MoJo Author Feeds: Katie Rose Quandt | Mother Jones Mother Jones logo en Can Tiny Houses Help Fix Homelessness? <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p></p><div id="mininav" class="inline-subnav"> <!-- header content --> <div id="mininav-header-content"> <div id="mininav-header-image"> <img src="/files/images/motherjones_mininav/screen_shot_2015-02-13_at_3.50.57_pm.jpg" width="220" border="0"></div> <div id="mininav-header-text"> <p class="mininav-header-text" style="margin: 0; padding: 0.75em; font-size: 11px; font-weight: bold; line-height: 1.2em; background-color: rgb(221, 221, 221);"> More Coverage of Homelessness </p> </div> </div> <!-- linked stories --> <div id="mininav-linked-stories"> <ul><span id="linked-story-269071"> <li><a href="/politics/2015/02/housing-first-solution-to-homelessness-utah"> The Shockingly Simple, Surprisingly Cost-Effective Way to End Homelessness</a></li> </span> <span id="linked-story-269656"> <li><a href="/politics/2015/02/robert-okin-silent-voices-homeless-san-francisco"> Heartbreaking Photos and Tragic Tales of San Francisco's Homeless</a></li> </span> <span id="linked-story-270121"> <li><a href="/politics/2015/02/point-time-count-homeless-san-francisco"> How Does a City Count Its Homeless? I Tagged Along to Find Out</a></li> </span> <span id="linked-story-269331"> <li><a href="/mojo/2015/01/va-housing-homeless-veterans-west-los-angeles-medical-center"> This Massive Project Is Great News for Homeless Vets in Los Angeles </a></li> </span> <span id="linked-story-265571"> <li><a href="/politics/2014/12/robert-aguirre-jungle-homeless-silicon-valley"> Here's What It's Like to Be a Homeless Techie in Silicon Valley</a></li> </span> <span id="linked-story-265566"> <li><a href="/politics/2014/12/jungle-homeless-camp-san-jose-silicon-valley-video"> Hanging Out With the Tech Have-Nots at a Silicon Valley Shantytown</a></li> </span> </ul></div> <!-- footer content --> </div> <p>In November 2013, June lived in a makeshift encampment of tarps and cardboard, squeezed between a road and a chain link fence in West Oakland, California. "It can happen to anybody, man," he says of life on the street. "Up today, down tomorrow. That's the way it goes."</p> <p>Come last winter, June upgraded from his ramshackle encampment to a pink wooden house with a tan door and shiny roof. The new house, which is just long enough for him to lie down inside, cost only $30 to build.</p> <p>It's one of about 25 colorful homes artist Greg Kloehn has fashioned from the massive amounts of garbage dumped illegally in Oakland&mdash;a city where a <a href="" target="_blank">minimum wage worker would have to put in 150-hour weeks</a> to afford a fair market, two-bedroom apartment. He uses whatever materials he happens upon&mdash;pallets, bed boards, sheets of plastic, dryer doors. One home has an umbrella and grill propped on its miniature front porch. Wheels accommodate the "nomadic life" of people living on the street, who relocate frequently to avoid cops and city cleanup crews. As Kloehn jokes, he builds "illegal homes out of illegal garbage."</p></body></html> <p style="font-size: 1.083em;"><a href="/politics/2015/02/tiny-houses-homelessness-solution"><strong><em>Continue Reading &raquo;</em></strong></a></p> Politics Human Rights Income Inequality Homelessness Tue, 17 Feb 2015 11:05:08 +0000 Katie Rose Quandt 270386 at Film Review: "We Are the Giant" <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p class="rtecenter"><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="354" src="//" width="630"></iframe></p> <p><strong>We Are the Giant</strong></p> <p>MOTTO PICTURES</p> <p>Bahraini sisters and activists <a href="" target="_blank">Maryam</a> and <a href="" target="_blank">Zainab al-Khawaja</a> are the heart of this devastating look at the lives behind three Arab Spring uprisings. The film's interviews are interspersed with grainy, often violent footage&mdash;one heart-wrenching clip of a little girl singing at a peaceful protest is cut short by a nearby explosion; another expresses the profound remorse of a Syrian protest leader whose peaceful rallies were met by fatal attacks on his people. By the end, some of the film's main characters are questioning their faith in nonviolent resistance, but their resilience in the face of injustice is this excellent film's common thread.</p></body></html> Mixed Media Film and TV Human Rights International Sat, 06 Dec 2014 11:30:06 +0000 Katie Rose Quandt 261461 at Hurray for the Riff Raff Has Had It With Misogyny and Violence <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>"My musical heroes always were people who used their music as some form of political protest," says Alynda Lee Segarra. Musicians who are "thinking of the people who are shouting for a change, and use their voice to help make that happen."</p> <p>It makes sense: Segarra, the frontwoman of New Orleans folk collective Hurray for the Riff Raff, has identified with misfits and underdogs her whole life. She ran away from her home in the Bronx at 17, lost and without a plan. In what seems like something out of legend, she fell in with other young wanderers hitchhiking and train-hopping around the country, and began playing the washboard.</p> <p>She felt home for the first time when she hit New Orleans, where she picked up the banjo and became part of the traveling <a href="" target="_blank">Dead Man Street Orchestra</a> and a <a href="" target="_blank">street jazz collective</a> called <a href="" target="_blank">Loose Marbles. </a>She formed Hurray For The Riff Raff in 2006, but it wasn't until the success of its breakout 2012 album, <em>Look Out Mama, </em>that she found herself with a platform to create protest music of her own.</p> <p>When composing the band's 2014 album, <em>Small Town Heroes, </em>"I was feeling very trapped as a woman in the world,"&nbsp;Segarra told me. "I've experienced a lot of fear and so have all of my female friends. I was feeling a lot of rage." At the time, several high-profile rape cases were in the news, including that of the 23-year-old student <a href="" target="_blank">raped and beaten to death</a> by six men on a Delhi bus, and the notorious Steubenville case, wherein a 16-year-old was <a href="" target="_blank">sexually assaulted by high-school athletes</a> while their friends laughed and took photos. She wanted to write a song "to honor them and their struggle."