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Go Fund Yourself, John C. Wright

[ 6 ] October 21, 2016 |
Sorry about the spittle

It’s her period!!!!! HER PERIOD!!!-John C. Wright, probably


Oh man, is this a sad I’m hazzing? Or is it just my sides aching from laughing so hard? Oh, it must be the latter, because it appears that John C. Wright has fallen on hard times. This is a shame because no one can veer manically between florid, overwrought, unreadable prose and seething, overwrought, unreadable prose like Wright. I mean, do you want to live in a world where Wright can’t stab his fingers into his keyboard while frothing at both the mouth and butt and typing out stuff like “I didn’t like this animated film because Batwoman is a lesbian“?


The premise is that Bats is missing, and it is up to Nightwing, an annoying kid named Damian Wayne (Bruce’s son by Thalia Al-Ghul), Lucien Fox’s son Iron Batman, and an annoying sexual pervert dressed as Batgirl, but who uses a gun to find and save him.
She is named Batwoman (the second or third of that name, if my count is right) and she has the same origin story as the Huntress or, for that matter, the Punisher.
If they film makers had kept the sexual pervert stuff in the background, or even the annoying brat quality of how annoying she was, or made the rest of the film good, I would be more understanding. They did not, it was not, and I am not.
Nothing is kept in the background. Instead we have  scene of her father asking her over coffee in a kindly fashion is she had found the right girl yet, because all widowers want their remaining daughter to expend her life in sterile sexual abnormality rather than, you know, give him grandkids; and then a scene of her hitting on a girl in bar, and the girl looking pleasing; and when Dick Grayson says it took him a while for figure out how to talk to girls, she says it took her a while, too.
Get it? Because she is a homosexual, and, so, as a girl, she had to learn how to chat up girls. To have sex with them. Because homosexual girls have sex with girls. See? It is meant to be funny. Or something.
So the sexual pervert thing is made fairly obvious and in-your-face.
Gonna defend Wright here for a moment–that is disgusting! Fathers and daughters having innocuous conversations about dating is pretty much THE WORST. I’m bleaching my brain as soon as I hit “publish.”
When invited to blow in the front doors of the Church, Fox smirks “God ain’t going to like this…” and Batwoman replies, “She has not been here for a long time….”
Get it? She? Calling God a ‘she’ is a sign of hipness, or smirkiness, or godlessness. Or something. It is meant to be funny.
What it actually is, is a blasphemy, because the writer has contempt for at least half his audience.
I’m not a religious woman, but it was my understanding that blasphemy was not nearly as serious as the prospect of upsetting psychotic comics fans.
Please read and support my work on Patreon!
OK, but this doesn’t seem very in keeping with the libertarian spirit. (Thanks to old pal, BBBB and Origami Isopod for these links!)

Pennsylvania Professor Strike, Day 3: Where is Tom Wolf?

[ 2 ] October 21, 2016 |


APSCUF is still on strike against the PASSHE schools in Pennsylvania, protesting the lack of a fair contract offer.

“While the two sides made significant progress in the talks that began Oct. 14, including reaching tentative agreements on more than a dozen issues, including distance education, recruitment and retention of high-quality faculty, and professional responsibilities of faculty outside the classroom, they were not able to reach overall agreement. The union rejected the System’s offer to provide raises to all permanent and temporary faculty and the identical healthcare package that other System employees have.”

Of course, people driving past the strikers, people on comment boards, and other ignorant people are saying this is about wages and greedy professors. But it is not about wages. The offer on salaries is basically terrible. But there are 3 core issues. First is the huge increases in employee healthcare costs. Second is that the schools want to vastly increase the contingent faculty they can hire, of course at very low wages and no benefits. Third, the schools want to destroy shared governance by greatly reducing the power of the Faculty Senate. So far student support has been very strong and very few professors have scabbed, less than 10 at my wife’s school, mostly right-wing Latin Americans and Asians in the business programs, as well as the president’s wife.

