All entries by this author

There still may be financial ties that we don’t know about

Jul 23rd, 2017 11:41 am | By

The ABCs of ethics: it’s not ethical to have a government job with huge decision-making power over businesses and the economy they swim in, while also having businesses that can benefit or lose from your own decisions. Super basic, right? Not hard to understand?

CNBC reports:

Ivanka Trump or her trust received at least $12.6 million since early 2016 from her various business ventures and has an arrangement to guarantee her at least $1.5 million a year even as she serves in a top White House position, according to her first ethics disclosure made public late Friday.

The report was released alongside an updated filing by her husband, Jared Kushner, who is also serving as a top adviser

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Tragic role model deficit strikes boys

Jul 23rd, 2017 5:10 am | By

Well that takes the biscuit.

A former Doctor Who actor has hit out at the BBC’s decision to cast Jodie Whittaker in the role, saying that the decision meant there is “a loss of a role model for boys”.

Peter Davison said she is a “terrific actress” but  that he has doubts that she is right for the role.

He said before an appearance at  at Comic-Con in San Diego: “If I feel any doubts, it’s the loss of a role model for boys who I think Doctor Who is vitally important for.”

I see – so it’s only boys who should have role models. Girls should just be passive blobs, with no goals, no choices, no aspirations, nothing … Read the rest

A serious question about the state of intersectional feminism

Jul 22nd, 2017 5:55 pm | By

Emily Shire at the Daily Beast notes that the celebrity hijab-wearer and activist Linda Sarsour called Jake Tapper of CNN part of the alt-right.

The woman widely considered the face of January’s Women’s March and the larger intersectional resistance movement against the Trump administration took aim at a journalist from the news network the President has all but declared war on because Tapper raised a serious question about the state of intersectional feminism.

Monday afternoon, he retweeted a message from the Women’s March celebrating the birthday of the “revolutionary” Assata Shakur. The warm illustration of Shakur against a pink-to-purple background didn’t mention her conviction for murdering state trooper Werner Foerster when he pulled over a car with Shakur and

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We would be a dictatorship, not a democracy

Jul 22nd, 2017 5:14 pm | By

Harvard professor of constitutional law Noah Feldman says no, Trump can’t pardon himself, not because it would break a rule but because it would be the end of the US.

Here’s some unsolicited advice for President Donald Trump: Don’t listen to any lawyers who might tell you that you can pardon yourself, or even that it’s a close legal question. You can’t — and no court is going to rule otherwise.

There’s a decent historical argument about why, but it’s beside the point. The bottom line is that if the president could pardon himself, we would no longer have a republic — nor a government of laws rather than men. We would be a dictatorship, not a democracy.

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Guest post: A generation of Limbaugh Babies

Jul 22nd, 2017 4:10 pm | By

Originally a comment by Jeff Engel on Hannity no-awarded.

Movement conservatism has two faces (in several senses, yeah, but in this case)….

There’s the one facing the rubes, “the masses”, where you feed them raw meat and get them into the ballot boxes and screaming on talk radio. That one’s been anti-intellectual pretty much forever, certainly going back to the printing press, before it was “movement” conservatism at all. Now it’s Hannity; back in the day, it was pogroms then the KKK.

But there’s also the verbose, pretentious Buckley tradition, that draws in the college students who swallow conservatism but appreciate a well-formed sentence and being able to look down on people on the basis of money or education. … Read the rest

A report that found the apology inappropriate

Jul 22nd, 2017 12:57 pm | By

The CHE has useful background information on the Hypatia matter.

Miriam Solomon, a professor and chair of the philosophy department at Temple University and president of the Board of Directors, said the journal’s publisher, John Wiley & Sons, had brought in the Committee on Publication Ethics, an outside group that consults with editors and publishers of academic journals, to review the situation. The main question: Was the apology issued by the associate editors appropriate?

Last week the committee, known as COPE, produced a report that found the apology inappropriate, Ms. Solomon said. Even after the report’s findings were presented to the journal’s editors, the associate editors did not acknowledge any mistake in issuing the apology, and the board had

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The Associate Editors did not in any way speak for the journal

Jul 22nd, 2017 12:20 pm | By

The Board of Directors of Hypatia posted a statement on the Hypatia site:

It is with disappointment and regret that the Board of Directors of Hypatia has received the news that Sally Scholz and Shelley Wilcox [the on-line reviews editor] are resigning from their roles as editors of Hypatia. Throughout their tenure with the journal, they have stood by fundamental principles of publication ethics, which call upon all who are involved in the governance of a journal to respect the integrity of the peer-review process and to support authors published by the journal (with rare exceptions such as plagiarism and fraud). The Board is also committed to these principles and fully supports Scholz and Wilcox in their commitment to

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Hannity no-awarded

Jul 22nd, 2017 12:11 pm | By

Even some conservatives don’t like Sean Hannity.

