Lies are contagious. Politicians know that if you repeat a lie enough, people will start to take it as fact. Republicans are still trying to somehow prove that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction in 2003. Bill O'Reilly is denying the existence of white privilege on the Daily Show*.
As I've said, Republican budget cuts have damaged the public health infrastructure and weakened our defenses against outbreaks. Paul outright lied about those budget cuts—"No money has been cut in Washington," he said at a Republican rally yesterday—and then he cited a few studies involving fruit flies and monkeys to mock research that is currently being funded by the federal government. (This is a classic Republican tactic, as I noted on Monday.) And then, like any good joke, Paul unfurled the punchline, that the government is funding research into an "origami condom," which he then refused to describe any further for the sake of the children and families in attendance. It's a slick political move: Activate the prurient corners of the audience's minds while maintaining your position on the high road. I guarantee you that audience came away from that speech shocked and outraged over what their tax dollars were funding.
This is presumably the condom Paul is mocking. The company's name, Origami, comes from the fact that they make condoms that don't unroll. The rolling condoms we have used for over a century, as anyone who's ever used a condom can tell you, open a lot of possibilities for malfunctions. So Paul is mocking an attempt to make condoms safer, more pleasurable, and more foolproof. Further, Origami is trying to re-imagine condoms for women and condoms specifically for use in anal sex. The Gates Foundation has also given Origami money " to improve the health of people in the developing world." So let's be clear about what Rand Paul is mocking when he mocks the Origami condom: He's mocking a chance for women in the developing world to have some control over their sexual choices. He's mocking a new attempt to staunch the spread of STDs, and to help control unwanted pregnancy. He's using another epidemic as a joke to distract audiences from the fact that his own party is responsible for the mishandling of Ebola in the United States. He's being a total fucking asshole.
* I don't think that Daily Show conversation between Jon Stewart and O'Reilly is especially good. It's poorly edited, for one thing, and it devolves almost immediately into the kind of screaming match that Jon Stewart used to rail against as bad for public discourse. Most of the fault for that falls on O'Reilly, of course, but Stewart's friendly tolerance of O'Reilly doesn't help matters any.
One of my favorite Slog tippers flagged this recent study:
What doesn’t kill us may make us stronger as a group, according to findings from new research published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science. The research suggests that, despite its unpleasantness, pain may actually have positive social consequences, acting as a sort of “social glue” that fosters cohesion and solidarity within groups: “Our findings show that pain is a particularly powerful ingredient in producing bonding and cooperation between those who share painful experiences,” says psychological scientist and lead researcher Brock Bastian of the University of New South Wales in Australia. “The findings shed light on why camaraderie may develop between soldiers or others who share difficult and painful experiences.”
The researchers asked two groups of students to "perform either a painful task or a similar, relatively painless task." One group, for example, was asked to dunk their hands into lukewarm buckets of water to retrieve small metal balls at the bottom of the bucket; another group was asked to dunk their hands into freezing cold buckets of water to retrieve the small metal balls. The groups who performed the painful task together—the group that suffered together—showed "a greater degree of bonding than did those who performed the pain-free versions, even after the researchers accounted for participant age, gender, and the size of the group."
The researchers conclude:
The pain experienced by some of the students seemed to serve a unique causal function, focusing the students’ attention on the shared pain and, ultimately, promoting group cohesion. These findings offer insight into many social, religious, and even sexual practices around the world that involve some element of pain.
So... submissive kinksters who claim to feel bonded to the subs they suffered alongside at a BDSM play party aren't just new-agey/woo-hooey about kink. Their sexual practices—the pain they sought out, experienced, and shared—actually do leave them feeling closer. The same probably goes for folks who've been through boot camp, survived frat hazings, and made it to work this morning on the New York City Subway. But it's nice to see researchers acknowledge, even glancingly, that kinksters derive real and lasting emotional benefits from their stigmatized "sex practices."
America's most prominent spanking fetishist—Jillian Keenan—doesn't think parents should spank kids:
Spanking is a sex act. It has been for a very long time—probably even longer than it’s been a parenting choice. A fresco at the Etruscan Tomb of the Whipping, which dates back to approximately 490 B.C., depicts an erotic spanking. In Francum, a 1599 epigram by John Davies, includes one of the most explicit descriptions of sexual masochism in Renaissance poetry. In Victorian England—well, there are way toomany examples to list them all, so suffice it to say that spanking was a constant focus of Victorian erotica.
