Shouldn’t Biden be eating a child?

May 28th, 2020 4:49 pm | By

Such a good idea to politicize wearing masks during a lethal pandemic.

Fakk check fact check f a c t fact check

May 28th, 2020 4:33 pm | By

Trump reading from the words written down on the paper in front of him.

He sounds both congested and slobbery, as if he had both snot and spit surging out of control in his nose and mouth and throat. It’s gross.

He is barely able to read. He has to guide himself down the page with his hands. He ad libs while looking at the camera, telegraphing the fact that he’s ad libbing, which looks pretty dopy given how fiercely he has to stare at the script in order to read it. He thought “shadow” and “ban” were two of the things Twitter is doing to stifle his freespeech.

He spells the “fact” in “fact check” for us, because he was so congested and slobbery when he read it.

He considers it “censorship” to fact check.

The civil rights of “female athletes”

May 28th, 2020 3:34 pm | By

The Associated Press/The Guardian does a crap job of reporting on the Title IX ruling.

A subhead:

Ruling calls policy a violation of civil rights of ‘female athletes’

What’s with the scare quotes? Have we decided female athletes don’t exist now? Are they all an illusion? Are they a product of lies and public relations?

Connecticut’s policy allowing transgender girls to compete as girls in high school sports violates the civil rights of athletes who have always identified as female, the US Education Department has determined in a decision that could force the state to change course to keep federal funding and influence others to do the same.

It’s interesting how the boys who claim to be girls are called transgender girls, no scare quotes, while girls are called “athletes who have always identified as female.” How insulting is that? And how fantasy-privileging, and reality-scorning? Let’s get this straight. It’s the boys who are claiming to be something they are not, and it’s the girls who are what they are as well as what they say they are. Furthermore, it’s the boys who have a large physical advantage over the girls, not the other way around. It’s also journalistically bizarre that everyone simply assumes that the boys really do “identify as” girls as opposed to pretending to for a few years in order to win races and maybe athletic scholarships.

A letter from the department’s civil rights office, a copy of which was obtained Thursday by the Associated Press, came in response to a complaint filed last year by several cisgender female track athletes who argued that two transgender female runners had an unfair physical advantage.

Again. They’re not “cisgender female track athletes,” they’re just female track athletes. They don’t need an extra label to denote that they’re not lying or pretending or fantasizing about being female, and it’s insulting to slap that label on them.

“All that today’s finding represents is yet another attack from the Trump administration on transgender students,” said Chase Strangio, who leads transgender justice initiatives for the American Civil Liberties Union’s LGBT and HIV Project.

It’s not an attack. Not letting boys who say they are girls compete on the girls’ team is not attacking those boys – they can compete on the boys’ team. The attack is from the other direction: letting boys who say they “identify as” girls compete against girls attacks the right of girls to fair competition. It would be nice if all these putative progressives gave a damn about that.

“Trans students belong in our schools, including on sports teams, and we aren’t backing down from this fight,” Strangio said.

Nobody is trying to keep trans students out of schools or off sports teams.

It still amazes me how suddenly and swiftly women’s rights stopped mattering.

Worst theater in town

May 28th, 2020 2:58 pm | By

Trump has duly staged his tantrum disguised as an “executive order.”

President Trump on Thursday signed an executive order aimed at limiting the broad legal protections enjoyed by social media companies, just two days after Trump tore into Twitter for fact-checking two of the president’s tweets.

Legal observers described the action as “political theater,” arguing that the order does not change existing federal law and will have no bearing on federal courts.

The president’s latest confrontation with Twitter was set off after the tech company placed fact-checking warnings on two of his tweets that claimed, without evidence, that casting ballots by mail allows for voter fraud.

See? There’s that “without evidence” signal again, which is the ass-covering way of saying he lied.

Trump lashed out at Twitter, comparing the fact-checking labels to censorship and accusing social media giant of stifling conservative voices, though the president did not provide any examples to back up that claim.

That’s another one of those “he lied” euphemisms. Fact-checking of course is not censorship, it’s fact-checking. Trump visibly makes shit up constantly; he does it while we watch him.

Legal experts greeted the order with heavy skepticism, saying, [in the absence of] a new law passed by Congress, the order would not be legally binding.

