Ask Mister Babble

Sep 4th, 2020 4:13 pm | By

Another exciting one of whatever these are, where reporters ask questions and Trump just says whatever pops into his head for a minute or two.

Football! Medals! Central casting! Gerbil, ski pole, lima bean, choo choo train.

Russia…North Korea! China! Hillary! Football!

McCain! Disagree! Time! Extent!

Then he says John Kelly fell apart and couldn’t do his job.



Down with this sort of thing

Sep 4th, 2020 11:53 am | By

A guy who writes for Forbes on “LGBT life, identities and being queer” wants us to know how wrong the Spectator is on trans issues.

Being transgender was declassified from the international classifications of diseases by the UN’s WHO body last year, and numerous trans activists have pointed out their lived experience is not a debate.

That doesn’t tell us much. Maybe the WHO was bullied into the “declassifying.” The second item is hand-waving bullshit. If someone’s purported “lived experience” relies on a belief system that defines women in a way that most women don’t want to be defined, then the belief system damn well is open to debate. Women get to say we’re not a feeling in a man’s head, and our “lived experience” is relevant too.

Stop Funding Hate, a U.K. based organisation that campaigns to brands and organisations to pull funding from media with hateful editorials have been focusing on the Spectator recently. They had posted celebrating the person who complained and “highlighted the magazine’s toxic track record of transphobic coverage.”

But is the coverage “transphobic” or analytical? I say it’s the latter. It’s not “phobic” to dispute fanciful truth claims.

“As a parent of a trans child, I’ve been aware of the trans-hostile reporting by the Spectator for quite some time.” Helen, who runs the trans advocacy Twitter account @mimmymum tells me.

Forbes is consulting mimmymum now. You couldn’t make it up.



A biocultural mélange

Sep 4th, 2020 10:50 am | By

Alan Goodman, a professor of biological anthropology, explains that race is real but not genetic.

Like a fish in water, we’ve all been engulfed by “the smog” of thinking that “race” is biologically real. Thus, it is easy to incorrectly conclude that “racial” differences in health, wealth, and all manner of other outcomes are the inescapable result of genetic differences.

The reality is that socially defined racial groups in the U.S. and most everywhere else do differ in outcomes. But that’s not due to genes. Rather, it is due to systemic differences in lived experience and institutional racism.

As a professor of biological anthropology, I teach and advise college undergraduates. While my students are aware of inequalities in the life experiences of different socially delineated racial groups, most of them also think that biological “races” are real things. Indeed, more than half of Americans still believe that their racial identity is “determined by information contained in their DNA.”

In the 1700s, Carl Linnaeus, the father of modern taxonomy and someone not without ego, liked to imagine himself as organizing what God created. Linnaeus famously classified our own species into races based on reports from explorers and conquerors.

The race categories he created included AmericanusAfricanus, and even Monstrosus (for wild and feral individuals and those with birth defects), and their essential defining traits included a biocultural mélange of color, personality, and modes of governance. Linnaeus described Europeaus as white, sanguine, and governed by law, and Asiaticus as yellow, melancholic, and ruled by opinion. These descriptions highlight just how much ideas of race are formulated by social ideas of the time.

Funny how all this time there was never any difficulty with pairs from different races producing viable offspring.

There have been lots of efforts since Charles Darwin’s time to fashion the typological and static concept of race into an evolutionary concept. For example, Carleton Coon, a former president of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists, argued in The Origin of Races (1962) that five races evolved separately and became modern humans at different times.

How odd that they’re able to interbreed then.

One nontrivial problem with Coon’s theory, and all attempts to make race into an evolutionary unit, is that there is no evidence. Rather, all the archaeological and genetic data point to abundant flows of individuals, ideas, and genes across continents, with modern humans evolving at the same time, together.

A few pundits such as Charles Murray of the American Enterprise Institute and science writers such as Nicholas Wade, formerly of The New York Times, still argue that even though humans don’t come in fixed, color-coded races, dividing us into races still does a decent job of describing human genetic variation. Their position is shockingly wrong. We’ve known for almost 50 years that race does not describe human genetic variation.

Read on.



