All entries by this author

From GamerGate to Learn to Code

Feb 4th, 2019 3:05 pm | By

Talia Lavin explains the profound meaning of “Learn to Code.”

Last Thursday, I received the news that the HuffPost Opinion section—where I’d been opining on a weekly basis for a few months—had been axed in its entirety. The same opinion column had had a home at The Village Voice for some 21 weeks before that entire publication shuttered as well. “This business sucks,” I tweeted, chagrined at the simple fact that I kept losing my column because of the cruel, ongoing shrinkage of independent journalism in the United States. Dozens of jobs were slashed at HuffPost that day, following a round of layoffs at Gannett Media; further jobs were about to be disappeared at BuzzFeed. It was a grim day

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Let’s make it bigger news then

Feb 4th, 2019 11:15 am | By

And another thing about this business of the police calling people on the phone to “raise awareness” of complaints about a blog post that says cadavers reveal sex…

Another thing about that…What the hell makes them think anyone needs awareness raised when social media already exist? Not to mention phones, and Margaret Nelson said she’s easy to find. The people who have complaints can express them to Nelson; what makes the police think they need to help out? Since when is it part of the police’s job to … Read the rest

Good morning, this is the police

Feb 4th, 2019 10:33 am | By

You have got to be kidding.

The police. PHONING. Phoning to tell you your “online activity” has “caused offense.”

What blog post?

Let’s read it, to see if we can find what “caused offense” and of what type the caused “offense” was.

It starts with a tweet.

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The Trumpers carefully planned to traumatize children

Feb 4th, 2019 9:38 am | By

I’ve seen headlines saying the Trump administration started grabbing children away from their parents at the southern border a lot earlier than it had admitted, but I didn’t follow them up. I should have. The law library blog at Stanford collected some blood-chilling details.

Via Truthdig:

Following reports on Thursday that federal officials forcibly separated thousands more migrant children from their families than previously reported, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D.-Ore.) released a document to NBC News revealing the Trump administration intended to “traumatize children and intentionally create a humanitarian crisis at the border.”

The December 2017 draft memo—which Merkley shared with NBC News after receiving it from a government whistleblower—shows that Trump administration officials wanted to deport

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Birth of a slogan

Feb 4th, 2019 9:14 am | By

It seems the Washington Post ran a rather compelling ad during the “Super Bowl” yesterday, expanding on its post-Trump inauguration masthead slogan “Democracy Dies in Darkness.” Paul Farhi explained in February 2017:

The Washington Post added a new phrase beneath its online masthead this week — “Democracy Dies in Darkness” — and the commentary flowed immediately. The slogan quickly trended on Twitter, drawing tweets even from the People’s Daily newspaper in China. It was fodder for a few late-night cracks from Stephen Colbert, who suggested some of the rejected phrases included “No, You Shut Up,” “Come at Me, Bro” and “We Took Down Nixon — Who Wants Next?”

Why that particular quartet of words? It goes back to Woodward, … Read the rest

Your views are not welcome in the Liberal Democrats

Feb 3rd, 2019 3:31 pm | By

Lynne Featherstone celebrates LGBT history month with the Liberal Democrats:

We have a long way to go.

It is our duty and responsibility to fight for equal rights everywhere we can. For LGBT+ people to express who they are, without fear. For trans people to be seen as people and welcomed into all spaces. For people of any sexuality and gender to come and live here without persecution.

Wait a second.

First – who doesn’t see trans people as people? That’s a red herring. The issue isn’t whether they’re people or not, the issue is whether they can change material reality just by declaration.

And second – welcomed into all spaces? Like, for instance, into all our living rooms, … Read the rest

Guest post: The same wellspring of desire for order and for answers

Feb 3rd, 2019 12:40 pm | By

Originally a comment by Seth on 13 bible verses.

I just watched an interview wherein Neil deGrasse Tyson sat in Stephen Colbert’s chair and interviewed Stephen as a guest on his own show (I suspect, since they’ve been such good friends over the last fourteen years, they thought it was a welcome change of pace to have the conversation go somewhat the other way). The slice of conversation relevant to my point here begins at the 6:15 mark, though there is more context and banter that can also work to frame it from the preceding minute or two.

