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Monthly Archive: September 2014



September 2014



What I’m Reading – September 28, 2014

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– “One local pastor, Craig Watts, cautioned commissioners against “laws that criminalize misfortune.” He called it “ethically dubious at best,” noting that the religious community opposed these measures.” City Makes It Illegal To Sleep In Public In Effort To Crack Down On The Homeless (via @ThinkProgress)

– “Seattle has become a playground for wealthy developers who are receiving sweetheart deals, making enormous profits and who are given virtually free rein over our neighborhoods.” Statement on Mayor Murray’s Housing Affordability and Livability Advisory Committee (via @cmsawant)


– “You can’t train away entitlement or take a two-hour course to be misogyny-free. Especially when the people who are “training” and “educating” players and league employees will be getting paychecks from the a league that saw marijuana use as a more serious offense than beating a woman.” Roger Goodell wants YOU to accept his nightmare of violence and sexism (via @JessicaValenti)

– “In the end, after everybody has taken their cut, only 8.01% of money spent on pink NFL merchandise is actually going towards cancer research.” A Shockingly Small Amount Of Money From Pink NFL Merchandise Sales Goes To Breast Cancer Research

Policing and Prison

– “According to St. Louis alderman Antonio French, Johnson also said he would “have a talk” with whatever agency the bracelet-wearing officers work for.” “I Am Darren Wilson” Bracelets Are Missouri Cops’ New Fashion Statement (h/t @chescaleigh)

– “Keep in mind that the UN considers solitary confinement for anything more than 15 days to be torture or cruel and inhumane treatment.” How Can The Atlantic Give Us 5,000 Words on Prison Life Without Interviewing Prisoners? (via @MotherJones)

–  “Ritchie told several reporters after the 5 August shooting that he was an “ex-marine”. When confronted with his seven-week service record, however, he confirmed that he had been quickly thrown out of the US marine corps in 2008 after being declared a “fraudulent enlistment”” Doubts cast on witness’s account of black man killed by police in Walmart (h/t @Karnythia)

– “He described the presentation as “almost like a pep talk for police officers,” which informed them: “You have to go after these things, you can’t ignore them”.” Ohio police given ‘pep talk’ on shooting scenarios ahead of Walmart encounter

Assault of Women

– “In a horrifically misguided plot to catch the suspect in the act, they asked a female special-needs student to act as bait, luring the alleged rapist into a bathroom where teachers would be present to intervene.” There Are So Many Things Wrong With This Alabama Middle School Rape Case (h/t @courtenlow)

– “Just as lynching in America is not a phenomenon wholly confined to black people, spouse-beatings are not wholly confined to women. But in our actual history, women have largely been on the receiving end of spouse-beating.” The domestic violence gender trap: Hope Solo, Ray Rice and the tired myopia of “women do it too”


– “It is especially important because a psychological disease can spread as fast as any virus but be more enduring. It is especially lucrative for all the food companies making tons of money off of people like you.” Science Proves Gluten Sensitivity Isn’t Real, People Are Just Whiners (h/t @DrJaneChi)

– “CVS has been illegally charging women for birth control, violating an Obamacare provision that forces insurers to cover generic contraceptives at no cost to women.” CVS Caught Illegally Charging Women For Birth Control (h/t @DrJaneChi)

Labor Rights

– “Lyft announced the cuts in an email to all drivers, reminding them “the more you make, the more Lyft makes, so your earnings are our top priority.” But one Lyft driver explains to Valleywag that drivers aren’t buying it.” Lyft Just Slashed Driver Pay Again, And Everyone’s Pissed (h/t @chrisglenski)



September 2014



Rise of the Warrior Cop

Written by , Posted in Politics, Reviews

Five Stars

rise of the warrior cop

We have a problem with policing in this country. Hopefully this isn’t a surprise, although many people have only started to notice this since the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson last month. People in many communities, for years, have been more fearful of the police than of the criminals in their communities; this is especially true for black people, who can be shot for having a BB gun, a toy sword, or nothing at all.