</p> <p>She ended up with "The Body Electric," a haunting, feminist take on traditional murder ballads, which ends with the question: "Tell me what's a man with a rifle in his hand/Gonna do for his daughter when it's her turn to go?"</p> <p>The band worked with the activist coalition <a href="" target="_blank">Free Marissa Now</a> to set the lyrics to an animated video protesting the coming trial of Marissa Alexander. A Florida woman who had <a href="" target="_blank">given birth nine days earlier</a>, Alexander allegedly fired a warning shot to ward off a beating by her ex-husband&mdash;she faces up to <a href="" target="_blank">60 years</a> for aggravated assault.</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="354" src="//" width="630"></iframe><br> "I originally wrote it with a really feminine perspective," Segarra says, but began "seeing more and more connections between this song and other events," like the killing of Mike Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida&mdash;the Martin case inspired another song, "<a href="" target="_blank">Everybody Knows</a>."</p> <p>Hurray For The Riff Raff recently reached its <a href="" target="_blank">crowd-funding goal</a> to produce a proper music video for "The Body Electric," which Segarra hopes will be&nbsp;"very political but also very beautiful." Any money beyond that, she says, will go to the <a href="" target="_blank">Trayvon Martin Foundation</a>, which advocates for families of crime victims, and to the <a href="" target="_blank">Third Wave Fund,</a> which supports youth-led LGBT and gender-justice work.</p> <p>With the exception of underground hip-hop, Segarra says, "I've been a little disappointed with the number of musicians who have not been making a political statement with their music. I'm not really discouraged, though&mdash;I think we're just starting to wake up." Musicians of her generation "grew up with the Backstreet Boys," she adds, and if they "haven't been in touch with music of the 1960s, it's kind of hard to know that's even an option."</p> <p>Although Hurray For The Riff Raff is winning new fans nearly everywhere it goes, Segarra hasn't forgotten the insecurity and doubt of her teenage years. "It's been a really hard road," she says, "and it's not always easy to go up there and be sure of yourself. Sometimes you have to pretend." She finds encouragement in the idea that her music could inspire "a girl out there who is scared to play guitar or make music or write poetry."</p> <p>Even while writing <em>Look Out Mama</em>, she was still searching: "I just wrote a ton of songs, trying different styles. I had been trying to pull all different parts of who I was into songwriting, but I found myself in a lot of boxes. The box of writing really personal, really sad songs. The box of writing very stylized New Orleans street music."</p> <p><em>Small Town Heroes</em> is "a step further for me as a songwriter," she says. With songs like "The Body Electric" and "Hometown Heroes"&mdash;which she describes as "the Velvet Underground brought to a John Prine song"&mdash;she has finally found her voice. "It brings in my different influences and different backgrounds," she says. "It's very much who I am."</p> <p><iframe frameborder="no" height="100" scrolling="no" src=";auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;visual=false" width="100%"></iframe></p></body></html> Media Music Sex and Gender Mon, 17 Nov 2014 11:00:12 +0000 Katie Rose Quandt 262726 at Film Review: "The Overnighters" <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="354" src="//" width="630"></iframe></p> <p><strong>The Overnighters</strong></p> <p>MILE END FILMS</p> <p>This engrossing film is set in Williston, North Dakota, where locals are freaking out about the hordes of desperate men in need of cash and a fresh start who pour into their tiny town in search of fracking jobs. A local pastor takes pity on them, converting his Concordia Lutheran Church into an ad hoc shelter. He's resolute, even as his family reels from the criticism of angry neighbors and congregants who want him to be a little <em>less </em>Christian. But he risks losing everything when the local paper reports that sex offenders are among the visitors. Up through its devastating reveal, <em>The Overnighters</em> questions the motivations behind (and consequences of) our choices and convictions.</p> <p><em>This review originally appeared in our <a href="" target="_blank">September/October issue</a> of</em> Mother Jones.&nbsp;</p></body></html> Mixed Media Energy Film and TV Mon, 27 Oct 2014 18:57:41 +0000 Katie Rose Quandt 259286 at Olympics to Crack Down on Human Rights Abuses…After 2022 <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>Following widespread allegations of wrongdoing in both the Beijing and Sochi Olympics, human rights protections will be <a href="" target="_blank">added to the contracts</a> signed by future Olympic host cities. The International Olympic Committee's president <a href="" target="_blank">presented this change</a> to Human Rights Watch at an October 21 meeting.</p> <p>The new language will contractually require host countries to "take all necessary measures to ensure that development projects necessary for the organization of the Games comply with local, regional, and national legislation, and international agreements and protocols, applicable in the host country with regard to planning, construction, protection of the environment, health, safety, and labour laws."</p> <p>These changes make the human rights requirements for Olympic host cities more explicit than ever before, particularly with the mentions of health, environmental, and labor concerns. The new "international agreements and protocols" rule makes it clear that hosts will be required to abide by laws like the <a href="" target="_blank">International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights</a>, which prohibits forced labor, arbitrary arrest or detention, sentence without trial, and protects freedoms of assembly, religion, and opinion.