Sunday, July 31, 2011


Two things that made a big initial splash earlier this summer that haven't been able to sustain the hype: google+ and spotify. Spotify just recently arrived in America and, if my friends were to be believed, revolutionized listening to music online. I shrugged. The reviews made it sound a lot like rhapsody. I was an early rhapsody adopter, too. And now that I've tried spotify (thanks, London, for letting my circumvent the whole "by-invitation" hype crap), I can honestly say it's just a reboot of rhapsody. But first...

Pros: on-demand music license, large library, friends, playlist sharing, compatibility with mobile mp3 players
Cons: requires software download, weak suggestion feature, won't necessarily have the songs you're looking for

The one huge plus that spotify has over services like pandora and is the on-demand music license. That means you don't just enter a song or artist that you like and the program generates a playlist based on what it thinks (should be) your tastes or similar artists & songs. It actually plays the song you want, when you want it. But on-demand licenses for music are much more expensive than a broad license where a record label can influence the licensor to also play other artists and songs.[1]

Spotify offers 3 different tiers of service, with only the lowest being free. It gives you the ability to listen to 20 hours of on-demand music per week for free. The paid services grant you unlimited listening hours and the ability to move songs to your mobile devices for free among other premium features.[2]

Another service that I was initially intrigued with,, offers pretty much the same on-demand listening ability except they're not licensing the songs. They rely on users linking to songs on the internet, including youtube. And unlike spotify, searching for a song by title or artist retrieves loads and loads of returns, with most of them being lame covers by youtubers. But at least you don't have a 20 hour time limit.

Playlist sharing is a really exciting feature on spotify. My friend shared a playlist that he had found of all the albums released in 2011 that rated 8 or higher on pitchfork. People can share mixes of their favorite love songs, work out jams, or chill tunes all without actually committing the songs to tape or CD.

And while the spotify library is huge, it's not comprehensive. I tried to put together a mix of all the longlisted 2011 Polaris nominated albums but too many weren't available. This isn't some kind of hipster "obscurer than thou" posturing; these are albums nominated for a pretty major national music prize in Canada.

Another (sorta) downside is the very poor suggestions feature of spotify. Some of you may remember my complaints about pandora's broken algorithm for suggesting songs. It simply wouldn't accept that I hate Coldplay based solely on the fact that I like Radiohead. And this wasn't just a case of the lazies on my part; I actively disliked every single Coldplay track that played. But the program just wasn't smart enough to figure out that just because I like one British alt-rock band that I couldn't also dislike everything Chris Martin touches. A similar thing happened with Pinback. Remember that thing I said about on-demand song licenses being expensive versus other ways to license music? That's (partially) to blame for this problem.

Part of what I really like about (and to a lesser extent pandora when I still suffer to use it) is the dynamic suggestion feature. It may not play the band or song I want immediately upon me inputting it, but if if wasn't for said feature, I wouldn't have discovered Craft Spells of brothertiger or a number of other really amazing bands. It's kind of like if pitchfork wasn't a pretentious douche but that cute girl at the record store who asks you what you've been listening to and then suggests a really awesome album by a band you've never heard of. Spotify let's you hear what you want when you want (if it's got it) but it doesn't help you hear the stuff you'd want to hear if you only knew about it.

The biggest flaw of spotify is the requirement that you download software to use the service., pandora, even don't require you to do this. In the age of ever increasing hard drive sizes, this isn't really a storage complaint. It's simply a matter of inconvenience. When I'm (theoretically) trapped in my cubicle for 8 hours a day working on a company computer, administrative access isn't going to allow me to download and run a new piece of software. But you know what it will let me do? Point my browser over to and listen. It might seem like a minor complaint, but it definitely delayed me from trying the service.

One of the big features touted by spotify is compatibility with all mobile devices and the ability to download music and playlists to said devices without paying a per song fee like itunes. This spotify feature requires paying a subscription fee, something I'm loathe to do when I can access so much music for free through the other services I've named, youtube, record label and music review websites, and others. And if I really want to pay money to hear an album, I'll probably just go ahead and invest in buying that record or CD.

But what I will say is I've been burned on that promise before. Rhapsody made the same proclamation to me way back in the day before itunes ascended to its current marketplace dominance. And you know what? It didn't work. I couldn't move songs I bought on rhapsody over to my second generation ipod nano. I couldn't even play them in itunes without first burning them to a CD and then importing said CD into itunes. It was a waste of time and money (blank CDs weren't cheap back then) and ultimately the reason I cancelled my rhapsody subscription.

Can anybody with the premium spotify service verify if it really is compatible across mobile devices? I know the use of DRM is on the wane with music services, drives mostly by Amazon offering DRM-free songs.

Overall, I like spotify but I don't think it will replace as my online music provider. If I want to hear a new album or try to dig through a artist's back catalog or if I really, really need to hear a particular song, I'll use it. But I also really like the adventure and exploration of suggested music rather than on-demand licensing.

It will be interesting to see if my account with migrate with me back across the pond when I return to law school in the fall.

Verdict: Worth a try, especially if you're seeking out something in particular rather than just wanting to listen to some tunes.

[1] I'll reserve comment on whether this practice is good or bad for the end-user, i.e. the listener.
[2] American users definitely have the advantage for the paid plans. 10 is the magic number for spotify and US$10 is a lot cheaper than £10.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

harry potter & the deathly hallows part 2

It's been a little over 2 weeks since I scoped out Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part 2 in London at the midnight debut. At the time I watched it, I had not read a single one of the books to avoid spoiling the movie experience. It's a simple but unescapable law that the book is always better than the movie -- assuming the book was written first and not as a novelization of the film.[1]

Since I saw the film, I have blown through the first 3 books and am currently about 1/3 of the way through The Goblet of Fire. I'd still like to provide some comments about the last Harry Potter movie from the perspective of someone who hasn't read the series. All of the questions I had when watching the Deathly Hallows haven't been addressed so far in the books. It should go without saying but just in case:


I saw The Deathly Hallows part 2 at 12:01 am on Friday, 15 July, the first public showing. It was the second feature of a double-header that included The Deathly Hallows part 1 as the lead-in. I was quite thankful to re-watch the seventh film as many of the smaller details of the plot had been forgotten between the time I saw it in the winter and now. The two films, part 1 & 2, work well together as a long, single movie, not surprisingly since together they make up the plot of the final book. The only thing that would break-up the narrative flow is the fact that at the beginning of part 2 they show a brief recap of what happened at the end of part 1 -- namely Lord Voldemort robbing Dumbledore's grave to collect the Elder Wand and Harry mourning the death of Dobby. Part 2 resumes at the coast as Harry buries Dobby without the aid of magic and the group takes shelter in an old home by the sea to talk to the rescue Mr. Ollivander.

