Tuesday, May 03, 2016

PC is now simply good manners.

"Political correctness" has long been considered a pejorative, an accusation hurled at those of us who choose our words carefully so as not to insult others. "It is invoked as a justification for some of the coarsest expressions of hatred and intolerance," Daniel Letwin, an associate professor of history at Pennsylvania State University, told me. Over the past year, I've written a number of columns that have provoked such allegations, notably when writing about language or why words matter.

Personally (and as a journalist) I prefer the Economist's style guide for reporters, which advises: "Avoid, if you can, giving gratuitous offence . . . you risk losing your readers. . . . But pandering to every plea for politically correct terminology may make your prose unreadable, and therefore also unread. So strike a balance. If you judge that a group wishes to be known by a particular term, that the term is widely understood and that using any other would seem odd, old-fashioned or offensive, then use it."

Far from restricting debate, the language of political correctness has returned a new dignity to formerly marginalized groups. "People who argue that political correctness is hijacking candid, unabashed observations aren't considering how their words are being perceived by all rather than just some others," said Robert Connelly, an adjunct professor of women's, gender and sexuality studies at American University.

In other words, "Shut up!" So, nothing new then.

The Phantom

US militia is on the border.

Here's a story about a group of volunteers patrolling the border down by Nogales Mexico.

Nogales, Arizona is more than 1,600 miles from Birmingham, Ala. In many ways, the two cities are completely different. However, they share one very important problem: they've both been impacted by the trade of illicit drugs, most notably heroin. Last year, heroin-related deaths were up by about 150 percent in Jefferson County, according to law enforcement officials. Heroin has been called an "epidemic" across our state by drug prevention groups. While not all of that product comes from Mexico, a large portion of drugs that make their way to Birmingham have been trafficked from out of the country.
In this way, what happens on the border has had a big impact on Birmingham. The drug trade is part of the catalyst for the creation of the Border Keepers of Alabama. It's a group of a few dozen men and women with the stated goal of preventing drugs and people from passing illegally through the border with Mexico. The organization, which calls itself "BOA" for short, has been met with criticism and praise. Critics call them vigilantes and racists, bent on preventing immigration into the United States. Supporters call them patriots and heroes, intent on doing the job Border Patrol agents have trouble doing alone--enforcing the law.

To put this into a Canadian perspective: If I thought it would behoove me to head down to Niagara Falls and hunt for violent drug traffickers crossing over from New York State, because my town was filling up with dead junkies, I would have already long since come to the conclusion that my government was essentially -absent- from it's responsibilities of securing the border and keeping the general peace.

Here in my area we do have some occasionally violent gang members, who like to demonstrate, burn tires and make a bloody nuisance of themselves. For ther purposes of this discussion it doesn't matter who they are, but we all know who I'm talking about. This gang's money comes from cigarette smuggling, mostly. Their continued success is due to having made a Special Deal with the provincial government of Ontario. The Liberals find it convenient to look the other way, because it's good Multicultural politics not to stomp on criminals of a visible minority. Liberals these days feel that they live or die on multiculturalism, so they let the agitators agitate and they let the smugglers smuggle. It's not such a big deal, in the grand scheme of things.

For me as a resident of the area, it remains a minor inconvenience. I adjust my choice of routes to drive on when the idiots act up, it's all good. Because even though the cops aren't busting these clowns for the variety of regulations they're breaking, whereas I'd get busted in a hot second, it doesn't really matter. Regulations on smokes are taxes, these clowns are tax dodgers. No skin off my nose.

But if they start showing up armed on my front lawn, that's another thing entirely. If they start infiltrating the countryside from across the border and casing my place for possible robbery EVERY DAY, that's not something I'm going to be able to put up with.

Because that means the cops no longer are doing what they are paid to do, which is KEEP THE PEACE. If there's armed drug cartel assholes traipsing through my yard every night, the peace is not being kept.

That's where y'all are this year in the Southern USA. The Border Patrol isn't patrolling the border. A bunch of vets from Alabama is doing it.

And yet the chattering classes still wonder why Trump is cleaning up in the Republican primaries.

