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In the News (#1195)

The people having the greatest sexual fulfilment were [those] who…discarded the entire package of paint-by-numbers ideas about sexuality.  –  Peggy Kleinplatz

The Truth About “The Truth About…”

Another of those nonexistent false rape accusations:

Alice Sebold’s bestselling 1999 memoir Lucky tells the story of a young woman raped by a stranger…Sebold went on to write the bestseller The Lovely Bones, a fictional account of a teenage girl raped and killed.  But last week Anthony Broadwater, the man who served 16 years in prison for raping Sebold, was exonerated.  Timothy Mucciante, a producer working on a film adaptation of Lucky, was fired after raising questions about inconsistencies in Sebold’s story…[and] discrepancies between the memoir and the facts of the case, to the point where he…ended up hiring a private investigator [who]…broke the case.  Broadwater’s conviction…rested on shaky evidence: Sebold had…initially picked a different man out of a lineup—and the only forensic evidence was a form of hair analysis that [even] the government now [admits is] junk science…Broadwater was [condemned to] the New York Sex Offender Registry after his 1999 release, and…remained on it until a few days ago.  His case starkly highlights the needless cruelty of sex offense registries

Between the Ears (#322)

Professionals have been telling y’all this for decades:

…truly magnificent sex has very little to do with daring feats of seduction or screaming orgasms…erotic intimacy is more a state of mind than a physical act.  In a recent study, Magnificent Sex, psychologist and sex therapist Dr Peggy J Kleinplatz and her colleagues at Ottawa University…recruited people from around the world across the age, gender and sexuality spectrum – who self-reported having had, at some point in their lives, truly mindblowing sex.  Through a series of interviews, researchers began to build up a picture of what “the best sex ever” looks, feels and sounds like…Despite the different ways each participant actually had sex, at the very peaks of the experience, everyone was feeling the same kinds of things: total absorption in the moment, deep connection with their partner, and openness and a willingness to take a few emotional risks…

The rest has the same kind of advice sex educators have been giving people for as long as there’s been such a thing (see the subtitle of this item?) but it won’t do any good, because most people just want a magic pill.

Checklist (#685)

Thought you could avoid the “sex trafficking” Gestapo by taking a bus rather than a plane?  Think again:

Denver [cops swarmed]…a Greyhound bus [on November 29th]…[they delayed the bus for hours, interrogat]ing…passengers and [root]ing [through people’s] luggage [without their consent, using the excuse of “]a possible human trafficking situation[” reported by a busybody indoctrinated by government “signs of trafficking” propaganda]…an adult female was [on the bus] and…The Denver Police Human Trafficking Unit is investigating [why she was traveling without a male]…no one has been arrested at this time…

Monsters (#863) 

All internet “porn” censorship schemes have similar endgames:

A powerful Russian [politician]…unveiled…a bill proposal that would classify all depictions of LGBTQ+ relationships in the same banned or restricted categories as pornography…[while] another [politician announced]…he had prepared a catalog of “toxic content,” using a system that labels content from “completely banned” to “simply undesirable”…Vitaly Milonov…[said] “the state…[should] not allow the broadcast of films with LGBTQ+ content”…and…Igor Ashmanov… “would flag topics such as radical feminism [and] ‘child-free’ lifestyles, as well as the promotion of homosexuality and bestiality”…Last month, an[other politician blathered toxic nonsense about]…“the rights of law enforcers [to inflict violence upon individuals for their thoughts]”…

Winding Down (#1114)

Your “leaders” know what’s best, so shut up and obey:

South Dakota voters made history last November by simultaneously approving ballot initiatives aimed at legalizing recreational and medical use of marijuana…Amendment A…prevailed by an eight-point margin in a state that is…largely conservative.  But thanks to…legal [obstructionism]…by [prohibitionist] Gov. Kristi Noem, Amendment A was almost immediately tied up in litigation, and…[now] the South Dakota Supreme Court [has] definitively overturned it…[on a technicality the amendment’s backers called “a far-fetched legal theory”, an assessment the dissenting judge agreed with]…unless the state legislature independently implements the policy embodied in Amendment A, the ruling means supporters…will have to try again next year with an initiative that addresses the court’s legal objections…

The Crumbling Dam (#1153)

Will the feds interfere with this as they did in Philadelphia?

