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August 02, 2012

Comments

There was also this in the NYTimes about the Cross Assault video game tournament, which I'm assuming shares some overlap with the populations you are discussing. My wife is a Wii Gamer, and I don't think she has had any problems like that. but I think that's becuse Nintendo's network doesn't have as many options (I think) for chat etc.

I also, before things get too heated, take a bit of exception at this:
Alas, if you've never been a target of harassment and you don't notice any at the conventions you go to, your evidence is meaningless.

I understand where you are coming from and I know the kind of comments you want to forestall. However, I think that this is too categorical, and threatens to create an argumentative position of 'if you don't agree with me, anything you say can't be taken as evidence'. I say this to try to avoid a food-fight in the comments and because don't have anything beyond a vaguely cursory knowledge of these communities, so I would really like to know more to understand what is going on. thx

Haven't been to any cons recently, (Budget won't allow it.) but I do have a general question:

Are "skeptical" cons allowed to be skeptical about allegations of harassment?

And let me agree with LJ about that one remark. "Most harassment is visible only to alert and suspicious bystanders," is, regrettably, true even of things which aren't there.

In my limited experience, most people who use the phrase "mundanes" to refer to people with different interests are repeat abusers. I've never met any one who does that in real life who isn't an ass.

My wife is a Wii Gamer, and I don't think she has had any problems like that. but I think that's becuse Nintendo's network doesn't have as many options (I think) for chat etc.

Nintendo specifically went out of their way to omit anything that might conceivably be used for harassment or abuse, which results in a very constricted network gaming experience. I think it was part of their general strategy of selling the Wii as a parent-friendly device for the living room.

(And, what do you know, Mario Kart is the only console game where I've actually spent any time in network multiplayer. I guess it worked.)

This is all so totally outside my experience that I can barely follow the conversation.

I did register the designation of me and others as "mundanes" to which I say I might be mundane to others but I am not mundane to myself!

Maybe the harassment is connected in some way to that self-perception of being somehow more dramatic and special than the merely mundane?

I think that people tend to behave worse in groups than individually ( serial killers being an exception) and to behave worse when in competitive status seeking situations than when in situations that are undramatic and mundane.

Groups solidify identiy by harassing the outsider and competitive people feel like they are moving up if they can put someone else down. So it wouldn't suprise me if any mostly male convention centered on competition had a lot of harassment toward female attendees, geek or otherwise.

And I thik harassment is very very likely if the convention is mostly male because the activity is one traditionally associated with traditional idea about masculinity.

I'm trying to think of a mostly female equivalent. Something competitive and built around a traditional concept of feminity. Do Mary Kay reps have conventions? If so I think a male rep would encounter a fair amount of negativity. Well, probably he'd be widely assumed to be gay with all the baggage and stereotyped thinking that goes with such an assumption.

This isn't a snarky question. I'm truly curious (in an entirely academic sort of way, since I don't go to conventions and I don't hit on women - anymore).

But, is there an appropriate way for someone to express sexual or romantic interest in another person at a convention? Are conventions simply bad contexts for that sort of thing for some reason(s)? Or is this a matter of behavior that would be inappropriate in any context, but that happens to be particularly prevalent at conventions?

Do some guys just go into frat-boy mode at these things? (No offense to frat boys. I was one once.)

, is there an appropriate way for someone to express sexual or romantic interest in another person at a convention?

Having been to the occasional con, I think this is pretty easy: you talk to people. Maybe flirt a bit. If the person you're talking to looks uncomfortable or stops responding or starts responding only in monosyllables, you bug off. If they ask you to leave them alone repeatedly (what happened in the readercon case), then you've failed.

I think a lot of the trouble here stems from people not getting context. There are places in our society that are meat markets, where the assumption is that everyone there is there to hook up. Workplaces are not such places. And neither are most cons. That means you can't assume that people are there to hook up. So while they might be interested in doing so, you need to talk with them for a good while before you dare assume that.

In the readercon case, I think this was a powerful guy who was used to getting whatever he wanted whenever he wanted it. He had a history of harassing women at cons.

Also, I think the readercon case might be different than harassment at geek cons in general. Readercon had a good harassment policy. When notified, they acted quickly and Valentine has written that she was very happy with their process right up until they announced the two year ban.

I think Readercon has larger issues with governance by an old guard that wants to protect its old guard friends (like the harasser) against its perceived enemies, which include everyone who wants to do anything new and different. Rax (who is a friend of mine), wrote about her experiences on the con committee and the huge issues they had with recognizing privilege. I don't think this is about harassment per se; I suspect the old guard would have given special privileges to their old guard friends for all sorts of non-harassment rule violations too.

