Friday, December 12, 2014

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Training - "The iron never lies..."

12/11 - bench, chins/pushups, seated rows, steam room, stretch

12/10 - yoga, stretch

"It's too big to be a space station."

Rolling Stone's UVA Rape Story Just Took Another Massive Hit - Hit & Run : "The Washington Post just published another investigative report on the University of Virginia gang rape allegations—and whatever credibility Sabrina Rubin Erdely and Rolling Stone had left is totally obliterated. WaPost spoke with the three friends who rescued Jackie after her alleged gang rape on September 28, 2012. The details they provided depart significantly from Jackie's narrative as reported by Erdely. The friends told WaPost that Jackie did not appear battered or bloodied and gave a description of the attack significantly different than what was later published in Rolling Stone. They also clarified that it was Jackie who didn't want to go to the police, not them...

That may seem damning, but it's just the beginning. According to the friends, Jackie did name her attacker, but no one by that name attended UVA. Pictures of the attacker—the man Jackie claimed was a UVA junior who had asked her out on a date—that she provided to the friends were actually pictures of a former high school classmate who never attended UVA and "hasn't been to Charlottesville in at least six years." His name is not the one Jackie gave her friends. These details were all verified by WaPost...

One of the friends, "Randall," also told WaPost that Erdely lied when she wrote that he declined to be interviewed because of "loyalty to his own frat." Randall said he would have gladly given an interview but was never contacted. The friends quoted in the latest article still say Jackie's changed behavior that first semester is evidence of some trauma she sustained. That may be true, although it is difficult to say what, exactly, that might have entailed. There is not a shred of evidence to suggest such a trauma bears any resemblance to the incredible story told by Rolling Stone. Lest anyone think that this debacle is solely the fault of someone who falsely claimed rape, keep in mind that these fraudulent charges were put forth by a national magazine that made no effort to verify them, and ignored every red flag in its haste to publish the story of the century—even when Jackie refused to name her attackers and attempted to withdraw her story. Whatever the truth is—whatever the excellent reporters at WaPost manage to uncover next—the fact remains that Rolling Stone and Erdely should have known better."

I'm in.

Marijuana might cause new cell growth in the brain - health - 13 October 2005 - New Scientist: "A synthetic chemical similar to the active ingredient in marijuana makes new cells grow in rat brains. What is more, in rats this cell growth appears to be linked with reducing anxiety and depression. The results suggest that marijuana, or its derivatives, could actually be good for the brain. In mammals, new nerve cells are constantly being produced in a part of the brain called the hippocampus, which is associated with learning, memory, anxiety and depression. Other recreational drugs, such as alcohol, nicotine and cocaine, have been shown to suppress this new growth. Xia Zhang of the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon, Canada, and colleagues decided to see what effects a synthetic cannabinoid called HU210 had on rats' brains. They found that giving rats high doses of HU210 twice a day for 10 days increased the rate of nerve cell formation, or neurogenesis, in the hippocampus by about 40%."

Colin Firth, Action Hero.  It works.

We can't do anything cool anymore.

"No one is reading the CIA torture report..."



Wednesday, December 10, 2014


Trust No One.  Not even folks you mostly agree with.  James Randi: debunking the king of the debunkers - Telegraph: "As I read deeper into Randi’s vast cuttings file I began to discover one or two oddnesses. Take, for example, his early life. Randi claims to have been born with an IQ of 168 which would comfortably make him a genius, the generally accepted lower limit being 125. He reckons he was so intelligent that, as a young boy, he was given a special pass by the authorities that said he wasn’t required to attend school. Instead, he educated himself in the Toronto Public Library and the Royal Ontario Museum. Over the course of many interviews, Randi told journalists that, by the age of 12, he’d taught himself geography, history, astronomy, calculus, psychology, science, mathematics and ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics. I also uncovered a history of complaints of dishonesty by people that Randi, as head of the James Randi Educational Foundation [JREF], had battled with over the years. They included homeopaths, psychic investigators, university professors and an audiophile who was convinced he could tell the difference between some speaker cables that cost $16,000 and a standard set. Some accused him of making up quotes by them in his best-selling books, some of aggressively mischaracterising them, others of straightforward lying.

One better known complainant was Dr Rupert Sheldrake, the Cambridge biologist whose controversial idea of morphic resonance allows for the theoretical existence of ESP. To test his notion, Sheldrake ran a number of studies on a dog that seemed to know when its owner was coming home. Following a burst of publicity for Sheldrake, Randi told a journalist, “We at JREF have tested these claims. They fail.” But when I met Sheldrake, at his Hampstead home, he made a serious charge. “Randi’s a liar and a cheat,” he said. “When I asked him for the data, he had to admit he hadn’t done any tests.”