Mr. Balko has written a book that unfortunately is all too relevant these days. The book focuses on the problems with the militarization of the police and the culture that sees officers acting as though everyone is the enemy, and it specifically focuses on the drug war and SWAT teams. It has taken me over a month to read (I’ve started and finished two books and about 20 magazines in that time) because it is infuriating. It is well written and well-researched. It is ‘easy’ to read, in that the sentences and paragraphs flow logically, and the book itself is broken down by decade to clearly demonstrate how things have changed. But it is infuriating. I wrote a variation of ‘fuck’ or ‘ew’ on every other page, because each section made me angrier and angrier. Mr. Balko wrote a great, infuriating book, and I wish everyone would read it.

The drug war is ridiculous, but seeing it really spelled out in print, and reading how it is so tied into a culture that seeks bigger and deadlier toys to ‘enforce the law’ made me, and makes me, sick to my stomach. My blood pressure would rise, my pulse would race, and it would take a whole lot of self-control to not just fling the book at a window every couple of pages. Much of this comes from the illustrating stories that point out the times when SWAT teams utterly fuck up. The botched raids are not rare; they are examples of what happens when a group of people gets all the power but has none of the self-awareness to recognize that they are doing something wrong. Shooting dogs in the head, breaking down doors, holding people at gun point without ever announcing who they are. Can you IMAGINE being awoken at midnight by a bunch of people in dark clothes pointing guns and yelling at you? I assume I would pee myself and consider that I was about to be sexually assaulted and then murdered. There is rarely, if ever a need for this kind of use of force, and yet here we are, openly supporting it with federal grants, surplus Pentagon equipment and broken policies.

I live in Seattle, and was here during the WTO riots. Norm Stamper was police chief then, and he wrote a book saying that what the Seattle PD did during those protests – throwing tear gas into crowds, blocking people in – was right. But after his book tour he realized he was so very wrong, and now he realizes that his actions are partly responsible for the devolution of rights of civilians in the face of power-hunger cops. The way the police handled Occupy protests throughout the country was so disappointing; the way some handle the day-to-day operations with quasi-military force to recover a few ounces of marijuana or heroin from non-violent drug offenders should scare the crap out of you.

Are all cops bad? Obviously not. There are some amazing officers doing great work. That isn’t the point of this book. The point is that we’ve passed laws, set policy and created grants that make it easier for police to believe that the law doesn’t apply to them as they seek to enforce the law. That is unacceptable, and we need to speak out and demand some change. Now.



September 2014



What I’m Reading – September 21, 2014

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– “These highly questionable revelations stirred a fair amount of public outrage, but few people seemed to realize how truly sinister they were, or how they connected to much broader patterns of official lawlessness that have long bedeviled St. Louis County, and Missouri more generally, as well as many other jurisdictions across the land.” Ferguson’s massive cover-up: How police departments are protecting Michael Brown’s killer (h/t @ShaunKing)

– “The question of whether Urban Shield is an essential training experience worth a significant investment of taxpayer money or a chance for grown men to run around and play war games was bubbling beneath the surface the whole time.” Militarized Cops Pretend to Fight Terrorists in Oakland (h/t @MelissaGira)

Reproductive Health

– “Despite the mounting pressures to have a baby already, a number of well-known, powerful women have said no, thanks, and spoken quite frankly about their decision not to parent.” 25 Famous Women on Childlessness (h/t @sovvvy)


– “The thing that’s most striking about the opposition to Sarkeesian’s work is that while her opposition comes in very different forms, ranging from simple criticism, to faux-intellectual documentarians, to outright virulent abuse, it’s all pretty lightweight.” Criticism of Anita Sarkeesian & “Tropes vs. Women” Comes in 4 Groundless Forms (h/t @femfreq)

– “In protest, some students are continuing to openly defy the dress code regulations and wear shorts and tank tops to school.” High Schoolers Protest Sexist Dress Code That’s Landed More Than 100 Girls In Detention (via @ThinkProgress)

– “I made the mistake of dating a guy who would later go on to write a several-act manifesto about my alleged sex life and post it to every forum he could create a handle for. Normally, this would blow over with little more than a “whoa, check out THAT guy,” but since I work in an industry that has very strong feelings about women, it quickly mutated from a jilted ex’s revenge-porn to one of the most intense scandals in recent gaming history.” 5 Things I Learned as the Internet’s Most Hated Person (h/t @studentactivism)

