All entries by this author


May 1st, 2018 12:24 pm | By

The reaction to Michelle Wolf is even weirder than I thought.

FULL disclosure: I have never been to a White House Correspondents’ Dinner; I will never go to a White House Correspondents’ Dinner. The American political press already has a bias toward reverence and access preservation; journalists yukking it up with powerful people whom they are supposed to cover impartially is unseemly. Partly for this reason, The Economist has for several years not sent anyone along.

Neither has the Times, since 2008. It’s true: journalists yukking it up with powerful people whom they are supposed to cover impartially is unseemly…and quite likely to be corrupt as well, at least unconsciously.

Over the past two days Washington has worked itself

Read the rest

Needing time and considered thought

May 1st, 2018 11:35 am | By

Reading a Spectator blog post about a Labour MP who equates analysis of trans ideology to “hate material” I pause over a passage about the advocacy group Mermaids:

Despite its influence, it is worth noting what Mermaids is not. It is not a research body. Its activities are support (for families) and advocacy: based on its contacts with those families, it argues for what it sees are better policies and practices by the NHS and others. It does not carry out or commission clinical or academic research. Its most recent annual report lists among its charitable activities “campaigning and advocacy” and says: “Mermaids has also become more active in lobbying”.

There is regular dialogue between Mermaids and the GIDS, but

Read the rest

Even more evidence that we haven’t seen

May 1st, 2018 10:44 am | By

Garrett Graff at Wired has some thoughts on the Special Counsel’s questions.

Donald Trump himself tweeted about the questions early Tuesday, saying it was a “disgrace” that they leaked, but the Times story sources the leak to people on Trump’s side; Mueller’s team continues to operate almost entirely leak-free. It’s also hard to read the leaks as anything other than an attempt to bring public pressure on Trump to refuse an interview with Mueller’s team.

Hm. Trump’s people leak the questions, and Trump uses the questions to rage at his enemies some more. And Trump’s people are trying to fix things so that he will refuse to talk to the Special Counsel’s team, so that he can continue to … Read the rest

The open-ended queries

May 1st, 2018 9:43 am | By

The late in the day breaking news yesterday was the NY Times publishing a list of questions from Mueller’s team for the liar in chief.

The open-ended queries appear to be an attempt to penetrate the president’s thinking, to get at the motivation behind some of his most combative Twitter posts and to examine his relationships with his family and his closest advisers. They deal chiefly with the president’s high-profile firings of the F.B.I. director and his first national security adviser, his treatment of Attorney General Jeff Sessions and a 2016 Trump Tower meeting between campaign officials and Russians offering dirt on Hillary Clinton.

[Tangent: the Times has an actual policy against the “Oxford” comma, i.e. they don’t allow it, … Read the rest

The rest of the world doesn’t care about your aspirations

Apr 30th, 2018 5:43 pm | By

Glosswitch can hit more nails on more heads in one tweet than most of us can in entire essays.

She starts with the way girls and young women like to think they’re different from their mothers, they won’t be complicit the way Mummy is.

Of course, like millions of women before me, upon having children I discovered this thinking is bollocks. It’s not because you stop caring – motherhood doesn’t excise this yearning for individuality– but because the rest of the world doesn’t care about your aspirations.

Physically you’re screwed, socially you’re screwed, because it turns out gender isn’t a performance.

You become “that woman” because guess what? No other bugger’s stepping in to be her for you. What’s more,

Read the rest

The lone bulwark against catastrophe

Apr 30th, 2018 4:54 pm | By

Uh oh, now it’s Kelly’s turn to be fired on Twitter.

White House chief of staff John Kelly has eroded morale in the West Wing in recent months with comments to aides that include insulting the president’s intelligence and casting himself as the savior of the country, according to eight current and former White House officials.

Moral would be high without that, would it?