According to Sheldrake, his direct requests for data were twice ignored. After appealing to others at the JREF, Randi eventually wrote back, explaining that he couldn’t supply the data because it got washed away in a flood and that the dogs he tested are now in Mexico and their owner was “tragically killed last year in a dreadful accident.” Unusually for Randi, he was polite. “I over-stated my case for doubting the reality of dog ESP based on the small amount of data I obtained,” he wrote. “It was rash and improper of me to do so. I apologise sincerely.” But, publicly, Randi then attacked Sheldrake. Of his own failure to provide the data he wrote, “A search of our site would have supplied [Sheldrake] with all the details he could possibly wish. Alternately, I could have supplied them, if only he had issued a request. That’s what we do at the JREF.”

...Pressed about his treatment of Sheldrake, he insisted he didn’t lie because when he made the offer to send the data it hadn’t yet been destroyed by Hurricane Wilma. It was only after our meeting I realised Wilma took place four years before he stated that the data was available. But before we parted, I told him my research painted a picture of a clever man who is often right, but who has a certain element to his personality which leads him to overstate. “Oh I agree,” he said. “And sometimes lie. Get carried away.” “Oh I agree. No question of that. I don’t know whether the lies are conscious lies all the time,” he said. “But there can be untruths.”"

Best response to this crazy article - 8 Reasons Why You Should Marry The Complicated Girl - comes from the comments:  "Bunch of chicks responding "great article" bunch of guys thinking "don't go near that with a ten foot pole."

But here's a more nuanced perspective - Rationalization Hamster, Meet Psychological Projection "...essentially, slander is the basis for her grand theory of male-female relationship dynamics. “Unevolved” men want simple (i.e., kindhearted) girls; “real” men want complicated (i.e., drama-prone) girls."

GoTG is one of my favorite films from this year, but this is still funny. Honest Trailers - Guardians of the Galaxy - YouTube

World Gone Mad.

The government of the United States lacks moral credibility.  Another entry in an ongoing, apparently infinite series.  CIA torturers forced hummus, raisins, pasta and nuts into detainees' anuses - Boing Boing: "At least five captives were subjected to painful rectal rehydration or rectal feeding, without documented medical necessity. In one case, the CIA put a captive’s lunch — hummus, raisins, pasta and nuts — into a blender and inserted the food into his colon through a tube."

Torture Report: Obama "Consistently Supported" Declassification but His Administration Hid 9,400 Documents from Senate - Hit & Run : "The Committee did not have access to approximately 9,400 CIA documents related to the CIA's Detention and Interrogation Program that were withheld by the White House pending a determination and claim of executive privilege. The Committee requested access to these documents over several years, including in writing on January 3, 2013, May 22, 2013, and December 19, 2013. The Committee received no response from the White House."

Horrific details from the torture report: "In November 2002, a CIA officer "ordered that Gul Rahman be shackled to the wall of his cell in a position that required the detainee to rest on the bare concrete floor. Rahman was wearing only a sweatshirt, as [CIA OFFICER 1] had ordered that Rahman's clothing be removed when he had been judged to be uncooperative during an earlier interrogation. "The next day, the guards found Gul Rahman's dead body. An internal CIA review and autopsy assessed that Rahman likely died from hypothermia — in part from having been forced to sit on the bare concrete floor without pants."

Horrific details from the torture report: "According to CIA records, Abu Ja'far al-Iraqi was subjected to nudity, dietary manipulation, insult slaps, abdominal slaps ... stress positions and water dousing with 44-degree Fahrenheit water for 18 minutes. He was shackled in the standing position for 54 hours as part of sleep deprivation and experienced swelling in his lower legs requiring blood thinner and spiral ace bandages. He was moved to a sitting position, and his sleep deprivation was extended to 78 hours. After the swelling subsided, he was provided with more blood thinner and was returned to the standing position. "The sleep deprivation was extended to 102 hours. After four hours of sleep, Abu Ja'far al-Iraqi was subjected to an additional 52 hours of sleep deprivation, after which CIA headquarters informed interrogators that eight hours was the minimum rest period between sleep deprivation sessions exceeding 48 hours.""

Senate report says CIA torture methods yielded no useful intelligence - LA Times: "The CIA's brutal interrogations of terrorism suspects from 2002 to 2008 led to false confessions and fabricated information, produced no useful intelligence about imminent terrorist attacks and were so badly run that the CIA lost track of captives, according to a long-delayed Senate report released Tuesday."

Senate report says CIA torture methods yielded no useful intelligence - LA Times: "The Senate committee reviewed 20 cases where the CIA said its interrogations had led to intelligence successes. Each of those examples was "wrong in fundamental respects," the report concludes. In some cases, investigators found no relationship between the claimed success and any information provided by the detainee. In other cases, the CIA inaccurately stated that unique information was acquired from a CIA detainee as a result of the interrogations, when the intelligence was either acquired earlier or was available from other sources, according to the report."

Senate report says CIA torture methods yielded no useful intelligence - LA Times: "The methods regularly resulted in fabricated information, the report concludes. The CIA was often unaware the information was false, however, leading the agency astray as it scrambled to track terrorists and prevent further attacks. At least 26 of the 119 who were in CIA custody "were wrongfully held," the report states. But it adds that a full accounting of how many people were imprisoned, and how they were treated, may never be known because of poor CIA record-keeping."