– “We may be able to see these small population differences if we ran a large, controlled study but it would be practically invisible to us on an individual level as we go about our lives and it certainly wouldn’t result in large gender imbalances in terms of people who like Sam Harris.” Sam Harris Doesn’t Understand Bell Curves (via @skepchic)

Sexual Assault

– “This rape prevention campaign doesn’t even include rapists in its messaging about personal accountability for preventing rape. Instead, it’s directed at everyone but rapists.” White House Rolls Out “It’s On Us” Campaign (via @Shakestweets)


– “I don’t see how it could be self-defense,” Nagle says. “There were 12 people there. The self-defense thing is a little crazy to me. It wasn’t like a guy just threw a punch to protect himself and ran away. That’s not what happened here.” Philly Hate Attack Mob Claiming Self Defense After Brutal Beating Sends Gay Men To Hospital

Intimate Partner Violence

– “The Radisson hotel chain is suspending its sponsorship of the Minnesota Vikings after star running back Adrian Peterson was charged with child abuse in Texas.” Radisson Suspends Minnesota Vikings Sponsorship (via @AP)

World Health

– “The Ebola epidemic in West Africa has the potential to alter history as much as any plague has ever done.” The Mathematics of Ebola Trigger Stark Warnings: Act Now or Regret It


– “‘Obviously, my house would not be like this if I didn’t have Asperger’s,’ he said. ‘If it takes a long time, I don’t care because if I like what I’m doing, I almost don’t want to finish what I’m doing,’ Krueger said.” Autistic Minnesota man builds ultimate cat maze in home (h/t @AustinKelmore)



September 2014



Paris Street Style

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Three Stars

paris street style

Ah! Yes. This is the book I was looking for. Much more comprehensive than Kate Spade’s ‘Style,’ this 200-page guide features many photos but also a lot of suggestions. It has a point of view, a logical order, and something more than just some lists of clothes to check out. It is based on the premise that most people who have been to Paris accept: women there look amazing. Old, young, tiny, large. They have something figured out and they manage to look uniformly and yet eccentrically phenomenal in a way that I’ve not seen in other parts of the world (including the U.S.).

First, the drawbacks: nearly all the women pictured are, at most, a size 4-6. So yes, it’s much easier to look fantastic if you can buy your clothes anywhere and have the body type that designers have in their minds when they begin to illustrate their fall lines. The authors do not focus nearly enough on how to develop a style when one can only shop in a limited number of places due to size, or when one has extremely limited funds.

With those (admittedly large) caveats in mind, this book does offer some interesting advice about fashion, trends, and building a good wardrobe. Some of the suggestions are ones I have heard before – for example, that accessories are the key to creating many different looks – but others, while not necessarily new, stuck in my head more when delivered in this book. The best is the one about investing in a very few high quality pieces, and taking the time to make sure these items will last. I have a few of these – a trench coat that has seen ten rainy springs, a black skirt that is to me such a classic cut that I’m baffled that I can’t find it anywhere else and so have had it relined to make sure it lasts. But today when I went in search of a couple of items I found myself thinking back to this book and applying what I’ve learned to each bit of clothing to really sort out if buying it would be a good idea (hint: many more times than not, the answer was no).

This book also features several interviews with Parisian shop owners who discuss their view of the French style and what people should keep in mind when developing their own styles. Those parts are fun to read, and some offer great insight into fashion and style; others are not as useful. But once you’ve read the last bit of advice, the authors leave you a treat: a list of shops, cafes and spots the authors recommend checking out. It’s like a bonus tiny travel guide!