</p> <p>Beijing, China and Sochi, Russia floundered on some of these protections during the&nbsp;2012 and 2014 Olympic Games. The international community criticized both host countries for <a href="" target="_blank">corruption</a> and <a href="" target="_blank">exploitation of migrant construction workers</a>: Sochi contractors <a href="" target="_blank">cheated workers out of wages</a>, required 12-hour shifts, and confiscated passports to keep laborers from leaving. In both countries, authorities regularly <a href="" target="_blank">forced evictions</a> and silenced media and activists. A Russian law passed in the months leading up to the Games that <a href="" target="_blank">criminalized gay expression</a> garnered global outrage.</p> <p>Minky Worden, director of global initiatives at Human Rights Watch, says the planned wording will make it easier for the IOC to take official action if a host country breaks contract&mdash;through litigation or "the thermonuclear option," termination. Even before such extreme consequences, she is optimistic the explicit wording will give the IOC more power to "put the scare in any host country that is not playing by the human rights rules."</p> <p>"This is a real rebuke to Russia," she says. "The IOC wants to avoid a repeat."</p> <p>Since host cities for the next three Olympic Games have already been selected and signed contracts, host countries will be held to the new clause beginning with the 2022 Winter Olympics. Worden says this is particularly timely, as two of the finalists&mdash;Almaty, Kazakhstan and Beijing, China&mdash;have repressive governments. (The third finalist is Oslo, Norway.)</p> <p>The human rights clause expands on another impending addition, previewed in a <a href="" target="_blank">September letter</a> from the IOC to the 2022 candidate cities. That statement promised that future host city contracts will have "an express reference&hellip;to the prohibition of any form of discrimination."</p> <p>Technically, host cities like Sochi and Beijing were already broadly obligated to steer clear of human rights violations and discrimination: The <a href="" target="_blank">Olympic Charter</a> calls for a respect for "human dignity" and bans discrimination "with regard to a country or a person on grounds of race, religion, politics, gender or otherwise." But, "we've clearly reached a moment when the words of the Olympic Charter are not enough," says Worden. "You have to put these guarantees in a contract and force the host country to sign it."</p> <p>Worden hopes the IOC's action will be adopted by organizers of other mega-sporting events at risk of mishandling human rights, such as FIFA. Sharan Burrow, the general secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation, estimates in an ESPN documentary that, at current rates, <a href="" target="_blank">4,000 people will die</a> in preparation of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.</p></body></html> Mixed Media Gay Rights Human Rights International Sex and Gender Sports Top Stories Sat, 25 Oct 2014 10:15:05 +0000 Katie Rose Quandt 263096 at There's an International Soccer Tournament Where All the Players Are Homeless <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>"A homeless soccer team? <em>What?</em>"</p> <p>That's what Shane Bullock, 26, recalls thinking when a coach came by his San Francisco shelter last fall to recruit players. Now, a year later, he's in Santiago, Chile, representing the United States against teams from <a href="" target="_blank">49 countries</a> at the 12th-annual <a href="" target="_blank">Homeless World Cup</a>.</p> <p>The Homeless World Cup&mdash;which is actually just what it sounds like&mdash;draws a total of 100,000 spectators to cheer on teams of homeless (or, like Bullock, recently homeless) men and women in highly competitive four-on-four soccer matches, which are played on a basketball-sized court<strong> </strong>with walls and mini-goals.&nbsp;</p> <p>When he first heard of Street Soccer USA (the Homeless World Cup's US affiliate), Bullock had recently fallen into homelessness. He had moved out of his brother's Sacramento apartment to be closer to another brother in San Francisco, but he found himself on the street and then in a shelter.<strong> </strong>When he was first approached about joining the team, "I told them I'd take a rain check."</p> <p>"Finally I decided to go out," he says, although he initially didn't realize that it was a part of a league. "I thought we were just going to play pickup soccer in the alley around the corner. That caught me off guard, but it's been pretty fun."</p> <p>Bullock was announced as a member of the World Cup men's squad in August at the closing ceremony of the Homeless National Cup, which brought Street Soccer USA (SSUSA) teams from 16 cities to compete in San Francisco. Eight men and eight women were selected, based on off-field achievements, soccer ability, and leadership.</p> <div class="inline inline-left" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="Shane" class="image" src="/files/shane-soccer-300.jpg"><div class="caption"><strong>Shane Bullock (in sunglasses) and other members of the San Francisco SSUSA team </strong>Street Soccer USA</div> </div> <p>Regional partners like SSUSA fields (and funds) each team. At practice, SSUSA coaches help players set goals&mdash;such as creating a r&eacute;sum&eacute;, obtaining identification, earning a GED, or securing housing&mdash;and refer them to preexisting social-services agencies. Says SSUSA national director Rob Cann, "They know that when they come to the next practice, we're going to say, 'Hey, you said you were going to go to the DMV this weekend. Did you go?'"</p> <p>Street Soccer USA meets some of its costs by operating coed, recreational soccer leagues, filled primarily with teams of young professionals. San Francisco's league, I Play for SF, has 85 teams, including the one with homeless players. "It's kind of cool to see our homeless folks assimilate with people from different strains of society," says Bullock's coach, Benjamin Anderson. SSUSA estimates 2,700 homeless participants have played on its teams since 2009.</p> <p>Bullock says the World Cup trip isn't the first time soccer has helped him off the field. "I'm not very outgoing, so it's allowed me to open up a little," he says. "And just getting out and moving. That has done wonders just for clearing my mind alone."