My question is where is Pennsylvania governor Tom Wolf? APSCUF got on board the Wolf Train early. He hasn’t exactly paid them back here. There are rumors that Wolf is furious with the PASSHE chancellor for creating this strike. I can’t verify those rumors but if true, a public statement that this needs to end and the state system needs to accept the union’s call for binding arbitration would help a lot. Of course, PASSHE doesn’t want to accept that because they know they will get killed in the arbitration because the contract offer is so unfair.

Can Clinton & Ryan get along? Let’s ask Newt Gingrich!

[ 30 ] October 21, 2016 |

But first, it’s important to establish who will be to blame if they don’t.

The relationship would hinge on how Clinton decides to begin her presidency. She could claim an electoral mandate and launch a pitched battle to pass the more progressive parts of her agenda. Or she could start with a relatively incremental push on a menu of domestic issues on which she and Ryan have shared interests, including infrastructure investment, criminal-justice issues and anti-poverty measures.

Remember, Ryan is a nice guy who wants to help the disadvantaged by leaving them at the mercy of people like Scott Walker, Sam Brownback and capitalist pigs who flock to right-to-work states.

People who know Ryan said his amiable disposition can do only so much to help him connect with Clinton. “He’d be gracious and a gentleman, sure — less confrontational than Newt, and he’d be smoother than John Boehner,” said William J. Bennett, a close friend of Ryan’s and a former education secretary under President Ronald Reagan. But, Bennett said, “these aren’t people who are going out to dinner.”

And don’t overlook the bothsidesism!

There is a glaring fault line between optimism and pessimism about Clinton and Ryan forging a productive partnership. Some see the pair as policy wonks with pragmatic instincts who are poised to break the logjam. Others say their political caution and entrenched ideologies would prevent them from defying their bases to resolve disputes and build agreements.

At this point I stopped and checked the author of the article. My surprise that Robert Costa was involved could fit in here . with room to rattle.

And I was not kidding about Newt.

“Paul Ryan will not be dealing with Bill Clinton,” Gingrich said. “I had a guy I could talk to who had been the governor of Arkansas and dealt with that state’s legislature and helped to found a centrist organization,” he added, referring to the Democratic Leadership Council. “Hillary, on the other hand, is someone who is hard left. They are totally different people with different instincts.”

That guy you could work with? The one you impeached?

House Republican leaders have said that if Clinton is elected, they intend to continue their investigation into her use of a private email server as secretary of state, forecasting a stormy atmosphere. “Next year could be very much like 1998, when we impeached Bill Clinton,” Gingrich said.

Yep, that guy. Regarding Emailghazigate, Ryan’s statement – issued after the WaPo article was published – suggests that Clinton has already failed in her attempt to win Ryan over.

In his statement, the House speaker reiterated his criticisms of Clinton’s email practices while serving as secretary of state, saying the exchange demonstrated a “complete disregard for properly handling classified information.”

“This is exactly why I called on DNI Clapper” — Director of National Intelligence James Clapper — “to deny her access to classified information,” Ryan said.

All together now: She didn’t. Even. Try.

Would A Republican Senate Confirm Hillary Clinton’s Supreme Court Nominee?

[ 144 ] October 21, 2016 |

MItch McConnell

Don’t bet on it:

What McCain said on Monday is almost certainly an honest account of what Republicans plan to do — that is, create a constitutional crisis should Hillary Clinton win the presidency and the GOP retain control of the Senate. The Supreme Court could be stuck with eight members for years, unable to resolve many crucial divisions in the federal courts. If the norm that presidents should be able to nominate qualified, mainstream judges who generally share their constitutional views disappears, the Constitution leaves no way to resolve the issue and staffing the federal government when the Senate and White House are in the hands of different parties will become increasingly difficult.

McCain’s comments, first of all, should underscore that it’s massively unlikely that Merrick Garland, Obama’s nominee to fill the seat on the Court left vacant by the death of Antonin Scalia, will be confirmed during a lame-duck session. Republican senators will be under intense pressure not to collaborate with a Democratic president after what is likely to be a crushing defeat in the Electoral College. Throughout Mitch McConnell’s tenure as leader of the Republican conference, Senate Republicans have consistently refused to make deals with Democrats even at the price of leaving substantial policy concessions on the table. Getting a slightly older and less liberal justice than might be confirmed otherwise is not the hill this practice is going to die on.