In summary, Tyson, who is publicly agnostic in the most milquetoast way but obviously an atheist in every way that matters, … Read the rest

Slacker time

Feb 3rd, 2019 12:12 pm | By

Trump spends most of his time watching tv.

A White House source has leaked President Trump’s private schedules for nearly every working day since the midterms, showing that Trump has spent around 60% of the last three months in “Executive Time.”

They share a doc that shows the details. The first day that shows is all “executive time” apart from one meeting at 11.

They compare this leisure-filled “schedule” to those of his predecessors.

Trump has the least in common with George W. Bush.

  • Bush’s calendar was tightly scheduled and booked out months ahead.
  • Bush would wake around 5:15 a.m.; have coffee with his wife, Laura; read the newspapers; and get to the Oval Office by
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Uncanny narratives

Feb 3rd, 2019 11:15 am | By

David Wallace-Wells used to shrug off climate change as just the price of economic growth, and then he didn’t any more.

A few years ago, I began collecting stories of climate change, many of them terrifying, gripping, uncanny narratives, with even the most small-scale sagas playing like fables: a group of Arctic scientists trapped when melting ice isolated their research centre on an island also populated by a group of polar bears; a Russian boy killed by anthrax released from a thawing reindeer carcass that had been trapped in permafrost for many decades. At first, it seemed the news was inventing a new genre of allegory. But of course climate change is not an allegory. Beginning in 2011, about a

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13 bible verses

Feb 3rd, 2019 10:15 am | By

A pretty story about faith and discipline:

Three [people] have been charged in the death of a 7-year-old Wisconsin boy who, according to a criminal complaint, was punished for not knowing Bible verses.

“Punished” in the sense of being slowly murdered.

Timothy Hauschultz, his wife Tina Hauschultz and their 15-year-old son Damian Hauschultz have all been charged in the death of Ethan Hauschultz. Ethan died in April 2018 from hypothermia and blunt force trauma to the head, chest and abdomen.

WLUK TV reports that Timothy ordered Ethan to haul a 44-pound log around for two hours a day for a one-week period. Damian told the police that while Timothy picked out the logs for Ethan and his twin,

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Are the beaches good?

Feb 2nd, 2019 4:43 pm | By

Sigh. This is so infuriating.

In the wake of President Donald Trump’s renewed attacks on the U.S. intelligence community this week, senior intelligence briefers are breaking two years of silence to warn that the President is endangering American security with what they say is a stubborn disregard for their assessments.

Citing multiple in-person episodes, these intelligence officials say Trump displays what one called “willful ignorance” when presented with analyses generated by America’s $81 billion-a-year intelligence services. The officials, who include analysts who prepare Trump’s briefs and the briefers themselves, describe futile attempts to keep his attention by using visual aids, confining some briefing points to two or three sentences, and repeating his name and title as frequently as possible.

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Wrong body def 1 & 2

Feb 2nd, 2019 4:21 pm | By

No, I don’t think so, I think those are two different things. Glinner means literal “born into the wrong body” and I think that’s not what Pullman means. I think Pullman is talking about not feeling entirely at home in one’s circumstances, and longing for different ones – a kind of homesickness, it can be, or a feeling of other possibilities and wishing one could live them. I think lots of us or maybe most of us have at least glimpses of that. But the current orthodoxy about being “born in the wrong body” is very literal, and … Read the rest

Mister Coffee has another whine

Feb 2nd, 2019 4:05 pm | By

Mister Coffee, again, defending the honor of billionaires.

It’s interesting that he thinks “the spirit of the country” has something to do with being nice (grateful? subservient? flattering?) to rich people. It’s interesting that he apparently doesn’t give the tiniest of shits about the millions of people in the country who struggle to keep from going under, and dragging their children with them. He doesn’t seem … Read the rest


Feb 2nd, 2019 3:43 pm | By

Makin’ history, people – a new tv show on the way with a – hold on to your chairs – a non-binary character. Are you verklempt?

US television network The CW has ordered a new pilot for a series that will feature a non-binary lead character.

