Posts Tagged ‘The Camel’s Nose’

A priest, a rabbi and a leprechaun walk into a bar.  The leprechaun looks around and says, “Begorrah, I’m in the wrong joke!”

The prefix “meta” means “after” or “beyond”, sometimes in the sense of a recursive function; for example, “metacognition” means “thinking about thinking” and a “meta-joke” is a joke about jokes.  A “metaupdate” is therefore an update of another update, in this case items which have appeared in previous update columns.  I’m going to organize these in chronological order of the updates, rather than the order of the original columns the updates reference.

Think of the Children! in Further Developments (November 18th, 2011)

Child Cultists apparently believe that sexually-active adults emit invisible “sex rays”, and that if any of that sex wasn’t entirely vanilla the intensity of those “sex rays” increases exponentially and never, ever fades away.  Therefore no such person, no matter how long ago she committed these dreaded acts, can ever again be allowed with 10 meters of children lest her pervy emanations induce the dreaded “premature sexualization”, which might {Gasp!} cause innocent children to have sexual thoughts or feelings at some point before the magical Advent of Shazam at exactly midnight on their 18th birthdays.

That was in reference to outcry over former porn star Sasha Grey’s presuming to actually read to children in a volunteer program.  Though she was initially accepted by administrators, they now seem to believe that sex rays can even contaminate the money handled by harlots, and magically seep from bank accounts into educational programs, thence to schools and into the brains of poor, innocent little soap-bubble urchins:

…being deep in the red isn’t deterring one [educational] group from publicly rejecting money [from]…former adult film star Sasha Grey…Although she retired…last April, one of Grey’s scenes is featured [apparently without Grey’s consent] in adult film “Anal Artists,” set to debut this week…In support of her “recent efforts to expose children to the world of literature,” Assence Films will donate a portion of the film’s proceeds to the National Education Association’s Read Across America program…But…NEA officials said…”Sasha Grey is not affiliated with the…program nor has she been invited or endorsed…to read at any…events, and NEA will not accept any proceeds from…any of her films”…Howard Levine of Exile Distribution …[said this] is discriminatory.  “Anyone that’s supporting reading and helping kids and donating money to their cause should be accepted…they’re trying to be politically correct”…

I’ve got news for the NEA; if money which has paid for sex work is “contaminated” then every child in the country is already affected, because the money earned by sex workers of all types flows into local economies just like everyone else’s does.  It is virtually a statistical certainty that some of the money you’ve given your kids this month as allowance or whatever was paid to a sex worker at some point between leaving the mint and ending up in your hands.  If our money is “dirty”, then every church and school in the world is hopelessly polluted by our “sin” because they’re all supported by money we’ve handled or even directly contributed.

A Moral Cancer in That Was the Week That Was (#2) (February 5th, 2012)

Actually, this is a double meta-update; remember the “bacon causes cancer” scare story?  Well, it turns out that it was not only inconclusive, but promoted by a radical animal rights group of the same ilk as the PCRM, which I discussed in That Was the Week That Was (#3):

Link between eating processed meat [such as bacon or sausages] and pancreatic cancer in Swedish research is bogus and paid for by animal rights groups…But the…World Cancer Research Fund suggested the link may be down to obesity…Prof Susanna Larsson, who conducted the study at the Karolinska Institute, [said] links to…cancers [other than bowel cancer] were “quite controversial”…

As JunkScience.com pointed out, “This is a meta-analysis of 11 studies, none of which…link processed meat-eating with pancreatic cancer.  So 11 x 0 = zero.”

The Camel’s Nose in That Was the Week That Was (#5) (February 18th, 2012)

The disgusting saga of Mark Berndt, the third-grade teacher who fed his semen to children for years and documented it with photos, just keeps getting worse.  The original story broke on January 11th, then on February 3rd a second teacher from the same school was arrested:

…The arrest of Miramonte Elementary School [second-grade] teacher Martin Bernard Springer, 49, came three days after L.A. prosecutors accused former teacher Mark Berndt of bizarre acts in his classroom …The allegations against Springer…come from two students he allegedly touched improperly within the last three years…Springer was ordered out of his classroom Thursday morning…Authorities are looking for other potential victims in both cases as well as past episodes of possible misconduct…Supt. John Deasy said he wants to fire Springer as soon as next Tuesday, when the Board of Education will discuss the case in closed session…At the same meeting, Deasy said, he also will urge the board to fire Hamilton High music teacher Vance Miller…[after] two former students, now adults…accused Miller of having sexual relationships with them…

By Monday, the district had decided on a scorched-earth policy instead:

…Los Angeles school officials said they will temporarily replace the entire staff of an elementary school…where two teachers have been accused of lewd acts…Supt. John Deasy announced the action at a tense public meeting…in which…parents chanted “cover-up!” and accused the school system of failing to protect their children…More than a quarter of the students enrolled at Miramonte didn’t show up Monday as parents kept them home…Officials emphasized that no other educators at the school are under suspicion but that a bold act was needed…Many, maybe all, of the current Miramonte staff will be returned to the school eventually…In the interim, their places will be filled by teachers and other workers on a rehiring list.  The Miramonte staff will continue to be paid…Once students return, each will be interviewed by the district, and a psychiatric social worker will be present in every classroom, Deasy said…

So much for not traumatizing the kids.  I can’t even begin to imagine how much a social worker in every classroom will cost, but obviously the district has plenty of money:

The Los Angeles Unified School District paid Mark Berndt…$40,000 to drop the challenge to his dismissal last year.  The payout consisted of four months of back salary plus reimbursement for the cost of health benefits.  Berndt was fired by the Board of Education in February 2011…but…fought to keep his job…until he settled with the school system and resigned in June…counsel David Holmquist [said]…”We were told we could not do any investigation” to avoid interfering with a law enforcement probe…”We didn’t have any evidence, and we couldn’t put on any witnesses.  We didn’t have anything to successfully defend a challenge.”