My worry about Trump is not that he's a racist. I'm concerned he's talking a bunch of shit about building that wall. Because if he is, there will be a real, live shooting war along that border in the next couple of years, fought by non-government forces. It'll be the drug dealers vs. the American Patriots. That's how revolutions get started.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Most important school issue of 2016? Transgender bathrooms.

Treat this as a warning, ladies.

Yep, lots of people out there will tell you that being kind to the transgendered by letting them use whatever bathroom they want is the most important thing in high school these days. It's the issue whose time has come.


Only 37% of American 12th-graders were academically prepared for college math and reading in 2015, a slight dip from two years earlier, according to test scores released Wednesday.
The National Assessment of Educational Progress, also known as the "Nation's Report Card," said that share was down from an estimated 39% in math and 38% in reading in 2013.

Gee, I wonder if educators might be screaming "LOOK!!!! SHINY THING!!!!" with the transgender bathroom deal because they are graduating 2/3rds of their students illiterate and innumerate? One fricking third of the kids in the USA are college ready? Are you f-ing kidding me?

Read until offended Liberals and other mental deficients please note this above observation says -nothing- about people who are actually transgender or otherwise bathroom-challenged. This is about lying officials using such people as human shields.

Personally, I'm against it. You dumb-asses.

The Offensive Phantom Racist Dude

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Hugo finalists announced!

When I get my packet I'll review them and report on them, which will form
The Phantom Slate!

Reactionless thrusters are now a thing.

Apparently, the EM drive is now a thing, for real. How awesome is that?

In 2012, a Chinese team said it had measured a thrust produced by its own version of the EmDrive. In 2014, an American scientist built an EmDrive and persuaded NASA to test it with positive results.

And last year, NASA conducted its own tests in a vacuum to rule out movement of air as the origin of the force. NASA, too, confirmed that the EmDrive produces a thrust. In total, six independent experiments have backed Shawyer's original claims.

The article concerns a VERY interesting discussion of inertia, and how it might be a different thing altogether from what we have assumed to date. Long story short, the EmDrive may work because inertia comes in quanta, like electrons. If you have half a quanta of inertia, the other half gets made up in thrust.

Read the whole thing, it'll blow your mind.

The (kapow!) Phantom

Friday, April 22, 2016

Passing of Prince, and Vanity

Sad to hear that Prince died yesterday. He was actually younger than me.

Another person died this year at the same age whose passing I thought I had mentioned but didn't, Denise Matthews, Vanity.

I was never a huge Vanity or Prince fan, but I always liked them on the radio or in the movies, whenever they would do something I'd pay attention at least in passing, "Oh, that's Prince" or "Look, that's Vanity."

This is Vanity at the Copa in Toronto. There's a skyscraper there now.

The way the news is playing Prince's death today, it looks like they're trying for another Michael Jackson-style blowout. It's very sad.

The poor guy died, leave us alone for once and let us remember him, eh?

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Pendulums have a back swing too. Coachella: No Espanol!

A reporter from The Desert Sun/USA Today views with alarm the reaction of kids at Coachella to people singing in Spanish. (Hint, they didn't like it.)


Coachella is rich in its cultural diversity. Bands from all over the world hit the stage and festivalgoers have all kinds of culinary options from burgers and French fries to Pad Thai and tacos.

Which is why I never imagined that I would experience such blatant racism in what could be considered a cultural Mecca.

"I didn't pay $350 to hear them sing," one girl told her friend.

Other people in the crowd were saying they were uncomfortable and yelling "No EspaƱol!" or "Stop singing please!"

I understand that people sometimes feel uncomfortable when they can't understand what people are saying in big crowds. But why is it that a group of people singing a song in Spanish is met with such animosity? Do people feel threatened when other cultures make themselves known in mostly white, English-speaking events? Is it OK for white girls to wear bindis and white men to wear kimonos but not OK for a group of Hispanic concertgoers to sing a song to pass the time in between sets?

The one comment that took the cake for me was after one person suggested that the crowd start singing another song to quiet down the Spanish speakers.

