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.

She said nothing

Feb 29th, 2020 11:22 am | By


The organizer did indeed make heavy weather of that, and did make it sound as if Todd had done something sly or unreasonable by not replying.

They didn’t even thank her. Even when she pointed out they hadn’t thanked her, they didn’t thank her. It’s all so shitty.

You know who else takes help and services and support and scutwork for granted? When it’s women giving it?

Yup, you do.

But then at the event they treated that compromise as a generous kind all anyone could expect move.

This shit rots people’s brains.

Never ‘marginal’

Feb 29th, 2020 10:54 am | By

Filia has the short talk that Selina Todd would have given this morning if she hadn’t been abruptly pushed out at the last minute.

I am delighted to be here today. I owe my life to Ruskin College and my career to feminism. My parents met at Ruskin in 1967. My mum was one of 6 children who grew up in a working-class family in Leeds. She was the only girl. Here’s something she wrote recently about her childhood: ‘As a five- or six-year-old I had refused to touch my parents’ birthday present of a doll with a pram, sensing the restriction such a role-defined toy would place on me. My brothers would never have been offered such a present. I wanted a bike and after months of rejecting them, the doll and pram were sold and I got my bike. Action paid off.’

I grew up in a world very different from the one of her childhood. Thanks to the Women’s Liberation Movement, I had the right to equal pay and equal rights at work before I even got to school. When I started history at my coeducational comprehensive school in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, the influence of feminism meant that the first history class we ever had was in women’s history. We were asked to go and interview the oldest woman we knew about her life. For me, women’s history and working-class history were never ‘marginal’, absolutely central to any understanding of who made change happen and how.

And they weren’t “exclusionary” either.

Today we continue to fight for those rights that the first Ruskin conference, and the movement it helped to create, campaigned for: the right to women’s refuges, women’s history teaching, equal pay and against male violence. At times it is easy to despair that this fight must continue. But history reminds us feminism never starts from a good place: it is borne from oppression. History also reminds us of the great victories that arose from that day at Ruskin fifty years ago. It is an honour to celebrate those feminists who made so many of our lives and achievements possible, and with whom we stand in sisterhood today.

The right to women’s refuges, in particular, is under attack not just from the right, not just from openly domineering men, but also from the woke left and from men who pretend to be women.

Selina Todd added a statement on the no-platforming:

I am shocked to have been no-platformed by this event, organised by Oxford International Women’s Festival and hosted at Exeter College. I was asked to participate in October 2019, and I explained to the organisers that some trans activists may object to my being there. I was then told that trans activists had already expressed hostility towards the event because they claimed second-wave feminism is inherently trans-exclusionary. However, the organisers decided that because I am a historian of feminism and working-class women, they would like to invite me, and were open to many different points of view being expressed at their event. I was delighted. I am deeply interested in the history of the WLM – my first academic article focused on it – and my parents met at Ruskin shortly before the first conference was held there. Participating had personal and scholarly significance. 

She warned them about the trans “activists” bullying, and they invited her anyway…then took it back hours before the event.

Between October 2019 and February 2020 I helped the organisers to get support from Oxford History Faculty – in the form of student helpers, facilitators and some funding – and to find media contacts. I was stunned to receive a phone call at 6pm on the evening before the conference telling me that I had been no-platformed. The organisers say this is because of pressure from trans activists and Feminist Fightback. I refute the allegation that I am transphobic, and I am disappointed that the organisers have refused to uphold our right to discuss women’s rights – one that the original organisers had to fight hard for.

I’m disappointed and very very very pissed off.

Just two minutes!

Feb 29th, 2020 9:50 am | By

I’m now 14 minutes into the video.

The two women doing the explaining are getting increasingly frustrated that the audience won’t just say ok and settle down and keep their issues about Selina Todd’s exclusion for lunch and breaks, so that the event can proceed.

But the audience in turn is frustrated that the two women doing the explaining don’t seem to grasp the outrageousness of the last minute disinvitation of Selina Todd.

The “explanation” in part is that Todd wasn’t on a panel or giving a talk, she was simply doing a two-minute thank you for the history department. That’s all! Two minutes! A thank you! It doesn’t count! One of them actually says it’s not a no-platforming if it’s only two minutes. I think that schedule with the conspicuous whiteouts tells a different story.

The main part of the “explanation” is that “people were pulling out” – and they had to decide, on very short notice, which would be the least disruptive thing to do. It’s not always possible to make out exactly what members of the audience are shouting back, but I think the gist of it is that they made the wrong choice. You can make out the word “bullying” quite often.

