ASK Musings

No matter where you go, there you are.

Monthly Archive: August 2015

Sunday

30

August 2015

0

COMMENTS

What I’m Reading – August 30, 2015

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Harassment

– “While Sarkeesian admits the harassment has taken its toll – how could it not? – she brings the conversation back to the bigger picture. “There are a lot of people who are being targeted who don’t get the attention I do. Women of colour and trans women, in particular, are not getting media attention and not getting the support they need.”” Anita Sarkeesian interview: ‘The word “troll” feels too childish. This is abuse’ (via @JessicaValenti)

Hurricane Katrina

– “A decade later, we remain locked in maddening partisan battles as our public infrastructure crumbles beneath us—as if the consequences are irrelevant, or distant, or easily contained. ­Katrina already taught us that the fate of black lives cannot be separated from that of whole communities. Black lives matter.” From New Orleans to Ferguson, a Decade of Asserting Black Lives Matter (via @mHarrisPerry)

Native Alaskans

– “In announcing that Sally Jewell, the secretary of the interior, had used her power to rename it, Mr. Obama was paying tribute to the state’s Native population, which has referred to the site for generations as Denali, meaning “the high one” or “the great one.” The peak, at more than 20,000 feet, plays a central role in the creation story of the Koyukon Athabascans, a group that has lived in Alaska for thousands of years.” Mount McKinley Will Again Be Called Denali (via @nytimes)

Police Violence

– “It’s hard to imagine a better cautionary tale about police use of force than that of James Peters, a former Scottsdale police officer who shot and killed six people between 2002 and 2012. But instead of being taught to fresh-faced academy students as an example of what not to do, Peters himself is teaching police departments how and when to use their guns.” Ex-Cop Who Killed Six People Now Teaches Other Officers When to Use Their Guns (h/t @deray)

Racism

– “I was told by one manager to go back out to that plantation, go back out to the cotton field. They thought it was hilarious, but I didn’t think it was one bit funny,” said a woman who has worked as a counter and gate agent for more than 30 years at National, which occupies a site that once was a 1,000-acre plantation. “They even used the n-word.” American Airlines being sued by African-American employees for overtly racist patterns and practices (via @ShaunKing)

Sex Worker Rights

– “Rentboy was an “internet brothel,” Currie states in the release. This ignores the government’s own complaint and its detailed accounting of Rentboy’s alleged activities. It is not possible to conduct prostitution on the internet; there’s no such thing as an “internet brothel.” How the Feds Took Down Rentboy.com (via @melissagira)

Tuesday

25

August 2015

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COMMENTS

Working Stiff by Dr. Judy Melinek and TJ Melinek

Written by , Posted in Reviews

Four Stars

Thanks to badkittyuno for writing this review or I might never have known about this great book. I started it on Sunday and finished it today, and thoroughly enjoyed most of it.

Dr. Melinek is a forensic pathologist who spent two years as a fellow working in the New York City’s Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. Her time there was interesting for many reasons, including the fact that she worked there during the fall of 2001, when the city was dealing with deaths from 9/11, the Antrax attacks, and a plane crash in Queens.

It makes sense that this book would interest me. A couple of years ago in a Pajiba comment diversion, I shared a bit about what I do for a living. I still do that work, and am still learning, so the parts of this book that I found myself highlighting were in the chapter on the response to 9/11. There were a few comments in there that I found to be pretty helpful and that I’m going to look into incorporating into our plans. So from that perspective, the book was quite helpful.

But it was also well written. While I’m sure each chapter has some cohesive theme (as Dr. and Mr. Melinek don’t just write chronologically), I don’t think it was necessarily broken down into obvious chunks. And yet the topics all flowed well, and flowed naturally. The storytelling was engrossing, fascinating and, from my experience working with MEs, not fantastical or exaggerated at all.

