Are You F—ing Kidding Me?

I am a bit too angry to see straight, but need to share the utter, reprehensible ridiculousness of this:

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An ex-stripper who went on to law school and later was elected a judge was found dead inside her Nevada home Sunday, The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.

Her body was discovered during a welfare check, the report said, and authorities do not suspect foul play.

Municipal Judge Diana Hampton, who was 50, was known by colleagues as a hard worker and appeared to be the perfect picture of health. Her death shocked colleagues, one of whom told the paper he planned to have lunch with the judge this week.

Hampton, who served as a municipal judge for more than a decade, worked with youth in the community to discourage them from crime.

Hampton took an unusual route to her judgeship. She was criticized during her 2005 run for Henderson Department 3 for working as a stripper in Las Vegas prior to pursuing law school. It was a part of her past she did not disavow and reaffirmed that her past had nothing to do with how she would rule from the bench.

“From the very beginning, she decided she was going to be a judge,” said Joe Sciscento, a justice of the peace who knew Hampton for more than 20 years. “She was dedicated to that. She was focused on that, and she wouldn’t let things get in her way.”

[Emphasis added] Continue reading


What I’m Reading, September 25, 2015

The terrifying cost of the Planned Parenthood hoax: “I have never seen such a volume, intensity and escalation of hate speech”, Bob Cesca, Salon, September 12, 2015

What’s also perfectly clear is that a series of horrendously edited videos accusing Planned Parenthood of ghoulish criminal activity has effectively amplified the anti-choice outrage machine, which has to include the well-known terrorist fringe of the movement. As with the connection between the protest and the attack, there’s no way to know at this point whether the terrorist or terrorists responsible were specifically incited by the videos, but it’s reasonable to conclude that the videos, while being fraudulently produced, have touched off a new chapter of unmitigated sanctimony and bug-eyed fury over Planned Parenthood and other clinics that offer reproductive services for women.

Of course, the fakery of the videos, as well as the reality that Planned Parenthood saves considerably more lives than abortion services performed is irrelevant in the face of single-minded automatons who are feverishly motivated by the very thought of an aborted fetus. Nothing, in their minds, morally outweighs the photographic images of fetuses. Nothing. Yes, it’s all very graphic to laypeople, but the procedure shouldn’t in any universe morally justify threats or acts of terrorism. The same can be said about too many congressional and state level Republicans who are wasting untold millions of dollars in taxpayer revenue to investigate Planned Parenthood based on completely false charges. No wonder Florida Governor Rick Scott scrubbed the results of his investigation when they ended up showing zero wrongdoing on behalf of the clinics.

Bernie Sanders’s speech at Liberty University wasn’t a stunt. It’s core to his campaign. Andrew Prokop, Vox, September 14, 2015 Continue reading


What I’m Reading, January 26, 2015

6 Reasons Why Being Called a Cis Person Is Not Oppressive, James St. James, Everyday Feminism, January 15, 2015

All sorts of arguments are being flung back and forth across the Internet about this whole usage of the term “cis gender” for—you know — cisgender people. The bulk of the resistance is from the cisgender community, which feels the usage of the term is oppressive. Or reverse transphobic. Or a war against cis people. Or something.

What the hell does “cisgender” mean, you ask? It’s pretty much the polite way of saying “not transgender.”

Now you’re all caught up — and pretty certain on which side of this argument I reside. In fact, the above statement tends to be the Readers Digest version of my whole spiel. It’s polite to say “cis” instead of “not trans.” The end. [Emphasis in original.]

Why Do You Need A Sugar Daddy? College Students Give Some Surprising Answers, Elisabeth Parker, Addicting Info, January 17, 2015 Continue reading



I cam across this tweet from the comedian Jim Norton, which sets up an interesting point/counterpoint:

Norton’s piece has the eye-catching click-baity title “In Defense of Johns,” while Alter’s rebuttal is entitled “Dear Johns: Actually, You Should Be Ashamed to Buy Sex.”

I’m pretty much on record as supporting the decriminalization of sex work, for a variety of reasons*.

Part of Norton’s piece is a rather squicky pontification on men who frequent sex workers**, followed by an argument for decriminalization that I tend to find convincing: Continue reading


What’s in a Name?

The Ferrett made an interesting remark about the 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland and the nomenclature of sex workers.

I had a Tweet up for about twenty seconds that I then took down, which was this:

“Cleveland is hosting the National Republican Convention in 2016. I hope we have enough hookers.”

It’s funny in the sense that, while the convention is guaranteed to be a smorgasbord of squeamishness about sex, it’s about equally guaranteed that many attendees will be gettin’ it on in all manner of publicly-disapproved ways during the off hours.

It’s problematic, though, because the words like “hooker” are overloaded with cultural baggage.

So the Ferrett deleted the tweet, and decided just to tell us about it.

I took the Tweet down, not because I thought it was inaccurate, but because I thought in a shorter version it’d pass on overtones I didn’t want to create. It seemed to degrade sex workers to me (and no, for some reason “I hope we have enough sex workers” didn’t strike me as funny in the same way).

Which is a weird thing about being careful with your communications: It’s not that what you say isn’t funny, but that it also encourages people to not question things. To me, a hooker or a sex worker or a prostitute or whatever the fuck you call them are people, worthy of rights and protections. But I suspect a lot of the people who might pass that gag along would be the sort of people who’d see selling sex as the incontrovertible evidence of bad morals/life decisions/etc.

