Notes and Comment Blog

Public support for reforming gendered laws

Apr 9th, 2019 11:32 am | By

Saudi Arabia responds to international criticism of its bullying of women by bullying more women’s rights advocates.

Saudi Arabia jailed another group of women’s rights advocates on Thursday.

The advocates and writers weren’t politically active, but they had opposed Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s regime and expressed public support for reforming gendered laws, according to the Associated Press. The 12 people arrested — 11 men and one woman — reportedly have loose connections with a group of activists who were arrested in 2018 for campaigning to end the country’s ban on women driving and its male guardianship system.

Most of the activists were arrested in the country’s capital city, Riyadh, on Thursday, though one was taken by authorities in the city of Dammam. Among them are two US-Saudi dual citizens — Badr al-Ibrahim, a writer and physician, and Salah al-Haidar, whose mother is prominent women’s rights activist Aziza al-Yousef.

Officials also detained married writers Khadijah al-Harbi, who is pregnant, and Thumar al-Marzouqi, along with writers Mohammed al-Sadiq and Abdullah al-Dehailan, and women’s rights activist Fahad Abalkhail.

The Saudi government imprisoned the activists for being “traitors,” alleging that they conspired with international media and human rights groups, and spread “bad morale.” The government denies the activists were tortured or harassed, despite accusations of abuse.

Prince Jared’s buddies.

He just wants to

Apr 9th, 2019 10:16 am | By

Well, you have to see it from Trump’s point of view. He’s never had any respect for the rule of law; it’s the way he was raised. His father was a crook, so that’s what he saw growing up.

Jake Tapper tells us it’s been boiling over lately:

Three Thursdays ago, in a meeting at the Oval Office with top officials — including Nielsen, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, top aides Jared Kushner, Mercedes Schlapp and Dan Scavino, White House counsel Pat Cipollone and more — the President, according to one attendee, was “ranting and raving, saying border security was his issue.”

Senior administration officials say that Trump then ordered Nielsen and Pompeo to shut down the port of El Paso the next day, Friday, March 22, at noon. The plan was that in subsequent days the Trump administration would shut down other ports.

Nielsen explained why that would not be a good idea, and Trump said he didn’t care.

Ultimately, acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney seemed to have been able to talk the President out of closing the port of El Paso. Trump, however, was insistent that his administration begin taking another action — denying asylum seekers entry. Nielsen tried to explain to the President that the asylum laws allow migrants from Central America to come to the US and gain entry. She talked to the White House counsel to see if there were any exceptions, but he told her that her reading of the law was correct.

But Trump doesn’t care about that, because he considers himself better than the law.

Last Friday, the President visited Calexico, California, where he said, “We’re full, our system’s full, our country’s full — can’t come in! Our country is full, what can you do? We can’t handle any more, our country is full. Can’t come in, I’m sorry. It’s very simple.”

Behind the scenes, two sources told CNN, the President told border agents to not let migrants in. Tell them we don’t have the capacity, he said. If judges give you trouble, say, “Sorry, judge, I can’t do it. We don’t have the room.”

After the President left the room, agents sought further advice from their leaders, who told them they were not giving them that direction and if they did what the President said they would take on personal liability. You have to follow the law, they were told.

So. The president told federal agents to break the law and to tell judges to take a hike. He thinks he is the boss of the law as well as all of us. We all have to do what he says, and he doesn’t have to do what anyone says.

There’s also been an ongoing struggle over the past four months over Trump’s urgent desire to resume the practice of taking children away from their parents.

According to multiple sources, the President wanted families separated even if they came in at a legal port of entry and were legal asylum seekers. The President wanted families separated even if they were apprehended within the US. He thinks the separations work to deter migrants from coming.

Sources told CNN that Nielsen tried to explain they could not bring the policy back because of court challenges, and White House staffers tried to explain it would be an unmitigated PR disaster.

“He just wants to separate families,” said a senior administration official.