A couple of quibbles: autopsy reports are generally public information, so I recognize that Dr. and Mr. Melinek aren’t breaking any laws in sharing this information, but some parts felt a bit like a breach of ethics. Mostly, her interactions with grieving family members. Unless names were changed, or permission granted (which I doubt), some of the stories she told seemed like they could really cause additional pain for the family members. Who knows if any of them will read this book (probably unlikely), but it made me think a little bit of that ABC hospital documentary that showed the death of someone whose wife unsuspectingly saw it on TV a couple of years later. It was traumatic. Obviously stumbling on a TV show is easier than deliberately reading a book, but what if a friend or relative of one of the cases discussed reads about it? I’m not saying that the book shouldn’t be written, or that the concerns of a couple of people should prevent sharing information that sheds light on this very important field, but I did think about it.

I’m also a bit frustrating with the Dr.’s constant reference to death by suicide as selfish. I cannot directly relate to her direct experience with death by suicide (her father’s), and she is certainly entitled to view her father’s decision as selfish, but that characterization always strikes me as reeking of victim blaming, and I found it especially off-putting when she projected her feelings about it onto others who died by suicide.

Even with those reservations, I do still strongly recommend this book for anyone looking for a surprisingly quick read on this topic that is both interesting and thorough.

Sunday

23

August 2015

0

COMMENTS

What I’m Reading – August 23, 2015

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Austerity

– “Among the flagship cuts announced in the Budget are swingeing cuts to tax credits. Families with more than two children will lose up to £2,780 per subsequent child from 2017, with an important exception: the government, in its beneficence, has decided not to withdraw support if these extra children, these gurgling drains on the coffers of state, were conceived as a result of rape.” The Tory rape exception for tax credits is worse than you thought (via @PennyRed)

Human Rights

– “The horrible irony is that many sex workers are forced to give up their children because of initiatives like the one Hathaway and Dunham put their names to, which implies that we are unfit mothers and women. How is it that a woman who plays a whore has more credibility than a woman who is one? How is it that these women can then tell whores they shouldn’t work and that we don’t know our own minds? They already have so much power.” What’s Lena Dunham Got Against Sex Work? (h/t @CharoShame)

Misogyny

– “There are three ways in which men attempt undermine women online, Sarkeesian tells the audience at The Conference in Malmo: through the denial of women’s earned accomplishments, the denial of their life experience, and the denial of their professional expertise.” Anita Sarkeesian turns her talents to analysing her abusers (via @wireduk)

Police Violence

– “If stopped by the police, I thought to myself, I would set my phone to record audio and put it on the passenger seat. I would send a tweet that I was being stopped and had every intention of complying with the police officer. I would turn on Periscope and livestream the stop, crowdsourcing witnesses. I would text my family and tell them that I was not feeling angry or suicidal, that I was looking forward to seeing them soon. There would not be time to do all of these things, but maybe if I prepared in advance I could pull off one or two of them. What all of these plans had in common were that none of them were meant to secure my safety, but rather to ensure that my death looked suspicious enough to question. I was figuring out how to enter evidence into the inquiry of my own death.” Slow Poison (h/t @AustinKelmore)

Racism

– “Undoubtedly, my pain about Sandra Bland would have been invisible to them had I been in the office so I was grateful to not be. I expressed this amongst a series of tweets about police brutality. Given the culture of that office, I would bet (if I had the funds) they didn’t even know who Sandra Bland was that day. But they didn’t have to know who she was or what happened to her. They don’t have to care about her death. But, it sits in my chest like a bubble and swells every time I see a police car in my rearview mirror because … I could’ve been her. My mother, sisters, cousins, and friends, all could’ve been her.” What being let go from my job during Sandra Bland and #SayHerName taught me about diversity and inclusion. (h/t @huny)

– “Listen. Give the people who live with and experience racism every day the opportunity to share their truth. Don’t think about what you’re going to say next. Don’t get defensive or shut down because it’s hard to hear. Genuinely listen.” Guest Editorial: Nine Ways to Be a White Ally in the Fight Against Institutional and Structural Racism (via @strangerslog)

