ADA, Okla. -- A teenager who was abducted as she left school Friday was found shot to death Saturday along with a man her mother had once dated. Authorities said it appeared to be a murder-suicide. The bodies of Caitlin Elizabeth Wooten, 16, and Jerry Don Savage, 47, were spotted from an Oklahoma Highway Patrol helicopter. Savage, who had dated the girl's mother, Donna Wooten, reportedly called the girl's grandmother Friday and threatened to harm the teenager, officials said. Savage was recently arrested on charges of trying to kidnap Donna Wooten, who obtained a protective order against him Aug. 30, court records show. He was out of jail on bond when the teenager disappeared.
Nothing, however, in the research and science of sexuality in the past 20 years (and especially not since we wrote Different Loving in 1991) suggests that SM or fetishes are necessarily the product of trauma, much less a response to shame or guilt about sex. There MAY be a traumatic sexual event and there may be shame and guilt in a person's past--and those events likely affected their sexual development. However, no statistics exist to prove either childhood trauma or sexual guilt are more common among SMers than among the non-kink-inclined; and much data exists to support the idea that two people may experience the same exact trauma but while one fetishizes it, the other is permanently turned off as a result.
For some people, fetishes and SM fantasies are the products of
pleasurable experience. They may be the products of positive
re-enforcement in childhood; or later in life from friends, lovers, or
a peer group. The "kink switch" may be thrown at nearly any age. Even
in our 50s and 60s (and older still) we may "discover" a buried sexual
need or may develop a penchant for something that never turned us on
Neither do I believe that SM desires are divorced from love, or that
we are, as a group, emotionally disconnected, or that we are the way we
are because our lust was thwarted. If thwarted lust was enough to make
a person perverse, well, it would be a better world, perhaps, because
sexual frustration is so common an event, it would guarantee a world of
There is an interesting nature v. nurture subtext here. The assumption - even on Brame's part, I think - by neo-Freudians seems to be that absent certain environmental factors, humans will display only heterosexual genital sexual behavior. The argument is over what throws the "kink switch."
I think that gets what happens exactly backward. Humans start out their development with a potential range of behaviors, and from there, environmental factors winnow them down. Think of language. If a child is sufficiently exposed to multiple languages when very young, that child will retain certain linguistic skills into adulthood. If the child is only exposed to one language, then the ability to hear or speak the sounds that are not in that language will not be present in adulthood. What's happening here? I think that the human language response in children is a very broad range of undeveloped abilities. As the child matures and hears others speak, those abilities either develop or they wither, often permanently. If you grew up speaking Spanish and can roll your Rs, it's not that you were "taught" to roll your Rs, it's that hearing people do it developed the latent skill in you. But if you didn't hear it as a child, as an adult you still have some potential to roll your Rs, you just will never be as good at it.
Similarly, I think, human sexual response starts out as a wide range of potential behaviors that gets winnowed down. In essence, we all start out with a rich array of potential sexual
interests, and then our culture impoverishes that array in order to
achieve certain social ends. But sex is an even more basic drive than language, so people retain plasticity in their bag of sexual tricks even when it doesn't get developed early in life.
What's remarkable is not that some people are kinky, it's the huge percentage of people who have been conditioned by their environment to ignore every urge other than heterosexual genital sex. Even in these people, though, fantasies develop unbidden by anything, which accounts for the huge consumption of gay and fetish porn by straight, vanilla people who would never, ever act on their fantasies.
Those people who do display a wider range of behavior are just those on whom the social conditioning has not worked perfectly. Some of those people, of course, are acting from a reduced capacity to conform their behavior to a norm and can present what (almost?) everyone agrees are problems - rape and pedophilia. Most, though, are simply those who have retained a wider range of sexual interests, which gets expressed sooner or later depending on a number of things, like emotional maturity and the strengthening of the ability to think for oneself.
This is not to say that kinky people reject all cultural norms and are therefore inherently more independent or more dangerous (depending on your perspective). Of course, kinky people would like to think the former and some vanilla people would like to think the latter. In all cases sexual activity is mediated and shaped by culture. There is nothing "outside" culture. For example, black leather is heavily prevalent in SM because certain people adopted it and that expression of SM sex was transmitted to those who were interested in it. There is nothing inherently exciting about dyed animal hide. But when someone does decide to indulge their fantasies, the images and practices they encounter among other people interested in such things have a certain style, and so they adopt that style, more or less. Again an urge has butted up against a social norm, and they have shaped each other.