He just wants to. He really really wants to. He wants to the way normal people want to go to the beach or eat ice cream or see a movie. He wants to for the pleasure of it. He likes doing it because it’s fun for him. That’s what he is.

Barr wants to let the courts “do their job”

Apr 9th, 2019 9:27 am | By

CNN is live updating on Barr’s conversation with Congress.

Attorney General William Barr just echoed one of President Trump’s recent talking points, highlighting what the two men view as Democratic hypocrisy when it comes to releasing the Mueller report.

That’s because some of the Democrats who want Mueller’s full report released actually spoke out against the full release of the Starr report in the late 1990s. Ken Starr’s investigation led to President Bill Clinton’s impeachment proceedings.

“Many of the people right now who are calling for the release of this report were basically castigating Ken Starr and others for releasing the Starr report,” Barr said.

Ken Starr’s investigation was about non-marital sex and lying to conceal the non-marital sex. Mueller’s investigation is about rather more weighty and consequential matters than marital fidelity.

How about that whole health insurance thing? How about the Trump administration’s move to get rid of it, so that we can go back to the situation where a large chunk of the population has no health insurance?

Rep. Matt Cartwright asked Attorney General William Barr about the Affordable Care Act, which the Trump administration recently said should be struck down.

Barr said he wants to let the courts “do their job” when it comes to the lawsuit.

Here’s how the exchange went down:

CARTWRIGHT: Let me be the one to inform you that should the law be struck down, millions of people who get their coverage through the ACA marketplace would lose their coverage, and tens of millions more would see their premiums skyrocket. In addition if you are successful, 12 million people nationally and 750,000 in my home state of Pennsylvania who have coverage under the Medicaid expansion would also likely lose that coverage. Am I correct in that, sir?

BARR: I do think it’s likely we’re going to prevail.

CARTWRIGHT: If you prevail — well, you’re devoting scarce resources of your department to that effort, are you not Attorney General?

BARR: We’re in litigation — we have to take a position — we take position in litigation…

CARTWRIGHT: The answer is yes. You are trying to get it invalidated and if you succeed, that many people will lose their coverage nationally from Medicaid, and 750,000 from Pennsylvania alone, right?

BARR: I’m just saying, if you think it’s such an outrageous position, you have nothing to worry about. Let the courts do their job.

But it’s not about “letting the courts do their job.” The Trump admin didn’t have to bring this suit.

With no benefits or overtime pay

Apr 8th, 2019 4:48 pm | By

Like Dario Angulo, for example.

At his home on the misty slope of Costa Rica’s tallest mountain, Dario Angulo keeps a set of photographs from the years he tended the rolling fairways and clipped greens of a faraway American golf resort.

Angulo learned to drive backhoes and bulldozers, carving water hazards and tee boxes out of former horse pastures in Bedminster, N.J., where a famous New Yorker was building a world-class course. Angulo earned $8 an hour, a fraction of what a state-licensed heavy equipment operator would make, with no benefits or overtime pay. But he stayed seven years on the grounds crew, saving enough for a small piece of land and some cattle back home.

See this is why Trump and guys like Trump love people from points south who come up here to work for Trump and people like him: they cost a fraction of what state-licensed heavy equipment operators cost. He calls them animals but he wants them to work for him – and then go sharply away when he’s through with them.

It’s a common story in this small town.

Other former employees of President Trump’s company live nearby: men who once raked the sand traps and pushed mowers through thick heat on Trump’s prized golf property — the “Summer White House,” as aides have called it — where his daughter Ivanka got married and where he wants to build a family cemetery.

“Many of us helped him get what he has today,” Angulo said. “This golf course was built by illegals.”

Of course Princess Ivanka got married in a place built by people working for her daddy for cut-rate wages. Of course she did.

The brightly painted homes that line the road in Santa Teresa de Cajon, many paid for by wages earned 4,000 miles away, are the fruits of a long-running pipeline of illegal workers to the president’s course, one that carried far more than a few unauthorized employees who slipped through the cracks.

