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Josh Fredman
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This is a pithy and surprisingly correct assessment of why The Daily Show is so important, so relevant, and so good.
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Good for Canada. The legalization of (doctor-assisted) medical suicide is a step in the right direction, and a long time in coming. If only we could make more progress here in the States, though at least laws in one form or another make it legal in the Pacific Northwest.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/doctor-assisted-suicide-10-voices-on-supreme-court-ruling-1.2947782
Reaction was swift and polarized after the Supreme Court of Canada ruled unanimously Friday that competent adults with grievous and irremediable medical conditions have the right to ask a doctor to help them die.
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Josh Fredman

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This looks like a wonderful recipe!
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No, the US Unemployment Rate Is Not an Obama Conspiracy

Okay, so the story here is that the CEO of American public opinion research company Gallup (one of the better-recognized such firms, though by no means one of the best) said that the official American unemployment rate as reported by the Department of Labor is a lie. And, thus, the right-wing nutsos are piling on with the charge that some kind of vast conspiracy is underway by the Obama Administration.

It's true that the official unemployment rate is so deeply inaccurate--in the direction of being too low--that it may as well be called a lie in a vacuum (as opposed to relative to its own trend, which is informative). However, it's not a Democratic conspiracy. In fact progressives were talking about this problem TEN YEARS  ago--I was there--when a certain Republican president and his White House were trying to claim that they were presiding over the best economy since the 1950s.

But now Fortune Magazine runs some comments from the Gallup CEO as though they were a gigantic scoop. Nope. It's not news at all, except to the ignorant public who never knew about it in the first place. The U6 rate may not be the official rate but it is always published alongside the other rates, for anyone who cares to look. The problem is that we use the current U3 rate to gauge unemployment, and we really shouldn't be doing that.

This problem has been continual. It's still a problem now, but it's certainly not a Democratic innovation. I'm reluctant to link to the Fortune story, given its role in misleading the public, but the story itself is pretty accurate on the details once you completely ignore the Gallup / CEO Jim Clifton parts of it.


http://fortune.com/2015/02/04/unemployment-rate-gallup/

#If_A_Conservative_Is_Lying
#It_Must_Be_A_Day_That_Ends_In_Y
Gallup CEO Jim Clifton says we're all being duped.
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=)
 
Sunny with a chance of seagull
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Fat acceptance is no match for the insidious agents of the impossible ideal of female pop fashion, and their willingness and ability to manipulate anything. Plus-sized models often wear "fat pads" to put extra flesh where they don't have any. Even though I've never heard about this before, apparently it is commonplace. I'm not going to go into a rant about how ridiculous or offensive this is. I hope that it speaks for itself.
 
Plus Size Padding?  Are you serious?

Thanks to +Christopher Vallo for sharing this article in my timeline.  He stays on the pulse of the #bodyimage  and #bodyacceptance  movement.  I always noticed that these models seemed to have the "perfect" hourglass shape and assumed is was just a stroke of coincidence.  However, these figures are being artificially created and marketed to us as "plus sized" models.  So basically, "skinny" women are considered to be too small and "fat" women are too big and they create these false images.  What do you think about this? 
via +Refinery29 
#plussizefashion   #plussizemodel   #tf  
Sabina, a 24-year-old model in New York, shows up at shoots with a bag straight out of Mary Poppins. It’s cute and normal-looking from the outside, but stuffed with a physics-defying range of things she needs for a full day of running between gigs. Make-up bags, outfit changes, snacks, and —
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Josh Fredman

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Shit Kesiena Boom Says (and Why It's Shit)

First, go read the article.

Now, then:

Wow. Wow, and no. That kind of hatefulness is something I want no part of. Guilting people and then shaming them on top of that is no way to achieve equality, and frankly it's a betrayal of humanism, feminism, and racial egalitarianism.

Kesiena Boom is an embarrassment to all three groups and people like her are exactly why I have so much trouble interfacing with the conceptual dynamics of privilege: They have weaponized the concept to the point where it's usually counterproductive to invoke.

There's also a perspective from history to be applied here: What she's doing is an example of guerrilla tactics, social change through rhetorical violence predicated upon the lie of the infallible victim. Boom possesses no more inherent wisdom than anybody else; her status as a persecuted minority (several times over, no less) does not actually entitle her to impose her views on anybody else, and her attempt to do exactly that through hateful, shaming language garners others the right to call her out for her bullshit. She is conflating--probably out of ignorance, or else maliciously on purpose--that which she calls "lived experience" with the far rarer merit of being objectively correct.

People like that have zero legitimacy to me.

So let's talk for just a second about her list of grievances, because some of these are valid and I don't want to let her discredit them by virtue of her being a proponent to them.