The 3D effects appeared to be solid in the film, at least at the beginning of the movie. I am both red-green colorblind and wear glasses so I have handicaps that usually interfere with the quality of 3D. Of course, being in 3D, the overall color of the film tended to darker. And towards the end of the film I stopped noticing 3D at all. Which I guess is a way of saying that it didn't feel gimmicky and didn't detract too much from the experience.

After breaking into Gringott's to destroy a horcrux stashed in Bellatrix Lestrange's and escaping on the back of a dragon, most of the last movie is devoted to the epic war between Lord Voldemort, his Death Eaters, and army versus the forces of good protecting Hogwarts. But the Gringott's scene did raise an issue. Harry disarms Bellatrix and takes her wand; Mr. Ollivander identifies it as such. Therefore Hermione disguised as Bellatrix has access to it when the goblins ask her to present the wand as identification to access the vault. Why they didn't use it rather than Harry casting the Imperius Curse. After discussing it with people who have read the books, it makes sense. However, rather than presenting details to create this gap in the plot, why not just not include the scene of Ollivander identifying the wand?

Just about every surviving wizard who's ever been featured in a Potter movie makes an appearence in the last battle. The special effects are stunning for all the different spells flying back and forth and the creatures summoned to do the bidding of the Dark Lord. The duel between Molly Weasley and Bellatrix, much hyped at the premiere of the movie, was neither as long nor as visually spectacularly as I had imagined. Nevertheless, it was satisfying to see insane Bellatrix finally be defeated.

Harry's confrontation with Voldemort in the clearing raised more questions. Major spoiler so if you haven't seen the movie or read the books, you should definitely skip the rest of this paragraph. Harry is a horcrux. I'm not exactly sure how it happened. I think when Lily sacrificed herself to protect the infant Harry, causing Voldemort's curse to rebound, somehow part of Voldemort got lodged in Harry and this somehow functions as a horcrux. I'm not sure. The books probably give more details.

Voldemort manages to kill Harry with the Elder Wand. In the death state, Harry meets Dumbledore in a pristine and white version of King's Cross station. He also sees a visual representation of the part of Voldemort in him that Voldemort has just killed. For some reason, Harry has the ability to chose whether or not to die here. I'm not exactly sure how he has this power; it's kind of left unexplained.

I thought it had something to do with the Deathly Hallows. Dumbledore has gifted Harry the Resurrection Stone which he used to recall his parents and godfather prior to confronting the Dark Lord. It's also revealed that Harry is the true master of the Elder Wand, not Voldemort, because Snape, whom Voldemort kills to take the Elder Wand from, was not truly its master. The Elder Wand belonged to Dumbledore and it was Draco Malfoy, not Snape, who defeated him because it was Draco who actually disarmed Dumbledore. Snape killed him after he had already lost the duel. (From what I understand, in the books it's explained that Snape could not take the wand from Dumbledore because they had colluded and thus Snape didn't really "kill" him.)

The big reveal, then, would be that the Invisibility Cloak that Harry has had since the first movie wasn't merely an Invisibility Cloak at all but rather The Cloak of Invisibility, the third Deathly Hallow. Having all 3 would make Harry the Master of Death, thus giving an explanation for how he has the power to choose not to die. But that's not the case. In the movie, we're just supposed to accept that he can choose even though Dumbledore has been keeping the secret that Voldemort must kill Harry in order to be able to die himself. If Harry could just choose to come back to life after Voldemort has killed him, why not disclose this information to Harry, or at least tell Snape so that he can pass it along with the last of his memories?

Back to the plot. After killing Potter, Narcissa Malfoy is told to verify that Harry is dead but she lies to the Dark Lord. Hagrid carries Harry's dead body back to Hogwarts, led by the Dark Lord who has come to gloat. He expects the wizards and witches to bow before him now that Harry, the only one who has ever and who could ever defeat him, is dead. Neville Longbottom, long the butt of jokes, gives a rousing speech defying the Dark Lord and then Harry springs to life. All hell breaks loose again as the Dark Lord chases Harry and the Death Eaters do battle.

Nagini, Voldemort's familiar, is the last surviving horcrux. Understanding that Harry is trying to kill Nagini, Voldemort keeps the boy at bay and sends Nagini to kill Ron and Hermione, who have finally kissed in the bowels of Hogwarts while retrieving a basilisk fang to destroy the last horcrux. Just before Nagini can strike, Neville swoops in to save the day, wielding Gryffindor's Sword and killing Nagini. Neville is finally a hero, too.

Without his immortality juju, Harry finally destroys Voldemort with the Elder Wand, which is rightfully his, after a flashy wand fight. The world is saved. And Harry decides to destroy the Elder Wand rather than letting it ever fall into anybody's hands again.

One other "spoiler" is that Severus Snape, rather than being a Death Eater, is revealed to actually have been working with Dumbledore in secret the whole time. Harry learns of these secret heroics from Snape's tears. Snape had loved Lily first and had been jealous when she chose James Potter instead of him. And even though Snape had been mean and nasty to Harry throughout Hogwarts, he had never wanted to kill the boy. Oh, and Snape and Lily have the same Patronus. I'm pretty sure it's Snape's Patronus that leads Harry to Gryffindor's Sword in the frozen pond.

The scene that has received the harshest criticism from people I know is the last one, where the heroes have all aged 19 years and are sending their kids of to Hogwarts. The aging makeup is regarded as being pretty poor even though it's supposed to be the same technology that made the Curious Case of Benjamin Button age in reverse so effectively. I was kind of upset to see Harry with Ginny. Come on, buddy, Cho Chang was so much cuter...

Overall, it's a really great ending to the series and a thrill-a-minute. It doesn't stand well on it's own because it's mostly just action with very little plot development. A fine capstone for the bildungsroman / hero's journey story of this generation.

I don't think I had quite the same experience seeing the last film and not just because I haven't read the books. For many people I've talked to, the remember starting to read the first Harry Potter when they were between 7-12 and they have grown up with the stories. The next book coming out was part of their youth and part of their experience. When the first book came out, I was almost 19 and just a month away from starting university. I was aware around the time the first movie came out and saw the first movie. It didn't motivate me to devour the books like some of my college peers. Not even a ringing endorsement from my professor Dr. Susan Napier in a class on anime roused my interest enough to read the books. I enjoyed the movies ok up until the Goblet of Fire, when I got bit by the Potter bug. But, citing the rule above (the books are always better than the movie), I held off on reading the books for SIX YEARS so that I could enjoy the films in their own right and on their own terms rather than comparing them unfavorably to the books.