Fox News Channel star anchor Sean Hannity will no longer receive the conservative Media Research Center’s William F. Buckley Award for Media Excellence at its September 21 gala, sources familiar with the situation tell CNN.

Buckley, the founder of the National Review, who died in 2008, was hailed in his day as “arguably the most important public intellectual in the United States.” Giving an award in his name to Hannity — a pugnacious talk radio host who has shared conspiracy theories on his popular cable news show — had caused hand wringing among some conservatives.

It also caused distress among Buckley’s family — in particular his only child, best-selling author Christopher Buckley.

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Burning up the twitters

Jul 22nd, 2017 11:28 am | By

Trump was busy this morning.

A couple of days ago he was hanging Sessions out to dry; now he’s all indignant that a major newspaper dares to report his lies about contacts with Russia. He gets to shit on his people but no one else does, I guess.

The “failing” New York Times that he spilled his guts to a few days ago. Ok … Read the rest

Stress test

Jul 22nd, 2017 10:59 am | By

As many people have been noticing, this situation exposes a certain flaw in the US Constitution – one that can be boiled down to: what happens if the president turns out to be a shameless crook?

CNN looks at how difficult it would or wouldn’t be for Trump to fire Mueller and then the constitutional issue.

Even if Trump cannot dispense with Mueller easily, the very idea that he might try exposes an inherent flaw in the US Constitution’s design, says Harvard Law School Professor Noah R. Feldman.

Feldman points out that the president is ultimately in charge of law enforcement as the head of the executive branch — a structural arrangement that works just fine until the president or

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Speaking of Jeff Sessions…

Jul 21st, 2017 5:18 pm | By

Yet another boom-story. Sessions talked about policy issues with Kislyak during the campaign, even though he swore up and down that he hadn’t.

Russia’s ambassador to Washington told his superiors in Moscow that he discussed campaign-related matters, including policy issues important to Moscow, with Jeff Sessions during the 2016 presidential race, contrary to public assertions by the embattled attorney general, according to current and former U.S. officials.

Ambassador Sergey Kislyak’s accounts of two conversations with Sessions — then a top foreign policy adviser to Republican candidate Donald Trump — were intercepted by U.S. spy agencies, which monitor the communications of senior Russian officials both in the United States and in Russia. Sessions initially failed to disclose his contacts with

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Caligula appointed his horse

Jul 21st, 2017 4:12 pm | By

Why not just put dogs and cats in science jobs in the Trump administration?

President Donald Trump plans to nominate his longtime campaign aide Sam Clovis to head science at the US Department of Agriculture, despite the fact that Clovis lacks a background in science and a congressional rule maintains that the role must be filled “from among distinguished scientists.”

It’s all part of draining the swamp. Putting scientists in science-based jobs is very swampy.

[T]here’s a stipulation in the Farm Bill that was first added in 2008 that mandates that all nominees to the chief scientist role at the USDA be a scientist — something Clovis is not.

“The Under Secretary shall be appointed by the President, by and

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Her own child

Jul 21st, 2017 1:18 pm | By

Alabama forced-pregnancy fanatics call a raped girl of 12 a murderer for having an abortion.

Two conservative lawyers in Alabama held a press conference this week to denounce a court’s ruling allowing an abortion for a 12-year-old who was raped, reported.

The attorneys — Win Johnson and Lorie Mullins — argued that the girl was not mature enough to make such a “life or death” decision.

She wasn’t mature enough to be raped, either, nor was she mature enough to carry a pregnancy to term, let alone to take care of a baby.

Johnson, a former legal director under controversial Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore, said it was ridiculous that the court would rule that the tween 

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Jul 21st, 2017 1:06 pm | By

Brian Beutler at the New Republic sums it all up chillingly: it’s an authoritarian crisis waiting to happen.

The scope of that crisis is much clearer now that the Washington Post is reporting that Trump is discussing the possibility of pardoning himself, his family, and his closest aides to short-circuit the sprawling investigation of his campaign’s complicity in Russia’s subversion of the 2016 election. Trump’s team is also, according to the Post and another Times story, digging up dirt on the special counsel investigators in an attempt to discredit them.

