All entries by this author

He views them as suckers

Aug 30th, 2018 1:53 pm | By

Jonathan Chait picks up on the Politico mention of Trump’s disdain for Sessions’s accent and lack of an Ivy League degree, and points out that Trump is one of them there coastal elite types himself.

Conservatives have spent decades depicting liberals as coastal snobs. Entire campaigns were built from this theme, from Michael Dukakis’s “Harvard Yard boutique” to various Democrats failing to display the requisite enthusiasm for Nascar. Every image of Barack Obama in the right-wing media cast him gazing downward imperiously, a pose that conservatives seemed to think captured his contempt for the good people of the heartland.

Given the attention they have lavished on such picayune details as John Kerry’s failure to order cheesesteak properly, it’s not

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Seized by paroxysms of anger

Aug 30th, 2018 1:38 pm | By

Politico reports that Trump is getting closer to firing Sessions; the resistance of Republican senators is weakening.

The willingness of Republican senators to turn on Attorney General Jeff Sessions is the result of a furious lobbying campaign from President Donald Trump, who for the past 10 days has been venting his anger at Sessions to “any senator who will listen,” as one GOP Senate aide put it.

And not just senators.

He’s worn down his lawyers, too, according to two Republicans close to the White House. Though they once cautioned him that dismissing Sessions would feed special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Trump’s potential obstruction of justice, these people say, Trump’s legal team has become increasingly convinced Mueller will

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And here is your pronoun badge

Aug 30th, 2018 12:56 pm | By

Oh good grief.

Edinburgh University student union officials will hand out pronoun badges to freshers so they know whether to refer to each other as “he”, “she” or “they”.

The move is intended to avoid any potential “misgendering” of non-binary or transgender students who may display the physical attributes of one gender, while associating more closely with another or none at all.

Or, rather, the move is intended to put the new students on notice that they must keep “gender” on their minds at all times from here on out.

The students’ union also published a guide to pronouns, which explains why it is important to “normalise” the practice of sharing gender pronouns.

“Many people assume that the pronouns

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A big bowl of word salad

Aug 30th, 2018 11:49 am | By

Katha Pollitt asks what are we to make of the Avital Ronell controversy:

Ronell denies everything. To me, her hundreds of histrionic e-mails read like a humorless novel of obsessive passion. Not so, she claims; they were lighthearted fun “between two adults, a gay man and a queer woman, who share an Israeli heritage, as well as a penchant for florid and campy communications arising from our common academic backgrounds and sensibilities.” Well, all you queer Israeli academics out there, do you address your grad students as your “sweet cuddly baby” or warn them that “‘I love you too’ does not cut it darling,” if they fail to respond with sufficient enthusiasm?

Not being an academic, I was

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What’s that screeching sound?

Aug 30th, 2018 11:27 am | By

Don more disgusting than ever chapter 2758.

Projection much? Donald Trump calling Carl Bernstein a degenerate fool?

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Another firing

Aug 30th, 2018 11:00 am | By

Last week I wrote about Angelos Sofocleous’s resignation as President-Elect of the Durham University Humanists. Now he’s been fired as assistant editor of Critique, the journal of the Durham University Philosophy Society. He sent me the email they wrote to him explaining their reasons.

“Durham University Philosophy Society has considered your actions and reached a democratic decision”…to throw you unceremoniously out.

“You have argued,” the email goes on to say, “that risking offence should be tolerated and that feelings should not guide the nature of debates. Durham University Philosophy Society welcomes all views and endorses philosophical discussions that are fair and responsible.” You can hear the “but” coming a mile away. “However, the nature of the statement, ‘RT if women … Read the rest

Guest post: The correct scientific response is to improve the method

Aug 29th, 2018 4:13 pm | By

Originally a comment by Rob on Et tu Brown?

I mean, putting aside the potential issues of contagion and methodology for a minute; there are people who are morbidly obese, or smokers, or alcohol drinkers, or drug users, who feel aggrieved at health and medical advice becoming part of public policy and discussion. They feel their lifestyle choices are negatively highlighted (not necessarily saying that being trans is a lifestyle choice). Tough shit. There is sound evidence that it’s so and sound reasons for said medical advice and public policy. You might be happy as fat person, a drinker or a smoker. That doesn’t mean that there are not negative social outcomes or that certain facts are not in play.… Read the rest

Et tu Brown?