Are "skeptical" cons allowed to be skeptical about allegations of harassment?

Not if the skepticism is aimed only at the woman (presumably) alleging harrassment. The alleged perpetrator's statements must get equivalent scrutiny, and the scrutiny of the complainant better not be on the order of, "Well, look at what she was wearing!" or "She was friendly enough before!" or some such thing.

I have a question for those of you who go to non-geek cons -- here defined as "work-related conventions not for the computer/internet industry, or play-related cons not for Greater Media Fandom".

Do such cons usually have a harassment policy? Do women at such cons have problems with harassment.....

We have two conferences a year, which run between ~450 and 550 people at each. We do not have a harassment policy. The Male to Female ratio is probably around 3 to 1. I've not heard of or seen any harassment, but at the next one I'll keep a particular eye out for it (assuming I remember to do so).

Also, I guess I wonder what you mean by harassment at the convention. Do you mean at officially hosted events? Or at the bar afterwards? Both?

Laura Koerbeer, your question about mostly-female / perceived-as-for-females venues reminds me of the story of the travelling salesman who was told that because of a nurse's convention, there were no rooms available at the hotel, except that there was this one nurse the desk clerk knew who might be willing to share a room.
"Listen, buddy, I know the kind of stories people tell about travelling salesmen, but I happen to be a happily married man!"
"Perfect, so's that nurse I know."

"The alleged perpetrator's statements must get equivalent scrutiny, and the scrutiny of the complainant better not be on the order of, "Well, look at what she was wearing!" or "She was friendly enough before!" or some such thing."

I was thinking more in terms of, "Did anybody else witness the alleged incident? Were the actions such that a person of normal sensibilities would have regarded them as harassement?"

You know, the usual presumption of innocence people are supposed to get prior to being punished? Which some people seem to think is inapplicable in the case of alleged harassement.

I have a question for those of you who go to non-geek cons -- here defined as "work-related conventions not for the computer/internet industry, or play-related cons not for Greater Media Fandom".

I've been to one. Multi-day conference (2 nights in the hotel, breakfast and lunch in the conference area. I didn't notice the male-to-female ratio, but probably pretty even.

I didn't see any evidence of harassment from other attendees. But I did make the mistake of letting myself get drawn into a conversation at the bar by an older gentleman (probably late 60s, maybe early 70s) who displayed a noxious mix of sexism and ageism. He wasn't there for the conference (what he claimed he WAS there for seemed really unlikely).

He started in on a conversation about the precise subject I was at the conference for. Despite my being in my late 30s, he dismissed everything I had to say (about something that is EXACTLY in my field of work, and *completely* unrelated to what he claimed his work was) with "you're just a girl, you'll learn better in time". (I never did figure out if he thought I was in my early 20s, or if he thought any woman under 50 was a "girl". Or if "I'm older than you" was just a disguise for "you're just a female".)

He ignored every fact I presented to him and eventually boiled his response down to "I don't agree" - literally, that was his "winning" argument. He had no facts to support it, just "I don't agree".

When he realized I was paying my tab and leaving, he very angrily denounced me as being "one of THOSE" (not sure if he meant feminists or liberals or people under 60 or what) and went on about how "you just can't ever stand to admit you've lost an argument".

Seriously, in his mind, "I don't agree" in the mouth of an older male was a winning argument over any facts a younger woman could put forward. And he apparently felt that a complete stranger owed it to him to sit and listen until *he* ended the conversation.

In the readercon case, the accused harasser admitted everything. There was no dispute about what happened. But the con staff also sought out and interviewed witnesses.

You know, the usual presumption of innocence people are supposed to get prior to being punished? Which some people seem to think is inapplicable in the case of alleged harassement.

We don't have this presumption in most spheres of life. My employer can fire me for any reason. That includes accusing me of wrongdoing with zero evidence; there's no presumption of innocence there. So, why exactly should cons be held to much higher standards than every corporation in America?

Because they can send you to con jail?

You know, the usual presumption of innocence people are supposed to get prior to being punished? Which some people seem to think is inapplicable in the case of alleged harassement.

There are certain kinds of activities that are more likely to wind up being one person's word against another's. In those cases, it's not at all unusual for decisions and penalties to be based on nothing more than 2 people's stories of what happened.

