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Winter is here?

The problem is not that it is 2 degrees (F) outside, nor that it was 9 this evening and 18 in the afternoon, but that the air is so dry that my shoulders and arms are scaly. The cold I can handle, even the chill wind, but I feel like a snake that has been skinned.

Dogs in winter booties
Wisc. St. Journal
John Maniaci

Introducing the Burkini—not exactly stylish, but a swimsuit alternative for those with sensitive, pale skin, or those who practice a religion that attempts to disguise shame and disgust of the human—and in particular female—body with rhetoric about modesty.

Policec: Women Pimped Girls on Craigslist—Ah, the equivalent of using the present subjunctive (Konjunktiv I) in German; the women have not been convicted of pimping the girls (ages 14 and 16), so it's best to say it is claimed that ..., and the Police [colon] bit at the beginning achieves just that.

While legalization of prostitution—as a matter of getting and keeping the government out of people's bedrooms, allowing consenting adults to do what they will with their bodies, and overturning vice ordinances—while at the same time providing extremely harsh (decades?) sentences for pimping as equivalent to human trafficking and slavery would be a good thing, this will, of course, never fly in the U.S., but a difficulty could well be distinguishing pimping and the work of those managing a brothel or escort service (and should such a distinction be drawn?).

The—still not ratified in the U.S. and opposed mostly by right-wing wackos, Christian homeschoolers, and the like— UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) includes a provision in Article 6 stating, “States Parties shall take all appropriate measures, including legislation, to suppress all forms of traffic in women and exploitation of prostitution of women,” though the committee in charge of interpreting the CEDAW has, for example, urged China to decriminalize prostitution. The position is clear: where prostitution is a crime, prostitutes, even those forced into the trade, controlled by pimps, etc., are criminals who would be punished for reporting abuse.

Chinese Robot Receptionist - source unknown
source unknown

While it is bad to be a single guy in the U.S., it's even worse in China, which “will have 30 million more men of marriageable age than women in less than 15 years.” To continue with a scary number: “China's sex ratio for newborn babies in 2005 was 118 boys to 100 girls, a huge jump from 110 to 100 in 2000.” Many have written about the potential social problems that could result from this, so I won't add to the verbiage. As salon.com's Katharine Mieszkowski adds, “In South Korea, where 113 boys are now born for every 100 girls, the [Los Angeles] Times reported, men in rural areas import brides from Vietnam, the Philippines and even China, despite the language barriers. The eager-to-marry men pay marriage brokers as much as $20,000 to take bachelor tours abroad where they meet potential wives, while the young women's parents sell their daughters' hand in marriage for about $300.”

One could imagine a free market situation in which the relative imbalance, coupled with supply & demand, would make women more valuable in a sense. Indeed, we see that here, but not to the benefit of the women in question; it merely illustrates the extent to which the societies in which they are raised see them as goods (owned by parents, husbands, etc.).

—January 16 2007