The powerful

Feb 20th, 2021 10:49 am | By

Billy Bragg, defender of the downtrodden.

How dare women take a stance? Their taking a stance proves that they are powerful and not downtrodden in any way. Bitches.

How dare women make statements that contradict the stances of their employers?! Obviously employers get to dictate what their workers can say, and if the workers disobey, obviously they should be fired or have their contracts canceled! That’s the progressive view and always has been!

Things of this magnitude

Feb 20th, 2021 9:09 am | By


Florida’s Republican governor, Ron DeSantis, has said flags in the state will fly at half-staff for Rush Limbaugh, the hard-right talk radio host who died this week aged 70.

Is that a thing? Lowering flags for random entertainers?

DeSantis, a controversial governor known to some as a “mini-Trump” and widely thought to have presidential ambitions, called Limbaugh a friend.

What’s that got to do with anything? Do governors usually get to lower flags for their friends? I thought flag-lowering was meant to be an exceptional thing with some connection to public service.

Appearing with James Golden, longtime producer to the leading “shock jock”, the governor told reporters: “When there’s things of this magnitude, once the date of interment for Rush is announced, we’re going to be lowering the flags to half staff.”

What magnitude? He was a rude angry right-wing hack. A talented hack, maybe, but still a hack.

Golden called him “a second-generation founding father”.

“The seeds that he planted,” he said, “are going to sprout in America and continue to grow for generations and generations to come, and America will be great again, not just because of Rush, [but] because of men like – and women – but men like this governor.”

What seeds are those? The seeds of loud angry hostility to and contempt for anyone who isn’t a loud angry hostile white guy?

DeSantis has previously ordered flags to be at half-staff to honour law enforcement officers killed on duty, members of the US navy killed in a mass shooting in Pensacola and the liberal supreme court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, among others.

Those all seem appropriate. A venomous talk radio star, not so much.

Grow your own damn water!

Feb 20th, 2021 6:21 am | By

While he has a minute.

It’s not a “handout” though to get electricity and water that you pay for. Public utilities aren’t “handouts,” they’re what it says on the tin. Water, sewer systems, garbage removal, recycling, electricity – we pay for them.

I also wonder how he thinks people are supposed to “think outside the box” to “supply water” on their own. Outside the box is likely to kill you, especially when you can’t boil anything because the power is out.

Word is he has decided to stop being mayor of Colorado City, Texas.

On duty

Feb 20th, 2021 4:29 am | By

Well that was fun – the power went out in the neighborhood yesterday morning a few minutes past 7 and was out ALL DAY.

This was the third time in the last 8 months.

I can report that reading by flashlight while freezing cold is not very pleasant.

Meet us at the Ritz-Carlton

Feb 18th, 2021 5:10 pm | By

He’s sorry though.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) has offered a stunning explanation for flying out to Cancun on Wednesday night as his home state literally froze to death: He was being a good dad.

“Whether the decision to go was tone-deaf, look, it was obviously a mistake, and in hindsight I wouldn’t have done it. I was trying to be a dad,” Cruz told reporters late Thursday after returning home to a crowd of protesters chanting “Resign!”

That “in hindsight” is hilarious. What hindsight would that be? It’s not as if he didn’t know about the cold, the snow, the power outages. What does he know now that he didn’t know then? Hm, hm, hm. Oh I know – that everybody is yelling at him!

“Gee, if I’d known that everybody would yell at me for jetting off to Cancun while the people I represent froze to death, I would have gone to Vegas instead.”

“It was not my intention for [the trip] to be understood as… somehow diminishing the suffering and hardship other Texans had experienced,” he said late Thursday.

That “somehow” is nice too. He really can’t figure out how?

Fellow travelers seemed to out his insanely tone-deaf trip on Wednesday night by posting snaps of him inside an airport and then, later, on a plane. In the photos, Heidi Cruz is visible alongside her husband, raising questions about the senator’s explanation that he needed to escort their daughters, aged 10 and 13.

According to The New York Times, Heidi Cruz had actually announced the trip to neighbors on Wednesday morning, writing in a group text: “Anyone can or want to leave for the week? We may go to Cancún.”

She reportedly went on to mention a “direct flight” and “hotels w capacity,” revealing plans for a stay at the local Ritz-Carlton. But for those stuck behind, she said, “We have gas stove so at least we can heat water little that there is happy to help anyone we can too.”

