Sunday, July 23, 2017

Logophobia redux

Rod Dreher links approvingly to an article by Elizabeth Corey in First Things that tackles the concept of intersectionality. Corey dismisses the concept as "a wholly academic invention", then promptly refutes that characterization by citing a real life example of discrimination and the ensuing legal case, DeGraffenreid v. General Motors. Corey writes:
...five black women sued General Motors for discrimination. GM had not hired black women prior to 1964, and had dismissed all but one of its black female ­employees hired after 1970 on the basis of seniority. The plaintiffs claimed that the harm they suffered could not be addressed by suing as women only, because GM could point out that it had indeed hired women (white women) prior to 1964 and had retained those that were hired after 1970. 
Nor were they willing to sue on the basis of race alone. The discrimination they suffered was not merely racial, they argued, but a result of their combined racial and gender identity. The district court dismissed this claim, observing that the prospect of “the ­creation of new classes of protected minorities, governed only by the mathematical principles of permutation and combination, clearly raises the prospect of opening the hackneyed Pandora’s box.”

Monday, July 17, 2017

Encryption, security, the internet, and King Canute

Legend has it that King Canute, a canny and highly successful ruler of England,
Huts and seashore in Wales
Denmark, and parts of Scandinavia, had courtiers who like to flatter him; when some at court suggested that even the sea would have to obey Canute's wisdom and power, the king decided he had enough of this nonsense, and resolved to end it with a demonstration. He and his court accordingly went to the sea shore, and there Canute gave order to the incoming tide to cease, desist, and turn around. The tide, naturally, did no such thing. Having demonstrated his limits, he finished with an admonition to keep the flattery within the bounds of reality, and the court returned to the capital, doubtless to the relief of the chastened courtiers.

Sunday, July 02, 2017

The American gun organization the National Rifle Association has a new advertisement out on the web, full of standard right wing complaints about mean things the Left has to say about their president and their policies. This list of complaints noticeably avoids making any kind of case for gun rights. Indeed, it doesn't mention gun rights at all.

While this might seem surprising at any time,the choice by the NRA to talk about something other than gun rights at this specific time appears downright perverse, since a jury just acquitted a police officer for the most brutal possible violation of a citizen's right to legally carry a gun.

Saturday, July 01, 2017

One hundred and fifty years ago today...

the parliament of Great Britain passed an act uniting New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Canada (then Ontario and Quebec), under a single federal parliament and four provincial legislatures. The new country, called a dominion in deference to the phrase from the Book of Psalms: "dominion from sea to sea" would continue to have the British monarch as a head of state, and British diplomats would speak for it in international relations, but Canada's own legislatures would govern in all internal matters. Canadians greeted the passage of the British North America Act with modest celebration.