Researchers found

Dec 27th, 2019 9:47 am | By

There’s a study, you see. A study. Be impressed.

Transgender children may start to identify with toys and clothes typical of their gender identity from a very young age, a recent study suggests.

Children identify with their clothes? I think not.

They mean, of course, something like “identify with the role that is purported to belong to this sex as opposed to that,” but hey, that would make everyone stop reading.

And their confidence in their gender identity is generally as strong as that of cisgender children, whose identity matches their sex assigned at birth, researchers found.

Except that doesn’t mean anything. What shirt you wear is not organically connected to what sex you are in the way that fatuous sentence implies. It’s back to front. Toys and clothes are just things, and it’s a matter of social rules – stupid social rules, mostly – that says girls play with this and boys play with that. Liking the “wrong” or “other” toy doesn’t make a kid The Other Sex.

The Reuters/NBC article never says what discipline the study is in. I had to Google the lead author to find out. The study was at the University of Washington (a few miles from where I’m sitting):

The study, published Nov. 18 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, followed more than 300 transgender children from across the United States, as well as nearly 200 of their cisgender siblings and about 300 unrelated cisgender children as a control group. It is the first study to report on all of the participants in the TransYouth Project, launched in 2013 by UW professor of psychology Kristina Olson.

The transgender children in this study, all of whom enrolled between the ages of 3 and 12, had socially — but not medically — transitioned when they participated: They had changed their pronouns and often their first names, as well as dress and play in ways associated with a gender other than their sex at birth.

So what are we talking about here? Apparently about children who prefer the toys and clothes associated with The Other Sex…but does that really make them a magical thing called Transgender, or does it just make them kids who have their own preferences in clothes and toys?

In other words why are we interpreting preferences of that kind as a profound and meaningful difference as opposed to just part of the variety of people in general? It’s as if we’d decided pears are for boys and apples are for girls so anybody who likes pears more than apples is a boy.

Humans being dumb. Oh oh girls and boys must wear and play with radically different things; we must enforce these rules with all the advertising and discipline we can; if a child despite all the advertising and discipline fails to conform to even one of these rules, that must mean the child is In The Wrong Body.

“Trans kids are showing strong identities and preferences that are different from their assigned sex,” said lead author Selin Gülgöz, who did the work as a postdoctoral researcher at the UW and will start a new position this winter as an assistant professor at Fordham University. “There is almost no difference between these trans- and cisgender kids of the same gender identity — both in how, and the extent to which, they identify with their gender or express that gender.”

And that’s innate! It’s biological! They were born with it! It’s nothing to do with social rules, and simply choosing different social rules, no no, it’s an overpowering biological imperative which overrules what’s actually between the legs.

Hey, it’s a Study, what more do you need to know.

Not entirely social

Dec 26th, 2019 5:31 pm | By

One of these is not like the other, one of these doesn’t belong.

Can YOU see it?

Boxing Day fame

Dec 26th, 2019 2:03 pm | By

The BBC is reporting on it.

The RSPCA is looking into claims made by a prominent lawyer that he killed a fox with a baseball bat.

Jolyon Maugham posted on Twitter on Thursday morning: “Already this morning I have killed a fox with a baseball bat. How’s your Boxing Day going?”

The animal welfare charity tweeted that the claim was “distressing”.

Which is so sad because he meant it to be funny. Jokes are such a personal thing.

Government guidelines state you can use cage traps and snares to catch foxes and you must “humanely kill any fox you catch while it’s in the trap or snare”.

Humanely doesn’t mean “with a baseball bat.”

SORRY you were UPSET

Dec 26th, 2019 12:54 pm | By

Jolyon Maugham QC’s fox-smashing exploit has garnered him considerable attention, and not the good kind. Maybe being a preening sadist isn’t such a great marketing ploy after all?

So I smashed it with a club.

Do you believe in magic

Dec 26th, 2019 11:39 am | By

“Charlotte” Clymer, who gained fame as a patronizing male “feminist” under the name Charles Clymer, has a piece in the Washington Post telling JK Rowling what to do.

Woven throughout the narrative is an insistence on love and community and integrity and inclusion, which is why it has broken my heart in recent years to see Rowling’s inexplicable replacement of justice-minded imagination with a bigotry-driven rejection of science and reality.

So Team Trans gets to claim both imagination and science & reality, while taking them away from Rowling?

