All entries by this author

Aw, he’s shy

Aug 8th, 2017 4:26 pm | By

Trump is trying to get a nuclear war going, but meanwhile it’s interesting to learn that he’s been sending little mash notes to Mueller.

President Trump has publicly called the widening federal investigation into Russia’s election meddling a “witch hunt.” But through his lawyer, Trump has sent private messages of “appreciation” to special counsel Robert Mueller.

“He appreciates what Bob Mueller is doing,” Trump’s chief counsel John Dowd told USA TODAY in an interview Tuesday. “He asked me to share that with him and that’s what I’ve done.”

Trump’s legal team has been in contact with Mueller’s office, and Dowd says he has passed along the president’s messages expressing “appreciation and greetings’’ to the special counsel.

“The president has

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Guest post: Damore v Google

Aug 8th, 2017 11:57 am | By

Originally a comment by Screechy Monkey on A culture of openness.

First, it’s definitely not a First Amendment issue, for reasons I think have been well-discussed, i.e. the 1st Amendment applies only to “state action,” and Google is a private employer.

There is, however, a federal statute — the National Labor Relations Act — which is the labor law issue A Masked Avenger references @3. Although people generally think of the NLRA as having to do with unions, and specifically protecting speech related to union organization, it is in fact broader than that. Here is a good explanation:

Section 7 of the NLRA grants the following protected right to all private-sector, non-supervisory employees:

“…to engage in… concerted activities for

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Meanwhile Google pays women less than men across the board

Aug 8th, 2017 11:39 am | By

On the one hand, shock-horror, Google has fired that nice James Damore simply for expressing his opinion, no one should ever be fired just for expressing an opinion.

On the other hand, just a couple of weeks ago the Labor Department was saying Google’s confidentiality policy was making it difficult to gather information on their demographics.

So is Google political correctness run amok or is it self-protective capitalism as usual?

The US Department of Labor has raised concerns that Google’s strict confidentiality agreements have discouraged employees from speaking to the government about discrimination as part of a high-profile wage inequality investigation.

Following a judge’s ruling that Google must hand over salary records and employee contact information to federal regulators

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Trump boosts Fox’s report on what spy satellites have seen

Aug 8th, 2017 10:43 am | By

Trump is fine with Fox and Friends sharing classified information, and by “classified information” I mean classified information about North Korea’s missile activity.

President Trump on Tuesday used Twitter to amplify a Fox News report, based on anonymous sources, that U.S. spy satellites had detected North Korea loading two cruise missiles on a patrol boat on the country’s coast in recent days.

Without adding any comment of his own, Trump, who regularly decries leaks to the media, retweeted to his more than 35 million followers a link to the day-old story, which was featured Tuesday morning on “Fox & Friends,” a program on the Fox News network.

Erm…doesn’t that seem like the kind of classified information that you really … Read the rest



One door closes, another opens

Aug 8th, 2017 10:20 am | By

Of course he has.

Julian Assange has offered the Google employee who was fired for writing an anti-diversity memo a job at Wikileaks.

Assange, who is currently in the Ecuadorian embassy, tweeted multiple times in support of James Damore, the engineer who wrote the memo which went viral.

He said: “Censorship is for losers. @WikiLeaks is offering a job to fired Google engineer James Damore.

“Women & men deserve respect. That includes not firing them for politely expressing ideas but rather arguing back.”

Deffo. If somebody writes a “polite” ten page memo saying black people are just too different from white people to work at Google, that’s Respect.

In fact for even more Respect maybe Google should … Read the rest



A culture of openness

Aug 8th, 2017 10:00 am | By

Google did fire Mr Memo.

In a companywide email, Google’s chief executive, Sundar Pichai, said portions of the memo had violated the company’s code of conduct and crossed the line “by advancing harmful gender stereotypes in our workplace.”

The memo put the company in a bind. On one hand, Google has long promoted a culture of openness, with employees allowed to question senior executives and even mock its strategy in internal forums. However, Google, like many other technology firms, is dealing with criticism that it has not done enough to hire and promote women and minorities.

Of course, questioning senior executives is one thing and announcing that women are inherently, as a matter of “biology,” not good enough to … Read the rest



A pervasive attitude

Aug 7th, 2017 4:49 pm | By

To many people in tech, Mr Memo’s memo is no surprise at all.

