Model Deals with Dirtbags Online

So Emily Sears is a model, and like many models, she posts pics of herself online regularly. It’s part of the job, building her reputation and brand, all that good stuff.

But there are dudes online who think it’s just neato-kewl to send her pics of their penises, just… because? I don’t even know. Do these guys really think some woman they’ve never met is going to look at a crappy phone-pic of their junk and think, “OMG I wanna this guy to bang me hard!!” Really? [eyeroll]

Eventually Ms. Sears got sick of this crap, and decided to start doing something about it. She looked at the guy’s online profile, and found his wife or girlfriend, and sent her a screenshot of what the guy sent, with a note saying she thought the woman should be aware of what her husband/boyfriend was doing online.

I think this is an awesome solution. ๐Ÿ™‚ A friend of Ms. Sears, a DJ named Laura, who also gets dick pics on a regular basis, has started doing the same thing.

Good stuff, click through and read about it. The comments are actually worth reading too. I particularly like the one where a woman tells about how, when she was fourteen, some dude sent her a dick pic and she sent him a picture of cutting a banana. [smirk] I hope that had him crossing his legs for a while.

Angie

Marriage Equality, Finally

The Supreme Court finally grants marriage equality.

Try as they might, people opposed to marriage equality haven’t been able to come up with any rational reasons for their stand. “Because our god disapproves,” is not a rational reason in a nation with separation of church and state. “Because the children,” is not supported by any legitimate research. (In fact, I can’t give a link because I didn’t save it at the time, but I remember reading an article a few years ago discussing research that showed the best outcome for children, looking at emotional adjustment, behavior, and performance in school, came from having two lesbian parents.) “Because pedophiles,” is a null argument because adults having sex with minors (ignoring the complications of what that means and where the lines are drawn) is still illegal. And that idiot in California who tried to get a proposition on the ballot requiring that anyone who commits “sodomy” be executed by whatever member of the general public got to them first (no, seriously) just makes the anti-GLBT side look even more whacked than it actually is.

I’m sure there are plenty of people moaning and gnashing their teeth today. But look, the sky isn’t falling. If you think gay sex is icky, then good news: you’re not required to have gay sex. Your kids are no more likely to be gay now than they were last week. And if your kid does come out to you, you’re still free to disown him or her, and the people around you who disapprove would probably have disapproved last week, while people who would’ve agreed you did the right thing last week will probably still think that now. And if your church doesn’t recognize gay marriage, your church still isn’t required to marry gay couples. Nothing has changed for straight people.

Which is the whole point. Nothing has changed for straight people. We can go about our lives as we always have, because the world still treats us the way it always did.

And in fact, only thirteen states still banned marriage between same-sex couples yesterday. We were already mostly there; the Supremes just acknowledged the way society was moving.

Note, though, that this decision doesn’t mean homophobia is dead in the US, any more than the election of President Obama meant racism is dead. There are still plenty of people who see straight as “normal” and gay as “deviant,” and who want the laws of the land to reflect their views, some of whom are active on the political stage.

Ted Cruz and Scott Walker are two Republican presidential hopefuls who support a Constitutional amendment allowing states to ban same-sex marriage. Considering that the majority of states allowed it yesterday, and polls show a majority of Americans are in favor of it, I have no idea where these guys thought that amendment would come from. There’s no way they’d ever get the two-thirds ratification required to pass it, so…? Marriage equality doesn’t affect them, so it looks like either their own fears and squicks on display, or (more likely IMO) it’s a flag-waving act, aimed at the very small but very loud radical-right voting pool. “Hey, look how conservative I am! Vote for me!” Of course, that tactic hasn’t worked in the last couple of presidential elections, but if these guys want to give it another whirl, bully for them.

And others have already discussed Clarence Thomas’s dissenting opinion against marriage equality. From Thomas’s opinion:

The corollary of that principle is that human dignity cannot be taken away by the government. Slaves did not lose their dignity (any more than they lost their humanity) because the government allowed them to be enslaved. Those held in internment camps did not lose their dignity because the government confined them. And those denied governmental benefits certainly do not lose their dignity because the government denies them those benefits. The government cannot bestow dignity, and it cannot take it away.

Seriously? Because being a slave, confined and beaten and raped, isn’t at all undignified. Because being dragged away from your property (often losing it permanently) and locked up in an internment camp, declared a danger to the country of which you’re a citizen, hated and reviled by your fellow citizens, isn’t at all undignified. And having people sneer and snark at your marriage, telling you it’s just pretend, and having your children harassed and mocked because their parents aren’t really married and they don’t really have a normal family, that’s not at all undignified.