When he submits alternative facts

Sep 4th, 2020 10:11 am | By

Always great when the Attorney General of the whole country says things that aren’t true on national tv – especially when the untrue things convey that voter fraud is a much bigger problem than it is, weeks before an election which could see an evil corrupt monster re-elected.

In his latest warning about the dangers of mass mail-in voting, Attorney General William P. Barr pointed to a case in Texas that he said highlighted the risk of fraud.

“Elections that have been held with mail have found substantial fraud and coercion,” Barr told CNN on Wednesday. “For example, we indicted someone in Texas, 1,700 ballots collected, he — from people who could vote, he made them out and voted for the person he wanted to. Okay?”

Federal prosecutors brought no such indictment. And while a Justice Department spokeswoman said Barr was referring to a local prosecution involving suspected mail-in voting fraud in a city council election, the assistant district attorney on that case said Barr’s description doesn’t match the facts.

Not what happened at all, that ADA said.

“Unfortunately, it speaks volumes to the credibility of Attorney General Barr when he submits half-truths and alternative facts as clear evidence of voter fraud without having so much as even contacted me or the district attorney’s office for an understanding of the events that actually occurred,” he added later.

The genuine evidence is that voter fraud is tiny.

A Washington Post analysis earlier this year of data collected by three vote-by-mail states with help from the nonprofit Electronic Registration Information Center found that officials identified just 372 possible cases of double voting or voting on behalf of deceased people out of about 14.6 million votes cast by mail in the 2016 and 2018 general elections, or 0.0025 percent. Local officials in those states pointed to what they called their sophisticated systems to detect and prevent fraud.

But William Barr desperately wants us to believe otherwise. He’s a very bad man.



Threat

Sep 4th, 2020 9:32 am | By

All fine, completely normal, nothing to worry about.

Updating to add full image.

Image


He says he didn’t

Sep 4th, 2020 9:20 am | By

Trump denies it!!

Well of course he does. He denies everything. He also lies constantly. Who cares that he denies it?

According to The Atlantic magazine, Mr Trump cancelled a visit to a US cemetery outside Paris in 2018 because he said it was “filled with losers”.

The allegations have since been corroborated by two senior military officials in a story by AP news agency.

But in a tweet, the president denounced the claims as “made up fake news”.

Oh, well, if it’s in a tweet, that changes everything.

People in the military world are stunned by the remarks that Mr Trump reportedly made about US soldiers killed in combat, the latest in a series of surprising comments from a commander-in-chief.

“What an ignorant, ignorant fool,” says Gary Solis, a former US Marines judge, adding: “I pity anyone who is so lacking in common understanding and appreciation for military service.”

The reaction of Mr Solis is shared by many of those who have served in the military and also by those who are currently in the US armed forces.

The question is why anyone in the military ever admired him. He’s a mouthy bloviating marshmallow, he’s all hat and no cattle, all talk and no guts or discipline or work or conscience. What’s to like?



Lying Ivanka

Sep 3rd, 2020 5:28 pm | By

Yes here we go – the vile Ivanka Trump claiming that her vile father’s bullying and venom is “being real.”

“Tonight, I stand before you as the proud daughter of the people’s president,” Trump told a packed-in audience of about 2,000 supporters on the White House South Lawn, minutes before her father delivered his nomination acceptance speech.

Proud of what? The children dying on the floors of holding pens on the border? The women who can’t get abortions? The ever more belligerent racism? The lies, the insults, the corruption? The friendship with Putin?

Criticizing the nation’s capital as dysfunctional and slow-moving, Trump said her father “did not come to Washington to win praise from the Beltway elites.”

Excuse me? What is filthy rich Ivanka Trump, who has an illegal job in the White House illegally working for her father the corrupt president, and who is using that illegal job to pocket 135 MILLION dollars last year alone – what is she doing disavowing “elites”? She is filthy rich, and she got that way because her father is a filthy criminal and she’s not all that law-abiding herself. Where the hell does she get off pretending they’re anti-elites?

And although the president has “strong convictions,” Trump said, “you always know where he stands.”

Yes, he stands up to his neck in shit, because he’s a terrible person all the way through.

“I recognize that my dad’s communication style is not to everyone’s taste. And I know that his tweets can feel a bit unfiltered,” she added. “But the results — the results speak for themselves.”

Yes, it’s all gone tremendously well, hasn’t it.