Soon after Trump broke ground at Bedminster in 2002 with a golden shovel, this village emerged as a wellspring of low-paid labor for the private club, which charges tens of thousands of dollars to join. Over the years, dozens of workers from Costa Rica went north to fill jobs as groundskeepers, housekeepers and dishwashers at Bedminster, former employees said. The club hired others from El Salvador, Mexico and Guatemala who spoke to The Post. Many ended up in the blue-collar borough of Bound Brook, N.J., piling into vans before dawn to head to the course each morning.

But he doesn’t want us to know that.

The company’s recent purge of unauthorized workers from at least five Trump properties contributes to mounting evidence that the president benefited for years from the work of illegal laborers he now vilifies.

What illegal laborers? Do you see any illegal laborers?

Thwarted again

Apr 8th, 2019 4:29 pm | By

Oh gee will you look at that, a federal judge says Trump doesn’t have total absolute power after all.

A federal judge today halted the Trump administration’s “remain in Mexico” policy, which forces certain non-Mexican asylum seekers to wait in Mexico during their court proceedings.

The plaintiffs — a group of asylum seekers and organizations represented by the American Civil Liberties Union — argued the policy violates U.S. asylum law, international treaty obligations and federal regulatory requirements.

But doesn’t Trump have the absolute right and power to ignore all that? No? Huh.

ACLU asserted in a February court filing that the policy — formally known as the “Migrant Protection Protocols” — put migrants at risk of kidnapping, sexual assault, trafficking and murder in Mexico.

Seeborg, nominated to the district court in 2009 by former President Barack Obama, found the policy was not supported by federal immigration law and did not sufficiently safeguard the lives and freedom of migrants.

Well no, that was the point. Trump wants bad things to happen to them, so that they’ll go away…or else become temporary workers at one of his golf resorts, subject to deportation at any time. One of those.

Shall means shall

Apr 8th, 2019 4:08 pm | By

Prosecutor in the house.


The option

Apr 8th, 2019 3:58 pm | By

Trump just really really really wants to take children away from people who try to move to the US without his permission.

President Donald Trump has for months urged his administration to reinstate large-scale separation of migrant families crossing the border, according to three U.S. officials with knowledge of meetings at the White House.

Trump’s outgoing Homeland Security secretary, Kirstjen Nielsen, resisted — setting her at odds with the president.

According to two of the sources, Nielsen told Trump that federal court orders prohibited the Department of Homeland Security from reinstating the policy, and that he would be reversing his own executive order from June that ended family separations.

Federal court orders, pah! Why should Trump care about that? He’s the president, remember? He can do whatever he wants to. Presidents have absolute and total power, except when they were born in Kenya and are smarter than Trump.

Three U.S. officials said that Kevin McAleenan, the head of Customs and Border Patrol who is expected to take over as acting DHS secretary, has not ruled out family separation as an option.

The policy McAleenan would consider, according to the officials, is known as “binary choice” and would give migrant parents the option between being separated from their children or bringing their children with them into long-term detention.

If he does he’ll be violating both international law and US law, plus it’s disgusting. The nightmare deepens by the hour.


Apr 8th, 2019 12:03 pm | By

The Times has more on the purge (which they call a purge right up front):

President Trump moved to sweep out the top ranks of the Department of Homeland Security on Monday, a day after pushing out its secretary, Kirstjen Nielsen, accelerating a purge of the nation’s immigration and security leadership.

Government officials said three more top department leaders were expected to leave soon: L. Francis Cissna, the head of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services; Randolph D. Alles, the Secret Service director; and John Mitnik, the agency’s general counsel.

All were viewed as allies of John F. Kelly, the president’s former chief of staff and his first Homeland Security secretary, who left late last year after months of tension with Mr. Trump.

In other words they were horrible, as Kelly was horrible, but they weren’t horrible enough. Horrible enough is an elusive prize for Trump.