The fact that Justice Thomas, who’s married to a white woman, clearly benefits from the results of Loving v. the State of Virginia, and yet declares that Obergefell v. Hodges — which grants the exact same kind of marriage rights (and dignity) to a group of people who were discriminated against exactly the way interracial couples were discriminated against before Loving — is wrong and pointless, is bogglingly irrational. It reflects a lack of compassion, and an “I’ve got mine so you all can go suck it” attitude.

There are plenty of people, though, even in conservative states, who are ready to jump right into getting gay and lesbian couples married, because “conservative” is not the same as “asshole.”

Gerard Rickhoff, who oversees marriage licenses in Bexar County, which includes San Antonio, has removed the words “male” and “female” from the licenses. He’s prepared extra work stations and is ready to keep the office open late. He’s planning to have security on site to deal with protesters, “so there’s no possibility of discomfort or hate speech.” And if same-sex couples are turned away by clerks in other counties, he has a message for them: “Just get in your car and come on down the highway. You’ll be embraced here.”

Props to Mr. Rickhoff, and others like him in Georgia, Alabama, Arkansas and Michigan, mentioned in the above HuffPo article, and to people in all states, of all political orientations around the country whose action and support, however loud or quiet, let this happen.

I’ll wrap with a quote from President Obama: “Today we can say in no uncertain terms that we’ve made our union a little more perfect … America should be very proud.”

Cover Design

Chip Kidd has been doing book cover design for Knopf for about twenty-five years, and has done some awesome work. He discusses it, with illustrations, in this TED talk, which is well worth a watch, whether you do your own covers or hire other people to do them for you. Knowing what a good cover looks like, and what the possibilities are, is massively helpful when it’s time to decide whether or not the person you’re paying is doing a good job for you.

Note that Mr. Kidd has the unfortunately common Major Attitude toward e-books. [sigh] I wish people would just get over the whole, “But-but-but the smell of a book!!!” thing already. ๐Ÿ˜› As someone who prefers paper books, it’s embarassing how some folks who (unfortunately) share my preference get all sneering and snarky about it. Dude, it’s a format. You’re allowed to prefer whichever one you like. No reason to insult the other format, and by extension, all the customers who like it. I mean, seriously, do these people really think that if they just slather on the snark thick enough, often enough, the rest of the world will eventually smack its collective forehead and exclaim, “Wow, you’re right! This whole e-book thing was a horrible idea! Let’s just stop making them and go back to good old (smelly) paper!”

That one annoying quirk aside, Mr. Kidd is a incredibly talented designer. If you have anything to do with making book covers, whether putting them together yourself, or approving and paying for the work of others, give this a watch.

Angie

What Are We Paying For Again…?

From ABC News:

An internal investigation of the Transportation Security Administration revealed security failures at dozens of the nationโ€™s busiest airports, where undercover investigators were able to smuggle mock explosives or banned weapons through checkpoints in 95 percent of trials, ABC News has learned.

Wow. So we get lined up, barked at, irradiated and/or groped, little tin dictators in spiffy blue shirts with official looking epaulettes and shiny fake badges[1] treat us like cattle or prisoners, and… for what again?

According to officials briefed on the results of a recent Homeland Security Inspector Generalโ€™s report, TSA agents failed 67 out of 70 tests, with Red Team members repeatedly able to get potential weapons through checkpoints.

Gee, I’m so glad we have TSA making us feel so much safer than we were before 9/11. Oh, wait….

Security experts have said before that all the security rules put into place at the airport at the security checkpoints can be defeated without too much trouble, and I’ve discussed that here before. It’s common knowledge; I’m sure all the terrorists know.

Or maybe this is a one-time thing?

This is not the first time the TSA has had trouble spotting Red Team agents. A similar episode played out in 2013, when an undercover investigator with a fake bomb hidden on his body passed through a metal detector, went through a pat-down at New Jersey’s Newark Liberty Airport, and was never caught.

[T]he review determined that despite spending $540 million for checked baggage screening equipment and another $11 million for training since a previous review in 2009, the TSA failed to make any noticeable improvements in that time.

And according to a USA Today story in 2007, about failure rate of screener tests:

Howe said the increased difficulty explains why screeners at Los Angeles and Chicago O’Hare airports failed to find more than 60% of fake explosives that TSA agents tried to get through checkpoints last year.