September 2014



What I’m Reading – September 14, 2014

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Sexism, Reproductive Rights

– “So the disparity is not because mothers actually become less productive employees and fathers work harder when they become parents — but because employers expect them to.” The Motherhood Penalty vs. the Fatherhood Bonus (h/t @dreamhamptom)

– “Because, really, women’s abortions are none of your business – not even those of a public figure, not even one who became an international figure because of abortion rights.” Bravo for Wendy Davis, but women’s abortions are none of your business (via @JessicaValenti)

– “Miranda’s mother, Dianna Larkin, has referred to the outfit as a “suit of shame” and says that Miranda started sobbing as soon as she was forced to put it on.” High Schooler Forced To Wear ‘Shame Suit’ As Punishment For Short Skirt (via @ThinkProgress)

– “Whalen told authorities there was no local clinic available to perform an abortion and her daughter did not have health insurance to cover a hospital abortion.” Mom Ann Whalen Sentenced To Prison For Giving Daughter Abortion Pills

– “What Alden’s bio fails to mention is he has also overseen a series of failures when it comes to how his department has handled off-field issues with players, specifically from the basketball and football teams when it involves violence against women.” Missouri Football’s Rape Culture and So On and So Forth (via @scATX)

– “Domestic violence is so much more complicated than a lack of money, or not having self-respect, or feeling like it’s OK for your man to beat up on you.” Why I Married My Abuser (h/t @DrJaneChi)

– “But judging by the list of banned content, GoFundMe doesn’t necessarily want a positive experience for all visitors. It wants a positive experience for visitors who align with a specific social outlook.” GoFundMe, the site that has raised money for convicted murderers, will draw the line at abortion and ‘sorcery’ (h/t @ClinicEscort)

– “When an incident of intimate partner violence in which a man knocks a woman unconscious gains national attention and every question or comment you think to make has to do with her behavior, you really hate women.” How to know that you hate women (via @mychalsmith)

Racism + Sexism

– “Black feminism is championing a more nuanced understanding of how oppression and privilege operate” After naked photo hack, ‘white feminists’ ignore Jill Scott (h/t @courtenlow)

– “Black women are almost three times as likely to experience death as a result of DV/IPV than White women.” Why Black Women Struggle More With Domestic Violence (via @FeministaJones)


– “The dream was to make the league palatable to a stereotypical, upscale suburban audience.” Out for Executing the NBA Game Plan: The Atlanta Hawks and That Levenson (via @EdgeOfSports)

– “There have been numerous calls for the NFL to ease up its marijuana punishments, based both on weed’s expanding legality and its potential use as relief for chronic pain.” The NFL Just Suspended Ray Rice Indefinitely. Why the Hell Did It Take So Long?

– “The Economist revealed just how many white people remain reluctant to believe black people about the experience of being black.” The Economist’s review of my book reveals how white people still refuse to believe black people about being black

– “Misee felt unable to continue working under such conditions and decided to quit the dental practice on the spot, much to the dismay of her bosses. They assumed Misee would simply promise to stop voicing her opinions on social media about racial injustice. ” Racial discrimination & resignation of Dr. Misee Harris – An Open Letter to media (h/t @SarahKendzior)


– “The effect is to make the city more appealing to successful, and mostly white, middle class professionals – while burdening the city’s poorest with more bills to pay.” Bratton-style policing means more fines and arrests for black residents of Detroit (h/t @FatBodyPolitics)

– “The captain, he said, told him we had been filming in an unauthorized location, though he could not tell us where that location was. (We’d been advised earlier that it was okay to film so long as we did not go on the bridge itself.)” Video: What We Saw Before Being Kicked Out of the SWAT Convention (via @MotherJones)

– “Better data, and the will to collect it, is necessary to get the full picture of how many criminals and law-abiding citizens are killed by police every year.” Here’s the Data That Shows Cops Kill Black People at a Higher Rate Than White People (via @MotherJones)

– “The police-military institutions sponsoring and consorting with weapons exhibitions like Urban Shield are not only ensuring that police agencies remain militarized but that the rising climate of both xenophobia and Islamophobia does not shift, the latter having a tremendous and direct influence over the use of the former.” ‘Urban Shield’: where hostility towards minorities meets policing on steroids (via @roqchams)

Trans Rights

– “An inventor, an executive, a lawyer, and even a founder of a religion, there are so many intriguing aspects of Rothblatt’s life. It’s a shame so much had to be made of her gender.” About that New York Magazine Cover Story (via @ParkerMolloy)