And butts aren’t just culturally sexualized; they’re biologically sexual, too. Nerve tracts that pass through the lower spine carry sensory information to and from both the butt and genitals. Some scientists speculate that these nerves can stimulate one region when the other is provoked. There’s also a blood vessel in the pelvic region called thecommon iliac artery. When blood rushes to a child’s butt—because, say, you’re spanking him—blood rushes down that artery. But the artery splits. Some of it directs blood to the genitals. So when you cause blood to rush to a child’s butt, you’re also causing it to rush to his or her other sex organs. The other time this kind of genital blood engorgement happens is during erection or arousal.
Keenan is reacting to the Adrian Peterson scandal. Peterson, of course, is the NFL player who had admitted to whipping his four-year-old son with a switch. A lot of pixels have been spilled about Peterson after he was indicted on child abuse charges. Here's all I gotta say about his case: If I had whipped my son with a switch when he was four—leaving broken skin and bloody lash marks all over his legs, butt, and scrotum—it wouldn't have inspired a national conversation about spanking and cultural differences. It would've inspired the authorities to put my kid in foster care and me in prison.
Way back when Terry and I were about to become dads I was shocked by the number of people who asked us—out of the blue—if we intended to spank. "Of course," I always replied. "But not the kid."
Don't blame yourself or your partner—blame the fact that you may not have one. Anna Pulley writing at Salon:
If you’ve been one of the countless people searching in vain for the elusive Gräfenburg spot (aka the G-spot) or wondering why you aren’t gushing like Old Faithful each time someone makes a “come hither” motion in your vagina, then search and wonder no more. Once lauded as a “magic button” and the ultimate female pleasure enhancer, an Italian scientist’s recent report claims once and for all that the controversial G-spot is nothing but a myth (with a really good PR campaign). The study—published in the journal Nature Reviews Urology by Emmanuele Jannini, Professor of Endocrinology and Medical Sexology at Tor Vergata University of Rome, Italy—found that, essentially, the G-spot is just a sensitive area that’s part of the larger pleasure center that includes the vagina, clitoris, and urethra, or as the study sexily put it, the “clitourethrovaginal (CUV) complex.”
Jannini’s most recent work on the G-spot hype does alleviate some of the sexual pressure faced by both men and women. We can now safely put away our magnifying glasses and ignore the sex advice that would have us attempting sign language in our partner’s vaginas (unless, of course, you enjoy that). While clitourethrovaginal complex is much harder to say and spell than old Ernst’s term, it’s interesting to know that the female pleasure region is not limited to any specific spot, but instead functions as a team that all works together to make your face contort like that. In other words, there may not be an “I” in “team,” but it appears there is an “O.”
I've spoken with a lot of women who swear by that "come hither" motion—and who require precisely that kind of stimulation to get off and/or to squirt—and I find it hard to believe they were all deluded.
Now I haven't dug into the G-spot literature lately but I'm pretty sure no one was arguing that the G-spot was a stand-alone organ, like a bonus kidney or something. So I'm not convinced that placing the G-spot on Team CUV disproves its existence. Couldn't the G-spot (a location, not an organ) be one part of a larger clitourethrovaginal complex with some women deriving more pleasure from its stimulation than others? That some women experience intense pleasure from having this one particular part of their CUV complex stimulated seems no more remarkable to me than the fact that some men derive intense pleasure from having their balls played with or their taints licked. (The balls and taint, of course, are both important parts of the peniurethroballsackinal (PUB) complex.)
Because they thought she was a prostitute:
Actress Daniele Watts and her boyfriend Brian James Lucas (aka Cheffy BeLive) have taken to social media to protest Daniele’s recent arrest for prostitution. The young black woman’s actual crime? Kissing her white boyfriend in public. It seems someone saw the two kissing in public, didn’t like it, and told them to “stop putting on a show.” Minutes later, the police show up, and start asking Lucas questions which, he says, suggested that his girlfriend was actually a prostitute and he was her trick.... Interestingly, a California CBS affiliate says that California has no law requiring you to show your ID to the police if you’re just walking down the street. But they do have the right to detain you if they have “reasonable suspicion” of something.