Also we have some brioche, you can eat that.

Cruz’s decision to leave home for the sunny shores of Cancun came just two days after he told his constituents to do the opposite.

“I was speaking this weekend with the meteorologist expert who was saying the combination of these two storms, we could see up to 100 people lose their lives this week in Texas. So don’t risk it. Keep your family safe and just stay home and hug your kids,” Cruz said on the “Joe Pags Show” on Feb. 15.

But Cruz had no problem slamming Democrats for the same behavior back in December. After Austin Mayor Steve Adler took a trip to Cabo while simultaneously telling residents to stay home to minimize the spread of COVID-19, Cruz was one of the most vocal critics.

“Hypocrites. Complete and utter hypocrites. And don’t forget @MayorAdler who took a private jet with eight people to Cabo and WHILE IN CABO recorded a video telling Austinites to ‘stay home if you can…this is not the time to relax,’” he wrote in a Dec. 2 tweet.

In hindsight he wouldn’t have said that.

Wheels down

Feb 18th, 2021 3:40 pm | By


Note: is animation.

Not animation:

We get real pictures – movies even – of the descent tomorrow. I look forward to that. It still blows my mind that they can do this.

This may sound extreme, but

Feb 18th, 2021 12:25 pm | By

Oxford graduate student has major meltdown because one person has a different view.

I think by “robust safeguarding” he means not letting Enemies attend, and by “anti-trans interference” he means Enemies attending.

Of course it “sounds extreme,” because it is. Attending an academic event isn’t harassment.

A “panicked” phone call. Because what, he might ask a question?

He says, speaking publicly about it.

In other words the panic was stupid and the event went smoothly, but he must make a big fuss about the presence of An Enemy anyway.

What’s embarrassing about it? For Oxford, that is? I see what’s embarrassing for this fool and his friends, but not for Oxford. And what exactly is “the incident”? A guy they don’t like attended the panel. And?

They deal with “much worse shit” than what? What was bad about what happened? All he’s told us is that he wanted to get a guy he disagrees with barred from attending the panel, and Oxford said nope, and the panel happened and went well. How tragic.

Universities and elsewhere in life

Feb 18th, 2021 11:05 am | By

No, that’s not right.

It’s really not true that it’s “as true in universities as elsewhere in life.” She works at a university, as an academic (as opposed to an accountant or maintenance engineer), so you’d think she would know this. Universities do in fact have a particular duty to keep speech (and writing and teaching) as open as possible. That’s because of what they’re supposed to be doing – it’s a vocational requirement, pretty much. Their job isn’t to inject information as one might inject filling into a chocolate, their job is to educate, which includes content but also includes methodology. It’s part of their job to educate young people in discussing and analyzing and arguing about what they’re learning, and thus anything else they might need to discuss and analyze and argue about. For this reason they need to keep things pretty open. Not 100% open; I don’t think the mission requires universities to allow verbal abuse; but as open as is compatible with reasoned conversation.

So, no, universities don’t really have some peculiar “right” to refuse to talk to people they consider obnoxious. They generally have the ability to do that, but the rest of us can dispute their choices.

He just flipped

Feb 18th, 2021 10:36 am | By

Another entry in the Big Book of Guy Snaps, Kills Nearest Woman:

A man has been found not guilty of murdering his wife, just days into the first national Covid lockdown.

That is, the not-murder happened just days into the lockdown. The verdict was three days ago.

Anthony Williams, 70, said he “just flipped” and strangled his wife Ruth at their home in Cwmbran, Torfaen.

Williams, of Brynglas, Hollybush, denied murdering the 67-year-old in March 2020, but admitted manslaughter by diminished responsibility.

It was the merest chance that he was home at the time. He could have been miles away, in which case he might have “just flipped” at a burly young man, and been slapped instead of accidentally killing his wife.

Anyway, at least the police are doing a brilliant job of telling women not to talk about it.

A Plaid Cymru politician has been ordered to appear in court after she retweeted “highly inappropriate” comments about a murder trial.

Helen Mary Jones MS shared a tweet from a domestic abuse campaigner expressing “hope” that a man would be found guilty of murdering his wife. The tweet was posted on Saturday and shared by Ms Jones the same day.

