Mueller Was Upset With Barr’s Misrepresentation of Report | The Mary Sue

From the article:

Mueller’s letter to the Justice Department said that Barr’s brief summary “did not fully capture the context, nature, and substance of this office’s work and conclusions.” Because of that, he wrote, “There is now public confusion about critical aspects of the results of our investigation. This threatens to undermine a central purpose for which the Department appointed the Special Counsel: to assure full public confidence in the outcome of the investigations.”

Mueller urged the department to release his original introductions and executive summaries of his report and to do so immediately. Doing so, he wrote, would “alleviate the misunderstandings that have arisen.” That wording is cordial and professional but the meaning is clear: Barr effed up (on purpose) and Mueller is pissed.

Source: Mueller Was Upset With Barr’s Misrepresentation of Report | The Mary Sue

This really comes as no surprise. That Barr would fuck with the report to fit his agenda. This has been all this administration has done since Trump got into office, and to add insult to injury it’s been done so poorly we can all see it.


As an aside, my wife had her facial feminization surgery, and it was a resounding success. Thank you for the support and well wishing, and putting up with some stale news for a week or so.

How the Rich Really Play, “Who Wants To Be An Ivy Leaguer?” — ProPublica

From the article:

A ProPublica editor who investigated how the rich buy their children’s way into elite colleges reflects on the latest scandal—and remembers when affluent readers mistook his expose for a “how-to” guide.

Source: How the Rich Really Play, “Who Wants To Be An Ivy Leaguer?” — ProPublica

Last week my feeds blew up with this. I was letting is simmer, but to give you an idea:

I remember when I first heard of that rich folks can get into college as a “legacy admission.” I was playing in a Call of Cthulhu table top game, and one of the players wanted to play a debutante that was in college as a legacy admission. I had never heard of this, nor had anyone else. We had to stop and look it up.

It turns out, if you are rich enough, and have familial relationship to alumni, the college can just let you in. This is not something that happens in other countries. This is something that happens in elite universities in the US.

These students have a substantially lower GPS and SAT scores, but they get in anyways. According to the linked wiki, being a legacy ups your chances to get into an elite college by 19.7%. This is from a 2005 study.

I was completely fucking outraged then, because I had been under the illusion that the US educational system was a meritocracy. That is was the one place where your hard work could pay off, and you could get ahead. As it turns out, that’s not really true. Here’s a great article about that illusion: Higher Education and the Illusion of Meritocracy

Our educational system is anything but a meritocracy based on your intelligence and educational progress and hard work. The only thing this scandal has brought to light, is that these rich and/or famous folks skipped the legacy system and all the other pay for play legal options with college admissions, and went to blatant outright cheating in a pay for play kind of deal.

I agree with the Meritocracy article that there is an every day admissions process that literally cuts out those students from poor and middle class backgrounds in favor of higher income students? Even without this giant cheating scandal, this is happening in our colleges every day.

From the article: 

In short, the real corruption of elite-college admissions is more mundane than this scandal suggests, though far more deleterious to America’s meritocratic ideals. To view this scandal as the problem is to unintentionally reinforce the actual problem: In a truly meritocratic society, higher education should correct inequity; instead, elite higher education exacerbates inequity.

The irony is that this scandal can look like an argument for restoring a meritocratic system that wealthy people are trying to subvert through extreme measures. That’s simply not the case. As Doron Taussig, an assistant professor of journalism at Ursinus College who is working on a book about perceptions of meritocracy, told me: “Flaws in meritocracy are defined as problems because they are violations of meritocracy,” but rarely are they taken as evidence that meritocracy is a bad or incoherent idea.

In other words, this isn’t a system wealthy people have to subvert; it’s a system set up for them to participate in without guile or palm-greasing. If falsified ACT scores and Photoshopped water-polo pictures were what corruption looked like, we could solve it. But the problem isn’t the criminal subversion of meritocracy, it’s the mundane ways in which the illusion of meritocracy perpetuates itself and gets us to buy in.

This doesn’t even cover the other college issues. Cheating is a common thing. When I got my accounting degree I was astounded by the number of business/accounting majors that just outright cheated. They bought prefab tests online with the answers, used electronic translators to look up answers on google, or just read the damn book on them, or just literally asked.

I had a guy in my class look over at my carefully written notes, and literally ask me in the middle of a test if he could borrow them, reach over and take them, and then use them to get an A whereas he had gotten a D last test. IN THE MIDDLE OF THE FUCKING TEST. I just turned my stuff in, and packed up, but damn.

When I went to school for nursing, this would have been unheard of, and grounds for expulsion. Yet, when I went to a business college, literally half the students were engaging on some form of cheating. I was offered tests online. I saw tests that students had bought being brought into testing so they could match up answers. (The gal that did this still got a C, I mean how?!)

Cheating in college is a lot bigger than the latest admissions scandal

If we want our institutions of learning to have meaning, all this has to change.

