His apparent lack of understanding

Mar 3rd, 2020 6:45 am | By

Thick as ten short planks.

President Donald Trump held a Cabinet Room meeting with pharmaceutical executives Monday, pressing them to deliver a vaccine for coronavirus as the epidemic spreads across the U.S.

Helpful. I’m sure they’re just being lazy, and if he presses them they’ll sigh and say “Oh all right” and come up with the vaccine by this afternoon.

At one point, Trump asked whether the normal flu vaccine could be used to prevent the spread of the current COVID-19 strain of coronavirus that is causing global disruption. “You take a solid flu vaccine,” Trump said, “you don’t think that would have an impact, or much of an impact, on corona?”

“No,” came the response. Tony Fauci, the director of the National Institute on Allergy and Infectious Disease, added, “Probably not,” as the president nodded.

A really solid one? Not one of those flimsy ones that break so easily, but a really solid one with good foundations and steel I-beams?

Trump has been criticized for his response to the spread of coronavirus and his apparent lack of understanding about the epidemic.

Apparent? You mean “obvious” and “staggering.”

Experts raised concerns about the president’s knowledge gap last week when he admitted he was “shocked” to learn that the flu generally kills more than 30,000 Americans each year.

And on Monday, Trump said “maybe a cure is possible” for coronavirus and that a vaccine would be ready “relatively soon.”

And that exciting things are happening, and that they’re happening very rapidly.

The president’s desire for a quick vaccine was evident when meeting with the pharmaceutical executives in the Cabinet Room. Trump told Gilead Sciences CEO Daniel O’Day that his work on a therapy to alleviate symptoms was “very exciting,” and instructed him to “Get it done, Daniel. Don’t disappoint us.”

That will make all the difference.

Fauci and Health Secretary Alex Azar noted that vaccine work is complex, time-consuming and prone to failure, pointing out the difference between having a vaccine ready for tests and one ready for the market. But the president kept returning to the executives’ promising pitches.

Because that’s how thick he is.

Trump said he had “heard very quick numbers, that of months. And I’ve heard pretty much a year would be an outside number. So I think that’s not a bad range. But if you’re talking about three to four months in a couple of cases, a year in other cases.”

Heard where? At the golf resort? Inside his head? From Princess Former Liberal Hope Ivanka?

Trump said he had “heard very quick numbers, that of months. And I’ve heard pretty much a year would be an outside number. So I think that’s not a bad range. But if you’re talking about three to four months in a couple of cases, a year in other cases.”

Just write it down somewhere with a Sharpie and then show it to us. That’ll work.

But if it’s solid?

Mar 3rd, 2020 6:17 am | By

Oh god.

It’s a little unfortunate that the dumbest guy in the UNIVERSE has that job right now.

Three years after what now??

Mar 2nd, 2020 4:38 pm | By

Hey, remember when liberals pinned their hopes on Ivanka Trump?

No, neither do I.

Maggie Haberman says they did though.

(I went to follow Soledad O’Brien on reading that and found that she follows me. Whaaaaat)

Making remarks

Mar 2nd, 2020 4:14 pm | By

See the man. See the man say words. See the man say words that don’t mean anything. See the man make remarks. See the man flap his lips while an epidemic takes hold and he has no clue what to do.

Guest post: Coronavirus don’t care how you identify

Mar 2nd, 2020 10:48 am | By

Originally a comment by Claire on It doesn’t.

This is actually dangerously incorrect information. Yes, for the most part endometriosis doesn’t kill (although it does slightly increase the risk of ovarian cancer). But it is a terrible condition nonetheless.

But if you say 1 in 10 people, you’ve now screwed up the statistic. It’s not 1 in 10, because almost half the population is not at risk at all. And they can’t say 1 in 10 people with a uterus because it is possible to get the disorder without one in places such as the fallopian tubes, pelvic cavity, and even the bowel.

Now imagine if we were talking about something that does kill people but has differential risks for men and women. Breast cancer is common in women but rare in men. Lifetime risk of breast cancer in women is 1 in 8, for men it is 1 in 833. If you say 1 in 8 people instead you are grossly distorting the statistics. There’s no way I can think of that positively separates those at high risk and those at low, other than the word women. Even if you have a mastectomy, breast cancer is still possible (which is why prophylactic mastectomy by BRCA1/2 positive women is not very smart). You could I suppose say cis women and trans men, but that still doesn’t cover the non-binary and whatever the hell queer is supposed to mean these days.

Here’s another, more immediately relevant example: the risk of death from coronavirus seems to be higher in men than women by a considerable degree. Now, because most of the statistics we’re relying on come from China, we don’t know if that is true or whether there is confounding by smoking (~50% of Chinese men smoke compared with ~1-2% of Chinese women). Nevertheless, if it holds up, this needs to be communicated and quickly. Coronavirus don’t care how you identify.