The cops are still being proprietary about the whole thing, and on the 18th told the parents to butt out:

The investigation into a former third-grade teacher…could be hampered by the flood of civil cases related to the scandal and public statements made by alleged victims, according to Los Angeles County sheriff’s detectives…Since the charges were announced, civil attorneys say they are representing more than 60 victims…Earlier this week two alleged victims appeared with their attorney on the “Dr. Phil” television show.  “The lawyers are making it that much more difficult,” [said] William McSweeney, chief of detectives…”It is going to raise issues of credibility.”  The civil attorneys have made claims about Berndt that are not contained in the original charges, including some accusations…that Berndt fed the alleged victims cookies with his semen on them…Detectives are still investigating and are urging families to contact the Sheriff’s Department before seeking private counsel.

I’m glad the cops get to see how it feels to have outsiders interfering with their work for a change.

One Year Ago Today (Meta-edition)

Thinking with the Wrong Head”  discussed Chris Lee, the congressman who stupidly documented his indiscretions with photos.  Well, here’s another example of the same syndrome, this time from Arizona:

…well-known border hawk Sheriff Paul Babeu, who’s now running for Congress in Arizona, was…[accused by] a Mexican immigrant who said he dated the sheriff for years and was threatened with deportation if he ever told anyone about their romance. The Phoenix New Times…broke the story on its website…complete with text messages…[and] compromising photos…reminiscent of recent sex scandals that ended the careers of Congressmen Anthony Weiner and Chris Lee…The New Times identified the accuser only by his first name, José…he met Babeu through the dating website gay.com in 2006…Babeu was a police officer in the Phoenix suburb of Chandler at the time and was elected as sheriff of Pinal County in late 2008… José volunteered for Babeu’s campaign, maintaining his websites and social media accounts…They were apparently together during Babeu’s fast rise to becoming a national figure in the fight against illegal immigration…[but] their relationship went sour…when [José] began to suspect that Babeu was using a website for casual hookups…

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The good news is that Jesus is coming back.  The bad news is that he’s really pissed off.  – Bob Hope

Three new stories and six updates from the fifth week of 2012.

Good News, Bad News

Sometimes, reading stories about prostitution law is like the classic joke format.  GOOD NEWS:  77% of Canadians support decriminalization of prostitution and UNAIDS has condemned criminalization of sex work (including the “Swedish Model”, “end demand” schemes and the rescue industry) as a danger both to sex workers and to public health:

…Forced rescue and rehabilitation practices lower sex workers’ control over where and under what conditions they sell sexual services and to whom, exposing them to greater violence and exploitation…this leads to social disintegration and a loss of solidarity and cohesion (social capital) among sex workers, including reducing their ability to access health care, legal and social services.  Low social capital is known to increase vulnerability to sexually transmitted infections among sex workers and therefore has a detrimental impact on HIV prevention efforts…undermining sex worker organisations is one of the most important negative effects of law enforcement practices…anti-trafficking efforts typically ignore the possibility of engaging sex workers as partners…[even though they] are often best placed to know who is being trafficked into commercial sex and by whom, and are particularly motivated to work to stop such odious practices…Organised groups of sex workers are also best placed to establish safe working norms within the sex industry, and influence other[s]…to ensure that trafficked adults and children are not retained in sex work…

BAD  NEWS:  Western Australia is starting to buy into the “trafficking” narrative:

Federal police have launched an operation to rescue people trafficked into WA for forced labour, prostitution and servile marriages.  There are fears that an increasing number of women are being brought to Perth and forced into the city’s sex industry.  Supt Glyn Lewis…said human trafficking was insidious and abhorrent and many victims were never found…There have been only 14 convictions for human trafficking since legislation came into force in 2003.  People working in the area in Perth fear trafficking is a real and emerging issue “under the radar” of authorities and the public.  Australian Catholic Religious Against Trafficking in Humans said the problem had to be addressed…

None of these people stop to consider that maybe the reason that there are so few convictions and “many victims were never found” is that there was no crime in the first place.  But hey, we can’t let facts get in the way of hysteria and fear-mongering by cops and religious groups.

Scientific Detachment

The ability to look at sensitive subjects dispassionately and to present evidence without emotion is an admirable one, but as Professor G.S. Brindley (the doctor who developed the first medical treatment for erectile dysfunction) discovered in 1983, it’s probably best not to assume that the majority of one’s audience possesses that capacity to any great degree.  This January 27th article on the Discover magazine blog explains, and since synopsizing it in any way would do it a disservice, I’ll just leave you with the link.

Fundraiser for St. James Infirmary

I’ve been asked to publicize an online fundraiser for St. James Infirmary, which provides compassionate healthcare and social services for sex workers in San Francisco.  It will be held tomorrow (February 19th, 2012) at 3 PM EST on BlogTV; even if you can’t attend please spread the word!

