertarian perspective, of course).

By fnord12 | October 9, 2014, 7:54 AM | Liberal Outrage | Link

Then why is it an elected position?

TPM has a kind of click-bait headline of GOP Nominee For Wisconsin AG Says He Would Defend Interracial Marriage Ban and of course i clicked on it.

The actual exchange is a little more nuanced and perhaps even understandable:

HOST: "But if you had been attorney general in, say, the 1950s, in a state that did not allow interracial marriage, do you think the proper role of an attorney general then was to not put himself or herself into the mix and say this is wrong?"

SCHIMEL: "Yeah, it is."

HOST: "Your job is to uphold the law, even if it's something that we might look back in the future and say that's absurd?"

SCHIMEL: "It might be distasteful to me. I've got to stay consistent with that. As the state's lawyer, it's not my job to pick and choose."

I've watched some of the video of this interview, and Schimel makes a perfectly coherent slippery slope argument. I wondered if they followed up with, "Do you find the ban on same sex marriage 'distasteful'?", but they don't. They do ask a different good follow up question, and he acknowledges that an attorney general ought to be advising the governor on which laws to put resources into enforcing.

But Schimel's argument makes me wonder why the attorney general position is an elected position in the first place, if the role is just supposed to robotically enforce the laws. The general electorate isn't qualified to determine who would make the best lawyer. So it must be about the electorate picking the candidate that best represents their positions. In which case when you have one candidate saying i do not support the same sex marriage ban and another not taking a position on it, all while public opinion is increasingly comfortable with same sex marriage, it seems like a dodge.

By fnord12 | October 9, 2014, 7:35 AM | Liberal Outrage | Link

Basically we should all work less and take naps

They study doctors and judges but it's true of the rest of us too.

By fnord12 | October 8, 2014, 12:08 PM | Liberal Outrage & Science | Comments (1)| Link

Overweight teens will earn less

Kevin Drum links to a study that shows that overweight teens are likely to earn less as adults. To be clear, it's not that overweight adults are discriminated against in the workforce. It's that overweight teens are less likely to learn "noncognitive skills" like how to socialize. If this is true (it's just one study, and the conclusion isn't necessarily the only one to fit the data), i wonder if the results would change as being overweight became more common among American teens. It's also worth thinking of the implications for other ostracized groups, like ethnic minorities. Not geeks, though, since we've seen plenty of (awful) "revenge of the nerds" articles talking about how geeks are doing well in the modern tech economy.

By fnord12 | October 7, 2014, 2:00 PM | Liberal Outrage & Science | Link

Once more unto the banks, dear friends

Last night we watched the always depressing Bill Moyers, where he interviews William Black, who led the S&L and Keating Five investigations. Black described the Obama administration's complete failure, and more importantly, lack of interest, in prosecuting banks that caused our current crisis (link, including summary, transcript, and video).

And then as if on cue, this news this morning:

The Justice Department is preparing a fresh round of attacks on the world's biggest banks, again questioning Wall Street's role in a broad array of financial markets.


The charges will most likely focus on traders and their bosses rather than chief executives. As a result, critics of the Justice Department might view the cases as little more than an exercise in public relations, a final push to shape the legacy of Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., who was blamed for a lack of criminal cases against Wall Street executives.

Yet the breadth of the suspected wrongdoing in the currency inquiry -- Deutsche Bank, Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Barclays and UBS are among the dozen or so banks under investigation -- might distinguish it from the piecemeal nature of the crisis-era investigations.

And prosecutors are testing a new negotiating tactic, two lawyers said, using the currency investigation as a cudgel to potentially reopen other cases. Arguing that the misconduct would violate earlier settlements involving interest rate manipulation, prosecutors have threatened to impose new penalties in the interest rate cases.

We shall see. I am sure Min will say i'm Charlie Brown running up to kick Lucy's football again. But maybe with both Holder and Obama thinking about their legacy, we'll see something more than trivial fines this time.

Update: here's the Matthew Yglesias explainer on this.

By fnord12 | October 7, 2014, 8:41 AM | Liberal Outrage | Link

Fake Geek Girl Rehash?

I haven't read Gone Girl, but i've read the "Cool Girl" rant that's in the book, and it sounds like a rehash of the "Fake Geek Girl" meme, which is completely offensive. It's assuming that a woman who likes things associated with so-called "straight male interests" has no agency and no independent opinion - that she only professes to like these things in order to make herself appear more appealing to men. I'm calling bullshit.

"Men always say that as the defining compliment, don't they? She's a cool girl. Being the Cool Girl means I am a hot, brilliant, funny woman who adores football, poker, dirty jokes, and burping, who plays video games, drinks cheap beer, loves threesomes and anal sex, and jams hot dogs and hamburgers into her mouth like she's hosting the world's biggest culinary gang bang while somehow maintaining a size 2, because Cool Girls are above all hot. Hot and understanding. Cool Girls never get angry; they only smile in a chagrined, loving manner and let their men do whatever they want. Go ahead, shit on me, I don't mind, I'm the Cool Girl.

Men actually think this girl exists. Maybe they're fooled because so many women are willing to pretend to be this girl. For a long time Cool Girl offended me. I used to see men - friends, coworkers, strangers - giddy over these awful pretender women, and I'd want to sit these men down and calmly say: You are not dating a woman, you are dating a woman who has watched too many movies written by socially awkward men who'd like to believe that this kind of woman exists and might kiss them. I'd want to grab the poor guy by his lapels or messenger bag and say: The bitch doesn't really love chili dogs that much - no one loves chili dogs that much! And the Cool Girls are even more pathetic: They're not even pretending to be the woman they want to be, they're pretending to be the woman a man wants them to be. Oh, and if you're not a Cool Girl, I beg you not to believe that your man doesn't want the Cool Girl. It may be a slightly different version - maybe he's a vegetarian, so Cool Girl loves seitan and is great with dogs; or maybe he's a hipster artist, so Cool Girl is a tattooed, bespectacled nerd who loves comics. There are variations to the window dressing, but believe me, he wants Cool Girl, who is basically the girl who likes every fucking thing he likes and doesn't ever complain. (How do you know you're not Cool Girl? Because he says things like: "I like strong women." If he says that to you, he will at some point fuck someone else. Because "I like strong women" is code for "I hate strong women.")"

Also, it's a rant coming from a character in the book who turns out to be a horrible crazy person, thus undermining the validity of the argument anyway.

So why are women giving this rant the thumbs up?

By min | October 4, 2014, 3:00 PM | Boooooks & Liberal Outrage | Comments (2)| Link

Why can't we teach the "nice" history?

The one where we gave up slavery "voluntarily".

By fnord12 | October 3, 2014, 4:56 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (2)| Link

Enthusiasm gap

Fun stuff, and predictable:

The dumb war in Syria will haunt Democrats' 2014 prospects.

Growing evidence that Obama's decision to wait on immigration is hurting Democrats.

If i thought Obama was making these decisions for principled reasons, then fine, political implications be damned. But the decisions seem like they are made for defensive political reasons. It's bad enough that i think they are wrong on the merits, but they are failing as political tactics, too. And it's not like it's a new or wild idea that midterm elections are decided on base enthusiasm.

By fnord12 | October 2, 2014, 10:21 AM | Liberal Outrage | Link

What is "To Not Be a Jeopardy! Category"?

Jeopardy!'s "What women want" category did not include answers like "healthcare" or "equal pay" or "bullshit like this category not happening".

No. Instead, women apparently want jeans that fit and a guy who will do the vacuuming once in a while.

They forgot to include "Dating superheroes and becoming their wives".

By min | October 1, 2014, 11:04 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (3)| Link

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