“Dad, people attack you for being unconventional,” she said. “But I love you for being real, and I respect you for being effective.”

No, we don’t attack him for being “unconventional.” We trash him for being evil: malicious, cruel, a bully, rude, selfish, contemptuous, hostile, bad-tempered, aggressive, greedy, corrupt, crude, vulgar, criminal, a liar, crass, trashy, ignorant, lazy, stupid, incompetent, reckless, irresponsible, callous – we trash him for being the most thoroughly awful and worthless human being most of us have ever seen in action.

That is not “being real”; that is being a vision of hell.



He feared his hair would become disheveled

Sep 3rd, 2020 4:19 pm | By

I wonder how the Trump loyalists will explain this to themselves: Trump thinks Americans killed in wars are losers.

Remember when he didn’t go to the American cemetery when he was in Paris that time? And said it was too rainy, and everybody said sir that makes no sense sir?

Trump rejected the idea of the visit because he feared his hair would become disheveled in the rain, and because he did not believe it important to honor American war dead, according to four people with firsthand knowledge of the discussion that day. In a conversation with senior staff members on the morning of the scheduled visit, Trump said, “Why should I go to that cemetery? It’s filled with losers.” In a separate conversation on the same trip, Trump referred to the more than 1,800 marines who lost their lives at Belleau Wood as “suckers” for getting killed.

I read somewhere last week that when Princess Ivanka said her piece at the convention she said something about people who think Trump is politically incorrect but she loves him because he’s “real.” I’ve been thinking about it ever since. “Real” meaning what? “Real” meaning saying the horrible things that people with the slightest hint of compassion anywhere in their makeup don’t say. That’s what it means. She means people who don’t say mean shit are fake, and Donald the Evil is “real.” What a moral sewer she must be.

On Memorial Day 2017, Trump visited Arlington National Cemetery, a short drive from the White House. He was accompanied on this visit by John Kelly, who was then the secretary of homeland security, and who would, a short time later, be named the White House chief of staff. The two men were set to visit Section 60, the 14-acre area of the cemetery that is the burial ground for those killed in America’s most recent wars. Kelly’s son Robert is buried in Section 60. A first lieutenant in the Marine Corps, Robert Kelly was killed in 2010 in Afghanistan. He was 29. Trump was meant, on this visit, to join John Kelly in paying respects at his son’s grave, and to comfort the families of other fallen service members. But according to sources with knowledge of this visit, Trump, while standing by Robert Kelly’s grave, turned directly to his father and said, “I don’t get it. What was in it for them?” Kelly (who declined to comment for this story) initially believed, people close to him said, that Trump was making a ham-handed reference to the selflessness of America’s all-volunteer force. But later he came to realize that Trump simply does not understand non-transactional life choices.

“He can’t fathom the idea of doing something for someone other than himself,” one of Kelly’s friends, a retired four-star general, told me. “He just thinks that anyone who does anything when there’s no direct personal gain to be had is a sucker. There’s no money in serving the nation.” Kelly’s friend went on to say, “Trump can’t imagine anyone else’s pain. That’s why he would say this to the father of a fallen marine on Memorial Day in the cemetery where he’s buried.”

So there you go.



She eschewed her lived experience

Sep 3rd, 2020 1:28 pm | By

Uh oh.

In a scenario reminiscent of the Rachel Dolezal scandal, an African history professor at George Washington University has admitted to pretending to be a Black woman throughout her career.

“I have eschewed my lived experience as a white Jewish child in suburban Kansas City under various assumed identities within a Blackness that I had no right to claim: first North African Blackness, then US rooted Blackness, then Caribbean rooted Bronx Blackness,” Jessica A. Krug confessed in a post on Medium

Also a child of the hood.

Krug recently published a story for Essence named “On Puerto Rico, Blackness, and Being When Nations Aren’t Enough,” which was reposted by Caribbean news and culture site Repeating Islands on Aug. 29. According to Duke University Press’ official Twitter account, Krug’s book Fugitive Modernities was a 2019 finalist for the Frederick Douglass Book Prize.

Some modernities are more fugitive than others.