It related to the trial of Anthony Williams, 70, who killed his wife during lockdown in March. The tweet was written by Rachel Williams, who was shot at her Newport hair salon by her estranged husband Darren Williams in 2011.

Rachel Williams is now an anti-domestic violence campaigner.

Her tweet included the comment: “As so many of us will know, there would have been history of domestic abuse. I hope this jury finds him guilty of murder.”

Both Ms Jones and Ms Williams have been ordered by Judge Paul Thomas to appear at Swansea Crown Court on Thursday. Ms Williams deleted the tweet on Monday, after being contacted by Gwent Police officers on the instruction of the judge.

No evidence was heard during the trial that the defendant had a history of domestic abuse.

That’s interesting, but here’s something else that’s interesting: domestic abuse doesn’t necessarily leave a huge and easy to find stash of evidence. Domestic abuse tends to be kept secret, with more abuse always ready to enforce the secrecy. It’s kind of special that way. The “domestic” part means the perp has ways of threatening and controlling the victim that other abusers don’t have. All this means that no evidence during the trial doesn’t necessarily mean much.

In England and Wales, jurors are meant to deliver verdicts solely based on evidence heard in court, and told to ignore any information or commentary from external sources, including on social media.

The Contempt of Court Act makes it an offence to publish anything which could prejudice or impede a trial.

Does Twitter count as “publishing”?

Beach time

Feb 18th, 2021 9:55 am | By

If you’re a Texas senator now seems like the ideal time to take a nice warm vacation. It will cheer up all those forlorn people in your state who are struggling with a power outage and subfreezing temperatures.

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz traveled to Mexico on Wednesday for a family vacation as his home state struggled with a powerful winter storm that left many residents without power or safe drinking water.

The high-profile Republican lawmaker went for a long-planned trip to Cancun and was expected to return almost immediately, according to a source with direct knowledge of the situation who spoke on the condition of anonymity to share private conversations.

If you’re going to return almost immediately, why waste the fuel?

Hundreds of thousands of people in Texas woke up Thursday to a fourth day without power, and a water crisis was unfolding after winter storms wreaked havoc on the state’s power grid and utilities.

Texas officials ordered 7 million people — one-quarter of the population of the nation’s second-largest state — to boil tap water before drinking the water, after days of record low temperatures that damaged infrastructure and froze pipes.

But of course the people without power have no way to boil water, apart from the ones who have camp stoves and the like.

“Ted Cruz had already proven to be an enemy to our democracy by inciting an insurrection. Now, he is proving to be an enemy to our state by abandoning us in our greatest time of need,” Texas Democratic Party Chair Gilberto Hinojosa said Thursday. “For the 21st time, the Texas Democratic Party calls on Ted Cruz to resign or be expelled from office.”

Cruz’s office dismissed calls for his resignation earlier in the month.

“The left – and some grifters on the right – are consumed by partisan anger and rage,” his office said in a written statement. “Sen. Cruz will continue to work for 29 million Texans in the Senate.”

If some on the right are in the frame, how can the anger and rage be partisan? It’s one or the other, it can’t be both. Either it’s partisan, i.e. cynically deployed for electoral gain, or it’s not partisan, i.e. people are genuinely disgusted by Cruz’s cynical partisan defense of Trump.

Guest post: Pondering Limbaugh

Feb 17th, 2021 5:18 pm | By

A friend wrote on Facebook:

I’ve been pondering Rush Limbaugh all day. I’ve read many postings from my friends and many tweets from strangers. I don’t have any sort of hate for Rush (although I honestly did, some years ago). There are some things that I’d like to say about him, however.