Sport

– “The argument is that since it would be imposing a different set of rules for the 17 private institutions, this would send the entire system out of whack, injecting “instability” into a climate that is currently stable. This is absolute hogwash. Northwestern is its own entity where football players generate huge amounts of revenue and have their own grievances with coaches and administrators (what some might refer to as “management”). As people who generate income, and, as was ruled earlier by the NLRB, are “paid” with a scholarship, room, and board, they should have every right to organize themselves to achieve whatever else they feel they are denied, like decent medical care or better concussion protocols.” The Absurd, Cowardly, and Morally Bankrupt NLRB Decision Against the Northwestern Football Union (via @EdgeofSports)

– “The reason that Ukwuachu missed the 2014 season is because of the indictment on two counts of felony sexual assault, a fact that Ukwuachu’s attorney, Jonathan Sibley, confirmed in the press more than a year after the indictment was issued. Baylor officials either knew, or should have known, that Ukwuachu had a history of violent incidents at Boise State. The football program knew that even though he was a rising star and a defensive starter for the Broncos, he had been kicked off that team following a 4.5-sack, 7 tackle-for-loss season.” Silence at Baylor (via @scATX)

 

Sunday

16

August 2015

0

COMMENTS

What I’m Reading – August 16, 2015

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Human Rights

– “Fear of eviction and arrest means sex workers are stuck with an unbearable choice: between safety and survival. “I went to a house of a man—he tried not to pay me so much,” one sex worker in Norway told Amnesty researchers. “He punched me two times in the jaw. I didn’t tell the police. If he had broke much I would have told them. But I don’t want it on my records.”” Amnesty International’s Long-Due Support for Sex Workers Rights (via @melissagira)

– ““There is strong evidence that reintegrating former inmates back into society by helping them find jobs and housing gives them better chance of not re-offending,and I think voting is a key part of that,” Padilla told ThinkProgress. “It’s giving people a voice in their communities. For me, it’s equal parts the right thing to do from a voting rights and a public safety perspective.”” California Reverses Policy That Kept 60,000 Released Prisoners From Voting (via @thinkprogress)

– ““Sex workers are one of the most marginalized groups in the world who in most instances face constant risk of discrimination, violence and abuse. Our global movement paved the way for adopting a policy for the protection of the human rights of sex workers which will help shape Amnesty International’s future work on this important issue,” said Salil Shetty, Secretary General of Amnesty International.” Global movement votes to adopt policy to protect human rights of sex workers (via @AmnestyInternational)

– “For example, it trots out the completely false statement that “The average age of entry (into sex work) is 12 to 14.” This statement has been debunked multiple times, and even Polaris Project, one of the largest anti-sexwork organizations in the world, has publicly disclaimed it. It makes completely inflated claims about sex worker’s mortality rate, based on a very limited study, which the author himself, Georgetown professor Ronald Weitzer, has since disavowed.” This Seattle Times Op-Ed Got Everything Wrong About Sex Work (via @strangerslog)

– “Too often, the stories of women who are no longer engaged in sex work and who reject sex work gain more attention than the testimony of sex workers who are still in the industry, and whose needs should be primary when it comes to setting policy.” Amnesty International Is Finally on the Right Side of the Sex Work Struggle (via @melissagira)

Misogyny

– “Trump’s response to Kelly’s question was essentially a step-by-step guide on how to dismiss valid complaints about discriminatory behavior in the workplace. It was a two-minute primer on how to get away with sexism.” Donald Trump just gave a master class on how to get away with sexism (via @Vox)

Police Violence

– “The Free Thought Project reported that the Facebook group Police Officers posted the offensive image in advance of the 1-year anniversary of Brown’s slaying at the hands of police officer Darren Wilson. The image showed a photoshopped gravestone with Brown’s dates of birth and death along with a poem that said: There once was a thug named Brown, Who bum-rushed a cop with a frown, Six bullets later, He met his creator, Then his homies burnt down the town.” Cops make disgusting online ‘memorial’ mocking death of Ferguson’s Michael Brown (h/t @prisonculture)

