Thursday, April 30, 2009

As Expected...

Okay as most of you know Melissa Huckaby is staring down the barrel of murder and rape charges for the rape and murder of 8-year old Sandra Cantu. Well as expected since this breaks the script of a man being the one charged with such a crime the first thing many media outlets are scrambling to do it is "figure out what made her do it". Well when in doubt about trying to find out why a woman would do such a violent thing there is always the standard method of finding a man or men in her past to point at. And it would seem that a few have been pulled up.

This is from an article from
According to new information obtained by ABC News, Huckaby had at least two prior relationships with men she claimed abused her.
The "I was abused line." Now I'm not saying that she was not abused because it is certainly possible that she was but I have to say that the timing of such revelations is very odd and convenient. I suppose since it worked for Mary Winkler she thinks it can work for her too. Oh and I wonder where the "It doesn't matter what happened before that was uncalled for." crowd is on this one?

And then we have article titles like this:
Disbelief among those who know Tracy suspect

Was Melissa Huckaby Raped?

Disbelief as teacher Melissa Huckaby is charged with child rape and murder

and how times are we going to have to look at this picture of her sobbing at one of her hearings?

With coverage like this it's going to be very interesting to see how the trial goes.

Monday, April 27, 2009

...And another one grows in its place.

Last year the FOX Network was toying around with the idea of starting up a reality show that would have operated under the premise of getting "deadbeat dads" to pay the child support that they owe. (Some articles on it can be found here and here.) The show's proposed name? "Bad Dads" Thankfully men's and father's advocates successfully protested the show and it was never aired. It would seem that Fox's attempt was only one head of a hydra and Lifetime is the head that grew back in its place.

Glenn Sacks of Fathers and Families, an organization that aided in the protest efforts against Fox's failed attempt to air their version of the show, has a post up with detailed information on who to contact to voice your opinion on Lifetime's version of this show.

I'm sure the people behind this show are claiming that they are only trying to get men who intentionally avoid paying child support to come clean. I'm sure they say they are only going to embarrass the deliberately delinquent ones. I'm sure the people behind this will proclaim to not go after those who are behind through no fault of their own. But considering the unfair stigma that is painted on men behind on their child support I highly doubt those assurances.

Many men that are behind on their payments work jobs that barely keep them at poverty level and many of them are simply below the poverty line. Don't be fooled by the image of the "deadbeat dad" that is shown in the media most of the time. The hardcore "gangsta" that drives a $100k car and is covered in jewelry that refuses to pay. The corporate CEO that makes 6 figures and goes on 3 out of country vacations a year but will not pay support. Guys like that are the minority but more than likely this show is going to operate on the premise that they are the majority. Contrary to this popular image most dads that owe support are sparely employed, employed but make very little, or are unemployed for reasons ranging from to economic misfortune to disability.

Not only is the damage that would be inflicted on those innocent dads be massive but such a show could lead to the children of those non custodial dads to feel unwanted and unloved.

If Lifetime is so concerned about children not getting the support they need then maybe they should bring up that $28 million that the state of Florida is chilling on. Interesting that the state can track a man down and garnish his wages for about two decades against his will but they can't find the moms that are supposed to receive it.

Preventative Maintainence?

I don’t think I’ve done a post on the subject of circumcision yet so here goes.

One of the most contested subjects when it comes to infants is circumcision. Should little newborn infant boys have the foreskin removed from the tips of their penises or should they be left alone? I am personally of the opinion that unless there is a necessity to perform it then the foreskin should be left intact. By necessity I mean that there is a present danger or absolute certainty that there will be future complications. And this is where I get a bit lost. Quick question:

How many other body parts are removed from newborns for the reason that the removal MIGHT prevent future issues?

The appendix might rupture later in life and from what I understand that can cause a lot of complications. So does that mean the appendix should be removed at birth? Why not go ahead and take the tonsils out as well? Nip a possible future surgery in the bud before it becomes an issue.

Yes circumcision may lower the chances of a man contracting an STD but I'm sure there are plenty of circumcised men out there who still managed to contract one. Now don't get me wrong the possible prevention of disease is a good thing. However proper genital hygiene and safe sex also reduce the chance and they don't require a body part to be prematurely taken off. And then there is also the fact that circumcisions have been performed on infant boys long before any of these studies came about showing that it would help against STDs.

In the end I'm left wondering why in this day and age no other procedure is preformed as routine preventative maintenance on newborns while this one standard procedure.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

What have I been up this week?

For some odd reason I've been reading a lot of stuff and forming fragmented ideas for posts but nothing cohesive enough to turn into a full post (might have something to do with that fetish party I went to last Saturday). Well I've never been one to be held back by something as simple having several pieces that don't fit so here goes. These are some of the posts and stories I've been reading about in the last week or so.

Pelle Billing - Misandry in the Media: Pelle sheds a bit of the light on the misandry that has become a regular but unnoticed occurrence in the media. (Sidenote: I just had to add word misandry to the electronic dictionary so it would not keep coming up as misspelled).