Now, I'm zipping through the books and can't wait to get home and watch the movies all over again. They aren't the stories of my generation. I'm not sure there was this kind of global culturural phenomenon when I was 10. We watched GI Joe, Thundercats, and He-Man but nothing swept us up like Harry Potter has for this generation. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was huge but it didn't drive millions and millions of kids to read hefty tomes. We just spent too much on chunks of plastic and got 1 good film out of the deal.

[1] Can anyone think of an example where this isn't true; e.g. the movie based on the book is actually better than the book? I've heard Jaws is that way but never read the book.

Monday, July 25, 2011

top 5 for the week of 25 july 2011

1. postal service - the district sleeps alone tonight

2. the strokes - trying your luck

3. editors - blood

4. interpol - no i in threesome

5. male bonding - bones

Friday, July 22, 2011

bon iver - i can't make you love me / nick of time (cover)

I'm pretty sure Justin Vernon poops gold. Such an amazing, heartfelt cover of an amazing song. Enjoy!

dirty beaches @ the victoria in dalston, london - 19 july 2011

The Victoria in Dalston is easily one of my favorite music venues in the world. Seriously. It's a pub with a bar and a pool table and that's nice and all. But the space where the stage is reminded me of going to house parties as an undergrad to see a friend of a friend's band play in the living room. It was narrow and crowded and without a lot of pretense.

The walls had a textured seashell pattern in white for the top half, moulding, and then white wooden panels to the floor. The building is obviously a converted house. The bathroom consisted of a sink with a door connected to the single toilet. Like the Saturday afternoon before your buddy's party, someone has hauled a pair of second-hand couches and an arm chair into the venue. Concrete floors make for easy cleanup.

The one thing the Victoria has that your buddy's place probably didn't is a stage. Well, it was little more than a platform, really. If the band leaves their stuff near the entrance to the green room, you literally can't open the door or even get backstage. The only way up to the platform is from a single long step at the front unless you want to scramble.

Tuesday's show was all 60s garage rock. Though I went to see Dirty Beaches, I was impressed with the quality of both openers Mickey Gloss and Thee Ludds.[1] Mickey Gloss, self-described as playing "static lullabies full of absurd rants and transient fairy tales," woefully remains unsigned but you can pick up their self-produced LP Indelible Ballad of the Tainted Fur for the very reasonable price of £3 at their shows.[2] They're definitely worth a listen and I'm glad I made it out in time to see them. Thee Ludds were also loads of fun. Thankfully, they're on the Hodad label and you can pick up their 7" split with The No Brainers at Rough Trade.

Dirty Beaches, for those who don't know, is the stage name of Taiwanese-Canadian musician Alex Zhang Huntai.[2][3] He opened with 'Sweet 17', leaping into the audience and flogging his guitar. He made apologies for bumping into a young lady. The set closed with 'Lord Knows Best,' a sweet tune that's been circulating the blogosphere thanks to some attention in January from hipster tastemaker Urban Outfitters. Although he Alex didn't plan an encore, the enthusiasm of the crowd encouraged him to do a cover of 70s no wave act DNA, something he said he's wanted to experiment with for awhile.

Verdict - best night of rock and/or roll I've had so far in London. I can't think of the last time I've had so much fun at a show that didn't involve LCD Soundsystem or Ghostland Observatory.

[1] Yes, I know myspace is dead, but the pages let you enjoy the sounds of both bands for free.
[2] I'm particularly fond of 'Touch My Soul'.
[3] Currently Alex calls Vancouver home. His LP Badlands was a longlist nominee for the 2011 Polaris Music Prize. The winner will be announced 19 September. I'm pretty sure Arcade Fire will win for The Suburbs though my dark horse vote would have to go to The Weeknd's House of Balloons, which is as clean and perfect an R&B record as I've heard in a long, long time.
[4] Like a lot of small venue shows, we were treated to seeing Alex standing in the nearly empty room to watch openers Mickey Gloss. One of the many, many reasons I'd rather see a show at a tiny dive than all the pyrotechnics and production that a stadium show can provide.

Monday, July 18, 2011

top 5 for the week of 18 july 2011

1. circulatory system - the spinning continuous

2. surfer blood - swim

3. porcelain raft - tip of your tongue

4. radio dept. - you and me and then?

5. lower dens - truss me

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

navy with white polka dots

During the early weeks of my internship in London, we were wondering around somewhere close to the British Museum when it started to rain. Not unusual. It is London after all. Huddled under an umbrella on the sidewalk, I noticed a woman across the street in a very sharp navy coat with white polka dots.

I'm not sure what it is about this particular print. I like it a lot. Some might point out that it's a classic that keeps getting reinvented with each new fashion trend. That is true.

My mother owned a navy dress with white polka dots. It's one of my earliest memories of her. I must have been quite young since she still towered over me like a giant. She was putting on her earrings, wearing the dress. I was flitting about. Into the closet crowded with clothes (where did adults keep all their toys?) behind the sliding mirror door. Back out to look up at her. She must have been getting ready to go some where. I was going to be left behind. I needed to get her attention. I hid in the closet again.

This took place a year or perhaps two before I entered kindergarten. School means being away from my mother for many hours every day. It means being surrounded by strangers. Strange adults. Other children. Not my brother. But school has not yet begun for me. I am still too young for school.

This is my first memory of my mother as a person, as a separate, distinct being and not the undifferentiated maternal force surrounding my tender young life entirely.

Freud would mutely note the separation anxiety. He would also have much to say, I suspect, about my fondness for this pattern. I saw a young woman wearing it a few days ago as I commuted home by tube. It was slightly less than knee length; short sleeves. It had a modest collar, squared in lacy white. And I've noticed a similar dress hanging in the window of a charity store near where I work. I have passed it many times, admired the print, the low neckline and buttoned front. It makes me happy.

I could fall in love with a girl who wore a dress like that.

download new track from toro y moi

Chillwave pioneer Chaz Bundick released a follow up to his band Toro y Moi's Underneath the Pines, a 5 track EP entitled Freaking Out last month. You can download Alexander O’Neal & Cherelle’s “Saturday Love" here.

download free album from ghost ghost

Wow! I'm literally giving away music this week. Here's another LP for free courtesy of Ghost Ghost. They rotated through on my account (my user name: katosmullet - keeping it simple). I enjoyed 'em and here's your chance to do the same.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

download free solo album from nick diamonds

Right now Nick Thorburn, aka Nick Diamonds (currently the mastermind behind Islands, member of Mister Heavenly, and formerly of Unicorns) is giving away his LP I Am an Attic for free. Well, it's a pay what you want model and US$0 is a-ok. But for those who spend US$10 or more, Nick's throwing in a 6 song EP called I Am an E.P. as an incentive.

