7 things @ 9 o’clock (9.9)

1. Why thinking that Mister Rogers ever flipped anybody off just because you’ve seen a picture of him holding up his middle finger is just exactly the same kind of dumb as thinking that Romans 1 is some kind of clobber-text against lesbians. (via AZSpot)

2. “If you’re one of those people reading this who is skeptical about the CFPB, I’m here to tell you not to be. That agency really and truly does exist to hold banks and financial institutions accountable for how consumers are treated.” — “Thank you, CFPB!

Oh, and could you please look into this too? “You’d be amazed what is legal in this country.”

3. Here’s a Christianity Today piece arguing that evangelicals ought to adopt the Catholic position opposing IVF and surrogacy, and the Catholic view of marriage more generally. “It may be time to consider that our Catholic brothers and sisters are right on these issues,” Jennifer Lahl writes, giving away the game that her introductory throat-clearing remarks about the need for more “ethical reflection” was an insincere pose. Ethical reflection is not the agenda here — the agenda is getting evangelicals to embrace Humanae Vitae without thinking or reflecting. They are coming for your birth control.

4. Jake Swearingen upends an urban legend about rural America: “The evidence against cow tipping is immense, and backed up by both farmers and the laws of physics.” And, yes, he supplies the physics, complete with diagrams and equations. But I particularly like his invocation of the dog-that-didn’t-bark evidence from YouTube: “YouTube, the largest clearinghouse of human stupidity the world has ever known — where you can watch hours of kids taking the cinnamon challenge, teens jumping off rooftops onto trampolines, or the explosive results of fireworks set off indoors — fails to deliver one single actual cow-tipping video.”

That would seem, as xkcd put it, to settle the matter:

5. This post, similarly but more seriously, demolishes a much more pernicious myth: “Your friends who think torture is effective at getting reliable information are wrong.” (via Jay Lake) Torture always works to do only what it was designed to do: extract false confessions.

6. World Vision, the Christian relief and development agency, is taking another block of bloggers overseas to highlight the Good Things they’re doing. This time the trip is to Guatemala and the roll of bloggers going along is a pretty terrific bunch, including: Jamie the Very Worst Missionary, Matthew Paul Turner, Caleb Wilde, Zack Hunt, Micha Boyett, Shelby Zacharias, Roo Ciambriello, and Jessica Shyra. I respect World Vision a lot because they’re a responsible, efficient and effective relief and development agency. I’m starting to respect them even more, though, for their taste in bloggers.

7.My Name Is Not Robert.” Benjamin Weiser’s report of this tragic clusterfuss by police in two different states reads like a horror story. For Kerry Sanders, it is a horror story:

The inmate’s assertion might well have seemed implausible, given the extensive system of checks and safeguards used in law enforcement to ensure that one person is not mistaken for another. There is a national database of fingerprints and photographs, which are taken when people are arrested; there are lawyers and judges to protect and administer justice; and there are prison staffs with files on the medical, personal and criminal histories of inmates. The United States has had its share of wrongly convicted people, but the idea that a man who had never even been convicted was behind bars seemed inconceivable. That a prison did not know whom it had in custody would mean it had failed the most basic test of its competence and security.

  • dpolicar

    Fair enough. On general principles I would expect a fair amount of similar randomness under even the most totalitarian despotic regime as well, Maus and 1984 notwithstanding, but I’m no expert and you might well be correct.

  • dpolicar

    FWIW, I estimated that if I used those sorts of examples my point would get derailed by obligatory tribal-political signaling, so I stuck with apolitical ones like illness and age and crime.

  • Daniel

    Sorry. I have small shoulders because they’ve got so many chips on them, and occasionally they get the better of me.
    I was hoping that by identifying myself as British, and pointing out offences from both sides of our system (Labour went to war, Tories are the unelected government, both have facilitated torture…) that I would avoid tribal ranting too.

  • dpolicar

    No worries, and I hope it works.

  • Hexep

    As anyone who plays Crusader Kings 2 knows, Free Investiture is always better in the long run.

  • Lee B.

    It *could* be referring to Adorno and the other jagoffs of the Frankfurt School, but nobody here is using negative dialectics so I think phantomreader’s interpretation is correct.

  • David S.

    You would demand that the One Ring and Nenya be on the same hand. “In place of the Dark Lord you will set up a Queen. And I shall not be dark, but beautiful and terrible as the Morning and the Night! Fair as the Sea and the Sun and the Snow upon the Mountain! Dreadful as the Storm and the Lightning! Stronger than the foundations of the earth. All shall love me and despair!”

    The state may not like that someone else is the Ring-bearer, but any legitimate government knows that it may not simply seize all forms of power, that it may not simply compel all loyalty to be to the state.

  • Hexep

    I don’t know what this is a reference to, I don’t read fiction. And it is not that the state seizes all power, it seizes all state power; it is not that all loyalty is to the state, it is that all loyalty to states, within our state, must be to our state.

    It is not that we say, ‘you must be a Buddhist, or a Christian, or Shenjiao;’ it is not that we say, ‘you must believe in the one God, or the many Gods, or no Gods;’ it is that we say, ‘you may take no king but us.’

    Do you really feel much sympathy for one tyrant defeated by another?