It would appear that the cops believed they had a "reasonable suspicion" that Daniele Watts was a sex worker—I'm not saying it was reasonable, mind you, only that the cops actions would seem to indicate that they suspected Watts of being a sex worker for some reasonable reason. But if they believed Watts was a sex worker and she was selling sex to the man she was with and they detained her because prostitution is illegal... why didn't they detain her boyfriend too? It's not just selling sex that's illegal. It's illegal to buy sex. Anti-sex-work activists constantly argue that laws criminalizing prostitution are meant to protect women who sell sex from the real villains: men who buy sex. Yet here we have the cops breaking up what they believed to be a commercial sex transaction, and they detain the woman they suspected of selling sex—put her in cuffs, throw her in a police car—and not the man they suspected of buying sex?
Hm. I have a reasonable suspicion now that maybe anti-sex-work activists are lying when they say the laws against prostitution are meant to protect women doing sex work.
It also needs to be said: Watts shouldn't have been detained even if she were a sex worker because sex work shouldn't be illegal.
UPDATE: The NY Daily News has details—and tape—that complicate the narrative. Neighbors claim the pair was fucking in the car, which they dispute. And Watts was still within her rights to refuse to provide identification.
This is all the rage in the black world...
.@nubianskin has taken on the task of providing women of color with realistic "nude" lingerie: http://t.co/zGonwYarMY pic.twitter.com/8lV2UetaRq
— okayafrica (@okayafrica) September 13, 2014
But what are they selling exactly? And which is worse: giggling kinky parents or mortified glowering teenagers?
Tracy Clark-Flory admits to looking at those hacked celeb sexts—and feels bad about it:
I did it. I am embarrassed to admit it, but I did: I searched for the celebrity nudes stolen by a hacker over the weekend. It was an almost unconscious reaction, like pulling away when touching something hot—only the opposite. There are celebrity nudes? Rush toward them. It wasn’t sexual; I wasn’t looking to get turned on. I just wanted to know. What were these photos? How “bad” were they? As a woman in the world, I am all too aware of the perpetual possibility of being shamed or violated myself. It’s hard not to take such newsmaking events—regardless of whether they happen to a celebrity—as a warning. Besides, unless I searched for the images, I wouldn’t know whether they showed Ariana Grande delicately wrapped in a bed sheet or spinning sequined nipple tassels while juggling baby monkeys. My curiosity and concern, I told myself, shouted down the other voices in my head—the ones saying that these photos were stolen, that it was a violation of their privacy, that these women were being victim-blamed and slut-shamed for having taken these private photos in the first place. Sisterly solidarity, right? No—basic humanity.
I did it anyway.
“Oh, she’s so gorgeous!” I said out loud, when I came across the stolen images of Jennifer Lawrence. As though complimenting a woman while violating her privacy makes the thing any better.
Robin Abcarian says the outrage is ridiculous:
How long has this whole Internet thingy been going on, anyway? How long has electronic piracy been going on? Identity theft? How long have we known about phishing? How often have our public figures been told that if they don’t want to see something splashed on the front page, they shouldn’t engage in that behavior in the first place?
It’s pretty damn simple: If you don’t want people to see your naked body, don’t pose naked for photos that could be vulnerable to theft. No one can protect you from that kind of electronic violation. Isn't that pretty obvious by now?
Bullshit, says Van Badham at the Guardian:
Violation it is, too, because whatever the medium of communication between lovers (whether it’s a telephone call, a text message or the sexual act itself), the conversation is private and to intrude upon it is sexual involvement that has occurred without consent, and it has the same resultant harms. That a mobile phone used to facilitate a lovers’ conversation can also be used as a means of mass communication is irrelevant, because mass communication was in no way agreed to by the lovers, who had every right to believe their security would not be compromised.... There are suggestions that prosecution may result not only for the hacker of the photos, but for those who view and share them. Good. To excuse viewing the images just because they’re available is deplorable.
For my part... I haven't viewed the photos. Because that would be wrong. It helps that they're all female celebrities. We'll see how firm my resolve is when a bunch of male celebs get hacked. What about you, Slog?