Don’t go to that guy if you have endo

Mar 2nd, 2020 10:10 am | By

But even tweeting that one in ten people get endometriosis didn’t save Sefton Council from the wrath of Doctor Harrop.

Apparently they were too busy replying to angry women who were pointing out that only women get endometriosis to do what Doctor Harrop told them to do, so he summoned reenforcements.

That did it – 15 minutes later he was crowing about his knockout punch.

But women? Bah, they can get in the sea.

Women’s Writes marathon

Mar 2nd, 2020 10:03 am | By

Robin Buckallew is honoring Women’s History Month by writing something every day of the month that is in her words “about women, for women, by a woman.”

She introduces today’s item:

Well, here it is. March 1. Day One of Women’s History Month, and the first day of my third annual Women’s Writes marathon. For the next month, I will post something for you every day, unless in that time period I am rendered unable by external forces beyond my control. I will start this year with something yanked from my own life, the story – modified, of course – of something that happened to me because I am a woman.

I know it may be difficult to believe; it was difficult for me to believe when it happened. But the conversations about women between Diane and her male co-workers actually happened, from their mouth to my ear – and now to my page. I have changed their names, and many details, but the incident and the conversations occurred. Ryan is not the same as my boss; Ryan is a composite of many bosses, but not a good descriptor of the boss I had at the time. The ending of the story is much different than what I experienced; the solution Diane uses is not something I had available. The company I describe at the end did not at that time – and does not now – exist in Oklahoma City. Too bad. I would have loved to be able to take that path.

Read on.

It doesn’t

Mar 2nd, 2020 9:31 am | By

Oh godddddd the stupid.

Awareness month! So inaccurate misleading language is vital! It’s VITAL I tell you!

When queried on this gross mistake, Sefton Council replied with a smirk.

Editing to add: they’re rubbing our noses in it.

Another captive

Mar 2nd, 2020 8:14 am | By

I saw a tweet saying that Edinburgh Rape Crisis Centre had made its toilets [restrooms in American English] gender neutral, so I decided to take a look at how it describes itself.

Our specialist trauma-informed support services are open to women, all members of the trans community, non-binary people and young people aged 12 – 18 who have experienced any form of sexual violence at any time in their lives, by abusers of any gender. This includes rape, sexual assault, sexual abuse, child sexual abuse and commercial sexual exploitation.

So their services are not open to men over 18 who don’t describe themselves as trans or non-binary, but they are open to men over 18 who do describe themselves that way.

I wonder what the reasoning is.

We will listen, believe and support young people (aged 12 -18) and women and all members of the trans community of any age, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability, gender identity (and non-binary people), religious and cultural background.

But not men over 18 who are not “members of the trans community.” (God what a stupid sanctimonious way of putting it – as if there were an election process for “membership” and as if there were a “community” as opposed to a set of people who attach silly labels to themselves.) Why is being trans seen as the opposite of being a man over 18?

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or intersex (LGBTI) people may may experience negative attitudes in society and prejudice, and have concerns about public revelation of their sexual orientation, gender identity or intersex status. All our support workers have been fully trained to be sensitive and respectful through awareness raising training from the Scottish Transgender Alliance. Trans men and non-binary people will be provided with specially tailored individual services with respect to their identities. Trans women will be provided with the same quality of individual and group support as other women.

“Have we groveled enough? Will that do? Are you going to punish us again?”

But wait – they have women-only spaces.

Women only spaces

We offer women only spaces (which are inclusive of trans women) in our centre on Tuesdays 4pm – 7pm, Wednesdays 12.30pm – 4pm and Fridays 9am – 12.30pm. The rest of the week we offer appointments to people of all genders.

Oh. So not women-only spaces then.

Oh yeah?

Mar 1st, 2020 5:17 pm | By


Yes, that is striking, striking in being so very wrong. (That may be what Carlos Lozada meant; my disdain is for Biden, not him.)

Never before walked away from it? Is he kidding? Does he remember what “we” did to the people who were here first? The genocide, the mass expulsions, the theft, all that? Does he remember slavery?

Of course we’ve walked away from it before. We’ve failed to go anywhere near it at any time, before. We’re not unusual that way but the invasion and expropriation of the Americas are more recent and conspicuous than others, so we have less right to preen ourselves on being always sort of kind of pro-equality. As a country, we were not; that’s not our history. It’s just slush to say otherwise.

The struggle continues

Mar 1st, 2020 3:46 pm | By

The UN reports:

Michelle Bachelet, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, has warned against complacency on women’s rights at an event marking the 25th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration, a landmark agenda for the empowerment of women.

“Women’s rights are threatened and attacked” on many fronts, she warned, adding that there over this period there has been “a backlash and the resurgence of gender inequality narratives based on age-old discrimination”.

And the surgence of male appropriation of everything belonging to women including the word “women.”