In her tweet, Rowling effectively dismissed [the judge’s ruling in Maya Forstater’s suit], suggesting that Forstater was being fired for “stating that sex is real,” a common transphobic assertion that has been dismissed by medical experts and other scientists.

It’s transphobic to say sex is real? So sex is not real? What is it then? And medical experts and other scientists agree that sex is not real?

I naively held out hope that Rowling was probably confused about transgender identities and simply needed someone to clue her into the reality of our lives, helping her cut through the disinformation pushed by bigots. I have seen people with impeccable progressive credentials somehow be unaware of basic facts about the trans community; was it not possible that the most beloved children’s author of my generation, someone who consistently seemed to operate from a place of empathy, simply needed better friends who could help allay her lack of knowledge?

But it isn’t a matter of disinformation and lack of awareness of basic facts and lack of knowledge. It’s a matter of having a different understanding of information and facts and knowledge, different from the jargon-spouting fanatics like Clymer.

I couldn’t concede that a writer famous for creating space for marginalized people in an imaginative world (even if it was often retroactive, as when she belatedly announced that Dumbledore was gay after finishing the series) could ignore the universal consensus of medical experts and other scientists, from the World Health Organization to the American Medical Association to the Royal Society of Medicine, validating and affirming trans people in our authenticity.

Like that. That’s what I mean. It’s just jargon. “Validating and affirming trans people in our authenticity” – that’s not medical expertise or science, it’s just political jargon.

I was left realizing that transgender people embody the magical world of Harry Potter better than almost anyone.

Indeed! The magical, fictional world of Harry Potter. That’s rather our point.

But they don’t play baseball over there

Dec 26th, 2019 7:11 am | By

Odd thing to brag about.

A great many people have pointed out that the RSPCA has a 24-hour hotline for exactly this purpose. The RSPCA have pointed out that what Maugham claims to have done is not lawful.

In case you’ve forgotten, that was Maugham’s tweeted advice to women who pointed out the potential for male people to harass or abuse women in “inclusive” changing rooms.

The Guardian even did a story on it.

10% grocery discount

Dec 25th, 2019 1:27 pm | By

In further news of holiday cheer, Walmart doesn’t pay overtime for those very same holidays.

Walmart is one of several big-box retailers who are open on Thanksgiving Day and will start its Black Friday sale at 6pm.

Walmart is also one of the few big companies that does not offer employees increased hourly wages for working shifts on a holiday. At Target and Amazon, workers are paid time and a half for each hour worked.

“Walmart doesn’t offer holiday pay. They have a discount you have to work certain days to receive and one discount only lasts two days,” said a Walmart worker in Idaho who requested to remain anonymous for fear of retaliation. They are re scheduled to work full-time shifts on Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday this year.

Walmart sent ever such a nice note to explain exactly how many minutes you have to use the discount and exactly what you can’t buy with it, although the “etc” at the end could mean…well, everything else, so not so much exact as a trap. What nice trillionaires they must be.

A flyer from Walmart stating their policy during Thanksgiving period.

The shark bites

Dec 25th, 2019 1:05 pm | By

God almighty. These people.

Republican of Arizona.

Obsessively focused on the self and nothing else

Dec 25th, 2019 12:38 pm | By

I thought a nice stocking present would be a sampling of the thoughts of several prominent “mental health experts” on Trump’s Letter to Pelosi, via Salon.

Dr. Bandy Lee:

This letter is a very obvious demonstration of Donald Trump’s severe mental compromise. His assertions should alarm not only those who believe that a president of the United States and a commander-in-chief of the world’s most powerful military should be mentally sound, but also those who are concerned about the potential implications of such a compromised individual bringing out pathological elements in his supporters and in society in general. I have been following and interpreting Donald Trump’s tweets as a public service, since merely reading them “gaslights” you and reforms your thoughts in unhealthy ways.

Dan P. McAdams:

Venomous and vitriolic, obsessively focused on the self and nothing else, this letter is what we have come to know as vintage Trump…

…[T] he letter is like the vitriolic, grievance-filled tweets he sends out every day, full of falsehoods, hyperbole and hate. As an extended expression of who Trump really is, the letter shows you how his mind works and what his raw experience is like.

For over 50 years, Donald Trump has lived this way. Trump has fought every day of his adult life as if he were being impeached by his enemies. And there have always been countless enemies, because his antagonism brings them out of the woodwork.