We should note that Rush Limbaugh, about whose death many honestly good people (and some not-so-good) are admonishing others not to celebrate, for various good (and some not-so-good) reasons: Rush Limbaugh said, upon hearing of the death of Jerry Garcia of “Grateful Dead” musical fame (who although certainly not an angel did spend his life mostly bringing happiness to a lot of people): “Just another dead doper. And a dirt bag.”. And of Kurt Cobain: “Kurt Cobain was, ladies and gentlemen, a worthless shred of human debris.” In the 1980’s, during the height of the AIDs epidemic, he would read off the names of people on-air who’d died of HIV, while playing Dionne Warwick’s “I’ll Never Love This Way Again” and Johnny Lee’s “Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places.” Regarding Eric Garner, who was choked to death by police after being arrested for selling cigarettes without a tax stamp (not exactly a violent crime), and whose last words were “I can’t breathe”, Rush had this to say: “I CAN breathe because I follow the law” (conveniently overlooking the many times that he did not follow the law, of course, either literally or morally–prescription hopping in the former case, to feed his opioid addiction, and sex tourism in the latter). And perhaps the worst, Rush was a covid-19 denier and anti-masker, and a vocal one with a wide-reaching platform at that, who likely did his part and more to get some of those hundreds of thousands of sufferers killed. On twitter, Rush wrote:

“The coronavirus is the common cold, folks”

“The coronavirus is an effort to get Trump”

“You can’t believe the virus numbers”

“They’re using the mask as a symbol of fear”

So, say what you will about Limbaugh’s life and whatever good choices that he made, he spread hate towards people who could no longer reply, was eager to celebrate their deaths, and in some cases he probably actively got some easily-led people killed by encouraging them to indulge in risky behaviors. I think that’s what irks many people now, when they are told that they must not say ill of the dead.

We do reap what we sow.

We’ve all spread waves of at least distaste and disdain about ourselves as we’ve navigated through life, and we need to remember that there are people out there who will not remember us kindly. And, you know, accept that. Let people vent their anger. Soon enough the memory of Rush Limbaugh will fade and be nothing more than a few lines in a textbook about the political climate of the late 20th century.

Grateful for the opportunity

Feb 17th, 2021 5:04 pm | By

This doesn’t seem like something that ought to be taught in schools.

There’s an expanded version.

Below is a list of characteristics of white supremacy culture which show up in our organizations. Culture is powerful precisely because it is so present and at the same time so very difficult to name or identify. The characteristics listed below are damaging because they are used as norms and standards without being pro-actively named or chosen by the group. They are damaging because they promote white supremacy thinking. They are damaging to both people of color and to white people. Organizations that are people of color-led or a majority people of color can also demonstrate many damaging characteristics of white supremacy culture.

It all seems very circular. Who says they’re “characteristics of white supremacy culture”? What is wrong with them? “Objectivity” for instance – that’s often an essential tool, not a “characteristic of white supremacy.”

Do anti-racism by all means, but don’t do it by telling kids in school that objectivity is a bad and suspect thing.

Worship of the Written Word

if it’s not in a memo, it doesn’t exist

the organization does not take into account or value other ways in which information gets shared

those with strong documentation and writing skills are more highly valued, even in organizations where ability to relate to others is key to the mission

In other words booooooo literacy.

Come on now. You can’t teach this in school. Literacy opens a billions doors, and lack of it slams them shut. Don’t do that to children – especially don’t do that to non-white children.

Only One Right Way

the belief there is one right way to do things and once people are introduced to the right way, they will see the light and adopt it

when they do not adapt or change, then something is wrong with them (the other, those not changing), not with us (those who know the right way)

similar to the missionary who does not see value in the culture of other communities, sees only value in their beliefs about what is good

Often there is only one right way to do a particular thing. Creativity and flexibility are good, but so is knowing the right way to do things.

I hope this isn’t really getting into the Ann Arbor public schools.

Being smart

Feb 17th, 2021 4:09 pm | By

Why did Texas’s power supply fall over as the temperatures plunged way below freezing? It was nothing to do with the Green New Deal, as fools have been claiming. Texas has its very own electrical grid.

The U.S. has three power grids: one covers the eastern U.S., another the western states and the Texas grid covers nearly the entire state.

It’s the LONE STAR state, see, it has to do everything itsown self.

“Utilities in Texas were smart and made an agreement that no one was going to extend power outside of Texas,” Donna Nelson, who served as chair of the state Public Utility Commission, which oversees ERCOT, from 2008 to 2017, said in an ERCOT promotional video about the history of the grid

“By eschewing transmission across state lines, the Texas utilities retained freedom,” Richard D. Cudahy wrote in a 1995 article. “This policy of isolation avoided regulation by the newly created Federal Power Commission, whose jurisdiction was limited to utilities operating in interstate commerce.”

No regulation! Freedom! Yayyyyyyy!

