It’s time to shut up about nonviolence

In the wake of the Freddie Gray killing while in police custody in Baltimore, I would have thought I’d have little to add to my previous comments on racism and self-righteousness about that racism in law enforcement.[1] What’s new is, to me, revealing about the white and faux liberal response to unrest. Read more

  1. [1]David Benfell, “Rich judging poor, whites judging Blacks, and men judging women: How so-called ‘justice’ is blind to privilege,” Not Housebroken, March 26, 2014, https://disunitedstates.org/?p=6199; David Benfell, “It’s so much easier to wave a Confederate flag,” Not Housebroken, August 30, 2014, https://disunitedstates.org/?p=6588; David Benfell, “Answering Brad Friedman: Why the discrepancy in police response to Ferguson versus Cliven Bundy?” Not Housebroken, October 24, 2014, https://disunitedstates.org/?p=6818; David Benfell, “We need to change,” Not Housebroken, November 25, 2014, https://disunitedstates.org/?p=6986; David Benfell, “Cops and complicity,” Not Housebroken, December 6, 2014, https://disunitedstates.org/?p=7024; David Benfell, “Holding Blacks to white standards,” Not Housebroken, December 25, 2014, https://disunitedstates.org/?p=7087; David Benfell, “Itchy trigger fingers,” Not Housebroken, December 25, 2014, https://disunitedstates.org/?p=7096; David Benfell, “Time to take the guns away,” January 6, 2015, https://disunitedstates.org/?p=7126

Juries and injustice: The fools call me in again

So it seems like I’m getting called for jury duty every year now. I’ll never actually serve on a jury, for reasons I’ll get into, so all this is a rather pointless exercise, made worse because 1) I’m not in any way, shape or form a morning person, 2) I usually wind up getting up at what I consider to be an indecent hour to appear, and 3) I’m psychologically ill-prepared to confront authority, particularly in an unfamiliar setting.

Some will find that a surprising claim. I did, after all, recently send an open letter to the president of Saybrook University that stopped just barely short of calling him incompetent.[1] What has to be understood about this is that first, I was severely provoked.[2] But second, I was able to compose that letter over a weekend, weighing my wording with excruciating care. I wasn’t trying to spare anybody’s feelings, but I was trying to be sure I couldn’t be nailed on a stupid mistake. (Tellingly, the entirely unsubstantive response was directed against my advisor who was compelled to publicly chastise me.) Read more

  1. [1]David Benfell, “Open Letter to Saybrook University President Nathan Long,” March 29, 2015, https://parts-unknown.org/wp/2015/03/29/open-letter-to-saybrook-university-president-nathan-long/
  2. [2]David Benfell, “Fighting the good fight: Will Human Science be saved?” April 23, 2015, https://parts-unknown.org/wp/2015/03/22/fighting-the-good-fight-will-human-science-be-saved/

Scam schools close. If only more would.

“There’s always Phoenix,” replied the professor in a sociology research methods class I took years ago, when I challenged the notorious studies conducted by psychology professors using introductory psychology students. These studies make a mockery of the informed consent requirement that institutional review boards are supposed to enforce.

My professor knew I’d recognize her response as a false dichotomy. It was her way of answering me without blatantly conceding that I was right. As I think back on what I observed of her, I’m pretty sure she was an adjunct, which is to say her situation was tenuous, and that she needed to try not to offend the powers that be in that university. (And yes, apparently, the University of Phoenix does teach psychology.) Read more

‘Vegan’ apparently doesn’t mean what it’s supposed to mean

It’s just short of my seventh anniversary as a vegan. And I have decided to stop identifying as such. Henceforth, I will identify as vegetarian ecofeminist except in restaurants where the term ‘vegan’ is more often understood.

I’ve previously observed that a great many vegans lack the consciousness that makes the ethics of their views coherent. I left Facebook vegan singles groups that tolerated sexism and seemed entirely too much like “meat markets.” Someone identifying himself (yes, he identifies as male) as veganelder responded by suggesting a Vegan Feminists group.[1] Read more

  1. [1]David Benfell, “Yes, ‘vegan’ is a useful word. Here’s why I might stop identifying as such,” So I’m Vegetarian Ecofeminist… Now, What? October 19, 2014, https://vegan.parts-unknown.org/?p=200

The biggest bubble of all

April 23, 2015: This post has been updated and corrected inline.

A couple more articles have popped up recently suggesting we’re in a bubble. Joe Kokura points to “the nervous predictions from the very big-name venture capitalists whose money is financing this current [tech] boom.”[1] That’s well worth paying attention to because it was when the venture capitalists folded up their checkbooks in 2000 to 2001 that the dot-com boom turned to bust. (Update, April 23, 2015: While some analysts point to significant revenue growth and cash on hand at some big name tech firms to rationalize this performance, “A surge in tech stocks helped push the Nasdaq composite index to an all-time high Thursday [April 23, 2015], eclipsing a record set at the peak of the dot-com boom 15 years ago. . . . The Nasdaq edged up 20.89 points, or 0.4%, to 5,056.06 as other major indexes also rose. The record of 5,048.62 was set March 10, 2000, when wild speculation in Internet and other tech-related stocks, along with now-discredited practices of Wall Street’s sales machine, pushed stock prices far beyond even reasonable valuations.”[2]) Read more

  1. [1]Joe Kukura, “The next tech bubble is about to burst,” Daily Dot, April 19, 2015, http://kernelmag.dailydot.com/issue-sections/staff-editorials/12637/tech-bubble-venture-capital/
  2. [2]Dean Starkman, “Nasdaq closes at record high of 5,056, beating dot-com mark,” Los Angeles, April 23, 2015, http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-wall-street-20150423-story.html

Just sayin’

I’m seeing a fair amount of graphic design comment on Hillary Clinton’s logo for her 2016 presidential campaign. I’ll leave that alone here. I want to focus on the symbolism itself (figure 1).

Fig. 1. Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential campaign logo. Fair use, origin unknown, found via IJ Review, April 12, 2013.
Fig. 1. Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign logo. Fair use, origin unknown, found via IJ Review, April 12, 2013.
First, notice that the arrow points to the right. Second, notice that the arrow is red. Both point to conservatism.

Some of my friends will no doubt vote for Clinton on the claim that she is a liberal. Her logo says otherwise, and as near as I can tell, her sole reason for running is that she believes she is entitled to the position, just as in 2008, when she delayed long past the point of plausibility a concession that Barack Obama had won a majority of delegates for the Democratic Party nomination.