So he’s trapped in a spiral. He’s self-centered and hostile and mean, so he repels people, which makes him ever more hostile and mean. (He started out at max self-centered, so no increase is possible there). All the gold plating in the world can’t make that a happy life.

Dr. David Reiss:

Whoever actually wrote the letter, it accurately reflects Trump’s immaturity that has been obvious in public as long as he has been a public figure: insisting that his needs be met in a child-like manner; having very poor problem-solving ability; having an inability to take responsibility for anything and projecting his own negative attributes onto others; an inability to look at consequences of his statements or actions. Basically, acting as a frustrated or emotionally hurt toddler would react, looking for a parent to protect him and “make the bad people go away.”

Dr. Lance Dodes:

Mr. Trump’s letter shows his incapacity to recognize other people as separate from him or having worth.

As he always does, he accuses others of precisely what he has done, in precisely the same language. When confronted with violating the Constitution he says his accusers are violating the Constitution. When others point out that he undermines democracy, he says they undermine democracy. Through these very simpleminded projections he deletes others’ selfhood and replaces who they are with what is unacceptable in himself.

They’re all saying the same thing – he can’t see other people as real, he can perceive only his own self.

Dr. Justin Frank:

When I first read Donald Trump’s six-page letter to Speaker Pelosi, I marveled at the ease with which he shared what goes on in his mind openly, and without reservation. His letter is the quintessential example of how professional victims actually think. They turn the prosecutor into the persecutor.

Trump is a con artist who succeeds by tricking his marks into not seeing the con. But the biggest mark — bigger than the GOP and his base — is himself. He believes the lies he tells, the delinquent traits he disavows. It’s what psychoanalysts call delusional projection.

We civilians call it projectile delusion.

How out of touch can you be?

Dec 25th, 2019 11:41 am | By

It matters.

Scientific gender guide

Dec 24th, 2019 5:22 pm | By

He insisted he wasn’t crazy

Dec 24th, 2019 3:51 pm | By

Rudy Giuliani talked to a reporter for New York magazine the other day.

As we sped uptown, he spoke in monologue about the scandal he co-created, weaving one made-up talking point into another and another. He said former ambassador Marie Yovanovitch, whom he calls Santa Maria Yovanovitch, is “controlled” by George Soros. “He put all four ambassadors there. And he’s employing the FBI agents.” I told him he sounded crazy, but he insisted he wasn’t.

The sarcasm is interesting. She did her job, and she answered questions before Congress, therefore Giuliani mocks her. She’s not a criminal or a traitor, so let’s sneer at her as a saint.

“Don’t tell me I’m anti-Semitic if I oppose him,” he said. “Soros is hardly a Jew. I’m more of a Jew than Soros is. I probably know more about — he doesn’t go to church, he doesn’t go to religion — synagogue. He doesn’t belong to a synagogue, he doesn’t support Israel, he’s an enemy of Israel. He’s elected eight anarchist DA’s in the United States. He’s a horrible human being.”

But “Jew” doesn’t mean just “someone who goes to synagogue.” If it did there would have been fewer Jews killed in the genocide.

In the grand tradition of Soros conspiracy theorists, Giuliani believes the media is doing the billionaire’s bidding by printing lies about him, yet he often bungles his own attempts to discredit the media’s reporting. While attempting to argue that, despite what has been written, “I have no business interests in Ukraine,” he told me about his business interests in Ukraine.

“I’ve done two business deals in Ukraine. I’ve sought four or five others,” he said. Since he’s been representing the president, he said, he has been approached with two opportunities in Ukraine, both of which he turned down to avoid accusations of impropriety.

“The one that I really wanted to do,” Giuliani said, was a lawsuit on behalf of the Ukrainian government against a large financial institution he claims laundered $7 billion for Viktor Yanukovych, the former president. “It would’ve had nothing to do with Trump, nothing to do with Burisma, nothing to do with Biden,” he said. He then explained that the reason why he “really wanted” to take on the case was to learn about Ukrainian money laundering, “so I could figure out they utilize the same money-laundering system for Hunter Biden.”

That’s especially interesting because he’s a lawyer, a lawyer and a former prosecutor. You’d think a prosecutor would be well alert to the importance of keeping his stories consistent.

And then there’s the Southern District of New York, the biggest betrayal of all. That was supposed to be his world, full of his guys; he ran the office for most of the ’80s. It was unrecognizable now. “If they’re investigating me, they’re assholes. They’re absolutely assholes if they’re investigating me,” he said.