A person can go to jail for robbery because a jury believes the victim's story of what happened. No other evidence required. A person can be fined thousands of dollars for breach of contract because the jury (or judge) believes the other party's story of the agreement.

It's rarer these days, because juries have come to expect CSI-style evidence, but "yes, *that* is the man who showed me a knife and told me to hand over my wallet" can be enough to send a person to jail.

If the alleged harassment happened in front of witnesses, then by all means those witnesses should be talked to. But "I turned him down for drinks; I moved across the room and ignored him; he came up behind me and grabbed my ass" might actually NOT be seen, even in a crowded room, if everybody was talking to each other and looking at eye level.

And if the alleged harassment happened alone on an elevator? If it happened whenever the victim wasn't standing right near other people? Why should harassment be singled out as a kind of allegation where a panel, or jury, or judge *isn't* allowed to weigh the accuser's credibility against the other party?

Because they can send you to con jail?
Which is worse than taking away your source of income, how?

Damn internets and their lack of verbal cues.

Which is worse than taking away your source of income, how?

You mean there really is a con jail?

To be more serious about Brett's question, I'd say skepticism and burdens of proof are matters of degree. Even within our own legal system, the burden of proof is higher in criminal court (beyond a reasonable doubt) than in civil court (more likely than not).

I'm thinking that this post rests at least partly on the fact that harassment does occur, whether or not every allegation of harassment is necessarily true. That, and when someone bothers to accuse someone of harassment, there's a point at which skepticism becomes a presumption of guilt with regard to lying (or incompetence/severe lack of judgement) on the part of accuser.

But this is all pretty abstract, which makes me wonder if Brett has specific reason to think a significant number of people are being falsely accused of and somehow punished for harassment at conventions.

I am not offended if classified as 'mundane.' I've been to countless meetings, haven't noticed much in the way of harassment, but then it's my sense most of that takes place under the radar.

Why should harassment be singled out as a kind of allegation where a panel, or jury, or judge *isn't* allowed to weigh the accuser's credibility against the other party?

It isn't if level or degree of harassment reaches a somewhat hazy threshold. Cases go to a jury all the time where it's one person's word against the other's. The presumption of innocence is preserved by putting the burden of proof on the complainant, which is true in nearly every single civil remedy of which I am aware.

Although skepticism is a reasonable reaction to an allegation of sexual harassment at a con-- out and out denial is what usually occurs.

And vilification, rape threats, death threats, proofs that men know where she lives, statements about her looks, weight, lesbianism, children...

All of which occur in plain sight all over the internet and tend to diminish one's skepticism pretty quickly.

As far as corroborating evidence, you should know that sexual predators do NOT normally do these things where other people can tell what they are doing. Someone can walk up to someone else, slip their arm around the target's waist-- looks like a friendly hug to onlookers.

They can whisper all kinds of filth into an ear-- looks like a smiling interaction to onlookers.

The target can be frozen in shock, or fear, or irrational panic-- looks like acquiescence to onlookers.

They can then say the target is making it all up-- how can the onlookers say any different?

...wonder if Brett has specific reason to think a significant number of people are being falsely accused of and somehow punished for harassment at conventions.

In the course of this most recent conversations, I have seen two men expose themselves as perpetrators of harassment-- claiming that it really wasn't meant to be, and calling it such is unfair, and therefore, there is no such thing.

I notice that people who are protective of freedom of the press are not usually accused (by the left, anyway!) of wanting to publish pornography. But suggest that offenses which offend feminist sensibilities might still be subject to due process protections, and it's assumed you're some kind of cad, perhaps even a rapist. Similar to the way some on the right assume that if you want the war on drugs ended, it must be that you're some kind of addict.

No, I just have a general dedication to the proposition that judicial and quasi-judicial proceedings should afford ALL accused due process, no matter the particular offense involved. And while it IS possible to get convicted in a "he said, she said" situation, it should not generally be assumed that the accuser is telling the truth, or objective, any more than it should be assumed of the accused.

I'm actually troubled that it's necessary to state this.

Hi doc. Here is the harassment policy of the Linguistic Society of America. I believe that linguistics has a better reputation among the sciences. The Committee on the Status of Women in Linguistics (COSWL) was set up in 1974, which may have been before many other fields were even thinking about the challenges faced by women in their fields. Geoff Pullum, in his book The great Eskimo Vocabulary Hoax relates a story where he saw a hotel organizers notebook about what to expect from various genres of conventions and for linguists it said 'quiet, bring their own women', which Pullum noted that it wasn't they brought their own women, it was that women make up a much larger portion of working linguists than in many other fields. So I think that population mix has something to do with it, It's not going to eliminate it, but as Laura said with people behaving in groups, there is an urge to beat up on outsiders as a way of solidifying the group.