– “Something must be done, but no one is still sure what. Things need to change, but nobody can agree how, or whether change is truly possible. Though the rubble of Ferguson’s burned down buildings has mostly been cleared, signs of frustration remain. On West Florissant’s buildings graffiti declares “Let us purge White Amerikkk” and “This is our justice: we are ungovernable.” Murals on businesses that have been boarded since the fall violence proclaim “Speak da truth — we stand with you.”” A year after fatal shooting of Michael Brown, residents in Ferguson says something must be done, but still not sure what (via @sarahkendzior)

– “As marginalized people, we have always faced erasure: either our story is never told, or it is told by everyone but us. If not for Twitter and Instagram, Missouri officials would have convinced you, one year ago, that we simply did not exist. Or that we were the aggressors, rather than the victims. That we, and not they, were the violent ones.” Ferguson and beyond: how a new civil rights movement began – and won’t end (via @deray)

– “If, this morning, you woke up feeling like you no longer support the Black Lives Matter movement, please reconsider where that stance comes from. Because they interrupted something? Why does that anger you so much? Do you really feel that this candidate has no progress to be made on institutional racism? Can you understand the place of hurt and fear that yesterday’s action came from?” “How do we call people in even as we call them out?” (via @seattlish)

– “Almost as soon as Ms. Liu was arrested, Mr. Port accused the police of targeting his wife’s business in retaliation for a series of articles he had shepherded into the newspaper that called into question the tactics and practices of an Albany County sheriff’s drug unit.” Prostitution Charge Dropped in Case an Albany Journalist Called Retaliation (h/t @melissagira)

– “A post Sunday on the Facebook page of a Missouri police union declared the one-year anniversary of the shooting of unarmed teenager Michael Brown to be “Darren Wilson Day,” after the police officer who killed him, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.” Police Union In Missouri Declares ‘Darren Wilson Day’ On Shooting Anniversary (h/t @JessicaValenti)

Prison Labor

– “Conservation Camp pays inmates $1 an hour for their help in emergency situations. They are also used in other emergencies like floods and earthquakes. There are 39 Conservation Camps across the state training some 4,000 inmates. Their work saves taxpayers about $80 million every year, according to the state.” Nearly half the people fighting wildfires wreaking havoc across California are prison inmates

Racism

– “Then I got a phone call on the phone telling me to bring the delivery back. Saying that I couldn’t do the delivery,” said Bradley to WSET. “I asked him why I couldn’t do it and he said because you’re black and they don’t want you at the house.” Black delivery driver says Lowe’s replaced him when racist customer complained (via @RawStory)

Reproductive Health

– “Then she put her hand on mine, “you are a smart, capable woman. You know what’s best for you.” The Abortion I Didn’t Have (via @IjeomaOluo)

Sexual Violence

– “Surely there are ways to take Doe’s claim of trauma to task without attempting to shame her by demanding a full list of her sexual partners – especially considering victim’s sexual histories are typically not allowed in court proceedings due to rape shield laws. But if we’ve learned anything these last few years, it’s that we can’t depend on schools to do the right thing when it comes to rape.” No college should ever ask for the sexual history of alleged rape victims (via @JessicaValenti)

– “Pam Crawford’s first thought was that she hoped MC had not undergone a surgery, but much to their dismay, they found he had, being officially assigned the gender of female. Now, reaching closer to the formidable teenage years, MC identifies as male, and the Crawfords are calling his surgery a form of genital mutilation.” Gender Reassignment Surgery: Parents Sue Doctors For Making Their Intersex Child A Girl, Claiming Genital Mutilation

Women in Sports

– “Mowins was at the top of the list of potential broadcasters when Raiders owner Mark Davis decided he wanted a dedicated television crew for preseason games this year instead of simulcasting the radio broadcast.” Beth Mowins to Call Oakland Raiders Preseason Game

Monday

10

August 2015

0

COMMENTS

Off the Wall: Death in Yosemite by Michael P. Ghiglieri and Charles R. “Butch” Farabee, Jr.

