Judge Carmen Lamela vs. Catalonia: who’s who

Can’t tell the players without a scorecard.

Catalonia’s elected officials are either in jail or in exile, after their legislature voted for independence. (for the paper dolls, scroll to the bottom.)

Carmen Lamela, or Carmen Lamela Díaz,  is the judge who put them there.  She is the judge in Spain’s national court who ordered the arrests. Here she is,  pouting, in a legalistic piece  from Catalan News Monitor. There is a recall petition (in Spanish) on change.com with 146,880 signatures.

And here she is via Twitter with the caption “Spanish judge, Carmen Lamela, recently decorated by spanish armed Police and Guardia Civil had also jailed former President of Barça”.  This would likely refer to Sandro Rosell, former president of Barcelona Football Club. The dude jogging her elbow in the photo would appear to be interior minister Juan Ignacio Zoido, who has given her some kind of award.  The venue for the Catalan sedition case was changed to her jurisdiction after originally being given to Ismael Moreno, not sure if this infers a little judge-shopping. 

Her Spanish Wikipedia article is about two weeks old and the English Wikipedia article is a stub that no one seems very interested in. If Catalonia succeeds in their independence movement, she will probably get a footnote in history, no doubt with parallels to fascism as a judge who tried to invoke a Franco-era law, but at this point nobody seems to consider her to be much of a player. Rating: zero paper dolls.

Okay, now for who was indicted.
Judge Lamela ordered 9 former Catalonia officials jailed.  Who are they?

Here are a set of clues:

  • Charges were filed against 14 Catalan leaders, including Carles Puigdemont and his deputy, Oriol Junqueras.
  • Carles Puigdemont did not appear in court. An international warrant was issued for his arrest. (Puigdemont, the former president of Catalonia, and four other ex-Cabinet members are in Belgium.)
  • An unnamed person was granted bail at $58,300

Another clue: they were not the same as the 14 top Catalan government officials arrested on September 21 in connection with the independence referendum. In that vote, 90 percent voted for independence, the turnout was 42.3 percent.  Spain closed polling places and seized ballot boxes.

Also, this was not the same as the two leaders arrested Oct 16, Jordi Sanchez of the Catalan National Assembly, and Jordi Cuixart of Omnium Cultural.

So much for the Western press.

Ah here we go, from some humble blog we find the names and pics:

  • Oriol Junqueras, deputy regional president of Catalunya
  • Josep Rull, minister for land and housing
  • Joaquim Forn,
    Dolors Bassa


  • Dolors Bassa, employment
  • Carles Mundó, justice
  • Jordi Turull, presidential affairs
  • Meritxell Borràs, governing
  • Santiago Vila,
    Meritxell Borràs

    business; granted bail of €50,000.  Vila resigned before the independence referendum, and left the prison after spending only one night there.

Here they are walking down the street, about to be arrested:

And taken away by “Guardia Civil”, claimed to be the first such arrests in 80 years, since the Franco era:

Clara Ponsatí

And the ministers with Puigdemont in Belgium? Again local press:

  • Clara Ponsatí, this woman is an economist with a PhD from the U of M (bio)
  • Toni Comín (l)

    Antoni Comín, whose father was a key figure in the anti-Franco movement; is openly gay and lives with his domestic partner Sergi Corbera and their adopted daughter. (bio in Spanish)

  • Meritxell Serret

    Meritxell Serret (Meritxell Serret i Aleu) an agriculture specialist, has written a nice article about organic produce in Catalan. (bio in Catalan)

  • Lluís Puig

    Lluís Puig (Lluís Puig i Gordi) all about traditional dance and cultural festivals, replaced Santi Vila, who is now out on bond, as cultural minister, who in turn replaced Jordi Baiget as business minister (bio in Catalan)

Ooh, what a collection of scoundrels Spain has unearthed.  Folk dancing! Organic vegetables!!  A veritable rogues gallery!!!1!

But you have to sit through interminable local videos in order to get any real information about what is going on.  Any local politicians who are still out of jail are outraged. Outdoor concerts have been cancelled in protest of the arrests. Demonstrations are called for Nov. 11, and a national strike is called for Nov. 8 by the union El Sindicat del Si and the Catalan National Assembly.