Monday, July 11, 2011

top 5 for the week of 11 july 2011

1. deerhood - cast off crown

2. the xx - heart skipped a beat (hard to pick just one when the whole album is amazing.)

3. wooden sky - something hiding from us in the night

4. circulatory system - symbols and maps

5. clinic - tusk

Saturday, July 9, 2011

"listen! listen! over here!" "i hate you, navi."

Hilarious video re-imagining tiny, annoying companion fairy Navi from the Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time as a large, annoying, bearded man in tights.

The Legend of Navi: A Link to the Pest, HEY! LISTEN! from Humble Punch Productions on Vimeo.

mario on paper

Holy heck Mario is one demented, psychotic, cold blooded killer. Ericpowerup uses stop motion animation to bring to light the dark, hidden side of the Mushroom Kingdom and the it's plumber "hero." Heck, maybe Bowser ain't such a bad koopa after all.

MARIO ON PAPER from Eric Power on Vimeo.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

the daily beast rips village voice's specious "child prostitution" study

Today Michelle Goldberg, a New York Times bestseller and award-winning writer, took aim in The Daily Beast at at the Village Voice's "child prostitution" study published last week. The VV "study" attempted to minimize the extent of child sexual exploitation for profit in America in a move it admits is to save its backpage dot com revenue.

Following up with Jay Albanese, the criminologist quoted as saying human trafficking statistics are all "crap" by the Voice, The Daily Beast reports the following:
But Albanese tells me he did not mean to imply that domestic sex trafficking is not a serious issue. “To go from saying that these are not actual counts of any sort to saying that this is not a problem is going way too far,” he says. “It’s clearly missing the point. It’s like saying we really don’t know how many people are truly at risk of breast cancer or prostate cancer, so therefore the problem isn’t that big.”
The Daily Beast also interviews Luis C. de Baca, the current Ambassador-at-Large and head of the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons at the U.S. Department of State. Ambassador de Baca points out that arrests are mostly generated by undercover police operations in which an officer poses as either a prostitute or a john. But prostitution has moved off the streets and online thanks to services like craigslist and backpage dot com. Police are paying some attention to the Internet but, Ambassador de Baca says, "the rule continues to be that enforcement patterns are on street prostitution" where it's open and notorious.

It's nice to see a journalist making many of the same arguments contained in my previous posts on this topic, especially since Goldberg has done her own interviews with experts on the topic.

To be added as number 18 of the reasons not to trust the Village Voice's estimates of the number of "child prostitutes" in America is the fact that in some jurisdictions like New York City, 16 and 17 year olds are charged as adults. Younger children also don't show up in adult statistics when they lie about their name or age, as most as taught to do by their traffickers.

She also cites Seattle as another example where rescue numbers by the police in the previous 2 years aren't being counted in the Village Voice's estimate because the survivors weren't arrested by the police.

I definitely recommend reading the article. It points out the same sleazy Voice scare tactic I mentioned of attempting to link all anti-trafficking groups to the religious and faith-based groups (ones that directly snatch government funding from care groups like GEMS, no less) when the numbers simply don't show that faith-based groups dominate the field.

But whether or not the Village Voice ever formally retracts it's specious, dishonest, disingenuous estimate, the damage is already done. Again quoting Ambassador de Baca,
[Underage sex trafficking] is something that certainly exists... People come and spend a lot of time and effort and attention on it. Then the debunkers come in. And people remain enslaved.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

sephiroth the world's enemy

Amazing stop-motion animation of Cloud's encounter with Sephiroth, complete with the death of Aeris. This guy is super talented and has made lots of these based on other properties. For all you Final Fantasy VII geeks out there. Enjoy.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

the love quiz - from tiger and bunny

Episode 14 is called Love is Blind. It's mostly a throwaway episode with a minor "villain" who can turn invisible by holding his breath. He's been sneaking backstage at concerts and stealing things from performers. After defeating Jake Martinez with teamwork, Tiger and Barnaby have become close and now "trust" each other as partners, even concealing from the public during talk show interviews their rocky and contentious start as a duo.

That cooperation turned things around for Bild Stern's first hero teamup. Barnaby finished in 1st place and won the title King of Heroes on the previous season of Hero TV. I guess that kinda happens when you save the entire three level city from being collapsed and sunk into the ocean. Wild Tiger, too, has gotten his act together, moving up to 4th in the points. And even the Origami Cyclone made good on his word to be better than last. Rock Bison has dropped to dead last.

So why did I bother to write about such a minor episode? To gloat. In this episode, Blue Rose (Karina) finally realizes that she has the hots for Wild Tiger. Which is pretty creepy considering that she's still a high school girl and he's in his 30s with an 11 year old daughter of his own. Oh anime... tentacle rape and statutory rape romances. And you don't even get the whole Lolita thing right.

There's a mixup where Karina thinks Kotetsu is asking her out but really he's just asking for some extra dance instruction (don't ask, just watch). However, to retrieve Karina's stolen bag from the aforementioned invisible creeper, Kotetsu is able to achieve power levels well beyond his normal Hundred Power. Is this activated because of his <3 for Karina? Or does he achieve a power level over 9000 because he's no longer thinking about getting credit for his heroing?

The downside of his boosted power is that it doesn't last for the normal 5 full minutes of the normal Hundred Power. Barnaby doesn't believe him when he explains this, instead crediting Kotetsu for intentionally letting Rock Bison capture the thief to boost his points and flagging confidence.

Will Barnaby have a similar over-drive capability for his Hundred Power? What will trigger it?

Aside: So far, no two NEXT have the same power except for Kotetsu and Barnaby. While the other characters note this, they don't seem curious about it. It remains to be seen if Tiger and Bunny have some deeper, hidden connection besides being Bild Stern's first dynamic duo.

For your edification, here's how to tell you're in <3 with a boy (if you're a Japanese high school girl):

1. You can't keep your eyes off him when he's around and he's always on your mind.
2. Everybody calls you by your nickname, including him, but you want him to call you by your real name.
3. You want to keep everything he gives you even if it's just a silly note or a real ugly workout towel.