Written by , Posted in Uncategorized

Four Stars

Climb the Walls

I’ve just finished a week-long family vacation spent about 10 minutes south of Yosemite National Park. The first day we went into the valley, my husband and I hiked about 7 miles, and stopped into a few of the little stores. Everywhere we went, this book was on the shelves. If you’re familiar with any of my favorite books, it shouldn’t surprise you that this book caught my eye.

Off the Wall is a well-written, fascinating, long (nearly 600 pages) book that covers all of the unnatural deaths that have taken place within the park since the white men dropped down into the Yosemite Valley. It’s a delicate balance of sharing stories and tryng not to make every person (other than those who died by suicide and homicide) sound, well, stupid. But it’s hard, because man, people do some really dumb things in national parks.

Fewer than 800 people have died traumatically within the whole of Yosemite since the 1850s. Many did things like stepped over the railing onto slippery rocks at the waterfall to get a better picture, or went hiking without good clothing, map, and compass, or overestimated their rock climbing ability. Some were victims of freak accidents, like the constuction truck with failed breaks that crashed into a car and buried the occupants with hot asphault. And others chose to make Yosemite their final resting place after they decided they didn’t want to be in the world anymore.

I started reading this on Tuesday evening, and just finished it on Saturday morning. So much of it is just intriguing, and it was difficult to put it down. I appreciate that the authors have real experience in this area and weren’t just doing a retrospective study – one of them served in Search and Rescue within the park and was involved in many of the attempted rescues outlined in the book. But they also did some fantastic research, getting details from local papers from the 1800s. I also appreciated that they treated the killing of the original inhabitants (the Native Americans) by white men as murder.

A couple of times the book felt a little condescending, and some language they chose to use (like referring to undocumented immigrants as ‘illegals’, or how they described suicidal people) is so outdated and insensitive that it took me out of the book on occasion. But overall, if you want to be both educated on the ways your fellow man and woman can screw up, as well as inspired by the ways park employees try to save these folks, this is a good book to check out.

Saturday

8

August 2015

0

COMMENTS

YOSEMITE

Written by , Posted in Adventures

We have been having a fantastic week up here in Yosemite. We are staying just south of the park’s gate, and we’ve gone into the valley four times in a week. Austin and I went on a seven mile fairly easy hike the first day, then two days later went back for another 13 miles on the valley loop trail. My feet are destroyed.

Today we went on a four-line zip line tour of the forest, which was gorgeous. And each evening we’ve been playing games, drinking wine and having just a general blast. It’s great to get to see my three year old niece, and my extended family (as in, my in-laws). We head back to Seattle tomorrow, and while it will definitely be sad to say good-bye to folks and this lovely setting, it will also be really nice to get back to Seattle, and the kittens.

Sunday

2

August 2015

0

COMMENTS

What I’m Reading – August 2, 2015

Written by , Posted in What I'm Reading

End of Life Care

– “Researchers at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore used a national survey containing exit interviews with the next of kin of nearly 2,000 cancer patients who died between 2000 and 2012. Patients who had end-of-life discussions with doctors and those who created living wills, which describe the kind of care a person should receive, were most able to avoid having treatments that they did not want imposed on them. Patients who relied solely on designated health care proxies to make decisions if they were incapacitated were often subjected to aggressive last-minute care.” Helping Patients and Doctors Talk About Death (h/t @elementalnw)

Gun Violence

– “The Mass Shooting Tracker, a crowd-sourced project of the anti-gun folks at the Guns Are Cool subreddit, lists 203 mass shooting events so far in 2015. Add in the shooting at a Louisiana movie theater last night and you get 204. Incidentally, yesterday was the 204th day of the year.” There have been 204 mass shootings — and 204 days — in 2015 so far (h/t @cjwerleman)

