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University of Arkansas: An act akin to rape?

Posted: 25 Feb 2018 10:31 AM PST

In a perfect world, not only would the frat house where this alleged vile act took place be shuttered (preferably forever) but all of the young men who took part would have to register as sex offenders. Oh, and expelled, to boot.

Not being a perfect world, well, the young men involved will no doubt grow up to be the Future Leaders of Tomorrow.

In Saturday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette came this article, written by Jaime Adame:

UA frat sued over photos

The first paragraph reads:

"A lawsuit filed Friday claims Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity should be held responsible for sexually explicit photographs taken without consent and then distributed to an email network for University of Arkansas fraternity members."

A young woman - "Jane Doe" - has sex with a fraternity "associate" member in a bathroom stall in February of 2017 at a frat party. All well and good- we've all done similar in our lives. But here comes the morally repulsive part.

At the urging of some Future Leaders of America, one yabo sticks a camera phone under the door as part of his initiation into this bastion of young American manhood, and takes a few "art shots" of the couple having sex.

According to the story, more than a few trailer trash fraternity members also took photos - presumably so they could see what actual sex looked like, should any of them ever be lucky enough to meet someone wowed by their charm.

Yes, some non-fraternity members also were in on the action, but we'll leave them aside for the nonce, and concentrate on the fraternity, since, as we all know, fraternities are the best of the best.

The lawsuit claims that this was part of a "Picture pledge" with the picture later sent out over the Arkansas LCA Gmail list-serv.

Turns out that two (at the very least) of the Future Leaders of America may have put some pressure on said yabo who took the pictures to upload and distribute them online.

Frat members claim that there was never such a thing as a "Picture Pledge."

I wonder, if, any point, the young art lover in question may have thought to himself, "Are these really the kind of guys I want to be associated with?"

Nah, probably not.

The lawsuit claims, rightly so, that the young woman has suffered in terms of self-esteem, personal reputation and lost educational opportunity.

It isn't just the fact that Video voyeurism is a crime but the fact that so many of the Future Leaders of Tomorrow involved evidently didn't have the brains or moral fibre to figure out that what they were doing was not only shameful, but that such action reflected badly upon their parent organization, their university, their state, their gender and their families.

Let loose the dogs of war upon any of these Future Sex Offenders of America who may be found responsible in this matter.


Ha. If they were "responsible" none of this would ever have happened.

If the University of Arkansas does not act on this, then, by God, they are little more than accomplices in the violation of this young woman.


Today's Soundtrack

Listening to Christopher Denny's "Age Old Hunger" CD this morning.


Quote of the Day

I write for the same reason I breathe - because if I didn't, I would die. - Isaac Asimov


Hitting the gun lobby where it hurts: bank accounts

Posted: 25 Feb 2018 07:57 AM PST

The corporate backlash to the NRA continues and this development could go beyond the end of deals with rental car companies. From Think Progress:

Bank of America says it's reexamining its relationships with gun manufacturers in the wake of widespread boycotts targeting the National Rifle Association (NRA). The boycotts followed a deadly shooting at Marjory Douglas Stoneman High School in Parkland, Florida, in which 17 people were killed.

"We are joining other companies in our industry to examine what we can do to help end the tragedy of mass shootings, and an immediate step we're taking is to engage the limited number of clients we have that manufacture assault weapons for non-military use to understand what they can contribute to this shared responsibility," a Bank of America spokesperson said in a statement to Axios on Saturday.
What does this mean? We don't know yet. But what if banks blocked use of credit cards for gun purchases (as they've done for digital currency)? What if Bank of America decided not to renew a line of credit with the Sturm, Ruger firearms company due to expire this year? That is only speculation at this point. But food for thought.

Of course, Arkansas stands ready to provide unlimited corporate welfare to gunmakers should something like this happen, if outreach by former NRA spokesman Gov. Asa Hutchinson is any indication.

Measuring the states on the opioid battle; Arkansas lags on one measure

Posted: 25 Feb 2018 07:44 AM PST

Vox has a report comparing the states on one measure of the fight against opioid addiction, the ratio of providers of a drug used to treat opioid disorder and the number of opioid deaths in a state.

As you can see from the Vox map, Arkansas turns up worse than average.

The map looks particularly at the number of buprenorphine providers in the state relative to how many opioid overdose deaths a state has. Buprenorphine is a medication used to treat opioid addiction; along with methadone and naltrexone, it's widely considered the gold standard of care for opioid use disorder, with studies showing medications can cut the all-cause mortality rate among opioid addiction patients by half or more.