Week 5 of 2012 Updates

Nothing in the Dark (August 8th, 2010)

This story demonstrates not only the reason for considering condoms a “safety net” against disease rather than a first line of defense, but also the reason I’m hesitant to entrust my health to a government bureaucracy:

…South Africa’s leading anti-AIDS group said…that…faulty condoms are among more than 1.35 million handed out at the African National Congress’ 100th birthday party…[they were] recalled but the Treatment Action Campaign said no warning has been issued to people that they may have carried away defective condoms…The third recall in less than five years raises questions about the quality of some of the 425 million-plus condoms that the government gives away each year, and the competence of the South African Bureau of Standards [SABS] that is supposed to ensure their quality…In 2007, the government recalled more than 20 million defective condoms…but recovered only 12 million…a [previous] recall…[resulted after] a testing manager at [SABS took] a bribe to certify the faulty contraceptives…

[AIDS activist Sello Mokhalipi] said people started coming with complaints about the condoms…three days after the celebrations ended…”We poured water into the condoms and they were leaking, not just in one place, they were leaking like a sieve,” he said.  Looking at them, “you can see there are small pores” like pinpricks…the Sex Workers Education and Advocacy Taskforce, said many of the 10,000 to 15,000 prostitutes they work with often complain about the free government condoms…[so] they instead use a brand provided by an international charity…South Africa’s government sources its condoms from several companies and rebrands them with its colorful CHOICE packaging, in bright blue, red, yellow and green…

Any time there’s a lucrative government contract, there’s going to be graft.  And anything sourced out to the lowest bidder…

Who Did Your Tits? (October 1st, 2010)

Most women who have boob jobs feel they confer psychological and/or financial benefits, but I never considered this possibility:

A 41-year-old Florida woman says the breast augmentation surgery she had three months ago saved her life…her ex-fiancé’s new girlfriend…attacked her…stabbing her repeatedly in the left side of her chest…the knife had punctured the implant and she was soaked with saline.  Doctors say the salt water and walls of the implant prevented a deadly blow.

The Camel’s Nose (October 2nd, 2010)

Yet another spooge sneaker; this one is so reprehensible he constitutes a one-man argument in favor of sex offender registries:

…Mark Berndt, a third-grade teacher [at Miramonte Elementary School in California]…is charged with committing lewd acts on 23 boys and girls, ages 6 to 10, between 2005 and 2010…[he] was removed from classwork in January 2011 and fired within the month, but only parents of children identified as victims were told…some angry parents…complained that they only learned of the investigation through the media after Berndt’s arrest this week.  School officials and investigators said proper procedures were followed…but…two former students…said school officials were informed about [Berndt’s] odd behavior two decades ago

…Berndt is suspected of snapping nearly 400 photographs of…students, some with a giant Madagascar cockroach from a classroom terrarium on their faces.  Others were blindfolded or had clear tape over their mouths, and some were shown with a spoonful of milky liquid placed near their lips…The photo sessions were treated as a game and some children were given sperm-laced cookies to eat as treats…The investigation began in the fall of 2010 when a film processor became suspicious about the photographs and turned them over to…police…an investigator…found a blue spoon…in a trash can [in Berndt’s classroom] that appeared to be the one seen in the photographs, but it took months before analysis determined there was semen on the spoon and more time before DNA testing matched it to Berndt…Meanwhile, investigators kept trying to identify children in the photographs…

I would hope that prosecutors build their cases on photographic and DNA evidence, and that they, cops and parents have the sense not to question the children or (even worse) subject them to the ordeal of trial participation; adult eyewitness testimony is unreliable at best, and that of children is often worse than useless.  Alas, I fear that’s a vain hope; adults just can’t resist traumatizing young children by subjecting them to frightening and confusing interrogations and filling their heads full of horrible images, thus exploiting them just as monstrously as the criminal did.

Welcome To Our World (January 20th, 2011)

I think my readers can answer David Reber’s questions, which he seems to consider rhetorical:

…What could a teacher possibly know about education?  Countless arguments used to denigrate public school teachers begin with the phrase “in what other profession…” and conclude with practically anything the anti-teacher pundits find offensive about public education…In what other profession, indeed.  In what other profession are the licensed professionals considered the LEAST knowledgeable about the job?  You seldom if ever hear “that guy couldn’t possibly know a thing about law enforcement – he’s a police officer”, or “she can’t be trusted talking about fire safety – she’s a firefighter.”  In what other profession is experience viewed as a liability rather than an asset?  You won’t find a contractor advertising “choose me – I’ve never done this before”, and your doctor won’t recommend a surgeon on the basis of her “having very little experience with the procedure”.  In what other profession is the desire for competitive salary viewed as proof of callous indifference towards the job?  You won’t hear many say “that lawyer charges a lot of money, she obviously doesn’t care about her clients”, or “that coach earns millions – clearly he doesn’t care about the team”…For no other profession do so many outsiders refuse to accept the realities of an imperfect world.  Crime happens.  Fire happens.  Illness happens…People accept all these realities, until they apply to public education…

Well, Mr. Reber, there is at least one other…

The Enlightenment Police (October 1st, 2011)

One would think the usually-sensible Dutch would have waited to see what the European High Court will do with the French version of this first:

The Dutch…government plans to ban Muslim face veils…”People should be able to look at each other’s faces and recognize each other when they meet,” the interior affairs ministry said…The ban will also apply to balaclavas and motorcycle helmets when worn in inappropriate places, such as inside a store, Deputy Prime Minister Maxime Verhagen told reporters, denying that this was a ban on religious clothing…The face-veil law, which still needs to win approval in both houses of parliament, excludes clothing worn for security reasons such as that worn by firemen and hockey players, as well as party clothing such as Santa Claus or Halloween costumes.  The ban does not apply to religious places, such as churches and mosques, nor to passengers on airplanes or en route via a Dutch airport…

Hark, Hark, the Dogs Do Bark (January 11th, 2012)

Since neofeminists insist that all gendered behavior is “socially constructed”, I’m sure they’ll deny these findings just as creationists deny fossils and carbon dating:

Testosterone makes us overvalue our own opinions at the expense of cooperation, research from…University College London has found…Problem solving in groups can provide benefits over individual decisions as we are able to share our information and expertise.  However…collaborating too closely can lead to an uncritical groupthink, ending in decisions that are bad for all…research has shown that people given a boost of the hormone oxytocin tend to be cooperative.  Now…researchers have shown that…testosterone has the opposite effect — it makes people act less cooperatively and more egocentrically.