– “While no one actually endorses child abuse or neglect, there is disagreement within the homeschooling community about how best to address the problem — and how widespread it is.” ‘Anonymous Tip’: Homeschooling’s Obsession With ‘False’ Reports Of Child Abuse


– “Many people asked to return money were deemed ineligible for aid because their damaged properties were vacation houses or rental properties, not their primary homes.” FEMA Wants at Least $5.8 Million in Sandy Aid Repaid (via @AP)


– “It is very clear that there are certain major issues where there is only one correct scientific answer, and political conservatives are much more likely to deny that answer than are liberals or moderates.” Stop Pretending That Liberals Are Just As Anti-Science As Conservatives (via @MotherJones)

Cool Stuffs 

– “To the company’s initial surprise, the feature is popular among late night office dwellers.” Genius Pizza Box Transforms Into Plates, And Then Storage For Leftovers (h/t @DrJaneChi)



September 2014




Written by , Posted in Reviews

Two Stars


I was drawn to this book because I usually like Kate Spade’s designs. The color combinations aren’t always my thing, and I wouldn’t wear everything she makes, but she definitely has a point of view. I figured this book might help me out as I try to sort through exactly what my own style is, beyond dresses with pockets. Aren’t dresses with pockets are the best? I don’t understand why more shops don’t sell them.

But back to the book. I’ve finished it and I’m still not entirely clear what Ms. Spade is going for with it. It’s too small to be a coffee table book, but the content is too sparse to be an actual guide to style. There are sections, sort of, but it’s mostly just a mixture of quotes from Ms. Spade and her husband Andy, some lists of things that fit whatever category she’s discussing, occasional collections of movies and books to check out, and some (admittedly lovely) illustrations. In fact, the illustrations are the best part, but there aren’t enough for this to be just a book of lovely fashion illustrations.

I wouldn’t go so far as to say I wish I could get my money back; the final section on clothing and jewelry care is really quite useful, and I can see myself referring back to it on occasion. There are also handy conversion charts to refer to if you find yourself travelling a lot and needing to buy clothes overseas. But beyond that, I don’t think this book has really done much to help me sort out how I want to approach personal style. I was looking for a different book, but that’s okay. I’ll find it, and hopefully it’ll have a secret page full of all the designers who make dresses with pockets.



September 2014



What I’m Reading – September 7, 2014

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Misogyny and Sexual Abuse

– “What these people are doing is reminding women that, no matter who they are, they are still women. They are forever vulnerable.” The Great 2014 Celebrity Nude Photos Leak is only the beginning (via @rgay)

– “For every statement of sympathy to the women whose massively personal, vulnerable information was shared, there are several posts about the idiocy of posting these pictures on the internet (which they didn’t) or taking them at all (which is none of our business). What Nude Photo Scandals Tell Us about How We View Women (via @courtenlow)

– “The story itself should not be addressed as if it were a scandal, but rather what it is: A sex crime involving theft of personal property and the exploitation of the female body.” Jennifer Lawrence Nude Photo Leak Isn’t A ‘Scandal.’ It’s A Sex Crime. (h/t @M_E_Winstead)

– “The receptionist, on learning I was reporting a sex offence, insisted on me giving details in front of everybody in the waiting room before taking me somewhere private.” How I was raped – and pressured into dropping the charges (h/t @stavvers)

– “So Sulkowicz joined a federal complaint in April over Columbia’s mishandling of sexual misconduct cases, and she will will hoist that mattress on her shoulders as part savvy activism, part performance art.” Beyond ‘no means no’: the future of campus rape prevention is ‘yes means yes’ (via @JessicaValenti)

– “But them there girls didn’t matter. People like us, we don’t matter.” Child abuse revelations divide “most shameful town in Britain” (via @reuters)

– “The problem here is that these squealing man-children, so desperate to keep women out of their precious games, want it both ways. They want gaming to be taken seriously as a culture and art form, while at the same time throwing an unbelievable tantrum when subjected to serious criticism.” Announcement: Readers who feel threatened by equality no longer welcome (h/t @womenactmedia)