An underrated engine for social justice

Sep 3rd, 2020 1:13 pm | By

Lotta people talking about this “defense of looting” idea. Graeme Wood at the Atlantic for one:

Last week, NPR’s Code Switch published an interview with Vicky Osterweil, the author of In Defense of Looting: A Riotous History of Uncivil Action. NPR summarizes the book as an argument that “looting is a powerful tool to bring about real, lasting change in society.” If the real, lasting change you wish to effect is burning society to cinders and crippling for a generation its ability to serve its poorest citizens, then I suppose I am forced to agree. Osterweil sees an upside. Looting is good, she says, because it exposes a deep truth about the great American confidence game, which is that “without police and without state oppression, we can have things for free.” She came to this conclusion six years ago, and in her book, which is written “in love and solidarity with looters the world over,” she defends this view as ably as anyone could.

Well, which things can we have for free? Not the ones people have to make, because people aren’t going to make things if other people just grab them as soon as they’re made, “for free.” We can have maybe dust for free, but other than that…

Osterweil’s argument is simple. The “so-called” United States was founded in “cisheteropatriarchal racial capitalist” violence.

The rest of the remedy is more violence, which she celebrates as an underrated engine for social justice. The destruction of businesses is an “experience of pleasure, joy, and freedom,” Osterweil writes. It is also a form of “queer birth.” “Riots are violent, extreme, and femme as fuck,” according to Osterweil. “They rip, tear, burn, and destroy to give birth to a new world.”

And guess what: Osterweil isn’t “Vicky” at all, but Willie. (Very willie. Cheap shot, but after “riots are femme as fuck” I really don’t care.)

By now you have guessed that I am not the audience for this book. I have a job, and am therefore invested in building a system where you get paid for your work and pay others for theirs, and then everyone pays taxes to make sure that if these arrangements don’t work out, you can still have a dignified life. (Easily my favorite line in the book was written not by the author but by her publisher, right under the copyright notice: “The scanning, uploading, and distribution of this book without permission is a theft of the author’s intellectual property,” it says. “Thank you for your support of the author’s rights.”)

Ha! Expensive shot, well placed.

Happily I see very few people sharing Osterweil’s NPR interview approvingly, and nearly everyone consuming it in that joyous and liberatory mode known as “hate reading.” I haven’t yet encountered anyone who has read the actual book, which combines tedium and indecency in ways I had not previously contemplated.

The combination of tedium and indecency reminds me of a couple of people who used to be colleagues on Freethought blogs but left soon after I did. More than a couple, actually.



Expected not to be an idiot

Sep 3rd, 2020 12:15 pm | By

William Barr is a piece of work.

Pressed late Wednesday to respond to President Donald Trump’s remarks encouraging North Carolina residents to try to cast two ballots in the November election, Attorney General William Barr—the top law enforcement official in the U.S.—repeatedly claimed to not know whether it’s illegal to vote twice.

“I don’t know what the law in the particular state says,” Barr said in a CNN appearance when host Wolf Blitzer told the attorney general that it is, in fact, illegal to vote twice

“How would I, the mere Attorney General of the United States, know such a thing?”

Democratic lawmakers and other critics quickly slammed Barr for what they characterized as feigned ignorance in defense of Trump’s open encouragement of voter fraud. In an interview with a North Carolina reporter Wednesday, Trump said residents of the state should attempt to vote by mail and in person to test the ballot-counting system.

If the mail-in ballot “isn’t tabulated,” the president said, “they will be able to vote [in person]. So that’s the way it is, and that’s what they should do.” Under North Carolina law, it is a felony to vote twice or “induce” others to do so.

So Trump committed a felony, in public view.

In response to Barr’s remarks Wednesday, Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) pointed to federal law, tweeting: “As the attorney general, you are expected not to be an idiot when it comes to basic legal principles. Federal law prohibits voting more than once in the same election. 52 U.S. Code § 10307.”

Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, said “Barr once again made clear today that he is not serving as the attorney general for the American people.”

“He is serving as the personal henchman for Donald Trump,” Jayapal added.

Who just committed a felony.



Taking it into account while in a state of uncertainty

Sep 3rd, 2020 11:45 am | By

Sex needs to be taken into account in research on COVID-19; also, we “recognize” that sex is not fixed.

Well if sex is not fixed, how can it be taken into account in research on COVID-19? How can you take it into account if you think you can’t know who is which sex?