Dr Nick Wright and colleagues…[tested] 17 pairs of female volunteers who had previously never met…On one…day…[they] were given a testosterone supplement; on the other day, they were given a placebo.  [Men were not used because supplements can trigger a drop in their own testosterone production, invalidating the results]…as expected, cooperation [in a task] enabled the group to perform much better than the individuals alone…but, when given a testosterone supplement, the benefit of cooperation was markedly reduced.  In fact, higher levels of testosterone were associated with individuals behaving egocentrically…”Most of the time, this allows us to seek the best solution to a problem, but sometimes, too much testosterone can help blind us to other people’s views,” [said Dr. Wright.]  “This can be very significant when we are talking about a dominant individual trying to assert his or her opinion in, say, a jury”…

One Year Ago Today

Not the Same Tree” showcases a Detroit reporter’s excellent and very perceptive article about the federal persecution of an escort service.

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Lust is to the other passions what the nervous fluid is to life; it supports them all, lends strength to them all…ambition, cruelty, avarice, revenge, are all founded on lust.  –  Donatien Alphonse François, Marquis de Sade

One year ago today I published “Election Day”, which told of the prohibitionist persecution by power-mad perverts which eternally accompanies the approach of elections in the U.S.  And while we do have one story of such a politically-motivated campaign of mass victimization today, the real unifying feature of this column is the frustrated male need for sex.

A Whore in the Bedroom (September 9th, 2010)

In this column I suggested that many a marriage would be happier if the wife were to be a bit more understanding of her husband’s sexual needs; I stated that “ignorant modern women not only feel that husbands should be satisfied with whatever sexual pickings their wives choose to dole out, however meager or restricted, but also refuse to understand that a starving man will seek food elsewhere if it isn’t available at home…If [accommodating his needs] seems too difficult, you can certainly just keep on the course you’ve set, but if your relationship hits the rocks solely because you couldn’t be bothered to tend the wheel there is nobody to blame but yourself.”  I’m sure at least a few female readers felt I was overstating the importance of this; the neofeminist propaganda that sex is not a need is widely accepted in American society.  But as this October 1st Huffington Post article explains, a husband’s sexual satisfaction is the single greatest indicator of whether a marriage will succeed:

…Kristina Dzara at Southern Illinois University…in her article, Assessing the Effect of Marital Sexuality on Marital Disruption…used the Marriage Matters Panel Survey of Newly Wed Couples that followed over 1000 couples in Louisiana from 1998 to 2004…The author used three measures of sexuality in the first three to six months of marriage — frequency of sexual intercourse, sexual satisfaction, and agreement between spouses about their sex life.  Dzara used these measures to predict divorce by the 5th year of marriage.  As we know, there are a lot of factors can contribute to divorce — marital quality, early marriage, cohabitation and many more.  In order to get a better understanding of the effects of sexuality in marriage, the author controlled for many of these other factors.

…On average these young couples had intercourse between one and several times a week, but frequency didn’t seem to matter…For wives, satisfaction with physical intimacy decreased the likelihood of divorce, but overall marital quality and satisfaction with intimacy appeared to have the same effect.  In other words, marital quality and satisfaction with sex could not be teased apart for wives…[However,] the probability of divorce is dramatically reduced when husbands report being sexually satisfied.  Dzara writes, “a couple with a husband who has the highest self-rated satisfaction with physical intimacy, compared to a husband with the lowest self-rated satisfaction with physical intimacy, decreases their odds of experiencing a marital disruption by around 83.7%.”  Overall, husbands’ satisfaction with physical intimacy is a stronger influence on divorce than any other measure in this study.

Somewhat surprisingly, agreement between husbands and wives about their sex life did not seem to have much influence on their likelihood of divorce.  “Agreement about one’s sex life” may be bound up with many other factors of agreement.  In short, sex seems to matter to healthy marriages — not too big of a surprise.  For wives, satisfaction with physical intimacy and marital satisfaction seem to be rolled into one overall factor.  Not so for men.  When men report being satisfied with their marriage, this reduces their likelihood for divorce, and if they also report being sexually satisfied, then divorce is even more unlikely…

I didn’t really need a scientific study to tell me this, but validation is always welcome.

The Camel’s Nose (October 2nd, 2010)

The second part of this column discusses the case of “a man so sexually frustrated that all judgment and basic respect for others flies out the window, completely superseded by the need for sexual gratification through a perverse fantasy of sexually violating a woman unnoticed.”  To be precise, he masturbated into a woman’s water bottle and was apparently surprised when she figured it out.  Nor is he alone in either his filthiness or his stupidity, as reported in this October 6th AP article:

…Anthony Garcia admitted he tainted a sample of the yogurt he was handing out at Sunflower Market (in Albuquerque, New Mexico) in January.  He also admitted putting some of his semen on a plastic spoon that he placed with the yogurt.  Garcia then approached a female customer and offered her a sample…The woman told police that after tasting the sample, she spit on the floor several times and wiped her mouth on the garment she was wearing to get the taste out of her mouth.  Investigators collected samples of the woman’s spit from the floor and took the garment she was wearing as evidence…Garcia was linked to the yogurt through DNA samples…[but] lied to investigators about the case…Garcia faces up to three years of imprisonment to be followed by three years of supervised release.  He has been in federal custody since his arrest in July, and remained detained pending his sentencing, which has yet to be scheduled.

I presume this is a federal case because its occurrence in a supermarket made it a violation of the federal food purity laws.  Presumably, a 32-year-old man who works as a food sample distributor in a supermarket couldn’t afford an escort, but a streetwalker or at least some porn might’ve been a wise investment.  I’m rather beginning to wonder what the deal is with Albuquerque, though.  And here’s a warning to any would-be spooge sneakers out there:  Nearly all adult women know what the stuff tastes like, moron.

