Notes and Comment Blog

Miscellany Room 4

Sep 9th, 2019 4:54 pm | By

Image result for puget sound from magnolia

We hafta be verry careful

Sep 9th, 2019 4:22 pm | By

Yes, criminals always have a cunning plan to be in the path of a hurricane so that they can enter the US to kill and devour all the inhabitants.

“Lie or I’ll fire you”

Sep 9th, 2019 3:21 pm | By

Great. Wilbur Ross threatened to fire NOAA people if they didn’t lie for Trump.

The Secretary of Commerce threatened to fire top employees at NOAA on Friday after the agency’s Birmingham office contradicted President Trump’s claim that Hurricane Dorian might hit Alabama, according to three people familiar with the discussion.

That threat led to an unusual, unsigned statement later that Friday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration disavowing the office’s own position that Alabama was not at risk. The reversal caused widespread anger within the agency and drew criticism from the scientific community that NOAA, a division of the Commerce Department, had been bent to political purposes.

“Bent to political purposes” is putting it politely. “I’ll fire you if you don’t lie to protect Trump from the consequences of his scribbling on a NOAA hurricane map to pretend his mistake was not a mistake.” That’s not even political, it’s just pretending the burger-stuffed dummy playing president doesn’t have play-doh where his brain should be.

Mr. Ross, the commerce secretary, intervened two days later, early last Friday, according to the three people familiar with his actions. Mr. Ross phoned Neil Jacobs, the acting administrator of NOAA, from Greece where the secretary was traveling for meetings and instructed Dr. Jacobs to fix the agency’s perceived contradiction of the president.

That is completely outrageous. These people should be out of office and facing prosecution.

Dr. Jacobs objected to the demand and was told that the political staff at NOAA would be fired if the situation was not fixed, according to the three individuals, who requested anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the episode. Unlike career government employees, political staff are appointed by the administration. They usually include a handful of top officials, such as Dr. Jacobs, and their aides.

So there’s one Trump employee with some shred of integrity.

However, a senior administration official who asked not to be identified when discussing internal deliberations said that the Birmingham office had been wrong and that NOAA had simply done the responsible thing and corrected the record.

That official suggested the Twitter post by the Birmingham forecasters had been motivated by a desire to embarrass the president more than concern for the safety of people in Alabama. The official provided no evidence to support that conclusion.

That official has no shred of integrity. Not one, not even a tiny one.

On Monday, Craig N. McLean, NOAA’s acting chief scientist, sent an email to staff members notifying the agency that he was looking into “potential violations” in the agency’s decision to ultimately back Mr. Trump’s statements rather than those of its own scientists. He called the agency’s action “a danger to public health and safety.”

Dr. Jacobs is scheduled to speak Tuesday at a weather industry conference in Huntsville, Ala.

On Monday, the National Weather Service director, Louis W. Uccellini, got a standing ovation from conference attendees when he praised the work of the Birmingham office and said staff members there had acted “with one thing in mind, public safety” when they contradicted Mr. Trump’s claim that Alabama was at risk.

Not embarrassing Trump, but preventing people from panicking about a hurricane that wasn’t heading their way. That’s the job.

Something something filthy mouthed wife something

Sep 9th, 2019 12:19 pm | By

Trump is very chatty today. I guess he doesn’t have any work to do, so he can talk at us on Twitter all day.

When all of the people pushing so hard for Criminal Justice Reform were unable to come even close to getting it done, they came to me as a group and asked for my help. I got it done with a group of Senators & others who would never have gone for it. Obama couldn’t come close……..A man named @VanJones68, and many others, were profusely grateful (at that time!). I SIGNED IT INTO LAW, no one else did, & Republicans deserve much credit. But now that it is passed, people that had virtually nothing to do with it are taking the praise. Guys like boring………musician @johnlegend, and his filthy mouthed wife, are talking now about how great it is – but I didn’t see them around when we needed help getting it passed. “Anchor” @LesterHoltNBC doesn’t even bring up the subject of President Trump or the Republicans when talking about………the importance or passage of Criminal Justice Reform. They only talk about the minor players, or people that had nothing to do with it…And the people that so desperately sought my help when everyone else had failed, all they talk about now is Impeaching President Trump!

Um…what? Did you get all that? No, neither did I. But at least while he was typing all that he wasn’t telling Putin where the spies are, so whatever.

Lots of random retweets, then back to The Man Himself:

North Carolina, vote for Dan Bishop tomorrow. We need him badly in Washington! His opponent is a far left Sanctuary Cities supporter.

When the former Governor of the Great State of South Carolina, @MarkSanford, was reported missing, only to then say he was away hiking on the Appalachian Trail, then was found in Argentina with his Flaming Dancer friend, it sounded like his political career was over. It was,…….but then he ran for Congress and won, only to lose his re-elect after I Tweeted my endorsement, on Election Day, for his opponent. But now take heart, he is back, and running for President of the United States. The Three Stooges, all badly failed candidates, will give it a go!

Flaming Dancer?

House Republicans should allow Chairs of Committees to remain for longer than 6 years. It forces great people, and real leaders, to leave after serving. The Dems have unlimited terms. While that has its own problems, it is a better way to go. Fewer people, in the end, will leave!

94% Approval Rating in the Republican Party, a record. Thank you!