Aug 29th, 2018 3:28 pm | By

More from the Annals of Shut Up:

An Ivy League college is embroiled in a row with trans activists over an article which suggested gender dysphoria was spreading among children.

Brown University has removed research from its website which hypothesised that teenagers who came out as transgender were more likely to have friends who were transitioning and were influenced by YouTube videos and social media.

Academics accused the university of bowing to pressure from activists after it removed a news article and link to Lisa Littman’s research. A tweet promoting the paper has also been deleted.

The research concluded “social and peer contagion” was a plausible explanation for “cluster outbreaks” and a high number of cases where the majority

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Better watch it

Aug 29th, 2018 3:00 pm | By

Trump threatens Google, Facebook, and Twitter.

Trump warned Google, Facebook and Twitter to tread carefully on Tuesday after recently accusing internet and social media firms of political bias and censorship, without providing evidence.

“I think what Google and what others are doing, if you look at what’s going on with Twitter, if you look at what’s going on with Facebook, they better be careful because you can’t do that to people,” he said in remarks at the White House.

“So I think that Google, and Twitter and Facebook, they are really treading on very, very troubled territory and they have to be careful. It’s not fair to large portions of the population.”

What’s not? And what do they even … Read the rest

Guest post: The secret to why Trump is not universally shunned

Aug 29th, 2018 2:40 pm | By

Originally a comment by iknklast on Come on baby, let’s do the transgressive jerk.

At his recent rallies, Trump has taken to expounding on his lack of acceptance by the “elites,” proclaiming it a badge of pride

And that is the secret to why he is not universally shunned. He is speaking to a body of people who also pride themselves on not being the “elite” – having totally changed the definition of what “elite” means to mean anyone who reads, who understands words of three or more syllables, or has an education. Or anyone that disagrees with the so-called family values brigade. Or anyone who doesn’t like Trump.

Elite should mean the hereditary rich, like it once did. … Read the rest

Come on baby, let’s do the transgressive jerk

Aug 29th, 2018 12:04 pm | By

Asley Parker at the Post points out that Trump is becoming a pariah. (Not thoroughly enough or fast enough, is my first thought.)

Less than two years into his first term, Trump has often come to occupy the role of pariah — both unwelcome and unwilling to perform the basic rituals and ceremonies of the presidency, from public displays of mourning to cultural ceremonies.

In addition to being pointedly not invited to McCain’s funeral and memorial service later this week — while former presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush will both eulogize the Arizona Republican — Trump was quietly asked to stay away from former first lady Barbara Bush’s funeral earlier this year. He also opted to skip

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The fascism index

Aug 29th, 2018 10:42 am | By

Paul Krugman joins the people warning us of how easily it can happen here.

What Freedom House calls illiberalism is on the rise across Eastern Europe. This includes Poland and Hungary, both still members of the European Union, in which democracy as we normally understand it is already dead.

In both countries the ruling parties — Law and Justice in Poland, Fidesz in Hungary — have established regimes that maintain the forms of popular elections, but have destroyed the independence of the judiciary, suppressed freedom of the press, institutionalized large-scale corruption and effectively delegitimized dissent. The result seems likely to be one-party rule for the foreseeable future.

Trump is working hard (if tweeting is working hard) to do all … Read the rest

Borrowed fragility

Aug 29th, 2018 9:27 am | By

Colleen Flaherty at Inside Higher Ed reports on the Daily Nous “does the word ‘TERF’ belong in an academic journal?” post:

TERF is an acronym meaning “trans-exclusionary radical feminist.” While the term has become controversial over time, especially with its often hateful deployment on social media, it originally described a subgroup of feminists who believe that the interests of cisgender women (those who are born with vaginas) don’t necessarily intersect with those of transgender women (primarily those born with penises).

Er, entirely those born with penises, surely.

To some feminists, that notion is obvious: the experience of having lived as male for any period of time matters. But some trans scholars and allies say that notion is in and of

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They’ll do it quickly and violently

Aug 29th, 2018 7:52 am | By

The Times gives us a glimpse into the cozy little gathering of evangelicals and Trump on Monday.