Does America Still Torture? | The Nation: "The president’s executive order directed the CIA to close its detention centers “as expeditiously as possible” and not to open any new ones. No such orders were given, however, to the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), a clandestine force composed of elite fighters from several branches of the US armed forces. JSOC had run its own secret detention centers in Iraq...  JSOC is presently deployed on several continents, including Africa, where gathering “intelligence” forms an important part of its duties. The president’s executive order still permits “rendition”—the transfer of a terror suspect to another country for interrogation, which in the Bush years meant to the prisons of regimes notorious for torture. It does, however, impose some constraints on the practice. 

Such “transfers” must be approved by a special committee composed of the director of national intelligence, the secretary of defense, the secretary of state, the secretary of homeland security, the director of the Central Intelligence Agency, and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.  It is to be chaired by the attorney general. The committee must not “transfer... individuals to other nations to face torture or otherwise for the purpose, or with the effect, of undermining or circumventing the commitments or obligations of the United States to ensure the humane treatment of individuals in its custody or control.” This last constraint, however, has been in place at least since 1994, when the Senate ratified the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, and Degrading Treatment. That did not prevent the rendition of people like Maher Arar, an innocent Canadian citizen sent by the United States to Syria, where he endured ten months of torture in an underground cell. Nor did it save Binyam Mohammed, whose Moroccan jailers sliced his chest and penis with a scalpel—once a month for eighteen months, according to British human rights lawyer Andy Worthington. 

Nor has the CIA itself been prepared to end all its torture programs. In his confirmation hearings, Obama’s first CIA director, Leon Panetta, told members of Congress that “if the approved techniques were ‘not sufficient’ to get a detainee to divulge details he was suspected of knowing about an imminent attack, he would ask for ‘additional authority’ to use other methods.” It is, however, unlikely that such “other methods” could be brought to bear on the spur of the moment. To do so, you need an infrastructure and trained personnel. You need to be ready, with skills honed."

Whose Fault Is It CIA Weren’t Interviewed for Torture Report? - Hit & Run : "So who to believe, here? It’s helpful to look at a previous spat between the CIA and Senate Intelligence Chairman Dianne Feinstein for some guidance. Way back in the spring there was a big fight between the two of them where Feinstein accused the CIA of snooping on Senate staffers who were preparing this report. Though the CIA denied it, they eventually had to eat their words. It turned out to be true. They had secretly searched the computers the Senate staffers were using to prepare the report and removed many documents.  

...if the CIA engaged in secret surveillance against the Senate staff because it didn’t want them to have access to its own interviews with its own employees and its own analysis, perhaps we should greet with skepticism any claims that they would have been more than happy to sit down for a chat for this report."

We Tortured People Just to Be Sure - Hit & Run : "...what I also find notable is how frequently torture was justified for interrogators to make certain and to be confident that the man they tortured actually did not have information about a pending terrorist attack. According to the report, sometimes interrogators believed their detainee did not have information, but tortured them just to be sure."


And in other horrific tales...  a lengthy piece at Slate, worth reading in full.  Excerpts - College rape: Campus sexual assault is a serious problem. But the efforts to protect women are infringing on the civil rights of men.: "Drew Sterrett couldn’t know that when his friend slipped into his bottom bunk late one night in March of his freshman year, she was setting off a series of events that would end his college education. It was 2012, and Sterrett was an engineering student at the University of Michigan. The young woman, CB, lived down the hall. A group of students had been hanging out in the dorm on a Friday evening—there was drinking, but no one was incapacitated—when CB told Sterrett that her roommate had family members staying in their room and she needed a place to spend the night. Sterrett loaned her a shirt to sleep in and assumed she’d crash on the mat he and his roommate kept for visitors. Instead, CB came and lay down next to him on his bed. The two had made out in the past but had no serious romantic interest in each other. They talked quietly, started kissing, and then things escalated, as they often do when two teenagers are in bed together. When it became clear they were going to have intercourse, CB asked Sterrett about a condom, and he retrieved one from a drawer. Their sex became so loud and went on for so long that Sterrett’s roommate, unable to sleep in the upper bunk, sent Sterrett a Facebook message around 3 a.m.: “Dude, you and [CB] are being abnoxtiously [sic] loud and inconsiderate, so expect to pay back in full tomorrow …” The two finally finished and went to sleep. The next morning, Sterrett says CB told him that she wanted to keep their interlude private. He thought she was embarrassed that she’d had sex with a friend and agreed not to talk to others about it. They saw each other frequently in the dorm until the school year ended...

