All entries by this author

Scowl more

Dec 30th, 2016 3:36 pm | By

The Times got a candid shot of Trump talking to reporters yesterday.

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In otherwise opaque comments

Dec 30th, 2016 3:17 pm | By

The Times has a little video clip of Trump trying to sound grownup and intelligent when he answers a question. He fails miserably, while making exaggerated duck face the entire time. It’s painful to watch.

The Times calls this word salad “remarks” that he made

late Wednesday, when he was asked at his Mar-a-Lago estate about Mr. Obama’s plan to take action against Russia. In otherwise opaque comments, Mr. Trump appeared to concede the need to make computers more secure.

That “otherwise opaque” is good. If you can’t bear to watch the clip:

“I think we ought to get on with our lives,” he said. “I think that computers have complicated lives very greatly. The whole age of computer has

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Back into harm’s way

Dec 30th, 2016 11:42 am | By

The Guardian has been investigating the way women are abused in family court in the UK:

Violent and abusive men are being allowed to confront and cross-examine their former partners in secretive court hearings that fail to protect women who are victims of abuse, a Guardian investigation has found.

Mothers involved in family court hearings have given graphic descriptions of the “torture” of being questioned by abusive men – a practice still allowed in civil cases but banned in criminal courts.

They describe how former partners can make repeated, sometimes spurious, court applications to continue the harassment.

In one case, a mother was cross-examined for two hours by her ex-husband despite him being the subject of a restraining order

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When he lies, say he lied

Dec 30th, 2016 11:23 am | By

The big meal on the news media plate is how to deal with a president who tells shameless brazen lies all the time. They’re used to dealing with presidents (and members of Congress and similar) who conceal and obfuscate and dance around the truth, but not ones who just tell obvious lies many times every day, including on Twitter. They’re struggling.

Donald Trump is once again claiming credit for beating back the scourge of outsourcing, this time insisting that he is the reason that Sprint has announced plans to move thousands of jobs back to America from other countries.

“Because of what’s happening, and the spirit and the hope, I was just called by the head people at Sprint,

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A way to leave other people holding the bag

Dec 30th, 2016 10:46 am | By

Back at the beginning of the month Paul Krugman pointed out at the Times the way scamming works for Trump. There was the issue of his tax returns for instance – he got away with simply not releasing them, and lying that it was because he was being audited.

[A]t this point it’s apparent that Mr. Trump believed, correctly, that he could violate all the norms, stonewall on even the most basic disclosure, and pay no political price.

Indeed, it’s clear that Hillary Clinton was in effect punished for her financial transparency, while Mr. Trump was rewarded for his practice of revealing nothing about how he makes money.

Which shouldn’t be how any of this works – and yet … Read the rest



The only thing we have to fear is fear itself

Dec 29th, 2016 6:04 pm | By

The self-pity of godbotherers never ceases to amaze.

Pop open the mulled wine, fill-up on minced pies, enjoy the office parties, swap presents, take a holiday – but whatever you do, don’t mention Jesus. In fact, don’t even mention the word ‘Christmas’ – say festive season, winter break, or happy holidays.

Sounds like a joke, right? Wrong. It’s Christmas in Britain 2016. No, it’s not all pervasive, but it’s happening, the fist-in-a-velvet-glove reality for any number of people, particularly Christians, in workplaces up and down the country.

And it has led the British Prime Minster, a Catholic bishop, and the UK’s equality commissioner to speak out about this sort of nonsense – it has to stop.

Ah there it … Read the rest



Hapless Adm yourself

Dec 29th, 2016 2:08 pm | By

Throwdown. 35 Russian diplomats have 72 hours to get out of Dodge.

The US has expelled 35 Russian diplomats as punishment for alleged interference into last month’s presidential elections, giving them 72 hours to leave the country.

It will also close two compounds used for Russian intelligence-gathering.

President Barack Obama had vowed action against Russia amid US accusations it directed hacks against the Democratic Party and Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

Well at least no harm was done, because Clinton’s opponent is a responsible, thoughtful, reasonable, compassionate guy who will do a good job.