Charges: Man harassed, assaulted lesbian couple at Seahawks game | KOMO

From the article:

SEATTLE – King County prosecutors have accused a 34-year-old Tacoma man of harassing a lesbian couple for their sexual orientation at a Seahawks game last month, groping one of the women and punching the other in the face. Jay Dee Harp III was charged last week with second-degree assault and malicious harassment, Washington’s hate crime statute. He bailed out of jail the day after his arrest, but a King County Superior Court judge increased his bail and issued a warrant for his arrest.

Source: Charges: Man harassed, assaulted lesbian couple at Seahawks game | KOMO

It’s like 99% of people or more are decent normal human beings if you are in the LGBTQ bubble, but then there’s this less than 1% who are fucking douchebags. The problem is you don’t know if they are just going to mutter about you being a “dyke” or a “fag” or a “tranny” or if they are going to act on their need to bully others and attack.

This guy, Jay Dee Harp III, attacked two women . by getting drunk and making malicious anti-gay statements, before yanking at their clothing and grabbing one women’s breast and throwing his beer in her face.

Luckily, this happened in Seattle where other fans took the guy down, but he got back up and punched one fo the women in the face casing damage to her teeth.

At least the police were on the side of justice. It might have helped that the dude punched an officer, too.

This is the fear I live with. My wife is entering a very trans-obvious phase of her transition, and that 1% is chock full of shit bags. Will they deny her employment? Will they say something shitty to her in an elevator? Both of those have already happened. Will she win the bigot Lotto and have one of these guys attack? You just have no idea.

These shitbags look like normal folks until they act out.

It’s nice to see Jay Dee Harp III is getting charged. I wish he never crossed paths with those women, because even if the crowd and the police were on the right side of history on this, they were still sexually assaulted and need dental work.

Radical Political Views Correlates with Poor Metacognition | NeuroLogica Blog

From the article:

The study involves individuals with radical political beliefs, as measured by a standard questionnaire. It has already been established that those with more extreme beliefs espouse greater confidence in their knowledge and beliefs. However, it is not clear how much this is due to an overconfidence bias vs a failure of metacognition. In other words – do people who are overconfident about their political beliefs like to portray themselves to others as being confident, or do they simply lack insight into the correctness of their own beliefs (a metacognitive failure). The current study tests the latter factor.

Source: Radical Political Views Correlates with Poor Metacognition | NeuroLogica Blog

This is only one study, but it’s an interesting one. It basically says those with radical political believes don’t really identify when they are wrong. They stubbornly adhere to ideas when they are clearly in error. This, according to the study, is probably a metacognitive failure for these people.

I, like the author of the article, am more inclined this failure of metacognition is an outcome of adopting radical ideology, and the necessary mental hoops needed to keep it, but that those with a tendency towards metacognition failure are the ones that do it most.

Simply put, this is why your racist conspiracy theory Uncle at the Christmas table will argue the sky is not blue at every turn, no matter the evidence to the contrary.

Science Based Medicine. The End of my Readership.

I decided to stop reading Science Based Medicine today. I made the suggestion that while they are looking for contributors that they also look for someone with some expertise in LBGTQ issues due to the tragic TERF-y posts that had recently been posted by Dr. Harriett Hall.

I wrote about Dr. Hall’s article where she thought children were being forced to transition, based on a religious groups article out of Australia.

I also wrote about how she decided when a poorly performed study that was created to bolster the ideology of the studies authors by the university they worked at was not “Squelching Controversial Evidence.”

People with “moderator” tags came in swinging at the request for contributors or advisors with LBGTQ knowledge, and that was allowed.

I’ve already seen the skeptic movement eat its own in regards to women being involved. It was a huge hairy deal in the athiest/skeptic groups where old guard neckbeards acted like outraged children when Rebecca Watson made the innocent comment that stalking a woman into an elevator late at night to pressure her into going to your hotel room is not behavior any woman wants.

A lot of bad science and logic was used to attack women in the skeptic movement. (Obvious disclosure, I used to write for the Skepchick’s sister site, Queereka for a short period, and Skepchick was heavily attacked by these giant man babies.)

I’m not particularly interested in a bunch of uneducated twats hiding behind bad science and sources to promote their own anti-transgender bigotry.

I feel the same way when I discovered the author of the webcomic Sinfest, is a TERF in the truest sense of the word, opening up a second forum for “radical feminism” and watching a transgender woman try to join in and get crucified and vilified for trying.

Mostly, I felt like Science Based Medicine were the good guys. I have read them since they started, and loved them. I felt they were fighting a good righteous fight to put out good science. I linked to their article on testosterone usage for middle aged men a lot, as it helped explain how testosterone is probably not going to be the fountain of youth middle-aged men think it is. I really looked up to them.

To see those two articles go by without a peep, a rebuttal, or anything was hard. In an ideal world, Dr. Hall would have taken that bounty of links and information and offers of help, and used them. Instead she doubled down.

Now I have to watch a moderator and several commenters pull up the TERF rhetoric that there is some sort of organized transgender front that you can’t dissent on, or we will what? Get them? Make a polite complaint asking them to educate themselves? Stop reading them in frustration?