Update: Dr. Brame emailed, and the corrections are the result. I knew I shouldn't have thrown that in, because I wasn't on firm ground ("I think"). Sorry about that.
So I went to Mississippi and took a look around and drove bags of ice to people who needed them and handed out pads.
Ice is worth it's weight in gold in Southern Mississippi right now and many people who need it are unable to get to distribution points because of lack of transportation. Some people never had cars and many, many people lost their cars due to the storm so I drove through the neighborhoods giving out ice and bottled water to those who needed it, which was almost everyone. I just picked up the ice and water at a distribution point on the main drag and would go back and stock up when I was out.
I met up with a group of doctors and nurses who just found each other after having come down to see if they could help. They formed a group of about 20 people- nurses, doctors, security, helpers- on the fly and drove around going door to door in MS offering medical assistance. I met them on Saturday and dropped off supplies that I'd brought down.
I am going to buy that woman as much of the beverage of her choice as she wants. She also has some pretty arresting pictures up.
The Pentagon has no accurate knowledge of the cost of military operations in Iraq, Afghanistan or the fight against terrorism, limiting Congress's ability to oversee spending, the Government Accountability Office concluded in a report released yesterday.
The Defense Department has reported spending $191 billion to fight terrorism from the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks through May 2005, with the annual sum ballooning from $11 billion in fiscal 2002 to a projected $71 billion in fiscal 2005. But the GAO investigation found many inaccuracies totaling billions of dollars.
"Neither DOD nor Congress can reliably know how much the war is costing
and details of how appropriated funds are being spent," the report to
Congress stated. The GAO said the problem is rooted in long-standing
weaknesses in the Pentagon's outmoded financial management system,
which is designed to handle small-scale contingencies.
Awesome. Defense is plugging WAGs into reports for Congress because, uh, they don't know how much fucking money they are actually spending. Material amounts, although not significant precentages of the total annual spending. So I sit here bitching about how fucked up our national priorities are when we're spending $5 billion per month in Iraq, but in fact no one knows how much we're spending, which is such a lovely thing for democracy.
I wonder if we cut their fucking budget in half whether they'd get some good accounting procedures then. You know how they say all power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely? An unlimited bank account does a pretty good job at corrupting, too.
This "national greatness" stuff is largely about appealing to a few peoples' aesthetic desires, and its an aesthetic desire largely borne out of inability to participate in anything which personally gives you that sense of greatness. It's imagining that if only your favorite football team wins, you'll feel good. You will, probably, for a day or two but that's about it. You'd get a lot more satisfcation out of joining the local flag football league and winning your own championship.
I don't think David Brooks need to join the peace corps before he tells me I should, but I think maybe if David Brooks would just go and join the goddamn peace corps himself (peace corps here being symbol of any number of things he might participate in) he might get something out of it which will make him less concerned with the rest of the country conforming to some aesthetic.
Outrageous. Actually, like, get up off your asses and go do something that might contribute to the country being, you know, actually great? That's just crazy talk.
Looks like the GOP is planning on doing another midnight run to pay off their constituencies among the wealthy and in the securities industry:
Congressional Republicans, persisting in hopes of enacting some form of private Social Security option despite opposition from the public and the Democrats, are considering the same kind of maneuver that enabled them to pass a controversial Medicare drug bill two years ago. ... It only passed in 2003 after three hours of early morning arm twisting and the help of misleading cost estimates that soon proved to have been understated.
Because the Senate had passed a similar bill, Republicans could take the measure to a Senate-House conference. By excluding most Democrats from any role, they crafted the kind of bill they wanted in the first place.
That would appear to be their hope for private Social Security accounts – pass a bill in the House authorizing private accounts, accept any Social Security vehicle in the Senate that gets the issue to conference and write a final version letting the White House proclaim success.
They're the real looters. Hopefully we can stop them from ripping us off again if we bring this manuever to light early enough.