Great news that an activist investor is now involved with AT&T. As the owner of VERY LOW RATINGS @CNN, perhaps they will now put a stop to all of the Fake News emanating from its non-credible “anchors.” Also, I hear that, because of its bad ratings, it is losing a fortune……..But most importantly, @CNN is bad for the USA. Their International Division spews bad information & Fake News all over the globe. This is why foreign leaders are always asking me, “Why does the Media hate the U.S. sooo much?” It is a fraudulent shame, & all comes from the top! As bad as @CNN is, Comcast MSNBC is worse. Their ratings are also way down because they have lost all credibility. I believe their stories about me are not 93% negative, but actually 100% negative. They are incapable of saying anything positive, despite all of the great things…..that this Administration has done. They don’t talk about the great economy, the big tax and regulation cuts, the rebuilding of the Military, “Choice” at our VA, our Vets, Judges and Supreme Court Justices, the Border Wall going up, lowest crime numbers, 2nd A, and so much more!

I know nothing about an Air Force plane landing at an airport (which I do not own and have nothing to do with) near Turnberry Resort (which I do own) in Scotland, and filling up with fuel, with the crew staying overnight at Turnberry (they have good taste!). NOTHING TO DO WITH ME I had nothing to do with the decision of our great @VP Mike Pence to stay overnight at one of the Trump owned resorts in Doonbeg, Ireland. Mike’s family has lived in Doonbeg for many years, and he thought that during his very busy European visit, he would stop and see his family!

The Trump Administration has achieved more in the first 2 1/2 years of its existence than perhaps any administration in the history of our Country. We get ZERO media credit for what we have done, and are doing, but the people know, and that’s all that is important!

And there are even more, but my strength has given out. Dude can talk!

Certainly at the same disco

Sep 9th, 2019 11:30 am | By

Jen Gunter is in London chatting with reporters.

Though she became famous for her sharp criticisms of Paltrow (the jade egg scandal led to a lawsuit against Goop’s marketing), she has branched out from bodies and blogging, with two columns in the New York Times, a web series that unpicks health myths, and a new book, The Vagina Bible.

The book is already a bestseller, a sign there is a need for her expertise; last month a 62-year-old woman was hospitalised with second-degree burns after steaming her vagina.


The BBC August 8:

Gynaecologists are warning of the potential risks of vaginal steaming after it emerged a Canadian woman burned herself attempting one.

A case study, involving a 62-year-old, was published in the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Canada.

The woman had been suffering from a prolapsed vagina and believed the treatment could help avoid surgery.

Vaginal steaming, which involves sitting over a hot water and herb mix, has seen a growth in popularity.

Sitting over a hot water and herb mix to do what? Besides causing burns? Steam is good for coughs, because it loosens up the crap in the lungs so that you can cough it out and thus breathe more easily. It doesn’t follow that steam is just generally Good. We don’t need to steam our eyeballs, or our armpits, or our kneecaps. Same with the vagina but more so.

What about this unfortunate woman?

Dr Magali Robert, who authored the article, said the injured woman attempted to steam her vagina on the advice of a traditional Chinese doctor.

The woman, who gave permission for her case to be shared, sat over the boiling water for 20 minutes on two consecutive days before presenting at an emergency department with injuries.

Boiling water?? Dear god. I accidentally let my hand stray into the plume of steam from a kettle just for a fraction of a second a few weeks back and that hurt. Just a fraction of a second so there was no damage, but still, the pain was fierce. You do the math.

Back to the Graun on Gunter and Goop.

Gunter argues that the wellness industry and the anti-abortion industry are, if not exactly dancing together, certainly at the same disco. The former manipulates that confusion to take women’s money, the latter to take their power. “I even started to notice overlap between the language,” she says with a shudder. “The anti-science views of wellness and the anti-science of the religious right. Themes like ‘purity’ and ‘cleanliness’ with their similar rituals. It’s predatory. It’s the patriarchy by another name. And it keeps women back by telling them lies about their body. They might be different lies, but the effect is the same.” It is her responsibility, she says, with something like a sigh, to “step up”.

Women are basically seen as filthy. We know this. The taboos on menstruation, the disgust for women who have sex with more than 1 (one) man, the desperate efforts to scour out that demonic thing between their legs – it’s all the same phobic terror.

Gunter’s skill is in her rawness, her frankness about her own experiences and the way she takes celebrity trends apart like oranges, spitting out pips.

“When I realised that people were believing Goop’s fairy tales, I thought: ‘I’ll take them on.’” The first anti-Goop post she wrote, on vaginal steaming, centred around the idea that women have long been believed to be unclean. “It’s one of the core beliefs of the patriarchy. That women are dirty inside. And yet Goop presents this as female empowerment? In Hippocrates’s time they used to think that the womb wandered the body, causing mayhem, and you would coax it back into place by putting fragrant herbs between the legs. This is the same thing. It’s in so many cultures, this belief that the uterus is toxic. I couldn’t believe it was now being presented as female empowerment. It’s bad feminism. And it’s bad science.”

But it makes $$$$.

She was stunned, and yes, angry. “Paltrow is able to call up any magazine in the world and get on the cover. And this is what she’s doing with her privilege. Grifting off desperate women.”

