aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Sunday, March 30, 2008
10% of FBook Folks Are Xooglers
The NYTimes says Google’s status as the coolest place to work may be waning, Facebook is now the place to work.
Justin Smith at Inside Facebook did some digging:
Since there’s been a lot of press lately about Googlers jumping ship for Facebook, I thought I’d search Facebook’s network to see how many folks at the company used to work at Google. As it turns out, over 40, or almost 10% - and mostly engineering or product people.
He’s compiled a list
Andrea Mitchell said today on the Chris Matthews Show that if Bloomberg was asked, he’d say yes.
Those who love the Veepstakes will enjoy today’s Obama speech, not for the substance but for the person who will introduce him: Michael Bloomberg. While the mayor says he’s not endorsing anyone (yet?), this is the second time Bloomberg has given Obama a high profile photo-op (remember the meeting at that diner a few months back?).
LATER: I see there was lots of chattering about this while I was lazing on the Mississippi…
Andrew points to Marc, “Let Obama be the vision guy; Bloomberg could be the brass-tacks administrator.” Todd Beeton @ MyDD says that “sounds like an argument for an Obama/Clinton ticket, doesn’t it?” Josh Marshall doesn’t see why Bloomberg would do it but it makes good sense to me.
Prison rape is not funny. And it is NOT gay sex.
Ezra Klein has an OpEd in the LATimes today that starts out by looking at the dropped soap joke in the ”Let’s Go To Prison” DVD preview and the “Don’t Drop the Soap” board game created by the son of Gov. Kathleen Sebelius of Kansas before going on to make the point that there’s nothing funny about prison rape.
Prison rape occupies a fairly odd space in our culture. It is, all at once, a cherished source of humor, a tacitly accepted form of punishment and a broadly understood human rights abuse. We pass legislation called the Prison Rape Elimination Act at the same time that we produce films meant to explore the funny side of inmate sexual brutality.
Occasionally, we even admit that prison rape is a quietly honored part of the punishment structure for criminals. When Enron’s Ken Lay was sentenced to jail, for instance, Bill Lockyer, then the attorney general of California, spoke dreamily of his desire “to personally escort Lay to an 8-by-10 cell that he could share with a tattooed dude who says, ‘Hi, my name is Spike, honey.’ “
The culture is rife with similar comments. Although it would be unthinkable for the government today to institute corporal punishment in prisons, there is little or no outrage when the government interns prisoners in institutions where their fellow inmates will brutally violate them. We won’t touch you, but we can’t be held accountable for the behavior of Spike, now can we?
As our jokes and cultural products show, we can claim no ignorance. We know of the abuses, and we know of the rapes. Research by the University of South Dakota’s Cindy Struckman-Johnson found that 20% of prisoners reported being coerced or pressured into sex, and 10% said they were violently raped. In a 2007 survey by the U.S. Department of Justice, more than 60,000 inmates claimed to have been sexually victimized by other inmates during the previous 12 months. Given the stigma around admitting such harms, the true numbers are probably substantially higher.
But by and large, we seem to find more humor than outrage in these crimes. In part, this simply reflects the nature of our criminal justice system, which has become decreasingly rehabilitative and increasingly retributive.
In the 1970s, as economist Glenn Loury has written, “the corrections system was commonly seen as a way to prepare offenders to rejoin society. Since then, the focus has shifted from rehabilitation to punishment and stayed there.”
Today, though, I will recall instead that in the late 1970s in LA there was a separate prison for those prisoners who were or were perceived to be gay. Thing was, if you were gay you were advised by those in the know not to go there. Guards, it was said, assumed that because you were gay you deserved what you were bound to get when you got there.
Gay prisoners in LA then had the worst of all possible worlds—they got it either way. I have no reason to believe things have gotten any better.
And just as we have hopefully come to understand that rape is a crime of violence, it must also be understood that while predatory sex as practiced in prisons may technically include some homosexual acts as practiced between gay men, they share nothing at all in common with gay men.
While it seems this should be obvious to anyone and everyone, I doubt it is obvious to Bill Lockyer or the folks who laugh at “Let’s Go To Prison” or those who find the Sebelius’ board game funny.
Klein closes with both the moral and the money argument for addressing prison violence. I find the moral argument persuasive—that “our tacit acceptance of violence within prisons is grotesque [and] counterproductive”—and wish that it would win.
Klein points out that California spends $8.8 billion a year on its prisons, up 216% in 20 years. Georgia’s in that same boat. The fact is we are hardly willing to fund our schools, so James Q. Wilson not withstanding (and Loury has convincingly refuted his argument long ago as far as I’m concerned) I don’t believe we are going to be willing to keep this up for long.