A positive note on this point appears in David Koon's extensive cover story in the Times this week on the opioid crisis in Arkansas, which has the country's second-highest prescription rate for teh drug.

Dr. Rick Smith, a psychiatrist at UAMS, talked to David Koon about, among other things, the drug regimen cited in the Vox article. He said he hoped its use would expand.

The approach that works best right now is what's called medication-assisted treatment. "The one that we're hoping works and gets widespread use in Arkansas is treatment with Suboxone," he said. "That can be done in a primary care physician's office. They have to have counseling as well as this drug in tapering doses, tapered over a number of weeks. If they're on really high doses of opioids, you have to lower the doses of opioids first, and then get them on Suboxone."
Take a look at David's article, which reports on the extensive effort underway in Arkansas to respond to the drug crisis and some signs of progress.

Tom Dillard details problems at Stacy Hurst-run Heritage Department

Posted: 25 Feb 2018 07:21 AM PST

Tom Dillard, the retired head of special collections at the University of Arkansas and weekly history columnist for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, turned his Sunday column to the present day and Stacy Hurst's management of the Department of Arkansas Heritage. It's a blistering assessment.

Some of what Dillard has written about has been chronicled in these pages, particularly the precipitating event: the recent resignation of state archivist Dr. Lisa Speer under heavy pressure from Hurst. Hurst has downgraded the qualifications for a successor, in keeping with her general downgrade of an operation with many supporters. (Observers are watching closely to see if an ally of Hurst with a sketchy academic record lands the position.) But there is more in the way of ousters of other veteran personnel and, what's worse in Dillard's view, little seeming appreciation on Hurst's part for what the department is about by someone who brought little relevant to the job beyond her political support for Gov. Asa Hutchinson.

If you don't read anything else in today's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, read this column.

It talks of Hurst's "continuing purge" of employees including people doing their job of historic preservation.

Another tragic and especially repugnant personnel debacle involved Marian Boyd, the veteran Heritage employee whom Hurst named interim head of Historic Preservation, upon filling the position to which she had applied at the Arts Council. Among other disagreements which led to Boyd's resignation, Hurst told Boyd that the National Register of Historic Places staff at AHPP was too aggressive, trying to do too much. According to a former staff member, she said, "It's only Arkansas."
Dillard didn't mention in the realm of doing too much Hurst's pushing for historic designation for some not-very-historic, undistinguished high-rise apartment buildings as a financial benefit to a redeveloper.

Dillard writes that Hurst never attended an archives program and tried to defund regional archives. He writes of her unhappiness with the Black History Commission and touches on her ill feelings about aspects of the Mosaic Templar Cultural Center, which serves as a museum of African-Americans in Arkansas.

Dillard writes, as he told me earlier, of plans for a statewide meeting of  history, genealogy, and museum groups to devise a strategy "for dealing with the current impasse."

Hurst doesn't talk to the Arkansas Times. I'd say it was lingering unhappiness of our coverage of her losing race for state representative four years ago. But she refused to answer questions then. She issued this prepared statement recently, through a press aide, to a question earlier about Dillard's criticism:

Over 30 years ago, from 1981 to 1986, Tom Dillard was the director of the Department of Arkansas Heritage, and he clearly still has thoughts on how things should be run. But the reality is that DAH is stronger than ever before, as is the Arkansas State Archives. Since joining DAH in 2016, the Archives has access to resources that it has not enjoyed before, such as conservation tax revenue. DAH has helped ASA market and promote its services and programming to a broader audience. ASA has worked with other DAH divisions, such as Historic Arkansas Museum, Mosaic Templars Cultural Center and Old State House Museum, in presenting public programming. The Archives is becoming a more accessible resource for all Arkansans.
Speer says the statement about conservation tax revenue is badly misleading. The archives got one small bit of money to help with cleanup of some water damaged papers, but until now has not been regularly included in funding from that money. That is said to change in the next fiscal year.

I think the Stacy Hurst situation is pretty simple. Think of the report cards that once were handed out with checklists of areas in which improvement was needed — "talks too much" was always checked on my report card. Here's Hurst's.

To some extent the only grader that matters is the governor. But when you rile the history buffs, the genealogists, the preservationists, the artists and the African-American community, you are talking about a lot of riling.

The sodden open line

Posted: 24 Feb 2018 01:28 PM PST

Apart from rain not much to report except just about everybody but FedEx (yea UPS) fleeing association with the increasingly toxic NRA. Bullet Bob Ballinger responded by tweeting details of past airline crashes. Neither United nor American partner with the assault weapon cartel either.