Glamorous – which is written and directed by Jordon Nardino of Desperate Housewives – will make history when it airs as the first US television show with a non-binary lead character, according to Digital Spy.

The show will follow a non-binary character who lands an internship at a cosmetics company whose products they have criticised on YouTube.

I’ve got goosebumps.

Only…what does it mean? Not woman, not man, neither, non-binary, I know … Read the rest

Childhood deaths from all infectious diseases plummeted

Feb 2nd, 2019 3:07 pm | By

Speaking of measles outbreaks caused by damn fools who refuse to vaccinate their children, in 2015 NPR did an explainer about how the measles vax appears to cause huge drops in other infectious diseases too.

Back in the 1960s, the U.S. started vaccinating kids for measles. As expected, children stopped getting measles.

But something else happened.

Childhood deaths from all infectious diseases plummeted. Even deaths from diseases like pneumonia and diarrhea were cut by half.

Scientists saw the same phenomenon when the vaccine came to England and parts of Europe. And they see it today when developing countries introduce the vaccine.

“In some developing countries, where infectious diseases are very high, the reduction in mortality has been up to 80

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Not exactly a crown though is it

Feb 2nd, 2019 2:29 pm | By

And yet, he doesn’t wear the “crown” himself. Why is it only the female half who is told to wear it? If it’s a symbol of their religion why doesn’t he wear it? If he’s so grateful why doesn’t he wear it?… Read the rest

“Hate speech” has no legal meaning

Feb 2nd, 2019 2:19 pm | By

The Times (London of that ilk) reports that students are being told they can’t ban speakers for “transphobia.”

Feminists who believe that transgender women are still men should not be barred from speaking at universities because their views do not break the law, students have been told.

What an odd way of putting it. We’re not the ones using our “beliefs” as bludgeons here. It’s not a matter of believing trans women are men, it’s just a matter of acknowledging obvious and slightly banal facts. It’s the people who insist that trans women are women [in every possible sense] who are resorting to beliefs, not the people who say no, the word “trans” isn’t that magical. By the same token … Read the rest


Feb 2nd, 2019 11:19 am | By

It’s just…it’s so…I can never…

The things Trump reveals about himself whenever he speaks.

President Trump regularly expresses pique over scathing kiss-and-tell books written by former aides and advisers. But he had no beef with “Let Me Finish” by Chris Christie, the former New Jersey governor and his onetime transition director.

“Well, honestly,” Mr. Trump said in an interview in the Oval Office this week, “he was very nice to me.”

But not nice to his family, it was pointed out, most notably Jared Kushner, his son-in-law and senior adviser, who was eviscerated in the book. “No,” Mr. Trump conceded, “but he was unbelievably nice to me, actually.”

One: and that’s all that counts. Two: and of … Read the rest

Cops on Snapchat

Feb 2nd, 2019 10:47 am | By

It could be fatal to drive a car with expired tabs in Detroit if you’re not white.

A veteran Detroit police officer has been demoted and reassigned after posting a Snapchat video showing a black woman whose car he had just impounded walking home alone while he and another officer make derogatory remarks about her to each other in the background.

Meanwhile, pre-made captions that say “What black girl magic looks like” and “celebrating Black History Month” appear at the bottom.

A very young woman: a teenage girl. And this was Tuesday night, during the polar vortex.

The Snapchat video, which was first published by ABC affiliate WXYZ, shows the woman walking away down a snow-covered street.


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Police-vetted book festival begins

Feb 2nd, 2019 9:18 am | By

It’s time for Bangladesh’s annual book fair…but watch out.

DMP chief warns against publishing books that hurt religious sentiments

Legal action will be taken against writers and publishers if any book hurting religious sentiment or disrupting communal harmony is published at this year’s Amar Ekushey Book Fair, Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) Commissioner Asaduzzaman Mia has said.

He made the comments while inspecting the security measures at the annual event’s venues—Bangla Academy and Suhrawardy Udyan in Dhaka—on Thursday morning.

“We have requested writers and publishers not to bring any book that can hurt religious sentiments, or instigate communal violence,” he said.

Any book that can hurt religious sentiments? That would be almost any book, because people who are determined to find … Read the rest