ByWord

26.6.03

DENOUMENT

Today is the day for me to reveal myself. I have been blogging anonymously hitherto, but here it is:

My name is Michael Savage.

As you may have heard, I am A Homosexual Who Enjoys The Private Company Of Immigrants. Let me tell you how I was turned to this life of indulgent sin.

Many yeras ago, I was at a meeting of the local branch of the VRWC. Lynne Cheney was giving a speech, and we were all very excited. She spoke long, hard, and powerfully, her hands thrusting violently as made each enthralling point. I was enraptured. I was enamoured.

After the show I approached her.

"Mrs. Cheney? Madam, your performance was stunning. Staggering. Luscious. May I buy you a drink, so that I can hear more?"

Well, not only did she accept, she insisted we do so in the accomadating privacy of her hotel suite. As we drank, first wine, then scotch, then whatever was left in the minibar, our passion grew. We fell into one another.

"Oh Lynne," I cried, "make me yours, take me in your arms, let me feel your skin touch mine, let us never be apart!"

She gently laid her hands on my shoulders, pushing me subtly away. I stood back, just a little, and let my eyes feast on her ravishingly powerful body. Its strong square shoulders and powerful forearms drew my eyes in. She undid her dress, and let it fall to the floor. I was awed. But never more so than when she slowly slid her underwear down her legs, and revealed what I must have known was there all along. A huge, throbbing cock. An instrument of pleasure, and pain. Of love.

I knew I should be repulsed. But I couldn't turn away. She commanded me to my knees, and I bent willingly, my skin tingling at what I knew was coming next. My heart was pounding in my ears, but I didn't even need to hear her next order. I took her into my mouth. First a little, then more. I gagged, but I couldn't stop. She was all I wanted.

I knew my destiny, that night. I knew what I was. And ever since I have celebrated my deep love of fellating strong men. Ever since, I have been A Homosexual Who Enjoys The Private Company Of Immigrants.

-MS

This is parody, obviously. Please read the posts below for my real opinions.
posted by ByWord 6/26/2003 06:14:00 PM

YES!

The Supreme Court just made me very, very happy.

I'm not a lawyer, but as I read Kennedy's decision for 5 judges, the majority this is a watershed. As far as I can tell, they:

- Overturned the Texas anti-sodomy law.
- Established a generalized right to sexual privacy, subject to a rational interest test.
- Overruled moral condemnation as grounds for rational interest in sexual privacy.

The right to sexual privacy was not exclusive to homosexuals. We are all more free this afternoon than we were this morning.

Reading around the legal bloggers (see here for a list), this could:

- End don't ask don't tell. Gays in the military are here.
- End laws against sex toys
- End laws against pornography, where that pornography is used as a part of the sexual conduct of consenting adults
- Provide a basis for gay marriage
- End laws against sex with multiple partners
- End laws against adultery
- End laws against incest between consenting adult brothers and sisters or cousins.

Wow. Breathe deep. That's free air. Long live liberty in America.
posted by ByWord 6/26/2003 05:55:00 PM

23.6.03

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

Read this. Then read this.

Basically, USA Today is flogging a study that shows, as many studies have already shown, that women are nearly as likely to hit their male partners as their partners are to hit them.

This is garbage, and the second link above discusses a whole lot of reasons why.

Mostly, the biggest reason is that these studies don't distinguish between the physical ability to cause harm. I've been slapped by girlfriends, as hard as they could. It hurt. But me slapping them as hard as I could would drop them and draw blood.

Here's Amptoons, from the second link above:

More subtly, the CTS's method of measurement may be overly literal, measuring narrowly-defined actions while failing to consider their context and meaning. As Straton points out, results of violence are ignored: the CTS "equates a woman pushing a man in self-defense to a man pushing a woman down the stairs." Similarly, the context of violence is ignored: playful kicking in bed, considered aggressive by neither partner, is counted as more severe violence than a bone-jarring push against a wall.

The CTS ignores not only different physical impacts of violence, but also different mental impacts of violence. A recent study indicated that violence, "even when both the man and woman participate," leads to significantly worse outcomes for women; women are more frightened by the violence, with a greater sense of loss of personal control and well-being.

As a matter of common sense, there's an enormous difference in mass and physical strength between most women and men, and that can make a big difference in how abuse "feels." An ex-girlfirend of mine - who weighed 100 pounds less than I do - once punched me, as hard as she could, on my chest. It left a bruise and hurt my feelings, but I certainly didn't feel frightened or helpless. Why not? Because I could walk out the room whenever I pleased, and she couldn't stop me.

Now, what if I had hit her? Although the action would have been the same, the dynamic would have been totally different - because she would have been effectively trapped with me unless I chose to let her go.


There's lots more where that came from, including a painfully obvious reminder about sampling (how many massively abusive husbands are going to let their wives participate?), and a run-down of the contradictory social science data. Go read.
posted by ByWord 6/23/2003 02:18:00 AM

21.6.03

MEDIA BIAS, MEDIA OBJECTIVITY

Let's be clear, there is a difference between an unbiased media and an objective media.