The departures appeared to be part of a housecleaning of officials involved in the Trump administration’s immigration agenda as the president demands a harder line on border security. Mr. Trump on Friday said Mr. Vitiello would be replaced with someone who would move ICE in a “tougher” direction. All of the departing officials were appointed by Mr. Trump.

More grabbing children away from their parents, never to see them again; more talk of “shithole countries” and “not people, animals.”

We’re in a bad place.


Apr 8th, 2019 11:27 am | By

He’s executing his plan

Apr 8th, 2019 11:10 am | By

More firings from the White House:

United States Secret Service director Randolph “Tex” Alles is being removed from his position, multiple administration officials tell CNN.

President Donald Trump instructed his acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, to fire Alles. Alles remains in his position as of now but has been asked to leave.

The USSS director was told two weeks ago there would be a transition in leadership and he was asked to stay on until there was a replacement, according to a source close to the director.
Secret Service officials have been caught by surprise with the news and are only finding out through CNN, according to the source.

Like the day Trump fired Comey and the first Comey knew of it was a chyron on CNN.

The Secret Service director reports directly to the Secretary of Homeland Security, Kirstjen Nielsen, who resigned on Sunday amid growing pressure from the President. The director oversees the Secret Service’s work on both protection and investigations.

“There is a near-systematic purge happening at the nation’s second-largest national security agency,” one senior administration official says.

United States Citizenship and Immigration Services director Francis Cissna and Office of the General Counsel’s John Mitnick are expected to be gone soon, and the White House is eyeing others to be removed.

The President in recent weeks empowered Stephen Miller to lead the administration’s border policies “and he’s executing his plan” with what amounts to a wholesale decapitation o[f] the Department of Homeland Security leadership, the official says.

Now that’s what I call burying the lede. Trump has handed over control of national security to Stephen Miller of all people.

That’s frightening.

A call to prayer can never be too loud

Apr 8th, 2019 10:41 am | By

Be careful not to complain of noise if you’re in Indonesia:

The Supreme Court has upheld a blasphemy verdict against a Buddhist woman convicted for complaining about the volume of adzan (call to prayer).

In a ruling dated March 27 and posted on the court’s website on Monday, the panel of justices rejected the appeal by Meiliana, a women of Chinese descent and resident of Tanjung Balai, North Sumatra, and upheld her 1.5-year prison sentence.

A year and a half in prison for objecting to a loud “call to prayer.” Too bad for people who work the night shift or the swing shift in Indonesia; they just have to put up with being woken up a lot.

Meiliana’s case dates back to 2016 when she reportedly said an adzan was “too loud” and “hurt” her ears. She is the first person to be sentenced to prison for complaining about the volume of a mosque’s speakers.

Her alleged remarks were believed to have triggered the worst anti-Chinese riot in the country since 1998, with Muslims who claimed to have been offended by her words setting fire to several Buddhist temples.

It’s a good thing religion makes people nicer, because otherwise we might think it did the exact opposite.

In response to pressure from transgender lobby groups

Apr 8th, 2019 9:27 am | By

Lucy Bannerman reports that five specialists have quit the Tavistock for reasons of conscience over the past three years.

The clinic used to get about 50 referrals a year, mostly boys, but now thousands of girls are turning up wanting to change their sex.

Until now the specialists struggling to keep up with caseloads have stayed silent, but alarm over the number of adolescents being prescribed body-altering drugs, has prompted five former clinicians to speak out for the first time.

All five have resigned from the Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS) in the past three years as a matter of conscience.

“This experimental treatment is being done not only on children, but very vulnerable children, who have experienced mental health difficulties, abuse, family trauma, but sometimes those [other factors] just get whitewashed,” one female clinician said. “If someone was suggesting plastic surgery or any other permanent change we’d be saying, hang on a minute.”

And plastic surgery is pretty trivial in comparison to trying to trade in your sex.