The events that prompted the university to take these actions against Sterrett are detailed in an affidavit sworn on Sterrett’s behalf by LC, a friend of CB’s and her sophomore year roommate. LC stated that in July she received a call from an “emotionally upset” CB who explained that her mother had found her diary. LC recalled that CB explained that the diary “contained descriptions of romantic and sexual experiences, drug use, and drinking.” (CB confirmed the contents of the diary in her own deposition.) During the phone call, CB asked LC if she remembered the night CB had sex with Sterrett. LC didn’t, because CB had never mentioned it. Now CB told her, “I said no, no, and then I gave in.” Eventually, as described in CB’s deposition, CB’s mother called the university to report that CB would be making a complaint against Sterrett...

CB’s roommate, LC, in an affidavit sworn on behalf of Sterrett, said that over the summer CB’s mother had called her repeatedly warning her not to talk to Sterrett and to take CB’s side in all proceedings. LC stated that she never saw any change in CB’s behavior from the time of the alleged assault until the end of freshman year. But, she said, CB’s personality changed dramatically after her mother found her diary and the fall semester began. In her affidavit, LC said it pained her to speak against her friend, but she stated: “It is my belief, based on my personal observations and conversations with CB, that it is possible CB manufactured a story about a sexual assault in response to the conflict CB described occurring between her and her mother in the summer of 2012.”

...On Nov. 30, Sterrett received Cowan’s final “Sexual Misconduct Investigation Report.” His lawsuit states that the final report failed to take note of anything he had written in his rebuttal. The final report was longer than Cowan’s previous one, and included further allegations that either CB herself did not corroborate or appeared unsupported by the available evidence. For example, it stated: “The Complainant framed the events in question as a sexual assault to
 witnesses the day following the event.” In her deposition, CB acknowledged that she didn’t do that, that in fact she’d never used the words “sexual assault” to describe what happened. The report said that Sterrett’s roommate was asleep during the entire sexual encounter. This was contradicted by the time-stamped Facebook message complaining that he was being kept awake....

Sexual assault at colleges and universities is indeed a serious problem. The attention it’s receiving today—on campus, at the White House, in the media—is a direct result of the often callous and dismissive treatment of victims. For too long, women who were assaulted on campus and came forward were doubted or dismissed, and the men responsible were given a mild rebuke or none at all. Those who commit serious sexual crimes on campus must be held to account.

Unfortunately, under the worthy mandate of protecting victims of sexual assault, procedures are being put in place at colleges that presume the guilt of the accused. Colleges, encouraged by federal officials, are instituting solutions to sexual violence against women that abrogate the civil rights of men. Schools that hold hearings to adjudicate claims of sexual misconduct allow the accuser and the accused to be accompanied by legal counsel. But as Judith Shulevitz noted in the New Republic in October, many schools ban lawyers from speaking to their clients (only notes can be passed). During these proceedings, the two parties are not supposed to question or cross examine each other, a prohibition recommended by the federal government in order to protect the accuser. And by federal requirement, students can be found guilty under the lowest standard of proof: preponderance of the evidence, meaning just a 51 percent certainty is all that’s needed for a finding that can permanently alter the life of the accused...

More than two dozen Harvard Law School professors recently wrote a statement protesting the university’s new rules for handling sexual assault claims. “Harvard has adopted procedures for deciding cases of alleged sexual misconduct which lack the most basic elements of fairness and due process,” they wrote. The professors note that the new rules call for a Title IX compliance officer who will be in charge of “investigation, prosecution, fact-finding, and appellate review.” Under the new system, there will be no hearing for the accused, and thus no opportunity to question witnesses and mount a defense. Harvard University, the professors wrote, is “jettisoning balance and fairness in the rush to appease certain federal administrative officials.” But to push back against Department of Education edicts means potentially putting a school’s federal funding in jeopardy, and no college, not even Harvard, the country’s richest, is willing to do that.

Hard-line policies like Harvard’s are necessary, government officials say, because undergraduate women are in unique peril. Often-cited studies of sexual violence at colleges describe an epidemic. But each of these studies has serious methodological limitations. In some cases, the studies make sensational assertions that are not supported by the underlying data. In others, the experiences of one or two campuses have been made to stand in for the entirety of America’s higher education system...

I’ve read through the court filings and investigative reports of a number of these cases, and it’s clear to me that many of the accused are indeed being treated unfairly. Government officials and campus administrators are attempting to legislate the bedroom behavior of students with rules and requirements that would be comic if their effects weren’t frequently so tragic. The legal filings in the cases brought by young men accused of sexual violence often begin like a script for a college sex farce but end with the protagonist finding himself in a Soviet-style show trial. Or, as in the case of Drew Sterrett, punished with no trial at all...

One campus rape is one too many. But the severe new policies championed by the White House, the Department of Education, and members of Congress are responding to the idea that colleges are in the grips of an epidemic—and the studies suggesting this epidemic don’t hold up to scrutiny. Bad policy is being made on the back of problematic research...

For the years 1995 to 2011, as the University of Colorado Denver’s Rennison explained to me, it found that an estimated 0.8 percent of noncollege females age 18-24 revealed that they were victims of threatened, attempted, or completed rape/sexual assault. Of the college females that age during that same time period, approximately 0.6 percent reported they experienced such attempted or completed crime.   That finding diverges wildly from the notion that one in five women college women will be sexually assaulted by the time they graduate. That’s the number most often used to suggest there is overwhelming sexual violence on America’s college campuses...