“If they are, they’re idiots,” he went on. “Then they really are a Trump-deranged bunch of silly New York liberals.”

Again…for the millionth time…I don’t get this. It’s not about being liberal, it’s about Trump’s many crimes and brutalities. It’s not just “liberals” who object to crimes and brutalities. Apparently I have more respect for conservatives than Trumpy conservatives do.

Welcome to the US, kid

Dec 24th, 2019 10:52 am | By

Of course he did.

Stephen Miller pushed to embed agents from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) at a refugee agency in a bid to target the parents of unaccompanied migrant children for deportation, a new report has revealed.

Pro tip: that’s not what refugee agencies are for.

The Washington Post reported that according to six current and former Trump administration officials, the White House sought to plant ICE agents at the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR), which cares for migrant children who cross the border without a parent as part of the Unaccompanied Alien Children (UAC) Program.

Stephen Miller is another Mengele, minus the medical skills.

According to the Post, Miller has long claimed that the ORR is being exploited by parents who hire smugglers to bring their children into the U.S. illegally. Three officials familiar with Miller’s plan said it was part of his wider effort to dismantle the barriers between ICE and the refugee program.

Yes, and let’s place a lot of cops in food banks, and disguise FBI agents as caretakers in public housing, and replace public school teachers with prison guards.


Dec 24th, 2019 10:41 am | By

Happy Festivus from Pettson and Findus, via Sven Nordqvist.

Pettson and Findus 0

Best known for his series about the old farmer Pettson and his talented cat Findus, Sven Otto Rickard Nordqvist originally wanted to be an illustrator but was rejected by several art schools. Instead he studied architecture at Lund Institute of Technology, and worked for a time there as a lecturer in architecture. At the same time he continued to look for work as an illustrator working on advertisements, posters and picture books. In 1983 he won first prize in a children’s book competition and since then has worked exclusively as an author and illustrator of children’s books.

H/t Jeffrey

It’s here

Dec 24th, 2019 7:51 am | By

Common Dreams says it’s very bad in Australia.

The fires in Australia’s southeastern state of New South Wales (NSW) were at the “catastrophic” level on Saturday, according to the BBC

“These fires are likely to continue to spread well past Christmas,” said NSW Rural Fire Services Inspector Ben Shepherd.

Photos shared on social media showed hazy skies around the country. 

“Everything is burning,” said one Twitter user. 

As Common Dreams reported Thursday, Australia just endured a heat wave that broke records for temperature in consecutive days. 

“I think this is the single loudest alarm bell I’ve ever heard on global heating,” said Kees van der Leun, a director at the American consultancy firm Navigant.

The view from above:

And guess what: escape routes are closing.

The fires are out of control and will be stopped only by rain. The forecast is no rain for the next couple of months.

Bill Cosby became legendary because

Dec 24th, 2019 7:35 am | By

Gee, who knew Bill Cosby even still had a publicist? One wonders what the point is. Is he expecting to revive his acting career?

I guess Cosby “used comedy to humanize all genders” in his spare time from assaulting women.

Another blood libel

Dec 23rd, 2019 11:44 am | By

There’s another thing Jolyon Maugham said a couple of days ago…

That’s not it (I’m getting to it), but I’ll just say I haven’t seen anything like that from the gender critical side. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist, but on the other hand, I think if it did exist we would be buried in screen shots of it. I doubt that it does exist. I think Maugham is equating skepticism about Magic Gender with calling women ugly hearted cunts. I think they are very different.

But that wasn’t it; this is it.

It’s the assertion that “deliberate misgendering” will “contribute to deaths and self-harm” and that that’s a very real wrong done by all of us who don’t believe in Magic Gender, including Maya. It’s the assertion that Maya’s non-compliance with orders to pretend that men are women will cause trans people to die.

He’s a QC. He has some fame and clout. He shouldn’t say things like that.

Peak environmentalism

Dec 23rd, 2019 10:51 am | By

Trump is mad at wind now.

“I’ve studied it better than anybody I know,” the president asserted in a bizarre segment from a weekend speech to young conservatives in West Palm Beach, Florida, close to his winter retreat at Mar-a-Lago where he is spending the holidays.

I particularly like “You know we have a world, right? So…the world is tynee.”