Police Abuse

– “A close look at the police car dashcam video that recorded the exchange shows her questions had merit: Encinia at every occasion escalates the tension. He tells Bland, a Black Lives Matter activist, she’s under arrest before she has even left her car, shouts at her for moving after ordering her to move, refuses to answer questions about why she’s being arrested and, out of the camera’s view, apparently slams her to the ground.” The Transcript Of Sandra Bland’s Arrest Is As Revealing As The Video (h/t @TheLindyWest)

– “Witnesses said that when Circle Bear was transferred to the holding cell, she told guards that she was in excruciating pain. Jail personnel reportedly told her to “quit faking” and “knock it off” before lifting her partway off the floor and dragging her to the cell where she was later found unconscious.” ‘Quit faking’: Police ignored Native American woman’s pleas for help before she died in jail (via @RawStory)

– “But her death follows at least four other deaths of black women in police custody since July 13, shining an even brighter spotlight on the plight of black women in the criminal justice system and fueling the Black Lives Matter movement.” At Least 5 Black Women Found Dead In Jail Since Mid-July (via @ThinkProgress)

Racism

– “If most of us want progress—at the very least, a shift in the way women are portrayed—why isn’t anyone talking about this film’s inherent racism? Every time I go into a movie theater, I am reminded that movies—even when they’re lighthearted and intended to be escapist—are usually serving a straight, white audience.” The Problems With Trainwreck’s Casual Racism (h/t @CamilleDeMere)

Reproductive Health

– “The Court’s decision in the case – in which an Olympia-based pharmacy and two pharmacists asserted that filling prescriptions for emergency contraception violated their religious freedom – upheld the constitutionality of Pharmacy Board rules requiring all pharmacies to fill all lawful prescriptions without discrimination or delay. No one is above the law.” Vindication and Victory (via @Legal_Voice)

Sex Workers

– “Sex workers and their allies have been quick to respond to this nonsense, maintaining that criminalizing any aspect of the industry only makes it harder for them to protect themselves against violence, disease, and extreme exploitation, and that Lena Dunham and friends should probably keep their mouths shut about issues they know nothing about. Here are some of their tweets. Unlike the people who wrote this letter, I know they’re fully capable of speaking for themselves:” Sex workers tell Lena Dunham, other celebs to STFU about shit they don’t understand (h/t @riotheatherrr)

Sexual Assault

– “The group of women Cosby allegedly assaulted functions almost as a longitudinal study — both for how an individual woman, on her own, deals with such trauma over the decades and for how the culture at large has grappled with rape over the same time period.” ‘I’m No Longer Afraid’: 35 Women Tell Their Stories About Being Assaulted by Bill Cosby, and the Culture That Wouldn’t Listen (via @NYMag)

Terrorism

– “This comes less than a month after the FBI director said he does not consider Charleston Church murderer Dylann Roof a “terrorist.” The activists’ alleged crimes: “They released thousands of minks from farms around the country and vandalized various properties.” That’s it. Now they’re being prosecuted and explicitly vilified as “terrorists,” facing 10-year prison terms.” Dylann Roof Is Not a “Terrorist” — But Animal Rights Activists Who Free Minks From Slaughter Are (via @theintercept)

Transgender Rights

– “Bathroom bully bills — legislation that bars transgender individuals from using restrooms that match their gender identities — will form the next front line in the push for equal rights, according to transgender advocates who are readying themselves for the fight ahead.” Transgender rights advocates ‘going to battle over bathrooms’ (via @ajam)

Women in Technology

– “This is a moment of transition and uncertainty and I wanted to gather the greatest minds to think through where society is heading. It just so happens that the greatest minds — the nineteen speakers invited to these events — were women.” How I Organized a Series of Six Panels on Technology with Only Women Speaking. (via @jomc)