Everything is new to those with no experience

Is it a boy? Is it a girl? No, it’s a terrible new trend that needs to be aborted. I speak of “genital-reveal parties”, which appear to have become de rigueur these days. OK, so technically they are called “gender-reveal parties”, but since gender is socially constructed, you’re really just revealing what genitals your unborn baby comes attached with.

In case you are unfamiliar with this extremely gender-normative phenomenon, it is a ritual in which a couple simultaneously finds out and reveals the sex of their unborn child in “creative” ways.

So, you hoping for a boy? Or a girl?” is just the sort of thing that no one has ever asked.

How so very Guardian

Drag queen (his description) meets nutter on bus. Nutter screams at drag queen. This is because:

Britain’s acute culture of intolerance breeds this conviction that “the other” deserves to be denigrated. Rather than critique our own systems of power, we are taught to blame immigrants for economic turbulence; instead of protecting trans women from acts of patriarchal violence, some of the British press seeks to vilify them as its culprits. Current waves of divisionism foster an environment in which violence towards minorities is pitched as protection, and it’s conducive to toxic forms of masculinity. For instance, in the three months following the hate-fuelled Leave campaign, attacks on LGBT people rose by a startling 147%. And during the World Cup, searches for helplines and resources about domestic violence markedly increased following matches where England lost to foreign competitors, another instance of national disappointment provoking male violence.

Maybe, y’know, you just met a nutter on the bus?

Dear Ms Solnit

I keep the newspaper clipping inside a Milan Kundera novel: it shows demonstrators in Prague in 1989, one of them carrying a badly chipped bust of Stalin around whose neck hangs a placard that says nic netrvá věčně: nothing lasts forever. It’s not a war cry, nor a prophesy, but a bald statement of fact at the moment when the Soviet bloc Stalin had been critical in establishing was falling apart and Czechoslovakia was liberating itself.

It must have seemed like forever to those who lived under totalitarianism until all of a sudden “forever” crashed and burned. People worked to make it so at terrible risk; some were imprisoned, or otherwise punished. Some died. They worked without knowledge of how and when their efforts might matter, and the faith that drove those activists is still stunning to contemplate. I think of that history when I think of our present predicament in the United States.

I know a lot of us have rage fatigue and moral exhaustion from a little over a year and a half of the hell of Donald Trump’s ascendancy. I know that seeing the vulnerable crushed, and the sabotage of the things that we fought for from reproductive rights to climate policies, and in particular the recent efforts to destroy small children weighs on most of us.

Trump’s shouting about things is not totalitarianism. Get a grip woman.

And what about this then?

Leeds City Council has ordered the noise of a herd of cow to be monitored for a year, after a dispute between two neighbours about excessive mooing spilled into a planning hearing.

James Bullock, of Swillington just outside of Leeds, played councillors the sounds of cows mooing during a retroactive planning hearing for a barn to house animals at neighbouring Swillington Organic Farm.

‘The noise has been intolerable. I have to lie there in bed listening to this bellowing,’ he said.

That’s what happens when you live next to a farm. You have the sounds of a farm next door to you.

What do you think happens in the country?

How did we end up here then?

A group of neighbours have been told to take down their communal paddling pool in case a burglar drowns in it overnight.

Residents of a block of flats in Strood Kent, were warned the 12ft pool could pose a health and safety risk should someone try to break into a nearby home.

Officials at mhs Homes, which manages the properties, said the pool must be emptied and taken down each night to avoid such risk

Dear Lord above, are these people serious?

Casual workers in the Wimbledon catering operation are being paid the same hourly rate for night shifts as day ones and earning well below the London living wage.

The Guardian has learned that Compass, whose subsidiary FMC is the official caterer, is paying some night workers at the tennis championships in south-west London £8 an hour, the same as their colleagues working during the day.

Bar work. Waiting table. Apparently, you should be paid more to do this when people want to go for a rink or to eat. You know, working 6 – 11 being unsociable hours or summat?

And so the RNLI dies

He said he suspected he was targeted as he struggled with the new form-filling regime, adding: ‘Thirty-four years of service with not one disciplinary mark against my name, and skill, experience, knowledge and the sacrifices that I’ve made count for nothing.’

Darren Lewis, RNLI regional lifesaving manager, defended the charity’s decision to sack Mr Clark. He said it was down to a ‘number of breaches of our policies and procedures’ and followed a ‘lengthy investigation’.