"Yeah, let's sing the National Anthem," a girl responded.

Scolds like Mr. Bastidas need to take a step back when they see stuff like this and appreciate that in America, people are not down with the invasion. They do not like that their schools and towns are -suddenly- getting mobbed by hundreds or thousands of strangers who look and act different.

I will add that people in Germany are not down with the sudden influx of Middle Easter types either. They didn't vote for this, or so they think.

It doesn't matter that the New People are Mexican or Muslim. It matter that they are New. Nobody likes New.

People don't generally understand how fragile the peace they see around them really is. Human beings have a mean streak a mile wide, most people don't need much of an excuse to take a swing at your head. That's the Ground State of Humanity: Mean.

So when governments decide, for reasons which are not at all apparent to the public, to have a mass migration of MILLIONS of New People, and they tell us all to basically shut the hell up and like it, tempers get hot. Kids decide to start shit up at Coachella.

My objection to the Multi-Culti fixation has never been that I'm all afeared of different cultures, different faces, different food. Personally I'm all about the different stuff. Canada is boring as watching paint dry, we needed some new kids to shake stuff up.

No, my fear has been that the government never knows when enough is enough, and what started as a good thing is going to get to be a Bad Thing very fast.

When you pressure a population, they fight back. Mostly because humans like fighting, but also to protect themselves and what's theirs. Our nice calm and peaceful land could get ugly overnight, just from the likes of Mr. Bastidas telling National Anthem Girl from the story to shut up. She's not going to shut up, she's going to get her boyfriend to kick your ass, is what's going to happen.

The transition from peaceful coexistence to warring factions is a short one.

The Phantom

Monday, April 18, 2016

Your Phone's back door is wide open.

CBS news has a piece on just how much info bad guys can get from your cell phone. Basically, anything they want.

Sharyn Alfonsi: Is one phone more secure than another? Is an iPhone more secure than an Android?

Karsten Nohl: All phones are the same.

Sharyn Alfonsi: If you just have somebody's phone number, what could you do?

Karsten Nohl: Track their whereabouts, know where they go for work, which other people they meet when-- You can spy on whom they call and what they say over the phone. And you can read their texts.

Now, doesn't this little revelation make the FBI insisting they need a special key to get into an iPhone seem extra stupid?

This is a non-government research group, they seem to have stumbled on a wide-open back door built into the cell network internationally. Imagine what the FBI and the NSA can do above and beyond what we see here.

The Phantom

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

The thing that makes feminists annoying is...

... that they are stupid.

What is shocking to me is that I am not particularly visible. I do not create, write about, or otherwise engage in gaming culture. Due to the years of persistent sexual harassment and threats, I maintain an incredibly low social profile and try to avoid gendering myself online. Just think for a moment how fucked up it is that I am not free to post about my hobbies, interests, or day to day life because I am a woman and the gaming community is so dangerous.
It is 2015 and I am reporting the harassment to the RCMP.
"Is this like that WaterGame thing?" asks the officer. I smile in relief.
"Yes. Yes, it's a lot like that."
The officer sighs, "We'd have a lot less work if women just stayed away from dangerous, psychopathic losers." I look at the evidence in front of me. I don't disagree.
In every discussion of online harassment you will find men telling women to call the police. What you don't hear is the police telling women to stay away from gaming communities for their own safety. What would gamers say if they knew that police told women to avoid game stores the same way they avoid frat houses?
"Why is this so important to you, anyway?" The officer is blunt, but I appreciate it.
"It's my hobby. I love it. I've been doing this for twenty years."
Her response cuts me to my core, "Find another hobby or you're going to die."

For the reading impaired, of whom there seem to be legions, I will start with this: Emily Garland, the author of this piece, WAS sexually assaulted. It is a matter of public record, there is no doubt about it as far as I am concerned. That, plus a buck fifty, will get you a coffee.

Sexual predators exist. They are numerous. I will go out on a limb as say as many as 10% of adult males will fondle a woman without her consent, given the chance to do so without suffering consequences.