Lots of good, God-fearing people have the day off down south—nothing to do, time to kill. So gay porn sites should be doing a bang-up business today:
Folks in the Bible Belt watch more gay pornography than anywhere else in the nation according to new numbers released by Pornhub, one of the world’s biggest porn sites. Pornhub reports that the majority of states with a high percentage of gay viewers is in the South. According to the numbers, Mississippi, Louisiana and Georgia lead the South in gay porn consumption, and the state with the highest percentage of gay porn viewers in the nation is Mississippi at 5.6%.
The authors of a recent study published in the Journal of Women's Health claimed that women who read Fifty Shades of Grey are likelier to be abused by their partners and likelier to be abused by themselves—likelier to binge drink, develop eating disorders, and engage in risky sexual practices. The authors of the study claimed a "a dose-to-effect relation," meaning the more Fifty Shades a particular woman read, the greater her risk for intimate partner abuse, binging, risky sexual practicing, etc.
Robert James King—School of Applied Psychology, University College Cork, blogger at Psychology Today—took a look at the study's methodology, the questions asked of its subjects, and the data these researchers actually generated. And guess what? The study is so shoddily constructed that it amounts to scientific malpractice:
Let’s start with the so-called eating disorders. What was actually measured? Two things.
Q1 “Have you ever fasted for a day (or more)?”
Q2 “Have you ever used diet aids?”
That’s the lot. No. Calling the use of diet aids an eating disorder is just scare-mongering. These people didn’t have eating disorders—at least not that we know of.... [And the] criteria the authors use for prevalence of risky sexual practices were two:
Q1: “Have you had five or more sexual partners?”
Q2: “Have you ever had anal sex?”
Really? Boy, you young people! These are the criteria for risky sexuality?
So some "sex researchers" with pronounced sex-negative and kink-negative biases decided to do a "study" of Fifty Shades and—surprise!—they managed to gin up some bullshit correlations that appeared to ground their biases in some sort of objective reality. "All the authors have done is import their moralising and attached some numbers to it," says King. You don't have to be a fan of the books—and I'm definitely not a fan—to enjoy King's scathingly delicious takedown of this bullshit study. Go read the whole thing.
I say: no special rights for people who would ruin a blowjob by incorporating a grapefruit. Tips on appling, lemoning, green peppering, poundcaking, and cabbaging... after the jump...
After almost three decades in Wallingford—since 1986—the Erotic Bakery, Seattle's source for explicit cakes, cupcakes, cookies, brownies, and more, is closing at the end of September.
Owner Kimmie Barnett says it’s simply because she’s tired, but she also mentioned a decline in demand for boob/penis/vulva cakes.
Seattle's recession of cool/weird old-school culture—see, most recently, the news about the Hurricane Cafe closing—has now officially become a depression, and I, for one, am very depressed. To paraphrase a bit of Seattle history, will the last cool/weird old-school institution leaving Seattle turn out the lights?
If only he had some sort of, I don't know, lubricant handy—something he could've applied to those squeaky old chains...
They screw up guys too.
This young writer, philosopher, and entrepreneur's last "promising relationship" ended because so many other men have cheated on their women and not because he's a complete tool. (And remember, kids: real men only date women, women never cheat on men, and men who regard women as "an extension of themselves" would be completely irresistible to the ladies if it weren't for all those stupid cheating boys out there pretending to be men.)
This person comes to all of my college speaking gigs and is always the first one to the mic when the Q&A segment starts:
Sexuality affects all of us—men and women alike—but we hardly ever talk about it. Folks, it’s 2014. It’s time for a frank, public discussion of sexuality that reinforces every single one of my existing beliefs on the matter.
There’s no use denying it any longer. We need a forum where anyone can share views that accord with mine. A place to speak freely about everything from consent to BDSM to fetish culture without ever disagreeing with me, and where any ideas I deem too conservative or too liberal can be shouted down.
Let’s ask: When it comes to sex, what’s permitted? What’s off-limits? What should stay private? I have specific answers in mind for each of these questions, but until we start framing them in an indignant way that makes it impossible to differ with me, progress cannot and will not happen.
It's a question I get every day—it's a question all advice columnists get every day (rivaled only by the inane "Do vegans swallow?")—and now it looks like there's a definitive answer: Yeah, probably.