Would she like to sit down with Paltrow one day, have a conversation about, say, weaponising women’s fears about femininity? “No, I don’t think I’d ever get an answer that would be satisfying. People have had to spend money, just to prove her breast cancer bra thing was false, money that could have been used to study something important. Many of the medical experts she publishes are part of the anti-vaccine world and post a lot of conspiracy theories. So, either it’s a grift, or she’s a true believer. As a ‘feminist businesswoman’ she’s claimed the right to ‘try out’ being a reporter, and then, ‘try out’ being a doctor. It doesn’t work like that.”

It doesn’t except that it does. It’s working for Trump and his litter, and it works for Paltrow.

Hotels near Prestwick

Sep 9th, 2019 10:14 am | By

The Air Force says oh hmmm you may have a point, we’ll look into it further.

The U.S. Air Force has ordered a world-wide review of how it chooses overnight accommodations on long flights following revelations that air crews had occasionally stayed at President Donald Trump’s Scotland resort while refueling at a small commercial airport nearby.

“Occasionally” – when it should be never. Never never never.

The review comes as additional instances of military personnel staying at Trump properties have been uncovered. The C-17 crew’s overnight stay at Trump’s Turnberry resort in Scotland earlier this year, first reported by POLITICO on Friday, was not an isolated incident.

In September 2018, on its way back to the U.S. from Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar, a unit of the Maine Air National Guard landed at Prestwick Airport, the airport closest to Trump’s luxury waterfront resort. The crew and their passengers then spent the night at his hotel, according to one person who was present, an Instagram post and a voucher detailing the crew’s itinerary reviewed by POLITICO.

The Air Force also said the the decision to stay at the Trump resort would have been the result of “a multitude of factors,” including the lack of suitable lodging closer to the civil airport or at a nearby military base. It did not provide evidence that nearby hotels were cheaper or unavailable at the time of the crews’ stays, however.

I’m sorry but that is just not credible.

Funny thing, if you look at Google maps, there are two golf clubs right next to Prestwick, one north and one south. By “right next” I mean they’re the first things you come to. Trump’s club is much farther away. The Marine Hotel, Troon is 400 feet from the Royal Troon golf club just north of Prestwick. $109 per night. Is it likely that Trump’s hotel is cheaper than that? The South Beach hotel, half a mile away, is $113.

How about hotels near Prestwick St Cuthbert Golf Club on the south. Huh, the Premier Inn in Ayr, 1.1 mile away, is a mere $63. Adamton Country House hotel, which looks charming, is $43.

Image result for Adamton Country House hotel

Come on now, Air Force. Be serious.

Oh my god she is wearing a DIVIDED SKIRT

Sep 9th, 2019 8:57 am | By

Interesting. Shorts for girls are more than twice as expensive as shorts for boys:

No. It’s worse this year : girls’ shorts one pair £9-£14. Boys’ 2 pair £8-12



I guess the images explain it. Boys get to move and act like ordinary reasonable human beings while wearing shorts, but girls have to wear their hair up prettily and look down bashfully and fiddle with their earlobes seductively and point one foot inward awkwardly while wearing shorts. All those extras require extra engineering, and that doesn’t come cheap.

I’m joking but I’m also dead fucking serious, because this kind of messaging to girls makes me absolutely livid. Why are the two children posed so very differently? Why is the girl made to do some kind of Ivanka Trump performance? Why does everybody have to push girls into this stupid deforming crushing mold at every turn? Is it because putting the girl in a not-skirt caused everybody at the agency to panic so hard that they threw every “feminine” trope in the book at her? What the hell is wrong with everyone?

About the risk of exposure

Sep 9th, 2019 8:36 am | By

Making America Great Again

In a previously undisclosed secret mission in 2017, the United States successfully extracted from Russia one of its highest-level covert sources inside the Russian government, multiple Trump administration officials with direct knowledge told CNN.

A person directly involved in the discussions said that the removal of the Russian was driven, in part, by concerns that President Donald Trump and his administration repeatedly mishandled classified intelligence and could contribute to exposing the covert source as a spy.

The decision to carry out the extraction occurred soon after a May 2017 meeting in the Oval Office in which Trump discussed highly classified intelligence with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and then-Russian Ambassador to the US Sergey Kislyak. The intelligence, concerning ISIS in Syria, had been provided by Israel.

The disclosure to the Russians by the President, though not about the Russian spy specifically, prompted intelligence officials to renew earlier discussions about the potential risk of exposure, according to the source directly involved in the matter.

So, that’s breathtaking, if it’s true.

Pompeo was still the CIA director then, and he told other Trump admin people that too much information was coming out about the spy.

A spokesman for Pompeo declined to comment. The White House press secretary lied.

The removal happened at a time of wide concern in the intelligence community about mishandling of intelligence by Trump and his administration. Those concerns were described to CNN by five sources who served in the Trump administration, intelligence agencies and Congress.

Those concerns continued to grow in the period after Trump’s Oval Office meeting with Kislyak and Lavrov. Weeks after the decision to extract the spy, in July 2017, Trump met privately with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G20 summit in Hamburg and took the unusual step of confiscating the interpreter’s notes.

I remember that. Why was nothing done about it? It’s insane.

