Sunday, June 29, 2014

Last Call For The Bufferless Zone

With the Supreme Court having struck down the Massachusetts "Buffer Zone" law around abortion clinics to prevent violence (indeed the ruling of SCOTUS was unanimous in that the law was an arbitrary violation of the free speech rights of anti-choice protesters) the first Saturday without the 35-foot distance between protestors and clinic workers and patients at a Boston-area clinic got ugly and fast.

At its height, the protest drew about 70 people — three times more than the average Saturday morning crowd, typically the largest gathering of the week — a turnout inspired by Thursday’s US Supreme Court ruling that struck down the Massachusetts law that since 2007 had kept them outside the yellow line.

“I have a friend that had an abortion 45 years ago. I saw what she suffered, and that’s why I come,” said Mary O’Donnell, 82, of Arlington, clutching a handful of pamphlets, rosaries, and medals. “To let them know there’s another option.”

The Supreme Court ruling, she said, “just gives us the chance to be a little bit closer, to let them know that we care.”

Yes, show them your caring and compassionate side by intimidating and berating them.

Many of the young women entering the clinic, however, appeared upset by the crowd, and hustled through with their heads down, some clutching the hands of their partners.

“You have to walk through this circle of people staring at you and talking to you and judging you,” a young woman named Julie said after leaving the clinic. “It’s very intimidating.”

Julie, who was not at the clinic for an abortion and asked to be identified only by her first name to protect her privacy, said that as she walked in, one person tried to hand her pamphlets and another shouted to her: “Fetuses have fingernails and a heartbeat.”

To her, the Supreme Court’s ruling felt hateful to women.

Sitting in there today, I was thinking about all these protesters outside, and what if somebody just threw a bomb in?” she said. “That’s what was going through my mind when I was getting my blood pressure taken.”

Not like it hasn't happened before, folks.  But in this new era, pro-choice Americans are adapting.

Marty Walz, president and CEO of the Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts, said the clinic will now need escorts to shepherd patients through the crowd every day it is open, not just on Saturdays.

“We know there’s horror at the court’s ruling,” Walz said. In anticipation of that ruling, Planned Parenthood received about 100 applications from people volunteering to work as escorts, she said. In the first 24 hours since the ruling, they were overwhelmed with nearly 200 more.

Since the ruling, said Walz, Planned Parenthood has received many complaints from patients about the protests, and more patients than usual have canceled appointments.

“Our patients and staff are subjected to this extreme, aggressive behavior, but that’s what the Supreme Court thinks is appropriate for the women of this country,” Walz said.

You have a constitutional right to harass women at abortion clinics, you know.  Unanimously decided by the highest court in the land.

You know, until all the clinics are gone.

Psychological Logic Kill

Reminder for folks out there: big social media companies like Facebook and Twitter pretty much completely own any data you enter into the system, and they can do whatever they want with it.

The latest way that Facebook has been peeking into its users’ personal lives may be the most surprising yet: Facebook researches have published a scientific paper that reveals the company has been conducting psychological experiments on its users to manipulate their emotions.
The experiments sought to prove the phenomenon of “emotional contagion” — as in, whether you’ll be more happy if those in your Facebook news feed are. They took place over the week of January 11th-18th, 2012, and targeted 689,003 English-speaking Facebook users.

The study, which was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. was successful. It found that, indeed, manipulating the algorithm to show more “positive” posts in your news feed will actually inspire you to write more “positive” posts yourself. So, for example, if you see a lot of people happy about their jobs or excited to be seeing the concert of their favorite band, then you’re more likely to post that you are happy about something in your life, too.

While that little fact in itself may be interesting, there’s one disturbing aspect of the study: None of the people involved in the experiment were explicitly told that they would be a part of it.

Facebook does have terms of service — ones that every Facebook user has agreed to — thatspecify users’ data may be used “for internal operations, including troubleshooting, data analysis, testing, research and service improvement.” The researchers of this psychology experiment argue that their experiments fall under these terms of use because “no text was seen by the researchers.” Rather, a computer program scanned for words that were considered either “positive” or “negative.”

“As such,” the researchers write, “it was consistent with Facebook’s Data Use Policy, to which all users agree prior to creating an account on Facebook, constituting informed consent for this research.”

Something to remember when you're out there in the big world of social media.  Your data belongs to these companies 100% as far as they're concerned, and there's very few regulations for protecting your privacy from them, if any.

So,What Domestic Terrorism Problem Here In Cincy?

The best part about these open carry numbskulls in Texas is the copycat open carry guys hoping for their 15 minutes of YouTube fame by acting as terrible as possible while.  Turns out some of them live only a few miles away from me.

Police arrested one of four people who walked through a Cincinnati neighborhood while openly carrying AR-15 rifles and repeatedly using racial slurs and profanity. 
One of two men in the group, which included two women, filmed their open carry rally in the East Price Hill neighborhood, where they walked past District 3 police headquarters and marveled that they were exercising their constitutional rights. 
“Broad day, you see this? Walking down the street with a AR-15,” says the man filming the demonstration, who police later identified as Jesse Deboard.

The video, which was later posted on YouTube and shared on social media, shows the foursome encounter police officers, who question them on camera but let them go on their way, reported WKRC-TV
“Like you said, it’s your right to do that, it makes no sense to me I mean, unless you just want attention and us to stop you and ask you,” an officer says on camera. “I just don’t understand it, that’s all. I’ve seen enough of these YouTube videos where everybody just tries to get the cop to stop them.” 
The group then brags about openly carrying assault weapons on city streets. 
“Open carry in the state of Ohio, the cops can’t do nothing,” one of them men says on camera. 
Deboard can be heard asking if unidentified Facebook friends “still want that drama, though.” 
“This is going on YouTube, n*gga, world star,” Deboard says to a passing group of black men.

What a great bunch, walking through East Price Hill, with AR-15s, shouting the N-word at residents, daring them to do anything about it, and laughing that the cops can't do anything.

Only, the cops did something.

Police conducted a further investigation after the video was posted online, and the 23-year-old Deboard was arrested and charged with menacing by stalking and violation of a protection order. 
He remains jailed on $25,000 bond, and an April 16 Facebook post apparently announced his intention to buy the weapons seen in the video.

Was awfully nice of this assclown to post all that evidence on YouTube for the cops to analyze, wasn't it?

So, do we think open carry is a stupid idea yet?
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