And what about our Carme Forcadell, former speaker of the now-dissolved Parliament?

  • On Oct. 29, she goes to work.
  • On Nov. 2 at 9:40 am she arrives at Spain’s Supreme Court for questioning, one of 20 former Catalan lawmakers that have been summoned by two courts. Five of the 20 are in Brussels. At 10:50 a.m., Spain’s Supreme Court suspended until next week the questioning of six Catalan lawmakers including regional parliament speaker Carme Forcadell.  Twenty? Six?  Okay, we really don’t want to know.
  • And Nov. 3 she goes to work again, this time employees are waiting with an ovation.

And here we finally find the press on this via Carme’s Twitter feed: http://www.elnacional.cat/ca/politica/preso-junqueras-consellers_208431_102.html  with Carme’s comment:

“Envien a la presó el govern democràticament escollit. Injust. Indecent. Estem amb vosaltres i les vostres famílies.” (The government democratically elected is sent to jail. Unjust. Indecent. We are with you and your families. )

So, I rate this two (additional) paperdolls:


‘Mediocre’ male backlash against women in tech: the math

mantears2Ha ha,  a discussion of the NYT piece about the Google memo:

“Do you too feel oppressed by the whopping nine percent of female Wikipedia editors? Meet your kindred snowflakes in the tech world looking for their safe space.”

From the comments:

  • Dudes like this are often mediocre coders who know that, were there not systemic sexism in the industry, that they would be pushed out of the industry by women who are _not_ mediocre talents.
  • The math is pretty easy to do, I think.
  • Company A employs 100 people at a 90/10 ratio. 10% of employees are high talent; the next 20% are good talents, the next 20% are useful, the last 50% are mediocre. That means that company A has 9 male high talents and 1 female, 18 m and 2 f good; 18 m and 2 f useful; 45m and 5f mediocre. Increase the talent pool to correct levels (50/50) and suddenly the ratios change: 5m/5f, 10m/10f, 10m/10f, 25m/25f. So at least 20 of those dudes are out of a job; probably more since the upper echelons start getting replacements, too, and the scale changes.
  • (For simplicity’s sake I used simple numbers and did not go into “underperforming”. With an even playing field, though, the level at which one can be called ‘mediocre’ rises.)


WikiTribune declares Catalonia declares

The Catalan “estelada”

Jimbo’s latest venture WikiTribune has just published its second teaser piece, “Catalonia defiant against Madrid’s threat of direct rule“, a rambling piece about Spain’s “article 155” that jumbles together a bunch of quotations without much context.  Their statement:

“Our reporter George Engels has been in Barcelona this week to start building an in-depth piece for the imminent launch of WikiTribune. He did a spot report today which I didn’t want to sit behind our closed beta…”

I saw WikiTribune’s notice on Twitter this morning.

Also this morning:

  • Catalonia declared independence.
  • Spain voted to take control of Catalonia.

This has been reported by WaPo, NYT, Guardian, BBC, everyone really, but the WikiTrib hasn’t caught up with it yet. The Catalonia press posted this, (and in English) with a video of the crowd waiting outside Parliament,  listening to the live session with their cellphones, and cheering as the votes were counted. And Facebook has been exploding with demonstrations for weeks.

So what about Wikipedia?

  • The “Catalonia” article quickly acquired page protection, a template, and a flurry of edits, but other than that, you can’t really tell what is going on at the article.
  • The article “Catalan independence” acquired one new sentence, “On October 27th 2017 the Catalan Parliament voted in a secret ballot to approve a resolution declaring independence from Spain by a vote of 70-10, with the opposition parties boycotting the vote”, but otherwise remains an insurmountable pile of cruft.
  • Wikinews had its latest piece about Catalonia December 2016, but no surprise there. Wikinews isn’t about producing a product, it’s about providing a exercise spot for aspiring writers.
  • The front page of English Wikipedia has a current events section “In the news”, but crickets from them.
  • The current news section of Catalan Wikipedia’s front page gives a more succinct one-sentence summary of the situation.  No translation is needed to puzzle out the number of votes:
Divendres 27 d’octubre
  • Spanish Wikipedia’s front page news section links to a shiny new article started two days ago about the inscrutable  “article 155”, similar to the spin given by the WikiTribune writer imbedded in Spain, then promptly switches the topic to African soccer.

