Reading George Fox

A Response To Dave Winer’s Claim of Small Justification

Today Dave Winer linked to his earlier post claiming there was a small justification for the internment camps at the border. I’m going to leave aside the argument that there can be a moral justification for imprisoning these children. If a law is fundamentally unjust and immoral, the duty of the law-abiding is civil disobedience, not acquiescence. So, for sake of argument, it is moral1 to imprison refugee children, either by separating them from their parents or with their parents for an indefinite length of time. To justify such a law, for legal asylum seekers who have committed a misdemeanor2, the policy would have to be both by far the most effective and least punitive. Oddly enough, Winer himself has linked to the evidence that interning asylum seekers and their children does not meet these standards. ICE used to have two less punitive and restrictive methods: the Intensive Supervision Alternative Program (ISAP) and the Family Case Management Program (FCMP). In the former, electronic ankle bracelets were used to track asylum seekers and 99.6% showed up for their court dates.3 Regular phone check-ins and unannounced visits were also part of the program. This is hardly “catch-and-release”. In the FCMP, social workers…

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They Cannot Wait

This isn’t the preeminent crisis at the moment, but I wrote a response on the urgency of carceral state reform and thought it worthy to post directly on my blog. The full conversation is here. You are right that we need to work on getting buy in from the rank and file. But even if you’re correct and the system only fails 20% of the time, that’s thousands of innocent people suffering. They shouldn’t have to wait for justice because it’s hard to get the rank and file on board. Also, there will be times when it is simply not possible to convince them. If we reduce the incarceration rate to triple the European average, the majority of prison guards will lose their jobs. They are going to fight hard as hell to keep their livelihood. Or an example from Pennsylvania: if a former prosecutor turned Republican State Senator, multiple rigorous studies, and participating in a five year commission couldn’t convince the DAs to accept reform, the hill is a pretty steep climb. How many people suffered unjustly while we were trying to persuade them? So, at the same time we work within the system, we must also, as Dr.…

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Another Broken System with Good People

@dynamitemoth My unconscious came up with a perhaps less controversial parallel overnight. The American healthcare system is full of hard working, caring people who are truly doing their best. Yet we still spend twice as much as other rich countries while covering less people. The system is structured that often the best option is the emergency room, which is also the most expensive option. Insurance is so complex that patients need to make sure that the doctors treating them are on their plan even when the hospital is.1 A personal example: I was in the psychiatric ward of a well respected and good hospital. However, a private company had recently bought it and was cutting the budget to increase profitably. One weekend there were simply not enough staff. Those who were there were incredibly compassionate and good at their jobs, but there weren’t enough of them and patients ended up taking care of other patients. Which of course triggered us creating a shit show cascade of trauma. There were no evil or incompetent people, yet the situation was terrible. At one of the best hospitals specializing in a specific area of mental health. When the system is broken, the intentions…

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The Carceral State and Good People

@dynamitemoth They have the best of intentions, but it’s within a very flawed system. The reason that plea deals are used so much is prosectorial discretion: they’ll threaten to charge with more serious counts adding up to an incredible amount of years. It then only makes sense not to risk a trial. It’s also hard to believe that 97% of all cases involve a guilty defendent; that would require nigh infallible police and prosecutors. Also, here’s an explanation of how a federal guilty plea works and the absurdity it can become. Prosecutors are also loathe1 to provide evidence of innocence. There’s a ton of pressure of prosecutors to win cases, so they’ll even block the release of clearly innocent people. Expert witnesses and forensic experts are often relied on again and again even without evidence that the science has any basis in fact. There are a ton of incentives for detectives to quickly close cases, so they often settle on the first or second suspect. Police are taught to be overly defensive and often escalate situations. Once a department gets a SWAT team, they find reasons to use it. Military supplies and civil forfeiture create perverse incentives to play with…

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That’s Harsh

Over at Macdrifter, Gabe just posted about his failures. While I don’t know him personally, many of them read more as overly harsh self-criticism than failings. » I spend too much on coffee This is possible, but coffee is not that expensive and I’d conjecture that Gabe likes coffee. Is it really a failure to spend money on something that brings you pleasure? » I don’t dress well Compared to what? Is he comfortable in the clothing he wears? My initial reaction is Gabe is projecting the world’s judgment onto himself, especially as this implies the way he dresses every day is a problem. » I don’t work hard enough Gabe does note that some items are conflicting, but this one especially stands out. If he is going to criticize himself for not spending enough time with his kids, doing things for his wife, volunteering enough, etc; it feels unrealistic to expect himself to work more as well. He certainly blogs a lot. I guess he could be a lazy sloth that contributes nothing to the world, but, given his writing, I truly doubt that. » I’m not happy enough each day Red Alert! Red Alert! I’ve done a ton…