The more interesting question is what happens if Hillary Clinton wins the White House but Republicans maintain control of the Senate. This is possible — as of this writing, Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight gives Republicans roughly a one in four chance of retaining the Senate, and two weeks ago it was closer to a 50-50 proposition. The conventional wisdom has been that it will be impossible for Republicans to keep Clinton from filling Scalia’s seat for four years.

As McCain’s unguarded comments indicate, this is dead wrong. Serial Republican obstruction of a Democratic replacement for Scalia is, in fact, entirely thinkable. The key question is this: What causal mechanism can force Republicans to confirm any Clinton nomination to the Court? They will surely get criticism from the press, but so what? Even if this particular form of obstructionism makes Senate Republicans marginally less popular, the electoral map in 2018 is so favorable to the GOP that it almost certainly wouldn’t stop them from adding to their majority. The typical Republican senator has much more to fear from a primary electorate if a Democratic justice who would immediately become the swing justice creating majorities for liberal Supreme Court decisions was confirmed because of their vote.

One thing the conventional wisdom can’t explain is why the extraordinary and unprecedented obstruction of Merrick Garland has been an utter non-issue in the presidential campaign. Regardless of whether the Supreme Court should be an important issue to most voters, in practice it isn’t. Many Senate Republicans, having gotten away with it for a year, will assume they could get away with again — and they’re probably right. It’s true that congressional Republicans have eventually cut deals to end government shutdowns or to avoid defaulting on the national debt, but those are issues with direct, easily discernible material consequences to the public at large. The typical voter notices if they can’t get into a national park or if there’s massive economic collapse. They won’t notice if the Supreme Court is failing to resolve circuit splits.

It’s not certain that a Republican Senate would continue the Supreme Court blockade for another four years — we know the old norms are no longer operative but we can’t be sure what new ones will be established. But it’s entirely possible, and indeed likely.

Should Clinton win but the Democrats fail to take the Senate, you will hear a lot of pundits going to say something like “Republicans can’t block Supreme Court for 4 years.” The question to ask, that they won’t be able to answer, is “who’s going to make them?” And if they start mentioning the august traditions of the Senate just laughing as you fix yourself four fingers of bourbon.

The X-32 Flying Manatee

[ 14 ] October 21, 2016 |
Boeing X-32B Patuxent.jpg

Boeing X-32B. By Carl Lindberg – Own work, CC BY 2.5

People here may not like the F-35 very much but at least we were spared the X-32:

One thing is for certain; the X-32 was a ridiculously ugly aircraft. It looked like nothing so much as the spawn of an A-7 Corsair and a hideously deformed manatee. The F-35 is no prize from an aesthetic point of view, lacking the sleek, dangerous lines of the F-22, but the X-32 made the F-35 look positively sexy by comparison. How much should this matter? Not a bit. How much did it matter? Good question. Fighter pilots don’t like to fly aircraft that look like they could be run over by Florida speed boat.

You cannot stop elite media fluffing of Paul Ryan, you can only hope to contain it

[ 86 ] October 21, 2016 |


Actual lede of an actual New York Times piece:

WASHINGTON — He didn’t see it coming.

Speaker Paul D. Ryan was in a hotel room in Cincinnati last May when he learned that Donald J. Trump — a man he barely knew, with no institutional ties to his party and a mouth that had already clacked his nerves — had secured the Republican nomination for president.

Who knew that Paul Ryan was actually a Mongolian yak herder (and one without internet access)?

This is predictably a prelude to yet another explanation of how Paul Ryan, one of the two highest-ranking Republican elected officials in America, who endorsed Donald Trump for president months ago and continues to endorse him as of this morning, eighteen days before the election, is like totally in a bind not of his own making, and we should feel real sorry for him, and not hold any of it against him, because he ran a marathon to the top of Pikes Peak in 2:54 or something:

Mr. Sykes [Charlie Sykes, former right wing talk radio host and apparently now Paul Ryan’s errand boy] let Mr. Priebus know via text that Mr. Trump was no longer welcome in Wisconsin. Mr. Sykes said Mr. Priebus responded: “I am the guy trying to fix this! I am in tears over this.’” (A spokeswoman for Mr. Priebus acknowledged that he was upset, but denied any tears.)