Men this, women that – but, by the way, we don’t actually know which subjects were men and which were women. But here are our findings anyway. But! But! We recognize that we don’t actually know which subjects were men and which were women.



Statement by the Liberal Senator for Tasmania

Sep 3rd, 2020 8:40 am | By

Claire Chandler in the Senate:

Liberal Senator for Tasmania Claire Chandler has called for Anthony Albanese to reject slurs by Labor Senators against women who acknowledge biological sex as a reality and have concerns about safety and fairness in women’s sport.

“In the Senate last week, I spoke about the findings of World Rugby that biological males playing women’s rugby present a 20-30 per cent increase in the risk of injury to female competitors. These findings have major implications for many Australian sports and this is an incredibly important issue for millions of women around the world,” Senator Chandler said.

“At the end of my speech last week – I asked the question of whether Australians are able to speak freely about women’s rights and the reality of biological sex. According to the Labor Party, the answer is no.

“Despite the importance of this issue, my speech was interrupted by shouted interjections by a Labor Senator. Today in the Senate, Labor Senator Nita Green went even further, directly labelling not only me but also JK Rowling and other women, who share concerns about women’s sex-based rights being eroded, as “transphobic”*.

“I couldn’t care less about insults thrown my way from the Labor Party. But Australian women and girls are entitled to know if it’s official Labor Party policy to deride women for discussing safety and fairness risks in women’s sport.

“Mr Albanese should explain whether he supports the comments of Labor Senators.  Is he aware of the research showing female athletes are significantly disadvantaged and at increased risk of injury when they are forced to compete against biological males? And does he know that unfounded accusations of “transphobia” against women like JK Rowling have been used to justify appalling abuse and threats of violence against women on social media?”



Who you callin’ faux?

Sep 3rd, 2020 8:20 am | By

The Australian reports:

Liberal senator Claire Chandler has been attacked as “transphobic” after she raised concerns about transgender-inclusive policy exposing women and girls in sport to injury and unfair competition.

Senator Chandler spoke on trans-inclusive sport in the Senate last week, and cited new research for World Rugby which concludes that female players would face a 20-30 per cent higher risk of injury if biological males who identify as women were allowed to compete.

On Monday Senator Nita Green, a leader of the LGBTQ ginger group Rainbow Labor, rose to denounce Senator Chandler’s campaign to defend female sport as an attempt “to veil her transphobic views as faux feminist values”.

What’s faux about them? What’s faux about thinking women should not be run over by men in their own sports? What’s faux about thinking women’s sports should continue to be for women?

“We know where (Senator Chandler) is getting her speeches from because she said (in the Senate) ‘I stand with JK Rowling and millions of women around the world who are determined to ensure our rights as women are not traded off in the name of diversity’,” said Senator Green, who claimed gender debate was “incredibly hurtful” for LGBT youth.

What about female youth? What about how “incredibly hurtful” it is for girls to have to play against male youth on female teams? And it really isn’t just Rowling who opposes this terrible plan. Lots of us do, and did before Rowling spoke up.

On Monday Senator Chandler fired back at Senator Green’s suggestion she too was a “transphobe”, and called on Labor leader Anthony Albanese to say whether he agreed with this slur.

“Does he know that unfounded accusations of ‘transphobia’ against women like JK Rowling have been used to justify appalling abuse and threats of violence against women on social media?,” Senator Chandler asked in a media statement.

In the UK and US, women speaking up for their sex-based rights against trans activist demands have lost jobs, been sent death threats and abused and harassed online.

Last week in the Senate, Senator Chandler said: “So many women have contacted me with concerns about this issue (of trans activist claims on female sport) but they are worried that if they speak publicly, or even internally, they might face consequences at their club or at their work.

On Wednesday in the chamber, Senator Chandler returned to the 2019 trans-inclusion document from Sport Australia and the Australian Human Rights Commission, which urges more than 16,000 sporting clubs covering nine million players to reorganise on the basis of self-identified “gender identity”, and not biological sex, as much as possible.

She said the chief executives of major sports had “completely taken leave of their senses” in going along with this.

“Full-contact sports (such as Rugby Australia, the AFL and ARL) have taken the position that women in their competitions had better brace themselves for a 30 per cent increase in their risk of injury so that administrators can pat themselves on the back for being inclusive.”