Afterward, intelligence officials again expressed concern that the President may have improperly discussed classified intelligence with Russia, according to an intelligence source with knowledge of the intelligence community’s response to the Trump-Putin meeting.

Of course they did, because how could they possibly be confident that he hadn’t? When he talked to Putin alone and made sure no written record survived?

Knowledge of the Russian covert source’s existence was highly restricted within the US government and intelligence agencies. According to one source, there was “no equal alternative” inside the Russian government, providing both insight and information on Putin.

So, first of all, we have a president who can’t be trusted not to share intel with Putin, and then, we’re deprived of a top value source of intel on Putin because that same president can’t be trusted not to burn said source.

It doesn’t get much better than that.

Not unusual

Sep 8th, 2019 5:49 pm | By

Do we believe this? I think not. Air Force says it was all on the up and up:

The crew of a US Air Force C-17 stayed at President Donald Trump’s golf resort in Turnberry, Scotland, during a March refueling stop en route to Kuwait, the Air Force acknowledged, again raising ethics questions about government use of the President’s private entities.

The Air Force, which said in a statement it was reviewing the trip records, said the stop was “not unusual.” But it’s another example of Trump’s company earning money from taxpayer dollars, which has led some government watchdogs to argue the arrangement breaches ethical norms and potentially violates a clause of the US Constitution.

Not unusual? For a military crew on the job to go to the president’s golf club for the night? Give me a break.

“As our air crews serve on these international airlift missions, they follow strict guidelines on contracting for hotel accommodations and all expenditures of taxpayer dollars,” Air Force Brig. Gen. Ed Thomas said in a statement. “In this case, they made reservations through the Defense Travel System and used the closest available and least expensive accommodations to the airfield within the crews’ allowable hotel rates.

Uh huh, and Donald Trump is a compassionate justice-loving man with only our best interests at heart.

Walter Shaub doesn’t believe them either.

To believe USAF’s claim that stays at Turnberry were normal, you’d have to believe: it’s a coincidence Trump owns it, emoluments are ok, no hotels under $166 were within 30 miles of the airport, the cost of meals + incidentals is irrelevant and an appearance of corruption is fine.

To believe that news of air crews staying at Turnberry isn’t a big deal, you’d have to ignore the damage the Air Force’s actions are doing to the government ethics program by sending a message to civilian and uniformed personnel that the appearance of impropriety is unimportant.

To believe news of air crews staying at Turnberry isn’t a big deal, you’d also have to ignore the message it sends the world about our government’s integrity, as well as the detrimental impact it has on anti-corruption assistance our State Department provides developing nations.

Other than that, no problem.

She knew she was a boy

Sep 8th, 2019 4:10 pm | By

Charlie Evans gave this speech at the Lesbian Strength Rally in Leeds yesterday:

A decade ago, I was 17 years old. I was tightly binding my chest, and had shaved my hair, adamant that I was not a girl. I knew I was a boy, because I hated the way my chest attracted attention, I hated my period, I hated attention from boys.

I knew I was a boy, because I loved cars, and trucks, and mud, and boxing, and girls. I knew I was a boy, because I didn’t ‘act’ like a girl – nothing about my character ‘felt’ girly, and trans ideology says everyone feels their gender. I didn’t feel like a girl.

I knew I was a boy because I meet the diagnostic criteria for gender dysphoria – a strong rejection of typically feminine toys and typically feminine clothes, mostly male friends, a sense that my feelings and reactions were typical of boys, the desire to be treated as a boy.

When I spoke about these experiences to older friends, or in online chat rooms, the message was affirming. Nobody encouraged the idea that it’s okay to be gender non conforming, Instead, friends and healthcare practitioners alike ‘affirmed’ my gender. Yes, you are a boy.

By now I had been indoctrinated into the belief that boys and girls must act and feel certain ways, and if they don’t, they might be the opposite sex trapped in the wrong body.

She says there are thousands like her, but their voices are stifled because the queer community doesn’t want to hear.

Many – maybe most – are gender non conforming lesbians, who were raised in gendered homes where the roles of girls and boys were strictly defined. No wonder they felt like boys. Most desisted at the same age as me – around age 25. This is not a coincidence.

This is the age your brain becomes fully developed.

Again, there are no real scientific studies on this, but here’s my theory, as a biologist.

During adolescence, your brain is almost completely remoulded. Your prefrontal cortex, this part at the front of your head, is the last bit to develop. It is responsible for some really important stuff – controlling impulses, solving problems, making decisions, seeing what impact your choices have on your future.

Not cutting off your tits or your dick.

It’s the part that makes us responsible adults, and why teenagers can sometimes seem erratic.

The maturation of the brain in this way is caused by sex hormones, which are specifically increased during puberty for the purpose of developing the brains ability to learn, remember, cope with emotions, and process social interactions. As far as we know, these changes are permanent. The brain’s development will continue until you are about 25.

Is it possible that the reason most women desist in their twenties is because that is when their brain has fully developed?

If we know the vital role that sex hormones have in the development of the brain, why are we give pre-teens hormone blockers that are preventing this?

Why are we giving teenagers the choice to have cross sex hormones almost ten years before the part of the brain responsible for decision making and understanding consequences has even developed?

Hmmm well when you put it that way it doesn’t seem like such a good idea, does it.