</p> <p>Since joining the team, he's been hired by I Play for SF to help set up for games twice a week, allowing him to move from the shelter to a single-room occupancy apartment.</p> <p>"That's the nice thing&mdash;to see it go full circle," Anderson says. "A guy who was kind of lost and confused and lonely, not only became a part of a community that he contributes to, but has a job and has his own place."</p> <p>Cann says the goal of helping homeless people gain structure and meaningful relationships doesn't necessarily have to be achieved via soccer. Although some aspects of the sport do work particularly well&mdash;it's cheap to play and can be set up anywhere&mdash;what's important is that "it's a platform and a humanizing activity."</p> <p>Of course, only a tiny fraction of the world's estimated <a href="" target="_blank">100-plus-million</a> homeless population is competing this week in Chile, and critics may wonder whether flights across the globe are the best use of funds. (Cann says the trip is funded through designated donations, specifically for the HWC.) Still, the Homeless World Cup maintains one of its main goals is to "change people's attitudes to homelessness."</p> <p>And even though Bullock's US men's team has struggled this week, starting out with a 2-4 record, there's much more to the event than what's happening on the pitch. During the trip, US players spend downtime in leadership training sessions, where Cann says participants like Bullock are encouraged to remain with the organization as mentors and role models for newer players.</p> <p>"It's always been a thing of mine, helping people," says Bullock, who is considering staying on with Street Soccer USA. "Being with this program, it pushed me toward wanting to find ways that I can help people in whatever way I can."</p> <p><em>You can watch a live stream of the action at the <a href="" target="_blank">Homeless World Cup website</a>.</em></p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="354" src="//" width="630"></iframe></p></body></html> Media Income Inequality International Sports Top Stories Sat, 25 Oct 2014 10:00:10 +0000 Katie Rose Quandt 262741 at "More Money Than I Could Count": Mitch McConnell's Very Special Relationship With Lobbyists <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>There may be no Washington lawmaker cozier with K Street than Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). DC law firms and lobbying shops are stuffed with ex-McConnell staffers and pals. And he uses them well to preserve his power and position. As the conservative <em>National Review</em> <a href="">reported</a>, "McConnell has often exercised power in DC by pressuring major donors to withhold donations from a given lawmaker or organization. His allies on K Street are often the people who deliver this message and 'enforce' it." The stats below show just how close McConnell is with the well-heeled lobbyists of Washington, DC&mdash;a relationship that no doubt will serve both sides well, should the GOP win the Senate and McConnell become its majority leader.</p> <div class="inline inline-left" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="50 staffers" class="image" src="/files/Mitch-McConnell-50-staffers_0.jpg"></div> <div class="inline inline-left" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="second most" class="image" src="/files/Mitch-McConnell-second-most_1.jpg"></div> <div class="inline inline-left" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="3 million" class="image" src="/files/Mitch-McConnell-3-mill_1.jpg"></div> <div class="inline inline-left" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="oil" class="image" src="/files/Mitch-McConnell-oil_0.jpg"></div> <div class="inline inline-left" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="fortune 500" class="image" src="/files/Mitch-McConnell-fortune-500_0.jpg"></div> <div class="inline inline-left" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="industries" class="image" src="/files/Mitch-McConnell-industries_1.jpg"></div> <div class="inline inline-left" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="tobacco" class="image" src="/files/Mitch-McConnell-tobacco_0.jpg"></div> <div class="inline inline-left" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="chiefs of staff" class="image" src="/files/Mitch-McConnell-COS_1.jpg"></div> <div class="inline inline-left" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="Bates" class="image" src="/files/Mitch-McConnell-Hunter_2.jpg"></div> <div class="inline inline-left" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="Bates" class="image" src="/files/Mitch-McConnell-Bates-quote_3.jpg"></div> <p>&nbsp;</p></body></html> Politics Congress Money in Politics Top Stories Fri, 17 Oct 2014 10:00:09 +0000 Andy Kroll and Katie Rose Quandt 262636 at Women Harassed Out of Their Homes. Mass Shooting Threats. How #Gamergate Morphed Into a Monster. <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>Video game critic and feminist author Anita Sarkeesian canceled a speaking engagement at Utah State University on Tuesday after <a href="" target="_blank">an email from an unknown source</a> promised "the deadliest school shooting in American history" and threatened that Sarkeesian would "die screaming like the craven little whore that she is if you let her come to USU." Sarkeesian is the creator of an <a href="" target="_blank">online video series</a> that critiques mainstream video games for misogyny; she has long been the target of violent threats from online trolls. Despite that Sarkeesian had every reason to be concerned about the specter of <a href="" target="_blank">vicious misogyny mixed with guns</a>, USU officials <a href="" target="blank">said</a> that under state law concealed weapons could not be barred from the event. She blasted the university late Wednesday for how it handled the situation:</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p>USU acted irresponsibly. They did not even inform me of the threat. I learned about it via news stories on Twitter after I landed in Utah.