Being “inclusive” isn’t invariably the goal. It’s a stupid word and everyone should stop using it, because it depends. Democrats don’t have to be “inclusive” of Republicans, and vice versa. Tennis players don’t have to be “inclusive” of golfers. Bird watchers don’t have to be “inclusive” of hunters. We’re allowed to have our own interests and our own reality, and we don’t have to deny or suppress either one for the sake of being more “inclusive.” There are illegitimate reasons for excluding people from public spaces – women are well aware of this fact, believe me – but that doesn’t mean everything has to be inclusive of everyone regardless of particulars.



Taking over

Sep 3rd, 2020 7:16 am | By

News about news about news:

Divvi De Vendre, a candidate running in the federal election, says an article about her in the Daily Telegraph was inaccurate and a “put down” of her and her party.

The Daily Telegraph published an article on Thursday claiming a Sydney lawyer and writer named Anna Kerr had been “silenced” when a paragraph of a column she wrote for women’s media website Women’s Agenda, which detailed De Vendre’s identity as a “transgender woman”, was cut.

This is confusing stuff. What’s interesting about it is that Australia has a new party, called the Women’s Party, that was registered in February 2019. The punchline is that it was set up by this person Divvi De Vendre, who is a trans woman.

It’s my view that trans women should not do things like this. Ever. They should not put themselves forward to run things that are for women – parties, campaigns, lists, contests, you name it. It’s domineering and intrusive and just rude, for male people who Identify As women to take over women’s organizations and parties and movements.

Meanwhile De Vendre doesn’t like being called a trans woman.

But De Vendre said she “objects” to being called a transgender woman as “it implies someone who is still transitioning to female”.

“I am a woman physically and mentally,” she said. “The taxation department says I’m a woman, my passport says that I’m a woman, my doctors say that I am a woman.”

Because the system has been rigged to force them to “say” that, but that doesn’t make it true.

“I’ve been fully transitioned for three years now,” De Vendre said. “I am a woman physically, mentally and my hormone base is estrogen.”

So move over, bitches, he’s taking the reins.

De Vendre said it wasn’t just a “put down” of her but of her micro-party, which is running candidates in two seats this election.

“This is a put down of the Women’s Party and the Women’s Party is not about me, it’s about women,” she said.

Right, so go away and leave women alone.

About Women’s Agenda removing the paragraph that said De Vendre is trans –

Women’s Agenda publisher Tarla Lambert said she made the call to take out the paragraph.

“I was worried about the implications of it and how it could be construed as insensitive to the trans community,” Lambert told BuzzFeed News.

“I acknowledge that it is a complex debate but as a publication we err on the side of sensitivity toward minorities and we are not apologetic about that.”

Minorities? At the expense of women? So they err on the side of sensitivity toward a tiny number of men at the expense of women, ignoring the power imbalance between men and women? They should be apologetic about that.

“I love being a bloody woman for God’s sake,” [De Vendre] said. “The most important thing you can be in your life is who you are authentically.”

“Authentically,” which apparently means the opposite of “literally.” There are the dull this-world facts, and then there is Authentically, which is whatever we enjoy thinking about ourselves. I’m Authentically 10 feet tall and swift as a cheetah and fierce as an eagle. Aren’t we all.



Trump says vote twice

Sep 2nd, 2020 5:49 pm | By

Trump is telling people to commit voter fraud now.

President Donald Trump during a trip to North Carolina on Wednesday appeared to encourage voters to try to vote twice to make sure the system is working properly.

His remarks came following a question from a WECT reporter about absentee voting in the state.

“They’ll go out and vote and they’re going to have to go check their vote by going to the poll and voting that way,” Trump said. “Let them send it in and let them go vote and if the system’s as good as they say it is, then obviously they won’t be able to vote. If it isn’t calculated, they’ll be able to vote. So that’s the way it is and that’s what they should do.”

They are not going to have to go check their vote by going to the poll and voting that way. The way to check it is by tracking it online. That has the advantage of NOT BEING A FEDERAL CRIME.

The North Carolina State Board of Elections website says that if someone has voted by absentee ballot and then shows up to vote in person, the check-in system will alert the poll worker that the person has already voted.

Duh.