The 2002 study is now frequently used to portray college students, some still teenagers, as among society’s most ruthless and sadistic predators. And yet the limitations of the study are such that it cannot fairly be said to describe the behavior of the majority of young men who find themselves accused. To start, though the study was of college men, it was not of college-age men (who are traditionally ages 18 to 24). Lisak’s participants ranged in age from 18 to 71. The average age of his respondents was 26.5, and and more than 20 percent were older than 30. How does a study of men in college include so many older men? Lisak recruited people from where he taught, the University of Massachusetts Boston, an urban commuter school with no campus housing. Many students are older working people returning to or just starting college. Currently, 30 percent of its students attend part time and the school’s four-year graduation rate is 15 percent. By comparison, at the state’s flagship university in Amherst, seven percent of students are enrolled part time and its four-year graduation rate is 60 percent...

"The potential for misuse of Lisak’s study can be seen in the 2013 case of the Occidental College student “John Doe,” who brought a suit against the school after he was expelled for a sexual encounter with “Jane Doe,” in September of his freshman year. The Los Angeles Times summed up the events: “The college’s investigative report, performed by an outside firm, said both parties agreed on the following facts: Both had been drinking, she went to his room, took off her shirt while dancing, made out with him and returned to his room later for sex, asking if he had a condom. When friends stopped by the room to ask if she was OK, she told them yes.” Prior to their encounter, the two exchanged texts about their planned assignation, and Jane texted another friend to announce she was going to have sex. Later, when Jane came to see the incident as rape, she reported it to the Los Angeles Police Department. A female LAPD officer investigated, and a female deputy district attorney declined to pursue the case. She wrote, “Witnesses were interviewed and agreed that the victim and suspect were both drunk, however, that they were both willing participants exercising bad judgment.” Her report further found that Jane was capable of resisting and that John had reasonably concluded that her communications and actions conveyed consent.

But Jane ended up being convinced that John fit the pattern of the kind of serial predator Lisak describes. John had the misfortune of being accused of sexual misconduct following the filing, by attorney Gloria Allred, of a Title IX violation complaint against the school, charging lax punishment for serial offenders. And Jane ended up being counseled by assistant professor of sociology Danielle Dirks, a prime mover behind the Title IX filing and a nationally prominent activist on campus sexual assault. Jane lost her virginity that night, and when she sobered up and realized what happened, in distress she went to a faculty adviser who referred her to Dirks. An 82-page investigative report prepared for the school by the firm Public Interest Investigations shows it was Dirks, in her first phone conversation with Jane, who introduced Jane to the idea that she had been raped. Jane told the professor, “Oh, I am not calling it rape yet.” Over many hours of conversation, Dirks helped move Jane from what the professor described as Jane’s “strong state of denial” about what happened. The report notes that Jane “stated that she has learned that 90 percent of rapes are done by repeat offenders.” (John was a freshman, on campus for a few weeks, with no complaints against him.) Jane told Dirks that John had expressed regret that she lost her virginity that way—he hadn’t known she was a virgin—and when she was absent from a class they took together, he texted to make sure she was all right. The professor had a skeptical view of his behavior. All this was “disingenuous,” said Dirks, according to the report: It was typical of rapists who, she said, try to control, dominate, manage, and manipulate. Strikingly, it was Dirks herself who initiated proceedings to get John removed from campus...

The Yale Daily News recently reported on a sexual assault case that illuminates what can now be considered an offense worthy of punishment and the elaborate investigative and hearing processes now in place to adjudicate who agreed to what. A male and female who were sometime lovers hooked up one night after she had been drinking and they had been sending flirty texts. (She wrote to him, “Don’t let me try to seduce you though. Because that is a distinct possibility.”) She eventually invited him to her room, where she says she capitulated to his desire for sex because in the past when she refused him he would scream and cry, which she found overwhelming. His version was that upon arrival she grabbed him, kissed him, they each took off their clothes, and then had sex twice that evening and once in the morning. Although she was sober by the time of the morning encounter, she later told Yale officials that all of the sex was nonconsensual because she was too drunk during the evening to consent, and in the morning, the Yale Daily News reports, “she did not resist because she felt refusal would be too emotionally exhausting.” A full year after the encounter, she brought a sexual assault charge against the young man, hoping to get him expelled...