Others were less surprised to hear what they called a pervasive attitude in an industry long dominated by men. The manifesto “is the Silicon Valley mindset in many ways,” said Vivek Wadhwa, a distinguished fellow at Carnegie Mellon University college of engineering and a frequent critic of the tech sector’s lack of diversity. “You could take this to a lot of people and you would hear: ‘Yup, we agree with this.’ People used to say things like this fearlessly.”

The manifesto claims that men have a higher drive for status, that women might not like coding because they have more interest than men in “people

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Staying true to himself

Aug 7th, 2017 3:32 pm | By

Joan Vennochi at the Boston Globe points out that Trump has a considerable nerve sneering at Richard Blumenthal when he himself successfully avoided the draft altogether.

Just about a year ago, Donald Trump — the presidential candidate who received a draft deferment for bone spurs and called avoiding sexually transmitted diseases his “personal Vietnam” — mocked Gold Star parents who questioned what he knew about sacrifice.

So it’s no surprise that as president, Trump would feel free to attack Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut for misrepresenting his military record. Compared with attacking the parents of an army captain killed in Iraq, that barely registers as outrageous.

It still registers as pretty dang outrageous though. This is 1) a grown man … Read the rest



The patient is feverish and agitated

Aug 7th, 2017 11:36 am | By

Tweeter Donald is being especially disgusting today.

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Trump’s hiring practices

Aug 7th, 2017 11:15 am | By

Trump says “JOBS JOBS JOBS.” Trump says “Hire American.” Trump says we gotta stop letting all these foreigners in, especially the ones seeking low-skill jobs. Trump says Make America Great Again.

Trump seeks to hire workers for Mar-a-Lago.

President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club needs to hire 35 waiters for this winter’s social season in Palm Beach, Fla.

Late last month, the club placed an ad on page C8 of the Palm Beach Post, crammed full of tiny print laying out the job experience requirements in classified ad shorthand. “3 mos recent & verifiable exp in fine dining/country club,” the ad said. “No tips.”

The ad gave no email address or phone number. “Apply by fax,” it said. The ad also

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Thanks Nicole!

Aug 7th, 2017 10:43 am | By

So Trump thanked a bot.

Over the weekend, President Trump RT’d a shout-out of praise from a woman on Twitter named Nicole Mincey.

Around the same time, I noticed that Mincey’s tweets had been showing up high in Trump’s twitter threads. And as I mentioned in this tweet from Saturday evening, while I wasn’t sure whatever details there were about her, the accounts had all the tell-tale signs of a grift, most notably because of the stylized personal presentation and the focus on a Trump store where this woman – probably better to call her a “persona” – sold all manner of low-tier Trump shirts, hats, hoodies, etc.

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Cambridge Classics Faculty speaks

Aug 7th, 2017 10:15 am | By

A Faculty statement concerning ethnic diversity in Roman Britain:

Roman Britain has long been an important part of the teaching and research in the Faculty of Classics. The question of ethnic diversity in the province has been getting unusual amounts of attention recently. Professor Mary Beard has been at the centre of some of this attention. In the Faculty we welcome and encourage public interest in, and reasoned debate about, the ancient world, such as Professor Beard has always sought to encourage. The evidence is in fact overwhelming that Roman Britain was indeed a multi-ethnic society. This was not, of course, evenly spread through the province, and it would have been infinitely more noticeable — it can be assumed

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Without the victim’s knowledge or consent

Aug 7th, 2017 10:03 am | By

Here’s a hateful little item of local news, which I would probably never have seen if I hadn’t been looking up how long we have to live with the smoke from forest fires mucking up the air:

Two members of the University of Washington men’s rowing team have been accused of sharing video and photos of themselves having sex with drunken female students, according to charging papers.

John C. Young and Tyler Minney, both 19, were each charged Wednesday with one count of disclosing intimate images for allegedly distributing to classmates a video of both men having sex with a “highly intoxicated” freshman student without her consent.

Wouldn’t it be nice if boys and men in general could manage … Read the rest



A textbook hostile workplace environment

Aug 7th, 2017 9:34 am | By

Yonatan Zunger recently left a senior position at Google (not in anger) so he is free to talk about Mr Memo.

So it seems that someone has seen fit to publish an internal manifesto about gender and our “ideological echo chamber.” I think it’s important that we make a couple of points clear.