Voting more than once in an election is a form of voter fraud and a federal offense.

But Trump said people had to do that.

He should be tied up and taken away in an unwashed fish-hauling truck bound for Tierra del Fuego.



It’s POSSabul

Sep 2nd, 2020 4:48 pm | By

No, really, it could totally happen. Just the way it could totally happen that a giant rabbit could come down the chimney and carry little Susie away if you make her take her nap right now.

It’s a matter of logic that people could send fake ballots.

That’s nice, but it’s an empirical question whether people could successfully do that or not, and it seems pretty damn unlikely given the many layers of protection there are. Your ballot has a specific number and it goes with your address and your signature and other particulars. You can’t just find a ballot and copy it and then send it in: that won’t work.



Simply a false narrative

Sep 2nd, 2020 4:20 pm | By

Bill Barr says it’s all fiction.

Attorney General Bill Barr denied Wednesday that there are “two justice systems” for Black and white people in the U.S., claiming in a wide-ranging interview on CNN that the idea that there is an “epidemic” of police shooting unarmed Black men is “simply a false narrative.”

How many would it take to be an epidemic? How many is too many? What’s the right number?

Barr acknowledged that there is a “widespread phenomenon” of Black men being treated with “extra suspicion” and “maybe not being given the benefit of the doubt” by police officers, but he denied that this is the product of “systemic racism.” A number of other Trump Cabinet officials and the president himself have denied that there is systemic racism in policing.

Gee, I would think that would be the definition of systemic racism. Does he think it’s haphazard racism? How would that work?

“I did say that I do think that there appears to be a phenomenon in the country where African Americans feel that they’re treated, when they’re stopped by police, frequently, as suspects before they are treated as citizens,” Barr said.

Weaselly piece of crap. That’s “I’m sorry you’re offended.” It’s not a phenomenon of how African Americans feel they are treated, it’s how they are treated.

William Barr doesn’t have to care about that, because it’s not going to take him or one of his kids.



A song too many

Sep 2nd, 2020 11:34 am | By

Who knew that singing with a bunch of people in a small enclosed space could spread the virus? Besides everyone who is paying attention at all?

The number of COVID-19 cases connected to a karaoke bar in Quebec City has grown to more than 30, public health authorities say, contributing to a jump in new cases in the region not seen since May.

Sigh. A karaoke bar ffs!

Quebec Health Minister Christian Dubé confirmed on Tuesday that 12 more cases had been linked to Bar Kirouac, in the city’s Saint-Sauveur district.  Dubé said video taken at the bar recently has been circulating on social media, and he suggested that patrons and staff could be fined. 

Because: small space; enclosed space; bunch of people; singing.

Singing spreads the aerosol. You don’t want to be near people who are coughing or sneezing, or shouting or laughing or singing.

“We’re talking about karaoke where people who think that, because they are friends who know each other well, they can let their guard down: take off the mask, pass the microphone, get close together to sing. This is all very nice, but we can’t do it anymore.”

It’s all very nice in the absence of a pandemic spread via aerosols.

The first case connected to Bar Kirouac was reported to local public health authorities on Saturday morning. By Monday, 17 cases among clients and staff had been diagnosed. As of Tuesday evening, 31 cases have been linked to the bar.

Do your karaoke on Zoom for now.



Putin to world: don’t fuck with me

Sep 2nd, 2020 10:52 am | By

It was novichok.

Angela Merkel has demanded answers from the Kremlin over the “attempted murder” of the Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, after toxicological exams at Berlin’s Charité hospital indicated “unequivocally” that Navalny was poisoned with a nerve agent from the novichok family.

At first it seems odd that they use a poison that will scream RUSSIA when it’s detected – and then you remember that it’s an instrument of terror, and it no longer seems odd. Putin is just saying, as publicly as anyone could wish, “I can kill you whenever I feel like it.”

The discovery that novichok was used on Navalny will lead many to conclude that the attack was meant as a brazen message to critics of the Kremlin, and Navalny’s associates quickly pointed the finger at Putin.

“Choosing novichok to poison Navalny in 2020 is basically the same thing as leaving an autograph at the scene of the crime,” wrote Navalny’s associate Leonid Volkov on Twitter, appending an image of Putin’s autograph to the tweet.

Or a 20 foot billboard.