It is also concerning that once a teenager has started taking hormone blockers, they are much more likely to transition. And as far as I can see, this is because hormone blocking makes desisting difficult – it almost completely destroys any chance of their brains maturing properly, and working out their issues with their bodies.

This should be a huge concern for scientists, doctors, and other medical practitioners, but the research on the subject and conversations around this are almost entirely absent.

Where there should be research, there is silence.

Instead, we hear time and time again that hormone blockers are safe, despite the science suggesting they’re dangerous and we continue to commit children into a path of painful surgeries and lifelong hormone replacement treatment.

Lesbian youth are exceptionally vulnerable to this type of ideology, particulaly as many will be gender non conforming. Coupled with the oppression of the female sex more generally, many young lesbians will match the criteria needed for them to start hormone blockers from as young as ten years old.

It’s almost as if trans activists and their fans want to get rid of lesbians – not by killing them off but by encouraging them to think they’re “in the wrong body.”

When the ideology is that Behavior Should Match Body, then where do lesbians fit? Sexual attraction, coupling, marriage, all that: they’re part of behavior, aren’t they. The ideology can’t make sense of lesbians, so hey, might as well pretend puberty-blockers and transition are a bed of roses.

I could not have predicted that ten years into the future, I wouldn’t have the same feelings of self loathing as I did as a teen. I could not have predicted that by allowing my brain to mature, I would grow out of the idea that there is such a thing as a ‘boy’ brain or a ‘girl’ brain and I had been born with the wrong one.

Let your brain mature before making any life changing decisions.

Being a woman is not a feeling. It is not an emotion. It is just our biology. It has no bearing on our interests, our hobbies, our clothes. Rejecting traditional ideas of what it means to be a woman, does not make you a man.

I did not go on hormone blockers.

If I had, I have no doubt that I would not have been standing here today comfortable in my sex. I don’t know if I would have regretted the decision or else lived half a life, not knowing what true liberation meant.

Liberation is not changing your body to fit society. Liberation is changing society to fit you.

Let’s do that instead.

If only the goat would relax

Sep 8th, 2019 12:48 pm | By

I’m not a big fan of Quillette, but there’s a section of this piece by Spencer Case on philosophy and pressure to shut up about trans issues that I want to share.

He asks whether or not there is any such pressure, and quotes people who say there is not.

A more even-tempered response, another open letter, appeared at the American Philosophical Association blog August 7, 2019. The 33 signatories deny that a climate of fear surrounds the topic of gender identity. They write:

As feminist philosophers who have, variously, argued for, researched, engaged with, and taught these views, we are well-positioned to claim that there is no established orthodoxy about gender in academic philosophy. There continues to be much lively disagreement on matters of gender without accusations of transphobia.

We might fairly ask if feminist philosophers are really in the best position to authoritatively declare that there are no orthodoxies about gender in philosophy. If orthodoxies about gender beset feminist philosophy in particular, then they might be the last to know. What the signatories say next, at the letter’s conclusion, qualifies their commitment to open inquiry almost to the point of nullifying it:

We do, however, think it is important, when exercising our academic freedom, that we consider how our views may impact others. Academic responsibility requires us to consider differences of power and vulnerability in speaking of and to others and the effects of our words in reinforcing structures of oppression. There are many diverse, contentious views about gender and gender identity that can be–and are–engaged with in ways that do not call into question the integrity and sincerity of trans people nor the validity of their own understanding of who they are.  We should conduct our research freely and responsibly, without treating other people’s lives as though they are abstract thought experiments. [emphasis added]

The italicized portion gives the game away. The signatories know that the acceptability of views contrary to the self-understandings of trans people is the sole issue that motivated the letter to which they are responding. It’s as if someone said, in response to concerns that Copernican views about the solar system were being suppressed, that there is no orthodoxy in astronomy—after all, you’re free to defend any view consistent with geocentric cosmology.

Any color you want as long as it’s black, as Henry Ford is reputed to have said.

(Case doesn’t address this part, and I think I probably did when the APA letter was published, but I’ll just mention it again: there is no broad rule that we have to accept “the validity of people’s own understanding of who they are.” There can’t be. These days we even have a one-word explanation for why. That word is: Trump. People’s own understandings of who they are can be wildly wrong.)

But this is the bit for which I wanted to share the post:

Mormon Sunday school teachers used to encourage obedience with a parable. Allegedly, a tethered goat will move as far away from the post as it can, so that the rope remains taut and never touches the ground. If only the goat would relax, the story goes, it could be content in the space it was given, which contains all the grass it needs. The moral is supposed to be that you can be happy within the church’s strictures, but the analogy backfires—who wants to be a goat on a rope in the first place?

Or a Mormon. Or a trans-centric feminist-philosopher.

These feminist philosophers are a good deal more like Mormon Sunday school teachers than they realize. They seem to be saying: “We’ve given you enough intellectual space in which to dwell, and plenty of grass to munch on (in the form of trans-inclusive feminist views to consider). Now be a good goat and don’t strain at the end of the rope.”

And we say fuck your rope, we’re off to the brook and the woods and the wild blue yonder.

The state of it

Sep 8th, 2019 11:26 am | By

Another fine skewering by Daniel Kaufman at The Electric Agora, saying that what Philosophy’s Woke Brigade have been up to now is beyond a joke.