</p> &mdash; Feminist Frequency (@femfreq) <a href="">October 16, 2014</a></blockquote> <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script><p>Sarkeesian <a href="" target="_blank">noted recently</a> that she has been "subjected to the worst harassment I've ever faced" as part of a convoluted conflict known as #Gamergate, which has been <a href="" target="blank">roiling</a> the gaming industry since August. Playing out primarily on social media, #Gamergate centers around several women who work in the industry and have criticized its dominant macho culture and frequent&nbsp;sexualization of women. Their critique has met with intense harassment and bullying. The FBI is currently investigating the threats against Sarkeesian and others, according to <em><a href="" target="blank">Vice</a></em>.</p> <p class="subhed" target="blank">On one level, #Gamergate is an internal squabble between ideologically opposed factions within the gaming world. But now, disturbing developments such as Sarkeesian's canceled appearance reflect how the controversy has blown up beyond the familiar trappings of online nastiness and spilled into real life&mdash;with serious consequences. At least two women involved in #Gamergate have said that they had to flee their homes, fearing for their safety. Kyle Wagner at <em>Deadspin</em> <a href="" target="blank">suggests</a> that #Gamergate may be no less than "the future of grievance politics as they will be carried out by people who grew up online."</p> <p><strong>So what is #Gamergate and how did this all start?</strong><br> #Gamergate is essentially an escalating fight about the direction of gaming culture. It pits a group of feminists and their supporters&mdash;who advocate for expanding beyond the testosterone-fueled games that dominate the industry&mdash;against a vocal faction that is openly hostile toward their views. The conflict first blew up in August after a programmer named <a href="" target="_blank">Eron Gonji</a> wrote a revenge post about his breakup with developer Zoe Quinn, the creator of <a href="" target="blank">Depression Quest</a>, a critically acclaimed game whose purpose is to illustrate the challenges of coping with depression.</p> <p>The post implied Quinn had a romantic relationship with a writer for <em>Kotaku</em>, the gaming site run by Gawker Media, supposedly to receive favorable coverage of Depression Quest. In fact, <em>Kotaku</em> never reviewed the game, but nasty attacks against Quinn&mdash;<a href="" target="blank">including</a> the circulation of nude photos, death threats, and rape threats&mdash;quickly flooded sites like Reddit and 4chan. Sarkeesian experienced similar threats just a few days later, after publishing a new video in her series on women and gaming. Brianna Wu, a developer behind <a href="" target="_blank">a game</a> with all female lead characters, has <a href="" target="blank">written</a> about harassment of women in the industry; she received a series of graphic death threats last week after&nbsp;<a href="" target="blank">sharing a meme</a> making fun of #Gamergate. She said she had to flee her home as a result.</p> <div class="inline inline-left" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="gamergate" class="image" src="/files/gamergate.png"><br> &nbsp;</div> <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script><p>Wu posted a fierce <a href="" target="_blank">counterattack</a> on Thursday morning:</p> <p class="ng-scope">"Ordinarily, I develop videogames with female characters that aren't girlfriends, bimbos and sidekicks," she wrote. "I am a software engineer, a popular public speaker and an expert in the Unreal engine. Today, I'm being targeted by a delusional mob." That's the tame part: "<span class="ng-scope" itemscope="" itemtype="">They threatened the wrong woman this time. I am the Godzilla of bitches. I have a backbone of pure adamantium, and I'm sick of seeing them abuse my friends."</span></p> <p><strong>Who is responsible for all this nastiness?</strong><br> It's hard to say: Most of the viciousness comes from anonymous trolls. However, a couple of particular players have helped inflame the situation:</p> <p>Adam Baldwin, perhaps best known for portraying paranoid mercenary Jayne Cobb in <em>Firefly</em> and for voicing strident political views on social media, chimed in:</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p>Patterns of Failure: <a href="">#GunGrabbers</a> exploit dead children to advance their political agenda. Anti- <a href="">#GamerGate</a>&rsquo;rs exploit anon-troll threats.</p> &mdash; Adam Baldwin (@AdamBaldwin) <a href="">October 12, 2014</a></blockquote> <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p>Hi <a href="">@BoingBoing</a>: What hard evidence do U have <a href="">@Spacekatgal</a> was &ldquo;targeted [by <a href="">#Gamergate</a>] with credible threats after speaking out on sexism&rdquo;?</p> &mdash; Adam Baldwin (@AdamBaldwin) <a href="">October 12, 2014</a></blockquote> <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p>This is actor <a href="">@AdamBaldwin</a> and the standards he holds himself to. <a href=""></a></p> &mdash; Brianna Wu (@Spacekatgal) <a href="">October 14, 2014</a></blockquote> <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script><p>Milo Yiannopoulos, associate editor at <em></em>, also helped fuel the haters with a <a href="" target="blank">blog post </a>in which he declared "an army of sociopathic feminist programmers and campaigners, abetted by achingly politically correct American tech bloggers, are terrorising the entire community."</p> <p><strong>What's the deal with those strange hashtags and other terms?</strong><br> Here's a quick primer:</p> <p><strong>8chan:</strong> A site that allows anyone to anonymously create their own message board. Threads related to #Gamergate originally sprung up on 4chan, but were banned for breaking the site's policy on distributing personal information. At that point, the conversation largely <a href="" target="_blank">moved</a> to 8chan.</p> <p><strong>"Social justice warrior" (or SJW):</strong> A derisive term used by many in the #Gamergate crowd to describe its feminist and otherwise inclusion-minded critics. It's largely synonymous with "PC police."