According to new findings presented at the American Psychological Association annual convention, too many old adages about cheaters hold true: University of Denver graduate researcher Kayla Knopp found that people who cheat on their partners once are approximately three-and-a-half times more likely to cheat again in their next relationships. Knopp polled 484 unmarried participants between the ages of 18 and 34 and found that the “once a cheater, always a cheater” cliché doesn’t just apply to the people doing the cheating. Those who were cheated on in one relationship were also more likely to be cheated on again.
Do lots of people fail at monogamy or does monogamy fail lots of people? Almost all public discussions of monogamy accept the people-fail-at-monogamy premise. But my 20+ years in the advice racket have convinced me that presumptive/default/non-negotiated/non-negotiable monogamy is failing us.
I'm sure this guy does not represent the whole cow-manure-fetish community:
David Truscott, 43, repeatedly rolled around naked in liquid manure, called 'slurry', at a farm he had developed an obsession with in Redruth, Cornwall.... He initially removed cow pats from Woodbury House Farm but his behaviour escalated so that Truscott regularly entered the farm in search of slurry. When the farm's occupants Clive and Jackie Roth erected bollards and removed slurry in a bid to deter him, Truscott decided to exact revenge. He repeatedly set fire to the Roths' shed, tractor, enclosures and hay—killing a calf in one blaze. Last year, he admitted making threats to kill the Roth family and damaging their property. On Friday, he was handed an extended sentence of [five years].
If anyone could wrest the title of "World's Worst Superhero" from Florida Man it would be Cow Manure Fetish Man.
Originally posted yesterday at 5:15 p.m. The Men's March to End Demand is today, and SWOP-Seattle's much-more-useful, might-actually-help-someone Goodie Bag drive is this afternoon.
A local organization is planning to do something tomorrow that in a small way will improve the lives of the most vulnerable sex workers here in Seattle. But it isn't Seattle Against Slavery, which is bringing "survivors and prosectors" together for what's being billed as Seattle's first Men's March to End Demand.
From Seattle Against Slavery's press release:
Seattle will host Washington’s first Men’s March to End Demand. Organized by Seattle Against Slavery and Michael Hemker, an Assistant Attorney General with the Washington State Attorney General’s Office, this march seeks to encourage men to end the demand for sex trafficking.... Seattle Against Slavery is inviting all men (women and families welcome) to join together in this first of its kind event to demonstrate that we will no longer tolerate the demand. The March will begin at 10:00 a.m. in the heart of the Seattle Center at the Next 50 Plaza adjacent to the EMP museum. The March will proceed along Fourth Ave. to the Westlake Center. At the March, organizations currently working to put an end to sex trafficking will have tables and speakers will provide more information on how men can help put an end to the demand for sex trafficking.
The Men's March organizers said in an e-mail that they hoped to get 75 men (and women and families) at the Men's March to End Demand. But even if 75,000 men (and women and families) marched tomorrow—even if 750,000 men, women, and families marched—men (and some women) will continue to buy for sex from women (and some men). There have always been sex workers and there always will be sex workers. Sex workers have always had clients and they always will. Marching to "end the demand" for sex work is like marching to end the demand for illegal drugs. Marchers may burn a few calories, and they may leave feeling as if they've done something, but people will go right on paying for sex and using drugs.
Seattle Against Slavery would have us believe that anyone who patronizes a sex worker is guilty of exploiting a victim of human trafficking. But only a tiny percentage of sex workers are trafficked and not all victims of human trafficking victims are forced into sex work. After Somaly Mam, the world's most celebrated victim of sex trafficking, was exposed as a fraud earlier this year, Melissa Gira Grant took on anti-sex-work crusaders in an op-ed in the NYT:
The International Labor Organization estimates that more than three times as many people are trafficked into work like domestic, garment and agricultural labor than those trafficked for sex. I’ve interviewed human-rights advocates in Phnom Penh since 2007, and they raised concerns about Ms. Mam’s distortion of this reality. Her portrayal of all sex workers as victims in need of saving encouraged raids and rescue operations that only hurt the sex workers themselves.... Ms. Mam’s stories were told in interviews with journalists including Nicholas Kristof, an Op-Ed columnist for The New York Times. She attracted high-profile supporters: There were benefits thrown by Susan Sarandon; Sheryl Sandberg, the Facebook chief operating officer, is on the advisory board of her foundation. Ms. Mam’s target audience of well-off Westerners, eager to do good, often knows little about the sex trade. It doesn’t require much for them to imagine all women who sell sex as victims in need of rescue.