The failure rates โ€” about 75% at Los Angeles and 60% at O’Hare โ€” are higher than some tests of screeners a few years ago and equivalent to other previous tests.

So I guess that’s a “nope” on the one-time failure thing.

And of course, part of the problem is that so much of the effort is focused at airports. It’s as if Homeland Security thinks terrorists have some kind of a compulsion to attack airports and airplanes. News flash: terrorists want to cause terror. They’ll do that anywhere they think will be effective. Other places will do just as well, places like sports stadiums, shopping malls, theme parks and other tourist attractions — anywhere large groups of people gather. There’s no way to guard every possible target against terrorist activity without turning the US into the ultimate police state. Money wasted on TSA would be much better spent on intelligence, stopping terrorists before they ever get near their targets.

David Burge, on Twitter, has it right IMO:

@iowahawkblog

At $8 billion per year, the TSA is the most expensive theatrical production in history.

Yeah, that’s just about right. [sigh]

Thanks to Bruce Schneier for posting about this.

[1] Yes, fake badges. The TSA screener uniforms and badges are designed to make travellers assume that the screeners are law enforcement officers, for purposes of intimidation and compliance. They are not law enforcement, and have no arrest powers. If a TSA screener thinks you should be arrested, they have to call a real cop like everyone else.

Angie

Yay Noise :/

Sometimes I wish I lived in a town with suckier sports teams.

There are explosions going off in my neighborhood, and a few minutes after it started, Jim called up the stairs to let me know it’s because the Seahawks are winning (won?) an important football game. Okay, that’s great for the fans. But do they have to make that much noise?

Aside from the general distraction, when I hear that kind of noise, my first thought is, gunshots. Because that happens around here sometimes too. And sometimes when there are celebratory fireworks going off, there are gunshots in the mix too (like there were last weekend) because there are gun owners around who think that a yay-celebration is a great time to fire their gun into the air. Which is damn stupid, because as anyone who’s had high school physics knows, a bullet fired into the air will come down somewhere with the same speed, and doing that even one time should disqualify you from ever owning a gun again in your life. Unfortunately I’m not making the laws, and so there are idiots who own guns around. [Obligatory statement that I have no problem with intelligent people owning guns.]

So whenever this happens, I’m sitting here wondering whether a stray bullet is going to come through the window, or maybe through the roof. I have a story due tonight, and that sort of wondering is damn distracting.

I can only hope the Seahawks start sucking one of these years. Or that a few particular gun owners in my neighborhood grow some brains. I wonder which will happen first?

Angie

Because Telling Teenagers “No” Always Works

The principal of Booker T Washington High has stepped in to cancel one of their school’s summer reading programs rather than let the students read Cory Doctorow’s Little Brother, which is all about teenagers challenging wrongheaded authority. (Seriously, read it — it rocks.) An English teacher and a librarian had set up the One-Book-One-School program, which exists side-by-side with a more standard Summer Reading program, developing a study guide/brochure for students and parents. It explains the program, and gives questions the students should answer after they read. Notice that it also encourages the parents to read the book so they can discuss it with their kids, and allows parents who object to the book to contact the coordinating English teacher to get an alternate book for their kid to read.

Apparently giving the parents final authority over what their kids read isn’t enough for the BTW principal, though. When the program coordinators refused to choose a different book, the principal cancelled the whole program.

It was pointed out in comments to the Techdirt article, multiple times, that the principal could’ve done nothing to more effectively encourage all the students to eagerly read this book. [wry smile] A few people suggested that this might’ve been the hidden purpose behind the cancellation, but I think that’s giving too much credit where it’s probably not due.

In response, Cory Doctorow and his publisher, Tor, have donated 200 copies of the book to the school. I’d be interested in hearing what the school does with them, considering the principal’s actions so far.

Oh, and note that the school’s more standard summer reading program already includes Little Brother. o_O So apparently the principal is okay with the eleventh graders reading the book, but thinks it would be harmful for the ninth, tenth and twelfth graders…?

If you’re interested in reading Little Brother, which I highly recommend, Cory offers the e-book on his site for free, in pretty much any file format you might want. Check it out.

Angie

The Black Hole that is Facebook Advertising

In case anyone’s still using Facebook to market their work, Colleen Doran — comic writer and artist, who writes some great business posts when she’s not busy making a living — talks about why paying Facebook to try to reach more people is an expensive waste. Buying ads to get more “likes” actually makes it harder for your real fans to see what you post. The more you spend to get more likes on your page, the fewer real fans see each post. Facebook won’t fix this because they’re making money on it.