Grievance #1: White Feminists Accuse Black Feminists of Not Being Sweet and Kind Enough

There is no single way to go about the pursuit of equality that is correct to the exclusion of all other ways. In fact Boom has a good point in that kindness and politeness alone are rarely enough to disestablish institutional bigotry; all social justice movements past and present have had radical wings and have needed  radicalism to advance themselves. Radicalism is inherently uncomfortable to deal with.

That's why I'm usually content to ignore  people like Boom; I usually just write them off as a different and necessary role in the same movement that I serve.

But the truth is that one can take a finer comb to it as well, and observe that not all radicalism is equal. What Boom is doing is so incendiary that I don't think it actually serves the causes she claims to serve. To me it seems more like personal catharsis for her, with an added element of tribalistic exclusion, at the expense of social justice for the people she champions.

It further needs to be said that kindness and politeness are also  necessary in the campaign for sexual equality. Boom's crude dismissal of that entire branch of the movement reveals her ignorance.


Grievance #2: White Feminists Deny Their Own White Privilege

This is what I'm talking about when I say that the language of privilege is often counterproductive because so many people use it as a weapon rather than as the tool of understanding that it is supposed to be. Boom is clearly interested in only one thing here: guilting and shaming white feminists. Indeed her malice is so strong that I don't even feel personally targeted by it, despite being a white feminist myself, because, for one thing, she clearly implies that she is talking only to female  white feminists, and for another the straw (wo)man she has created is so clearly a fallacy that it doesn't actually resonate. There is nothing there to resonate! Real  "white feminists" have little in common with her caricature of them.

This isn't to say that Boom isn't addressing an important topic. She is. Despite the perversion of the concept, privilege really is a problem. That's why I can never dismiss the conversation of privilege entirely, even though there are days when I just want to throw it out the friggin' window.

There are plenty of white feminists who do  let their white privilege interfere with the work of their non-white counterparts. Usually this is indicative of underlying bigotries; being a feminist does not magically immunize one from being a bigot. Sometimes it is indicative of simple, non-malicious ignorance, and can be easily remedied with respectful engagement, as opposed to Boon's own brand of flaming bullshit, which is only going to change people's minds every once in a blue moon because there are comparatively few humans who are willing to learn at the knee of someone who insults and slanders and hates  them.

Lastly, it needs to be said that there are a lot  of white feminists who don't  let their white privilege hinder the work of their nonwhite counterparts. Indeed, white feminists are the largest employer of weaponized privilege language, and there are also a great many white feminists who don't weaponize the concept but are nevertheless sensitive to it. The concept of privilege as the educational tool that it is supposed to be has made huge inroads into the social awareness over the past decade. By this point, most activists are aware of it. That doesn't mean they apply  it as well as they should, but it is  enough to discredit Boon's caricature.


Grievance #3: White Feminists Make False Equivalencies Between Racism and Other Oppression Modes

No, this grievance is invalid. Analogic is one of the only ways for people to relate to one another. Social persecution itself is very similar in every mode, even though the surface textures are quite different, just as the human body and mind themselves are similar even though we all look different on the outside.

It is  true--and it is also a profound realization to make in the course of one's life--that we're never going to truly, completely, fully understand one another. In that respect, yes, equating sexism to racism is faulty. Equating any  two non-identical things is faulty. Equating a love of cherry ice cream to a love of cookies is faulty. But surely you can see how absurd it is to take that and transform it into the claim that relating one's own oppression to that of other people is faulty.

In Boon's own words, "Systemic incarceration, enslavement, endemic police brutality, lower life expectancies etc. vs being teased on the playground does not an analogous situation make." That's ridiculous and offensive. In that quote she's talking about people being teased for having red hair, and not the oppression that white females face for being female per se, but the latter is implied through her choice of analogies. She believes that white feminists do not (and cannot) understand racism, and that their attempt to use the common ground of sexism to relate to the racism experienced by black feminists is somehow a racist attack.

No. That's bullshit. And it's offensive to the white females who have suffered sexism (as well as to red-haired people who have suffered discrimination, and all the other groups that she singles out as examples), because what Boon is doing is marginalizing those people's suffering in order to inflate her own importance and thus the prominence of her position.

Boon's own words are the most damning of all. She says that when white feminists attempt to relate to racism, what they actually mean is "I am not truly listening to your lived experiences and am trying to level the playing field between us so that I do not have to confront my whiteness." This is another instance where Boon's primary goal is revealed for what it truly is: guilting and shaming people through the used of weaponized privilege language. No one  is born guilty. Conceptualizing white people in the way that Boon does is every bit as racist and as malicious as the racism she supposedly stands against. She is, therefore, an example of someone who has become the thing she hates.


Grievance #4: White Feminists Expect Black Feminists to Educate Them

This grievance is a real piece of work. You're either an activist or you're not, and one of the many responsibilities of being a just activist is teaching those who don't know better.