Carol Tavris is a social psychologist and author of the feminist classic, The Mismeasure of Woman, and, with Elliot Aronson, Mistakes Were Made (but Not by Me). She says she is troubled by the blurring of distinctions between rape (notably by predatory males), unwanted sex (where one party agrees to sex not out of desire but to please or placate the partner), and the kind of consensual sex where both parties are so drunk they can barely remember what happened—and one of them later regrets it. She says, “Calling all of these kinds of sexual encounters ‘rape’ or ‘sexual assault’ doesn’t teach young women how to learn what they want sexually, let alone how to communicate what they want, or don’t want. It doesn’t teach them to take responsibility for their decisions, for their reluctance to speak up. Sexual communication is really hard—you don’t learn how to do it in a few weekends.” Tavris also believes holding only men responsible for their sexual behavior has pernicious effects on women because it supports a victim identity that is already too prevalent in our society. “It’s so much easier to be a victim than to admit culpability, admit your own involvement, admit that you made a mistake,” she says. “It’s much easier to say it’s all his fault. Look, sometimes it is all his fault. That’s called rape. But ambiguities and unexpected decisions are part of many encounters, especially sexual ones.”

...the federal government mandates that schools offer a “noncriminal, survivor-centered, confidential response” to victims. This means not reporting a crime to the police if the victim prefers not to...  Respecting the feelings of victims is important, and crucial to encouraging more women to report violence. But elevating the psychological comfort of victims over society’s need to punish criminals will only let perpetrators go free. The critiques of how the criminal justice system treats victims are many and justified, but that’s an argument for further reform, and for finding ways to reduce the trauma to victims, not for asking schools to take over the role of law enforcement."

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

"Mistrust Authority - Promote Decentralization."

Another great Rock interview.  Chris Rock: The Rolling Stone Interview | Rolling Stone: " movies of substance tend to be civil rights. 
Have you turned down roles in those movies? 
Yes. Put it this way: I don't want to be in anything that happened before the Jackson 5. Anything before them is just black misery. Everything before the Jackson 5 is essentially slavery, or close to it. So as far as I'm concerned, Michael, Marlon, Tito, Jermaine and Jackie ended slavery. ...

You said that losing your father when you were 23 turned you cold. 
I don't know if cold is the right word. It's just that when you know people die, it's hard to really get that emotional about anything. Like that scene in Annie Hall, where Woody is at the psychiatrist talking about how the universe is expanding and we're all going to die – so what's the fucking point? And there is something about your dad dying that makes you go, "What's the point? What's the point of any of this shit? What's the point of taking this test in school?"  

 Yeah, when your dad dies, you know you're alone...

Someone like Chuck D will say that there needs to be more historical awareness among hip-hop fans, that it's not right that the Stones can play arenas and stadiums and Public Enemy can't. 
The Stones can play arenas because the Stones have songs that are not purely based on references that you had to be there for. I love Public Enemy. But they don't have "You Can't Always Get What You Want." Kanye will be able to play arenas maybe more than Jay Z honestly, because there's a vulnerability and an emotional thing that happens in his music that doesn't happen in most rap. I love rap, but rap is like comedy: It rots. Comedy rots. Trading Places is a perfect movie, just unbelievably good. But there are other comedies, not nearly as old as Trading Places, that just have references and things in them that aren't funny five years later. And rap's got a lot of that...

I think I've fucked up as much as anybody. But I've been lucky enough not to repeat bad decisions – that's the key. Like, let's not make the same mistakes as my other movies. "Hey, what would happen if I worked with a really good producer?" A lot of people when they have stuff that flops – like a movie that gets a 10 on Rotten Tomatoes – they just seek out the people that liked it and listen to nobody else. They put themselves in a world where their failure is not a failure. I never want to be that guy. Life gets long 'cause you keep doing the same shit."

Former police officers have different takes on policing - The Washington Post: " 1994, I joined the St. Louis Police Department. I quickly realized how naive I’d been. I was floored by the dysfunctional culture I encountered. I won’t say all, but many of my peers were deeply racist. One example: A couple of officers ran a Web site called St. Louis Coptalk, where officers could post about their experience and opinions. At some point during my career, it became so full of racist rants that the site administrator temporarily shut it down. Cops routinely called anyone of color a “thug,” whether they were the victim or just a bystander. This attitude corrodes the way policing is done.

...too many times, officers saw young black and brown men as targets. They would respond with force to even minor offenses. And because cops are rarely held accountable for their actions, they didn’t think too hard about the consequences . . . I felt like I couldn’t do the work I set out to do. I was participating in a profoundly corrupt criminal justice system. I could not, in good conscience, participate in a system that was so intentionally unfair and racist. So after five years on the job, I quit...

Next, from the famed law enforcement whistleblower Frank Serpico, in the New York Daily News: Was I surprised by the Staten Island grand jury? Of course not. When was the last time a police officer was indicted? This is the use of excessive force for no apparent reason on a guy who is selling loosie cigarettes; what is the threat to your well-being? If a police officer’s life is in danger, he has every right to use every force in his means to defend himself. In the old days, they used to put a gun or a knife on somebody after a shooting. Now they don’t even bother. But today, we have cops crying wolf all the time. They testify “I was in fear of my life,” the grand jury buys it, the DA winks and nods, and there’s no indictment . . . I hear cops saying all the time — and they’re proud of it — “shoot first, ask questions later.”