Let's take a break from the unremitting gloom of a preventable disaster resulting in thousands of deaths, and talk about the sexual antics of New Yorkers. Here's writer Stephen Elliot unburdening himself at NYTimes.com:
Angelina is married. [T]here is a child at the house four days a week. [N]ot only is she married but she also has Tristan, meaning there are three men in her life minimum. [W]hat we have is not non-monogamy, it is polyamory. ... I love her and ... sometimes I think this could maybe work and then other times I see nothing but a bunch of potholes, a couple landmines and a train wreck.
Okay, you're poly. How's it going, Stephen?
"I have to dance with her," I say. "Before she dances with someone else."
"It's not a zero sum game," [other boyfriend] Tristan says.
don't even know what he means. He's trying to help me. I'm trying to
understand him. Already there are three men dancing near her, all of
them turned to show their availability.
Uh oh. You don't even know what he means, yet you call yourself poly? Not a good sign. He means that if she dances with some other guy, it doesn't have to detract from your enjoyment of the relationship you have with her. Relax. Watch your girlfriend dance with someone else. Watch her have fun. Have you met her husband yet?
I was standing in the doorway when he stepped out of the kitchen.
The meeting was awkward but not awful. "Oh," he said as we shook hands.
He was better-looking than I expected and three inches taller than me.
He wore light jeans and a striped shirt. I was wearing a necklace,
leather pants and a sleeveless top. We looked our roles: the suburban
father and the other man.
I could hear Angelina speaking with
their son in the other room. Her husband and I made some small talk
about his job, and then Angelina and I were gone.
I try not to
question Angelina's marriage or her situation with Tristan. It's not my
place to second-guess other people's desires. One evening I confessed
that I didn't understand her relationship with her husband.
She laughed. "You don't even understand our relationship."
That sounds about right. Stephen's self-consciousness and assignment of "roles" to everyone involved helps me understand why he said the relationship might be headed for a train wreck. So why is he in it?
The truth is this is the healthiest relationship I've ever had. When
I tell her I am worried that between Tristan, her husband and her job,
she won't have enough time for me, she says, "Tell me what you need to
make this work."
I see Angelina about four days a week, and on
days when I don't see her we talk on the phone. She's negotiating with
her husband to spend a night each week at my apartment. She'd like to
see a situation where I come over for big family events, like
Thanksgiving and New Year's. But none of us are ready for that.
Okay, so he's fallen in love with her, she's fallen in love with him, she's poly, and truly - he's not.
Tristan sits while we dance. I wonder if he is not some mirror for me;
if he weren't real I would create him. I like Tristan. I have a
magazine in my bag and want to offer it to him, but it's too dark to
read. I wonder how much of his life he spends watching Angelina dance,
her jacket next to him, her cigarettes in his pocket. I ask myself if I
could do what he's doing, if I could sit for hours and watch Angelina
dance with other people. The first answer that comes to mind is no. But
the second answer is yes. Yes, if she wasn't going home to her husband.
If she was going home with me. If we were going to sleep together, to
lie next to each other in my bed. If she was going home with me I could
wait all night. But she isn't.
He pities Tristan. Is Tristan happy, unhappy? It's not clear because Stephen doesn't say if he asked him. But the picture painted is clear - Tristan must be some kind of loser to be so auxiliary. But, Stephen could be okay with it himself if he had primacy, if he had that string attached to her back with which to reel her in, exert his proprietorship over her and thus make himself feel like more of a man. Because although she tells him she loves him, juggles kid, husband, boyfriend and job so she can see him four times a week, is working on doing a weekly overnight with him, and wants him to come to family gatherings openly, he feels deprived.
Romantic relationships in our culture are situations in which people are encouraged to act like children. You can behave like a toddler and say, "I want, I want, I want" and not only get away with it, but dress it up as love and receive approval. Whether poly or monogamous, though, being selfish and demanding of your partner is a great way to wreck a relationship. If you want it to last, eventually you have to grow up and realize that no matter what happens in movies, you two are never going to be absolutely everything to each other. Stephen's neediness comes through in this scene from when Angelina was once late for a date:
"I thought I saw your car," I kept saying. But she'd just been stuck in
traffic. She kept stroking my head saying, "You poor baby." I was
inches away from crying. I pushed my face into her collar, gripped her
Get a fucking grip.