What Tami Said - Coming Out Black and Agnostic: Tami tells the story of a man who is dealing with the situation of being agnostic in the black community given the connection between the black community and the church.

Womanist Musings - Only 4.99 To Own A Racist Black Bobble Head: Renee shows us an online retail site called DealExtreme that apparently receives a portion of its profit from banking on racism. And sadly enough that's not the only offensive merchandise on the site.

Jump Off The Bridge - BREAKING: Guilty Verdict Means Justice for Angie: Sally has a post up on the guilty verdict of Allen Ray Andrade, the man on trial for the murder of Angie Zapata. The post itself contains several links to other posts covering the story.

Elle, phd - Again: Elle links to the story of Jaheem Herrera, another little star that will never get to shine due to being driven to suicide by a barrage of bullying and harassment that included anti-gay sentiments.

The Thang Blog - I Hate ‘The Body Swap Episode’: R (I just discovered this site and as far as I can tell the blogger goes by only "R") has something interesting here. In this post R has a take on the "Body Swap Episode" that is a common occurrence in sci-fi programming that I for one had never thought about before. I highly recommend this one.

Glenn Sacks - Short Article on DV says a Lot: Robert Franklin gives a small commentary on a small article on seldom covered phenomenon of female against male DV.

So while I haven't been able to think of a post of my own this week I have been at least reading other people's stuff.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Oh now its a shock...

When a child goes missing or is a victim of violence the usual order of suspects is male relatives, non relative males that are close to the child, and non relative males that are not close to the child. When eight year old Sandra Cantu disappeared on March 27 I'll bet the the three groups I listed above were all they checked out as possible suspects. So now that the prime suspect is a woman people shocked. What could cause such shock?

Oh I think I have an idea. It might be smokescreens like this:
FBI statistics show women are involved in just 7 percent of murders of any sort. Solo killings of children by women are even more unusual.
"There was some speculation early on that [the suspect] would be a man," Sheneman said Saturday. "It's unusual for a woman -- statistically, according to the FBI -- to be involved in anything like this."
(via here, here, and here)

Notice the intentional obscurity of quoting a stat on "murders of any sort". Thing is we aren't talking about a "murder of any sort". This is specifically about the murder of a child. So lets lift that smokescreen shall we? I looked at that FBI site for a statistical breakdown of murder by gender of killer and age of victim but could not find one (but the 7% from above is there). But I did find one here.

This chart is of fatal child mistreatment in 2007 sorted by relation to the child. As you can see a little over 25% of them (27.1% to be exact) were perpetrated by the mother alone. Of the other 73.9% about 28% had a female perpetrator involved in some extent. (Mind you that is not 28% of the people in that 73.9% it is 28% subtracted from 73.9%.) That leaves 45.9% without any female perpetrator involvement. Yet its unusual to have a female suspect.

So after looking at this I can see where the stigma comes from in which whenever a violent crime is committed against a child the first round of suspects are always male even when its not a sexual crime with male specific evidence. Our society seems to have this presumption that violence (especially against children) only comes from the actions of men. That is why people are so "shocked" that a woman is the suspect in this. That is why the authorities more than likely assumed a male perpetrator from the get go. And that is why no one batted an eye at Sgt. Tony Sheneman when he said, "Finding out that it is a woman who is responsible for Sandra's kidnapping and murder, and then finding out it is a member of the community is another blow." Yes discovering that a child might have been murdered is not a blow but having a female prime suspect is. I wonder how shocked they would be if it were a male suspect.

It will be interesting to see how this turns out. And speaking of shock let me go ahead and say that I will be shocked, if in the event she is found guilty, if she doesn't get the usual female sentencing discount.

In ur Amazon, hax0ring your search results and rankingZ????

The blogsphere has been in a justified uproar for the last few days over what was thought to be's (one of the largest if not the largest online retail site on the internet today) decision to remove listings and rankings on most of its homosexual material (both domestic and international) on the grounds that it was offensive. Mind you though this does not explain heterosexual material was relatively unscathed in all this.

Well it seems that perhaps the firestorm might be a bit premature. According to this piece at Fox this may all be the result of a hacker's ill intentions or a programming error.

At first former Amazon employee Mike Daisey, said it was the result of an administrator on the French version of Amazon confusing the English words for "adult" and "erotic." Amazon spokeswoman Patty Smith told Fox News via email, "It has been misreported that the issue was limited to Gay & Lesbian themed titles — in fact, it impacted 57,310 books in a number of broad categories such as Health, Mind & Body, Reproductive & Sexual Medicine, and Erotica". She also seemed to give indication that something along the lines of Daisey theory was the cause.

On Monday morning a hacker going by (or at least claiming the identity of) "Weev" came forward to take credit for Amazon's troubles.

"I guess my game is up!", he, or someone claiming to be him, wrote. "Here's a nice piece I like to call 'how to cause moral outrage from the entire Internet in ten lines of code.'"

Another blogger tested the method and code Weev claims to have used to perform this act and concluded that while it did not work the it may be possible for the code to work if it were debugged (the process of finding and fixing errors and anomolies in computer code).