Turb is right to point to the intertwining of privilege and sexism and I think it is especially difficult to separate those strands. In th US, there is a genre of anecdotes about how [insert privileged person here] comes into a situation where there are some understood rules. like waiting in line, etc. Said person demands attention based on a fact of fame or lineage, whereupon the hero of the story says something like 'I don't care if you are x, here you wait in line with everyone else'. I don't think that you have those sorts of stories in the UK and you certainly don't have them in Japan. Yet those stories mask the fact that a lot of people in the US would do almost anything if pro sports player or singing star told them to.

I just have a general dedication to the proposition that judicial and quasi-judicial proceedings should afford ALL accused due process, no matter the particular offense involved.

So, you believe that at will employment is wrong and that it is wrong to fire someone without sufficient due process? I'm confused, so I'll ask again: why exactly do you think conferences should be held to a much higher standard than every corporation in America?

Turb, first of all, were this a case of the con committee simply making an arbitrary decision that they wanted nothing to do with a person, so go away and don't come back, I'd defend their right to do that even though I might attack their judgement. Freedom of association, and all that.

Which, of course, does not apply to government because our relationship with government is not voluntary.

But if the decision is alleged to be predicated on some wrongdoing, the decision making procedure should be such as to actually hinge on whether wrong doing took place. Not just because that's justice, but because the alternative is to make baseless accusations too handy a weapon.

No, I don't favor a different standard for corporations. At will employment involves being let go for any reason or none. Being fired for cause should follow a procedure which reasonably determines if the cause is true.

But, Brett, why are you proposing this scenario involving no decision-making process to determine wrong-doing? Where is this coming from? I mean, I get what Turb is saying, because we're not talking about a criminal proceeding in a court of law. No one's going to jail and no one's being fined. The standard of due process doesn't need to be as high. There likely aren't resources for it, anyway, regardless of the consequences of wrongful punishment not being nearly as great.

But who here is suggesting that any allegation should be assumed true? Or why do you think such a thing might be happening, at least fairly commonly?

Again, burdens of proof and skepticism of accusations are matters of degree. Why do you treat the suggestion that being banned from conventions doesn't require nearly the same level of evidence as being sent to prison as a suggestion that no one should bother to verify allegations at all? (And that's should, mind you, as a matter of opinion about what would be right, not a matter of functional necessity or law.)

If nobody is suggesting that any allegation should be assumed true, why all the pushback on my suggestion that skeptical cons should be skeptical about allegations? The fact is that there IS a thread in feminist thought that certain sorts of allegations should be presumed true.

Which the good doctor's remark that your evidence was meaningless if it was negative brought to my mind.

Oh, and never dismiss functional necessity. It's, you know, necessary.

Indeed nobody seems to be suggesting that any allegation should be assumed to be true.
What is the alternative? Any allegation is assumed to be false unless there is evidence otherwise. Are you supposed to hang voice recording equipment and something to measure touch/proximity on your body in order to have evidence of harassment? And unless you have evidence the assumption is that you’re lying?
Are false accusations so prevalent that you can’t simply give an allegation the benefit of an assumption of truth unless there is an indication otherwise?

why all the pushback on my suggestion that skeptical cons should be skeptical about allegations?

Context. Some allegations carry more weight than others. The end of the harassment spectrum is sexual assault. It is rare, but not unheard, of for someone to falsely allege sexual assault. Of the various cases of sexual harassment I've seen raised as formal complaints, a decent minority were either false or blown way out of proportion. The majority had varying degrees of compensible merit.

My job as an attorney is to view both sides with skepticism. If I represent the complainant (which I have), I want to be sure that I am bringing a valid case. If I am on the defense, my outward presentation is to challenge the charges against my client. When the charges are baseless or over blown, we go to court. But, it is also my job to note whether my client, or as is far more often the case, my client's employee, was out of bounds. When that happens, there is a check writing ceremony and often an involuntary change in employment.

Looking back, I recall one clearly egregious case of sexual harassment/assault (unwanted/forced groping of a woman's genitals by the company's owner) and one clearly false and perjured claim of harassment by a female employee.

Brett, I'm only reading with one eye, but I don't see 'all the pushback'. If you could identify precisely (ideally quote) what you think is contrary to your claim, it would be helpful. Also, you claim that there is a thread in feminist thought but without identifying the person who argues for such a thread, it is not at all clear what we are supposed to object to.