“It flies in the face of 25 years of judicial precedent, that has been federal precedent in almost every circuit court,” said Kate Klonick, a law professor at St. John’s University School of Law in New York. “It’s not the role of the president to interpret federal law.”

And in his case, how could he if he wanted to? He doesn’t know anything about anything, so how could he interpret federal law?

The rights of female athletes

May 28th, 2020 10:41 am | By

This just in

A Connecticut policy that allows transgender athletes to compete in girls sports violates the civil rights of female athletes, the U.S. Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights has ruled.

The ruling, which was obtained Thursday by The Associated Press, comes in response to a complaint filed last year by several female track athletes, who argued that two transgender runners who were identified as male at birth had an unfair physical advantage.

The office said in a 45-page letter that it may seek to withhold federal funding over the policy, which allows transgender athletes to participate as the gender with which they identify. It said the policy is a violation of Title IX, the federal civil rights law that guarantees equal education opportunities for women, including in athletics.

As it obviously does. It’s just verbal magic to pretend it doesn’t – the verbal magic of calling boys “trans girls” so that they can compete against girls and thus be almost guaranteed to win.

It has “denied female student-athletes athletic benefits and opportunities, including advancing to the finals in events, higher level competitions, awards, medals, recognition, and the possibility of greater visibility to colleges and other benefits,” according to the letter, which is dated May 15.

The Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference, which oversees scholastic sports in the state, has said its policy is designed to comply with the state’s law barring schools from discriminating against transgender students. A call seeking comment was left Thursday with CIAC.

Trans students shouldn’t, obviously, be bullied or persecuted, but that doesn’t mean they have to be endorsed as the sex they claim they are but physically speaking are not. Feelings in the head like “identifying as” something can’t really be subjects of anti-discrimination law, because they’re too nebulous and unfalsifiable and personal.

The dispute, which is already the subject of a federal lawsuit, centers on two transgender sprinters, Terry Miller and Andraya Yearwood, who have frequently outperformed their competitors, winning a combined 15 girls state indoor or outdoor championship races since 2017, according to the lawsuit.

Which is a combined 15 wins that have been stolen from girls.

Under the banner

May 28th, 2020 10:15 am | By

Oh good, an academic article on “Philosophical Problems With the Gender-Critical Feminist Argument Against Trans Inclusion.” At least it won’t be stuffed full of shouty accusations and libels.


The proposed reforms aim to replace the current medicalized process of gender recognition with one based on self-identification and self-declaration. The most prominent voice opposing the reforms was raised under the banner of gender-critical feminism. Academics from various disciplines, including philosophy and law, have lent their voices to the gender-critical project. In general, gender-critical feminism advocates reserving women’s spaces for cis women.

That’s in the first paragraph, and already I’m de-motivated to keep going, because already we’re in a world of assumptions that I refuse to assume, that I in fact reject entirely. Gender-critical feminism advocates reserving women’s spaces for women, which is the whole point of “women’s spaces” in the first place. I refuse to be called a “cis woman,” I refuse to call women “cis women,” I don’t agree that “trans women” are just another set of women, like French women and Kenyan women, tall women and short women, poor women and rich women. The academic philosopher who wrote this piece takes the opposite view so he will be wording everything in that taking it for granted way…so what’s the point in reading more?

Others have been more willing to take the trouble than I am.

Facts must be allowed to run free!

May 28th, 2020 9:38 am | By

Does the Trump administration really want to go on the record saying social media outlets can’t fact-check Trump’s lies?

Apparently it does, yes, however fatuous that may be.

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said he stands by the company’s decision to fact-check two tweets by President Donald Trump, even as it has attracted intense criticism by Trump and his allies.

News outlets do that already. They add “without evidence” to their reporting on Trump’s lies. That’s not nearly as forthright and clear as I would like, but it’s not nothing.

The statement comes as the White House is preparing an executive order that would target social media companies for alleged bias in their content moderation strategies.

Brazen, isn’t it. The reason there is a need for fact-checking on things Trump says is because he lies so floridly and often and shamelessly, and a president’s doing that is very bad for the country and the world in a host of ways, but because he is the president he gets to claim that pointing out his lies is “bias.” But there is no one on The Other Team who lies as floridly and often and shamelessly as Trump; it’s not bias, it’s just the reality of who is the King Kong of Liars here. But they get to call it bias…which is simply grotesque.