Tim Blair notices a line in his local paper that says

Herald Correspondent Ed O'Loughlin in Gaza meets the Palestinian group that answers Israel blow for blow


and accuses them of bias.

Tim's commenters jumped all over 'Palestinian group', which they didn't think was the best phrase to describe Hamas. The tone of their comments suggests that they'd have preferred 'Palestinian terrorist organisation' or 'Palestinian jew-hating sociopaths'.

But hold on. By any dictionary definition, Hamas is both 'Palestinian' and a 'group'.

So this statement is objectively true. Tim's commentors are criticizing this report not for lack of objectivity, but rather for lack of subjective judgement. Maybe that's right, but please let's not pretend that this an obvious case of horrible media slanting. It's actually a case, if anything, of overly-objective reporting.

This happens to both the right and the left. Often the Bush administration will make a bold-faced lie about some aspect of budget politics ('this will create xxxx new jobs' or 'this will not lead to a long-term deficit'), and the Democrats will reply with the truth ('every economist ever, including your own CBO, says it will create a deficit').

The media, rather than making the judgement between the two cases, and presenting "the dems say X, which is true, and the reps say Y, which is false", instead retain maximal 'objectivity' and treat the two statements as competing claims.

This isn't a partisan issue -- I'm sure my conservative friends can name hundreds of examples of this going the other way.

It's just dumb journalism. The media have adopted a doctrine of objectivity and neutrality, when they should have been adopting a doctrine of fairness and judiciousness.
posted by ByWord 6/21/2003 11:32:00 AM

19.6.03

And can we all agree to just ignore this?
posted by ByWord 6/19/2003 09:29:00 PM

You've got to be kidding.
posted by ByWord 6/19/2003 09:26:00 PM

COUNTERFACTUALS

Reproducing here a comment I made in this Yglesias post:

I think that perhaps causation is best understood as a shorthand for inferred logic:

"When A happens, B tends to happen afterwards".

When I drop the ball, it has, in every experience so far in my life, fallen to the ground. Quantum mechanics tells us that this is not necessarily the case, but is the case in all reasonable probabilities. The claim "dropping the ball causes it to fall to the ground" is a fairly convenient shorthand for that probability.

In more abstract cases, as I think you're [you = Matt] mostly talking about, it gets a little more complex. We don't have a whole lot of inferred knowledge about Gore campaigns for the presidency. We do have inferred knowledge about presential campaigns in general, though, and this is what Kevin [Drum] really means: "In my experience, candidates with simple tax plans tend to be more successful".

If causation is essentially a shorthand for this kind of inference, then we can evaluate counterfactuals on the basis of the size of the body of inferrential knowledge we have.

The counterfactual "Had I not dropped the ball, it would not have fallen to the floor" is pretty secure - we have a lot of experience with dropping things.

The counterfactual "Had Gore used a simpler tax proposal, he would have won" is a bit more tenuous, but still supportable based on the moderately large sample we have of electoral camapaigns.

The counterfactual "Had the Nazis not lost the Second World War..." is way more tenuous, since we have little experience with fascist dictatorships occupying entire continents.

posted by ByWord 6/19/2003 12:06:00 AM

6.6.03

PARTIAL BIRTH ABORTION

They passed a law banning 'partial birth abortions'.

A partial birth abortion is a procedure in which the fetus is extracted from the uterus intact, and then its skull is crushed. The alternate procedure is one in which the skull is crushed inside the uterus, and then extracted essentially in pieces.

The only reason you would use the later (crush inside the uterus), whihc is obviously more dangerous to the woman, is that the fetus is too large to pull out with a partial dilation. In all other cases, it is safest and best to crush the skull outside the uterus.

In other words, this law bans an abortion procedure that is and can only be used on early-term pregnancies.

From the perspective of the fetus, the two procedures are identical.
posted by ByWord 6/06/2003 07:07:00 AM

4.6.03

THINGS THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION CANNOT FIND

Osama Bin Laden
Saddam Hussein
The Anthrax Terrorist
Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq
A Budget Model Not Predicting Massive Deficits
An Economist Who Likes Their Tax Cut


Add suggestions in the comments
posted by ByWord 6/04/2003 06:27:00 PM

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Wisdom praises herself, and tells of her glory... "Those who eat of me will hunger for more, and those who drink of me will thirst for more. Whoever obeys me will not be put to shame, and those who work with me will not sin." (Sirach 24:21-22)

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ByWord First Rule of Political Discourse
If the best reason you can come up with for why people disagree with you is that you're smarter or more moral than they are, you're probably wrong.

Corollary to The First Rule
If the best reason you can come up with for why people disagree with you is that they, unlike you, have been indoctrinated by an ideological media conspiracy, you're probably wrong.

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