Remember the Saturday to keep it productive

“In every country in the world bar one, thoughtful Christian people seem to be remarkably united in publicly expressing pleasure and relief at the re-election of Barack Obama. The single exception is the United States itself, where the reaction is considerably more mixed, and the majority position probably leans toward sadness at the outcome, with a significant minority expressing something like horror.”

“It turns out that when it comes to religious behavior, Americans report attending church the same way they report flossing their teeth: lots of people say they do it, not many people actually do.”

“It is slowly dawning on them: This isn’t 1968. The hippies are punching back

“There’s no doubt that conservatives will continue to hammer the issue of homosexuality, but it seems their fear-mongering is falling on deaf ears as Americans realize that those states that have already adopted same-sex marriage haven’t yet fallen into the sea.”

And sometimes, it looks like fighting like hell to dismantle the patriarchal norms that perpetuate violence and oppression, that rob people of their humanity.”

“The Catholic church and its slow response to clergy sex abuse scandals has suffered a particular serious blow to its reputation for moral leadership. But it has also severely bungled its opposition to the Obama administration.”

“I am perfectly happy to see Reed stump for Romney in Ohio and Graham plump for Romney in an ad in The Wall Street Journal. Just don’t tell me they are doing so as Christians. They are doing so as shills for the GOP.”

“This vile discourse is, I would argue, a direct result of the pastoral strategies of the previous pope and his predecessors and the bishops they have appointed.”

“Could not civil law be allowed to progress where church law cannot go, at least not yet? Personally, I believe that it can and that it should.”

“But at the end of the day, it all comes down to you. When you speak the truth you change the minds and move the hearts of those who know you.”

“N.B.: Zechariah was not talking about Jesus, and what exactly he — or more than one he — was actually talking about is far from clear.”

“Here, in this chapter, I give up. For I am not sure what the prophet is talking about.”

A Children’s Treasury of Wacky Swing-State Voter ‘Irregularities’

“Please, angry right-wingers, do pursue this ‘shouting at strangers in supermarket lines’ plan. Repeatedly, all over America.”

White people don’t like to believe that they practice identity politics. The defining part of being white in America is the assumption that, as a white person, you are a regular, individual human being.”

“Ultimately, White Masculinity is imperiled by the idea of Barack Obama.”

“An ordained counsellor dedicated to ‘freeing’ people from homosexuality has been arrested on charges of molesting two young men over a period of two years.”

“The Moraga School District in Moraga, California alleged that a 12-year-old girl, who suffered prolonged sexual abuse at the hands of two different middle school teachers in the 1990s, was ‘negligent,’ ‘careless’ and ‘was herself responsible for the acts and damages of which she claims.‘”

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LBCF, No. 190: ‘Something happens’

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  • BaseDeltaZero

    When the defense for a rape is “this person consented,” even if there’s ample physical evidence to the contrary, this is considered a viable defense. Change that.  My second suggestion would be to require every rape accusation to go to trial, provided it meets a minimum standard of evidence.

    What the hell?  The only possible way that would work is to assume that all sex is coerced until proven otherwise – i.e. that a rapist is guilty unless proven innocent.  That’s the problem.  I’m honestly not sure it’s even possible to get convictions in ‘he said-she said’ sort of cases… you need some sort of outside evidence.  Someone saying ‘he raped me’ may give you 75 certainty that it’s true, but that’s not ‘beyond a reasonable doubt’.

    As for theft, well… ‘no, I didn’t steal it, it was given to me.’ is indeed a viable defense.  Not for a purse snatching, because there are witnesses, but this kind of thing comes up all the time, where it’s not clear whether an object was actually ‘given’ or not…

    What “negligence” can the law recognize on the part of a 12-year-old that mitigates the crime of sexually abusing her?

    None, but potentially something could have happened making it difficult or impossible for the school to prevent that.  The case in question is against the school, not the perpetrator.

    It seems to me like a solution might be to remove the restriction on affirmative defenses?  If evidence comes up that supports an affirmative defense, it can be used in trial, even if not already listed on the appearance?

  • Tricksterson

    You’re ignoring the two most significat words in the twitter feed title:  “White People”  I would not be surprised if these people are expecting to be rounded up and shpped off to camps.

  • Tricksterson

    Since I’m poor I expect to be fucked.  because that’s how our system wors.