...They say, “It’s my job to get home safe.” Yes, but not at the cost of a human being who never posed a threat to you in the first place . . . The people want justice, and they need justice. And the police are supposed to be protecting their civil rights"

They know what they did.

Rolling Stone and the Cult of Credulity - "Where for most of the Age of Enlightenment it was considered civilized to believe that those accused of a crime were innocent until proven guilty, now it appears the way to show that you are a good and caring person is to do pretty much the opposite. You should believe instantly the alleged victim's every word, and by extension to believe instantly that the accused is guilty as hell. So when Dylan Farrow claimed she was sexually abused as a child by Woody Allen, the meme "I Believe Dylan" spread like a pox across the internet. #IBelieveDylan trended on Twitter. At Indiewire, Melissa Silverstein said "There are a few fundamental beliefs that I hold, and one of them is that I believe women." All women? All the time? Including, say, Condoleezza Rice when she said Saddam had loads of weapons of mass destruction? This is silly. Women are just as capable as men of making stuff up...

The cult of credulity doesn't apply just to women. When Shia LaBeouf rather fantastically claimed to have been raped by a woman in a crowded hipster art gallery, the cult-like chant "I believe Shia" started to spread. A writer for The Guardian, under the headline "I believe Shia LaBeouf," says she was shocked to see "expressions of doubt" on the Internet in relation to LaBeouf's claims. This is the scary situation we now find ourselves in: When it comes to rape, to doubt, to be skeptical, is apparently an act of evil. Even in relation to LaBeouf, whose last extended bit of publicity revolved around his rampant plagiarism as a filmmaker and tweeter...

This cult of credulity is the bastard offspring of the "Believe The Children" movement of the 1980s. Back then, in the U.S. and Europe, it was de rigueur to believe every accusation of abuse made by a child, even if a kid claimed, often under the influence of psychologists, to have been ritually abused by Satanists. To express skepticism about any of this was to be branded an enabler of abuse. As the British child-abuse expert Jean La Fontaine argued in her book Speak of the Devil: Tales of Satanic Abuse in Contemporary England (1998), the slogan "we believe the children" pathologized objectivity: "It was emphasized that if adults did not believe children, [then] they were denying help to innocent victims." And so it is today: if you don't believe Dylan Farrow or Shia LaBeouf or "Jackie," then you're heaping further pain on "innocent victims." So instead, you shoul suspend your skepticism and BELIEVE...

This is the climate in which Rolling Stone could see fit to publish an incredible tale of abuse—a climate in which credulity is worn as a badge of pride and objectivity is tantamount to a sin. Now, even as the hollowness of Jackie's claims is exposed, #IStandWithJackie is trending on Twitter and a writer for The Washington Post says we must still believe, "as a matter of default," those who make accusations of rape, because "incredulity hurts victims." It seems as if they still cannot shake their belief in Jackie's story, because theirs is effectively a religious movement, based in blind faith and openly hostile to "expressions of doubt."

...The "Believe The Children" movement had a disastrous impact on Western societies. Families were ripped apart on the basis of rumors and people were unjustly jailed. The "Believe The Women" cult is also harming society. It is whipping up a climate hostile to due process and warping one of the central ideals of civilized societies: that individuals are innocent until proven guilty. And it is needlessly spreading panic on college campuses, too. In pushing an expansive new law that will further curtail due process in the name of preventing sexual assault, Sen. Kristen Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) has claimed that "women are at a greater risk of sexual assault as soon as they step onto a college campus." As Slate's Emily Yoffe has documented, this is patently false. Women between the ages of 18 and 24 who are not on college campuses are in fact 1.7 times more likely to be the victim of violent crime, including sexual assault. "

Japan Wins. 

Point well made in the commentary.  Via downtime:

Foreign Aid Is a Failure - "In his 2013 book Doing Bad by Doing Good, the George Mason University economist Christopher Coyne explains why measures intended to alleviate suffering often go so wrong. Most people agree that wealthy countries have some responsibility to help relieve hardship in distressed areas. But while we are usually clear about our goals, we rarely stop to consider whether government can realistically accomplish them. Our efforts abroad tend to be marred by culturally illiteracy. Without meaning to, we frequently create perverse incentives that harm the people we are trying to assist...

Dambisa Moyo has a personal perspective on the matter. In her 2009 book Dead Aid: Why Aid Is Not Working and How There Is a Better Way to Help Africa, the Zambian-born economist characterizes foreign aid to Africa as an "unmitigated economic, political, and humanitarian disaster" that has actually made the continent poorer. Africans will never see their governments as legitimate, she explains, as long as most of the spending for education and health care comes from foreign countries. To Moyo, continued aid spending reinforces the perception that African governments are ineffective and makes it nearly impossible for them to break free from dependence on foreign help. Sketching the sad outcome for outside observers, she writes: "Stuck in an aid world of no incentives, there is no reason for governments to seek other, better, more transparent ways of raising development finance."

