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rand0m c0mment04
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I think it is really, really important to take comments like Matt's very seriously. This can be seen as a random series of mad events, but it also looks like the resolution of a long-term plan. I'm not predicting it, but I think there must be some part of the Koch et al folks who (perhaps actually worried about global resource/climate change crises on the horizon, perhaps not) are deliberately engineering a constitutional crisis, and have gamed out some end strategies the rest of us haven't even considered. they have engendered so much hostility toward the Fed Gov--I think they would have plenty of blindly obedient support for remaking it along some very unpleasant lines. I'm not saying it's certain, but since it's one of the only narratives that makes their current actions make any sense at all, I think we of more sane minds would be foolish not at least to play out the possible consequences. It's not like "dissolution of the Federal Government" is an idea we've not heard trumpeted by various factions of the far right for a long time now, and given the constitutional constraints on doing so (38 States would have to agree), a serious crisis may be the only means available. Meaning default is definitely coming next.
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I find the backlash against Adria Richards horrible, but this piece seems to tilt just a little too far the other way. You seem to me to have left out one critical detail. The offending joke was not illegal under any normal terms; it violated the Code of Conduct for PyCon. Its impact was limited to Adria and anyone close to the two developers; and even Adria appears not to suggest that the joke was meant to hurt her directly, or anyone else. It was inappropriate, maybe even offensive, but it was only actionable because it violated the rules of PyCon. I have read that Adria approached the PyCon organizers privately (first), was not happy with their response, and then posted the picture and comment to Twitter, in direct defiance of the PyCon Code of Conduct. That defiance impacted huge numbers of people. I don't think any of us know enough about the interactions between Adria, the developers, and the PyCon organizers to know whether what they did was adequate or not. However, since the only claim against the developers was a violation of the Code of Conduct that impacted a few people, violating the Code in a dramatically more public way is not just inappropriate but tremendously magnifies the underlying problem itself. You can't both say that codes must be enforced and that you have the right to violate them when you don't like the way they are enforced (note that there are many ways she could have indicated her displeasure without herself violating the Code). One other point you leave out: one fairly persistent commentator has responded to many of these stories with some pretty explicit penis jokes Adria tweeted at the very same time as PyCon. These appear to be real--they are on Twitter under her account and there are screen caps as well. They also give the impression of Adria acting as if rules apply to some people but don't apply to her. Whether her jokes were as bad as the developers' or not (neither of them seem all that offensive to me), Twitter is a much, much larger and more public space in which to make jokes than is the physical space around two developers talking to each other. If it's inappropriate in the latter it's got to be inappropriate in the former.
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Mar 25, 2013