What they are doing now seriously threatens the professional credibility and public standing of our discipline, and anyone and everyone who cares about academic philosophy needs to oppose them in the strongest possible terms.

It’s about that Institute of Arts and Ideas symposium on sex and gender.

It was a useful, interesting clash of perspectives, civil in tone and offering a good overview of some of the major points of contention in the ongoing debate.

Today, you can only read the original symposium as a download. (1) This is because after being published, Dembroff, Stryker, and Kukla demanded that their contributions be retracted, to which the IAI acceded.  If one goes to the website now, only the gender critical portions of the symposium remain – the pieces by Stock, Lawford-Smith, and Bindel – while the original offerings from Dembroff, Stryker, and Kukla have been replaced with a joint statement, appearing on a separate page, in which they attempt to explain themselves. (2)

Kaufman points out how absurd of Dembroff, Stryker, and Kukla it is to claim IAI should have asked their permission to include the heretics.

…there is no such standard in our discipline, according to which when asked to contribute to something, one’s consent to appear alongside all the other contributors must be solicited, which in some cases may actually be impossible (e.g. where the contributor list is still being put together when the invitation is made or where a contributor may have to be replaced, mid-project, because another has dropped out).

And then there’s the despicable part.

Beyond this appeal to a wholly imaginary professional standard, the rest of the statement is standard PWB fare; the usual, foul mixture of: (a) garden variety misrepresentations and lies, such as when Kukla and Co. accuse the three gender critical contributors of “questioning transgender people’s fundamental legitimacy as people” and presupposing that “transgender people are by definition mentally ill or delusional” (a quick inspection of the three essays demonstrates that they do no such thing); (b) vile slanders, such as when Kukla and Co. suggest that platforming gender critical philosophers is akin to giving a platform to Holocaust deniers and compare Stock, Lawford-Smith, and Bindel, all of whom are lesbians, to those advocating “corrective rape to cure lesbianism”; and (c) the by now routine, cynical, disingenuous, obvious-to-anyone-over-six-years-old abuse of the harm principle, as in when Kukla and Co. claim that being featured on the same page as gender critical feminists puts their “basic safety at risk.”  (Somewhat incongruously, Kukla elsewhere has professed to being a competitive weight lifter and boxer, with photos of her flexing her muscles and kicking ass to back it up. (3))

It’s coin of the realm though. It’s the “blood on their hands” ploy. That’s his point: these are established academic philosophers and they shouldn’t be carrying on this way.

In a healthy institution or discipline, contemptible behavior like this would quickly turn you into a pariah, but academic philosophy today is not a healthy institution or discipline. It’s not just the ideologically captured APA, whose President co-authored the recent “Just Ideas? The Status and Future of Publication Ethics in Philosophy: A White Paper,” a transparent, cringeworthy effort to institutionalize the despicable conduct of the PWB in professional journals. Or Justin Weinberg’s seemingly inexhaustible commitment to use his philosophy news website, the Daily Nous, to shill on behalf of the PWB and perform hits on gender critical philosophers, by way of a selective posting of articles and links. (One can only admire the providential timing of his latest linking to a hit piece on gender critical thinkers and activists, over at Vox. (4)) It’s Sally Haslanger, one of philosophy’s most notable, venerable scholars using her position and prestige to pressure the highly respected Notre Dame Philosophy Reviews to “revisit their standards,” because they published a review written by Kathleen Stock, on a book about feminist ethics. It’s a herd of scholars, writing and signing a petition to get Rebecca Tuvel’s paper on transgenderism and transracialism removed from the journal, Hypatia, after it already had passed peer review and been published. It’s the PWB piling on 3AM Magazine for having dared to publish Richard Marshall’s interview with Holly Lawford-Smith and thereby driving him from platform. (He’s had to re-open shop solo.) It’s Rachel McKinnon, of the College of Charleston, publicly celebrating the imminent death of a young, lesbian activist YouTuber from brain cancer and then doubling down when called on it. (5) And it’s the PWB’s next generation graduate students cyberstalking Kathleen Stock to compile a database of her tweets (for what purpose, one can only imagine) and being cheered on by one of the current PWB’s B-List members, Jonathan Jenkins Ichikawa. (6)

It is indeed.

Your friendly reminder of whrflgrbbl

Sep 7th, 2019 4:30 pm | By
Your friendly reminder of whrflgrbbl



Here to represent

Sep 7th, 2019 4:24 pm | By

Pliny the in between at Far Corner Cafe:

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An escalation of Trump’s attacks on government science

Sep 7th, 2019 4:14 pm | By

Gretchen Goldman at the Union of Concerned Scientists blog has a blistering piece on Trump’s outrageous interference with NOAA.

The mission of the National Weather Service is to provide “weather, water, and climate data, forecasts and warnings for the protection of life and property and enhancement of the national economy.” And its hard-working employees work around the clock in offices around the country to ensure the weather is forecast, and lives are saved. Yet, today is a dark day: These dedicated public servants were thrown under the bus by their own leaders simply for implementing this very mission.

It’s not just one more Trump on Twitter drama.

The National Weather Service is responsible for saving countless lives. Its weather watches and warnings, along with ongoing communication with the public, keeps people out of harm’s way. People are able to avoid or prepare for tornadoes, hurricanes, heatwaves, and flood waters thanks to the dedicated experts in the National Weather Service who track severe weather into the night, sometimes even sleeping at the office to ensure they don’t miss a forecast.