Clinical psychologists used to be able to spend months evaluating the children, but now they can be referred for hormone therapy after only three hour-long sessions.

They believe that physically healthy children are being medicated in response to pressure from transgender lobby groups and parental anxieties.

So many potentially gay children were being sent down the pathway to change gender, two of the clinicians said there was a dark joke among staff that “there would be no gay people left”.

“It feels like conversion therapy for gay children,” one male clinician said. “I frequently had cases where people started identifying as trans after months of horrendous bullying for being gay,” he told The Times.

“Young lesbians considered at the bottom of the heap suddenly found they were really popular when they said they were trans.”

And what better reason can there be to alter your body in drastic ways than the chance to be more popular as a teenager? When one of the first things you realize as you become an adult is that the teenage years are just that: they’re a short period that ends, not a template for your whole life.

Several clinicians suspected that some of the “transgender” adolescents were reacting to homophobia at home.

“For some families, it was easier to say, this is a medical problem, ‘here’s my child, please fix them!’ than dealing with a young, gay kid,” the third female clinician said. At the service’s “family days”, a parent was allegedly heard saying that they did not want their child to have gay friends because they “didn’t want them mixed up in that hedonistic lifestyle”. “It is converting people into heterosexuals,” one of the clinicians said. “We had so many families who would talk about not wanting their daughters to be lesbian.” Young people “repeatedly” confided their own “disgust” that they may be gay, according to the clinician.

Again: this is something that can end; it can be a transient thing that becomes insignificant over time; “It Gets Better.” It’s not a reason to make drastic changes to your healthy body.

Another clinician described how youngsters entered his room enthusing about Alex Bertie, a transgender YouTuber, and My Life: I Am Leo, a documentary about a transgender teen broadcast in a teatime slot on CBBC.

“These are very simplified stories about how easy it would be to transition into being trans. . . that transition is a solution to feeling shit. That is very appealing to lots of teenagers,” the first male clinician said.

Aw yeah, that’s a great reason to make irreversible changes to your healthy body: a cool kid on YouTube did it.

What began in 1989 as a specialist clinic for gender issues is now under intense scrutiny. A report by David Bell, a former governor at the trust, revealed ethical concerns over “woefully inadequate care”. Staff were furious with the GIDS executive’s response to the report, which stated that its own review found no safeguarding concerns.

The whole service should have been halted when the number of “transgender” cases first exploded, one of the clinicians said. “That’s the point we should have stopped because we didn’t know what we were doing. Are we a service for kids with gender dysphoria, a medical disorder? Or are we a service for ‘transgender kids’?”

A GIDS spokesman said: “We are aware of tensions between different perspectives. These differences are inevitable in such complex work.”

One clinician said it was understandable if her former employer was defensive, saying: “If they are getting it wrong, you have to ask, are they making kids infertile by mistake? Because if they are to truly acknowledge [our concerns], then they will have to ask themselves, what the fuck have we done to thousands of children?”


The meeting didn’t go well

Apr 7th, 2019 4:31 pm | By

Kirsten Nielsen has quit (“resigned”). Jake Tapper was watching.

He’s frustrated with the laws, and he wants people who work for him to break them.

So, she quit or Trump told her to “resign.”

So that’s where we are.

I see you have short hair, you need a support group

Apr 7th, 2019 4:20 pm | By

The Times (the London one):

As a self-proclaimed “leftie liberal”, Tracy Shaw, 44, a mother of three, had not taken much notice of the rise of transgender activism — but that all changed in the space of a few weeks last summer.

Her nine-year-old daughter brought home a notice from her gymnastics club in south Oxfordshire informing her that she would have to share changing rooms with trans children. Then a friend, who had to attend a rape crisis centre, was told that she had to be prepared to share details of her assault with self-indentifying women.

The final straw came when another friend’s teenage daughter, who has short hair and wears trousers, was approached by a teacher who asked if she wanted to join a support group for gender-questioning children.