In an attempt to curb a surge in overdose deaths caused by [street drugs made] increasingly potent [by the iron law of prohibition], New York City will authorize two supervised injection sites in Manhattan…New York…will become the first U.S. city to open officially authorized injection sites…other cities including Philadelphia, San Francisco, Boston and Seattle have taken steps toward supervised injection but have [been blocked by prohibitionists both in and out of government]…Mayor Bill de Blasio…sent a letter to the providers promising “not to take enforcement action” against their operations and…four of the city’s five district attorneys — [in]cluding [crypto-prohibitionist]…Cyrus R. Vance Jr

I Spy (#1173)

I’ll believe Facebook is actually going to do this when it actually does it:

Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp’s parent company…doesn’t plan to roll out end-to-end encryption…by default on Messenger and Instagram until 2023…Antigone Davis, Meta’s head of safety, attributes the delay to concerns about user safety…[which does not]…mean…[actual safety, but is in actuality an Orwellian euphemism for copsucking]…UK…[politicians are trying to criminalize encryption in their fiefdom] and…the US…Australia, New Zealand, Canada, India, and Japan…all [subscribe to mathematically-illiterate lawhead beliefs that it’s possible]…to give [pigs and spooks a “backdoor” to root around in people’s private affairs while magically preventing thugs and busybodies who don’t work for the State from exploiting the same intentional gap in security]…

Diary #597

We got lucky this year; Chekhov and I were out looking for less than 15 minutes when we found this lovely tree.  As those of you who cut trees from your own woods are probably aware, naturally-growing trees can be maddeningly imperfect; the nicest ones are always much too big, and those of the right size are often scrawny.  Or, they look great on one side and terrible on the other.  Or they’re too crooked or lopsided or stunted.  This one was very full and just the right size, but it had such a thick trunk for a small tree that Chekhov soon regretted bringing the hand saw rather than the chainsaw.  And the upper branches were so full and healthy that the tree was more of a cylindrical shape than the traditional cone, so it required much more pruning than usual to get it into the proper shape for decorating.  But I think you’ll agree the result was lovely; it took three strings of lights rather than the two my trees for the past few years have been capable of supporting.  Anyway, while I’ve got your attention: Friday is the last day to donate to this year’s toy drive, so please give if you can manage it!

If you’re a new reader and don’t understand why I specifically honor St. Nicholas on his day, I suggest you reread my 2014 column for this day, and don’t skip the links.  And if you wish to honor the jolly saint yourself, I suggest you reread my column from November 26th and proceed accordingly; I’ve provided ways you can help several of the saint’s favorites at the same time.  And if you already know what this is about, what are you waiting for?  I know you don’t want to end up on his naughty list.

Links #596

It’s as if Disney were entering Notre-Dame.  –  Maurice Culot

Every once in a while social media produces something really exceptional; this was called to my attention by Mike Siegel, who also contributed “improved” and “baby”.  The other links above the video were provided by Dan Savage, Scott Greenfield, Kevin Wilson, and Radley Balko, in that order.

From the Archives

In the News (#1194)

This is another example of…the false idea that the police can police themselves.  –  Ann Webb

R.I.P. Wakefield Poole

To the New York Times, the only good sex worker or pornographer is a dead one:

Wakefield Poole…made a feature-length, surrealistic movie called Boys in the Sand…and [after] its release in 1971…was hailed as a pioneer of gay porn…the film became a crossover hit that changed attitudes about pornography among both…gay and straight audiences…“I wanted a film,” Mr. Poole said at the time, “that gay people could look at and say, ‘I don’t mind being gay — it’s beautiful to see those people do what they’re doing’…Just seeing my name above the title on a theater made its impact.  Hundreds of people…came out after seeing the film…The reason I stopped making films was the AIDS situation…I lost my fan base to AIDS.  I saw them all die…Cocaine saved my life.  I did so much coke, I couldn’t have sex”…

The Truth About “The Truth About…”

A false rape claim supported by a lying cop; the victim is lucky to be free:

A New South Wales [cop named]…Scott John White is facing two charges of perjury, after he [lied to] a court [in support of false rape claims made by]…Sarah Jane Parkinson, who[m] he has since married…[against] her former partner…in March 2014…she had told police she was hanging out washing in the garden…when her former partner assaulted her, slamming her head into a brick wall and raping her…police arrested her [victim] as he left work, and he was jailed until [her story came apart during investigation]…Parkinson was convicted of making a false statement and jailed after she eventually pleaded guilty to the charge [in 2019]…

Opting Out (#982) 

As I predicted two years ago:

[Politicians] are preparing to [re-]introduce [a censorship scheme claimed] to prevent children accessing online pornography.  Plans to [impose] age verification for adult sites, which were shelved in 201[9], are now being [brought up again due to the current anti-porn hysteria]…The…[would-be censors’ ringleader is]…Dame Rachel de Souza, [who holds the pompous title] children’s commissioner…[and is] willing to [use bogus statistics]…and [the debunked tabula rasa model of sexual development]…to …[advance her scheme] to…stop children stumbling across [information busybodies and fanatics don’t want them to have.  The prior “age verification” scheme]…was never [implemented due to] privacy campaigners [pointing out] that it would force users to hand over their identities to porn sites[, government officials, or other fascists who would absolutely misuse the information.  But] De Souza [fantasizes] that technology now exist[s] that will allow users to prove their age online using a passport or other identification in a [magical] way that…[renders] privacy issues…no longer a concern…

Quiet Genocide (#991)

America has given every tyrannical regime in the world a powerful weapon of rhetoric:

…what was once an American obsession is now an international one.  “Terrorism” has become the opportunistic cover for governments around the world looking to subdue any kind of non-state agitator: ethnic nationalists in Russia, pirates in Indonesia, environmentalists in the Philippines, Kurdish revolutionaries in Turkey.  There is hardly a government anywhere that has not adopted some feature of the war on terror, from its ideological abstractions of good and evil to the special permissions it grants states to monitor and control citizens.  The evolution is nowhere so stark as in…Xinjiang…whose minority Uyghur population is almost certainly the most monitored and controlled on the planet…In The War on the Uyghurs, Sean Roberts…shows how the United States’ efforts to build an international consensus for its counterterrorism projects had far-reaching consequences on the other side of the world…[encouraging] the Chinese government [to] bec[o]me increasingly brazen in its oppression of Muslim and Turkic minorities…long before the moment in 2016 when it began secretly [caging millions] of people in [the brutal concentration camps to which it applies the Orwellian term] “Transformation Through Education centers“…

Under Duress (#1110)

Are most cops even capable of telling the truth?

A [typical and representative] Ventura County [cop] has admitted to [intentionally hid]ing…a drug test that exonerated a woman [he wanted to railroad for]…being under the influence of methamphetamine…Richard Charles Barrios III…pleaded guilty to [a minor charge for trying to destroy the woman’s life]…two years ago…Throughout the [arrest and booking], the woman vehemently denied being under the influence of any drugs…she…provided a urine sample and…[w]hen…the results [were negative]…he…threw the test kit into the garbage…disposed of the urine sample…refused to tell the woman the results of her test and began the process of having her booked…Barrios also [lied to the Big Pig on duty]…that the woman had refused to provide a urine sample…another [cop believed her and]…found the [discarded] test kit…show[ing] that she tested negative…[so s]he…was released and taken back to her vehicle…

The Cop Myth (#1178)

North Carolina’s “solution” for rampant cop violence? Hide the data:

A paragraph deep in the new state budget forbids sheriffs, [cop shops] and any other government entity in North Carolina from creating a public log of the times [cops]…injure[, maim, or murder] someone.  These so-called critical incidents are going to be recorded statewide for the first time…but that database is for [cop shops] to use in an effort to [hide]…problem [cops from]…the public…[while claiming]…to [be a part of] police reform…they…can’t [even] create a database of wh[ich cops have been]…disciplin[ed or how often]…The new language ensures that [cops are protected from reform-minded politicians]…

Thought Control (Censorship Roundup)

Authoritarian regimes are much of a muchness:

The Chinese censorship system, like the tactic being employed in Texas, relies on intimidation.  Chinese publishers excise material that might run afoul of censors before sending books for approval…Likewise…the Stalinization of Eastern Europe depended not primarily on the gulag and the firing squads, but on the intimidation of people who felt compelled to spew the same idiocy they heard, pursuing a grotesque conformity…This process is brilliantly caricatured in Eugène Ionesco’s play Rhinoceros, in which people who seem perfectly normal transform into violent beasts, more and more of them caving as the play goes onA parallel process has taken place as an increasing number of Americans seem willing to abandon previously hallowed democratic norms, including freedom of expression

Bathhouse 52

I’m actually starting to get the hang of MIG welding, which means I was able to get a good bit done in the brief dry spell we had the weekend before last.  As you can see, I got the next three steel beams in place and attached two of the cee purlins as well; that part went quickly because when I cut the first piece to fit, the remaining piece was more than long enough for the next row down.  I’m starting to be able to see how it’s all going to fit together; after this leaf is done, the tub will be sheltered from ordinary vertical rain (though obviously windblown rain will still be able to get in there).  After this section, the next one will be the southeast section, adjoining the other half of the shop’s roof, and then the complicated northwest section (over what will be the bathroom).  Of course, with all the rain we’re getting that may take a while.  But now that I can do more by myself, the few dry days may be more productive.

Quarter Century

After my first husband left me on January 2nd, 1995, it took me almost two years to climb out of depression.  Beside the fact that I’ve never been good with breakups, there were a number of other traumas for about six months on either side (follow the link above if you’ve never heard the long, sad tale), including one that still tends to upset me every Memorial Day.  I have no interest in rehashing any of that stuff; I’ve written about it all before, and I don’t need to dig up those skeletons to be sure that they’re still there.  But today is an anniversary I may not have mentioned before, and though it followed those other awful events it marks the day I finally got back on course.  1996 wasn’t nearly as bad as 1995, and in the autumn I finally started thinking about the future again.  In the last week of November I sold my house; it was a seller’s market then, and I was able to get a good deal with very little time or effort (which is good, because I had none of either to spare).  Then I called an apartment finder service and told the guy I was willing to pay a year of rent in advance if the landlord was willing to forego the usual bureaucracy and let me sign a pseudonym on the lease; I told him truthfully that I didn’t want my ex-husband or his lawyer to be able to find me.  I know that practically sounds like science fiction now, but September 11th and the police state it spawned were still five years in the future, and back then even regular businesspeople were often willing to do things under the table, especially for attractive, well-spoken young women with cash.  Anyhow, the deal was done and after a difficult downsizing (including the loss of half of my library), I rented a moving truck, and 25 years ago today I moved into the shitty-but-discreet little apartment where I was still living when I started stripping almost a year later.  But on that very first night, after my friends had gone, I walked over to the nearby shopping mall just to kill some time, and got my nails done on a whim.  That’s why I’m so particular about getting them done regularly ever since; for me, it’s not merely an act of self-care but the visible sign of a covenant with myself, a promise never to let things get that out of control again.  And as you can see, I’ve never broken it.

In the News (#1193)

This [bill]…is a sickening extension of the culture war.  –  Neil Coyle

Pretext

Conscription of unconsenting drivers into copaganda will continue until reporters stop parroting cop PR releases:

[A regular] holiday [PR scam] was recently [repeated] by…Mesa, Arizona…[cops who]…pulled [motorists] over for [bullshit] violation[s, then]…offered [them] turkey[s]…some [people were so traumatized they]…were…[brought] to tears…many U.S. police departments [subject drivers to similar publicity stunts around holidays every year]…

Lack of Evidence (#960)

As I’ve pointed out before, it’s very easy for cops and prosecutors to circumvent these supposed “guarantees”:

[Politicians and cops] have heard sex workers say over and over that they feel unsafe reporting crimes to police because they…[will] be prosecuted for their own [consensual] activity…[But instead of simply making it illegal to arrest adults for consensual sex, politician] Brianna Titone…said she intends to bring a “safe reporting” bill…to create a guarantee that [women criminalized by the state] can report crimes without fear of any legal retribution.  It’s not unlike a 2012 law Colorado adopted to guarantee immunity for illegal drug users who report overdoses.  [But politicians who want to ensure the bill is toothless are vomiting out dysphemisms like]…”offense”…and [“]illegal…prostitution[“]…Desiree Collins, a former sex worker closely involved in advocacy work…said she is skeptical…that sex workers would take advantage of it…[because] “there’s no way to maintain anonymity…You’re talking about a community where part of the culture is distrust, because distrust keeps you safe”…

Politicians’ and cops’ repeated claims that they want women who live by our wits to trust lying rapist thugs who hunt us for sport would be funny if it weren’t so ugly and dangerous.