“They’re made in China and Germany mostly,” Trump said of wind turbines, of which there are more than 57,000 across the US, according to the American Wind Energy Association. “But they’re manufactured tremendous if you’re into this, tremendous fumes. Gases are spewing into the atmosphere. You know we have a world, right? So the world is tiny compared to the universe. So tremendous, tremendous amount of fumes and everything.

“You talk about the carbon footprint, fumes are spewing into the air, right? Spewing. Whether it’s in China, Germany, it’s going into the air. It’s our air, their air, everything, right?”

Since when does Trump give a damn about fumes spewing into the air?

Well he identifies as an environmentalist.

You can see his broken brain do that thing it does – it hears him say he’s an environmentalist and it goes PING! Cleanwaterandair. He interrupts himself when it goes PING: he changes his gesture from the shovel-shape to the thumb-finger circle shape, he stands up straighter, and he shouts: “I want THE CLEANEST WATER” and the rest of the stupid formula, including the phrase “crystal clean,” because the formula would not be complete without that. He returns to his One Big Idea which is that ranting about clean water and clean air is all there is to “being an environmentalist.”

Embrace New Truth or…

Dec 23rd, 2019 10:24 am | By

Oh hey, Jolyon Maugham has finally grasped the point.

Hahaha nah just kidding, he’s talking about something else. New Truth about this subject bad, New Truth about that other subject good.

Kinder about gender

Dec 23rd, 2019 8:54 am | By

Basic fairness in reporting the issue? Oh don’t be silly, that would never do.

She means “not all men are rapists,” not “all men aren’t rapists” which is a far broader claim (wouldn’t you think journalists of all people would get that right?), but that pales next to the hostile hyperbole of the next clause. Who the hell claims that trans women should be regarded as walking sex offenders?!

So let’s read Sarah Baxter on being kinder.

The author of the Harry Potter novels has frequently been damned as a snooty elitist for being pro-Labour and anti-Brexit and for turning Dumbledore gay.

What? It’s snooty and elitist to be pro-Labour? What universe is this exactly?

At any rate, she goes on to explain about Rowling and That Tweet.

[S]he has also been denounced as a bitch, trash, Terf (trans-exclusionary radical feminist) and worse, for concluding her tweet with the words, “But force women out of their jobs for stating that sex is real? #IStandWithMaya”.

By sex, Rowling didn’t mean bonking, but the sex into which you are born — or, as the transgender movement would have it, into which you are “assigned” at birth but that might not represent the real you. There are few more divisive issues. The novelist nobly flung herself into a pit of seething abuse in defence of Maya Forstater, 45, a tax expert who lost her job at the Centre for Global Development think tank over “offensive and exclusionary” language. Or, in Forstater’s words, for arguing firmly that “men cannot change into women”.

Tribunal, judge, ruling.

“It is a core component of her belief that she will refer to a person by the sex she considered appropriate even if it violates their dignity and/or creates an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment,” he said. “The approach is not worthy of respect in a democratic society.”

Of course I back Rowling and “stand with Maya” on the grounds of free speech. It was preposterous of Tayler to pronounce so blithely on what is or isn’t respectful in a democratic society.

In fairness, Forstater has stated that she would “respect anyone’s self-definition of their gender identity in any social and professional context”. That alone suggests to me that she was unfairly dismissed. But she has frequently engaged in disputes on social media that have shed more heat than light on transgender issues. I can see why she might have got up the noses of more courteous colleagues.

That’s a swift turnaround. On the one hand she’s right and I stand with her of course, on the other hand I’ll just condemn her anyway.

The ferocious trans wars echo the debates of the 1980s, when some feminists insisted that all men were rapists. Yes, there are perverts out there, but I don’t regard every trans woman as a walking sex offender, as Forstater appears to.

Ah so that’s how it’s done. You make shit up and attribute it to the person you want to trash even though you concede that she’s right. Forstater “appears” to do no such thing, and it’s shit journalism to pretend she does.

And how does Baxter attempt to back up that absurd claim? By quoting someone else and attributing the quotation to Maya. Maya has told her she didn’t say it, and told her who did, and Baxter has apologized, but the piece has not been corrected.

“Pronouns are Rohypnol,” she once claimed, referring to the date-rape drug. “They change our perception, lower our defences . . . alter the reality in front of us. They numb us. They confuse us. They remove our instinctive safety responses. They work.”

Except that she didn’t.

But did she correct the article? No she did not.

Posting a comment under the article is not the same thing as correcting THE MISTAKE in the article.

But hey, everybody be kinder, yeah?