The real joke here is how the Republicans try to make kinky sex illegal, and yet crave it the same way we do. But I’m not sure that Tweet got it across without punching downwards more than I’d like.

Emphasis added, along with a hell yeah. As far as “kinky” sex goes, I figure YMMV, but I always suspect that those who bray the loudest about it just might protest too much.


What I’m Reading, June 24, 2014

derekdavalos [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via deviantART“Chemtrails” Don’t Exist and Idiots Are Really Easy to Fool, Dennis Mersereau, The Vane, May 22, 2014

Have you ever run into someone so stupid that you just had to play a prank on them? Welcome to the life of meteorologists who have to deal with “chemtrailers,” or the people who falsely believe that airplanes are spraying chemicals because DA GUBMINT wants to kill you.


Well, as with all conspiracy theorists, chemtrailers won’t take science for an answer. The true explanation behind contrails — the warm, moist jet exhaust meeting the extremely cold air of the upper-atmosphere and condensing into a thin cirrus cloud — is just the World Government’s smoke-and-mirrors to deceive the population from The Truth.

Government Treating Peaceful Left Activists Like Terrorists–Again, Paul Waldman, The American Prospect, May 23, 2014 Continue reading


What I’m Reading, May 22, 2014

Unattributed [Public domain], via Wikimedia CommonsThomas Edison and the Cult of Sleep Deprivation, Olga Khazan, The Atlantic, May 14, 2014

For some, sleep loss is a badge of honor, a sign that they don’t require the eight-hour biological reset that the rest of us softies do. Others feel that keeping up with peers requires sacrifice at the personal level—and at least in the short-term, sleep is an invisible sacrifice.

The problem has accelerated with our hyper-connected lives, but it isn’t new. Purposeful sleep deprivation originates from the lives and adages of some of America’s early business tycoons.

The Secret History Of The Word ‘Cracker’, Gene Demby, NPR, July 1, 2013 Continue reading


What I’m Reading, May 21, 2014

By Flickr user Romeo Reidl from Budapest, Hungary (Respect sexworkers statue) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (], via Wikimedia CommonsInvisible Sex Workers, Charlotte Shane, Jacobin, May 14, 2014

Journalists, policy-makers, and self-appointed experts repeatedly say that the Internet facilitated an explosion of activity for sex sellers of all stripes, yet that activity was somehow entirely covert. Similarly, the “end demand” crowd, who would like to see the sex trade eradicated but catch flack for explicitly supporting policies that criminalize those selling it, assert that sex work proliferates because of an endless male appetite for bought sex.

But very few sex workers use the “Dark Net,” and even that private corner of the web is now subject to busts. So some connecting of the dots is long overdue. If sex workers are so hard to find, how do clients responsible for making the sex industry the “fastest growing and second largest criminal industry in the world” find them? How do the cops who continue to arrest them?

The Feminist Version of American History You Never Hear About In School, Maureen Shaw, PolicyMic, May 13, 2014 Continue reading


What I’m Reading, May 1, 2014

By Pkg203 (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia CommonsThe Sharing Economy Isn’t About Trust, It’s About Desperation, Kevin Roose, New York, April 24, 2014

Wired‘s cover story this month is about the rise of the “sharing economy” — a Silicon Valley–invented term used to describe the basket of start-ups (Uber, Lyft, Airbnb, et al.) that allow users to rent their labor and belongings to strangers. Jason Tanz attributes the success of these start-ups to the invention of a “set of digi­tal tools that enable and encourage us to trust our fellow human beings,” such as bidirectional rating systems, background checks, frictionless payment systems, and platforms that encourage buyers and sellers to get to know each other face-to-face before doing business.

Tanz’s thesis isn’t wrong — these innovations have certainly made a difference. But it leaves out an important part of the story. Namely, the sharing economy has succeeded in large part because the real economy has been struggling.

A huge precondition for the sharing economy has been a depressed labor market, in which lots of people are trying to fill holes in their income by monetizing their stuff and their labor in creative ways. In many cases, people join the sharing economy because they’ve recently lost a full-time job and are piecing together income from several part-time gigs to replace it. In a few cases, it’s because the pricing structure of the sharing economy made their old jobs less profitable. (Like full-time taxi drivers who have switched to Lyft or Uber.) In almost every case, what compels people to open up their homes and cars to complete strangers is money, not trust.

Most of What You Think You Know About Sex Trafficking Isn’t True, Amanda Hess, Slate, April 23, 2014 Continue reading


What I’m Reading, April 29, 2014

Tom Woodward [CC BY-SA 2.0 (], via FlickrBe Exploited By the People You Know! Scott Lemieux, Lawyers , Guns & Money, April 25, 2014

Ahead of today’s vote at Northwestern, the actions of proponents of the NCAA’s indefensible status quo were predictable:


Coach Pat Fitzgerald, a former football star who is revered on campus, has framed a vote for the union as a personal betrayal.

“Understand that by voting to have a union, you would be transferring your trust from those you know — me, your coaches and the administrators here — to what you don’t know — a third party who may or may not have the team’s best interests in mind,” Fitzgerald wrote to the team in an email.

And don’t kid yourself: the people and organizations reaping huge amounts of money off of your unpaid, physically taxing labor, and yet impose extraordinary rules that prevent you from even being compensated by third parties, totally have only your interests at heart.

“Due process? What due process? We’re rescuing hookers!” Donna Gratehouse, Blog for Arizona, April 17, 2014 Continue reading