I check in on the Seattle branch often, and they warn us to take cover whenever lightning is in the forecast.

National Weather Service employees are keeping people safe across the country every hour of every day. They are in constant communication with the public through social media, TV, radio, and even answering phone calls directly from members of the public. The Birmingham Alabama office was simply fulfilling this crucial mission last week when it tweeted out that (contrary to the President’s assertion) Alabama would not be in the path of Hurricane Dorian. Yet the administration—and now NOAA leadership itself—is acting as if this was a criminal act.

As if it were an attack on the president and as if that were all-important while people’s actual physical safety didn’t matter at all. The god-emperor’s amour-propre is all, the people are mere dust!

This move is an escalation of the president’s attacks on government science. It is no secret that President Trump hasn’t respected the science and scientists at federal agencies. In fact, our work has tracked more than a hundred examples of misuses of science under President Trump and our survey of scientists at 16 federal agencies found that many were being censored, ignored, and left out of crucial conversations. But this move takes the problem to new heights. The work of the National Weather Service has been historically apolitical. Weather forecasting, after all, is crucial to the whole country, all people, and all commercial activities. But here we see NOAA leadership trade scientific integrity for political appeasement.

In the service of Trump’s vanity, and nothing more significant than that.

It takes a lot for the National Weather Service to build up trust from the public and this work is crucial for saving lives and property. When people don’t believe the messenger, they won’t leave even when a threat is eminent. The National Weather Service has worked hard to build its reputation locally and nationally. The administration and NOAA leadership tore that down yesterday in one shameful memo.

Because Trump’s vanity matters more.

This is not the first time the Trump Administration has intimidated federal agencies for science-based social media posts. In 2017, the Trump Administration flew the Joshua Tree National Park social media manager all the way to DC so he could be publicly chastised for tweeting about climate change, a topic very relevant and important for an ecosystem like that of Joshua Tree National Park. We know from federal scientist surveys that scientists can do their job better when their leaders support scientific integrity. NOAA leaders just proved they aren’t up to that task.

But Trump’s vanity.

Hacks get smacks

Sep 7th, 2019 3:22 pm | By

Former heads of NOAA are blasting current NOAA brass for undermining the organization that people rely on during weather emergencies.

Former top officials with NOAA spent Saturday criticizing the agency after its statement defended Trump…

…and undermined the National Weather Service in Alabama.

Former officials at NOAA called the statement dangerous and an attempt to politicize weather forecasts.

Monica Medina, a former top official at NOAA who served in the administrations of former Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clintons, said the statement “will make us less safe as a country.”

“As a former @NOAA leader I can say two things with certainty. No NOAA Administrator I worked for would have done this. And I would have quit if I had been directed to agree to let this BS go out,” she wrote on Twitter.

Bill Read, who became director of the National Hurricane Center director during the Republican George W. Bush administration, said on Facebook the NOAA statement showed either an embarrassing lack of understanding of forecasting or “a lack of courage on their part by not supporting the people in the field who are actually doing the work. Heartbreaking.”

Justin Kenney, who headed the agency’s communications in the Obama administration, said “by politicizing weather forecasts, the president … puts more people — including first responders — in harm’s way.”

James Franklin, Former Chief of the Hurricane Specialist Unit, National Hurricane Center, NOAA/NWS did a whole thread that’s worth sharing:

Concerning NOAA’s statement this afternoon throwing WFO Birmingham under the bus…I thought Birmingham’s statement Sunday morning that Alabama would see no impacts from Dorian was spot-on and an appropriate response to the President’s misleading tweet that morning.

NHC’s WSP product serves as guidance to forecasters, and it showed only a very small likelihood of tropical-storm-force winds in the state, and essentially zero chance of hurricane-force winds. The risk of significant impacts in Alabama by that time was virtually nil.

Based on my experience as an NHC forecaster, I saw no meteorological justification on Sunday for the President to add Alabama to the list of states that would “most likely be hit (much) harder than anticipated”.

Lastly, It’s the job of forecasters to interpret the numerical guidance available to them, not to echo it back out verbatim. I’m surprised and disappointed that NOAA’s statement today seems to not recognize the value its forecasters add to NWS products and services every day.

You all did the right thing. Take heart, @NWSBirmingham

Good. I was feeling very furious on behalf of NWSBirmingham yesterday. The point of their tweet contradicting Trump was to say there is NO reason to panic or run away. Trump has no business punishing them for that.

Meanwhile President Bozo tweeted an hour ago:

The Failing New York Times stated, in an article written by Obama flunky Peter Baker (who lovingly wrote Obama book),”Even after the President forecast the storm to include Alabama.” THIS IS NOT TRUE. I said, VERY EARLY ON, that it MAY EVEN hit Alabama. A BIG DIFFERENCE……..FAKE NEWS. I would like very much to stop referring to this ridiculous story, but the LameStream Media just won’t let it alone. They always have to have the last word, even though they know they are defrauding & deceiving the public. The public knows that the Media is corrupt!

The Republicans might as well just nominate a horse for president next time.

