Might I Remind You of a Couple Things?

In light of the attacks on Syria, I thought it might be good to remind the community of a couple things.

The first is one you’re less likely to remember, though it is important: Two years ago, during the campaign, Trump was asked by Mika Brzezinski on the MSNBC show Morning Joe about the source of his foreign policy advice, given that there were so many difficult issues active in 2016.

He replied:

I listen to myself and speaking with myself, number one, because I have very good brain and have said a lot of things, so I would listen to myself. … My primary consultant is Myself.”

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Did Chinese Children Evolve To Take Tests After Breakfast?

My recent posts have focussed on IQ and the differences between a gap in IQ test results and a gap in general intelligence or g. The contemporary difference between white and Black racial mean IQ is about 10 points. For every IQ test subject, including all white subjects and all Black subjects, some portion of that IQ score represents a measurement of g. However, there are good reasons to think that the proportion of the IQ score that measures g will be different among white people from the proportion measuring g among Black people. While I don’t think that motivation is different enough between racial groups to explain the mean IQ score gap, it’s very interesting and relevant to note that placebo effects that are likely due entirely or almost entirely to motivation effects (primarily a combination of arousal effects and attention effects) can on their own generate a 10 point difference in mean IQ test scores. The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (in this case, the “nation” is the USA) has the lowdown.

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FOR FREUD’S SAKE, YOU GET TO DISCRIMINATE!

Thirdmill – who is not an idiot, but is wrong in this instance – has repeated a bad, bad, bad, bad, bad, fucked and wrong trope over on Pharyngula. This trope is repeated by idiots so much that eventually some reasonable people start to think that maybe they have a point, which is why the trope needs to get stomped on hard, though please don’t stomp on Thirdmill as a person, should you choose to comment.

The trope is this: when considering discrimination, we need to consider the genuinely held beliefs and permit room for people to adhere to their consciences when doing so does not directly harm another. This was in the context of a Pharyngula post about how in the 99 years after the civil war and before the federal government started butting in, the invisible hand of the free market had totally taken care of private sector segregation just fine, and that Title 7 thing was completely unnecessary and Heart of Atlanta is a load of crap. Because of course it was, this is Sam Harris’ opinion, remember?

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Does the Entire Media World Think John Kelly is Stupid and/or Racist? Spoiler: Yes!

It really is as if Kelly’s discourse on intercultural communication and compromise before the civil war has drawn the attention of every single person with a brain and access to a media outlet – and a few without brains as well. But let’s focus on the BRAAAAAIIIIIIIIINNNNNNZZZZZZ for a minute, as it is Halloween.

MSNBC’s talking head Roland Martin let Kelly have it:

I’m not going to allow four stars stuck on stupid to simply go on.

Snap!

Martin also had some substance to add:

First of all, historic fact number one. The Civil War was fought over slavery. 11 southern states left the United States in 1860 and 1861 in order to protect the institution of slavery following the election of President Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln was an avowed opponent of the expansion of slavery that said he would not interfere with it where it already existed.

It is not yet confirmed whether Martin continued:

Well, alright. Hey I was diggin’ on John Kelly for awhile
Sounds like he got a three on him though, to me.

Maybe I’m reporting on this entirely too much, but people have been getting away with this for so long that earlier this year I had to go absolutely off the deep end when Jack Kingston insisted that advocating slavery doesn’t mean a (white) man isn’t working for peace.

It is so good to see some piling-on take place. If the people who spread this malicious, racist disinformation routinely got trashed when they did so, we might see less disinformation out there. Honestly, when Kingston’s comment passed by without notice from the members of the panel with whom he was talking about Andrew Jackson, I thought I’d never ever live in a land where the war mongering, the racist statements, or the rape apology of the elite would ever be seriously challenged. But with Weinstein, #metoo, Spacey, and John Kelly, I’m starting to think I’m living in once upon a time called Now!

I like this new media environment: strongly against rape-apology, refusing to hear gayness equated with pedophilia, calling out racism. Great Calliope’s Capybara, Batman! This is how mass media should be: chocolate covered and freakin’ habit forming.