In a series of Tweets late Wednesday, Dorsey addressed the firestorm created by the company’s decision to label Trump’s tweets with a fact-check for the first time. Twitter on Tuesday  added a link under two of Trump’s tweets about mail-in ballots that said, “Get the facts about mail-in ballots.” When clicked, the links directed users to a page that said, in part, “Trump falsely claimed that mail-in ballots would lead to ‘a Rigged Election.’ However, fact-checkers say there is no evidence that mail-in ballots are linked to voter fraud.”

We mere civilians may not use Twitter to mess with elections…but Trump, who is in a position to do far more damage to US elections than anyone else on the planet, may. But he gets a fact-check. And he wants to make that illegal. No fact checking allowed!

Dorsey’s statement came shortly after the White House said Trump would sign an executive order about social media companies on Thursday. According to a draft of the order obtained by CNBC, Trump would direct the Federal Communications Commission to propose and clarify regulations of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. It would also encourage the Federal Trade Commission to take action against companies engaging in “deceptive” acts of communication. The working draft of the order cites Twitter by name.

Trump railed against Twitter for its initial decision to label his tweets, saying the company was “interfering in the 2020 Presidential Election.”

And Trump think only Trump gets to do that.

The hours

May 27th, 2020 5:34 pm | By

Pliny comments:

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What do “everyday Minnesotans” want?

May 27th, 2020 5:31 pm | By

Padma Lakshmi is on it:

Damn right.

Let’s read that op ed from October 2017:

Over this past summer, I met with virtually every homeowner who lives directly along Lake Calhoun, plus another couple hundred neighbors who live within a few blocks. Why? To listen to what they had to say about the renaming of Lake Calhoun to Bde Maka Ska. The results were surprising.

About 20 percent of the people I met told me that they feel that the name Calhoun is problematic and that they’d like to see a “more inclusive” name.

Surprisingly, they feel that there is nothing inclusive about the name “Bde Maka Ska.” They are upset that American Indian activists seem to have hijacked the discussion and that public officials have not made a bigger effort (and process) to enroll the entire community in a discussion about what alternative names are “more inclusive” than Lake Calhoun.

These people raised a good question: What exactly have the Dakota Indians done that is a positive contribution to all Minnesotans? What is the heroism or accomplishment that we are recognizing in order to justify renaming the lake to Bde Maka Ska? Unfortunately, nobody had any answers.

Is that the criterion for place names? They have to be named after people who have made a positive contribution to everyone in the state where the to-be-named place is? Well then what contribution did the number 7 make to the people of Washington state? I live on one of several 7th Avenues in Seattle and I would like to know. There are of course also questions about the other numbers, which run up into the 200s if you follow them out into the burbs.

Fortunately, I also met eight people who specifically supported the name Bde Maka Ska. This was an interesting group. With the exception of one person, they were angry at the “white establishment” and felt that we Minnesotans need to atone for history’s wrongdoings. Ironically, none of them was able to provide specifics of what exactly we needed to atone for, other than “Calhoun was racist and we stole all of this land from the Indians.”

He does sound like a charmer, doesn’t he.

Nothing better to do?

May 27th, 2020 4:37 pm | By

In Morocco, on the other hand, The Authorities can tell everyone what they can say.

Police have opened a preliminary investigation into the criminal acts attributed to the Moroccan actor, Rafik Boubker, after placing him in custody this evening. The procedure follows the decision of the public prosecutor of Casablanca’s Court of First Instance. 

The General Directorate for National Security (DGSN) said in a statement that it had “monitored digital content published on social media, in which the suspect appears in an abnormal condition, insulting the Islamic religion and violating the reverence for acts of worship.”

The DGSN added that it has received several complaints from citizens on the matter which prompted them to open a judicial investigation. Security services aim to uncover the full circumstances of the criminal act and identify those involved in recording and sharing the video.

Why not just let the all-powerful god deal with it?

Boubker appeared in a live video on Instagram on Monday insulting the Islamic religion, violating reverence for acts of worship, and offending imams. “We are at the mosque since bars are closed because of the lockdown. The bar of the mosque,” said Boubker in the video. He then mockingly told people “to make their ablution with wine and perform prayers with whiskey.”