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OMG, 9 to 5

“They are really good engineers, really indispensable. And then they start to pull 9-5 days.” -Business Insider Back on August 6, Julie Bort wrote an article on software engineers who drop out of the super intense life style while remaining on payroll—resting and vesting. On one hand, this is infuriating: here are people making six or seven figures for barely doing any work. How unfair is that in a world in which many, many people are scrapping by on two or three jobs? Yet, the important part of this article (which Blot doesn’t address) is the completely unhealthy relationship Americans have to work. Blot starts the article with an anecdote about a Facebook engineer deciding to rest and vest after waking up one morning and vomiting over the idea of going to work. And we’re supposed to be critical or envious of this person? For all the backsliding that is happening in this society, unions fought for sane working hours, recognizing that one cannot live one’s life if one is always on the job. Yet today we glorify that life style. How courageous, how admirable is the coder who spends 14 hours a day at work. They are truly the…

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Google and Https

Dave Winer seems angry at Google for privileging sites that use https. They have the impure motive of making sure readers see their ads and not injected ads from ISPs. I don’t really care why Google is doing it. I’m just happy that my browsing is becoming more secure.

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Being Blind Outside of One’s Domain

Dave Winer is an amazing programmer who’s done a tremendous amount for the open web. His comments on technology are insightful. However, his thoughts about society and culture come from a deeply privileged place. He contends that a women-only Wonder Woman screening, “left us with a wound and one more political division to deal with.” As if a safe-space for women to celebrate the first modern female superhero film was the equivalent of a men’s rights march. The world is a safe-space for men, especially white, cis-gendered, straight men. They have had millennia to celebrate their achievements and glory, all while subjugating and tyrannizing half of humanity. That power dynamic, while slowly changing still exists; the context renders female-only spaces different from male-only spaces1. More recently, he wrote about Bill Maher and the N-word, arguing that its use in “pop culture” absolved Maher of responsibility. “I’m not saying what the answer is and I don’t like Maher, but I think it was inevitable this was going to happen, and I’m pretty sure it’s not fair to blame him.” This is such a naive view. Yes, Black Americans have taken an extremely offensive word and made it their own. The N-word…

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Upcoming Posts

Sorry for the late post. Turns out a 340 mile round-trip drive from Salem to Poughkeepsie and back is not conducive to writing in-depth the next day. Anyways, onto the preview! Blogging and the Anti-Social Bookmarker — A return to tech for those bored of politics and art. Ever since Maciej enabled Privacy Lock, I've set my personal Pinboard to be completely private. I'm not particularly interested in sharing all my personal interests1. However, after starting Reading George Fox, I figured it would be helpful2 to provide an archive of my sources; hence the pinboard.in link on the side. Now, who wants to manage two different bookmarking accounts? Certainly not lazy old me. I've cobbled together a small AppleScript and bash system to automate transferring links from the personal account to the blog's. This will be the story of that journey.3 One Size Fits All — On the Magnum Edition of Lovecast 356, Dan chats with Dr. Joye Swan about condom use and magical monogamy thinking. While Dr. Swan has done some excellent research on the STI/HIV risks of serial monogamy and partner infidelity, her advice for “the re-education we have to go through” is far too dogmatic and narrow…

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Good Sense

Dan Savage’s continuing enthusiasm for Anthony Weiner is well intentioned, but ultimately mistaken and potentially counter-productive[1]. Dan is absolutely correct that we must fight for a world in which our sexual interests and mistakes do not disqualify us from employment or public service. How we behave[2] in the bedroom has little impact on how we work outside of it. Moreover, we have always been a kinky species; the Internet has just made our kinks public knowledge. In the long run, this is a wonderful news—it’s much harder to be judgmental about others’ quirks when your own are well known[3]. Weiner is just the wrong standard bearer for this fight. Dan often makes a distinction between having a kink[4] and how you communicate it. We look for good judgment in potential partners, and introducing yourself as a Furry, Coprophiliac, and Masochist on the first date usually[5] indicates that you aren’t the sharpest knife in the draw. Ol’ Anthony has taken a plethora of opportunities this summer to showcase his horrendous judgment. If you are premising your campaign as a redemptive journey, don’t engage in the behavior that fucked you in the first place. Especially when your wife will have to stand…

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