I really hope no conservative pundits pick up on Elliott's article, because it's a terrible advertisement for poly. It fits right into the popular narrative about effete urban liberals with their unstable, immature personal lives. Because this relationship is going to have to change. Clearly, Stephen is either going to have an epiphany and grow up or his insecurity is going to overwhelm the connection he has with Angelina. I am not betting on the epiphany. It's a shame that someone who gets a national platform for writing about polyamory has to be such a wanker.
Prof. Ann Althouse, of "it's a public good for dark-skinned people not to run for trains" fame, wants us all to look on the bright side:
Ordinary people, I assume, will eagerly consume the good news [from New Orleans]. Are you absorbed in political finger-pointing? I'm not — and I was last week when I felt that people were suffering and dying because of bad decisions. That's not to say I don't think there should be studies of what went wrong. I do. But I'm interested in things that are oriented to solving problems, and I'm very mistrustful of people who are providing analysis as a means to advance one political interest or another.
Wow, this is straight out of the Iraq playbook. Why are you naysayers so focused on the failures of the Bush administration? Criticism of the president and the horse guy at FEMA undermines our efforts to help all the rich white people who need to get their businesses back up and running in the city. What are you, objectively pro-hurricane? "Ordinary" (read, normal) people just want things to get better, and to get the pictures of those dead and not-yet-dead black people off their televisions. Iraq is a civil war powderkeg, and New Orleans is a toxic stew of sewage, pollutants and rotting corpses, but now that someone (we won't say who, because we're ordinary and normal) has fucked up, we'll focus on the good news.
But hey, if I were a faux moderate, power-toadying law professor who wanted to assuage my own feelings of guilt, I'd probably resort to fantasies, too, in the face of this:
floodwater, spiked with tons of contaminants ranging from heavy metals
and hydrocarbons to industrial waste, human feces and the decayed
remains of humans and animals, will linger nearby in the Gulf of Mexico
for a decade.
"This is the worst case," Hugh B. Kaufman, a senior policy analyst at
the Environmental Protection Agency, said of the toxic stew that
contaminates New Orleans.
"There is not enough money in the gross
national product of the United States to dispose of the amount of
hazardous material in the area."
Kaufman and other experts from around the country agreed yesterday [Wedneday, August 31] that
there will be no quick fix for New Orleans.
But they acknowledged that
even their sobering estimates for final "recovery" may be too
optimistic, for nothing in their own personal and professional
experience could compare with the abuse that Hurricane Katrina heaped
upon the stricken city.
An unprecedented, worst-case disaster with toxic effects lingering for a decade, that would require more than the nation's entire GNP to clean up. But hey, let's have a little can-do spirit around here. One turns eagerly to the good-news link Althouse provides and finds this headline:
Small signs of progress in New Orleans
Awesome! I mean, that's really great. Days after the storm has gone, small signs of progress are emerging! What are those signs? Here's the subhed:
Crews worked to drain the putrid floodwaters out of New Orleans on Tuesday, as authorities warned of the horrors still submerged in the city.
"Putrid"? "Horrors"? Uh oh, I better avert my normal eyes from that. Surely, there is better news in the body of the story:
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers patched the ruptured levee along the
17th Street Canal on Monday, and Lt. Gen. Carl Strock told CNN that it
would take up to 80 days to dry parts of the city.
Sweet! That levee rupture on August 29th, and it only took them a full week to patch it. Good job!
I am feeling better already. I want to give Brownie a hug and kiss him on top of his head. Really, I do.
The rest of the stuff from the article, though, I don't know. Maybe we just need some more details to make this stuff sound better:
The failures of the levee system after Hurricane Katrina's onslaught
left about 80 percent of the city flooded with water up to 20 feet deep
-- water that became a toxic mix of chemicals, garbage, human waste and
Lt. Gen. Carl Strock told CNN Tuesday that the Corps was working to minimize the environmental damage to Lake Pontchartrain.
will look for real hot spots as we draw the water down, and if we get
an area that is particularly toxic we will try to control that instead
of dumping it back into the lake," Strock said. "But clearly, the focus
is saving lives, and there are still lives to be saved. The quicker we
remove the water the better we can do that."
