facebook link, politics, US Politics, USA

Contractualizing human sexuality.

It’s strangely fascinating to see how the American puritan and contractualist cultural heritage seems to interact with well-meaning (mostly feminist) “consent activism” and Christian/social conservatism. Here’s a great article from the NY Times outlining the extent and current legal status of prospective regulation.

Given the tendencies outlined in the NY Times article, I supppose it’s not entirely absurd to imagine how the – I think – generally well-meaning activists will wake up one day and wonder how they managed to accidentally contribute to ending the “age of acquarius” – the generally permissive socio-
sexual climate resulting from the “sexual revolution”.

And when they wonder how that happened, one of the answers may be found in a recent poll published in the Washington Post, question 32 of which inquires whether it’s worse if an innocent person gets punished for sexual assault, or a guilty person gets away with it.

While I thought “in dubio pro reo” would be a no-brainer, a principle deeply rooted in all but very few people’s intuitive understanding of justice, that is apparently not the case for current US students and recent graduates, which were surveyed. Half of the respondents think that it’s worse if a guilty person gets away than if an innocent person is punished. I suppose that also explains a lot more about the US judicial system than merely bizarre attempts to legally regulate sexual activity.


There’s a number of really interesting items in the survey, although many reply ratios make me wonder if people were either lying to give what they assumed to be socially acceptable answers or simply did not understand the question as such.

originally appeared on facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tobias.schwarz/posts/10154215528294062

PS – if you ever need one, here’s how you get your consent contract: http://consentgear.com/collections/frontpage/products/consent-matchbook-consent-kit-with-condom-contract-consentconscious

Bürgerrechte, politics, USA

Good Morning America.

The NY Times reports that the American Law Institute, a body made up of about 4,000 judges, lawyers and law professors and mostly dealing with creating structural legal directives to keep the different jurisdictional layers of the American legal system congruent, and also the body

which created the intellectual framework for the modern capital justice system almost 50 years ago, pronounced its project a failure and walked away from it.

Why? According to the NYT they didn’t quite say no to capital punishment as such, but they apparently did say that the American implementation is irretrievably broken –

A study commissioned by the institute said that decades of experience had proved that the system could not reconcile the twin goals of individualized decisions about who should be executed and systemic fairness. It added that capital punishment was plagued by racial disparities; was enormously expensive even as many defense lawyers were underpaid and some were incompetent; risked executing innocent people; and was undermined by the politics that come with judicial elections.

No kidding.

Economics, finance, US Politics, USA

Paul Krugman agrees…

in the NYTimes after the US House of Representatives voted “no” on the Wall Street bailout plan. He’s right of course, that “flip-flopping” on issues like this in the way it happened isn’t exactly a sign of a well functioning representative democracy. On the other hand, it’s also true that this vote is a sign that Congress still matters, even if it needed a figure with 11 zeros to balk at the administration. So, does that make the US a Banana Republic as Krugman argues? I think the decision on that is still out – after all, the bailout plan would/will have distributive consequences that would have/will make made the US income structure even more reminiscent of a classic Banana Republic.

Paul Krugman – OK, we are a banana republic

oddly enough, US Politics, USA

Sarah Palin is simply scary.

You know, back in 2000, I said that Americans were so confident in their way of doing things that they actually believed they could afford someone like the current President to be in charge. Now, a couple of years later, they may no longer be too confident about the situation they find themselves in, militarily, diplmatically, economically, and politically. But in a move that illustrates to a scary degree the extent of polarisation of the American electorate, John McCain picked his Vice Presidential candidate according to the simple rules of electoral maths, and we’re now facing the possibility of a President Sarah Palin. And that would probably be when we’d all begin to fondly remember the days of President Bush. If there’s anything the choice of Mrs Palin, just as the Congressional hearings regarding the imminent 700bn bank-bailout, indicate, it is that US politics seems to have become completely dysfunctional now.

Here’s Sarah Palin making that point to CBS news anchor Katie Couric. It would funny, if weren’t so sad and scary.

US Politics, USA

Hillary Clinton’s math problem seems controllable.

This is probably what Obama’s campaign will focus on next – if Hillary Clinton doesn’t win pretty much all of the upcoming primaries, and the bigger ones with a, say, 60-40 ratio, she will not be able to get more pledged delegates at the Democratic convention than Barack Obama. Newsweek’s Jonathan Alter draws the conclusion that this means that winning Texas and Ohio by only rather small margins actually dealt her campaign a technical K.O.

“Hillary would then have to convince the uncommitted superdelegates to reverse the will of the people.”

Sure, in that case, everything would depend on the votes of the unpledged superdelegates, and I think it is fair to assume that most of them would not want to risk alienating “the will of the people”. Alas, or fortunately, that’s not as easily done as it seems, simply because “the will of the people” cannot be as evident to a party official from, say, California, as it appears to a journalist looking at the nation-wide delegate count. What’s more important to said superdelegate? Supporting the candidate chosen by the voters in his or her home state? Or the one with the higher total number of pledged delegates (assuming they are not the same)? As superdelegates do not appear to be representing states proportional to the number of superdelegates, I’d suggest that the nomination is indeed still an open race, and possibly will be even at the Convention should both campaigns still have the same “momentum.”

Maybe it’s deal time now that John McCain is officially the Republican nominee. Why not have an “unbeatable democratic ticket” by guaranteeing Obama an active vice presidency to get the experience he still needs (at least for the campaign) and let the two agree that Hillary Clinton will not run for a second term… we’ll see.

battleofthesexes, quicklink, US Politics, USA

Estrogene Overload.

The NYT’s Maureen Dowd comes up with a rather counter-intuitive explanation for Obama’s recent success in the Democratic primaries: voters aren’t tired of feminity or scared of estrogene in their commander in chief, they seem to want more. But they just don’t believe they can’t get enough of it from Hillary…

US Politics, USA

Bill Clinton’s libido is responsible for Iraq.

Well, at least in the sense that he caused the Presidency of George W. Bush. And it’s his fault, too, if his wife won’t be nominated or elected president. Sounds farfetched? Well, not to Bob Herbert. NY Times columnist, who argues, apparently seriously, that Bill Clinton’s famous touch has always been poisenous for other Democrats and that

“[w]hen Mr. Clinton left office in 2001, … , … the Monica Lewinsky scandal and impeachment had opened the door to the era of George W. Bush.”

A little too reminiscent of the tale of Sex, Lies, and Dossiers which a young Texan student called Amber told me in June 2003 on the train to Prague, the myth that Bill’s unsatiable libido can be blamed for just about everything from global warming to Abu Ghraib. Maybe that’s some kind of conservative Godwin’s law equivalent, but I just wouldn’t have thought this kind of thinking has made it into the NY Times. Well, maybe the Times are a changing.