It’s not Sessions, he says, it’s Mueller, and Trump’s telling the Times he thinks Mueller’s investigating his financial doings crosses a line.

In a more rule-bound environment, Mueller’s

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Even if it damages relations with Saudi Arabia

Jul 21st, 2017 12:21 pm | By

The UK government commissioned a report on Saudi funding of Islamist groups, but is keeping the contents secret.

It was commissioned by the Coalition government, after Liberal Democratic pressure, but must be held back on “national security” grounds, Amber Rudd said.

An exclusive poll for The Independent revealed that most people want to see the facts about foreign funding of Islamist extremism in Britain, even if it damages relations with Saudi Arabia.

It found that 64 per cent of the public wants the report to be made “publicly available in full”, with only 11 per cent backing its suppression.

The same survey found Britain must end arms sales to Saudi Arabia while the country is accused of the large-scale

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Homeopathy is so much cheaper

Jul 21st, 2017 12:05 pm | By

The NHS has finally decided to stop prescribing homeopathic “remedies.”

Announcing the plans, Simon Stevens, NHS England’s chief executive, said homeopathy is “at best a placebo and a misuse of scarce NHS funds”.

Besides homeopathy, the plans highlight 17 other items that will no longer be available on prescription for reasons ranging from low clinical effectiveness to low cost-effectiveness. These include herbal medicines, Omega-3 fatty acid compounds, rubs and ointments used to relieve muscle pain known as rubefacients…

And offerings to Asklepios.

“Homeopathy is based on implausible assumptions and the most reliable evidence fails to show that it works beyond a placebo effect. It can cause severe harm when used as an alternative to effective treatments,” said Edzard Ernst, emeritus

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After denouncing chaos in the West Wing

Jul 21st, 2017 11:18 am | By

Spicey has had enough.

 Sean Spicer, the White House press secretary, resigned on Friday morning, after denouncing chaos in the West Wing and telling President Trump he vehemently disagreed with the appointment of the New York financier Anthony Scaramucci as communications director

Mr. Trump offered Mr. Scaramucci the job at 10 a.m. The president requested that Mr. Spicer stay on, but Mr. Spicer told Mr. Trump that he believed the appointment was a major mistake, according to person with direct knowledge of the exchange.

Scaramucci is a finance person and a commentator on Fox News.

His resignation is a serious blow to the embattled White House chief of staff, Reince Priebus, the former Republican Party chairman who brought Mr.

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Jul 21st, 2017 10:14 am | By

The Times reports high anxiety in the White House.

The effort to investigate the investigators is another sign of a looming showdown between Mr. Trump and Mr. Mueller, who has assembled a team of high-powered prosecutors and agents to examine whether any of Mr. Trump’s advisers aided Russia’s campaign to disrupt last year’s presidential election.

Some of the investigators have vast experience prosecuting financial malfeasance, and the prospect that Mr. Mueller’s inquiry could evolve into an expansive examination of Mr. Trump’s financial history has stoked fears among the president’s aides. Both Mr. Trump and his aides have said publicly they are watching closely to ensure Mr. Mueller’s investigation remains narrowly focused on last year’s election.

Yes well see this … Read the rest

The President believes that law enforcement should be at his personal beck and call

Jul 20th, 2017 6:11 pm | By

Benjamin Wittes analyzes Trump’s horrifying interview with the Times.

He says Sessions should resign, because he shouldn’t stay in the office with Trump’s naked disdain for him on the record.

The president is evidently distraught at Sessions’s recusal from the Russia investigation “right after he gets the job.” (Sessions recused himself on March 2—three weeks after his swearing-in and fifteen weeks after his nomination.) The Attorney General gave the president “zero” heads up, Trump says. In Trump’s view: “Sessions should have never recused himself, and if he was going to recuse himself, he should have told me before he took the job, and I would have picked somebody else.” He twice describes Sessions’s decision as “unfair to the president,” seemingly

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It’s a date

Jul 20th, 2017 1:59 pm | By

Trump told the Times that he simply went to say hi to Melania at that dinner, and then had a few words with Putin who just happened to be sitting there too oh gee Vlad I didn’t even know you were there.

Starting at 47 seconds you can watch Trump signaling to someone – witnesses say it was Putin – in schoolboy gesture language: You, me, we talktalk? You want to? Me, you? Ok?

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