That's okay, General. Move fast, keep the reporters back, and deny everything. Dump the toxic waste into the lake. I am sure things will be just fine.
Speaking in Baton Rouge Monday, Homeland Security Secretary Michael
Chertoff warned the body recovery process would be "very difficult" and
said it would take some time before officials would have a reliable
"It's going to be an unhappy number," he added.
It's going to be an unhappy number, with a little frowny face on it. Not a horrifying number, not a shocking number, not a number that will paralyze you with grief and cause you to want to vomit and scream at the same time. An unhappy number. Thanks for warning us, Mike.
FEMA has taken over and put on hold an airlift operation Texas
initiated to send displaced persons to other states, Texas Gov. Rick
Perry said in a statement on his Web site Monday. The agency is
reviewing how to best handle the influx of evacuees to Texas, which
Perry said Sunday had reached 230,000.
What I'm hearing which is sort of scary is that they all want to
stay in Texas. Everybody is so overwhelmed by the hospitality. And so
many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged
anyway so this (chuckle)--this is working very well for them.
Yes, those refugees are feeling overwhelmed - by hospitality.
It's all good news today, kids. Remember, no finger-pointing until Rove figures out how to blame someone else! Check Althouse for updates on when that will be.
It's an outrage because all of those elements existed before people died for lack of them: There was water, there was food, and there were choppers to drop both. Why no one was able to combine them in an air drop is a cruel and criminal mystery of this dark chapter in our recent history. The words "failure of imagination" come to mind. The concept of an air drop of supplies was one we apparently introduced to the director of FEMA during a live interview on Nightly News on Thursday evening.
Excellent. I expect this tenacity and rectitude from the media to last for several more days, at least.
Look! There's a white woman missing!
Update: Sheesh. "Brian Wilson", wrong link. This is the self-correcting blogosphere, people! It's not self-correcting if you don't find all of my numerous errors. You're letting us all down. Frankly, I am disappointed.
For a couple of reasons, it's a smart move. Roberts was already on track to being confirmed, so it creates the air of inevitability, which Bush needs (given his many, many inadequacies, recently brutally exposed). And since O'Connor will stay until her replacement arrives, it gives the Bushies time to torment the libs with ideas of who they will pick next.
You can get a free copy of your credit report once a year from each of the three main credit reporting agencies. A good idea would be to order one from a different company every four months, so you don't have to wait a year to see if there is anything untoward on it.
This email is putatively from someone who works at EPA:
We're naming it Lake George, 'cause it's his frickin fault. Have you seen all that data about the levee projects' funding being cut over the past three years by the Prez, and the funding transferred to Iraq? The levee, as designed, might not have held back the surge from a direct Class 5 hit, but it certainly would not have crumbled on Monday night from saturation and scour erosion following a glancing blow from a Class 3. The failure was in a spot that had just been rebuilt, not yet compacted, not planted, and not armed (hardened with rock/concrete). The project should have been done two years ago, but the federal gov't diverted 80% of the funding to Iraq. Other areas had settled by a few feet from their design specs, and the money to repair them was diverted to Iraq.
The NO paper raised hell about this time and again, to no avail. And who will take the blame for it? The Army Corps, because they're good soldiers and will never contradict the C in C. But Corps has had massive budget cuts across all departments (including wetland regulatory) since Bush took office, and now we've reaped what was sown. It really pisses me off to see the Corps get used by the Administration to shield Bush -- they do great work when they're funded. This was senseless, useless death caused not by nature but by budget decisions.
Not confirmed, but it sounds plausible and doesn't set off my bullshit detector. If the details are true, it's damning.
Also, can you imagine the outrage and fury that would be pouring forth from the right-wing noise machine if a Democrat were President right now? I mean, you would not get through six seconds of channel surfing without hearing a call for an investigation.
"He screamed out, 'Allah! Allah! Allah!' and my first reaction was that he was crying out to his god," Specialist Jones said to investigators. "Everybody heard him cry out and thought it was funny."