Although the details behind the cause have not been ironed out Amazon has already restored the sales rank and listing information on some of the material and will be working to make sure they are all properly restored.

So it might be a bit too soon to commence with the anit-Amazon hatred...

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover, the star that will never have the chance to shine

April 17 is the 13th annual National Day of Silence by taking some form of a vow of silence to bring attention to anti-LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) bullying and harassment at school. Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover would be celebrating his 12th birthday on that same day, if he were alive to see it.

This past Monday (April 6) the junior at New Leadership Charter School in Springfield, Massachusetts hung himself after enduring constant taunting and bullying at the hands of schoolmates. And exactly what was the motivation behind their teasing? Well apparently these children concluded/suspected that young Joseph was gay and that homosexuality is justification for bullying, teasing, and harassment.

It is not.

Someone's sexual orientation, homosexual, heterosexual, bisexual, or what have you, is not justification for harassment and it certainly does not make it okay to bully them to the point where they think that death is the only way out. Usually the first thing someone would say is that death is never the answer and there must have been another way. He may have been getting bullied at school but surely there must have been something else he could have done to resolve the problem than taking his own life. Bear in mind this did not happen overnight.

The bullying had been going on for sometime. From hearing remarks like "you act gay" and "are you gay?" to being told by one girl at school "I'm going to beat you up and I'm going to kill you." he was constantly bombarded with homophobic bigotry. Carl's mother, Sirdeander Walker, had brought up the homophobic treatment of her son to his school and her concerns fell on mostly deaf ears. Feeling that there was no other way to avoid the barrage of taunts, teasing, and harassment Carl concluded that his only escape was to take his own life.

What happened to 44-year old Sirdeaner walker is any parent’s worst nightmare. On Monday evening, she found her 11-year old son, Carl, dead in his bedroom. He had committed suicide by hanging himself with an extension cord.

In an act of despair and loneliness a young athlete's future career was ended. In an act pain and fear a community and many of its organizations lost one of its active participants. In an act of shame and self loathing a church lost one of its youngest practitioners. In an act caused by bigotry and hatred a family was robbed of one of their own.

There will be vigils, memorials, and remembrances for Carl but I have to wonder where was all of that attention when he was getting picked on at school. Why wasn't anyone helping protecting him from those bullies? Where was all the concern and outrage when that little girl threatened to beat him up and kill him? Where where was the community when he was alone and afraid? Who was there for him when he was thinking that taking his own life was the answer to his troubles?

Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover was not the first target of homophobic harassment at school (A 2005 report from the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network or GLSEN) nor is he the first person to take this way out and sadly I suspect he will not be the last. My question is how many more will there be and what is going to be done to get that number to zero someday?


Thursday, April 9, 2009

There's a reason for that...

So I'm reading FoxNews and came across this.

Its an article giving stats on the phenomenon of how fat men are more likely to get promoted in the corporate setting then fat women. Well as a fat man I know why that may happen and its not a glorious as some may want to think.

Simply put as far the stereotypes, assumptions, and generalizations are concerned fat men don't have lives. We aren't outgoing. We don't rock the boat. And most importantly we don't have lives outside of work. Now this is not to say that there is no sexist intent against fat women because there is but I'm sure fat women themselves can tell you about the sexist and fatphobic treatment the receive better than I can (I recommend checking out Kate Harding for a start.) Now back to the topic at hand.

Fat guys are usually the ones that toil away silently in the background and are so lacking in anything that resembles self esteem that we just clam up. A lack of self esteem and confidence is a surefire recipe for not standing up and making your voice heard. And despite what companies say they like people like that. Why? Because people like that are the ones they can manipulate into doing whatever they want and not have to worry about them raising up when treated unfairly.

So rest assured for every one of those fat guys in a high end corporate position there are a few dozen fat guys fading into the background. And just because there are more fat guys than fat women does not mean that fat guys are on easy street and have it made.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

A quick medical post

I saw this (traced back to this) on my livejournal friendlist.

Its an article about some promising research on how to combat cancer. It would seem that reovirus, a virus that is common but does not harm humans, has the ability to kill cancer stem cells. Even in the event that all other cancer cells are eliminated cancer stem cells are able to continue to grow and cause tumors. Even in limited numbers these "mother cells" are able to multiply aggressively (which I suppose would explain how cancer goes into remission and then "returns" later).

The initial testing of the reovirus' capabilities was performed on breast cancer tissue that was harvested from an actual patient unlike most test samples are come from those meant specifically for lab use. In the testing the reovirus not only destroyed cancer cells and cancer stem cells but it also triggered an antiviral response. This response gives hope to the idea that it may be possible to have a person's own immune system to develop antibodies that would combat caner. 'Refining this two-pronged approach to killing cancer is our next step,' says Dr. Patrick Lee, who along with post-doctoral fellow Shashi Gujar will be working on the immune response properties of the viurs.

If successful this render chemotherapy, radiation, and surgeries obsolete and usher in an new era in which cancer would no longer be a death sentence. High hopes indeed.