I could be wrong about that, the number may be lower, or higher. Maybe a lot higher. Whatever, I take it as a given that there are violent, depraved assholes in the world. I've known a few, and I have the scars to prove it. Like, actual scars. The PTSD is also really fun at times.

This article is not about that.

It's about this part here:

The response to the rampant sexual assault in the gaming hobby is predictably misogynistic. Women are expected to train themselves in self-defence and anything less is regarded as "irresponsible" on their part. This attitude is illogical, irrational, and deeply callous as it does not address the basic fact that, by the time a woman is forced to defend herself from sexual assault, a crime has already been committed against her person. Worse, any woman who has defended herself from sexual harassment in the gaming community can tell you that her self-defence was a precursor to ostracism as the men in the community embraced the predator and expelled his victim for "creating drama". As if the perpetrator of the crime wasn't responsible for the "drama" in the first place!

That's what the cop said to her. Protect yourself, get another hobby, you dumbass.

Feminists are not wrong or stupid about men being sexual predators. A lot of them are. Predators often travel in packs. Feminists are not wrong or stupid about men in the community embracing the predator and expelling his victim. That shit happens all the time. It happens in schools, sports teams, churches, kids camps, stores, offices, even daycare. No surprise it happens in the gamer community, where ugly fat kids and autistic nerds go to nurse their wounds.

You, as an adult woman, are the ONLY ONE who is responsible for your safety. The reason is simple. It is not a moral reason, a legal reason, or a social reason. The true reason is:

When shit happens to you, nobody else is going to be there.

You're going to be by yourself, up against Perv-boy, and maybe his friends too. So you better be fucking well ready to handle Perv-boy, or you're about to have a really bad day. I'd fight them for you if I could, but I'm not going to be there. They'll go after you when I'm not there.

This is the stupid. That women are somehow not the ones that have to protect themselves. That it is misogynistic to tell a woman that her safety is up to her. That if only men weren't such assholes, everything would be wonderful.

News flash: Men are dangerous assholes. Life is hard, then you die and they throw dirt on you.

The stupid:

The majority of gamers do not engage in online terrorism, but are instead complicit in lower levels of harassment. It is almost impossible to convince gamers that sexist and racist jokes are unacceptable and that they make others uncomfortable and drive people off. Indeed, raising this issue at all often results in threats and more terrorism.

The self defense solution: Do not be alone in a room with any of those perverted assholes, it's not safe.

The stupid:

 It is 2009 and an aboriginal woman is looking at the metal miniatures on the wall. My co-worker helps her as I stock the display shelves.
"Do you have any models that look like me?" the woman asks.
"We only have normal models," my co-worker titters, "I can order you the noble savage."
The woman leaves. We never see her again.

The self defense solution: This person is an asshole, stay away from him.

The stupid:

 It is 2010 and a young black man with a backpack is talking to me about the comparative merits of Pathfinder vs D&D 4th Edition. I tell him we have drop in games and wave him over to a group currently playing.
"Sup, my n*****!" the white men shout.
I apologise but the man is already out the door. I report the incident to the owner.
"I'm not throwing away good customers just because someone is oversensitive."

The self defense solution: GET A NEW JOB. Immediately. Because otherwise you boss, the asshole, is liable to do something fatal to you. Or those fucks playing D&D will.

The stupid:

It is 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 and hands are on my ass and breasts and all over my body. Groping, fondling, feeling whatever they please.The smell of print comics gives me flashbacks now.

The self defense solution: "Find another hobby or you're going to die."
At some point, it needs to sink in that if you're getting assaulted all the fucking time, you need to change what you're doing. You need to change the places you frequent, if you're getting assaulted there. You need to change the type of people you hang around, because they're grabbing your ass. You need to develop radar to spot the assholes before they get in range. You need to carry a weapon suitable for fending off assholes. You need a friend or a whole swarm of friends to cover you.

You need to wake the fuck up and stop expecting other people to help you.

They're not going to. Even if they want to, they can't. Because they won't be there when it happens. You are on your own.