Mr. Ryan agonized over his options. Ultimately, he chose not to withdraw his endorsement to keep Republicans motivated to vote, which still angered some of his conference. “I think they ask far too much of the speaker,” said Representative Jason Chaffetz, Republican of Utah, who has renounced Mr. Trump. “His job is to help House Republicans. Period.”

Mr. Ryan will soon find out if those members of his party who support Mr. Trump might come after him in the next speaker election. “We knew they had extreme views and you kind of rolled your eyes and said they were on our team,” Mr. Sykes said. “How much damage could they do?”

Don’t cry no tears around me.

Anyway, when the whole Trump thing is suddenly discovered to be a huge misunderstanding that also never really happened at all (I estimate this discovery will be made at approximately 5:17 AM UTC on November 9, 2016) Paul Ryan will be there to stare soulfully into the eyes of liberal journalists and thinkfluencers, while gently reminding them of the agonizing dilemmas he has endured for the sake of Paul Ryan’s political aspirations the good of the country.

A Journalistic Disgrace

[ 70 ] October 21, 2016 |


4 debates, zero questions about climate change. And what’s even worse is that the last substantive question treated Pain Caucus bullshit as objective fact:

It finally happened. After three straight debates without a single moderator asking about climate change, Fox News’s Chris Wallace decided to focus the final presidential showdown on a slow-moving issue that would greatly affect future generations. He wasn’t going to let Trump or Clinton avoid the topic, either. He pulled out facts and figures and demanded to know why the two candidates were ignoring the problem.

Wait, sorry, I’m just kidding. Wallace didn’t ask about climate change at all. He wanted to talk about the national debt.

The national debt is an odd, recurring fixation in Washington. The fact that the US government borrows a lot of money each year just isn’t a huge problem right now. Interest rates are incredibly low. The US Treasury has no problem rolling over its debt and never misses a payment. The one thing that might be worth fretting about is that someday in the future, our children and grandchildren could have to pay higher taxes to pay down the debt if it gets unmanageable.

But if you’re that worried about the future, why not talk about global warming? It’s an issue that’s already affecting us today — but will also shape the next 10,000 years of life on this planet. And it’s not just a question of whether our grandchildren might have to pay somewhat higher taxes, it’s a question of whether multi-century droughts will ravage the Southwest, or whether the city of Miami will drown beneath the rising seas, or whether vital coral reefs will vanish forever. Quibbling over the payroll tax seems quaint by comparison.

But none of the moderators asked about global warming at all. Not in the first presidential debate. Not in the vice presidential debate. Not in the second presidential debate.* Not in the third presidential debate. Hillary Clinton name-checked the topic, occasionally, but that was it. Humanity is departing from the stable climatic conditions that allowed civilization to thrive, yet the most powerful nation on Earth can’t set aside five minutes to discuss.

It’s possible the debate moderators don’t understand what’s at stake. It’s possible they don’t care. Or it’s possible they’re afraid that any question on the topic might seem too partisan. After all, Clinton thinks the issue is pretty serious and has a bunch of proposals around it, whereas Trump says it’s all a hoax invented by the Chinese. Under the circumstances, even a halfway intelligent question about climate policy would sound “biased.”

Crazy For You, But Not That Crazy

[ 35 ] October 20, 2016 |


Shorter Paul LePage: “Donald Trump is making racist authoritarian buffoons look bad.”

Tattoo Politics

[ 218 ] October 20, 2016 |

This is shooting fish in a barrel, I know. But I could not let this insipid Vox essay by a young Jill Stein voter go unmentioned.

It’s hard to say why so many millennials are voting third party. Among my peers, most are in the bag for Clinton because they are so scared of a Trump presidency. But overall, I feel that our generation is much more progressive than the older generation. We grew up in the Obama years, under an administration that gave us the Affordable Care Act and passed laws to protect marriage equality. I think people my age are hungry to move even more toward the left. Hillary, with her moderate views and establishment attitude, is not going to be that champion.

