What is “rape culture?”

Man, I’ve seen people use the word “rape” a lot lately. Perhaps as a denizen of the internet you have become acquainted with the webcomic Penny Arcade; if you have not, and you enjoy acerbic, sometimes crude, often video-game related humor, you should. If you are acquainted with this webcomic, you may also know about the rather ridiculous firestorm surrounding the creators’ decision to remove their “Dickwolves” t-shirt from vendors at their upcoming Penny Arcade Expo. This stems from a series of complaints that the joke in this comic promotes/condones rape or “rape culture.” I’m not going to get into that debate right now – although I generally agree with Gabe’s “if you don’t like it, then don’t read it” policy – but I do want to talk a little about this idea of “rape culture.” I confess I hadn’t heard much about this before tonight, not being one who frequents leftist/feminist blogs, where the term seems to find its stronghold. According to Melissa McEwan over at Shakesville, Penny Arcade’s antagonist in this debacle:

The rape culture is a collection of narratives and beliefs that service the existence of endemic sexual violence in myriad ways, from overt exhortations to commit sexual violence to subtle discouragements against prosecution and conviction for crimes of sexual violence. The rape joke, by virtue of its ubiquity, prominently serves as a tool of normalization and diminishment.

Let’s break this down a bit. Continue reading What is “rape culture?”

I like Jan Brewer

That lady has guts.

So here’s hoping she signs HB2281 – if only to hear the wailing and gnashing of teeth from all the La Raza types. The bill, in short, bans classes or curricula in Arizona schools that:

  • Promote the overthrow of the United States government.
  • Promote resentment toward a race or class of people.
  • Are designed primarily for pupils of a particular ethnic group.
  • Advocate ethnic solidarity instead of the treatment of pupils as individuals.

Pretty common sense stuff, if you ask me, and stuff that Arizona’s been asking for for a long time now. In fact, it’s kind of sad that there has to be a law made to keep it out of our schools in the first place – but since the current status quo allows for ethnic studies classes that are little more than MEChA propaganda,  I suppose something should be done.

I guess we can finally get on with improving the state now that Napolitano’s finally gone, hmm?

Arizonan and proud of it

I’m from Arizona.

Been saying that all my life; it’s something I’m rather proud of. I like my state. I was born here and raised here and I’ve been all over the country, but this is my home.

Apparently that now means I’m a racist Nazi.

If you’ve been living under a rock for the past week, the Arizona legislature just passed a law which Governor Brewer happily signed (an act that has given her a 16% bump in approval ratings!) that addresses the issue of illegal immigration, which is something that is a pressing concern in my home state. The law increases penalties for businesses that hire illegal immigrants and covers new ways in which the problem is to be addressed by law enforcement officers. Specifically, the intensely controversial part is this section:

For any lawful contact made by a law enforcement official or agency of this state or a county, city, town or other political subdivision of this state where reasonable suspicion exists that the person is an alien who is unlawfully present in the United States, a reasonable attempt shall be made, when practicable, to determine the immigration status of the person. The person’s immigration status shall be verified with the federal government pursuant to 8 United States Code section 1373(c).

First off, the lawful contact is clarified later in the bill as having to be an otherwise-justifiable encounter; there’s no “pulled over on suspicion of being illegal” clause here. If you ran a red light, and are pulled over, this is something that can be added on to that encounter with the LEO. In other words, the officer must have already legally detained you before this even comes in to play.

Now at that point, if you’re suspected of being here illegally, you need to be able to prove you aren’t. Now, there are any number of ways you could do this; a drivers license, a green card, social security card, passport, or any other number of simple documents easily meet this requirement. Note that the bill actually has the officer verify the status with the Federal Government if they cannot produce the paperwork on the spot, so simply not having the papers with you doesn’t violate the statute – although it might waste your time.

This is not an unreasonable requirement, and in fact it is much less demanding than the US Code, which since the 1940s has required that immigrants carry, at all times and on their person, documentation that they’re here legally. It’s nothing new, but people are either ignorant of the existing law, or simply ignoring it because the controversy is more to their liking.