Aaand who gives a fuck? Really. It sounds so very trivial.

Kevin Trump

May 27th, 2020 4:24 pm | By

Oh no, the game is up, Trump is going to sign an executive order “on social media companies” so they will all have to salute and say “Sir yes sir!” and do what he says.

U.S. President Donald Trump will sign an executive order shortly regarding social media companies, a White House spokeswoman said on Wednesday.

Spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany made the remark to reporters aboard Air Force One, traveling with Trump to Washington from Florida a day after Twitter Inc attached a warning to some of his tweets prompting readers to fact-check the president’s claims.

Here’s the thing though: Trump can’t tell them what to do. He’s not a god and he’s not a king and he can’t just make people stop saying he tells lies by “signing an executive order.”

I suppose he could always try calling the manager…


May 27th, 2020 3:45 pm | By

Twitter’s new plan for dealing with Don the Liar’s tweets:

Sadly, it’s a joke, but it should be the reality.

That will work out well for him

May 27th, 2020 12:23 pm | By

Oh good, another one. Smart move, gym dude.

This utter bozo demands to know what office they’re in, and then announces he’s calling 911 now.

I have to say, though, I don’t see anyone calling him a Bob or a Joe or a Kevin. It’s almost as if there is no generic name for a racist white guy who calls the manager.

No right to a peaceful existence

May 27th, 2020 12:01 pm | By

Oh nothing, just declaring a set of people outside the law, as one does.

TERF’s, like all Nazis, have no right to a peaceful existence or steady employment. They have declared their support of fascism and have therefore declared their intent to directly harm the trans community wherever they’re found. They threaten the safety and dignity of others and therefore deserve none themselves until they choose to be human once more.

The usual caveats to the direct action approach apply. Be careful of misidentifying people. Attacking bystanders just makes TERF’s look sympathetic. Don’t do anything you can’t handle the consequences of.

Don’t kill them unless you’re sure they’re radical feminists.

Doxxing is another effective tool against fascists, just as it can be against TERF’s. TERF’s are very similar to incels: they are keyboard warriors. They hide behind online personas to spew evil and feel safe in their own bubble. Doxxing takes that safety away from them in a way that causes many to quit on the spot. Since the goal of combating hate is to make the person stop spreading it, there is no question doxxing is an important and useful tool to that end.

This is Laura Izaguirre, who writes unhinged pieces like this on Medium. No keyboard warrior she.

Doxxing a white supremacist has proven effective in making them afraid. Once their info is found, their friends, family, and places of work are contacted. Nazis are usually fired and ostracized and thus given suitable social punishment for advocating harm against others. TERF’s should be subject to the exact same outcomes. If you can cause a TERF to lose their job, do so! They can, after all, simply stop being a TERF if they want to find employment again.

What could be fairer than that?

Property damage is another escalation up the chain of direct action. While deplatforming and doxxing are legal (in the US), property damage can cross into criminal territory. This is not a path to choose lightly and extreme care must be exercised if you want to go this route.

Care to evade capture, that is.

What about bodily harm against bigots? Is that a valid tactic? Yes, but with important considerations. It’s the most serious form of corrective action you can use — and one very likely to get you in major trouble. Only use it as a tactic if you’re sure you can handle the consequence of being caught.

There are several great examples of bodily harm being used against fascists. One of the most famous examples is Neo-Nazi Richard Spencer being punched. This helped make America realize the widespread invasion of Nazis into the public sphere. Even better, the person who did it has never been caught. They are living as a free person with the knowledge that they decked a Nazi. Similarly, there was the heroic trans woman who almost delivered a blow for justice against TERF Julie Bindel.

That is, the heroic man who tried to punch Julie Bindel in the face.

If someone comes at you with the intent to take your life, then killing in self-defense is 100% justified. But a dead person cannot find redemption. They cannot change their ways. Worse, they may become a martyr and attract more people to the cause of white supremacists. Why give Trump an excuse to call TERF’s “good people?” (He already knows they’re on his side.) Generally speaking, killing is a step too far.

Specifically speaking, however, it’s not.