Asked if there was a change in culture at the charity, he said a new management structure meant paid managers were able to keep a closer eye on the activities of volunteer crews at lifeboat stations. He added: ‘Any actions we do take are not taken lightly.’

No, no, the forms are the important thing, aren’t they?

Polly and eugenics

Despite the non-emergence of an “intelligence gene” and the predominant importance of environment over heredity, the far right’s search for reasons why the poor are inferior has a long history. Steve Jones, renowned geneticist, puts it this way: he points out that wealth is considerably more heritable than genes. He says moving to affluence increases a working-class child’s IQ by 15 points. As for super-breeding, Darwin asked a racing dog breeder how he succeeded: “I breed many and I hang many,” was his reply. Not so easy with humans.

Young’s New Schools Network is an odd beast, a charity drawing £2m, 90% of its income, from the state, to advocate and help people set up new schools. But there haven’t been any successful applications since before the 2015 election.

The closing date for the renewed contract to the NSN is 19 January – though it has always gone to the same outfit. Toby Young earns some £90,000 per year as its head. There is, in the tender, no mention of applicants being fit and proper – or non-eugenicists.

Isn’t this fun?

The Fabian left attacking someone for believing in eugenics?

Those Vietnamese nail bars

The investigation began when police, immigration officials and staff from the charity Unseen visited nail bars in Bath in February 2016. At the Nail Bar Deluxe premises, in the city centre, they found two Vietnamese girls working on clients’ nails.

It emerged they were working 60 hours a week. One was being paid about £30 a month while the second was not paid. They were staying at the four-bedroomed home of the owner, Jenny, in Bath. One lived in a tiny room, while the other slept on a mattress in the attic.

Should this happen? No, of course not. But it’s a hell of a long way from 100,000 being prostituted through those Vietnamese nail bars, isn’t it?

Mustn’t let the steam engine spread into education

Hell, even coal fires are a bad idea, they’ll teach the young to appreciate Big Carbon:

By 2020, technology in the classroom is predicted to be a $21 billion industry. Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan have pledged to donate $45 billion in Facebook shares to bring their personalized learning to other educational spaces. Meanwhile, Bill Gates is committing $300 million to similar causes, and Netflix’s Reed Hastings wants to give $11 million to personalized math software.

But there is reason to second-guess this opportunistic philanthropy, especially with Betsy DeVos as an outspoken proponent of this so-called personalized learning, i.e. tech-enriched education. It’s becoming clear that company interests are intended to groom loyal customers, sometimes at the sake of effective tutelage. And while teachers have begun to criticize their new roles as entertainer, classroom silence has become a measure of an app’s success. These are just a few of the reasons Silicon Valley’s role is in serious need of examination.

Take Google as an example. Right now, the majority of public schools rely on Google’s Chromebooks. The laptops now host half the nation’s primary and secondary students, with over 30 million students using Google’s educational applications. At a cheap $30 per student and with a suite of free online applications, it may seem like an altruistic move on Google’s part. However, all of Google’s services remain free because of advertisements and the data the company tracks from users’ online meanderings. This has led many to argue that its benevolent image is only as good as the promise not to track student data. Otherwise, Google’s educational enterprise allows the company to benefit from its collection of adolescent data mines.

Twat.

Err, yes. Or no, maybe maybe

A Medical Theory for Donald Trump’s Bizarre Behavior
Many mental health professionals believe the president is ill. But what if the cause is an untreated STD?

Valuable diagnosis here:

Physicians like me have also taken notice of Trump’s bizarre, volatile behavior. Given our experience, we can’t help but wonder if there’s a medical diagnosis to be made. After all, many medical conditions exhibit their first symptoms in the form of psychiatric issues and personality changes. One condition in particular is notable for doing so: Neurosyphilis.

Yup.

Does Trump suffer from this condition? I cannot, of course, establish this diagnosis from a distance.

Tertiary syphilis sometimes produces insanity and delusions of grandeur. Trump appears insane and has delusions of grandeur.

And that’s the extent of the diagnosis.

At which point allow me to add my own diagnosis, one that has the advantage of coming from someone with no medical training at all. It’s extremely unlikely that we’re going to see tertiary syphilis is someone exposed to the regular use of antibiotics common in the last 50 years of American medicine.

This is completely fucking absurd – the professor donating plasma

You do have to wonder about the intelligence of some in academia you know.