However, for the UN human rights chief, women’s rights are not negotiable: “they cannot be an optional policy, subject to the changing winds of politics,” she warned. According to Ms. Bachelet, the women’s rights agenda must not be torn apart by the establishment of a hierarchy between what is acceptable and what is deemed “too sensitive”.

Or what is deemed too “transphobic” or too “cis” or too much about women as opposed to men who claim to be women.

Ms. Bachelet also welcomed the speech delivered to the Human Rights Council by UN Secretary-General António Guterres on Monday.

As part of his Call to Action for human rights, Mr. Guterres called on every country to “support policies and legislation that promote gender equality, to repeal discriminatory laws, to end violence against women and girls and to strive for equal representation and participation of women in all areas”.

In his speech, Mr. Guterres also worried about “setbacks to women’s rights, alarming levels of feminicide, attacks on women’s rights defenders, and the persistence of laws and policies that perpetuate submission and exclusion”.

“Violence against women and girls”, he said, “is the most widespread human rights violation”.

But we keep being told that trans people – especially trans women – are the most oppressed of all, and that it’s mostly women who oppress them.

Emoji preference

Mar 1st, 2020 11:09 am | By

First you have to know that Jo Grady is the General Secretary of the University and College Union aka UCU.


So this is the General Secretary of the UCU cheering on Lola Olufemi’s success at getting Oxford feminist historian Selina Todd barred from giving her scheduled talk at a feminist history event.

It’s enough to make you lose your lunch.


Mar 1st, 2020 10:47 am | By





As is everything else. Food preferences, weather preferences, dog preferences, book preferences, politics preferences – any kind of preference is transphobic, because.

You have been told.

Now see that you obey.

Not an abstract concern

Mar 1st, 2020 9:23 am | By

As usual, truth is the first victim. Jonathan Freedland at the Guardian:

The coronavirus crisis is a war against a disease, but it’s also the most serious battle yet in the war on truth. That much was clear from the start, as China moved to hush up the first outbreak and gag the doctor who had spotted it. It was a classic case of what we might call Chernobyl syndrome: the tendency of authoritarian systems to react to disaster by rushing to downplay or cover up the problem, focusing more on shifting blame than tackling the threat head on.

But this time it’s not just the openly, explicitly authoritarian states that are lying and hiding.

… this time, the familiar authoritarian v democratic contrast has become muddled. That’s because the current leader of the world’s most powerful democracy, the US, has the same instincts as the authoritarian rulers he so admires, and those instincts have coloured his response to coronavirus. The result is that what for many must have seemed an abstract concern – Donald Trump’s assault on facts, experts and science – is now a matter of life and death.

I don’t think many people thought of Trump’s assault on facts, experts and science as an “abstract concern.” It warps everything he does, including getting elected.

So while US medical officials have been at pains to brace Americans for the inevitability of coronavirus – a matter of when, not if – Trump and his outriders have worked hard to minimise the threat. On Thursday, Trump repeatedly referred to the figure of “15” cases in the US, when the actual figure was 60, and promised that that number would go down rather than up: “It’s going to disappear. One day it’s like a miracle, it will disappear.”

Lying is so natural to him that he may not even know he’s doing it. He says what is useful to him, always, and truth doesn’t come into it. Very young children are like that, because human brains take a long time to develop, but most people are not like that once they mature.

One of the administration’s most influential propagandists – for whom Trump paused his state of the union address this month so that his wife, Melania, might garland him with America’s highest civilian honour, the Presidential Medal of Freedom – the talk radio host Rush Limbaugh has been telling his vast audience that “the coronavirus is the common cold, folks”, and that it had been “overhyped” and “weaponised … to bring down Donald Trump”.

It’s hard to know what to say about that. Limbaugh isn’t Trump, Limbaugh knows he’s lying. Why would he tell dangerous lies about a growing epidemic to flatter Donald Trump? I don’t know. I can’t fathom it.

[Trump’s] first instinct is that of the Manhattan hustler-hotelier loudly assuring guests that the strong smell of burning coming from the ground floor is merely the chef trying out a new barbecue rather than a sign that the building is on fire. Crucial to that effort is talking loudly over the fire marshals, or even gagging them altogether.

You could see that when Trump spoke in the White House briefing room, brazenly contradicting the experts by his side. But it’s now become formal policy, with Trump’s insistence that all federal officials – including those with deep scientific expertise – are to say nothing that has not first been authorised by the White House.

Note the fate of Dr Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease. On Thursday he dared say that “we are dealing with a serious virus” with a higher mortality rate than regular flu. That was deemed insufficiently upbeat for the great leader. According to the New York Times, “Dr Fauci has told associates that the White House had instructed him not to say anything else without clearance.”

Well, a few thousand or million lives are a small price to pay for Donald Trump’s continued grip on power.