I don't know about "threads of feminist thought" but within the context of one local school district complaints of sexual or physical abuse of students were quite openly supposed to be treated as true until found otherwise. This inspite of the results of a study which showed that a teacher is ten times more likely to be the target of a student's lie than a student is likely to be the target of a teacher's abuse.

This inspite of the results of a study which showed that a teacher is ten times more likely to be the target of a student's lie than a student is likely to be the target of a teacher's abuse.

A perfect example of context. I have a client who uses the same policy in sexual boundary violation claims. The policy has the salutatory effect of keeping people on their toes, so to speak.

Laura, I think there is a functional reason for such a policy, in that the potential harm to a student if an accusation such as that were treated initially with skepticism. I am pretty sure it is not feminist thought that is motivating such a policy.

Oh, and never dismiss functional necessity. It's, you know, necessary.

I'm not dismissing functional necessity as a concept. I'm saying that the sort of due process you're advocating for claims of sexual harrasment, and which I support, at least in principle, isn't functionally necessary to hold conventions. The policies of Readercon, for example, explicitly state that membership can be revoked for any reason or no reason. They could revoke everyone's membership on this basis, which would ruin the entire enterprise, but that would be absurd. In any case, once you've introduced that condition going in, you're in a very different space than in our system of (somewhat dysfunctional) liberal democracy. The analog would be a government that could throw you in jail for any reason or no reason (let's not bring Guantanamo into this for the moment), making the right to a trial by a jury of your peers moot.

The shorter version is, they could occasionally toss someone over allegations of sexual harrasment without looking into the facts at all, and the show would go on. And even if they did end up destroying the whole thing, it wouldn't threaten the fabric of society. It just wouldn't matter that much, even if you and I didn't like it.

Due process isn't functionally necessary for conventions and conventions aren't functionally necessary for society.

Oh, I didn't think feminist thought had anything to do with it. I think it is an over reaction to the days when complaints of abuse were routinely hidden or disregarded on the assumption that the needs of children were less important than the maintenance of the prestige of the adult--the kind of thinnking behid the Pen State scandal, or the Susan Smith situation.

But none of this has any bearing that I can see on conventions. The pattern in conventions does not seem to be one of covering up misbehavior on the part of those at the top of the heirarchy to protect their position. It seem to be more a mater of how some participants treat others.

Brett, I wonder how much of our policy disagreements stem from honor culture. Relative to me, you seem extremely concerned that someone might impugn your honor (say, by accusing you of harassment) even if you have no problem at all with a con booting you out for no reason. Clearly, you're not troubled by the free association aspect, but the idea that someone might label you incorrectly seems like a big deal. When we were debating the ACA, you also appeared extremely offended at the notion that the government labeled the tax for not having insurance a penalty -- the implication being that it was a great moral wrong to penalize people in the tax code even though no one really cares about what labels the government gives to different bits of the tax code.

This all makes me wonder: for people like Brett, how much of their opposition to feminism stems from equality giving rise to more complaints giving rise to more honor violations? I mean, one of the biggest results of feminism is that women talk a lot more about the experiences and such talk necessarily must involve lots of people having their honor impugned, right? Whereas, without feminism, women would just shut up and take it and not complain when serial harassers followed them around a con, repeatedly touching and grabbing them without their consent.

It happens at professional conventions as well. Dr. Pamela Gay is an astronomer and science popularizer. At The Amazing Meeting last month she gave a great talk about making the world better (transcript at http://www.starstryder.com/2012/07/15/make-the-world-better/). As part of that, she talked about her experience at professional science conferences.

This talk is one I struggled to write. To finish this talk I have to step out of my comfort zone and give an honest acknowledgement that trolling isn’t something that just happens in nebulous random places on the internet and it isn’t just people being verbal in their close-mindedness. Sometimes things are more physical and more scary. As an astronomer, at professional conferences, I’ve randomly had my tits and ass grabbed and slapped by men in positions of power and by creeps who drank too much. This is part of what it means to be a woman in science. With the creeps I generally hold my own and get them to back off like I would with any asshole in a bar. With the people in power… I commiserate with the other women as we share stories of what has been grabbed by whom. I know as I say this that it sounds unbelievable – and how can we report the unbelievable and expect to be believed?

This isn’t to say women shouldn’t go into astronomy. It is just to say that in the after hours events, you sometimes need to keep your butt to the wall and your arms crossed over your chest.