Something Rotten in Sweden (November 13th, 2010)

Last November I predicted that “more and more prohibitionists would shift to the Swedish rhetoric in order to capitalize on “human trafficking” hysteria, deflect arguments based on women’s right to control our own bodies and win the support of fence-sitters and even some misguided whores.”  Police departments have been especially enthusiastic about “end demand” rhetoric because it allows them to attack other men instead of women, thus pumping up their male egos by denying women agency and feeding their “pimps and hos” masturbatory fantasies while simultaneously avoiding criticism of their violence against sex workers and allowing them the pretense of “saving victims” when they’re actually persecuting adults for private behavior.  Early last month, police departments across the U.S. staged a joint victimization campaign against clients; here’s an October 11th story from the Chicago Tribune:

Cook County sheriff’s officers…took part in a nationwide prostitution sting…that netted more than 200 arrests – most of which were of men soliciting sex acts…Dubbed “The National Day of Johns Arrest,” the crackdown involved police in eight different jurisdictions targeting commercial sex on streets, in brothels and over the internet, according to a statement from the sheriff’s department, which said the enforcement action was the first nationally coordinated operation of its kind.  According to the statement, the pilot program is expected to be the first of several national sweeps to be aimed primarily at men who seek out prostitutes and who are increasingly seen by law enforcement as the true perpetrators of the sex trade, rather than the women who are often economically desperate or the victims of pimps.  In addition to the three Chicago-area departments, police in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Cincinnati and Newport News, Va., participated.  All told, the various departments arrested 233 people – 216 of them men seeking to patronize a prostitute – and levied $238,000 in fines…The action was conducted in conjunction with the Hunt Alternatives Fund, a Massachusetts-based social foundation that is attempting to combat demand for commercial sex and sex trafficking in the United States.

You may recall that the Hunt Alternatives Fund also bankrolled Melissa Farley’s recent attempt to cast all men as abusive monsters; as Laura Agustín pointed out over a year ago, funding campaigns to hunt men down like animals is only one part of Hunt’s and her neofeminist allies’ larger crusade to make sex workers’ lives miserable (without being seen as the misogynists they are) by targeting “demand”.  I know that a number of my readers are interested in the Men’s Rights Movement; I suggest that those of you who are ought to spread the word about Swanee Hunt’s repugnant and dangerous crusade against male sexuality and female sexual autonomy.

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Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the Government’s purposes are beneficent.  Men born to freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by evil minded rulers.  The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal well meaning but without understanding.  –  Louis D. Brandeis

Our monthly collection of short articles hearkening back to previous columns.

The Camel’s Nose (October 2nd)

Al Franken may not know much about intellectual freedom, but…

Back in October I told you about the “Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act,” (COICA), a proposed law which would have allowed the government to censor wide swaths of the internet; less than two months later I reported that the Senate Judiciary Committee (including “internet freedom champion” Al Franken) had unanimously voted to allow the bill to move one step closer to becoming law.  Fortunately, as this January 18th article from CNET reports, Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon single-handedly kept the bill from the Senate floor; unfortunately, according to this May 12th article from the same source, the bill’s sponsor has reintroduced it under a new name:

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) today introduced a revised version of a controversial bill that would give the Department of Justice and individuals new powers to enforce copyright and trademark law against “rogue” and “pirate” Web sites that offer unlicensed copies of protected content or which sell illegal knock-offs of brand-name goods.  The new bill was long expected. A late draft leaked out last week.  The proposed law, “Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property” or Protect IP, includes several revisions to a draft introduced last year, known then as “Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act,” or COICA.  The drafters of Protect IP have tried to respond to some of the most severe criticisms of COICA, which was seen as dangerously vague on its definition of the kinds of Web sites that, under the proposal…Registries and other Internet infrastructure providers were especially concerned with provisions that could have required any provider of domain name look-up services to comply with court orders to block access to the underlying IP address of a condemned domain name…

But critics have already condemned the new version, noting that it not only failed to remove some of the most dangerous features of COICA, but has also added expansive provisions that the earlier draft didn’t include.  TechDirt‘s Mike Masnick, for example, notes that the narrower definition of an “Internet site dedicated to infringing activities” in Protect IP is still both broad and vague.  And the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s Abigail Phillips wrote…that “Despite some salient differences…in the new version, we are no less dismayed by this most recent incarnation than we were with last year’s draft”…Like COICA, Protect IP expands the web of enforcement techniques by requiring advertising networks and financial transaction providers to cut ties to domains found to violate the law.  But the new version now adds search engines and others to the list of providers who can be conscripted into complying with court orders.  Protect IP would require “information location tools” to “take technically feasible and reasonable measures, as expeditiously as possible,” to remove or disable access to the site associated with a condemned domain, including blocking hypertext links to the site…Perhaps most worrisome of all, Protect IP adds a provision that allows copyright and trademark holders to sue the owner/operator of a domain directly.  Again, the provision applies only to nondomestically-registered domains, but it allows the private party, like the government, to sue the domain name itself if the registrant does not have a U.S. address.  That’s important because in all cases, once a suit is initiated, the plaintiff can ask the court to issue an injunction or restraining order effectively shutting the site down…Thus, with minimal court proceedings and perhaps without any opportunity for the defendant to respond or participate, the draft law would enable the Department of Justice or a private party to effectively shut down a nondomestic Web site, putting the burden on the owner/operator to prove that the site is not “dedicated to infringing activities” as defined in the law…

The “guilty until proven innocent” mechanism of the law, not to mention its “breaking an egg with a sledgehammer” philosophy, are all too familiar to whores; perhaps I should’ve filed this under “Welcome To Our World” instead.