"Much of the cited data on trafficking is based on shaky estimates," Grant continued, "and many conflate all sex work with trafficking."
Conflating all sex work with sex trafficking—and suggesting that all sex workers are victims (slaves!)—is exactly what Seattle Against Slavery is doing. And they're partnering with "members of the law enforcement community" to do it—despite the fact that "criminalization [of sex work] and aggressive policing have been shown to increase sex workers' vulnerability to violence, extortion, and health risks."
Savannah Sly is a a volunteer with Sex Workers Outreach Project-Seattle, an organization dedicated to sex worker's rights advocacy. Sly thinks Seattle Against Slavery's efforts are misguided.
"Some well-intentioned people want to end violence against those who have been coerced [into sex work] and that's admirable," said Sly, "But these movements are victim-focused and not everyone in this industry is a victim."
SWOP-Seattle is also having an event tomorrow: between 2-3 p.m. SWOP-Seattle will be accepting donations of "travel sized toiletries, clean socks, gum, hair bands, instant soup packs, safer sex supplies." The group will fill "goodie bags" with the donated items and these goodie bags will be distributed to the most vulnerable sex workers in Seattle: those who are working outdoors. The bags will be delivered by SWOP-Seattle volunteers doing outreach. SWOP-Seattle will be accepting donations at the Bedlam Cafe in Belltown (2231 Second Ave, Seattle, WA 98121).
Sly acknowledges that some people doing sex work are being coerced. But the best way to help them is to educate people who pay for sex instead of stigmatizing them.
"We need to come up with ethical consumer strategies for the sex industry," Sly said. "Education can help us avoid buying garments made in sweatshops and education can help us to avoid patronizing non-consenting sex workers."
How can clients avoid victims of coercion?
"It's a good idea to go with independent providers," advised Sly. "People who [are] working for themselves are less likely to be doing sex work against their will. Look for somebody you can contact directly on the phone and actually have a conversation with so you can weigh how interested they are in their occupation. When you visit someone look for signs for overall contentedness with their occupation. It's a bad sign if someone is physically damaged or not able to speak freely about their work."
Another reason to decriminalize sex work: enlisting clients in the fight against coercion and abuse.
"Clients could be a powerful tool for identifying abuse," said Sly. "Clients are the ones who interact with sex workers face-to-face and very few actually want to hire someone who is being coerced. If they didn't fear being arrested they could report abuse."
UPDATE: What she said:
Key to getting people out of sexwork who don't want to be there is A) stop arresting and shaming them B) Fight poverty. That simple.
— mistressmatisse (@mistressmatisse) August 9, 2014
I dunno what exactly is going on inside what was ONCE the adult video shop Blue Video on Aurora Avenue, but it doesn't appear to be pornography.
I did take a peek through the windows, and it looked like it had been transformed into a gym of some sort. Um, NOT SEXY AT ALL (sigh). I miss seeing the stream of slightly shameful gray-haired fellers clutching their black plastic DVD sacks as they briskly walk to their cars. Slog Out, IS THIS THE SEATTLE OF THE FUTURE? Do we need ANOTHER gym?! Think of all your lonely uncles and grandfathers who need sexy visual stimuli… please!
In other news...
If you Google "Claiborne Richardson," the first result is now @fakedansavage's post "Claiborne Richardson Wants Pictures of a Kid's Cock."
— Ari Cohn (@AriCohn) July 11, 2014
The second part of the conversation about teens, sexting, and the law... after the jump.
Police in Virginia on Thursday backed off efforts to take sexually explicit photos of a 17-year-old to prove a sexting case against him. Police and prosecutors faced a wave of criticism following news media reports that they had obtained a warrant to take photos of the teen's erect penis. Police wanted the pictures to compare against photos he is accused of sending to his 15-year-old girlfriend at the time.
Good job, flying monkeys. The boy's aunt—his legal guardian—says she won't be satisfied until the charges against her nephew are dropped. Neither will I. Because threatening to ruin a kid's life by bringing felony charges that could land him on a sex-offender registry for life can have disastrous consequences.