As for the part of the requirement that initially made me uneasy, the phrase “reasonable suspicion,” it turns out that this is a very specific legal term, and that there is a wealth of case law providing guidelines for what reasonable suspicion is and is not. In short, what it means is that there are other factors and circumstances that cause the officer to believe something illegal is going on. For instance – and this will sound familiar to anyone who’s been south of Tucson – a police officer stops a van that had been speeding on the I-10 heading north toward Casa Grande. He arrives and finds the van is packed full of people, none with identification, and the driver is being evasive. Any reasonable officer here would suspect that these people may be here illegally, at which point this law requires him to check on their status with ICE.

What it does not mean is that the officer pulled over a brown person and demanded, “Papieren, bitte!

This law is a good thing. It does not add extra demands on immigrants here legally, it cracks down on businesses who are exploiting legal loopholes to hire illegal labor, and it deters illegal immigration.

Though, of course, some people will just never get it.

SCOTUS reverses Sotomayor’s racism case

CNN just reported they reversed the decision, and sided with the firefighters. Thank God, justice won this time.

Here’s the full text of the decision (PDF).  Wonder if this will have any effect on Sotomayor’s confirmation, what with her constantly getting called out as being full of crap by the court she’s supposed to be joining.

Sotomayor for SCOTUS?

So Obama has come out with his pick for SCOTUS: Sonia Sotomayor.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the name, she’s got one positive mark on her record – she told the MLB owners during the 1995 baseball strike that they had to go back to the negotiation table. Because of this, Obama is selling her as the “woman who saved baseball.” I’m also sure he’ll advertise her as the first Hispanic justice, even though that’s not exactly true. (Side note: check out the argument on the Wikipedia revision page as to whether or not he’s Hispanic. I question the timing.)

Her most recent notable action was dismissing a “reverse-discrimination” claim appeal, which is currently at the Supreme Court: A group of white males who had gotten the highest scores on an evaluation for the firefighting job were passed over, and test scores thrown out, because no black men passed the test. They contended that the decision to pass them over was racially motivated – Sotomayor said they had no case. Fox News just noted that she has been reversed almost every time that her cases have gone to the Supremes, so that could be a potential embarrassment for her during these proceedings. (Edit: CNN has a brief summary of her record.)

She is on record as saying that “the Court of Appeals is where policy is made” – a very unconstitutional position, albeit increasingly popular, especially on the left. In addition, she is a strong supporter of identity politics. She embraces quotas, and suggests that state judiciaries are inherently racist and/or sexist. Fortunately, she has many very obvious soundbites to back up these charges – take this quote:

I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experience would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life.

The current talk from the left seems to be that this isn’t identity politics – rather, it is a “true American story” embodied in this woman, and that her biases and leanings are in fact a boon rather than a bane to justice. Gabe over at AoS has a great post on her sordid judicial history and it’s all very disturbing, to say the least. While on one hand I don’t see how she can be all that much worse than Souter, it’s hard to imagine anyone worse getting picked from the current options available. Here’s another money quote from the same speech:

For men lawyers, what areas in your experiences and attitudes do you need to work on to make you capable of reaching those great moments of enlightenment [inherently belonging to minorities] which other men in different circumstances have been able to reach.

And Gabe sums it up quite nicely in the above-linked post, saying:

The take-away from this speech is that Sotomayor believes that some individuals are better than others merely by fact of the identity group to which they belong. There is nothing more abhorrent to our Constitution and the ideals of our democracy. Such divisions are supposed to be legally irrelevant. We should not be elevating such a small-minded woman to the highest Court.

Emphasis his. It’s worth reading the whole thing, but that sums up the dilema quite nicely – we are now facing not just the quiet, unstated understanding that identity politics trumps all in Obama’s political world, but rather an outright admission and celebration of that fact. God help us.

Edit: looks like Obama’s being careful to say Puerto Rican. Fair enough, I guess.