Rooted in Racism (#966)

This was the endgame of “anti-trafficking” schemes all along:

The Royal Yacht Association (RYA) has warned its members against rescuing migrants at sea amid fears they could be prosecuted and jailed for people smuggling….the Home Office’s Nationality and Borders Bill…removes the words “for gain” and increases the sentences for [actions politicians decide to label] smuggling…to life imprisonment….[politician] Neil Coyle…said…“The clause requires…people to watch other people die…It is in breach of our international obligations and law”…

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic (#1090)

Blaming bad behavior on an imaginary “addiction” is more effective when you control the board:

Alex Shchegol was reinstated as president of ASA College, a for-profit institution that has campuses in New York and Florida, three years after he was forced out for sexual misconduct…At least 10 female ASA students and employees had accused Shchegol of…rape, sending unwanted [dick] pic[s]…and coercing students who relied on him for visas or employment into [submitting to rape]…The allegations had resulted in more than $2 million in out-of-court settlements…Shchegol was reinstated after he replaced five of the seven members of the board of the institution, which he owns.  Shchegol mentioned a letter from a sex addiction therapist affirming that she had worked with him on concepts like “victim empathy” and “accountability”…[however,] he [also claimed]…he was “completely innocent”…and…hung up when asked repeatedly if he’d had sex with any students…

Scapegoats (#1169)

This sordid saga finally wraps up after three years:

A [typical and representative] Bossier City [cop] was sentenced to 20 years in prison for possession of child pornography and sexually abusing his dog….Terry Yetman…was sentenced Tuesday to four years for each of the five counts of sexual abuse of animals…[and] 20 years for…child pornography.  The sentences will run concurrently.  When he is released, Yetman will have to register as a sex offender…

The Cop Myth (#1178)

Cops murder more people than any other group in the US:

…a Newark, New Jersey [cop] has been arrested after…fatally [running over] a nurse with his car — and then taking the body home to decide what to do…Louis Santiago was charged with reckless vehicular homicide, desecrating human remains, and other charges after he fatally hit…Damian Dymka and then stuffed his lifeless body into his car…and…took [it]…home…[to ask his mommy] what t[o]…do.  Ultimately…Santiago[‘s cop]…father [turned him in]…State Police found Dymka’s body still in the back of Santiago’s car…

Pyrrhic Victory (#1185)

All too often, evil arrives cloaked in the mantle of expediency:

Delta…[has been joined by] JetBlue and American Airlines…[in] starting to test facial recognition for boarding and TSA checkpoints.  The TSA is also [collaborating] with companies to design [more invasive casual] screeners so passengers don’t have to remove anything from their bags and can leave their shoes on…TSA and airlines are [excusing this by saying it will] speed up airport security while making it safer…

Diary #596

When I arrived back in Seattle last week, I found the 7th season of Afred Hitchcock Presents waiting for me, courtesy of Antonio Lorusso.  And a few hours before I left to return to Sunset, the postman dropped a copy of Cabin in the Woods into my mailbox, courtesy of Mike Siegel.  Thanks so much for the birthday presents, guys!  Both of them arrived a few weeks after my birthday because both came from the UK, despite both being American productions (this is especially weird in the case of Alfred Hitchcock Presents because every season but the seventh is available in region 1 DVD).  As for Cabin, I’ve heard a lot of good things about it, but have somehow managed to avoid spoilers for the past 9 years, so I’m quite looking forward to viewing it for the first time; after half a century of horror viewing I’m pretty hard to scare or even surprise.

Back Issue #101

All of Kristof’s columns on the subject [of “sex trafficking”]…read as though they were typed one-handed.  –  “Follow Your Bliss