And international reaction? The UK, the US, Germany, and the EU, will not support Catalonia.

So why read WikiTribune at all on this issue?  What is their niche?  So far, the WikiTribune coverage of Catalonia has not been the fastest, the most complete, the most coherent, or the most balanced–and they seem content to recycle Spain’s framing of the issue.  And we have not seen their advertised crowd-sourced fact-checking–which is supposed to be the heart of their business model–at all.

And what about the women?

Will WikiTribune have a gender gap?  Will there be man-scrubbing?

The BBC News has already scrubbed the women from their initial video, which showed two women calmly counting the votes at the front of the parliament, as the men stood by.  Now we only get a split screen of the presiding officer, sharing the moment with the demonstrators outside. [Note: BBC has now published the vote in its entirety on YouTube.]

Catalan revolt of the reapers 1640

The dudes on the floor of the parliament then stood, with yellow ribbons on their lapels, and sang the least rousing national anthem I have ever heard.  With an anthem like that, there is no way they will ever win any wars ever.  Of course ISIS has one of the best anthems ever, and they’re not doing so well military-wise, so I suppose it’s never a guarantee.  But still.

[Oops, the words of the anthem, Els Segadors, are “Strike with your sickle!” and reference a 1640 revolt against Spanish taxation.]

The Catalan parliament demonstrates how to sing “strike with your sickle” with a bored expression:

One of the women at the front leading the voting was most certainly Carme Forcadell, the president of the Catalan parliament and if Wikipedia can be believed, a long time supporter of independence.

The other I have tentatively identified as Ramona Barrufet, who Catalan Wikipedia says is “la Secretària Quarta de la Mesa del Parlament de la XI legislatura,” the Fourth Secretary of the Bureau of the Parliament of the eleventh legislature. 

Here she is shown with (l to r) Joan Josep Nuet, Lluís Corominas, Carme Forcadell, Anna Simó, Ramona Barrufet.


Are you thinking what I’m thinking?  That if only this photo was a little better, we could have some paper dolls from it?

This gray suit belongs to posterity.

And so it shall.

Here is our newest paper doll.  Behold: Carme Forcadell, president of the Catalan parliament.


English Wikipedia now carries the story at the top, but with an Article 155 non-sequitur that allows the freshly minted 2017 Spanish constitutional crisis honeypot fork article to get wide viewership.

  • Catalonia makes a unilateral declaration of independence from Spain, whose government imposes direct rule under Article 155 of its constitution.

Um “unilateral declaration of independence”? Aren’t they usually?

Spanish Wikipedia has grudgingly added the declaration to its Article 155 headline separated with a backslash, and buried it under new headlines for an auto race in Mexico and a motorcycle race in Malaysia:


  • 29 de octubre: Gran Premio de Malasia de Motociclismo
  • 29 de octubre: Gran Premio de México de Fórmula 1
  • 28 de octubre: Final (ida) de la Liga de Campeones de la CAF
  • 26-28 de octubre: Cataluña – Declaración de independencia / Aplicación del artículo 155 de la Constitución española

Catalan Wikipedia has added two new headlines, burying the headline about the dismissal of Catalan president Carlos Puigdemont and the entire Catalonina government under the (presumably) more important announcement of a new Nintendo Super Mario game,.

  • Ix a la venda en tot el món el videojoc Super Mario Odyssey per a Nintendo Switch.
  • El president espanyol Mariano Rajoy, aplicant l’article 155, destitueix Puigdemont i tot el Govern de Catalunya i anuncia eleccions autonòmiques per al 21 de desembre.

And pardon me but this Catalan president Carlos Puigdemont is utterly hawt and during the vote looked absolutely smoldering.  Definitely paperdoll-worthy:

Soroya Saenz in the Senate screenshotANOTHER UPDATE: Spain has dismissed the Catalonian elected government and put Soraya Sáenz in charge of Catalonia. You can find Sáenz on YouTube under such titles (in Spanish) as “SORAYA SAENZ humiliates IRENE MONTERO: “DON’T LOOK AT ME WITH THAT FACE!!”, SORAYA SAENZ DE SANTAMARIA LIQUIDATES PUIGDEMONT from the SENATE, Soraya Sáenz Santamaria puts the Senator of Esquerra in his place, and Soraya Sáenz HUMILIATES Joan Tardá over the situation in Catalonia.

