Corruption experiment

Dan Ariely is a behavioral economist about whom I have written many times before because he devises interesting experiments to test social values and behavior. He has done several experiments that looked at cheating and in the video below he talks about another one that seems to address the question that I posed two weeks ago about how openly unethical behavior at the top of the Trump administration might affect those lower down.
[Read more…]

Never believe the first news reports about terrorist attacks

One of my firm rules-of-thumb is to never, ever believe the first reports that emerge from a chaotic situation like a mass shooting or other attack. Authorities often use the fact that the public fixates on the first report to promote initial false news to serve their agenda, knowing that many fewer people pay attention to the later corrections. Other people seize upon wrong information and run with it to create wild scenarios.
[Read more…]

Boy Scouts to accept transgender children

In order to take a break from all the bad news coming out of the Trump administration, I thought a piece of good news would help so here is an item about the Boy Scouts of America deciding to allow transgender children into their programs.

The Boy Scouts of America announced Monday that it will allow transgender children who identify as boys to enroll in its boys only programs.

The organization said it had made the decision to begin basing enrollment in its boys-only programs on the gender a child or parent lists on the application to become a scout. The Boy Scouts had previously held a policy that relied on the gender listed on a child’s birth certificate for those programs.

The organization’s leadership had considered a recent case in Secaucus, New Jersey, where an 8-year-old transgender child had been asked to leave his Scout troop after parents and leaders found out he is transgender. But the statement issued Monday said the change was made because of the larger conversation about gender identity going on around the country.
[Read more…]

Trump World

We have entered a period in which democracy, with all that it connotes about respect for the rule of law and human rights, and that had been in decline in the US for some time, has rapidly degenerated, the label now merely a veneer slapped on an emerging autocracy. I share with commenter Smokey the concern that some of the things that I post under the category of humor are really quite terrifying. But I decided to go with the intent of the creator and if that person is a humorist, then humor it is.
[Read more…]

US atrocities in Yemen claim more children as victims

Glenn Greenwald reports that a raid by the US Navy Seal Team 6 in Yemen has resulted in the death. among many other civilians including children, of Nawar al Awlaki, the 8-year old sister of 16-year old Anwar al Awlaki who was himself killed in 2011 by a US drone strike in Yemen. Both of them were the children of Anwar al Awlaki who was himself murdered in a drone strike two weeks before his son. It should be noted that the father and his two children were all US citizens, a fact that did not spare them from summary execution with no due process by Barack Obama then and Donald Trump now.
[Read more…]

Constitutional crisis unfolding

Back on December 15, I wrote the following:

Another thing to watch for are the inevitable lawsuits that are going to be filed as the Trump administration takes actions that are of dubious legality. Autocrats are used to thinking that their word is law and although US presidents have got used to thinking that they can bend the law to their will, Trump is likely to take that approach well beyond even what Obama and Bush and their predecessors did. Trump has been a magnet for lawsuits in the past and there is no reason to think that he will be less so as president. How will he react when a court rules against him?

[Read more…]

Trump’s executive orders on travel challenged

Donald Trump’s executive order banning travelers from seven Muslim countries has resulted in confusion at airports as people already on the way suddenly found themselves denied entry.

Earlier on Saturday, President Trump’s executive order, signed the day before, sowed chaos in airports, universities, corporations and living rooms in the US and abroad, as people grappled with the ramifications of its sometimes vague language.

Travelers were pulled off plans or detained at checkpoints, universities urged at-risk students not to leave the country or to seek legal advice while tech giants recalled their workers from abroad. Throughout, families took calls from panicked loved ones whose lives were cast into disarray, unable to return to their homes, with everything from cars to pets waiting where they left them.

[Read more…]