Tuesday, October 25, 2016
Monday, October 24, 2016
The saga began Wednesday with a letter to the editor in a local Rhode Island newspaper criticizing women over 20 who wear yoga pants in public. Quickly, it snowballed into a "Yoga Pants Parade" Sunday afternoon with hundreds of people walking past the letter writer's house — and a few death threats, according to the author, who said he had only intended satire.
"To all yoga pant wearers, I struggle with my own physicality as I age," wrote Alan Sorrentino, 63, in the letter published by the Barrington Times last week. "I don't want to struggle with yours."
It's a funny letter. The guy ended up with a parade in fron of his house, hundreds of women telling him to shut the fuck up. They pretended it was "peaceful," but I think he got the message.
Sorrentino disagreed as the walkers passed his Knapton Street home, where he had put up a sign bearing the words "FREE SPEECH."
Barrington police officers stood on the edge of the property while some people in the street paused to take photos of the home.
Sorrentino said he received death threats, which he reported to the police. Someone wrote in chalk on the street outside his house that morning, identifying him as the resident.
But Sorrentino said that even if the letter was offensive to some, the event was an "improper reaction."
"This is bullying," he said.
He asked whether a woman would feel comfortable with a similar crowd walking by her home after death threats.
Burke said Sorrentino had "impolitely declined" her invitation to participate in the parade. Sorrentino said her invitation to wear yoga pants and join in the parade was "humiliating."
It was the shaming and the policing of women's bodies that struck a chord with the attendees, said organizer Jamie Burke, who lives in Barrington and called the parade a "positive response to casual sexism."
Here's what I'd like to see: a parade of fat old men like me in front of Ms. Jamie Burke's house in Barrington RI. Maybe we could all wear Speedos and carry "Don't Tread On Me!" signs. Bet that would make her feel all safe and comfy, right?
Monday, October 17, 2016
We live with six rescued dogs. With the exception of one, who was born in a rescue for pregnant dogs, they all came from very sad situations, including circumstances of severe abuse. These dogs are non-human refugees with whom we share our home. Although we love them very much, we strongly believe that they should not have existed in the first place.
We oppose domestication and pet ownership because these violate the fundamental rights of animals.
The term 'animal rights' has become largely meaningless. Anyone who thinks that we should give battery hens a small increase in cage space, or that veal calves should be housed in social units rather than in isolation before they are dragged off and slaughtered, is articulating what is generally regarded as an 'animal rights' position. This is attributable in large part to Peter Singer, author of Animal Liberation (1975), who is widely considered the 'father of the animal rights movement'.
The problem with this attribution of paternity is that Singer is a utilitarian who rejects moral rights altogether, and supports any measure that he thinks will reduce suffering. In other words, the 'father of the animal rights movement' rejects animal rights altogether and has given his blessing to cage-free eggs, crate-free pork, and just about every 'happy exploitation' measure promoted by almost every large animal welfare charity. Singer does not promote animal rights; he promotes animal welfare. He does not reject the use of animals by humans per se. He focuses only on their suffering. In an interview with The Vegan magazine in 2006, he said, for example, that he could 'imagine a world in which people mostly eat plant foods, but occasionally treat themselves to the luxury of free-range eggs, or possibly even meat from animals who live good lives under conditions natural for their species, and are then humanely killed on the farm'.
We use the term 'animal rights' in a different way, similar to the way that 'human rights' is used when the fundamental interests of our own species are concerned. For example, if we say that a human has a right to her life, we mean that her fundamental interest in continuing to live will be protected even if using her as a non-consenting organ donor would result in saving the lives of 10 other humans. A right is a way of protecting an interest; it protects interests irrespective of consequences. The protection is not absolute; it may be forfeited under certain circumstances. But the protection cannot be abrogated for consequential reasons alone.
Humans have had a symbiotic relationship with dogs for over 30,000 years, estimated by molecular biology. That's when the dogs were different enough from wolves to change their very DNA. How long humans and wolves had to hang out together for that to happen, no one seems to be hazarding a guess. Probably quite a while.
Non-human animals have a moral right not to be used exclusively as human resources, irrespective of whether the treatment is 'humane', and even if humans would enjoy desirable consequences if they treated non-humans exclusively as replaceable resources.
When we talk about animal rights, we are talking primarily about one right: the right not to be property. The reason for this is that if animals matter morally – if animals are not just things – they cannot be property. If they are property, they can only be things.
Wednesday, October 05, 2016
This weekend I got "shadowbanned" on Twitter. It lasted until my followers noticed and protested. Shadowbanning prevents my followers from seeing my tweets and replies, but in a way that is not obvious until you do some digging.
Why did I get shadowbanned?
But it was probably because I asked people to tweet me examples of Clinton supporters being violent against peaceful Trump supporters in public. I got a lot of them. It was chilling.
And if you think its only Yahoo doing this, you're dreaming.
Yahoo Inc last year secretly built a custom software program to search all of its customers' incoming for specific information provided by U.S. intelligence officials, according to people familiar with the matter.
The company complied with a classified U.S. government demand, scanning hundreds of millions of Yahoo Mail accounts at the behest of the National Security Agency or FBI, said three former employees and a fourth person apprised of the events.
Some surveillance experts said this represents the first case to surface of a U.S. Internet company agreeing to an intelligence agency's request by searching all arriving messages, as opposed to examining stored messages or scanning a small number of accounts in real time.
Experts said it was likely that the NSA or FBI had approached other Internet companies with the same demand, since they evidently did not know what email accounts were being used by the target. The NSA usually makes requests for domestic surveillance through the FBI, so it is hard to know which agency is seeking the information.
Monday, October 03, 2016
Gun sales hit the 17th consecutive monthly record in September according to FBI data released on Monday, and overall sales are up 27 percent compared to the same period last year.
A total of 1,992,219 background checks were processed through the bureau's National Instant Criminal Background Check System for the month of September, higher than the 1,795,102 conducted in September 2015.
Federal agents have persuaded police officers to scan license plates to gather information about gun-show customers, government emails show, raising questions about how officials monitor constitutionally protected activity.
Emails reviewed by The Wall Street Journal show agents with the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency crafted a plan in 2010 to use license-plate readers—devices that record the plate numbers of all passing cars—at gun shows in Southern California, including one in Del Mar, not far from the Mexican border.
Agents then compared that information to cars that crossed the border, hoping to find gun smugglers, according to the documents and interviews with law-enforcement officials with knowledge of the operation.