Make the women stay home

Sep 7th, 2019 2:26 pm | By

There was a Lesbian Strength March in Leeds today, and protesters showed up to do a counter-march. Theocratic homophobes, right?


A Lesbian Strength March in Leeds today was met with a counter-protest by trans rights activists.

Police were called in to keep the groups separated on either side of City Square.

So trans rights activists are telling us they oppose lesbian strength? Women can’t have anything without trans approval?

On one side, the Lesbian Strength March gathered to fight for a ‘visible lesbian presence’ on the streets.

The women travelled to Leeds from across the country and said they were protesting as they no longer felt safe at Pride marches.

Organiser Julie Furlong said: “Pride doesn’t represent us for lots of different reasons.

“For just once this year, we want to be somewhere where we are appreciated, where we are valued and where we are with our sisters.”

Julie claims that the march has nothing to do with transgender people – but trans rights activists gathered opposite City Square to oppose the Lesbian Strength March.

The counter-protesters believe that the march is inciting hatred against trans people.

Do they? Or do they just believe that the march isn’t about them, and that that won’t do?

Wrapped up in gender systems

Sep 7th, 2019 2:16 pm | By

Trans woman Katelyn Burns tells us

It’s really incredible that a lot of cis people are so wrapped up in gender systems that they view a loved one’s transition as a literal death. It’s a sickness of the mind.

If your partner transitions, you are not a “widow” and claiming so is insulting to actual widows.

Wait…what? It’s “cis” people who are wrapped up in gender systems? But if that’s the case, why transition at all? What even is transition in that case? If gender systems are not something to be wrapped up in, what can possibly be the point of transitioning?

Surely Burns has it backward. Surely it’s the person who transitions, and wants (say) his wife to agree that he’s now a woman, who is wrapped up in a gender system. If he’s not wrapped up in a gender system why can’t he just wear a skirt and enjoy knitting (or whatever it may be) without all the fuss and bother and disruption of transitioning.

But I guess this is just one more of those “blame the women” things, which, ironically, just reminds us all that “Katelyn” is a man.

Basic norms of respectful speech

Sep 7th, 2019 11:56 am | By

From a conversation I saw somewhere:

…it is not non-trans people’s place to decide if misgendering is acceptable or not. You don’t get to decide if I should be okay with being misgendered or not.

Is that a real principle? Is it workable? Can it be generalized? Can it be applied more broadly, ad infinitum?

I don’t think so. I don’t think it can be a genuine rule that we all must use opposite pronouns for people who tell us to. I don’t think it can be because it amounts to ordering us to lie, to override our own perceptions, to pretend to believe someone else’s fantasy – none of which seems to fit into a genuine social rule.

We may want to, some of the time or all the time, to avoid awkwardness, to avoid cruelty, and so on, but we also may not, and it doesn’t seem reasonable to make it mandatory. I do think it is “non-trans people’s place to decide” what words we are going to use, within reason. I think calling male people “he” is within reason.

“… if someone doesn’t share the view that gender is identity and/or that a male person can be a woman, you can’t describe sex-correct pronouns as “misgendering”.”

Yes you absolutely can. Your position on ontology of gender has nothing to do with whether you should adhere to basic norms of respectful speech. I don’t use ‘gender’ synonymously with ‘gender identity’ either and I don’t believe a male person can be a woman, but I wouldn’t call a trans woman ‘he’ because I have respect for the humanity of trans people.

Wait. A position on the ontology of gender does have something to do with whether or not one is willing to call a man “she.” Whether or not it is “a basic norm of respectful speech” that people can mandate special pronouns for themselves is just what is at issue, so it can’t be assumed as part of the argument for yes. Having respect for people’s humanity doesn’t require calling them by special pronouns. That’s a newly-invented “rule” and it’s contentious and we do get to contend over it, trans or not.

And our dog, Pickle

Sep 7th, 2019 11:20 am | By

Getting them early.

Children are being put at risk by transgender books in primary schools that “misrepresent” medical knowledge on puberty blockers, an academic has claimed.

Books and lesson plans that are designed [to] educate pupils about transgender issues “fail child safeguarding and conflict with the law”, according to Dr Susan Matthews, an honorary senior research fellow in creative writing at Roehampton University.

After analysing a series of books that are circulated in British schools, Dr Matthews found that much of the information given about medical transition is “inaccurate”, adding that “potential harms are ignored, glossed over or falsified”.

Why do children in primary school need to be “educated” about transgender issues at all? Unless it’s to proselytize them, which surely shouldn’t be a goal.

She cited a book called Can I Tell You About Gender Diversity? which is aimed at children aged seven plus. The story’s protagonist is a 12-year-old character called Kit who is transitioning from female to male by using hormone blockers to stop the onset of puberty.

The opening passage reads: “My name is Kit and I’m 12 years old. I live in a house with my mum and dad, and our dog, Pickle. When I was born, the doctors told my mum and dad that they had a baby girl, and so for the first few years of my life that’s how my parents raised me. This is called being assigned female at birth. I wasn’t ever very happy that way.”

No, “this” is not “called” being assigned female at birth. It’s just being a girl. Being happy with it is a separate issue, but it’s not an assignment, it’s just a physical fact, like the fact that Pickle is a dog.

Young children believe what adults tell them, so adults should not be telling young children that their sex is an external imposition as opposed to a material fact.