  • David S.

    Only China claims the power demanded by the Catholic Church is state power.

    No, I do not believe that any state has the right to demand that all loyalty to states must be to our state. I believe that the state has the right to regulate non-expressive action only. I believe in Texas v. Johnson, where the Supreme Court of the US proclaimed that states could not prohibit burning the flag to make a point. The US does not have the right to arrest a Marxist-Leninist who believes that the US should become part of a restored Soviet Union, so long as he’s a law-abiding citizen.

    If you see it as sympathy for one tyrant defeated by another, I think you miss the point. China did not bomb the Vatican; they imprisoned Chinese citizens who merely followed the Catholic religion. When tyrants war, it’s the little people who get hurt.

  • http://shiftercat.livejournal.com/ ShifterCat

    Notice how buddy here doesn’t actually address any of the points we raised?

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    But it took only a single sentence from Fred to bring you here in a panic, desperate to bully and berate.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    My personal favorite is “I’m a mid-level enforcer for a brutal dicator. One of my rivals has gained the dictator’s favor. I get you to confess not only to something awful, but that my rival put you up to it.”

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    That may be seen as a form of tempting fate.

    (Seriously, I have bought a box of condoms from a drug store exactly one time in my life. Two weeks later, the relationship ended.)

    (This story has a happy ending, but it takes like five years to get there)

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    He doesn’t have enough in his mind to blow his nose.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    This… Does not seem to be the thing you sound like you’re implying. She switched her story to “Well no, technically I didn’t see the gun, but I swear he had it, for reals.”

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    I think your perception of a citizen’s mindset under dictatorship is too wrapped up in how you would feel if you were transported into a dictatorship.

    No society lasts long when the “average citizen”‘s mindset is one of constant “hopelessness and despair”. Even in the terrible dictatorships, people still go to work, fall in love, celebrate birthdays, get flat tires.

    People in general are not unhappy and dispairing all the time. Most of the time, most of the people are at most a little less happy than most of the people most of the time in a free society. Most of the time, the state of mind of most people is mostly determined by small temporal things. It’s not an all-encompassing sadness that consumes everyone — it’s mostly something more like an aversion to any attempt to move outside of their comfort zone.

  • Lori

    That is a good one*. Employed carefully the false confession is a multi-use tool.

    *For values of “good” = “appalling”.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    Think of the scale of it. Even the ones who killed huge numbers of people didn’t go around randomly killing one of every N citizens; they’d wipe out a whole town — not leaving behind “acquaintences, co-workers and even family members”. Most people did not “see acquaintances, co-workers and even family members taken away.” Some people saw a acquaintance, co-worker, even family member taken away. Most people had heard about such things happening. From a friend-of-a-friend. And of course, it was usually one of “those people” — even if it wasn’t, well, surely they must have done something to deserve it. Didn’t love their country enough. Went walking down dark alleys at night dressed slutty. Must be. That sort of thing doesn’t happen to the Right Sort of people.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Are you denying that Zimmerman threatened two people with a gun and one of the two people happens to be his wife in the process of a divorce? This practically screams textbook bullying husband case where the spouse being bullied is trying to avoid what she thinks could be untoward repercussions from the angry bully-spouse. (If she proceeds with charges)

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    I’m not denying anything except that it’s your “textbook example”. I’m saying it does not sound like she’s recanting her story out of fear of her bullying spouse. It sounds to me like it’s an ugly divorce, and she threw out “he waved a gun at me” hoping it would stick independent of whether or not he actually did.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    There IS another witness. What’s her dad had to say about it all?

  • Hexep

    Well, we are all alike under the cruel will of Heaven. 天下的生活都遗憾。

  • aim2misbehave

    Yeah, I grew up in about the same area. Actually tipping over cows was something that we occasionally idly discussed, but that we never actually tried. (For one thing, who wants to go walking around in a pasture full of cow patties at night?)

    But usually when someone said “Hey, let’s go cow tipping or something!” what would happen was us running around goofing off on the back of someone’s farm in the dark, plotting mischief that never came to fruition, and in general convincing ourselves that we were doing something sneaky and against the rules because we were out unsupervised so late at night.

  • Alix

    (Bit late, but) It’s probably more accurate to say that torture is designed to get the confession the torturer wants to hear, and that is absolutely something the Inquisition did. A great deal of the stuff the people they arrested confessed to is ludicrous – at best, highly garbled facts, and often things that are blatantly false or confessions of things that are incredibly unlikely to have all been practiced by the same people. “Oh, yes, we totally engaged in homosexual orgies. And spat on the cross. And worshipped a woman’s severed head. And worshipped a demon with a name that sounds suspiciously like a mangled version of Mohammed. Yes, totally, now can you take me off the fire, please?”

    But it’s what the Inquisitors wanted to hear. It’s what made the pain stop, in theory. And so people confessed to all manner of things. You see the exact same thing in the various witchcraft trials.

    (Sorry, I can’t help myself. Certain topics come up, I have to blather on, even days later…)

  • http://timothy.green.name/ Timothy (TRiG)

    There’s no indication in Ireland, either, but the vast majority of fast food places, and also not a few hotels, have condom dispensers in the toilets.

    TRiG.


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