No Other Option (October 17th)

On May 18th Svenska Dagbladet carried this article about German “sex assistants”, whores who minister specifically to the elderly and disabled.  Since few of my readers read Swedish (I certainly can’t!) and some may lack access to translation software, I’ll paraphrase the entire article herein.  IMHO the most interesting thing about the article is its positive, accepting tone despite the fact that it was published in a Swedish newspaper, which I think you’ll agree tends to support my May 22nd statements about the true opinion of the Swedish public on the subject of sex work.

In Sweden, Catharina König would be guilty of prostitution, but in Germany she receives calls from health professionals and desperate parents.  “When people ask what I do, I usually say that I work with people with disabilities, and add that it’s sensual and erotic work.  And then they look at me with big eyes,” she laughs.  Five years ago (at the age of 47) she became unemployed, then stumbled across an article on “sex assistants”, people who help the disabled or elderly people to experience sex.  “I felt that it could be something for me, but I didn’t know if I could pull it off.  In my head, I had images of drooling and disfigured people,” she says.

Catharina König went to the Institute for Autonomy for the Disabled, a college which trains sex assistants.  Her clients are mostly elderly men in retirement homes or younger disabled men.  Sometimes, she says, they just want to see a female body, or caress it; sometimes they need help getting an orgasm.  And often they just want to lie in bed holding someone.  Many of her calls come from nursing home staff; they see that the elderly or disabled are suffering, depressed or aggressive but cannot help them.  In the case of younger people who live at home, it’s usually the mother who calls.  “Recently I was at home with a 40-year-old man who had never been with a woman, Catharina said; “At first he was terrified.  But then it became so soft and nice.”

One of Catharina König’s regulars is 58-year-old Peter, who has a spastic paralysis of the limbs.  “I am not an Adonis whom women turn to look at, but like most other men I yearn for a woman and her body,” says Peter, who wished to remain anonymous.  “In principle, I think that one should not pay for sex, but the disabled have so many disadvantages in society I claim my right to do so.”  When asked what he thought about the fact that in Sweden he would be labeled a criminal, Peter said he considers that an insulting idea.

Christina König agrees.  “Sure I’m a sex worker; I sell sexual services.  But it’s so much more than that; I’m trying to give people the feeling that they are beautiful.  It’s wrong to try to punish that.  Besides, in Germany prostitution is permitted since January 2002; the law considers the buying and selling of sexual services to be a commercial transaction, provided they are done voluntarily.  Brothels are permissible, and prostitutes pay taxes and the same charges as other self-employed people.”

Today there are many brothels which advertise that they are accessible to the disabled; their amenities include ramps for wheelchairs and staff who understand and can help.  The Association for Sexual Services, a German sex worker organization, estimates that half of the country’s nursing homes for the elderly or disabled allow prostitutes to visit their residents.  Many prostitutes have discovered this as a niche; most are a little older and have life experience, says Marion Detlef, a social worker at Hydra (an organization which provides services to sex workers in Berlin).  Detlef said that there is good cooperation with the old people’s homes, and more recently with nursing homes for the disabled as well.  “It’s still a big taboo for many people.  But even in church-based institutions, there is a growing understanding that all people have sexual needs.  As it says in the Bible, ‘Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.’”

What a sensible, enlightened view!  And what a contrast from the monstrous, asinine official attitudes toward sex work we see in nearly every story coming out of the U.S. these days.

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Fifth floor!  Rubber tires, sugar, bourbon, butter, and other picture postcards! –  Bugs Bunny, from Hare Conditioned (1945)

Another collection of short, tenuously-related articles.

The Camel’s Nose

In my above-titled column of October 2nd, I discussed a congressional plot to rush through legislation which would give Congress and federal judges both broad powers to censor the internet.  The conspiracy to sneak this law past the American people in ten days was foiled, but its sponsors haven’t given up by any means; as I pointed out in Saturday’s column oppressive regimes hate the internet and are always seeking new ways to censor it.  This recent article from Huffington Post discusses the efforts to oppose the power elite’s newest strategy in its ongoing efforts to turn the United States into a police state like most of the others where prostitution is still illegal.

Pay No Attention To That Man Behind the Curtain!

While the FBI spends hundreds of millions of dollars to harass prostitutes under the smoke screen of “rescuing missing children”, the government has purposefully hidden data which could find many of them, namely the records of the Internal Revenue Service.  The IRS claims its refusal to release these records is because of “privacy restrictions”, which is a bit like a rapist trying to explain his actions as a defense of feminine chastity.  Obviously, we can’t have the IRS publicly admitting that roughly 95% of “missing” children are actually living with the parent they prefer rather than the one to whom a clueless judge assigned custody; not only would that ruin a good moral panic and the excuse for the government’s anti-whore campaign, it would also force the authorities to find another bogeyman with which to frighten the sheeple into accepting ever-increasing surveillance and restrictions on civil liberties.

What If They Threw a Party and Nobody Came?

In my columns of September 2nd and October  26th I talked about Gardasil, the vaccine against the human papillomavirus.  Well, according to this recent Huffington Post article, more than 70% of the girls who are most at risk for venereal warts are either not getting the shot or else failing to show up for the two boosters.  The article suggests several possible reasons, including our society’s preference for treating symptoms over preventative measures and the excessive cost of the injections ($200 each where I live).  The author also suggests a “misguided distrust of all vaccines,” which despite her medical credentials I would have to disagree with considering the annual clamor for unnecessary “flu shots” among the perfectly healthy and the proliferation of antibacterial everything.  No, I think her last guess is the best one:

Or perhaps it’s our prudish mores, which don’t approve of vaccines that protects us from sexually transmitted infections.  Some groups feel it might in some way be sending the wrong message to young girls.  Certainly no one in the medical community is advocating sexually [sic] promiscuity for young women, nor trying to send the message that safe sex is no longer needed once you are vaccinated.  We are also continuing to advocate pap smears exams for women at the age of 21 or for those who are sexually active.