– “All the handwringing in the world didn’t change the fact that families needed two incomes to get by and women increasingly wanted their own careers.” Why America Gave Up On The Fight For A Family-Friendly Workplace, And Why It’s Starting Again (via @ThinkProgress)

– “Childless isn’t a synonym for hollow or miserable. And let’s move together towards a world where if women are asked why they didn’t have kids, they simply say: ‘That’s an odd question.'” Jennifer Aniston is right – a childless life isn’t a fruitless one (h/t @nothavingababy)

– “Fears about outbreaks aren’t simply hypothetical. This past year, California specifically has faced a record-breaking whooping cough epidemic, as well as several serious measles outbreaks.” Health Experts Are Worried That More Kids Are Heading Back To School Without Their Vaccines (via @ThinkProgress)

– “After five months, she has been granted full custody of her children. Her kids can finally come home.” Woman Who Left Kids in Car During Job Interview Regains Custody (h/t @msfoundation)

Police Abuse

– “At every point where it’s possible, the cops assume Boucher is a bad, unconcerned mother.” Mom Arrested for (Maybe) Hanging Up on Cop While Her ‘Missing’ 10-Year-Old Plays at Church (h/t @radleybalko)

– “He is accused of stopping women, who were all black and between the ages of 34 and 58, while on duty in Oklahoma City.” Prosecutors Charge Cop Daniel Holtzclaw With Rape, Sexual Assault Of 8 Women (h/t @angryblacklady)

– “While I think it is probably a good idea, it really depends how it’s used and whether or not police officers are disciplined … Are there consequences if the recordings show that a police officer violated policy or a police officer used excessive force?” Watching the Watchmen: Are Police Officers’ Body-Worn Cameras a Win for Accountability? (h/t @prisonculture)

– “And there’s the rub. It is not just releasing the fact that they were looking for Ashya that is being challenged: it is the fact that they put out misinformation about the nature of their search. They insinuated very clearly that the family had removed a child “without consent”. Comment: After Ashya, can the police be trusted with a Twitter account? (h/t @stavvers)

– “The problem with telling people they have to participate in any mandatory expression is that it tells people who might have a religious objection or other deeply held belief that, if they don’t go along with what the government tells them to do, they aren’t welcome in this community.” Mayor orders police to remove man who wouldn’t stand for Pledge of Allegiance (h/t @radleybalko)

– “This is where the fundamental fault in the police culture of St. Louis lies. The use of guns and force define the recruiting message, by having violence as a transcending theme. Imagine how it would feel, if the promotional video of a Medical School was all about the scalpel and the students using it on corpses.” How It’s Easier to Become a St. Louis Police Officer Than a Barber


– “What is it about black womanhood that renders us so fascinating? Not unlike the manic pixie dream girl, this fantastical stereotype has taken on a life of it own, in which sassy fierce black women are on permanent performance mode.” Why the hell do TV producers think inside every white woman is a fierce black diva? (via @renireni)

– “When April protested by noting her Native American religious beliefs, Warren asked her for to prove that Malachi is, indeed, a Native American.” Texas School Won’t Let Native American Attend His First Day Of Kindergarten Because Of His Long Hair (via @ThinkProgress)

– “During the first round of court proceedings, Texas admitted that between 600,000 to 800,000 registered voters in the state lacked a government-issued photo ID, with Hispanic voters between 46.5 percent to 120 percent more likely than whites to not have the new voter ID.”  Will Texas Get Away With Discriminating Against Voters? (h/t @DrJaneChi)

– “The team tweeted the score at the end of all 16 preseason quarters. Against the year’s first three opponents teams, 11 of the 12 tweets included the opposing team’s nickname. Against the Redskins, none of the four tweets did.” One Redskins preseason opponent showed you can live-tweet a Redskins game without using the word ‘Redskins’

– The Economist just defended slave owners

Gun Violence

– “The weapon was in the employee’s pants pocket and was not displayed at any time. The employee was injured in the foot and treated and released from the hospital.” Police: no charges pending in ISU accidental shooting

– “But it turns out that bringing SWAT teams into buildings to simulate an active shooter situation doesn’t always make people feel safer.” Active Shooter Drills Don’t Really Prepare People, But They Do Make Them Cry (via @MotherJones)