.@ManassasCityPD - you left "Making Kiddie Porn" off your profile. That's what yer famous for, guys. @CityofManassas pic.twitter.com/vg9sWttolw
— Dan Savage (@fakedansavage) July 9, 2014
I've been giving Manassas, Virginia, and the Manassas City Police Department a hard time today on Twitter. Because of this story, which I wrote up earlier today on Slog. To recap: two teenagers—one a 17-year-old boy, one 15-year-old girl—sexted each other. The 15-year-old girl initiated the sexting. The girl's mom found the sexts and called the cops. The cops arrested the 17-year-old boy—and only the boy—and Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Claiborne Richardson is vigorously prosecuting that boy for possessing and manufacturing child porn.
So there is a 17-year-old boy in Manassas, Virginia. He has (had?) a 15-year-old girlfriend. She sent him pictures of her plump blossoming bosoms or whatever, so he sent her video (probably a Vine?) of his junk. Now the police want to take him to a hospital, shoot his dick full of Love Potion No. Nine, and take hot hot child prOn pictures of his hard boy-penis, so they can compare it to the penis in the video, and then prosecute him for child pornography. Everything about this story makes total sense. What is the first thing that makes sense about this story, Washington Post?
The teen is facing two felony charges, for possession of child pornography and manufacturing child pornography, which could lead not only to incarceration until he’s 21, but inclusion on the state sex offender data base for, possibly, the rest of his life.
Oh, he was “manufacturing” child prOn by taking pictures of his own and not anybody else’s penis, and so could go to jail for four years and be considered a sex offender forever? SEE, TOTAL SENSE.
But first Claiborne Richardson is going to drag that kid to a hospital in handcuffs and “give him a shot, and then take the pictures that we need.” The pictures Richardson needs—the pictures he craves—are pictures of the erect penis of that 17-year-old boy. Take it away, Wonkette:
Got it, Manassas PD and prosecutors. You just need to make some child prOn to show that boys making their own child prOn OF THEMSELVES AND NOT ANYBODY ELSE AND FOR TO SEND TO THEIR GIRLFRIENDS NOT TO SELL TO JOE FRANCIS OR WHATEVER is wrong. Everything about this case screams “TOTALLY APPROPRIATE ADULTS ACTING SENSIBLY AND IN AN APPROPRIATE WAY.”
Like I said, I've been giving the city of Manassas and the Manassas City Police Department a hard time on Twitter. And they deserve it and won't you please join me? But the biggest villain in this piece is Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Claiborne Richardson. He's the driving force behind the prosecution of this kid. So I am officially calling out the flying monkeys—it's been a while, my lovelies—and asking you to flood this creepy dicksniffer's email inbox with letters of protest and jam the phone lines at his office. Here are Richardson's email address and phone numbers:
Phone: (703) 792-6050
Fax: (703) 792-7081
And while you're in an outraged emailing-sending/call-making mood, also get in touch with Richardson's boss:
Paul B. Ebert
Commonwealth Attorney's Office
9311 Lee Avenue
Manassas, VA 20110-5594
Phone: 703-792-6050, F: 703-792-7081
Why the fuck would a judge order a teenage boy to get an erection and let cops take pictures of his cock? More pictures of his cock? (The cops already took pictures of the boy's flaccid cock.) Because this 17-year-old boy is alleged to have swapped sexts with his 15-year-old girlfriend and now the boy—just the boy—is being prosecuted for possessing and manufacturing child pornography. To prove that the erection in the video he sent his girlfriend is his own, and to prove that he made video of a minor (he made the vide of himself himself), the cops want their own pictures of his erection. This is insanity:
The teen is facing two felony charges, for possession of child pornography and manufacturing child pornography, which could lead not only to incarceration until he’s 21, but inclusion on the state sex offender data base for, possibly, the rest of his life.... [The] case began when the teen’s 15-year-old girlfriend sent photos of herself to the 17-year-old, who in turn sent her the video in question. The girl has not been charged, and her mother filed a complaint about the boy’s video, Foster said. The male teen was served with petitions from juvenile court in early February, and not arrested, but when the case went to trial in juvenile court in June, Foster said prosecutors forgot to certify that the teen was a juvenile. The case was dismissed, but police immediately obtained new charges and also a search warrant for his home. Police also arrested the teen and took him to juvenile jail, where Foster said they took photos of the teen’s genitals against his will.... Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Claiborne Richardson told her that her client must either plead guilty or police would obtain another search warrant “for pictures of his erect penis,” for comparison to the evidence from the teen’s cell phone. Foster asked how that would be accomplished and was told that “we just take him down to the hospital, give him a shot and then take the pictures that we need.”