One of the women – the one who isn’t Tracy – explains that Selina and her history department colleague John were both going to say a thank you from the history department so the people in charge decided instead of both let’s just have John do it. At that point some shouts from the audience remind them that it’s a women’s conference.

It’s just a mess. These two women who are among those putting on this women’s liberation event and they appear to have no clue that it’s not ok to let men bully them into disinviting a woman from a women’s liberation event. “We told her she’s welcome to attend,” they keep insisting.

Promise kept

Feb 29th, 2020 9:26 am | By


And she was and she did.

I’ve watched 7 minutes so far. It’s maddening to watch – maddening to see the women academics explaining to other women academics that they simply had to push Selina Todd aside because “people were pulling out.” Julie and others keep asking “But why were they pulling out, what explanation did they give?”

Julie is…magnificent, as always.

No better way to mark women’s liberation

Feb 29th, 2020 8:54 am | By

My Twitter has much conversation about the rude last minute censoring and EXCLUSION of Selina Todd. (All caps because of the irony of the constant yapping about “inclusion” while excluding a feminist woman scholar from a feminist event because she doesn’t Center men in her feminism.)

The exclusion was so abrupt and last minute that they had to whiteout her name on the printed schedule.

You have got to be kidding.


Feb 28th, 2020 4:00 pm | By

Another shameful headline:

Exeter lecturer accused of ‘transphobia’ for saying ‘only females menstruate’

Sometimes the stupid feels like a swamp of thick muddy stinking muck closing over your head. Of course only females menstruate. Only females gestate infants, so only females need to menstruate. Only men inseminate, only women menstruate. It’s like the first page of the sex ed book. What the hell is wrong with people, flinging accusations at people for saying something so obvious and basic and accurate and pointless to deny?

An Exeter lecturer has been accused of transphobia after a series of tweets sent from a private account were uncovered.

“Uncovered” – why? By whom? By what right? Are women not allowed to talk in private?

One of the tweets sent by Economics lecturer Eva Poen read: “Only female people menstruate. Only female people go through menopause.”

The tweets have been criticised by LGBT+ Society, who say the attitudes shown are damaging to the wellbeing of trans students on campus.

What “attitudes shown”? Uttering a factual and non-insulting truth is not an “attitude.” If it’s damaging to the wellbeing of trans students to point out obvious facts about women then trans students should just be learning to deal with it.

“She is in a position of power over vulnerable young people while openly singling out trans people, especially trans students, with dismissive, disdainful attitudes,” the society told The Exeter Tab.

She’s a woman; she’s an economics lecturer. She’s not a corporate executive or a dictator or a man. She has “power over” students in the sense that she has some say over how well they do in her classes, but that’s all – it’s not a very worldly or far-reaching kind of power. Women have a right to state true facts about women, and confused students shouldn’t be trying to punish them for doing so.

These damn fools are marching backward.

So much for celebrating 50 years

Feb 28th, 2020 11:43 am | By
So much for celebrating 50 years

Another one.

About the event:

Join us for this anniversary event celebrating 50 years since the first Women’s Liberation Conference!

Held on the site of the former Ruskin college – the original venue for the 1970 conference – the day will be packed full of conversations, panel discussions and reflections.

In and at Oxford, this is. Oxford, where Selina Todd teaches history. Women’s history.

Eventbrite hasn’t scrubbed her from the schedule yet.

Women’s Liberation is about the liberation of women.

Todd says she was no-platformed – about 18 hours before she was due to speak! – because of her connection with Woman’s Place UK.

It’s a god damn outrage.

The 25th hour

Feb 28th, 2020 11:05 am | By

Yes, he really did say it. Here he is saying it.

CNN has more:

President Donald Trump is hoping for a “miracle” that will make the coronavirus disappear but tanking stock markets and signs the disease is stalking America are delivering their verdict on his scattershot management of the crisis.

“It’s going to disappear. One day it’s like a miracle, it will disappear,” Trump said at the White House Thursday as the virus marched across Asia and Europe after US officials said the US should brace for severe disruption to everyday life.

The President also warned that things could “get worse before it gets better,” but he added it could “maybe go away. We’ll see what happens. Nobody really knows.”

Yes but just “seeing what happens” is not going to cut it. There are things people have to do – like wearing protective gear around infected people. Miracle-awaiting passivity is not our only or best option.