Ta-Nehisi Coates Knows More Than Me, John Kelly, So Watch Out

When things fall into my particular area of expertise, being a non-entity as far as the national (or even local) media is concerned can be crushingly disheartening. Watching people with next-to-no knowledge on a topic have their opinions broadcast to millions while your demonstrated mastery and expertise in a field make it plain to you that everyone involved in an important national conversation is missing out on some very, very important basics is horribly frustrating, as anyone who has ever studied any of the fields on which an Important Political Consultant pontificates can attest. Imagine if you will, that in the aftermath of some horrible tragedy involving vaccines produced by in vivo exposure of embryonic zebra fish to a virus Our Hero PZ Myers is forced to listen to David Brooks pontificate

Well, of course if you give this vaccine to farmed salmon you’re going to see a higher incidence of anadromous autism, the evolution of the zebra fish practically guarantees it. Then that autism is inevitably going to cause a collapse in fish stocks because if you’re autistic you won’t breed, and these sick farmed salmon are eventually going to pass that trait on to the wild salmon through genetic mixing of farmed and wild fish, which ends up hurting the livelihoods of fishermen in the Pacific NorthWest and leading directly to the tragedy we saw this week.

Well, I’ve felt something like that a time or two, as have many actual experts in their fields, I’m sure. What doesn’t typically happen, however, is having your idiocy immediately challenged by someone who is both an actual expert in the field and a writer of special magnificence. So even though John Kelly was clearly spouting idiocy (and evil) in the interview I’ve already critiqued, I did not realize what was coming: a thorough and complete trashing by someone with very practiced communication skills, strong connections throughout the national media, and legitimate expertise in the US Civil War. Oh, John Kelly, what have you done? You’re a general, you’re not supposed to be ignorant enough to walk blithely into a big gun’s field of fire. Pissing me off is one thing, but pissing off someone who actually knows the history of slavery? I hesitate to continue. It’s over, Kelly. Ta-Nehisi Coates has the high ground:

Yes. A few things. Go read Coates’ tweets, and prepare for what I expect will be a devastating long-form piece in the near future. In the meantime, it is, of course, worse for Kelly than just that. He’s actually walked into overlapping fields of fire, and I don’t think it’s going to help him much that his allies are going to say some of these blazing guns sound a bit shrill:

 

Yeah, I think racist is the least of the criticism Kelly has (deservedly) coming his way.

For Your Enjoyment: To Save the Life of the Slut

Sam Bee is at it again, chronicling the most recent house bill to abort scientific inquiring in the name of protecting unarmed fetuses everywhere. Although this bill ignores research on the neurological development of human fetuses in order to ban abortion after 20 weeks when the sense of pain is not developed until approximately 29 weeks*1 (according to some “doctor” who went to “medical school” or something), it is not as restrictive as some other legislation Republicans have proposed:

The bill makes a few token concessions to women. It allows exceptions for rape, incest, and the life of the slut.

Have I mentioned how much I love Samantha Bee?

Nonetheless, there is at least one major bit of misinformation in Bee’s video. An interview by Melissa Harris-Perry of Dr. Willie Parker who gave us information on fetal neurological development includes a chyron featuring the statistic:

58% of women have abortions in their 20s.

Well, no. Of all abortions performed, 58% are performed upon women in their 20s. That’s a little different than saying that not only do 58% of women have abortions, but 58% of women had abortions just during their 20s.

If that MSNBC fail doesn’t turn you off of Samantha Bee for not doctoring the video before playing it, then you should truly enjoy her entire rant:

 

Happy Feminist Friday, everyone.


*1: for Republicans: 29 is actually a larger number than 20. That means it’s better. 99 is even larger. You’d be really manly if you banned abortion after 99 weeks. Why don’t you try that next time? I’m even sure you could find a scientist to say that kids can feel pain after 99 weeks of life. IF another Republican tries to out-man you, you could always propose banning abortion after 999 weeks – that will show them.

Racist Rape Apologists Do Good By Accident?

By racist rape apologists, we are of course including Trump, but the instigator here is Tucker Carlson acting on behalf of Trump. From RawStory:

Last night on Fox News, host Tucker Carlson called on the Department of Justice to open an investigation into “Hollywood’s culture of systematic sexual abuse” in light of mounting accusations of sexual abuse and harassment against film producer Harvey Weinstein.

Today, it appears that President Donald Trump heeded Carlson’s advice.

As the Daily Mail reports, Trump’s DOJ is opening an investigation into Weinstein amid reports that the producer may head to Europe for “sex rehab,” leading to fears that he may “pull a Roman Polanski” and flee the country to avoid prosecution for his alleged crimes.