All in one fell swoop, Boon is expressing incredible laziness, a denial of reality, and contempt for the process of social justice itself!

I would not have anything to do with somebody like her. What an awful, awful  person.
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Josh Fredman

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This is my favorite of your long-form LRRcasts yet. Just when I thought it couldn't get any better, Paul's personal check from The Queen topped it.

The four of you have a good vibe on screen. I like seeing different combos of people for the LRRcast, but this is one group that I could come back to again and again.
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"Only a few centuries ago," there was  no America, Atlantic. Sloppy rhetoric.

That's not to say I don't support a darker skies initiative. I actually live in one of those 1 percent areas where the skies are dark enough to, among other things, host a world-class astronomical observatory, and I can attest to how amazing the skies are.

City lights are beautiful too, however, and in any case it isn't realistic for us to ever transform our urban landscapes into dark sky zones. Nevertheless, I think there's a lot we can do to make the skies darker in regional towns and in the countryside, and that's what I support.

(Incidentally, it's not a coincidence that such a high percentage of Americans live in light-polluted zones. That's going to be highly correlated by definition, because there aren't any lights in the places where nobody lives. You can drive for thirty minutes outside of a place like Seattle and see the Milky Way in all its glory. I've done it.)
 
What Happened to the Milky Way?

http://theatln.tc/1yGCDsM

"Only a few centuries ago, the Milky Way was visible from almost anywhere in America. Today, more than 99 percent of the population in the continental U.S. live in light-polluted areas." Watch this piece from The Atlantic to learn more about reducing light pollution.
Can you see the stars at night? Only a few centuries ago, the Milky Way was visible from almost anywhere in America. Today, more than 99 percent of the population in the continental U.S. live in light-polluted areas. It's impossible to see the Milky Way in more than two-thirds of the country. While it's unclear exactly how this change affects our culture and health, scientists are beginning to take notice of the disappearing night sky. The Intern...
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I didn't expect this. This is good news!

On the other hand, while it's likely the FCC itself will approve the new rules, a court challenge is inevitable, and this is likely to end up at the Supreme Court, where I am much less optimistic about its passage.

Still, I suppose we have to take it one step at a time. For this step in the process, this was the best possible outcome under the circumstances.

http://www.pcworld.com/article/2880012/fcc-chairman-says-broadband-should-be-treated-as-utility-for-net-neutrality.html

#FCC  
#NetNeutrality  
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I'm not one to jump on a bandwagon without having some other reason, but here's one: I'm Charlie too. The kind of life I live, the things I say, the world as I want it to be...these would get me killed by those religious bastards, if they had their way.

I am never going to let them, until all my power is exhausted.

It is noble to forgive the perpetrators of terror, and commendable that the survivors of Charlie Hebdo chose to do so. It speaks to my own spark. I can't say that I don't feel rancor and malice toward people who revel in their evil, but I truly wish no suffering upon them either, no torment upon anybody who lives. If you know me, you know I mean it. Some people deserve to die--those terrorists certainly did--but while we are alive we should all be shown the humanity to which we are each entitled.

To those who are offended by this cartoon, I don't apologize, but I don't bear enmity. I say only that if this is what aggrieves you then you are lost in a terrible deceit, and it is up to you what to make of that. If you choose to stand against me, then you do so at your own risk. But if you choose to reconsider, I will be honored to take your hand in friendship one day.

#JeSuisCharlie  
#Humanism  
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This is definitely something lacking in popular culture and in our humiliating corporate shame mines.
 
I agree. ST:TNG operated from a principle that every crewmember was trained to at least a basic level of proficiency and that their concerns, when voiced, were at least valid enough to investigate. In the workplace I've learned that when you assume everyone is a competent adult and you set up policies and procedures that treat them as competent adults they tend to behave as competent adults. When you create policies and procedures that treat them as incompetent children they behave as incompetent children. Expectations beget performance. 
There are a lot of things you have to simply accept (like teleporters and faster than light travel) in the Star Trek universe. But there's also an underlying assumption in the show that has less to do with technology and more to do with its characters — and it's been hiding in plain sight the entire time.
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  • Joshua Tree Studios
    Writer, Editor, Web Developer, Game Designer, Consultant, 2012 - present
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I live on a remote mountain observatory, but I don't work there! I work for the Internet.
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I love curiosity, ambition, beauty, human power, exploration, and creation. I have a strong will.

If you are thinking about adding me to your Circles, thank you! I would request that you send me a brief message explaining why you've added me. That way I'll have a better understanding of whether I should add you back, and into which Circles. If I don't add you back, please don't take it personally! Most of my posts are public so you will still be able to follow them and participate in the conversation.

For people wondering if they've found the Correct Josh: I am left-handed, and rather fond of fat people.
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