May be an image of map and text that says 'The eason Texans don't have power is because the Texas GOP running the state refused to join the national power grid system to dodge regulations and avoid taxes. People are dying because power can't be simply redirected from other states. EASTERN INTERCONNECTION WESTERN INTERCONNECTION ELECTRICITY RELIABILITY COUNCIL OF TEXAS INTERCONNECTION Texas relies 88% on coal and natural gas, yet they are trying to blame their current problems on renewables/Green New Deal. Deregulation and greed are the problem.'

Rape is not a women’s issue

Feb 17th, 2021 11:29 am | By

Kate Manne objects to telling men to learn to care about rape by thinking of their daughters.

But there are at least three things wrong with thinking of it in this way.

First off, it should not take a woman in general, or someone’s wife in particular, to persuade a man in Morrison’s position to take decisive action over a problem as serious as allegations of rape in his own workplace.

That we still have to try to make people care about these devastating allegations wreaks its own kind of trauma – the trauma of dealing with hostile indifference in the wake of such reported violence. Higgins spoke of her pain upon realising that, when it came to what happened, “the only thing that … made people care about it was where it happened and who it was connected to.”

It’s really very odd to think that men can’t care about terrible things that happen to women unless they’re reminded of the very few women they actually give a shit about. Is it really that impossible for men to realize that women are people exactly as men are? That we aren’t some weird other kind of human with no emotions, no fears, no ability to feel pain, no real significance of any kind? Surely it’s not.

Manne then points out that daughter is a bad choice because daughters used to be seen as literally the property of their fathers.

It is long past overdue to conceive of female victims as people in their own right, with human rights, rather than as some man’s somebody – his wife, mother, sister, daughter, and so on – and as mattering because of that. She is her own person, and a person is – or ought to be – inviolable by others’ acts of sexual violence.

Well said. Thank you.

Oh but wait, there’s more.

Thirdly, and finally, there is something misbegotten about the idea of rape as a woman’s issue in this context whatsoever. True, girls and women are disproportionately likely to be rape victims, as compared with their male counterparts, and that surely matters in terms of how we address the issue as a society. But rape is also routinely committed against boys, men, and non-binary people.

The new improved feminism strikes again.

No need to take our place

Feb 17th, 2021 10:52 am | By

About an hour ago:

What kind of clueless pest would try to tell Hibo Wardere to pay attention to trans issues instead of female genital mutilation? I wondered, so I went looking, and in mere seconds found an answer.

That’s who – clueless pests like that. No, there aren’t men with ovaries. Women are the only people who have ovaries; that’s what “woman” means.

The trans lobby really needs to stop hassling women.

Not currently

Feb 17th, 2021 10:30 am | By

Rudy is reading the old love letters and crying.

Attorney Rudy Giuliani is “not currently” representing former President Donald Trump “in any legal matters,” Trump advisor Jason Miller said in a statement Tuesday, as the ex-president’s former personal lawyer faces multiple lawsuits against him for his role in Trump’s effort to overturn the presidential election results.

And this is the thanks he gets.

Lie down with dogs get up with fleas, pal. You knew what he is, and you chose to help him be it while having the power of the presidency.

Miller’s statement was in response to a lawsuit filed Tuesday against Trump, Giuliani and two far-right groups, which alleges the president and his lawyer violated the Ku Klux Klan Act in their attempt to stop the election results from being certified by Congress.

Giuliani has been sued for defamation twice in recent weeks for spreading unsubstantiated election fraud claims involving voting machines from Dominion Voting Systems and Smartmatic.

He is also reportedly under federal investigation by the Southern District of New York for his business dealings in Ukraine, and an ethics complaint has been filed that seeks to disbar Giuliani in New York.

Lotta fleas.

Just tape their mouths shut

Feb 17th, 2021 9:31 am | By

Talk about not getting it

Days after Japan’s Olympics chief was forced to resign over sexist comments, the ruling party has decided to invite women to attend key meetings – as long as they do not speak.

No, see, guys, this is just the same thing all over again. The “sexist comments” in question were of the “women talk too much” variety. Telling women not to talk is not a fix for that problem. The problem is not women talking, the problem is MEN HAVING A PROBLEM WITH WOMEN TALKING.