Trump has gutted the very agencies that the US will now desperately rely on. In 2018, he slashed health spending by $15bn, binning the Obama-era programmes and teams established for the express purpose of leading the US response to a pandemic. Among those cut: the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – now in the frontline against coronavirus – which was forced to reduce by 80% its efforts to prevent global disease outbreak. The consequences are clear enough: only eight of the US’s 100 public-health labs are now even able to test for Covid-19.

But we saved money, so Amazon can pay less in taxes.

She was forced to silence herself

Mar 1st, 2020 8:59 am | By

Vanessa Thorpe at the Guardian reported yesterday on the shunning of Selina Todd. She did it in a very cautious, fearful way.

Already at the subhead things are peculiar.

Anger as Oxford historian Selina Todd is forced to pull out of speaking at Ruskin anniversary conference

No, anger as Oxford historian Selina Todd is removed from her scheduled speaking slot at Ruskin anniversary conference. She wasn’t “forced to pull out,” whatever that would mean, she was told she couldn’t do it. Selina Todd is not the one who “pulled out”; she was removed.

The alleged “no platforming” of feminist historian Selina Todd the night before the conference prompted loud protests from the packed hall at the former site of Ruskin College, the spot of the original meeting in 1970.

It’s not alleged. There is video of two of the organizers explaining to the audience why she was no-platformed. They say, over and over and over again, that they told her she couldn’t deliver her scheduled two minute talk. It’s not alleged. They’re not going to sue the Guardian for saying they no-platformed Todd because they can’t because they said they did, although to be sure they also kept insisting that telling her she couldn’t give her scheduled talk wasn’t the same thing as… telling her she couldn’t give her scheduled talk.

“This is cowardice. How can we do this to a woman who has worked all her life on behalf of other disenfranchised women?” asked Julie Bindel, the radical feminist writer.

There was no coherent answer.

Organisers said that Todd had not been banned from the conference, but was asked to give up her short “thank you” speech slot on behalf of the Oxford University history faculty in response to a boycott threat from other speakers.

Yes, they did, they said with forced gaiety that she was welcome to attend the conference, she just wasn’t allowed to give her scheduled talk.

Author Lola Olufemi, a billed panellist who had pulled out of the event when she learned of Todd’s involvement, said in a statement that she felt the conference planners had not done enough to investigate Todd’s alignment with the Woman’s Place UK group, which she regards as “transphobic”. “I have seen first-hand how middle-class white women with social capital have used their gatekeeping power to harass trans people, threaten them with defamation, actively work to curtail their rights, refused to extend solidarity, and then claim victimhood,” she said, explaining why she withdrew from the event.

I have seen first-hand how middle-class white men with social capital have bullied and insulted and no-platformed feminist women while claiming victimhood.

Transformed, geddit?

Feb 29th, 2020 6:11 pm | By

I’ll skip that one, thanks.

Never give in to bullies

Feb 29th, 2020 6:06 pm | By

It’s here

Feb 29th, 2020 4:31 pm | By

In local news

One person in King County has died due to a novel coronavirus infection, Public Health – Seattle & King County officials announced Saturday morning. It is the first death attributed to the virus in the United States.

Two people connected to a Kirkland long-term care facility have tested positive, officials said Saturday afternoon. A resident in her 70s is in serious condition, and a health employee in her 40s is stable. The long-term facility in Kirkland has 108 residents and 180 employees, according to the CDC.

At the Kirkland facility, 27 residents and 25 employees have symptoms.

So that’s not good.

Kirkland is 11 miles from where I’m sitting.

All local cases announced Saturday were acquired through “community transmission” in the Seattle area, said Dr. Jeffrey Duchin, health officer for Public Health – Seattle & King County. That means none of the patients had traveled overseas.

Somebody tell Trump.

Gov. Jay Inslee has declared a state of emergency in response to the new cases. The proclamation allows state agencies to “use all resources necessary to prepare for and respond to the outbreak.” 

Okay then.

Fightback against what exactly?

Feb 29th, 2020 11:58 am | By

About those “people who were pulling out” – this is one:

Lola Olufemi believes that feminism is “a political methodology that we can use to make demands for our freedom and the freedom of others” – why others? Why can’t women advocate for our own freedom? And feminism isn’t a “political methodology,” whatever that would mean, and it isn’t about “making demands” and it’s far broader than demands for “freedom.” In short her feminism isn’t feminism.

Furthermore “woman” is not “an umbrella term under which we can gather.” It’s the word for the female half of the human species. It’s not any kind of “umbrella term,” any more than “man” is.

There’s a lot more dopy confused stale verbiage. She’s only young, it’s probably unfair to be too harsh with her, but she’s been destructive and wrong here.

Good stuff Lola

Feb 29th, 2020 11:42 am | By
Good stuff Lola

Well, that’s one I haven’t seen before.