</p> <p><strong><a href="" target="blank">#NotYourShield</a>: </strong>A Twitter hashtag used to point out that not all #Gamergate supporters are white and/or male. It's been used by women and people of color sympathetic to the cause to counter claims that the movement is inherently misogynistic or comprised solely of gaming's status quo. Some claim that many "sock puppets," or fake accounts, have been created to make the tag appear more popular than it is; there is no way to confirm or deny this.</p> <p><strong><a href=";src=tyah" target="blank">#StopGamerGate2014</a>: </strong>A Twitter hashtag that has <a href=";q2=%23gamergate&amp;via=Topsy" target="blank">garnered</a> around 75,000 tweets since it first appeared late Tuesday night (#Gamergate has been getting around 100,000 tweets a day). It's essentially&nbsp;a form of counterprotest.</p> <p><strong>So what is this really all about?</strong><br> #Gamergaters, as they're called, say their target isn't women but instead what they deem to be corrupt journalism. They claim the fact that a game developer like Quinn once had a romantic relationship with a writer at&nbsp;<em>Kotaku</em>&nbsp;is evidence that media coverage of games can be bought and sold with sexual favors. But the writer in question never reviewed Quinn's game, and nor did anyone else at&nbsp;<em>Kotaku</em>.&nbsp;<em>Kotaku</em>&nbsp;<a href="" target="blank">looked into</a>&nbsp;the accusations and said it found no evidence of a conflict of interest.</p> <p>#Gamergaters argue more broadly that journalists are <a href="" target="blank">too cozy</a>&nbsp;with game developers&mdash;they fund their projects, date them, and are sometimes roommates or friends with them&mdash;which makes it impossible, they say, for gamers to trust reviews from gaming news sites. <em>Polygon</em>,&nbsp;<em>Kotaku</em>, and the <em>Verge</em> have come under attack along these lines. (You can read about their ethics policies&nbsp;<a href="" target="blank">her</a><a href="" target="blank">e, here</a>, and&nbsp;<a href="" target="blank">here</a>.) Other #Gamergaters take issue with a growing pool&nbsp;of gaming writers and editors interested in issues of&nbsp;diversity, inclusion, sexism, and violence in video games. "Headlines are becoming less about gaming and more about&nbsp;mysoginy&nbsp;[sic], feminism, and are reduced to click-grabbing disappointments," <a href="" target="blank">laments</a>&nbsp;one manifesto.</p> <p>Meanwhile, there is an email listserv called&nbsp;GamingJournoPros&nbsp;that some industry writers use to discuss trends and new releases; its recent "<a href="" target="blank">discovery</a>" by <em></em> has prompted additional outrage among #Gamergaters, despite that there are multitudes of such listservs in journalism. (Read more from its moderator&nbsp;<a href="" target="blank">here</a>.) On the other hand, popular gaming critic Leigh Alexander has <a href="" target="_blank">compiled</a> a list of more substantive ethics issues in the trade. For instance, "One of the US's most long-running and successful print game publications is owned by one of the world's best-known game retailers, and few of the magazine's consumers seem aware of what, if any impact that relationship might have."</p> <p>And if you're still wondering whether #Gamergate is about journalism ethics, read <a href="" target="_blank">this piece</a> from Amanda Marcotte, who calls total bullshit. (Well, "horseshit," to be precise.)</p> <p><strong>How are tech and social media companies reacting?</strong><br> Intel was pulled into #Gamergate early this month when it bowed to pressure from an email blizzard <a href="" target="blank">by yanking it ads from <em>Gamasutra</em></a>, one of several sites that have published essays critical of rampant sexism in gamer culture. Subsequently criticized for that move, the company <a href="" target="blank">apologized two days later</a> but hasn't reinstated the ads.</p> <p>Though #Gamergate first <a href="" target="_blank">caught fire on 4chan</a>, it exploded on more mainstream social media outlets such as Reddit and Twitter, which have been criticized for providing a platform for its worst elements. On Saturday, for example, developer Brianna Wu left her home after a Twitter user <a href="" target="blank">sent her a string of threats</a> including a pledge to choke her to death with her husband's penis. Though Twitter has suspended those accounts, critics argue<a href="" target="blank"> it could do much more</a> by, say, actively detecting hostile behavior, limiting fake accounts, and making it easier to block users. Twitter spokesman Nu Wexler referred <em>Mother Jones</em> to the company's user rules <a href="" target="blank">banning targeted abuse</a>. He declined to say how many accounts have been suspended in relation to #Gamergate or if any have been referred to law enforcement.</p> <p>On Reddit, <a href="" target="blank">a group devoted to #Gamergate</a> has more than 11,000 subscribers. Many of the comments in these threads <a href="" target="blank">are misogynistic</a>, and Zoe Quinn <a href="" target="blank">has produced logs</a> of Reddit chatrooms that show gamers planning to hack her personal accounts. Even so, Reddit's moderators haven't shut down its main #Gamergate page. (In contrast, a #Gamergate forum on Github <a href="" target="blank">has been disabled</a> by the site's staff.) "We received a number of contacts related to this issue," Reddit spokeswoman Victoria Taylor wrote in response to questions from <em>Mother Jones</em>. "Anything that we found or that was reported to us that broke our <a href="" target="_blank">rules</a> was removed and the user banned." But it seems that the fallout from #Gamergate hasn't prompted much concern or soul searching at Reddit: "We do not plan on changing any site policies due to the occurrence of this event."</p> <p><strong>How have leaders in the gaming industry responded?</strong><br> Pushback on the nastiness from the world of gaming journalism has included comments from Stephen Totilo, the editor in chief of <em>Kotaku</em> (and #Gamergate's<a href="" target="blank"> journalistic enemy No. 1</a>), who <a href="" target="blank">published a piece</a> criticizing the movement and its tactics:</p> <p>"All of us at <em>Kotaku</em> condemn the sort of harassment that's being carried out against critics, developers, journalists, and other members of the gaming community. If you're someone who harasses people online, you're not a part of the community we want to foster at <em>Kotaku</em>, and you're actively hurting people and driving important voices away from the video game scene. Enough."