That’s why I’m standing for Stein. I can cast my ballot without guilt, knowing that she represents who I am as a person. People tell me to compromise and vote for the lesser of two evils — but I cannot compromise when it comes to my beliefs, especially when they involve human rights and systemic oppression. If Stein didn’t happen to fall deeply in step with my views, I would abstain from voting entirely. I vote based on principle, not because of party loyalty.

It is a moral, not a pragmatic, act.

Personally, I think it is a moral act to not let a fascist who will destroy American democratic institutions into the Oval Office. But then Hillary Clinton doesn’t quite get intersectionality so both sides are the same, right?

This is the worst possible identity politics–what I call tattoo politics. What do I mean by this? It’s people who display their politics like their new arm tattoo, showing it for all the world to see and then saying that anyone not on board with their particular issue is a gigantic sellout who cannot be voted for. This is pure narcissism and total consumerism, which is of course ironic coming from the left. But the atomized individualistic consumer model of voting is something I have railed against for a long time. On top of it is a puritanical moralism that suggests that your vote is a strictly moral choice that implicates you in whatever that president does and, more importantly, that withholding your vote from a compromised candidate means that you are not implicated and that you above those sellouts who got their hands dirty. The former part of that construction may be true, but the last is certainly false. All Americans are responsible for their government. Voting is a time when you have no legitimate choice but to pick which of the two major candidates are going to be the best and then organize before the next election to get better candidates. Voting is not how change happens. Voting consolidates the change since the last election cycle. But I am screaming into a tornado to challenge the extreme consumerism of modern politics.

More Adventures with America’s Last Real Liberal President (TM)

[ 33 ] October 20, 2016 |


That Richard Nixon. What leadership he showed signing environmental legislation that passed the House 421-4 or whatever. That’s the sign of a true liberal. America’s great environmentalist president! And when he wasn’t doing that or finding other ways to advance liberalism like burglarizing the office of his opponent or rewarding the worst elements of the labor movement for beating up hippies by raising them to be Secretary of Labor or invading Cambodia or rooting on the crushing of the Attica strike, America’s Last Real Liberal Unlike That Neoliberal Sellout Barack Obama was vetoing universal child care legislation.

Back in 1971, though, the United States came as close as it has ever been — unbelievably close — to ensuring universal child care. And if you are a women who did not live through this era (or a woman who did not read Collins’ book and then lament its history lesson with all your girlfriends), you may not know that this ever happened. The sudden realization of which somehow makes the disappointment all the more biting.

That year, Congress passed a bill, the Comprehensive Child Development Act (which now merits all of three paragraphs in Wikipedia), that would have created a national network of federally funded child care centers, with tuition subsidized depending on a family’s income. It was budgeted at $2 billion for the first two years (the equivalent of about $10 billion today). That money was supposed to be a serious first step toward alleviating the challenges of a labor force increasingly full of working mothers. The government was to fund meals, medical checkups and staff training. No family would have been required to participate, but every one would have had the option.

“It was an entitlement,” Collins wrote in a New York Times column last year, “and, if it had become law, it would have been one entitlement for little children in a world where most of the money goes to the elderly.”

Congressional Republicans and Democrats alike supported the bill. The Senate passed it 63-17. Supporters expected President Richard Nixon to sign it. Then Nixon (with the urging of Pat Buchanan, then working in the White House) vetoed it with scathing language denouncing the “radical” idea that government should help rear children in the place of their parents. The veto rested on cultural grounds more than financial constraints. Here is the passage from Collins’ book that lingers:

The goal was not just to kill the bill but also to bury the idea of a national child-care entitlement forever. “I insisted we not just say we can’t afford it right now, in which case you get pilot programs or whatever,” Buchanan said. The veto message was actually a toned-down version of what Buchanan had suggested — he wanted to accuse the bill’s drafters of “the Sovietization of American children.” But it did the job Buchanan… had hoped it would do. It delivered the message that it was much more politically dangerous to work in favor of expanded child care than to oppose it.

There was little public attention surrounding the bill at the time Congress was debating it. After the veto, though, the very idea of government-funded child care spawned a fantastic misinformation campaign, complete with rumors that any such efforts would inevitably lead to government indoctrination of small children, and child labor unions empowered to fight their parents.