So to put a teenage boy in prison for sexting—something most teenagers are doing—the Manassas police department is producing child pornography (they've already taken pics of this kids cock!) and the prosecutor is trying to extract a guilty plea by threatening this kid with being dragged to a hospital and forced to get an erection against his will in a room full of cops.
They're harassing this kid and trying to destroy his life. Let's harass back, shall we?
The Commonwealth's Attorneys Office is located in the Judicial Center at 9311 Lee Avenue, Suite 200, Manassas, VA 20110; Phone: 703-792-6050; Fax: 703-792-7081; email: email@example.com.
Anyone up for doing some sleuthing and finding the email and phone number for Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Claiborne Richardson?
Obama won the 2012 election in no small part because the growing anti-contraception rhetoric made it clear that the anti-choice movement was not about fetal life so much as hostility to sex, and to women. When conservative pundits snarl about how women need to simply quit having sex, or that unwanted pregnancy is a "consequence" women should suffer for sex, or that women who use birth control are "hoes" and "floozies," or that women who want their insurance to cover their medication are "shrieking," it just reinforces the Democratic claims that the conservative movement is straight up out to get women. I argued in February 2012 that Obama punked conservatives by baiting them into spewing shockingly misogynist rhetoric, but I had no idea that, two years later, they'd still be taking the bait.
Marcotte is confident that lady voters won't forget or forgive the slut-shaming bullshit, the "hoes and floozies" remarks, and the fuck-you-for-getting-pregnant rhetoric with which the GOP welcomed the Hobby Lobby decision. This shit will come back to haunt the GOP—if Dems have the sense to pull it all together in attack ads this November... and every November for years to come.
Well, what do you know? If a state makes contraception available to more women—particularly young and poor women—that state's teen birth rate, abortion rate, and welfare caseload all plummet:
A program that provides contraceptives to low-income women contributed to a 40-percent drop in Colorado's teen birth rate over five years, according to state officials. The program, known as the Colorado Family Planning Initiative, provides intrauterine devices (IUDs) or implants at little to no cost for low-income women at 68 family planning clinics in Colorado. The teen abortion rate dropped by 35 percent from 2009 to 2012 in counties served by the program, according to the state's estimates. Young women served by the family planning clinics also accounted for about three-fourths of the overall decline in Colorado's teen birth rate during the same time period. And the infant caseload for Colorado WIC, a nutrition program for low-income women and their babies, fell by 23 percent from 2008 to 2013.
Conservatives insist that women who can't afford birth control should simply go without sex. But faced with a choice between immediate deprivation (going without sex) and abstract risk (chancing a pregnancy), most women (and men) will take their chances. And when women who take their chances get pregnant, conservatives rush in to condemn them for being "irresponsible." But give poor and working women access to effective birth control—free IUDs and implants—and they will use it. So the lesson in Colorado is that most women want to be "responsible," it's just that too many can't afford to be. The cost of an IUD, as Ruth Bader Ginsberg pointed out in her blistering Hobby Lobby dissent, "is nearly equivalent to a month's full-time pay for workers earning the minimum wage."
The lesson in Colorado for conservatives ought to be this: You can be against abortion or you can be against contraception but you can't be against abortion and against contraception. Making contraception harder for women to get—looking at you, Hobby Lobbyists—means more unplanned pregnancies and more unplanned pregnancies mean more abortions.
So why are conservatives fighting so hard to make contraception harder for women to obtain? Because they don't think people—young people, poor people, unmarried people, gay people—should be able to enjoy "consequence-free sex." Because it's sex that they hate—it's sex for pleasure that they hate—and they hate that kind of sex more than they hate abortion, teen moms, and welfare spending combined. Knowing that some people are having sex for pleasure without having their futures disrupted by an unplanned pregnancy or having their health compromised by a sexually transmitted infection or having to run a traumatizing gauntlet of shrieking "sidewalk counselors" to get to an abortion clinic keeps them up at night.
...it's always good idea to fuck first:
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