Check out Colleen’s post and watch the video by Veritasium, explaining an experiment they did and the conclusions drawn. Every time I see something like this, I’m that much happier I’ve never bothered with Facebook.

Angie

Follow-Up on the Libel of Quoting

I’m ridiculously busy right now so this is going to be short, but Mr. Sean Fodera, referenced in my previous post, has hired a lawyer to tell him that linking to an article that quotes him saying something stupid is not, in fact, a libelous action for which one can be sued. He’s posted a very thorough apology to Mary Robinette Kowal in which he also points out that he does not represent his employer (MacMillan) in any way when he says stupid things in public.

There are a few interesting roundaboutations and caveats in said apology, but whatever. I only hope he’s learned something, and is planning to duck out of sight for a while.

Angie, who still has about 90 stories to get through by Saturday

Quoting Now Equals Libel?

So apparently linking to an article where someone is quoted — with links to the original sources — as saying something that makes him look like a sexist asshat is now libel. That sounds like fun, so I thought I’d jump on the bandwagon.

Mr. Sean Fodera apparently thinks that any woman who wears attractive clothing can’t possibly be a feminist, because (I guess?) in order to qualify for the feminist club, you’re required to have nothing but army fatigues three sizes too big, or similar, in your closet. Okay then.

It just occurred to me that MRK seems to be deeply involved in this whole anti-sexism matter. I remember seeing her posing with Hines and Scalzi on one of their very scary cover parodies, and I know she chimed in with a snipe at the petition signers on the Radish thread.

I find it very funny and ironic that she would jump on this bandwagon. For a long time, her website featured an array of photos of her in a diaphanous white outfit, posing on a beach. No metal bikinis or such, but they were not innocuous writer headshots either. One of them, with her recumbent on the sand with legs exposed, made her somewhat attractive. I also recall she’s fond of wearing tight-fitting gowns and plunging necklines when she attends cons and award ceremonies.

I’ll have to add “phony” to “incompetent” and “arrogant” in the mental tags I’ve assigned her.

The Daily Dot has a screen grab of this bit from SFF.net, in case it gets deleted.

The whole Dot article is about the latest wave of sexist, racist crap coming out of the old guard SFWA types. It’s depressing, but at this point it’s really not surprising. What’s particularly eyerolly here is Mr. Fodera’s belief that this is actionable libel. John Scalzi commented on this, and I see it as a public service to spread it around. Not only to point out the sexist gluteal haberdashery, but to spread the word that no, this is not libel, and threatening to treat it as such just makes one look even more ignorant than the original commentary.

Also, note the Streisand effect in action here. I’ve never heard of Mr. Fodera before, and I’d wager most folks who read my blog haven’t either. Now we’ve heard of him, and the impression left isn’t exactly positive. Good job, Mr. Fodera!

Angie

Political Phone Spam

Dear American Political Candidates:

Okay, I know you’re all exempt from the requirement to refrain from cold-calling the people on the National Do Not Call List. Of course you are — Congress is made up of politicians, and they made sure that they and their campaign workers would be exempt. You don’t want to be hassled at home during dinner by people calling trying to sell you things or make you take a poll. You get how annoying that is. But when it comes to annoying others for your own purposes, well, I guess that looked like a completely different thing.

So when people working for your campaign call our number, which has been on the Do Not Call List since its inception, I understand that I have no legal recourse. No one’s going to fine you, or even slap you on the wrist.

But you know, when your campaign workers call people whose numbers are on the Do Not Call List, they’re communicating more in your name than just your campaign message. They’re also communicating that you don’t give a damn what I want, how I feel, or what my preferences are when it comes to communications from people I don’t know and have never done business with. You’re calling me because you want me to hear your message and you give no damns about whether I want to hear it or not.

That being the case, why should I assume that you’ll give any damns about what I think or what I want once you’re in office? If you’re trying to persuade me that you’re the best person to represent my wishes and views in our government, I have to say you’re doing a piss poor job of it.

Neither I nor my husband will be voting for any of the people whose campaign workers (or their robo-call minions) have called us with political messages. You’ve made it clear you don’t care what I think, and that you believe you should be above any repercussions for your acts of voter annoyance, and by doing that you’ve convinced at least the two of us that you’d suck as our elected leaders or representatives. I’ll bet we’re not the only ones, either.

Have fun on election night.

Angie