Or, rather, he’s the opposite of all that, as well as a liar and a thief and a pussygrabber, so I don’t admire the Russians’ prank.

The

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For visiting a city without her husband

Dec 29th, 2016 5:58 am | By

News from Afghanistan:

A woman has been beheaded for visiting a city without her husband, officials in Afghanistan have said.

The 30-year-old was decapitated and stabbed to death on Monday evening in Lati in the Sar-e-Pul province of northern Afghanistan.

The Middle East Press claims a government spokesman told them Taliban militants killed her for the “infidelity act” of going shopping without a male guardian.

National broadcaster Tolo News reports that the provincial governor spokesman Zabiullah Amani said the woman’s husband is in Iran, and that they do not have children.

No doubt they did the stabbing first, to make sure she would feel it.… Read the rest



They are are saddened, but not surprised

Dec 29th, 2016 5:46 am | By

The Bundy gang issued a “press release” on Facebook – in other words they wrote a short Facebook post. But they wrote PRESS RELEASE at the top so that we’d know it’s not an ordinary Facebook post. Still has comments like a Facebook post though.

PRESS RELEASE

Bundy Ranch Response to Gold Butte National Monument Designation

We, the Bundy Family, would like to say to President Obama that we are saddened, but not surprised, by the your decision to make our ranch and home a national monument. If any of this were really about protecting the land, you would come here, work with the local people who love this land, those who have a vested interest in this land,

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Gold Butte and Bear’s Ears

Dec 29th, 2016 5:34 am | By

The US has a new national monument, and no it’s not Trump’s Ego. It’s Gold Butte, in Nevada.

The declaration places 300,000 acres of land under the protection of the Bureau of Land Management. Obama used the Antiquities Act to shelter land between Lake Mead and the Grand Canyon.

In addition, Obama declared the Bears Ears region of Utah a national monument under the same law.

“I am designating two new national monuments in the desert landscapes of southeastern Utah and southern Nevada to protect some of our country’s most important cultural treasures,” Obama said in a statement released by the White House.

They have Native American artifacts, such as petroglyphs. Gold Butte also has a difficult neighbor: Cliven … Read the rest



Living in opposition to the zeitgeist is hard

Dec 28th, 2016 11:58 am | By

Michelle Goldberg is wondering if maybe men will always rule. Yeah same here.

For the last couple of years, feminism has been both ubiquitous and improbably glamorous, its pop culture currency symbolized by Beyoncé silhouetted before a giant glowing FEMINIST sign at the 2014 Video Music Awards. On television, women went from ornaments to protagonists, starring in a slew of raunchy comedies in which men were often afterthoughts.

Erm no. That’s overstating it. The fact (if it is a fact) that there are a number of such comedies doesn’t demonstrate that women have become protagonists across the board. They haven’t.

But that’s a detail. Her larger point is that it’s not looking good. She’s right about that.

Before Nov.

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Guest post: No respectable charity would ever make that ludicrous claim

Dec 28th, 2016 11:13 am | By

Originally a comment by Josh Spokes on More lies.

I realize this is probably obvious to many, but I want to point out another way in which he’s not only lying but doesn’t even know how to lie convincingly about this.

I’m the executive at a nonprofit charity. The kind with the IRS tax designation 501(c)(3). This is this the kind of charity where a donor can deduct the contribution from her taxes. Think the Red Cross, your local food pantry, animal shelter, educational nonprofit. Also the same designation as charities like those run by Trump or Hillary Clinton. It’s all the same beast for tax purposes:

1. No charity in the world sends 100 percent of its money … Read the rest



Helping girls combat the shame

Dec 28th, 2016 8:49 am | By

One thing people can do to promote freedom and equal rights for girls and women is destigmatize menstruation. Behold one such effort:

This comic book is helping girls combat the shame around periods in India.

Menstruation is still a taboo topic in the country, with millions of girls having no knowledge of the process until it happens to them.