So she set up a parents’ group with another woman, and they learned that the county’s schools were following guidelines created by trans activists.

Oxfordshire county council had issued a 50-page Trans Toolkit for Schools, subtitled “Gender is not just pink and blue”. The booklet had the support of 12 county, borough and metropolitan councils and was created with the involvement of a trans support group, Gendered Intelligence, and Allsorts Youth Project.

Andrews was particularly concerned by a section on breast binding, a controversial technique used by transgender men to create a flatter chest. The document urges teachers to be sensitive to the hygiene needs of pupils wearing binders on school trips. “It may be that pupils wash their binders every night at home and this will need to be considered on a residential trip,” it states.

Schools should not be treating binders as normal or encouraging their use.

The group got the council to agree to review the use of the guide.

Other groups of parents have been lobbying their local councils, which have also begun to make changes. Warwickshire county council has formally suspended use of the toolkit, and Sefton council, on Merseyside, which uses similar guidance, is reviewing its rules.

Parents spoke to The Sunday Times to share their stories, all insisting on anonymity. A mother in London said a teacher had concluded that her seven-year-old daughter was gender dysphoric as she was getting teased for having short hair and wearing boys’ clothes.

The teacher suggested the class read a book called 10,000 Dresses, in which the central character is a boy whose dreams of magical dresses help establish his true identity as a transgender girl.

A boy who likes dresses does not have a “true identity” as a transgender girl. This stuff is all such baby talk – it’s bizarre that so many people decided to believe it in such a mad rush.

Mulvaney to the laws: No

Apr 7th, 2019 10:59 am | By

They just openly tell us the law can’t touch them.

Acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney said on Fox News Sunday that Democrats will never get their hands on President Trump’s tax returns, adding that the request is “a political stunt” that the IRS will not comply with.

How is it a stunt? There is a massive amount of evidence-based reporting on Trump’s many cheats and crimes over the decades, and there is precedent that presidential candidates are transparent about their tax returns so that we the voters and citizens can have confidence that they’re not corrupt or thieves or both. Also there is a legal basis for the request that the IRS hand over Trump’s returns, so Mulvaney is saying “fuck the law.”

Eight goats in a pen

Apr 7th, 2019 10:29 am | By

More on Trump and golf and what it says about Trump, from the guy who wrote the book.

More than to any wife, more than to any party, more than to any opinion, President Donald Trump has remained fiercely loyal to golf. But I’ve played golf my entire life. Years ago, I even played with Trump once. Whatever sport he’s playing, it isn’t golf.

He cheats. He lies. He kicks. And not just his ball — yours, too. He props up a 2.8 handicap that’s faker than WrestleMania 35. He wins tournaments he never even played in. He wins tournaments that weren’t even held.

And it’s not just the cheating. It’s the way he plays the game—with all the golf etiquette of an elephant on Red Bull. Trump promised to Make America Great Again. He’s definitely Made Golf Gross Again.

He drives his golf cart on greens. He drives it on tee boxes. He never, ever walks, even on the courses he owns that have banned carts (Trump Turnberry.)

He always hits first, never mind who won the last hole, and then jumps in his Super Mario Kart with his caddy and peels off before you’ve even hit, the better to be 150 yards ahead of you so the two of them can foozle, fudge, and foot-wedge in private.

He plays only at clubs with his name on them and only with caddies who love his $200-a-round tips.

He plays only with rich people.

My book is called Commander in Cheat: How Golf Explains Trump. So how does golf explain Trump’s presidency? Well …

If Trump will cheat to win $20 from his friends, is it that much further to believe he’d cheat to lower his taxes, win an election, sway an investigation?

If Trump will lie and say one of his courses is worth $50 million while at the same time suing the local tax board for valuing it at more than $2 million—we feel you, Ossining, New York—is it that much further to think he might lie about his taxes, his fixer, his affairs?

