07 April 2012

Wars on young, on blacks, on women

Few quick links here before I get back to work. I just need to rage at the computer for a couple of minutes, blow off a little steam.

First, from Esquire (I swear I read it for the articles!) is an amazing piece on the way that young folks in this country are continually and systematically getting screwed over. I feel compelled to note that I disagree with the author on (crucially important) things like race and gender, but he makes some good points, cites relevant data, and makes his case clearly. Impossible to ignore, if you're under about 50.

Cynicism rises to fill the emptied space of exaggerated and failed hope. It's all simple math. If you follow the money rather than the blather, it's clear that the American system is a bipartisan fusion of economic models broken down along generational lines: unaffordable Greek-style socialism for the old, virulently purified capitalism for the young. Both political parties have agreed to this arrangement: The Boomers and older will be taken care of. Everybody younger will be on their own. The German philosopher Hermann Lotze wrote in the 1870s: "One of the most remarkable characteristics of human nature is, alongside so much selfishness in specific instances, the freedom from envy which the present displays toward the future." It is exactly that envy toward the future that is new in our own time.

[...]

Youth should be the only issue of the 2012 election, because all the subsidiary issues — inequality, the rising class system in America, the specter of decline, mass unemployment, the growing debt — are all fundamentally about the war against young Americans. But the choice young Americans face is between a party that claims to represent their interests but fails to and a party that explicitly opposes their interests and actively works to disenfranchise them.

Second, from the University of Illinois: a new study is out that shows (unsurprisingly) that colorblind ideology - the "I don't see race, and if you do, you're racist" idea that has been the territory of Rush, Beck, Malkin, et al for years now - is pretty conclusively linked to, uh, actually being racist.

Specifically, results from an exploratory factor analysis suggest a 3-factor solution: Unawareness of Racial Privilege, Institutional Discrimination, and Blatant Racial Issues. A confirmatory factor analysis suggests that the 3-factor model is a good fit of the data and is the best of the competing models. The CoBRAS was positively related to other indexes of racial attitudes as well as 2 measures of belief in a just world, indicating that greater endorsement of color-blind racial attitudes was related to greater levels of racial prejudice and a belief that society is just and fair

Third, a rage-fueling story from Nebraska: a woman's water broke at 22 weeks; Nebraska has a law prohibiting abortion after 20 weeks; the woman had to give birth to a one-pound, ten-ounce girl and immediately watch the child die in pain. The state senator who sponsored the law (Mike Flood, and, seriously, fuck that guy) says that this is a perfect example of what the law was supposed to do. In this case - as this article on the issue from ABC points out - that involved not letting doctors even induce labor:

Consulting their lawyers, the Deavers' doctors said it would be impossible to induce because the fetus still had a heartbeat and the mother's life was in no immediate danger.

The exceptions to the law were unclear, according to Dr. Todd Pankrazt, who was Danielle's obstetrician/gynecologist.

"The risk of the baby developing an infection and the placenta coming out were real," said Pankrazt. "The mom was also at risk for an infection."

He said that a year ago, granting Danielle Deaver's wishes would "not have been an issue," and he could have induced labor for a vaginal birth.

"This is not at all a partial birth abortion," said Pankrazt. "She could deliver and hold the baby and do all those things.

"With the change in the law, we were advised by three different lawyers that if we did this, we would be held to the fullest extent of the law, which meant loss of license," he said. "Without having any case precedent risk of a law like that, [it] tied everybody's hands."

Under the law, doctors could face felony charges, five years in prison and a $10,000 fine by authorizing the procedure.

On a happier note, because I don't want to go back to work so utterly pissed off, here's maybe the sweetest coming-out Facebook thread that I've ever seen. Is it any wonder that my friends are geeks? I mean, yeah, the culture isn't perfect (far, far from it), but where else is something like this going to happen?

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