Monday, July 4, 2011

washed out - within and without

Sub Pop will drop the new album from chillwave pioneer Washed Out on 12 July. In the meantime, you can stream the full album for free from NPR and download the first single, Amor Fati, for free by following this link. "You can also sign up to download Eyes Be Closed" below.

top 5 for the week of 4 july 2011

1. radiohead - let down

2. yeasayer - tightrope

3. lcd soundsystem - i can change

4. the raveonettes - the beat dies

5. queen - don't stop me now

Sunday, July 3, 2011

more reasons not to trust the village voice's estimates of the number of "child prostitutes" in america

In case you missed it, on 29 June the Village Voice published an article titled "Real Men Get Their Facts Straight" in which they argued the number of children being exploited sexually for profit in the US each year is only about 827 based on a survey conducted of arrests of minors for prostitution in the 37 largest US cities. This number is much lower than the 100,000 to 300,000 estimate that Ashton Kutcher provided during his appearance on CNN's Piers Morgan show. The debate got heated via twitter and Ashton pointed out that Village Voice Media owns both the Village Voice and, a site known to facilitate in prostitution. It had earlier been brought to court and accused of knowingly promoting child prostitution through its online service.

Ashton then proceeded to target the Village Voice's advertisers, asking them to withdraw ads from the media company in protest the company's lack of vigorous policing to prevent exploitation of children through its services. In other words, Ashton decided to hit VV where it hurt: their bottom line.

The Village Voice shot back via twitter The feed confirmed several things about the original Village Voice story; things those siding with the paper have often downplayed or ignored.

VV sticks by its original assertion that the number of child victims of sexual exploitation for profit is a little over 800 per year. It uses its survey of arrest records of children arrested for prostitution in the 37 largest US cities and what they assert is a lack of phone calls or internet searches, I assume reporting abuse, to confirm its belief that the number is around 800 instead of 100,000 to 300,000 a year.

You can add this as number 17 to the reasons not to trust the Village Voice's estimate of the number of "child prostitutes" in America. Their statistic is generated by aggregating the arrest records over the past 10 years and then dividing by 10 to give a rough estimate of the number of kids being exploited per year. However, since awareness raising and training should hopefully make the public more aware and thus more likely to report suspected abuses and training should make police more able to identify victims and support them (the intent of campaigns like Real Men Don't Buy Girls and an activity the VV attacks), the report should have provided stats for each year to show how arrests were actually trending. Instead, the Village Voice gives an average per year which would hide the successes or failures of awareness raising campaigns.

The use of something like rescue numbers to supplement the arrest records would also provide a picture of how effective awareness raising and training were. If arrests declined as rescues went dramatically up, we could say that awareness and training were effectively helping victims instead of criminalizing and penalizing them. Peer review of the Village Voice report most likely would have addressed this. In fact, an even-handed report on the estimate would have done the same. As it is, you can see arrests per year on the interactive map they provide but if you want aggregate data, to link it to awareness or training initiatives in the city, police spending, demographic changes in the city, or anything else, you're on your own. But the Village Voice wanted sensationalism, not serious data.

Why for instance, does Detroit have 20 arrests in 2002, but 7 or fewer every other year? why did the numbers go from 0-1 arrest per year 2000-2002 in Dallas, the jump to 4-5 over 2003-2004, double to 9 in 2005, and then double again in 2006 to 18, and then jump up to nearly 30 a year until 2009, the last year for which data was collected? Does this represent more children being exploited in the city or the public and law enforcement better able to recognize the signs of exploitation? Some cities are trending up in arrests while others are trending down. Does that mean fewer exploited teens in NYC (109 in 2000 down to 49 in 2009) or does that mean instead of arresting them, NYPD is recognizing the signs of abuse and sending more and more rescued kids to shelters and support organizations?

The picture the Village Voice paints for you is of a static 800 or so children being sexually exploited each year for money. The statistics they provide on their website simply don't support that assertion. More kids are arrested in some years than others in the same city. Why? In another 10 years, as awareness raising continues and training for police becomes more sophisticated, will we see more arrests? Or will we see fewer arrests of children, more kids in shelters and support programs, and more traffickers and pimps in court and behind bars? The Village Voice statistics muddy the picture with unexplained trends.

I'm not going to lie. This is hard stuff to figure out. To understand just what the raw arrest records for children being arrested for child prostitution over the past 10 years in America's 37 largest cities indicate requires a lot of further investigation into a lot of other potentially complicated factors. The Village Voice obviously didn't do this, especially in just 2 months time. Cizmar, Conlin, and Hinman's statistic misrepresents as stagnant a portrait of child exploitation in America that's defined by dynamism.

(A very important side note: Much is made by the Village Voice over consent and choice of the sex worker. As a society, we should condemn sex work by children universally. In Europe, treaties and conventions explicitly state that a child can never consent to be trafficked or to exploited for sex work. I would hope US law is on the same page.)

For clear evidence of the severe undercounting of the Village Voice study, check out the interactive map they created. Very catchy. Very persuasive. Very wrong.

Notice there are no stats captured for Oklahoma. In 2004, operation Stormy Nights rescued 23 girls being prostituted at truck stops throughout Oklahoma. They didn't show up in the Village Voice count. And the problem with children being prostituted at truck stops isn't just confined to Oklahoma. Hundreds of girls are rescued in operations like Stormy Nights. And yet, year after year, the supply of children to be sexually abused for profit doesn't seem to diminish.

Another major problem with the Village Voice estimate is revealed in its remark that the "root causes" or "children hooking" are "homelessness and drug use." The problem is with definition. The only facet of the problem they want to see and bother to count is streetwalking which they link very strongly with runaways. I made this point before when I said they think every child prostitute walks and talks like Jodi Foster's character Iris in Taxi Driver. Homelessness and drug use are not the root causes of human trafficking for sexual and labor exploitation. They aren't the root causes of being sold by your mother, father, or sister. It's certainly part of the problem but it's not the only problem.

And as for the allegation that DNA Foundation wants to inflate numbers to get government funding while ignoring efforts at support for victims, Ashton tweeted his exchange with Senator Wyden's Press Office which acknowledges the longstanding support of the DNA Foundation. Obviously the reporters three didn't bother to interview Ashton, Demi, or the DNA Foundation before they ran with their story. Otherwise a simple question like "what do you think about the Wyden-Cornyn bill's inclusion in the TVPRA" might have turned up this avenue of work of the DNA Foundation. But unfounded, unexplored accusations are the hallmark of publicity seeking, not solid journalism. He also points them to Gems Girls and Cast, two organizations the DNA Foundation supports who provide shelter and support to victims.

But the real kicker comes from the Village Voice responding to Ashton's comments about backpage dot com. The Village Voice lumps Ashton together with Linda Smith, the crusader against oral sex and porn they conjured as the boogeyman in the article and use to insinuate an anti-sex shadow agenda behind organizations working to end child sexual exploitation. VV insinuates that the real aim is "targeting of legal adult freedoms."