Trump says he’s won 20 club championships. (He hasn’t.) The truth is, he played a lot of those “championships” by himself, the first day his latest course opened, and declared himself the champ. How do I know? He told me the day we played together in the early 2000s.

Politics: Trump won’t release his taxes.

Golf: If the House ever gets his returns, they should start with his golf write-offs. For instance, did you know Trump keeps eight goats in a pen on his Trump Bedminster course to get an $80,000 farm tax credit?

I did not know that.

While writing my new book about Trump’s cheating, I left calls, emails and even FedEx letters for him and his people and got no replies. Meanwhile, he’s still telling America he’s this champion golfer, and he isn’t. How do I know? Whenever he’s played in front of cameras (Pebble Beach Pro-Am, Tahoe Celebrity), he’s not once made a cut or finished in the top half among the celebs.

Fake news?

“Promise” itself is gendered

Apr 7th, 2019 10:02 am | By

The myriad ways women are treated differently from men, not in a good way, are so myriad they’re hard to exhaust. We keep learning of new ones. Jill Filipovic points out that young men have promise while young women are incompetent.

There are several youngish men jostling for the presidential slot, and maybe this is why.

But whether a youngish candidate is bright, brilliant and promising or inexperienced, off-putting and ruthlessly ambitious depends on whether the young thing in question is male or female.

“Promise” itself is gendered. Research consistently shows that in American workplaces, women tend to be promoted once their managers see them perform well; men are promoted if managers believe in their potential to do well. We’re running the same experiment in politics: Voters, donors and journalists are all excited by the great leadership potential of young men who leapfrog up the political ladder. They expect women to prove themselves before they move forward.

And so women don’t move forward as quickly. Women are more likely than men to enter politics later in life, having spent years shoring up the experience, accomplishments and recognition necessary to be considered credible contenders for higher office. Women start low and climb up, which means they may not climb as high. Women also tend to run for more collaborative legislative positions (school board, state legislature, Congress) rather than executive ones (mayor, governor, president). Men do the opposite, seeking executive roles, starting early and skipping ahead.

That’s interesting. I’ve just written a column for Free Inquiry arguing that we should value those collaborative positions more and not be so obsessed with the executive ones, because focusing on the One Top Dude gets us atrocities like gods and criminal presidents. (I’m not expecting the idea to catch on.)

Unfortunately for women, age poses an unsolvable problem: They are seen as too young and inexperienced right up until they are branded too old and tedious. Ms. Warren, for example, finds herself put in the same “old” category as Mr. Sanders and Joe Biden, even though both men are nearly a decade older than she is.

Men who are more or less the same age as Ms. Warren — Sherrod Brown (66), John Hickenlooper (67), Jay Inslee (68) — are not lumped in with the white-hairs. If women in their 40s are “in a hurry,” and women in their 50s are old news, and women in their 60s are just old, when, exactly, is a woman supposed to go to the White House?

Oh, we all know the answer to that one.

A lot to deal with over the years

Apr 6th, 2019 5:06 pm | By

More on the trans women running with women in the Boston marathon last year issue:

Transgender women will race in next week’s Boston Marathon, officials say — a decision sparking controversy among experts who disagree on whether runners who identify as women but were born male might hold a competitive advantage.

At least five openly transgender women are signed up to run April 16. And while they aren’t the first, they’re helping bring clarity to the race’s stance on transgender runners.

“We take people at their word. We register people as they specify themselves to be,” said Tom Grilk, chief of the Boston Athletic Association, the group behind the race. “Members of the LGBT community have had a lot to deal with over the years, and we’d rather not add to that burden.”

Unlike women, who have had nothing but love and support and encouragement since time began.

That decision could prove controversial, said Bob Girandola, associate professor in the Department of Human Biology at the University of Southern California. He said if transgender runners produce higher levels of testosterone than their female competitors, that’s an issue.