May 27th, 2020 11:09 am | By

Now people are making death threats to Amy Cooper, and Christian Cooper is saying please stop that immediately.

Christian Cooper told CNN that he recently learned that Amy Cooper, who is unrelated, has been receiving death threats following her call — and he wants them to stop.

“I am told there has been death threats and that is wholly inappropriate and abhorrent and should stop immediately,” he said. “I find it strange that people who were upset that … that she tried to bring death by cop down on my head, would then turn around and try to put death threats on her head. Where is the logic in that? Where does that make any kind of sense?”

No death threats, people! Just none! Is that so difficult?

Amy — who was fired from her job in the aftermath — has since apologized multiple times for the incident, calling it “unacceptable” to WNBC.

“I’m not a racist,” she told CNN. “I did not mean to harm that man in any way. [My] entire life is being destroyed right now.”

Christian told CNN Tuesday night that it’s not up to him to determine whether Amy is a racist, but that her actions were “definitely” racist.

“I think her apology is sincere. I’m not sure that in that apology she recognizes that while she may not be or consider herself a racist, that particular act was definitely racist,” he said. “And the fact that that was her recourse at that moment — granted, it was a stressful situation, a sudden situation — you know, maybe a moment of spectacularly poor judgment. But she went there and had this racist act that she did.”

That’s how I see it. As I mentioned yesterday, I don’t think she’s necessarily a horrible person – but she had a horrible moment. It was probably a horrible moment added to a whole complicated sense of entitlement that she wasn’t entirely aware of – like the sense of entitlement that allowed her to let her dog run around off leash in front of a lot of signs saying dogs have to be on leash in the Ramble. I suspect that the confidence that comes from being a big noise at Franklin Templeton and having a lot of money played a part, along with the confidence that comes from having white skin – offset by the unconfidence that comes from being a woman. It’s complicated, but the moment she had was definitely a horrible one.

It turns out the ban from Central Park was a fiction.

Michael Fischer, president of the Central Park Civic Association, told the New York Post that Amy’s behavior was “a disgusting display of intolerance” that should “never, ever be accepted in the City’s public domain like Central Park.”

“The Central Park Civic Association condemns this behavior and is calling on Mayor de Blasio to impose a lifetime ban on this lady for her deliberate, racial misleading of law enforcement and violating behavioral guidelines set so that all can enjoy our city’s most famous park,” Fischer said, adding that she should only be allowed back after getting “rehabilitation.”

But City Hall says no can do.

“While this woman’s behavior was despicable and goes against everything this administration stands for, there is unfortunately no legal way to ban her from Central Park,” mayoral spokeswoman Olivia Lapeyrolerie tells PEOPLE.

Terrible moments can expand out of all recognition.

Equal justice?

May 27th, 2020 10:28 am | By

Uh oh, protests:

Hundreds of protesters lined a south Minneapolis intersection Tuesday night calling for justice in the Memorial Day death of George Floyd after a video surfaced showing a Minneapolis police officer kneeling on Floyd’s neck as the man told the officer repeatedly he couldn’t breathe.

The video sparked outrage across the country, and led to the firing of four officers tied to the incident. It also set triggered waves of anger that led to violent clashes in the rain Tuesday night between cops and protesters in south Minneapolis.

Protesters, some carrying signs saying “I can’t breathe,” spilled onto the street in front of Cup Foods, in 3700 block of Chicago Avenue South, where police were called about 8 p.m. Monday on a report of a forgery, police have said.

Crowds marched about 2 1/2 miles to a city police precinct, with some protesters damaging windows, a squad car and spraying graffiti on the building. A line of police in riot gear eventually confronted the protesters, firing tear gas.

Robert Reich comments:

Well, you know how it is. White guys with big guns aren’t scary.

We’ll show them!

May 27th, 2020 9:55 am | By

So basically they’re working hard to…raise their own body count?

In perhaps his most overt effort to shun the wearing of masks, Trump retweeted a tweet from Fox News analyst Brit Hume ridiculing Joe Biden for appearing with a face mask during a Memorial Day ceremony in Delaware.

Trump hates the masks, Trump refuses to wear the mask, Trump keeps telling everyone the masks are voluntary. Last week he even made a point of saying he didn’t wear a mask in public view on his visit to the Ford plant because he didn’t want to give reporters the satisfaction.