Clearly racist lapdog Carlson is engaging in attempted deflection. Perhaps he believes that “the left” will object to a DoJ investigation of sexual abusers and sex abuse enablers? If so, he’s dramatically, dramatically wrong. If there were violations of Title 7, we should know, and if the DOJ has reason to believe that violations may have occurred, an investigation into whether those suspected violations in fact occurred may very well be warranted.

So, sure. Set this precedent, Carlson. Create a more proactive culture at the Department of Justice, a culture that feels empowered to investigate any large employer that appears as if it may have engaged in ongoing discrimination against people on the basis of sex or race or national origin or religion. I’m perfectly happy to have the DOJ root such discrimination out of Hollywood. I’m not sure, however, why you think this is such a good idea. You really think that Fox News and the Catholic Church won’t be next? And if your desire is to focus on the bad acts of people who aren’t Trump, you might want to take note that Title 7 covers the federal government – the same federal government that currently employs at least one person who has admitted multiple times to engaging in multiple different kinds of assault and harassment while serving as owner/employer of the people being targeted.

This is what being an air-headed douchebro gets you: a TV show paying you millions so that you can inadvertently advance the liberal agenda. Good job, Carlson!

Rapists’ Lives Matter. Oh, and Fuck the Poor.

As has happened many times and in many places, a Michigan rapist has been given parental rights and joint custody over a child born from one of those rapes. Though this particular case happened in Michigan this bullshit has received media coverage before. And before that. And before that.

Should I go on? Probably not. Samantha Bee did, and that still hasn’t helped.

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Everything You Need to Know About US Gun Rights, Part 1

This post grows out of a discussion on Mano’s blog about gun rights and the US constitution. If you like, please read the beginnings of this discussion where it originated. However, in response to questions raised by EnlightenmentLiberal, I felt the need to write a comment whose length kept increasing. (No, Crip Dyke! Say it isn’t so!) Ultimately, I thought this history/argument was better presented as its own post here.

The real problems in the interpretation of the 2nd amendment can be found in a Commerce Clause case about the growing of wheat on private property and the anti-slavery reconstruction amendments.

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Not a Metaphor: Minneapolis School Explodes

Again with Minneapolis and a dramatic and deadly failure of infrastructure. In this case, a high school suffered an explosion that entirely removed an adjoining section between two wings architecturally engineered to be structurally independent. Those wings are still fully standing in pictures from after the event. Though not much is known, at the moment it appears the explosion was caused by a “gas leak” – one presumes they mean “natural gas” aka methane.

Look to the Star Tribune for ongoing coverage: you can start with this article. Most reports say there is one confirmed death, though other reports say that there is one strongly presumed death that has not yet been confirmed. The ST article is quite clear that emergency services reported one death as “confirmed” but then downgraded that to “unconfirmed” about 15 minutes later, thus the confusion. There are consistent reports that more than one person is still missing or trapped, in some (at least one?) cases an individual has managed to communicate to emergency services despite being currently unrescuable. The number missing, however, is small. As the ST article is continually updated, the latest news I have is that the number is down to two. Crews are working to clear debris to reach these persons and find any missing ones. However, and let me say this strongly: All coverage I’ve read (4 independent sources so far) says that the students are all safe, all located, all evacuated. Injuries are limited to adults.

A number of years ago, there was a school shooting at a high school significant to my own youth. At the time, a friend was working for the school district and had worked at the high school during part of her employment with the district. Though we are important to each other, I hadn’t kept up with her very well and it had been 10 months since we had spoken, so I wasn’t sure where she might be. It didn’t take long to figure out that she wasn’t hurt (or even present) at the shooting, but there were those agonizing hours when even though I knew it was unlikely she was present or injured, I just didn’t know. For any in the community in a similar position, I offer you my sympathy.

However, the occurrence of this tragedy can’t be seen only through a personal lens. When Minneapolis suffered a freeway collapse, there were many individual tragedies for people killed, injured and traumatized as well as for those who lost someone they loved. Nonetheless, we had a very significant (and still unfinished) discussion about aging infrastructure in the USA. This explosion is likely to provoke similar conversations, perhaps even overlapping ones if part of the explosion’s cause is attributed to an aging and/or poorly maintained facility. If you wish to comment on the causes found and any implications you might derive from those identified causes, please feel free to do so, but also write with some awareness that you never know whether or not someone else reading the comments here might be personally affected.