  • Carstonio

    The Respectable blog suggests that Fox News doesn’t make sense to people raised outside of the racial framing. Based on my own reaction, that sounds very plausible. I’ve never been able to stand more than a minute or two of that channel, because the appeals to resentment are screamingly obvious to me. I hope that means I’m less vulnerable to them, but that would be like putting myself on the back for being enlightened – I have moments where I find latent bigotry in my subconscious.

  • B

     Yeah.  There are a lot of problems with how rape is regarded in our culture.  However, the fact that the prosecution has to prove that the victim was raped rather than the defense having to prove she wasn’t has nothing to do with rape and everything to do with how our legal system works — or at least, how it’s supposed to work.

    Innocent until proven guilty: the burden of proof lies with the prosecution.

    That makes the prosecution of rape difficult in many cases, yes, and I don’t know what the answer to that is — if there is one.  But I don’t think switching to “guilty until proven innocent” is the solution to the problems in our legal system.

  • EllieMurasaki

    No, it’s a problem with the intersection of rape and our legal system. When someone’s on trial for shooting someone, usually no one doubts that someone got shot. Prosecution just has to prove who did the shooting and what degree of forethought and intent were involved. With rape, the prosecution has to prove that a crime occurred as well as who did it and with what degree of forethought and intent.

  • Lori

    If you ever need a defense attorney be sure to tell her that you don’t want any CYA victim blaming in the legal filings regarding your case. I’m sure she will be able to produce something for you to sign acknowledging that you waive all right to make any claim of malpractice when it turns out that the case doesn’t go your way because you told her not to do her job.

  • AnonymousSam

    To be fair? What makes the defense so despicable in these circumstances isn’t that it’s saying that no rape occurred, it’s that it’s saying “Yes, she was raped, but it was her own damned fault, not ours.”

    I don’t know how that’s supposed to be an adequate defense. Ever.

  •  Rape isn’t unique in that regard by any means. There are many forms of assault, theft, even murder where the prosecution first has to prove that the crime in question actually happened in the first place. What is rather more unusual is that for most other crimes, there may or may not be a legal question of whether or not a crime occurred, but there is always a legal question of wether or not the accused bears the responsibility for the crime. In most of the cases where rapists are not brought to justice, the only question before the court is the first one: there is no question that, if the crime occurred, it is the accused who did it.

    (I can offhand think of one or two cases of other crimes where this same thing happened. And my recollection is that in all of those cases, the accused was acquitted, and the public lost their shit in outrage over the miscarrige of justice)

  • B

    Depends.  For rapes by acquaintances (which of course is most rapes) I imagine knowing who done it not generally an issue.  For rapes by strangers, there can be.  For example, many DNA acquittals are from cases that involved rape, mostly because those are the cases for which the perpetrator tended to DNA behind to be analyzed. 

    You wouldn’t think that rape victim could possibly misidentify the rapist in a line-up, but it turns out it happens.  It’s not because rape victims are bad witnesses — on the contrary, they generally got a much better look at the perpetrator than eyewitnesses in most other crimes do — it’s because our memories are just THAT malleable. 

    Really, it’s quite alarming how easy it is to mess with people’s memories.

  • Münchner Kindl

    But the defense in this case didn’t say that the rape of the 12-year old didn’t happen. It says that it’s the 12-year-old’s fault.

  • PollyAmory

    “Calm down.”

    What a noxious way to start a post. If you have a point, make it. If it can’t stand on its own without a healthy dash of condescension thrown in, then maybe you should rethink your argument. 

  • PollyAmory

    “People who are accused of things get to defend themselves, even if they are shitbags. Ideally, the judge will be able to figure out the truth.”

    The problem is that people thought enough of the “she was asking for it” defense to consider including it. I imagine “she tripped and fell onto his penis” is a defense of sorts as well, yet no one is in a rush to include that. Because it is ludicrous. So should the “she just rapes easy!” be. 

  • PollyAmory

    I don’t think there is a need for that. Because we belong to the privileged majority, we tend to automatically get the benefit of the doubt anyway. For example, while some white people truly believe that every single African-American voted for Obama last week, it’s doubtful there are more than a handful who believe that the white vote went entirely for Romney. 

  • PollyAmory

    I cried. But I wasn’t surprised. I felt incredibly discouraged, and yet I know I didn’t call for a Republican fatwa at the time. I was staying with a Republican friend that week, and we remained friends past that election and now two others (in which he voted for Obama so wooo!) 