Several problems. First, outside of certain counties in Nevada, prostitution is not legal in the United States. Perhaps we have stumbled upon the secret agenda of Cizmar, Conklin, and Hinman or perhaps the Village Voice more generally. I'm sure they didn't mean that that's what is meant to do because aiding and profiting from prostitution are both illegal, too. Remember when craigslist shut down it's erotic services ads and pledged before Congress they wouldn't restart them? Yeah, that's because they became aware they were being used to facilitate prostitution and many of the ads were offering children and trafficked persons who did not consent or choose to be in sex work.

Second, even in countries where prostitution is legal, the use of services like are known to be avenues for sexually exploiting children and trafficked persons. I'm aware of the problem in both the UK and Israel.

I don't want to delve too deeply into a debate about freedom and I'm not saying that NGOs don't lump consenting prostitutes in with persons who have been trafficked, exploited, forced, or abused. But to say, as the Village Voice did, that all efforts to combat sexual exploitation and human trafficking are just a smokescreen to take away adult freedoms is inaccurate and a wee bit desperate.

Ashton recently admitted that he misspoke on the Piers Morgan show when he said that 100,000 to 300,000 children were being trafficked every year in the US. He admits there aren't any solid statistics but supports efforts for a comprehensive study. And he also presses the Village Voice over its profiting off of sexual exploitation of children and trafficked people through the use of backpage dot com.

As far as I know, the Village Voice has not responded yet.

So where does that leave us? Ashton has backed off the 100,000+ estimate of children being sexually exploited in the US each year. And yet the Village Voice number is a major underestimate based on flawed methodology and the Village Voice continues to make money off its backpage dot com service even though many of the persons "contracting" through it are not consenting either because of age or coercion. A comprehensive study of sexually exploited children for profit in the US has not been undertaken since the 2001 study by University of Pennsylvania professors Estes and Weiner.

I encourage you to let the Village Voice know you don't agree with their statistics or their stance. Use the hashtag

#getyourfactsstraight @villagevoice

to demand they improve their id verification on backpage dot com to prevent children and trafficked persons from being exploited through their service. Demand they use that US$20 million profit from the service to fund a comprehensive study to measure the extent of children being exploited sexually for profit in the US. You can link to Ashton's blog response or any of the links or arguments in this blog post or the previous "16 reasons you shouldn't trust the village voice's estimates of child prostitutes in the US".

Don't let the Village Voice diminish the number of children being sexually exploited and abused for profit each year in the US and then slink off after the damage is done. As the Village Voice pointed out with the 2001 study, without awareness raising and public pressure, things don't move forward and false statistics get repeated again and again. They want to lowball the harm at "merely" 827 kids per year. Don't let them downplay the harm that's being done to children and trafficked people and hide behind "freedom" and "consent" when the people we're talking about have neither. I encourage you to keep the momentum building.

Thank you.

To support the efforts of the DNA foundation:

I would also direct your attention to:

Saturday, July 2, 2011

this is fox mccloud to ground control...

Great youtube video made some very talented peeps. They've re-imagined David Bowie's Space Oddity starring Fox McCloud as Major Tom. Hilarity ensues as his wingmen suck (what's new) and Fox finally lets him know what he thinks. Highly recommended!

Friday, July 1, 2011

16 reasons you shouldn't trust the village voice's estimates of child prostitutes in the US

In case you missed it, the Village Voice published on 29 June of this year an article entitled "Real Men Get Their Facts Straight", basically attacking Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore's anti-child prostitution campaign by attacking their estimates for the number of "kids [that] are lost to prostitution in America every single year" (emphasis in original). The article is co-authored by Martin Cizmar, Ellis Conklin, and Kristen Hinman. The disputed number is 100,000 to 300,000 kids per year and, if the Village Voice is to be believed, that statistic comes from a single study by Richard J. Estes and Neil Alan Weiner, both professors at the University of Pennsylvania. The study was entitled The Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children in the U.S., Canada and Mexico and was released in 2001.

While admitting "There are, quite simply, no precise numbers on child prostitution," (emphasis in original) the Village Voice nevertheless declares definitely and in absolute, no uncertain terms that
There are not 100,000 to 300,000 children in America turning to prostitution every year. The statistic was hatched without regard to science. It is a bogeyman.
Based on an examination conducted by the three Village Voice reporters of "arrests for juvenile prostitution in the nation's 37 largest cities during a 10-year period" conducted over 2 months, the record yielded 8,263 arrests "for child prostitution during the most recent decade" or about 827 arrests per year.

In their Statement about Sourcing, the authors describe their methodology thusly,
Village Voice Media relied predominantly on individual police departments within 37 of the largest cities in the U.S. to furnish us with juvenile prostitution arrest data over the course of the last 10 years. When that wasn't possible, either because of incomplete records or because a particular department didn't track the data for that long a period, we used FBI arrest statistics, in addition to various state and county law enforcement agencies.
Here's 16 reasons you shouldn't trust the Village Voice's statistics on child prostitution in the United States.

1. The review by the reporters took 2 months of requests, compiling, and interviews to complete. Why did the Village Voice publish the article on 29 June 2011? Easy. Publicity. They decided to pick a fight with Ashton and Demi and criticize a 10 year old study just days after the U.S. State Department released the Trafficking in Persons Report 2011 on 27 July. Sex trafficking and child prostitution already have sizzle because they are salacious, but the release of the report primed the public. The Village Voice wanted to sell ad space and generate click-throughs. What better way to do that than by taking pot shots at high profile celeb Ashton Kutcher?

2. That estimate of 827 arrests per year for child prostitution... hey, guess what? That's not peer reviewed either. On the playground they used to say when you point fingers you got 3 more pointing back at you.

3. Notice that the Village Voice is only counting arrests per year in 37 major US cities for child prostitution. That number obviously has some correlation to the total number of kids entering prostitution each year in the United States but those numbers are not the same and shouldn't be confused as equivalent. The reporters try to sidle around that major problem by saying
It is true that police departments do not arrest every juvenile engaged in sex work. But, surely, they don't ignore the problem.
The remainder of this list will focus on the problems of estimating the number of kids entering prostitution each year in America by focusing on arrests reports for child prostitution in 37 major US cities.