The implication was pretty clear: When it comes to wearing a mask, public health isn’t the only consideration. So, too, are pride and Trump’s appetite for provocation. That message, perhaps better than anything, summarizes his attitude toward masks. Whatever can be gained by a president setting an example for the American people, there are other considerations.

Or, to put it in more trumpian terms: fuck setting an example, he just wants to do what he wants to do.

It’s not difficult to see the public consequences to this more laissez-faire approach to masks. In the days before Trump’s Monday retweet, anecdotal images showed Memorial Day weekend revelers in places such as the Lake of the Ozarks flouting not just mask-wearing guidelines but also social-distancing guidelines.

Polls have indicated members of Trump’s party are much more likely to flout the mask guideline. A Quinnipiac University poll last week showed 90 percent of Democrats thought Trump should wear a mask in public, but just 38 percent of Republicans said the same.

So…in other words they’re thinning their own numbers. On purpose. I’m not sure they’ve really thought this through.

Birders unite

May 26th, 2020 6:03 pm | By

Audubon Society statement on Incident in Central Park’s Ramble:

“Black Americans often face terrible daily dangers in outdoor spaces, where they are subjected to unwarranted suspicion, confrontation, and violence,” said Audubon SVP for State Programs Rebeccah Sanders, who is white. “The outdoors – and the joy of birds – should be safe and welcoming for all people. That’s the reality Audubon and our partners are working hard to achieve. We unequivocally condemn racist sentiments, behavior, and systems that undermine the humanity, rights, and freedom of Black people. We are grateful Christian Cooper is safe. He takes great delight in sharing New York City’s birds with others and serves as a board member of the New York City Audubon Society, where he promotes conservation of New York City’s outdoor spaces and inclusion of all people.”

Oh that kind of medical distress

May 26th, 2020 3:56 pm | By

The other horror yesterday was the police murder of George Floyd.

Four Minneapolis police officers have been fired after a black man was restrained by the neck and died in custody on Monday night. Bystander video captured a white police officer kneeling on the man’s neck for several minutes, despite the man’s pleas that he could not breathe. The man has been identified as George Floyd by an attorney for his family.

Kneeling on someone’s neck. Wtfffff.

The account from Darnella Frazier, who filmed the now-viral video showing part of the police encounter and said she watched Floyd being suffocated, differs from that of the police, who said Floyd was stopped because he matched the description of a suspect in a forgery case, resisted arrest and then suffered “medical distress.”

Being a suspect in a forgery case does not seem like a sufficient reason to use lethal force, to put it mildly.

In a video she posted on Facebook, Frazier said that she was on her way to see friends on May 25 when she saw Floyd outside of a grocery store on the south side of Minneapolis. Police had him pinned to the ground by his neck, she said. In her telling, Floyd’s face was being pressed so hard against the ground by the officer that his nose was bleeding.

She said she began recording the encounter, and that police kneeled on Floyd’s neck until he stopped moving and then later carried his motionless body away on a stretcher. She later posted the 10-minute video on Facebook.

I’m not going to watch it. I’m a coward.

The video begins with Floyd lying on the ground with a police officer’s knee pressed onto his neck. A voice, seemingly from a bystander, says “You’re going to just sit there with your knee on his neck?”

Floyd can be seen and heard voicing distress and saying repeatedly, “Please. Please. I can’t breathe. Please. I can’t move.” A bystander’s voice can be heard telling police, “You got him down. Let him breathe.”

Minutes later, Floyd appears motionless on the ground. A bystander again addresses police saying, “Bro, he’s not even f—— moving!” Another voice is heard saying, “Get off of his neck!” One person asks, “Did you kill him?”

Floyd’s eyes appear closed and his head lies on the ground. An ambulance arrives and Floyd is loaded onto a stretcher and into the ambulance.

“The police killed him, bro, right in front of everybody,” Frazier said on video posted on Facebook. “He was crying, telling them like, ‘I can’t breathe,’ and everything. They killed this man.”

Four cops have now been fired. A civil rights suit is on the way.

Outside Verona

May 26th, 2020 3:22 pm | By


H/t Rob