</p> <p>Chris Plante at <em>Polygon</em>, the Vox Media-owned video game site and frequent #Gamergate punching bag, <a href="" target="blank">scolded</a>:</p> <p>"This week, the obstinate child threw a temper tantrum, and the industry was stuck in the metaphorical grocery store as everyone was forced to suffer through it together. But unlike a child, the people behind these temper tantrums are hurting others. It's time to grow up."</p> <p>And <a href="" target="blank">Keith Stuart, games editor of the <em>Guardian</em>,</a> wrote:</p> <p>"I have found a lot of the actions of self-confessed hardcore gamers horrendous, upsetting and unjustifiable over the past two weeks&hellip;I don't have a problem with the term 'gamer'&hellip;I have a problem with gamers who deny that this industry needs to improve its representation&mdash;in terms of race, gender and sexuality."</p> <p>On Wednesday, the Entertainment Software Association, gaming's largest industry group, issued a short statement:</p> <p>"Threats of violence and harassment are wrong&hellip;They have to stop. There is no place in the video game community&mdash;or our society&mdash;for personal attacks and threats."</p> <p>And developer Andreas Zecher wrote a widely circulated <a href="" target="blank">"open letter to the gaming community"</a> posted to Medium:</p> <p>"We believe that everyone, no matter what gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, religion or disability has the right to play games, criticize games and make games without getting harassed or threatened&hellip;If you see hateful, harassing speech, take a public stand against it and make the gaming community a more enjoyable space to be in."</p> <p>The letter was signed by hundreds in the gaming community, including people from big-time studios like Electronic Arts, Microsoft, Ubisoft, and Nintendo.</p> <p>From the indie community, developer Phil Fish has led the charge to defend Quinn and others:</p> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/fish_0.jpg"></div></body></html> Media Media Sex and Gender Tech Top Stories Thu, 16 Oct 2014 10:15:05 +0000 — By the Mother Jones news team 262626 at Vatican to Cohabitators and Gays: You're Kind of Okay. (Update: Actually, Never Mind.) <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p><em><strong>Update, Saturday, October 18, 2014:</strong> <a href="" target="_blank">Never mind</a>: "A final statement agreed to on Saturday by a summit of Catholic Church leaders to discuss teachings on family retreated from groundbreaking language on &ldquo;welcoming homosexual persons&rdquo; included in an interim draft released on Monday."</em></p> <p>A <a href="" target="_blank">preliminary document</a> released by the Vatican today suggests a possible easing of the Catholic Church's strict stances on premarital cohabitation, homosexuality, and divorce and remarriage. Summarizing the first week of discussion at a worldwide meeting of bishops, the document stresses the need for church leadership to listen "with respect and love" and "appreciate the positive values" of members "rather than their limitations and shortcomings."</p> <p>The document is <a href="" target="_blank">not an indication of change in doctrine</a>, but more of a recap of what has been discussed so far at the two-week long synod on family issues, and what's on the agenda in the second week of meetings. The synod was both convened and attended by Pope Francis. Among the topics mentioned in the document are the "positive aspects of civil unions and cohabitation," and the importance of including Catholics who are divorced or remarried while "avoiding any language or behavior that might make them feel discriminated against."</p> <p>The document also encourages churches to welcome and accept gay people, who "have gifts and qualities to offer to the Christian community." This "welcoming" has its limitations: The document maintains that "unions between people of the same sex cannot be considered on the same footing as matrimony between man and woman."</p> <p>Overall, however, the document's tone contrasts with statements from Pope Francis' predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, who called gay marriage a "<a href="" target="_blank">threat to world peace</a>" and damaging to "the essence of the human creature." And not once does it&nbsp;refer those who are divorced or living together before marriage as sinners.</p> <p>The document quotes previous writings by Pope Francis, stating: "The Church is called on to be 'the house of the Father, with doors always wide open&hellip;where there is a place for everyone, with all their problems.'"</p> <p>The Vatican's baby steps toward discussion and inclusion appear to reflect the frustration among many Catholics toward the church's traditional stances on family issues and gay rights. Last week, a <a href="" target="_blank">poll of American Catholics</a> found 40 percent believe the church should drop its opposition to premarital sex and cohabitation (33 percent say it should not), and 42 percent believe the Church should recognize same-sex marriage (40 percent disagree). The poll also found Pope Francis has an 85 percent favorability rating among American Catholics.</p></body></html> MoJo Gay Rights Religion Mon, 13 Oct 2014 23:04:35 +0000 Katie Rose Quandt 262341 at While You Procrastinate on Facebook, More Than Half the World Still Doesn't Have Internet Access <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>If you're an American office worker who sleeps next to a smartphone and deals with an average of <a href="" target="_blank">120 work emails a day</a>, life without the internet may seem like a quaint memory. But you're actually in the minority: According to a <a href="" target="_blank">new report</a>, more than 60 percent of the world's population hasn't accessed the internet in the past 12 months. And those without access are disproportionately rural, low income, elderly, illiterate, and female.