Yeah, apparently my decision to stop reading a blog that is spreading misinformation about transgender people was a problem to the moderator. I guess us pesky transgender folks should just ignore the outright bad information, and just keep paying patreon for more?

If they can’t get that information right, then I can’t trust them on any topic to get right. At least I still have the Skeptics Guide to the Universe Podcast, as Steven Novella has written some well reasoned posts on gender, sex, and sexuality.

The thing is, there are a lot of topics about being transgender that do need discussion, and are weird grey areas because there are so few of us. That doesn’t include Science Based Medicine’s recent blogs by Dr. Hall and her fear mongering garbage.

More studies are in order, but the consensus on medical care for transgender adults and teens is very established, despite the outraged screams about it.

I just can’t recommend Science Based Medicine as a good source of information because if they borked it so badly on transgender people, who knows what else they screwed up, that I just don’t have the expertise to notice?

Deadname: What is deadnaming and who is guilty of it? – PinkNews · PinkNews

From the article:

People deadname all the time and are often oblivious to its harm. We explore the definition of deadnaming, who’s been guilty of it and how to avoid it.

Source: Deadname: What is deadnaming and who is guilty of it? – PinkNews · PinkNews

A deadname is the name a transgender person had before they changed it to suit their actual gender. This is an issue that can be done out of ignorance, reflex, or spite. We can fix the first two, and tell the folks doing the last one of fuck off.

The reason this is a touchy issue, is that there are so many folks that willfully do it to us out of spite. They are making a point. 

It’s a point that we get made to us so often, it’s frustrating. Like yeah, we get it. You have some weird perverse obsession on how we present our gender. Can we move on now?

It’s sometimes hard to determine if folks are doing it out of ignorance, or willfully being spiteful shits about our names.

There are so many damn folks that are also ignorant. Yet, that’s a respect issue. If I tell someone my name, and they refuse to use it, that’s a pretty big show of disrespect. I usually rename those folks to something less than flattering until they knock it off. Like I said, it’s really hard to tell if they are just uneducated or doing it on purpose at that point.

Then there are the folks that knew you, and reflexively get the name wrong. I have a little more empathy for this one. However, I’d like to point out that I used to run a lap with over a hundred people on the roll sheets, and those folks took my name change in stride, and switched over in a weekend. No issues. This is just to say that it is humanly possible to stop calling someone the wrong name. I have a huge number of folks in my life that were able to do it. Maybe they were better at it because they play different characters and cold do the mental switch? Maybe they were just more willing to accept a name change? For whatever reason, it was smooth as well in that group.

The only exception was Douche. Douche was a dick. He refused to call me by my new name so I literally bounced spoons off of his head, and encouraged others to do so as well. I don’t think he ever budged on his opinion that legally changing my name was something he refused to accept. It was definitely an action done as a way to be disrespectful. He did this despite being in a room of literally dozens of folks yelling at him to stop it. Bigots gotta bigot.

I’m including this article on dead names because I think it’s a good one. It is literally the least people can do to support a transgender people. Such a small gesture like using the correct name packs so much love and support into it.

Trans film critics blast Netflix Oscar contender ‘Girl’ as ‘dangerous’ · PinkNews

From the article:

Trans film critics have widely condemned the Netflix-distributed film Girl—a contender at next year’s Oscars—as “dangerous” and “sickening.”

Source: Trans film critics blast Netflix Oscar contender ‘Girl’ as ‘dangerous’ · PinkNews

This is a spoiler. Big spoiler coming.

The film closes with the 15 year old girl in question cutting her penis off with scissors in a gore spattered scene. What the ever loving fuck?!

I feel like this is horrific, and so fucking unnecessary.

The main transgender character, Lara, is played by a cisgender boy. They show her getting on hormone therapy, and then literally cutting her dick off with scissors.

Girl is directed by Lukas Dhont, a cis man. It’s co-written by Dhont and Angelo Tigssens, also cis men. However it was inspired by Nora Monsecour, a ballerina that inspired the work. She has spoken out in response to the backlash. 

Even if we go past the horrible and insensitive portrayal. The cis boy playing a transgender girl. The fact that this is a dangerously inappropriate portrayal that plays into bigoted views of transgender women. I can also come up with the fact that it’s boring, unimaginative, and been done to death already.

In the early 80s, I got a hold of a bunch of small press indy comics. One of them told a story of a group of gutter punks squatting in an empty home. One of the characters was a transgender girl, without any mention of the word trans anything. Her story culminated in her cutting her penis off with scissors.

Yet, this badly done comic showcased this as a problem of having a lack of access to medical care, and the sheer bullshit trans folks have to go through. I suspect the author knew someone that was trans.

I have seen this story played out again and again and again. It’s not a new idea. It’s not a great idea. It’s not a helpful idea. Yet, here were are watching people make movies with that bizarre cultural obsession on who has the penis.

I suppose it would be shocking to find out that some transgender women don’t care to remove their genitals. They have decided for them, to keep it, and are happy. Same for transgender men.

This single minded cultural obsession on if transgender people have penises is stupid, and results in movies like Girls.