Let’s just skip the paper dolls on this one. Here is some nice open-source Cruella de Vil stuff, along with a few Dalmatians.
cruella-de-vil-printable-paper-dolls-cory-jensen_zps8df32c52 dalmations

Economic exile

In the aftermath of the Weinstein nastiness and the #metoo Twitter hashtag movement, the issues are somehow slowly being teased apart:

Weinstein was a gatekeeper who could give actresses a career that would sustain their lives and the livelihood of their families. …. They knew it. He knew it. Weinstein could also ensure that these women would never work again if they humiliated him. That’s not just artistic or emotional exile—that’s also economic exile.

A handy Venn diagram for anyone who might be confused:

venn-diagram-metoo 1



Ha, ha, “Pinned shoes” by Polish artist Erwina Ziomkowska “visually communicating the pain of footwear designed for women”.

Also, not quite sure what this is, but Angela Ellsworth’s “seer bonnets” using corsage pins with pearl heads, which has something to do with a “rejected Mormon heritage”.

While we’re at it, let’s revisit Melania’s shoes.  The media is still trying to figure out whether Melanie is a victim or a perpetrator, but I keep going back to this essay, not because it is uncomplimentary to her, but because it says something about publicly visible women in general, and how they (must?) present themselves.

The problem is not that Melania Trump wore an unsuitable, blithely out-of-touch outfit, although she did. The problem is that this administration turns every event — no matter how dire — into a kind of anesthetized luxury fashion shoot…

Fashion-magazine layouts have a particular feel to them. We know it well: stylized, blank, alluring in an anonymous way, suggestive of sex, but devoid of sensuality or personal emotion….

Melania dresses and moves as if she were awkwardly performing a theatrical role, much as Ivanka does. Their oddly stilted presence in political settings seems to transform all occasions, no matter how “presidential,” into advertisements….

So Melania dominated the scene yesterday (witness how much we were talking about her), but it was not with her personality. Rather it was the power of the commodity that she wielded…

Sure, “commodity”, “marketing”, and “appearance is reality”, all uttered in contemptuous or ironic tones, but is there anyone or anything–especially if it is female– that manages success without doing just that?

Demon Drag Queen Story Hour

At first it looks like win-win. The kids get someone to read them a story, and Omar Navarro, a Republican congressional candidate gets to freak out over “Demonic teachings alive in Long Beach.” Plenty of dramah-dramah, plenty of popcorn for everyone.

This is a thing.

Xochi Mochi is a drag queen from California. The Drag Queen story hour is a children’s library program that started in New York. See NYT “Drag queen story hour puts the rainbow in reading.”

But lets look a little closer. According to Snopes, “The event did not involve “demonic teachings” or anything sexually explicit. Xochi Mochi read Todd Parr’s children’s book “It’s Okay to be Different” to the children.”

This book starts out innocuously enough:

  • “It’s okay to need some help…
  • It’s okay to be a different color…
  • It’s okay to talk about your feelings…
  • It’s okay to eat macaroni and cheese in the bathtub…”.

Wait wait wait.

Macaroni and cheese?  Bathtub? This sound like some kind of gateway drug thing.

Sure enough, here is something called a “bathtub bomb”.  It starts out with potty-mouth chef Matty Matheson of “Munchies” (Canada again!), and goes downhill from there. (You can google the disgusting recipe video for yourselves.  Hint: it’s got Cheetos in it.)

Yes, indeed, Teen Vogue, who are either supposed to be making their bathtub bombs with rose petals or leading the Resistance, depending on who you talk to, instead wax eloquent about the “radioactive-orange, cheesy soup” they say is “the spa treatment you never knew you needed”, claiming that “the scent of cheese, much like aromatherapy, can instantly lift your mood”.

And there are pics.  “Send nudes” indeed.