It’s seen as a creepy disgusting contaminant. In reality it’s discarded nutrients for a future human, which you would think would be sacred rather than disgusting.… Read the rest



More lies

Dec 28th, 2016 8:13 am | By

Trump’s been telling porkies again, or still – these about his charitable donations. It’s the familiar pattern: he brags about how great he is, reporters ask questions, it turns out he was telling lies.

Even the most unsparing critic of the news media cannot deny the tremendous effort put forth by Washington Post reporter David A. Fahrenthold as he spent months doggedly trying to document all of Donald Trump’s donations to charity. The task wasn’t easy—the candidate refused to release his tax returns—so Fahrenthold probed records going back decades, repeatedly questioned the Trump campaign, and contacted more than 400 nonprofit organizations while showing his work.

They show us a page from his notes – a list of nonprofits … Read the rest



A creeping authoritarianism

Dec 27th, 2016 8:08 am | By

Uri Friedman at the Atlantic talks to Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, about the Russian hack and the abject failure to do anything about it.

Well before the White House or U.S. intelligence agencies publicly blamed the Russian government for interfering in the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign, two members of Congress did. Back in September, Adam Schiff, the leading Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, and Dianne Feinstein, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, released a statement accusing Russian intelligence agencies of hacking Democratic Party institutions. “Americans will not stand for any foreign government trying to influence our election,” they declared.

Ha. If only that had been true. Many Americans were and … Read the rest



Many attributed the oversight to gender bias

Dec 27th, 2016 7:03 am | By

The Washington Post on Vera Rubin:

Dr. Rubin’s groundbreaking discoveries, made primarily with physicist W. Kent Ford, have revolutionized the way scientists observe, measure and understand the universe.

The concept of “dark matter,” an unknown substance among stars in distant galaxies, had existed since the 1930s, but it was not proved until Dr. Rubin’s studies with Ford in the 1970s. It is considered one of the most significant and fundamental advances in astronomy during the 20th century.

“The existence of dark matter has utterly revolutionized our concept of the universe and our entire field,” University of Washington astronomer Emily Levesque told Astronomy magazine this year. “The ongoing effort to understand the role of dark matter has basically spawned entire

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Where did all the women go?

Dec 26th, 2016 5:24 pm | By

Susan Cox argues that lesbian spaces are still needed.

We’re told we live in an era of greater acceptance of homosexuality, yet the loss of hard-won lesbian spaces and events is a growing trend. San Francisco, known as one of the most prominent LGBT communities in the world, doesn’t have a single lesbian bar, and New York City’s lesbian spaces have dwindled severely. There are no explicitly lesbian bars in Vancouver (Lick — once the city’s only lesbian bar — closed in 2011), though there are a number of bars for gay men and “queer nights” that take place within various venues.

Well you see gay men need to have bars but lesbians don’t. Lesbians are women, and women … Read the rest



Observations

Dec 26th, 2016 5:01 pm | By

Jennifer Ouellette remembers Vera Rubin:

Astronomy lost a great scientist today.

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Twitter nuclear war

Dec 26th, 2016 4:24 pm | By

Is Trump’s use of Twitter to air his thoughts about nuclear weapons at all dangerous? Yes it is. Greg Sargent at the Washington Post talked to some experts on the subject and they said yes: dangerous is what it is.

As we prepare for President Trump to take near-unchecked control of our nuclear machinery, his nuclear Tweet is best seen as a window into his temperament. Trump still does not appreciate that every word he utters carries tremendous weight and could have dramatic, untold, far-reaching, unpredictable consequences — something that is especially true in the nuclear arena. Or, perhaps worse, Trump may be entirely indifferent to this fact.

It’s probably both. He doesn’t fully grasp it, because he … Read the rest



Don’t forget to marvel

Dec 26th, 2016 3:26 pm | By

Vera Rubin wasn’t very active on Twitter, in fact she sent only six tweets, all on February 6 this year. But they’re good ones.

That’s what she did. … Read the rest