I’d be willing to bet a substantial sum on that being the real reason, no matter what the reader comments to the original article claim.  If there were a vaccine for HIV or hepatitis people might get it because those diseases can also be spread by blood, but if there were one for herpes, syphilis, gonorrhea or even chlamydia I’m sure it would be just as unpopular as this one.  And the reason for that is the same reason that the rate of venereal disease is vastly higher among university students than it is among streetwalkers:  The bizarre but popular delusion, encouraged by cops and religious fundamentalists, that only “bad girls” take precautions against venereal diseases.

Weird Search Terms

Among the many interesting blog statistics available to WordPress users is a daily summary of terms with which people found one’s site through search engines.  Most of these are unsurprising; the most common ones by far for this blog are various permutations of “maggie mcneill”, “the honest courtesan” or some combination of the two, followed by “siemiradzki” and “henryk siemiradzki”; Siemiradzki was the 19th-century Polish artist who painted  “Phryne at the Festival of Eleusin”, a segment of which adorns my column on Phryne.  Apparently there aren’t many of his pictures online, because in a Google image search of his name that column shows up on the first page, which results in it actually being the specific column with the second-most hits (after Whores in the News).

But among all the obvious or at least understandable searches there are a few which are just…weird.  One of these, “types of hound dogs” wouldn’t be weird in and of itself…but how in the world did it lead the searcher here?  And another, “the old honest courtesan”, is the opposite; it’s obvious how it led him here, but what does it really mean?  As for the rest…well, you be the judge; these are reproduced exactly as they appeared in my statistics:

the badge of harlotry
escorts that casterate
lord of war coke line
“she cuts” “foreskin”
vagina preaching

Then, just the other day, someone found this column with the search “facts about the heffalump”; I certainly hope the searcher realized that heffalumps were the undescribed products of A.A. Milne’s imagination.

For Those Who Think Dating is Safer Than Whoring…

The following is paraphrased from an Associated Press release; I can’t say I’ve ever heard of anything quite like it, but murderous rage after being jilted really isn’t anything new:

A Los Angeles man was arrested Friday (November 12th) and charged with trying to run down his ex-girlfriend with his car after she refused his wedding proposal at the Burger Stop.  After the woman said no, 22-year-old Francisco Hernandez allegedly drove onto the sidewalk, through bushes and into the restaurant parking lot, narrowly missing her; “Stacy Will You Marry Me” was written on the car’s back window.  Hernandez then fled on foot and was later arrested after cops spotted him walking down the street with a bouquet of flowers.  Sheriff’s Lt. Andrew Berg says Hernandez was charged with assault with a deadly weapon.

I’m not clear on why he left the car, nor if he fled with the flowers or bought them for an apology attempt in the time between the attack and his arrest.  I wonder what the card said; “Please forgive me from trying to murder you?”  Luckily for the lady, she must have lacked my appreciation for the absurdity of his initial actions; if a 22-year-old boy had proposed to me in  the parking lot of a burger joint, I think I would’ve been too doubled over with laughter to avoid the car.  Also, if the girl had been a whore and he had tried to run her down for refusing his offer of $50 for six hours of nonstop sex, the cops would’ve ignored it and the prohibitionists would be using it as an example of why prostitution was too dangerous to allow.

…And Always Know Where Your Towel Is

While browsing the TCAA site I discovered this link to SWOP’s suggestion for every hooker to develop a “Don’t Panic” plan she can give to friends in case she is arrested.  The idea is that if a woman knows her kids, pets, house, etc are being taken care of while she is delayed for hours after the arrest, she is less likely to panic and let the cops take advantage of her.  Our having procedures like this in place helped me to stay calm after my arrest and got me out of the clutches of the cops within half an hour of their finally allowing me my one phone call.  Some of the suggestions in the document are specific to San Francisco or presume that one will fight the charge rather than just settling it, but the rest is very worth thinking about.  A good agency will take care of all this, but many agencies aren’t good and many girls work alone; such an unprotected girl needs someone (who can be counted on to answer the phone while she’s working) to know where she is, what she’s doing and what to do in an emergency.

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Give them an inch and they’ll take a mile. –  Traditional saying

I find it terribly ironic that just as the American Library Association’s “Banned Books Week” (which, incidentally, ends today) was getting underway, legislation innocuously referred to as the “Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act” was introduced into the US Congress by a  congresswhore in the employ of several big media conglomerates.  This bill is ostensibly intended to fight copyright violations (i.e. people posting pirated material online), but does so by giving Congress the power to create a blacklist of prohibited domains which internet service providers would be bound by law to filter, just as China and other oppressive regimes require ISPs operating within their borders to do.  Supposedly the only domains placed on the site would be those which “promoted” infringement, but of course judges and lawyers get to determine what constitutes “promotion” and how widespread it has to be.  For example, if some judge was paid by the RIAA to declare that too many YouTube postings violated the rights of their poor little multimillionaire “artists” the whole of YouTube could be shut down. This act gives the government far too much power; it is roughly equivalent to authorizing cops to use deadly force to stop speeders. And that isn’t even accounting for the “camel’s nose under the tent” effect; once Big Brother has the power to shut down big hunks of the internet for one specific purpose, does anyone honestly believe that he will only use that power for the stated purpose and no other?  Because if you do believe that, please PayPal $1000 to maggiemcneill@earthlink.net and I promise to perform a magical spell that will give you the power to see through girls’ clothes.  Honest, you can believe me!