The officials said Kelly portrays himself to Trump administration aides as the lone bulwark against catastrophe, curbing the erratic urges of a president who has a questionable grasp on policy issues and the functions of government. He has referred to Trump as “an idiot” multiple times to underscore his point, according to four officials who say

Read the rest

How you tell a joke that everyone likes

Apr 30th, 2018 11:21 am | By

(Am I obsessed? Yes, kind of. I’m horrified at all this respectability-clutching about a comic who tells acidic jokes about the liars who work for the liar in chief. I’m horrified that much of it is coming from journalists.)… Read the rest

Sanders is a morally bankrupt person

Apr 30th, 2018 10:58 am | By

Arwa Mahdawi on why Michelle Wolf has nothing to apologize to Sarah Sanders for:

Wolf was referencing Sanders’ well-documented history of defending Trump’s brazen lies. Earlier this month for example, Sanders defended Trump’s racist claims that women from Central America are raped at “levels that nobody has ever seen before”. She also justified Trump’s entirely unfounded claims that “millions and millions” of illegal votes are cast in America’s elections by saying that the president “strongly feels” that is the case. Sanders lectures the press about accuracy but spends her days helping Trump fuel racism and hate with shameless lies. Sanders, in brief, is a morally bankrupt person and Wolf was holding her to account.

What I keep saying. … Read the rest

An archaic, queasy and unseemly spectacle

Apr 30th, 2018 10:22 am | By

Jacki Lyden has a nicely blistering post on the hypocritical shunning of Michelle Wolf:

Michelle Wolf did get it just right and the journalists uncomfortable with that maybe should find another line of work. The White House Correspondents dinner is an archaic, queasy and unseemly spectacle that seems to underscore how inbred the relationship between the press and the politicos can be. It’s ID (the comedian) meets EGO (the journalists) meets SUPER EGO (the Administration). Any administration. Journalism shouldn’t be about swanning around the power-makers in public. (I could be wrong, but I think the New York Times no longer attends this thing.) Wolf was as crude as she needed to be in a crude time, and she

Read the rest

The spirit of that mission

Apr 30th, 2018 10:00 am | By

The White House Scribblers Association issued a pompous “statement” saying don’t do it to us, do it to her.

Everybody, including news outlets, is passing around a screenshot instead of just quoting the statement in full, which is a pain for people who can’t read screenshots. The bit where Wolf is thrown overboard is:

Last night’s program was meant to offer a unifying message about our common commitment to a vigorous and free press while honoring civility, great reporting and sponsorship winners, not to divide people. Unfortunately, the entertainer’s monologue was not in the spirit of that mission.

Do it to her, do it to her, … Read the rest

Skilled employment

Apr 30th, 2018 9:33 am | By

If “sex work” is just another job, then the state should be promoting it as such, right? Julie Bindel says Nah.

Now it would appear that the New Zealand immigration service has added “sex work” (as prostitution is increasingly described) to the list of “employment skills” for those wishing to migrate. According to information on Immigration NZ’s (INZ) website, prostitution appears on the “skilled employment” list, but not the “skill shortage” list. My research on the sex trade has taken me to a number of countries around the world, including New Zealand. Its sex trade was decriminalised in 2003, and has since been hailed by pro-prostitution campaigners as the gold standard model in regulating prostitution.

The promises

Read the rest

Prominent Washington journalists took pains to defend Ms. Sanders

Apr 29th, 2018 5:40 pm | By

Honestly, what a spectacle.

Prominent Washington journalists, meanwhile, took pains to defend Ms. Sanders — earning their own opprobrium from some liberals who asked why reporters were sticking up for an administration that routinely impugns their work.

Not just “liberals.” It’s not a purely left-right issue – as we’ve all pointed out a million times. Trump is a terrible human being, who does bad things to people right out in the open where we can see, all day every day. I don’t think so ill of Republicans as a whole that I think they all insult and belittle anyone who disagrees with them, but Trump does do that. Michelle Wolf is a fluffy bunny compared to Trump.