I'm almost 60 years old. I've been doing self-defense shit since I was 19. Why? Because random assholes would threaten me. Because they were drunk/stoned/high or just assholes. I got in fights. I very rapidly learned to spot the assholes that were going to start trouble, and learned where they hang out. I stopped going to those places. Places like the pizzeria. Great place to get fucked up, the local pizzeria. Always some drunk asshole looking for a punching bag. Makes life hard when that's your summer job, right?

When I got older I learned to shoot, I learned martial arts, I learned the dirty fighting things you can do with a pencil. I learned gross anatomy. I learned all kinds of weapons tactics, from guns to swords. Because I needed to. Lots of assholes around, you know?

When I go to a con, or just out for dinner, I've got both eyes open for who's going to start shit up. Because no matter how huge and menacing I am, and no matter how many more guys like me are standing around, there is ALWAYS SOMEBODY STARTING SHIT.

If big, strong, ugly old me has to keep his eyes open all the time, what the fuck makes weak, short, cute women think they should be able to breeze through life without a care?

When the majority of gamers refuse to speak up in support of those marginalised, they send the message that the hobby is full of bullies and they like it that way. "There are assholes in every group" is the rallying cry, yet that statement is nonsense to anyone who has spent the barest amount of time cultivating a healthy community. "Asshole behaviour" only persists because the majority of men are too cowardly to call the assholes what they are.

Emily Garland thinks evil men molest her because the rest of us let them. That is not the case. They do it knowing we'll kill them for it if we catch them. Just think about that for a moment. Yeah, that's what you're up against, in your Hello Kitty miniskirt.

The tragedy is that while North America is not a safe place for women to walk around alone and never has been, it is still the safest place on Earth. Guys like me keep it that way.

If there's ten guys at a gaming table, two of them are likely woman assaulting assholes and one of them is a possible rapist. Let's just run with those numbers for the sake of it. Two more of those men probably resent women because they're not getting any pussy, so they probably won't back up a woman who's getting molested.

But the other six guys will. They will cheerfully beat the shit out of the woman molesters, rapists, thieves, perverts, whatever. They will do it with joy in their hearts, because they finally get some quality ass-kicking time on the people they hate.

This is a well known fact. Rapists and child molesters are usually kept apart from the general population of criminals in jails. Because those other guys will kill them. To protect women, and children.

That's our job, as men. To protect women and children. It is why we are bigger, why we are meaner, why we react to movement instead of colour, why our muscles work different. It's why we band together and form packs. We're men. We have to. It's how we are.

Some of us are broken. It doesn't matter what broke them, they're dangerous and you have to watch for them. That's life.

You want to be a gamer? Good. Be one.
Be a gamer, knowing that you'll have to fight the assholes when they come for you, the same as I do.

Fight them and win. Be smart, be prepared, and never fucking walk around with your eyes shut.

Victory or death, Emily. You don't get a free pass because you're a girl.

Update: greetings Vile trolls and trollops. And JJ. Can one of you astounding idiots please demonstrate how it is NOT a woman's responsibility to protect her own life? I'm fucking well fascinated to see what you come up with.

Upperdate: Well, I had to cut and paste this from a blog which shall remain nameless, but we have an answer. From the horse's ass, as it were.
JJ said:
The Phantom: That’s the solution to women getting molested. The woman damages the molester, on the spot, during the offense, and escapes.
JJ: No, the solution to women getting molested is to teach men that it’s not okay to molest women — and when men see a guy doing this, for them to speak up and let the molester know that what he’s doing is not acceptable.
The Phantom: But hey, that’s crazy troll talk! Go comment on my blog JJ, this isn’t the place to have this conversation. I have a special post just for you, monkey boy.
JJ: Yes, that is crazy troll talk. And it’s nice that you’re trying to attract some intelligent, rational commenters to your crazy troll blog — but I have a million other things which are more interesting that I can do (including watching paint dry).
Like they do it because they don't know it's not okay. But -this- is the crazy troll blog. Fuck me.

JJ, you are the dumbest son of a bitch I've seen in ages. Lord t'underin' boy. Unless you're a chick, in which case good luck getting through life in one piece.