You will notice they never tell you stuff like how to clean the bathroom afterwards.  Says one comment: “Did it clog their drain? How was the clean up afterward? Is their skin stained yellow? Can you get the smell of that boxed mac and cheese out of the bathroom? I have so many questions.”

Think about THAT before you have a demon drag queen in to read to the kiddies.

Wikipediocracy attack on Genderdesk: a legitimate SEO strategy?

So you’re worried about traffic to your blog, and you pick some woman off the internet at random, make some crude remarks about her on your blog, then if she objects, claim you are being harassed and fire off a legal takedown notice.  Should be good for a few page hits, right?

Let’s do the numbers, shall we?

From the time “Wikipediocracy takes no prisoners: Kohs fires off DMCA against Gender Desk” was published on October 3, until roughly some time this afternoon, about 67% of the page views can be traced to specific sources, in particular to four Wikipedia criticism sites:  reddit (WikiInAction), Wikipediocracy, wikirev.org, and Wikipedia sucks.co.  Since some, if not all of these sites are in the habit of doxing, I will not link to them

The highest volume site is clearly Reddit, with 46% of the traffic, followed by Wikipediocracy and Wikirev, with 28% and 18% of the traffic respectively, and Sucks trailing in a distant 4th place with 7% of the traffic. The duration of the traffic was different for each. Reddit’s attention span was the shortest, with the page hits concentrated almost completely in one day. Wikipediocracy managed to sustain interest for about two days.  Wikirev and Sucks have both continued driving sustained traffic up to the present, which is surprising, considering that neither one seems to be seriously in the criticism business, in the sense of providing regularly published adult-level posts and commentary.

That leaves the remaining 33% of the page views unexplained. Could they be from the new super-seekrit r/Wikipediocracy reddit?  (And no, I haven’t been invited.) Perhaps some passing troll or IP will drop by with the straight poop on that.

So enough the numbers, what about interpretation.

First, Reddit is kicking Wikipediocracy’s butt, and if I am not mistaken, those are all people that Wikipediocracy was too snooty to keep around.  Looks like all those purges are coming home to roost. They should have kept Dark Knight, taught him how to make paragraphs, how to express himself without every other word being a pee-pee word, and how to cut his rants by at least two-thirds. He seems to be making paragraphs now and has stopped flaming–heaven forbid he should ever get any facts wrong himself–so they have missed some great potential.

Second, the missing Rogol is being credited with a lot of stuff, and I probably bear some of the blame for that, since I suggested he was holding up Wikipediocracy all by himself, with a little help from Poetlister and Kohs bumping the old threads in a way that you couldn’t see the recent edit count, not that the published edit counts on those things are at all reliable.

But what if it was just the normal cycle of things, and Wikipediocracy’s content had absolutely nothing to do with the lack of commenters,  and that Rogol had nothing to do with the return of the natives. People do disappear in the summer, in fact there are whole countries that take July off, and probably August too. People go to the beach.  They take vacations. Wikipedia people too, they are either all at Wikimania, or preparing for it, or moping around if they didn’t get a scholarship. So there is no one around to criticize either.

So Rogol steps into the void and posts some of his tedious rambling pseudo-philosophy, and disappears, then Newsfeed appears and posts some equally insufferable links with no context, and no appearance of knowing anything whatsoever about Wikipedia,  before disappearing in turn. Then September hits, and the regulars return in droves.  Were they all on strike from paid editing, and were suddenly offered new and more lucrative sockpuppet contacts?  Or were they just at the beach?  Or at Wikimania.  We will probably never know, unless some passing troll or IP drops by with some enlightenment.

But let’s look at it from another angle.  What if Rogol had never showed up, if Poetlister had not felt loquacious?  Would Wikipediocracy have disappeared forever?

I think not.  We have it from Somey, who appears to be some sort of Wikipediocracy regular, that “We’ll probably change the hosting arrangements before year-end”, so we know the hosting is paid up, for at least a while.  Plus we have it from Zoloft/William Burns that the cost of running Wikipediocracy is about $500.  If you estimate that the cost of web hosting is less than $3 a month, as this article states, then they are good to go for another 167 months, or 13 years. Plus I think we can be pretty sure that Kohs is not going to give up that domain name as long as he remains conscious and/or reasonably sane enough to understand what a domain name is.