Read the rest

Apology is owed

Apr 29th, 2018 4:22 pm | By

Apology is owed to @PressSec and others grossly insulted by Michelle Wolf at White House Correspondents Assoc dinner which started with uplifting heartfelt speech by @margarettalev – comedian was worst since Imus insulted Clintons

[typos fixed]

Has Andrea Mitchell ever tweeted that Trump owes apologies?

Has she ever said @PressSec owes apologies for lying to reporters day in and day out?

Asking for a few millions friends.… Read the rest

A display of dissident-silencing weaponry

Apr 29th, 2018 11:18 am | By

Catherine Bennett at the Guardian notes that fantasies of violence against women are not confined to “incels.” Reddit didn’t bother having a policy “to prohibit content that ‘encourages, glorifies, incites or calls for violence or physical harm against an individual or group of people'” until last year.

Prior to that, content glorifying Rodger, alongside more stereotypical exhortations to violence, was presumably regarded as just the routine, woman-hating banter some men go in for, in private, and quite unlike the terrorist hate speech designed, in less respectable online communities, to conclude in murder.

At any rate, the relevant participants shortly reconvened in less censorious forums. “I want to murder a femoid,” a contributor shares on a notionally moderated site, whose signatories

Read the rest

That’s a terrible way of “celebrating the First Amendment,” guys

Apr 29th, 2018 10:36 am | By

In other words, this thread:

Read the rest

The nearly constant attacks on the press from the president

Apr 29th, 2018 9:44 am | By

Good grief. The comedian at the White House reporters’ dinner last night said some words about Sarah Huckabee Sanders – who lies to those reporters every day for her dishonest bullying fraud of a boss – and people are shocked.

It is an American press tradition that goes back decades: the US president endures a friendly ribbing in front of an audience of journalists, all in the name of charity.

It’s a “tradition” I wasn’t even aware of until a day back in the 90s when I went to a bookstore reading by Christopher Hitchens of No One Left to Lie To. It was the day after that year’s dinner, which he had attended before taking the red eye … Read the rest

A lot of women have become detached from reality

Apr 28th, 2018 6:05 pm | By

And then there’s this guy, via David Futrelle at We Hunted the Mammoth:

People make is sound as if the “Incel Rebellion” is a laughing matter and that people don’t understand problem.

The incels are not the problem, but rather they are a symptom that something is very wrong in our society — and unless their legitimate grievances are addressed this could very soon spiral out of control just like what happened in Iraq, Libya and Syria when their respective governments refused to address and deal with the legitimate grievances a portion of their popolation had.

Calling the Incels a bunch of virgins and “frustrated losers with communication skills equal to that of an autistic potato” is oversimplifying the

Read the rest

Policy options

Apr 28th, 2018 11:54 am | By

Many people are disputing Robin Hanson. He repeats the same weird nonsense.

Questioner: Barring disability, how do incels have less access to sex than anyone else?

Hanson: The same way poor people have less access to yachts and private jets.

Er, no. Sex with others is not the same kind of thing as yachts and private jets. Sex with others is with others; it requires a willing (or willing-if-paid) human being. “Access” to it isn’t like … Read the rest

A comprehensive effort to restrict access to the safety net

Apr 28th, 2018 10:59 am | By

This again. Reward the rich and punish the poor.

Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson proposed far-reaching changes to federal housing subsidies Wednesday, tripling rent for the poorest households and making it easier for housing authorities to impose work requirements.

Carson’s proposals, and other initiatives aimed at low-income Americans receiving federal assistance, amount to a comprehensive effort by the Trump administration and Republicans in Congress to restrict access to the safety net and reduce the levels of assistance for those who do qualify.

In other words, to punish the poor.

The initiative unveiled by Carson Wednesday would raise the rent for tenants in subsidized housing to 35 percent of gross income (or 35 percent of their earnings working

Read the rest

Last dandelion

Apr 28th, 2018 10:02 am | By

Read the rest