  • PollyAmory

    “Comments on her post about this fear revealed that a lot of naturalised and second generation Cubans, Vietmanese, Europeans who fled the Communist Block are kneejerk Republicans.”

    If you mean Eastern Europeans, then this is has not been my experience at all. If you mean Western Europeans, then I don’t know why they’d harbor such fears. 

  • Trixie_Belden

    Yes, I know what you mean.  I didn’t mean to suggest that crying was an inappropriate response or anything.  It’s just that in my particular case, I was hopeful, but I had already accepted the possibility that Kerry could lose, so when he did, I was unhappy, but I had already come to terms with that possible outcome.  What I saw on the expressions on the people in the tumblr seem to show people driven to tears by complete shock and fear.  

  • As much as it might be good advice I can definitely say being told to “take a chill pill” or things of that nature are actually very provocative to further flying off the handle.

  • Trixie_Belden

    It isn’t that the school district “thought enough of it” to include it in an attempt to “perpetuate a trope”. The woman is suing the school district for negligence, and contributory and/or comparative negligence is a standard defense in all negligence cases, be it a car accident, a slip and fall, employer liability (which is what we have here), or whatever. Many people who read about this case seem to think those phrases quoted in the answer were something the defense attorneys thought up especially for this plaintiff, as victim-blaming, but it’s not so.

    It’s standard, and it’s automatic enough that it will be included as a defense even in an automobile accident where the plaintiff was rear-ended.

    That’s why BaseDeltaZero’s suggestion above to allow for easy amendments of answers to allow additional defenses probably wouldn’t help this particular situation.
    If you’re going to allow people to defend themselves then they have to be allowed to say “it’s not my fault, and one of the reasons it’s not my fault is because of something the plaintiff did or did not do”, and this sort of defense is basic enough that it will be included from the get-go and if I understand the complaints of some commenters, they believe such a defense should simply not be allowed in this case at all.

  • Greenygal

    Let’s put it this way: before I agree that it was reasonable to add that to the list of the school’s potential defenses, I would like to hear how that specific defense could possibly apply in this situation.   Seriously,  I want to know.  What line of reasoning would lead the court to decide that a twelve-year-old girl’s sexual molestation by her teachers was due to her own negligence? 

  • Trixie_Belden

    You could just as well ask how that defense applies to an auto accident where the plaintiff was rear-ended.  At the commencement of a lawsuit, nothing is assumed.  You and I have read this woman’s  story and decided that she is completely credible.  However, when she goes into court, she can’t simply state her case and get compensation, she has to attempt to prove her claim and the defendant has a right to defend against it.  The court hasn’t decided anything as of yet, the lawsuit has just been started. and the way the procedural rules work is that when the defendants answer the complaint, they will assert every possible defense, even ones that won’t apply. 

  • AnonymousSam

    In an auto-accident, it can apply. You can fail to give appropriate signals when coming to a stop, or slam on the breaks in the middle of traffic.

    “It’s her own fault she was assaulted” isn’t a defense against her claim. How the heck could it be? It admits guilt as part of its argument. It’s saying “yes, our faculty assaulted her, but it’s somehow her fault.” In what world is this an appropriate argument which deflects blame from the defendant, other than a very sick, women-hating one?

  • Trixie_Belden

    As I’ve been saying, this is the way pleadings are written at the start of a lawsuit, when nothing is assumed and no arguments are yet being made.  You seem to be saying “they should not be allowed to use this particular defense in their answer”, but that’s no how pleadings are drafted.  It’s not woman-hating anymore than it is auto driver-hating. 

  • AnonymousSam

    But as I said, it doesn’t apply. The comparison to auto driving is frankly insulting. Automobile accidents can be and frequently are the result of negligence from both parties (in the case of rear ending, it’s usually one party stopping too abruptly and the other party being too close and not paying attention). The comparison is only apt if we agree that a twelve year old was failing to do something which would have kept her from being sexually assaulted or had done something which made it almost inevitable, and that is blatant victim-blaming.

    I ask again, how is this defense even supposed to be appropriate when it admits guilt to the crime and the only possible way it could actually be an argument in the defendant’s favor instead of a confession is if it has been deemed possible and acceptable to shift blame for an assault onto the victim?

