19 September 2015

Series of quick blurbs

Or maybe not so quick. We'll see.

1) Was the clock kid arrested/suspended because he brought a clock to school or because he was a Muslim kid who brought a clock to school.

Short answer is probably a bit of both, but mostly the latter. There's some, but not much, justification to question what it is that a kid has, but if they don't have it out, and show it to a teacher rather willingly and openly, that should be a sign it isn't intended as a prank and was intended to be something random and fun that they built and hoped would be appreciated. It wasn't. That ought to be have been the end point. It wasn't. So here we are. The key points though that suggest there's a racial/ethnic/religious dimension on top of the overzealous school safety considerations would be that the school never took any of those overzealous school safety considerations at the time. If it was thought at any time to be an actual bomb, the school (and the police) never behaved as though they thought it was. I would be suing the cops for wrongful arrest/detention as a violation of civil rights (they had no probable cause for an arrest) and I'd be at least changing schools pronto if I were his parents. Sounds like at least one of those is happening.

2) Will Kim Davis end up back in jail for fiddling with the state forms?

Short version: maybe. She probably shouldn't be. Most of the state officials seem to think the forms her office is issuing are legal or at least will be recognized as legal for their purposes, and that this point it appears to be a question of state law that would matter. But they're very clearly being issued in an defiant "fuck you" manner to the court that required the issuance of certificates. Which courts and judges don't tend to like very much.

3) Why is Sam Harris still talking about racial profiling (particular of Muslims at airports).

Short version: I have no idea. He seemed very clearly to have lost badly in public debates he himself posted online several years ago on this exact topic. But he seems to have ignored this rather glaring flaw of history of his engagement to the subject matter. It ties into the clock story and the Harris/Republican narrative that "Christianity is under attack", whatever that means, in so far as there's a lot of strange rhetoric based upon fear that isn't easily translated into effective and legal policy. Maybe Harris' underlying argument is that Muslims are the most likely source of threats to airplanes and airport security, which is perhaps a plausible case for now but hasn't always been true and isn't the best way to secure them even if they are to treat such people as we can identify as possibly Muslim as the only likely source of threat. How that translates into an effective security process from that assumption is a very big logical step that overlooks a lot of costs and difficulties. Secularists and liberals tend to want to govern processes of law by reasonable steps, such as cost-benefit analysis or effectiveness. Apparently not when fear is concerned. Then the arguments look very much like the same ones that conservatives make when telling us Davis was in jail for practicing her faith, rather than violating a court order.
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