There are also signs that the White House is more concerned with its political plight than the burgeoning crisis.

An order for public health officials to clear all television appearances with the White House meanwhile raised the question of whether Trump will prioritize science as the threat from coronavirus rises or his own political standing.

That right there? That’s the wrong kind of action. Preventing public health officials from informing us is not the way to go. Error, error, return to starting position.

As television news channels devoted wall-to-wall coverage to the coronavirus, government public health officials were nowhere to be seen. Sources told CNN that all media appearances have to now be cleared with Pence’s office. The move could deprive Americans of sober, science-based advice from some of the best public health experts in the world.

Could? Almost certainly will, unless someone reverses the order.

CNN has reported that Trump has been angered that government health experts have contradicted his attempts to downplay the threat from the virus by saying it is all but “inevitable” the US will be affected and there will be severe disruption.

The revelation will do little to quell suspicions that Trump is trying to suppress damaging information to pacify the markets and protect himself politically and gets to the fundamental issue of the administration’s squandering of public trust. His acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, acknowledged to the Conservative Political Action Conference on Friday that potential disruptions to everyday life, such as school closures and impacts on public transportation, are likely. But his advice to people worried about the market reaction to the outbreak was to “tell people to turn their televisions off for 24 hours.”

Yeah, that’s the ticket, don’t do anything, just stick your head in the sand for 24 hours – on the 25th hour everything will be fine again!

Like a miracle

Feb 28th, 2020 10:37 am | By

None of this inspires confidence.

The briefing, led by CDC Director Robert Redfield and NIH infectious disease specialist Tony Fauci, was called to update members [of Congress] on the state of the coronavirus’ spread.

Redfield stressed that the risk to Americans remained low. But Fauci was more blunt, according to one person in the room, telling lawmakers that they need to accept there will be many more cases in the United States.

Fauci said the coronavirus is “unlikely to disappear” any time in the near future, according to the person. The remarks contradicted Trump’s declaration Thursday night that the disease was “going to disappear” one day “like a miracle.”


Fauci also emphatically denied reports that the White House is preventing him from speaking publicly about the virus. Vice President Mike Pence’s office had asked him to delay pre-scheduled television hits and seek renewed clearance to do the appearances in the wake of Pence’s appointment as response leader, he said.

How is that not preventing him from speaking publicly about the virus? Looks oddly like it to me.

Asked about an HHS whistleblower complaint alleging the department dispatched unprotected workers to aid coronavirus evacuees from China, the officials did not directly contradict the allegations, lawmakers said. But they insisted that they believed everyone was properly trained and protocols were followed.

That is really not the issue. Nobody cares what they “believed.” The issue is what they did, and didn’t do.

Robert Kadlec, the HHS assistant secretary for preparedness and response, emphasized that no response workers had gotten sick while receiving the evacuees. But Rep. Mark Takano (D-Wash.), who represents a district where one of the Air Force bases that received evacuees, said he found the administration’s response lacking.

Fucking hell, not getting the disease does not mean you’re not contagious! This is the problem with putting Trump’s caddies and burger-fetchers in charge of things like the national health.

We’re doomed.

With three “other” women

Feb 28th, 2020 9:27 am | By

Sister Outrider is not submitting.

And Oger is still gloating and bragging and lying about it today.

What laws? What law is there that makes “transphobia” a crime? How can there be any such law when “transphobia” is so broadly defined (or more like undefined)? How can there be a law saying we must not say that men are not women? Oger considers it “transphobia” to see him as the smug entitled bullying man he is, but less ideologically warped people do not.

Oger is all too obviously getting a sick twisted thrill from forcing women, especially women who have been raped and women who provide services for them, to agree with him that he is a woman. He’s failing to force us all though, so nyah.

That’s sad. It’s a program for women, but the women in the program had to put up with Morgane Oger inserting himself (yes) into the meeting.

Because President Trump

Feb 28th, 2020 8:48 am | By

Late last night –

Why is he talking about himself in the third person? Why did he put his own name in quotation marks? Who knows. The important thing is, everything is all about him.

The WHO has other priorities.

The coronavirus outbreak has reached a “decisive point” and has “pandemic potential”, World Health Organization head Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus says.

For a second day, more cases have been reported outside than inside China.

Iran and Italy have become major centres of infection, with people travelling from there spreading the virus further afield.

Yes but how will all this affect Trump? That’s all that matters.