</p> <p>Since 2004, 1.8 billion people have joined the online community, bringing total internet users to 2.7 billion. Even as new users continue to join the online ranks, however, the rate at which they join is slowing. The McKinsey &amp; Company report projects that less than 1 billion additional users will be added by 2017, leaving up to 4.2 billion people&mdash;more than half the forecasted world population&mdash;on the other side of the digital divide.</p> <p>The share of the global population with access (defined as having used the internet in the preceding 12 months) grew sharply from 2004 to 2009, but less so from 2009 through 2011, and even less growth is projected from 2013 to 2017:<br> &nbsp;</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" allowtransparency="true" frameborder="0" height="400" mozallowfullscreen="mozallowfullscreen" msallowfullscreen="msallowfullscreen" oallowfullscreen="oallowfullscreen" src="//" webkitallowfullscreen="webkitallowfullscreen" width="100%"></iframe></p> <p><br> The specific trends that drove people online over the past decade (such as urbanization, cheaper smartphones, and the internet's increased utility) likely won't be enough to push the remaining population online, thanks to barriers like low incomes and lack of infrastructure.<br> &nbsp;</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" allowtransparency="true" frameborder="0" height="350" mozallowfullscreen="mozallowfullscreen" msallowfullscreen="msallowfullscreen" oallowfullscreen="oallowfullscreen" src="//" webkitallowfullscreen="webkitallowfullscreen" width="100%"></iframe></p> <p><br> "Those who do not or simply cannot go online increasingly suffer from constrained prospects for economic attainment, class mobility, education, and other areas related to quality of life," the report notes. "The voices, ideas, and contributions of the offline population can't be heard and often can't be made until they're connected."</p> <p>Those left offline miss out on opportunities to connect socially, access information on everything from health to the weather, and take advantage of online government services. The internet allows communities to participate in political movements like the Arab Spring and mobilize aid following natural disasters. Online access also increases government transparency, helps shoppers save time and money, lowers the barriers of entry for businesses, and of course, provides entertainment.</p> <p>Beyond individuals, whole countries are left behind: An earlier <a href="" target="_blank">McKinsey report</a> found that from 2006 to 2011, the internet accounted for 21 percent of GDP growth in nations with stable populations and slowing economic growth. And global connectivity can lead to improvements in technology, education, democracy, and tourism.</p> <p>The disadvantages of being left behind in a digital world fall disproportionately on certain communities: A full 74 percent of today's offline population resides in just 20 countries. Even within these nations, those who lack internet access often fit similar profiles.</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" allowtransparency="true" frameborder="0" height="375" mozallowfullscreen="mozallowfullscreen" msallowfullscreen="msallowfullscreen" oallowfullscreen="oallowfullscreen" src="//" webkitallowfullscreen="webkitallowfullscreen" width="100%"></iframe></p> <p>The report outlines four major barriers to internet access:</p> <ul><li><strong>Incentives:</strong> Many people lack awareness of online capabilities: In 2011, 21 percent of those surveyed in Ethiopia's capital did not know what the internet was. Even those who know of its existence might not find relevant local information or even material in their own language. The World Bank reports that 80 percent of all internet content is written in <a href="" target="_blank">one of just 10 languages</a>. There is also decreased incentive to use the internet in countries with limited online freedom or information security, like Iran or Nigeria.</li> <li><strong>Low incomes and affordability:</strong> Internet access is expensive in rural areas. In Ethiopia, a country with an annual per capita income of <a href="" target="_blank">just $470</a>, a smartphone <a href="" target="_blank">retails for $377</a>.</li> <li><strong>User capability:</strong> Many people throughout the world have never been educated on the internet and how to use it. Some are held back by the even more basic barrier of illiteracy.</li> <li><strong>Infrastructure:</strong> In parts of the world, there is simply no mobile internet coverage or network access. In fact, 24 percent of sub-Saharan Africans and 20 percent of Southeast Asians lack even basic electricity. The McKinsey report cites an initiative to extend broadband access to a shared community space in every village and city in Colombia over the next several years, but notes this type of project "requires substantial investment in infrastructure and is cost-prohibitive to build out in many developing markets."</li> </ul><p>Although the United States scored high on incentives and user capability, a chunk of the population remains offline due to affordability and infrastructure. Only 77 percent of US adults with household incomes below $30,000 go online, and World Economic Forum ranked the US <a href="" target="_blank">35th in the world</a> in regard to internet bandwidth. Of the 50 million offline Americans, 80 percent are low income, 54 percent are seniors, and a full 66 percent are female.</p> <p>The authors report that over the past decade, growth in online population has been driven by mobile coverage expansion, urbanization, cheaper phones and data plans, a growing middle class, and the internet's increasing utility. But they caution that the remaining offline population is unlikely to be swayed by these advantages, unless the four barriers above are addressed. "Without a significant change in technology, in income growth or in the economics of access, or in policies to spur internet adoption, the rate of growth of internet penetration will continue to slow."</p></body></html> Politics Income Inequality International Tech Top Stories Mon, 13 Oct 2014 10:30:06 +0000 Katie Rose Quandt 261861 at