  • Trixie_Belden

    I think you’re confusing a civil lawsuit with a criminal prosecution.  Remember, this is a civil suit for damages against the defendant school district for (presumably) negligence in hiring and supervising their employees.  As such, it proceeds just like any other tort lawsuit under the same rules as any other tort lawsuit.  and the initial pleadings are just the same as they would be in any other negligence lawsuit.  As Alan Alexander pointed out, it would be a different matter entirely, if , once the case went to trial,the defendant made baseless assertions that the plaintiff was in some way to blame for what happened. 

  • AnonymousSam

    I’m not sure any of that excuses this sort of behavior in the slightest. How is the woman to be blamed for anything that happened? How isn’t this Example #203951 of how we have a rape culture which repeatedly and frequently demonstrates hatred of women and their disgusting naughty parts?

    “It’s standard boilerplate response to a suit” frankly just makes it worse in my eyes.

  •  Do you really want to be in the position of saying “Rape is a special crime unlike all other crimes, where due process does not apply and the defenses allowed in all other crimes are impermissable”?

  • AnonymousSam

    That’s not a slippery slope you’re positing there; that’s a 180º vertical dive.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Either people are permitted to assert ‘it was the defendant’s fault’ as a defense in all cases or rape cases are unlike all other cases in that people are not permitted to assert that. I’m not seeing any third option here.

  • AnonymousSam

    Ah, but here’s the problem: we’re not talking about just any rape case here; we’re specifically talking about a twelve year old girl claiming to have been assaulted by an adult. Even if it turned out and could be proven that it was her own responsibility (say, she seduced the faculty members)… that wouldn’t actually change anything. Our laws are pretty strict on the subject of minors having sex with adults.

    So yes, I believe I’m in the right when I say that this defense is fucking ridiculous, doesn’t apply here, and only perpetuates rape culture.

  • Trixie_Belden

    Look either this is “Example #203951 of how we have a rape culture which repeatedly and frequently demonstrates hatred of women” or “‘It’s standard boilerplate response to a suit'”.  It can’t be both.  What I am telling you is the affirmative defense in that answer which is offending you is a standard legal defense when answering a suit for negligence. 

    The comparative/contributory negligence defense will be in the answer to a complaint brought for an auto accident brought by a MALE plaintiff. 

    The comparative/contributory negligence defense will be in the answer to a complaint for  a harassment/hostile workplace lawsuit brought by a MALE plaintiff (and male plaintiffs have brought such suits). 

    The comparative/contributory negligence defense will be in the answer to a complaint brought for an auto accident brought by a FEMALE plaintiff. 

    The comparative/contributory negligence defense will be in an answer to a complaint for a harassment/hostile workplace lawsuit brought by a FEMALE plaintiff.

    It is just how the procedural rules for complaints and answers work.

  • AnonymousSam

    What serves as a defense in one suit is not interchangeable as a defense in all other suits. I’m not even sure how that’s supposed to be logical. An applicable defense for unforeseen real estate damage due to Hurricane Sandy (say, that a particular building in Manhattan was never intended to have to weather the kind of winds from a hurricane) is unlikely to apply for a suit over unpaid child support, so why would it be reasonable to say that the arguments made in an automobile accident lawsuit apply to this?

    I see it as hateful toward women because the idea that a suit for a matter like this is interchangeable with one between negligent drivers doesn’t seem to indicate any form of cognizance that we’re talking about human beings here, and not a matter of property damage. And if I’m wrong and this is 100% within and expected of the system, then I can’t help but see this as a sign that the system is part of the problem too.

  • Trixie_Belden

    What serves as a defense in one suit is not interchangeable as a defense in all other suits.
    I’m not saying all other suits, I’m saying all NEGLIGENCE lawsuits.  Comparative/Contributory negligence is a standard defense in answering all negligence lawsuits.  Whether it can be applied or not depends upon what evidence is turned up during the discovery process.

    Unpaid child support is family law, and that is a completely different area of law.  The case we’re talking about involves tort law, or personal injury law.

    the idea that a suit for a matter like this is interchangeable with one between negligent drivers doesn’t seem to indicate any form of cognizance that we’re talking about human beings here, and not a matter of property damage,

    Cases involving negligent drivers don’t just involve property damage, they also involve human beings.

    And if I’m wrong and this is 100% within and expected of the system, then I can’t help but see this as a sign that the system is part of the problem too.

    It would take someone who knows much more about the subject then I do to explain why pleadings are structured the way they are and whether it can or should be changed.  However, if it’s any consolation, it is almost certain this will not be an issue at the actual trial.