Other Third Platoon M.P.'s later came by the detention center and stopped at the isolation cells to see for themselves, Specialist Jones said.
It became a kind of running joke, and people kept showing up to give this detainee a common peroneal strike just to hear him scream out 'Allah,' " he said. "It went on over a 24-hour period, and I would think that it was over 100 strikes."
It was funny! Even funnier, the interrogators believed that the guy was innocent, but he was in the wrong place at the wrong time, so they beat him repeatedly and chained him to the ceiling of his cell.
Where he died.
Now the wrongdoers have been punished, and here are the sentences:
soldier has been sentenced to two months in prison, another to three
months. A third was demoted and given a letter of reprimand and a fine.
A fourth was given a reduction in rank and pay.
A whole three months in prison. That's rough. Truly, justice has been done.
Okay, thought experiment: What percentage of the American public do you think heard about this story, and the punishments handed out? Now, what percentage of Arabs and Muslims in the world have heard it?
We're engaged in a primarily politic conflict with militants who want to overthrow the governments of oil-producing countries in the Middle East and set themselves up in power. By "politic conflict", I mean that they are casting themselves as the good guys, and us as the bad guys, in order to gain at least the tacit support of average people. Bush's rhetoric, of course, has been the mirror image of theirs: we are a civilized, peaceful, and therefore good, people who are fighting evil terrorists/extremists/flavor of the week. But our adversaries are telling a story that people are primed to believe: that America will sacrifice Arab and Muslim lives and freedom in order to control the oil supply and protect Israel. They are primed to believe it because of our track record of making convenient alliances with tyrants, and of bringing down or propping up governments as our whim took us. So it's a story that works. Worse, most Americans don't even know of the relevant history, which makes us look even more callous and makes Bush's rhetoric a cruel joke.
Now, combine that with the fact that Bush has been approaching this as a primarily military conflict, which requires only the use of military force to win, and you have the conditions necessary for a disastrous defeat. Events like the Baghram torture and killing make the enemy's case better than they can themselves. Using the blunt instrument of military force guarantees that these kinds of things will happen, especially when the top leadership has given the signal that "the gloves are off." Given that we would invade a country that actually did not pose a threat to us, and we allow our soldiers to kill innocent civilians with virtual impunity, why should anyone support us? Why wouldn't ordinary people sympathize with the terrorists? No reason, which seems to be the fitting epitaph to this administration.
The federal government so far has been slow in helping the hungry, thirsty and desperate victims of Hurricane Katrina, former top federal, state and local disaster chiefs said yesterday.
The experts, including a former Bush administration disaster-response manager, said that the government was not prepared, had scrimped on storm spending, and had shifted its attention from dealing with natural disasters to the global fight against terrorism.
The agency at the center of the relief effort is the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which is now part of the Department of Homeland Security.
"What you're seeing is revealing weaknesses in the state, local and federal levels," said Eric Tolbert, who until February was FEMA's chief of disaster response. "All three levels have been weakened. They've been weakened by diversion into terrorism."
Number one, this disaster will end up killing tens of thousands of people. In New Orleans alone, 70,000 people are unaccounted for. To the extent they have survived so far, they are now living without food and water in in a toxic stew of flood water, sewage and rotting corpses. And we have no way of knowing how many people in the countryside have been killed.
Second, this is a colossal failure to prepare on all levels of government. It is tempting for me to blame it all on Bush and his people, but what the hell were the Louisiana emergency preparation officials thinking? There was no plan which provided for a full evacuation of New Orleans, despite the danger.
Third, it's a shocking demonstration of how Bush's failure to be honest about the sacrifices necessary to fight the war in Iraq puts us all at risk. The Louisiana National Guard is elsewhere, so people in New Orleans die waiting to be evacuated as a direct consequence of Bush's fecklessness. Every dollar diverted from domestic emergency preparedness to Iraq is a bullet aimed at a American at home. Bush is supporting the troops by killing their families at home.
Four, this shows that we are totally unprepared for a large-scale terrorist attack. In the event that a nightmare scenario comes true - say, a small nuke in New York - you are on your own, kids. The Bush plan: let 'em die, then stand on their graves and give a speech about how resolute you are.