...Of course, no amount of evidence can dissuade a true believer. Among the foreign-aid faithful is the Columbia University economist Jeffrey Sachs, author of 2006's The End of Poverty and champion of the United Nations' experimental (and controversial) Millennium Villages Project. Sachs acknowledges that foreign aid often fails, yet he still calls for the design of "highly effective aid programs." He is short on details about the specific changes that would distinguish those ideal programs from existing, mistake-riddled boondoggles. Sachs takes it on faith that aid programs can be made effective. Unfortunately, he and his acolytes have failed to grapple with the fundamental reason so much aid fails: Governments simply do not have enough information to know what each dollar's best use would be. People are forced to compete for resources in the political arena, and money ultimately goes to those with the most connections, not to those most in need. Aid providers also have trouble figuring out which investments are most appropriate for a particular developing economy, so money ends up being poured into bad projects. These white elephants not only fail to encourage economic growth but frequently divert scarce resources to destructive ends. Aid money becomes a tool of oppression rather than empowerment. As Moyo put it in a 2009 Wall Street Journal essay, "A constant stream of 'free' money is a perfect way to keep an inefficient or simply bad government in power.""

The Problem With Blaming Black Crime for Police Shootings - "The common impulse of whites, then and now, was to blame blacks for pathologies that whites played a central role in creating...  The epidemic of unarmed blacks being killed by police comes not when black crime is high but when it is low. Homicides committed by African Americans declined by half between 1991 and 2008. Since the early 1990s, arrests of black juveniles have plunged by more than half. In New York City, where Eric Garner was killed by police, the rate of homicides by blacks is down by 80 percent. In Chicago, where most murders are committed by African Americans, the number last year was the lowest since 1965—and this year's could be lower yet."

Actually pretty awesome.

Training - "Progress isn't always linear."

12/9 - deadlifts, side bends, back xt - shadowbox, stretch

"You really can't out train a shitty diet - Not only that, why would you want to?  Eat like a champion would, and you'll get closer to looking like a champion.  Best of all, you'll feel like a champion."

"You can't stay lean and get huge - This doesn't mean you need to turn into Mr. 40" waist either.  But if you're holding on to a very low degree of bodyfat and won't give that up, don't expect muscle to pile on either."

"Work towards performance goals to fulfill physique goals - If you want a bigger back, improve your chin ups.  If you want bigger legs improve your squats.  If you want bigger arms, set goals to press and curl more.  If you increase the performance ability the physique improvement will come."

"Trying to be good at a whole bunch of things at once is called Crossfit.  If you're more interested in getting stronger and growing more muscle mass as the main goals, narrow down your training to meet those goals.  Trying to get good at 17 different things means you will probably be about average at each.  Narrowing it down to 3 things means you have a much better shot at becoming great at those."

"Don't fret bad training sessions - It's going to happen.  Remind yourself of this fact.  A bad training session here and there is usually an indicator that progress is being made, because your body is downregulating performance.  Progress isn't always linear.  If progress has been oncoming and steady, then eventually you will overreach on the recovery curve (fatigue now outweighs recovery).  Your body is smarter than you are.  When you feel weaker than usual, and everything feels awful....LISTEN.  Pushing through one of those sessions is a recipe to get injured."

 T Nation | The 10 Dumbest Diet Myths: "...a lot of evidence has surfaced that shows that those who drank whole milk (and ate high-fat dairy in general) were less likely to get fat than those who ingested lower-fat versions. The studies seemed legit and significant, too – no three-person pool of test subjects conducted by some business with skin in the game. One tracked men who ate high-fat dairy over a 12-year period and the other was a meta analysis of 16 studies. Both showed that a high-fat diet was associated with a lower risk of obesity. The yet-to-be validated thinking is that high-fat milk contains some bioactive substance that may alter the metabolism in a way that helps use fat and burn it for energy. Of course, this "bioactive substance" may merely be conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), a fatty acid that's long been known to be a fat burner. 
As far as the heart-health concerns, few people realize that in addition to containing saturated fatty acids – whose role in heart disease is now thought to be minimal to non-existent – whole milk contains oleic acid, which is the heart-healthy fatty acid that makes olive oil so highly prized by nutritionists. Of additional concern is the vitamin paradox presented by skim or non-fat milk. Milk contains fat-soluble vitamins like A, D, E, and K. However, when you eliminate the fat from a milk product, you also end up taking out most of the fat-soluble vitamins, which then have to be added back in. However, unless you're ingesting some fat with your milk, have recently ingested some fat, or plan on soon ingesting some after you finish your glass, much of the vitamins in it flounder around your intestines, waiting in vain to be picked up and distributed to the body as opposed to suffering the ignominy of being excreted into the toilet bowl."

"@tiffalicious226: #FlexFriday #PersonalPerformanceAthlete #WbffPro #2014MontrealBikiniProChamp #Montreal #fbf #teamBSN #bsnarmy #mypush #TiffanyLarson “An arrow can only be shot by pulling it backward. When life is dragging you back with difficulties, it means it’s going to launch you into something great. So just focus and keep aiming.” #NeverGiveUp #Live #DontJustExist"