Here’s a link to an article at The Huffington Post which explains the proposed legislation in more detail and includes a link to a petition.  It is written by Rhode Island State Representative David Segal, who incidentally was an opponent of the recriminalization of prostitution in Rhode Island last year as he discussed in this article.  Though a year old, the latter article is worth reading because it demonstrates that at least a few people in government recognize that the suppression of prostitutes is not only morally wrong, but that we actually form the best line of defense against real “human traffickers” (rather than the imaginary ones who can somehow be stopped by prohibiting adult women from earning a living).

Update to Out of Control (September 24th)

This item is paraphrased from an AP story released on September 30th:

Twenty-nine women have alleged that Toronto anesthesiologist Dr. George Doodnaught, 61, sexually assaulted them while they were unconscious, and there could be more victims.

Doodnaught was already facing three counts of sexual assault before police announced 26 more charges Thursday (September 30th); North York General Hospital said 25 of the new charges relate to assaults alleged to have occurred at the hospital during surgical procedures.

When Doodnaught was charged in March with the first three assaults, police released his photograph and asked other potential victims to contact them. “Twenty-six additional victims have come forward,” Toronto police Constable Tony Vella said Thursday. “Investigators believe that there could actually be many more victims in this case,” he added.

One of the alleged assaults took place in June 1992 and the rest between 2006 and this past February, when he was dismissed from the hospital, police said.  None of the allegations have been proven in court, and Doodnaught has not yet had the opportunity to defend himself from the charges.  Lawyer Adam Halioua, who represents the alleged victims in out-of-court civil negotiations with the hospital, said he could not comment on the new criminal charges because of the police investigation.  Doodnaught, who graduated from the University of Glasgow in 1974, has been an anesthesiologist since 1981 and worked at North York General for 28 years.

During an operation, a surgeon, surgical assistant, scrub nurse, circulating nurse and an anesthesiologist are usually in the room — but they can come and go, and there were no cameras in the operating rooms in the hospital.  The hospital’s chief of staff, Dr. David White, said in March it was possible for an anesthesiologist to be alone with a patient.  White had also said the police investigation would also examine whether the allegations are the result of vivid dreams that some patients experience as a result of the various medications and types of anesthesia.

I think we can safely discount the notion that 29 women all had dreams of being raped by the same anesthesiologist, so the question we are left with is “Why?”  Why on Earth would a respected doctor less than a decade away from retirement risk his liberty and reputation and violate both his patients’ trust and all of his medical ethics to do such a disgusting thing?  In my column of September 24th I discussed the bizarre, extreme and often criminal behaviors to which sexually frustrated men may resort, and it seems likely to me that something must have happened in 2006 to close off Doodnaught’s available means of sexual release.  So why didn’t this crazy bastard just hire whores instead of victimizing innocent women?  Even though doctors in Canada don’t make as much as their US counterparts, he certainly could’ve afforded streetwalkers (which are all he needed if an unconscious woman is enough to satisfy him).  And certainly the consequences of arrest for patronizing hookers can’t be nearly as great as the penalties for serial rape!  I guess some men just lose all decency and capacity for rational thought when they start “thinking with the wrong head.”

Here’s another example of the same thing, paraphrased from a Fox News release:

A man was arrested Tuesday (August 17th) in Fullerton, California for ejaculating twice into a female co-worker’s water bottle.  Police said that in January 2010, 31 year old Michael Kevin Lallana entered a female co-worker’s office at the Northwestern Mutual Mortgage Company in Newport Beach, California and ejaculated into a water bottle that was on her desk, leaving it there afterward.  The woman later returned and drank the contents of the water bottle, and claimed she felt ill afterward.  Approximately three months later (in April 2010), Lallana again ejaculated into another water bottle that the same woman left on her desk; again she returned to her office and drank from the bottle, but this time (after supposedly feeling ill again) the victim sent the remaining contents to a private lab to be tested.  The lab confirmed in June that the water bottle contained semen, and the victim reported the incidents to the Orange Police Department.

In early July, following further investigation by the police and the Orange County Crime Lab, Lallana was linked through DNA to the crimes and was arrested on August 17th outside of his home.  He was charged with two misdemeanor counts each of releasing an offensive material in a public place and assault, with special circumstances of committing a crime for sexual gratification.  If convicted, he faces a sentence of three months to three years in prison followed by mandatory sex offender registration.

Now, I personally find it difficult to believe the victim’s claim that she felt ill after ingesting semen; though it usually doesn’t taste all that great, it cannot make a woman sick after swallowing.  What I think much more likely is that she knew very well what the taste was, but felt too ashamed to admit it to anyone until the second incident, after which she invented the “illness” to avoid having to tell leering male cops that she knew what semen tastes like.  And thereby hangs the tale; who in his right mind could believe that an adult woman in 21st-century California would NOT know what semen tasted like?  Lalanna would have to be completely deranged to imagine he could sneak his seed into a woman’s mouth unnoticed!  The very idea exceeds all the bounds of rationality.  Once again, we have a man so sexually frustrated that all judgment and basic respect for others flies out the window, completely superseded by the need for sexual gratification through a perverse fantasy of sexually violating a woman unnoticed.  Perhaps if our work were not suppressed men like Lalanna and Doodnaught could gratify their urges safely and harmlessly before their brains degenerate to the point where they care about neither common human decency nor even their own safety.

Update to Advice for Clients (August 21st)

In my column of August 21st I gave advice for clients on how to treat their escorts; this video segment from the Sexplorations video series entitled “How To Treat a Sex Worker” is another examination of that same topic, based largely on the book Paying for It which I have already recommended on my bibliography page.  It doesn’t say anything very different from what I already covered in that column, but I think hearing the same advice from other women (and a gay escort as well) will serve to reinforce that these things are not mere pet peeves on my part.

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