4. The Village Voice doesn't give a clear accounting of what offenses fall under "arrests for child prostitution." Are the police including only arrested streetwalkers? Escorts? A mom trying to sell her teenage daughter's virginity to a neighbor? Her son's on Craigslist? Soliciting an undercover cop who's made up to look like a teenager and other "To Catch A Predator" type stings? Clearly, arrest records are under-inclusive when a raid on a brothel that yields 2 arrests for the proprietors but rescues 3 or more child prostitutes

5. If the arrest records primarily include johns, or persons arrested for having sex, attempting to have sex, or soliciting sex from an underage prostitute, the Village Voice assumes in it's 827 arrests per year estimate that the number of arrested johns is roughly proportional to the number of children entering prostitution each year instead of 2 or 3 or 10 times as large. The reporters provide no statistical reason to correlate these numbers in a roughly 1 to 1 fashion, they simply do, asserting that
The nation's 37 largest cities do not give you every single underage arrest for hooking. Juveniles can go astray in rural Kansas. But common sense prevails in the police data. As you move away from such major urban areas as Los Angeles, underage prostitution plunges.
But common sense is not fact. And I have a number of reasons to doubt that numbers counted in 37 major US cities give a clear picture of child prostitution throughout the entire US.

6. Giving Village Voice the benefit of the doubt, the statistics they are reporting are based on police records of "underage arrests for hooking" or "actual number of underage victims detained by law enforcement"; i.e. what's being counted are the numbers of kids arrested for offering sex for money. So kids rescued from brothels, massage parlors, etc. don't count unless they are charged with a criminal offense. Parents offering or actually selling their kids don't count. A girl who sells her 7 year old sister for a sex at a party doesn't count. In other words, a lot of incidents of child prostitution are not being included in the Village Voice's estimate of children entering prostitution each year in the United States.

Or, to put it another way, the Village Voice wants to treat the issue of children in prostitution like mini-adults. They are casting the image of child prostitute as Iris (Jodi Foster) in Taxi Driver and merely considering the number of children arrested for "hooking," not the total number of children in prostitution, many who enter and are abused through vectors other than streetwalking.

7. Using arrest records of underage prostitutes as the basis of an estimate (or an attack on an estimate) of the total number of child prostitutes in America means believing that the police arrest more than 1 out of 11 children being prostituted. Do you believe the police catch more than 1 out of 11 adult women engaged in prostitution either full or part time in Las Vegas or New York City? What about the number of women who have done it only once or just a few times? Being a child being prostituted doesn't mean hustling full time on the streets like Iris but the Village Voice article seems to want to make you believe that (from the article: "forcibly taken into the trade and abused"). And since most jurisdictions have enhanced penalties for crimes involving children, especially sex crimes, child prostitution is likely to be less open and therefore less easy for police to catch than adult prostitution.

8. The study is far from comprehensive. It only polled the 37 biggest US cities and only their arrest reports. It doesn't even bother to attempt to extrapolate from those numbers to the remainder of American cities, let alone smaller towns, hamlets, villages, rural areas, and such. I'll repeat. These are only the arrest records for 37 US cities and does not include an estimate for the remainder of the US territory and population. Regardless of what the Village Voice might think, not everything happens in NYC, especially crime. Pretending that child prostitution is only a serious issue in the biggest American cities is not only foolish, it's arrogant and irresponsible.

At least the Real Men Don't Buy Girls campaign addresses all men everywhere, regardless of what their zip code or telephone prefix is. And on another positive note, the message is about changing behavior, meaning it's not ok to buy children in Cambodia or Thailand for sex, either.

9. I was born and spent the first 14 years of my life in Oklahoma. Oklahoma is flat and there isn't a whole lot to do there. Oklahoma City, the capital and largest city in Oklahoma, barely eeks into the top 37 biggest US cities at 31. Oklahoma has a major problem with child prostitution.

I saw a news report a number of years ago about a Love's gas station along a stretch of Interstate 35 in Oklahoma that was pretty much close to nothing else. I've stopped at the station a few times on my way to and from Kansas City and North Dakota. This station services a lot of truck drivers hauling goods north to south and vice versa along a major traffic artery. And this particular station had a reputation for child prostitutes.

The underage prostitutes "serviced" the truckers in the cabs of their trucks. The prostitute or the pimp would approach the driver while he stopped for fuel, a snack and coffee, a bathroom break, some rest, or whatever. Numerous arrests were made here.

Guess what? This gas station wasn't in Oklahoma City, it was in the middle of nowhere. That's not one of the 37 biggest cities in the US. And who knows if arrests focused on arresting the drivers or the prostitutes? Either way, these child prostitutes weren't counted by the Village Voice. And neither would the countless other (100s? 1000s?) child prostitutes servicing truck drivers hauling goods back and forth along the miles and miles and miles of interstate highways that criss cross America each and every year.

10. A 2009 report by the Minnesota Indian Women's Resource Center entitled Shattered Hearts describes the problems of sexual exploitation and sexual abuse of Native American women in Minnesota, a problem invisible to the public because of a lack of news coverage and nearly impossible to measure because of jurisdictional intricacies as applied to Native Americans living within certain territories and cultural barriers.

Stories of floating brothels stocked with Native American on Duluth harbor for decades illustrate the intergenerational nature of the abuse. Elders in the Native community don't like to discuss the topic, meaning the community often keeps silent and blind to the abuse. Even though the total size of the Native American population may be small, with estimates as high as 60 percent of girls experiencing some form of sexual exploitation before they turn 19, hundreds and possibly thousands of Native American child prostitutes exist.

Again, focusing on arrest records only in the 37 biggest American cities ignores a substantial number of children entering prostitution each year. And with other closed communities in the US, including orthodox religious and tight-knit migrant groups, there is the possibility of child prostitution in the form of sexual abuse and exploitation invisible to arrest records.

11. By focusing on arrest records for child prostitutes, one-off types of situations of sexual abuse and exploitation are not counted. Here I'm think of a parent or guardian who sells a child, perhaps their virginity, to another person. How extensive is this problem in America? We don't know and the Village Voice doesn't even pretend to measure this form of child prostitution. They want the kidnapped kids and the streetwalkers, not a teenager being exploited by an unfit adult parent or guardian.

12. Gender bias is likely masking the true extent of child prostitution in the US. Unfortunately, a lot of boys who have been prostituted are too ashamed, scared, etc. to admit what has happened to them to authorities. And police may not be trained to discern when a boy has been the victim of trafficking or sexual exploitation because a lot of the training focuses on identifying female victims. Without a more accurate sense of the number of boys trafficked and prostituted, any statistics on the number of kids entering prostitution each year in the US are discounting the severity of the problem.

13. The Village Voice's estimate relies on the fact the police are correctly identifying and arresting every child who is the victim of being prostituted they come across. Some children may be picked up for loitering who are prostitutes. Or a child taken into custody with an adult may be initially arrested for a curfew violation and the adult for statutory rape. Remember, these are arrest records, not what the children (or adults) are ultimately charged with or convictions.

14. The Village Voice's estimate relies on the fact the police are correctly identifying the child's age when they arrest them for prostitution. Unfortunately, as the report "Wrong Kind of Victim?" prepared by Anti-Slavery International shows for the UK, the police do not always correctly identify the age of the victim. I fail to see how this difficulty could fail to jump the pond to American police stations.