(1) Despite speaking very authoritatively, the author does not appear to understand gender.

(2) Perhaps more interestingly, the author does not appear to understand engineering.

(3) And most seriously, the author does not appear to understand the consequences of what he wrote, either for others or himself.

It was striking how authoritatively Mr Memo spoke, especially since it was obvious that he was just recycling familiar … Read the rest



Half the creeps on cyberspace followed him

Aug 7th, 2017 8:28 am | By

Nick Cohen responds to the ill-mannered Nassim Nicholas Taleb.

The spat would not be worth mentioning if it did not show how nothing is now free from the culture war. That nothing includes the skin colours of the population of Roman Britain.

You may need to bear with me as I explain. In December, BBC Teach released on YouTube a video about life in Roman Britain. Shockingly, as it was to turn out, it featured a Roman with dark skin. An editor working for Infowars went on the attack. ‘Thank God the BBC is portraying Roman Britain as ethnically diverse. I mean, who cares about historical accuracy, right?’ Infowars, in case you haven’t heard of it either, is run

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A little cash, a little influence…

Aug 6th, 2017 5:28 pm | By

Andrew Prokop at Vox says that since the Trump administration has turned its beady eye on affirmative action programs at universities, this would be an excellent time to ask how the fuck Jared Kushner got into Harvard.

Of course few will be surprised that Kushner’s father, Charles Kushner, a wealthy and connected developer and political donor, helped him get in. But the details of just how that happened, described in Daniel Golden’s thoroughly reported 2007 book The Price of Admission, remain remarkable to this day.

What Golden found, essentially, was that Jared’s father handed Harvard (a school he did not attend) a big pile of money just as Jared was starting to apply to colleges. Around the same time,

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Some thoughts from Mr Memo

Aug 6th, 2017 5:03 pm | By

A male person at Google has had just about enough of their diversity policy, and wrote a ten page memo to explain about it. Surprise plot twist: it’s because women just aren’t as good.

In the memo, which is the personal opinion of a male Google employee and is titled “Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber,” the author argues that women are underrepresented in tech not because they face bias and discrimination in the workplace, but because of inherent psychological differences between men and women. “We need to stop assuming that gender gaps imply sexism,” he writes, going on to argue that Google’s educational programs for young women may be misguided.

The post comes as Google battles a wage discrimination investigation

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Guest post: The trajectory of “radical sexualities”

Aug 6th, 2017 11:44 am | By

Guest post by Josh Spokes.

The gay community’s historical project of sexual liberation was something very different than what I thought it was when I was a young man coming into that world in the late 80s and early 90s. I see now, of course, that it was an almost entirely male “community.”

The pleas for acceptance for “radical sexualities” that seemed so innocent to me, so reasonable, then—-these were just the seeds that have bloomed into today’s lesbian-bashing, misogyny, pedophilic interest in children’s bodies, and much worse.

I struggle with this. Many of us chafed against the “respectable” gays that wanted us to tone it down so they could present in their sweaters and khakis as just another … Read the rest



Admission

Aug 6th, 2017 11:12 am | By

I missed this the other day: the White House eventually admitted that Trump was the source of the first statement on Junior’s meeting with the Rooshians.

The White House has confirmed Donald Trump played a role in drafting a misleading statement about his son’s meeting with a Russian lawyer.

On Tuesday, the press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, contradicted Trump’s attorney, Jay Sekulow, who said the president had had no involvement.

“The statement that Don Jr issued is true,” Huckabee Sanders said at the daily press briefing. “There is no inaccuracy in the statement. The president weighed in as any father would.”

Oh sure, any father who had financial and perhaps even more sinister ties with Russia would issue a … Read the rest



Morning troll

Aug 6th, 2017 10:42 am | By

Sarah Boseley at the Guardian today takes up the story of Mary Beard and the eruption of enraged goons.

She said the tone of the debate left her dispirited. “It feels very sad to me that we cannot have a reasonable discussion on such a topic as the cultural, ethnic composition of Roman Britain without resorting to unnecessary insult, abuse, misogyny and language of war, not debate.”

Beard, a classicist at Cambridge University, who is well known for her robust responses to Twitter trolls, was one of those who pointed to evidence that there was at least some ethnic diversity in Britain under Roman rule.

There followed, she said in her blog in the Times Literary Supplement,

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