President Trump warned evangelical leaders Monday night that Democrats “will overturn everything that we’ve done and they’ll do it quickly and violently” if Republicans lose control of Congress in the midterm elections.

Violently. Violently. This is the guy who ranted about “American carnage” at his inauguration. This is the guy who, days into his administration, slapped an instant ban on immigration from seven majority-Muslim countries, which meant that people who were on the way here at the time were caught up in the ban. This is the guy who instituted a policy to steal children from their parents at the border. This … Read the rest


Aug 29th, 2018 7:29 am | By

Buon giorno.

Adding an even better one.

And the one from their roof.

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Extremely privileged people

Aug 28th, 2018 6:03 pm | By

Now have some of the other kind of comments on the Daily Nous piece, the “women have privilege over trans women” kind.

There’s the last coment (comments now being closed), which concludes with:

I’m not usually the one who lobs the “check your privilege” grenade, but in this case, we’re seeing extremely privileged people – upper-middle-class cis academics – casting aspersions on a highly marginalized class – transwomen.

Of course, for “upper-middle-class cis academics” read “women.” The authors of the piece are all women, as well as being PhDs in philosophy. The commenter, I think it’s fair to guess, has no idea whether all or any of them are “middle-class” or not – perhaps they all grew up in … Read the rest

The cis/trans binary is used to flip the hierarchy of oppression

Aug 28th, 2018 5:35 pm | By

That discussion about use of the word “TERF” at Daily Nous has generated a lot of useful comments – some useful for the horrible clarity with which they spell out that yes, women do indeed have privilege in relation to cis women while the reverse is most definitely not the case, and others for less tooth-grinding reasons.

For a top example of the latter there is Jane Clare Jones’s comment this morning on a thread about what is meant by “oppression” and how/whether it applies to women and/or trans women:

Homophobia is not a form of oppression, it is a form of discrimination, which arises as an adjunct of patriarchal oppression. The same is true of the discrimination against trans

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There was no privacy in that house

Aug 28th, 2018 4:19 pm | By

Daaaaamn. More on the David and Aimee Challenor matter:

More thoughts on the #DavidChallenor case. I’ve now read about the Lifetime Ban on any pets being kept in the house, because of the hoarding, chaos, and overcrowding, that resulted in severe neglect and animal cruelty. David had a criminal conviction for this.
I’ve also read the Family Court judgement giving detail on how the children were kept in these exact conditions. Yet, three children were repeatedly failed by our community, and had to stay in the same conditions that disqualified the adults from keeping pets.
The Adult Challenors’ characters become clearer. They don’t come across sympathetically. Any reasonable adult person, upon reading what I’ve read, would have questions about

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The abuse took eerily similar forms

Aug 28th, 2018 10:31 am | By

Oh gee, what was that I was just saying about the cruelties of Catholic “industrial schools” and orphanages toward the children captive in them? Christine Kenneally at BuzzFeed has a big story on the US branch. In spite of all the recent coverage of priestly child abuse, she says, the abuse in orphanages is all but unknown.

It is the history of unrelenting physical and psychological abuse of captive children. Across thousands of miles, across decades, the abuse took eerily similar forms: People who grew up in orphanages said they were made to kneel or stand for hours, sometimes with their arms straight out, sometimes holding their boots or some other item. They were forced to eat their

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Ivanka, smiling away at the rank homophobia surrounding her

Aug 28th, 2018 8:50 am | By

Princess Ivanka has been hanging with the godbotherers.

It was an evening that featured a room full of LGBT prejudice and hatred, and in the photographs Ivanka Trump, alleged one-time supporter of LGBT equality, looked like she was enjoying every second.

Jim Garlow, senior pastor of Skyline Wesleyan Church in San Diego, had the most pictorially successful evening at President Trump’s dinner for around 100 evangelical leaders held in the White House’s State Dining Room.

Garlow, whose passionate hatred of LGBT people appears as powerful as his taste for selfies, managed to get his picture taken with President Trump, Melania Trump, Karen and Mike Pence, Jared Kushner, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Kellyanne Conway, and—most surprising of all, given that past

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