Stephen Granade, the Thomas More character in Walker Percy's "Love In The Ruins" and the sequel "The Thanatos Syndrome", would have a field day at the astronomy conferences Dr. Gay references.

He'd be running his Quantitative -- Qualitative Ontological Lapsometer over the scalps of the male astronomers (over the female astronomers' too, but ...) to measure and alleviate these excesses of angelism and bestialism which present, in your example, as a guy adjusting the viewfinder and lenses with one hand on a powerful telescope and explaining with great scientific precision and reason the object light years away that he's viewing, while with the other hand attempting to fondle, or at least being driven nuts by the scent of her hair, the breast of the professional female astronomer innocently annotating the observations on a clip board.

If he asked what the heck he is doing with the second hand, his answer is "I've no idea what got into me", if even that.

He can explain the universe, but not himself or his own human behavior right there in that room.

Descartes' mind/body split gets the blame for this "sundered and riven soul".

Well, Percy is more complicated than that but give him a read (novels and essays) if you like.

I realize that you asked about "work-related conventions not for the computer/internet industry" conferences. But let me toss in anyway my experience at a work-related conference which is for the computer industry.

The Computer Measurement Group has been around since the mid-1970s, and deals with computer performance and capacity planning stuff. Attendance, as is typical at computer industry events, skews heavily male. On the other hand, 3 of the last 5 Presidents of our organization have been female. Also possibly relevant, it is relatively rare to see anyone under 25 at the conference.

Harrassment? Minimal. (I can't swear that it absolutely never happens. But having been around for all 35+ years, and on close terms with many of the women who attend, I'm reasonably confident that I know whereof I speak.) The question then arises: why not? My guess would be that it is simply a matter of our demographic -- sufficient numbers of mature adults to make the culture one where it is obvious that such behavior is unacceptable.

Do we have a formal harrassment policy? Not that I know of. Perhaps because there have been zero complaints (we do have polciies on various other matters, where we have gotten complaints; even if the issue seemed unlikely to arise again). I realize that those who are harrassed do not always formally complain. On the other hand, let me ask any of the women here: If you were harrassed at a conference, and the President of the organization, and/or the Conference Chair, was a woman, would how constrained would you feel about saying something (vs. if the people running the organization were all guys)?

I guess what I'm thinking is, the incidence of harrassment at the conferences Dr. S mentions isn't just due to the fact that computer folks are deficient is social skills/awareness. Although heaven knows that's true of many of us. It's also a matter of the fact that most computer industry, and especially Internet-related, gatherings skew heavily towards guys in their late teens and early 20s. Anybody who was, for example, in a fraternity in college want to think about how that culture looked at things?

The mother of all conventions with the most flagrant presentation of angelism/bestialism in the history of patty-fingered American incoherency is right around the corner, and the angelic/beastial organizers are worried sick:

http://www.balloon-juice.com/2012/08/04/tampa-strip-clubs-versus-the-mormon-moment/

Word is out that powerful cracker Right-Wing bloggers from Confederate strongholds like Macon, Georgia might put their pious mouths where only rich Republicans like Jenna Jamison have feared to bite, and it might look bad to the Tea Party faithful back home who have been licking up their candidates' pieties like so many Koch Brothers.

They've got to keep their eyes on the battle of "ideas", don't you know, like making sure those without health insurance are murdered by lifting entire passages from "Atlas Shrugged" and setting them down verbatim into unambiguous law.

As Jesus intoned: "Again I tell you, it will be easier for your dromedary to go through a glory hole than for a rich man to enter his off-shore, tax-dodging accounts in Barbados under a second term for the Commie Kenyan."

From the Prosperity Gospel, Book of Rand.

One does relish the spectacle of corrupt filth fanning out into the environs of Tampa
and undertaking job creation among the dispossessed who are going to be on their knees for the duration of the Republican future to earn the moolah they will need to shop for cures to the STDs the Republican vermin faithful gave them.

Michael Steele is thinking of distributing harassment vouchers among the Republican men so they may shop around to cop the cheapest feel available.

He doesn't know whether to sprinkle holy water over the proceedings or spray the joint with Lysol.

Stephen Granade:

A new documentary and some links to Walker Percy's work and ruminations on the unknowable self knowing the Crab Nebulae but knowing nothing about how or why one might act the cad at an astronomy conference.

http://andrewsullivan.thedailybeast.com/2012/08/the-mysterious-self.html

Well worth the paint and paste busy work.

Apparently, Readercon has issued a public statement that gives René Walling a lifetime ban, along with some other steps.

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