I was reminded of this earlier this week when I brought Caroline Fredrickson to campus and she talked about it, noting not only Pat Buchanan’s crazy words, but also those of Phyllis Schlafly, who also led the fight against universal child care.

This all makes me disgusted, not only because the Nixon’s actions have made the lives of millions of parents, especially single parents but almost all parents ultimately, far more difficult, but because it feels like universal child care is something completely off the progressive demand list today. And that’s ridiculous because it should be right at the top. I mean, let’s say Hillary wins and Dems even with the House along with the Senate. What are the priorities? Fixing the ACA, raising the minimum wage, an immigration bill, reinstating preclearance under the Voting Rights Act, campaign finance reform, etc., etc. And that’s all good. But my god, shouldn’t universal childcare be right at the top of that list? Maybe it’s because we don’t think it’s possible, maybe it’s because we have limited goals these days. But it’s not that long ago before it came within a smidgen of significantly moving forward.

Love in a time of Chlamydia

[ 64 ] October 20, 2016 |

Last year saw the rise of Donald Trump and the rise of STIs. Coincidence?

Total combined cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis reported in 2015 reached the highest number ever, according to the annual Sexually Transmitted Disease Surveillance Report released today by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

There were more than 1.5 million chlamydia cases reported (1,526,658), nearly 400,000 cases of gonorrhea (395,216), and nearly 24,000 cases of primary and secondary (P&S) syphilis (23,872) – the most infectious stages of the disease. The largest increase in cases reported from 2014 to 2015 occurred in P&S syphilis (19 percent), followed by gonorrhea (12.8 percent) and chlamydia (5.9 percent). Chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis are the three most commonly reported conditions in the nation and have reached a record high level.

“We have reached a decisive moment for the nation,” said Dr. Jonathan Mermin, director of CDC’s National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention. “STD rates are rising, and many of the country’s systems for preventing STDs have eroded. We must mobilize, rebuild and expand services – or the human and economic burden will continue to grow.”

By way of comparison, newly diagnosed cases of diabetes continue to drop.

Meanwhile, Republicans are working hard to cut funding for health care providers like Planned Parenthood so more people will have the opportunity to discover that the GOP really is as much fun as a dose of clap.

Another Satisfied Customer!

[ 146 ] October 20, 2016 |


I’m sure anyone who’s tried to find an autosaved Word file (“we buried it the 16th subfolder! Each less intuitively named than the last! Designed by software engineers who find BlackBoard too elegant and user-friendly! Assange’s best hackers couldn’t find it!”) can identify:

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, who has never been one to embrace technology, has had it with Microsoft Surface tablets on NFL sidelines. He went on a surprisingly long-winded rant about the devices in today’s presser, where he essentially said that the tablets suck ass and he’s not using them anymore.

The Patriots had dealt with issues in Sunday’s game where their technology and headsets weren’t functioning properly. Belichick told reporters that the team’s IT guy had done all he could, and any issues beyond that were on the NFL. “I don’t know how much urgency there is on the other part from the league standpoint,” he said.

Belichick isn’t the only one to complain about the result of the league’s multi-year, $400 million deal with Microsoft. As Kevin Clark of The Ringer wrote in August, the NFL’s players and coaches have had mixed reactions to the prevalent tablets on the sidelines. Many of them preferred binders to look at plays and formations, since those don’t require batteries.


The NFL released a reminder that Microsoft paid the league a lot of money for this deal…

Speaking of Smilin’ Bill, I’ve long believed he was right that every call should be challengable, with a requirement that a specific error be identified, not just “look at the play and see if you see anything.” Continue to limit the number of challenges, make clear that only indisputable evidence can overturn a call, and let coaches decide what they want to challenge. The fact that John Fox and Rex Ryan will still burn most of their challenges with failed attempts to challenge spots to gain 1 yard on 1st quarter punts would just be part of the fun. All three of the terrible pass interference calls from the last weekend would have been overturned and I don’t know why they shouldn’t be, although of course in the specific case of Sherman mugging Jones this should properly been seen as a character-building exercise for the Atlanta metropolitan area. (Can we also talk about how Seattle basically couldn’t legally cover Jones with two Hall of Fame defensive backs? That’s one example of trading up you have to say worked.)

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