Talking is basic. We need talking. Talking is why we have all this, very much including items like the Olympics, ruling parties, meetings, Japan – all of that is a product of language. If you don’t let women talk, you’re treating women as if they were pets.

The Liberal Democratic Party proposed allowing five female lawmakers to observe its all-male board meetings.

They cannot talk during the meeting – only submit opinions afterwards.

The Tokyo Olympics organising committee chief had sparked a firestorm by saying women talked too much in meetings.

Yoshiro Mori, 83, had remarked, in discussions over increasing the number of female board members, that “we have to make sure their speaking time is restricted somewhat, they have difficulty finishing.”

Men always think women talk too much, including when women have barely said anything and men have said thousands of words. This is what’s called a “distortion.” Men have a distorted sense of how much women talk, along with a distorted sense of how much domestic work they (the men) do. Distortions of this kind are a by-product of dominance.

To understand police reform

Feb 16th, 2021 6:37 pm | By

An outstanding interview on Fresh Air with a law professor who got a part-time volunteer job as a cop in DC. Bonus: she’s Barbara Ehrenreich’s daughter. Highly recommended.

He guesses you lie about it for validation

Feb 16th, 2021 5:05 pm | By

Actually it’s literally objectively false that men do experience misogynistic sexism, on account of how the “gyn” bit means women, and men are men. Men don’t experience misogynistic sexism even if they are wearing dresses and crippling shoes.

It doesn’t happen, because he isn’t one. He doesn’t get “sexually assaulted for being a woman,” because he isn’t a woman. Of course he can “identify out of it,” because he’s not in it to begin with.

There’s something very very sick about this envy of and theft of misogyny and violence.

No. Misogynistic sexism and sexual violence don’t happen to trans women, because they are not women. Hostility and violence directed at trans women is not directed at them because they’re women, for the simple and clear reason that they’re not women.

It’s all radical feminists’ fault that trans women can’t experience diseases of the uterus!

Guest post: Bad effects

Feb 16th, 2021 4:04 pm | By

Originally a comment by Screechy Monkey at Miscellany Room.

Speaking only for myself, I have no opinion on whether or not Murphy is a bigot or got what she deserved. Certainly I’m aware of the skewed nature of the debate over trans issues and the casual accusations of transphobia; on the other hand, I haven’t scrutinized her writings enough to form an opinion.

For me, it’s just a sense that this kind of thing doesn’t belong in court. I won’t go so far as to say this was a frivolous lawsuit, but it was an utterly predictable and correct result in my opinion, as both a descriptive matter (current law pretty clearly precludes it) and a normative one (that body of law is wise and prudent in this regard).

I don’t know of any principled way to say that Murphy gets to have a judge or jury rule on whether Twitter’s moderation decisions are correct, but Donald Trump and Milo Yiannopolous don’t. Or every Slymepitter who got banned from B&W or Pharyngula don’t get to have a judge decide if Ophelia or PZ acted fairly and consistently. Of course you can say that Murphy’s banning was a bad decision and those other ones were good, and I might agree, but this is a question of who gets to decide that and how.

If disgruntled people can drag social networks and message boards and bloggers into court every time they’re unhappy, you’re not going to like where that leads. The threat of litigation alone is going to make moderation risky, especially for smaller players. People with deep pockets or access to interest groups with free lawyers are going to get deferential treatment from litigation-averse platforms. Terms of service and moderation decisions will get less nuanced so that companies can say “hey, we’re completely consistent, we ban these precise words and nothing else” (or whatever). This is also why I cringe at all the “repeal section 230” proposals from politicians of every stripe.

And all of those bad effects are true even if the courts do a super awesome job of sitting as the Twitter Judicial Review Panel. Which they most certainly would not. I assure you, there are many many judges who you do not want anywhere near these decisions, and here I’m talking less about political or other issue biases and more about simple ignorance — even in 2021, there are a shocking number of judges who are complete Luddites when it comes to the internet.

I don’t know if that makes me a free speech absolutist or not. That terminology gets a little confusing here anyway, in that many people would claim that Murphy is on the side of free speech here because she is fighting against “punishment” for her speech, so then we get into arguments about state action, and free speech rights of platforms vs the rights of their users… and to me that’s all unnecessary, because I think the pragmatic argument against this kind of litigation is so strong that you don’t even need to get into all that.