15. Because of the international nature of trafficking, many child victims of prostitution may not be counted because they are arrested and/or processed for immigration law violations, not reported as arrested for underage prostitution. To compound this problem, a child trafficked for some form of labor exploitation (debt bondage in a garment factory, agriculture, or domestic servitude) may also be subjected to sexual abuse by the person(s) who exerts control over them as well. While the labor exploitation may be seen as primary and thus authorities classify the crime as slavery, this form of abuse also constitutes child prostitution as well.

16. The Village Voice statistic only includes children arrested in America's 27 biggest cities; it doesn't include children trafficked out for prostitution. I'm not trying to raise the specter of white slavery here. But children of Mexican parents who were born or resided in America could, for instance, be trafficked across the border to Boy's Town in Nuevo Laredo and prostituted. Not only would such incidents not be counted because they do not happen on American soil but also because prostitution is legal in the destination country or at least not anti-prostitution laws are not vigorously enforced. The extent of this possibility is unknown.

What the Village Voice does is focus on the "at risk" label for child prostitutes that appeared in the 2001 study by Estes and Weiner and then proceed to attack the weakest elements, presenting straw man arguments.

For instance, they point out "at risk" kids include all runaways (77% of whom return home within a week), transgender kids, and female gang members. They also quote Estes referring to teens taking the trolley to Tijuana over the weekend and labels them all as "at risk" even though, as the Village Voice points out, most of them are probably crossing the border to drink illegally and maybe do drugs. I took particular offense to the following passage
So are kids who live near the Mexican or Canadian borders and have their own transportation. In the eyes of the professors, border residents are part of those 100,000 to 300,000 children at risk of becoming whores. (emphasis added)
The strong moral undertones seems a poor fit with the last half of the article's scathing attacks on Linda Smith, her organization Shared Hope International, and the blunt assertion that groups such as Real Men Don't Buy Girls are inflating child prostitution numbers to get federal and state funding, thereby directly robbing dollars from support organizations who provide food, clothing, a bed, medical care, and counseling to victims.

Speaking of tone, the ad hominem attacks on Ashton ("the titular dude from 'Dude, Where's My Car?'", "since leaving That 70's Show and Punk'd", "technically literate, if ill-informed", "Kutcher made his bones playing the prankster, dummy, and stoner") are inappropriate for a serious article and smack of just as much of immature, "frat boy" antics as the Real Men Don't Buy Girls the reporters make fun of. The reporters even go after Demi, writing
Sex trafficking is a grim problem, and not one actors know a lot about—even if Moore played a stripper in a movie and has alluded to how she was "manipulated and taken advantage of" by a 28-year-old boyfriend when she was 15 years old.
And they ridicule Ashton and Demi's seriousness about the issue, writing
The actors were watching TV in bed when they saw a horrifying documentary about sex slavery in some faraway foreign land and decided they needed to get involved.
If Ashton's responses to the Village Voice via twitter (@aplusk) were sarcastic and biting, it's Cizmar, Conklin, and Hinman who first slung muck.

Obviously, at risk youth doesn't tell us how many kids actually are prostituted each year in America. But neither does the police arrest records of the 37 biggest American cities. The Village Voice goes to David Finkelhor, professor of sociology at the University of New Hampshire and director of Crimes Against Children Research Center, whom, because they are unable to resist another dig, the reporters describe as a "serious social scientist" (implying the other side is not). Notice the reporters also declined to tell us what Estes and Weiner teach or what positions they may hold. It's a cheap rhetorical technique meant to impugn their credibility and bolster the other side's.

Finkelhor (notice I refer to him the same way as Estes and Weiner) says "As far as I'm concerned, [the study] has no scientific credibility to it" because it was "not subjected to any peer review" and "wasn't published in any scientific journal." Fair enough. It's his opinion, after all, and he doesn't actually provide any reasons to doubt the accuracy of the estimate. He does mention he had to pressure Estes and Weiner to add the qualifier "at risk" to the report.

The strongest refutation of the study comes from Professor Steve Doig, Knight Chair of Journalism at Arizona State University and specialist in "the analysis of quantitative methodology." He says "the study cannot be relied upon as authoritative" because
"Many of the numbers and assumptions in these charts are based on earlier, smaller-scale studies done by other researchers, studies which have their own methodological limitations. I won't call it 'garbage in, garbage out.' But combining various approximations and guesstimates done under a variety of conditions doesn't magically produce a solid number. The resulting number is no better than the fuzziest part of the equation."
What's important to note is that Doig doesn't dismiss the accuracy of the 100,000 to 300,000 per year estimate. He says the methodology used to arrive at it by Estes and Weiner "doesn't magically produce a solid number." Epistemology is different than truth; just because the route taken there doesn't guarantee the right answer doesn't therefore mean the answer is wrong.[1]

Finkelhor admits "there's no way to know for sure how many child prostitutes there are in America."
"All we have in the way of really hard evidence is what the police arrests are," he says. "They're way low. They're certainly not an underestimate, but it seems to me that it's incumbent on anyone who is writing about the problem to at least include that number on one end of the continuum, because that's probably the most justifiable number you have."
Let me reiterate that point for you again. Neither Finkelhor nor Doig says 100,000 or more children are not lost to prostitution each year. They don't believe the The Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children in the U.S., Canada and Mexico proves it. But the Village Voice forms conclusions its own experts decline to make and runs with them against their own admission that "There are, quite simply, no precise numbers on child prostitution" (emphasis in original).

This is, quite simply, a sensationalist story attacking a prominent celebrity couple and their campaign to gain eyeballs. There's a B plot about religious creep and "devout Smith" crusading against porn, kids having sex with each other, oral sex, and heavy petting. But the trio wraps up the story in righteous tones, claiming to finally stand up for the real victims and criticizing groups for inflating numbers and having "their hands out for government funding or charitable contributions" and thus depriving trauma-recovery and support services from funding in a zero-sum game.

I don't know why the Senate bill sponsored by Wyden and Cornyn to fund six shelters and provide "beds, counseling, clothing, case work, and legal services" hasn't cleared the Senate and moved to the House yet. The Village Voice would have you believe the vote's hung up on Ashton and Demi's 100,000+ per year estimate.

[1] The article also quotes Jay Albanese, a criminologist at Virginia Commonwealth University, who says all the "human trafficking" studies (not just the ones on child prostitution) are "crap" and "all guesswork, speculation... The numbers are inherently unbelievable." Without more than an assertion, Albanese's opinion is subject to the same judgment he reserves for human trafficking studies.

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