“If they still have male gonads, they will have an advantage over other women — there is no way around that,” Girandola said. “It gives them an unfair advantage. Maybe they have to have a separate category if they’re going to do that. It’s a dilemma.”

Others disagree. For transgender women who lower testosterone levels, medical experts say there’s no evidence of an athletic advantage.

“That’s a misconception and a myth,” said Dr. Alex Keuroghlian, director of education and training programs at the Fenway Institute, a health and advocacy center for Boston’s LGBT community. “There’s no physiologic advantage to being assigned male at birth.”

So the biologist says there’s an advantage, and the unspecified Dr. who is a director of education says there isn’t. Why should we believe the latter? What does he know about it? Plus…seriously? There’s no physical advantage to having a male body?

They just don’t even bother, do they. Make it up, lie, lie more than Trump lies – whatever. Men are actually oppressed by women, and pigs have wings.

There are prizes in the Boston Marathon. Money prizes.

The fastest overall man and woman each win $150,000. Second place for each category gets $75,000, and third takes home $40,000. The rest of the top 15 win prize money as follows:

  • Fourth: $25,000
  • Fifth: $15,000
  • Sixth: $12,000

And smaller down to $1,500 for 15th.

So trans women will have a shot at stealing money prizes from women too.


Apr 6th, 2019 10:29 am | By

Trump called asylum seekers at the southern border “animals” yesterday and yet

As President Trump threatened to shut down the U.S.-Mexico border in recent days, his Department of Homeland Security nearly doubled the number of temporary guest worker visas available this summer.

Well, that’s different. That’s cheap labor; that’s a whole other story.

DHS and the Labor Department plan to grant an additional 30,000 H-2B visas this summer on top of the 33,000 H-2B visas they had planned to give out, the agencies confirmed.

The H-2B visa is for foreign workers to come to the United States and work for several months at a company such as a landscaper, amusement park or hotel. About 80 percent of these visas went to people from Mexico and Central America last year, government data show.

Because why? Because the pay is bad. Those are the jobs that pay minimum wage (or less if the bosses can get away with it) for hard physical work, and that makes them harder to fill.

Trump says there is a national emergency at the southern border because too many people are trying to come to the United States. On Friday, he implored migrants to turn around and go home.

“We can’t take you anymore,” Trump said Friday while standing at the border in California. “Our country is full.”

But his administration is giving a different message to some short-term workers. With the additional visas, the Trump administration is on track to grant 96,000 H-2B visas this fiscal year, the most since 2007, when George W. Bush was president.

Republicans may hate immigrants but by god they love cheap labor.

EPI, a left-leaning think tank, put out research this week showing that H-2B visa workers are typically paid less than American workers who do the same jobs. For example, landscaping workers on the visa are paid an average of $12.94 an hour, more than a dollar less than the $14.28 average wage paid to U.S. workers, according to an analysis of data from the Labor Department and H-2B visa applications.

It’s ok though. They’re temporary. We can throw them out any time we feel like it, for instance if they ask for better pay.

From the roof to the pews

Apr 6th, 2019 10:00 am | By

This has happened before.

The FBI has joined the investigation into a string of suspicious fires at historically black churches in Louisiana. Three churches have burned in less than two weeks in St. Landry Parish near Baton Rouge.

The fire at Greater Union Baptist Tuesday burned from the roof to the pews. For Pastor Harry Richard, whose grandfather helped start the church more than 100 years ago, the damage is personal.

“He left a legacy for me and I was trying to fulfill that to the best of my ability,” he said.

The suspicious fires began early last week, with the most recent one on Thursday. All three historically black baptist churches are just a few miles apart in St. Landry Parish.

“We do believe that this fire is suspicious. We do believe a crime has occurred,” said Louisiana State Fire Marshal H. Butch Browning.

Historically, the burning of black churches was used to intimidate communities and parishioners here are on edge.

That is, the burning of black churches by organized white supremacists was an easy way to terrorize black people, especially civil rights workers and voter registration activists.

Trump has woken up some demons.