I’d driven 107 miles from my home in Bangor, Maine to the BPL Plasma Center in Lewiston to collect $50 for having my arm punctured and a liter of my plasma sucked out. The actual donation takes about 35 minutes, but the drive and its attendant wait makes for an eight-hour day. I clocked in for that trip five times this summer.

I’m a professor at the University of Maine. My salary is $52,000, and I am a year away from tenure. But like everyone else in that room, I was desperate for money.

OK, so why’s he desperate?

Here are my vitals: I have more than $200,000 in student loans and $46,000 in credit card debt—all accumulated during my B.A., M.A., and Ph.D., and then search for a tenure-track job. My annual salary translates to a little more than $3,000 in monthly take-home pay. I pay $800 a month in rent, $1,100 in credit card bills (paying only the monthly minimums), $350 in student loans, and have $285 a month car payment. I also pay the usual insurances, utilities, groceries, gas, et al. I don’t have cable. Or a kitchen table. Or blinds on any of my windows.

Right, so needs more money. And it’s even possible that there are professors out there whose best option for more money is plasma.

Except, except:

an actual dilemma for a journalism professor.

A journalism professor can’t pick up a couple of hundred extra bucks a month with some freelancing? What the fucks are they employing him for at that university?

I mean seriously, Crippled JC on a Sodding Pogo Stick seriously. Even at current US pay rates that’s one 1,000 word piece at somewhere like Quartz etc. And if you can’t score that then what are you doing teaching journalism?

A sociologist explains

During February, it’s not uncommon to hear the refrain, “If there’s an African-American History Month, why isn’t there a white one?”

This question, and its close relative “What’s wrong with being proud of being white?” sometimes comes from people who sincerely, if oversimplistically, think racial equality should mean identical treatment for all racial identity groups.

It doesn’t?

Robert Reich is such fun, eh?

Instead, there should be no vote on Gorsuch’s nomination until Trump’s legitimacy as a president is established.

Which means the Senate intelligence committee and the FBI must first conclude that Russian operatives were not responsible for Trump’s electoral victory, and Trump must reveal his taxes and put his assets into a blind trust.

Just winning the election and obeying the law aren’t enough it seems.

He’s losing it

Yiannopoulos wasn’t asked about the content of the speech that was shut down. The conversation focused instead on how Berkeley proved the point that the Left was ceding its right to federal grants by cracking down on free speech.

Which raises the possibility that Yiannopoulos and Brietbart were in cahoots with the agitators, in order to lay the groundwork for a Trump crackdown on universities and their federal funding.

Umm, yeah Robbie, yeah

On CNN Thursday, UC Berkeley professor and former Democratic Secretary of Labor Robert Reich suggested the anti-Trump riots on campus were actually a right-wing plot to delegitimize liberals.

“I was there for part of last night, and I know what I saw and those people were not Berkeley students,” Reich said. “Those people were outside agitators. I have never seen them before.”

“There’s rumors that they actually were right-wingers. They were a part of a kind of group that was organized and ready to create the kind of tumult and danger you saw that forced the police to cancel the event,” Reich insisted. “So Donald Trump, when he says Berkeley doesn’t respect free speech rights, that’s a complete distortion of the truth.”

“You think it’s a strategy by [Milo Yiannopoulos] or right-wingers?” asked host Don Lemon.

“I wouldn’t bet against it,” Reich said. “I saw these people. They all looked very– almost paramilitary. They were not from the campus. I don’t want to say factually, but I’ve heard there was some relationship here between these people and the right-wing movement that is affiliated with Breitbart News.”

Err, yes Lindy, yes

As the anti-Trump resistance movement finds its feet after a dizzying first 11 days, it’s hard not to notice how well women are playing offence. I can think of no more perfect distillation of Trump’s presidency than German chancellor Angela Merkel explaining the Geneva convention to him over the phone after he attempted to alpha-male his way past it. Of course, the world’s most extravagantly unqualified man – who was only able to defeat his peerlessly qualified female opponent through a combination of voter suppression, weaponised misogyny, Russian propaganda and a constitutional technicality, and still managed to lose by 3m votes – had to receive on-the-job training, pro bono, from a female world leader.

He fought the election under the rules that exist. He won under the rules that exist.

That’s, you know, democracy.

That he ain’t perfect is glaringly obvious. But think what that says about his opponent?

And at the risk of mansplaining, the Convention on Refugees is not the Geneva Convention, it’s the Convention on Refugees. And it also does not state that the US or anywhere else must take in refugees from anywhere at all. What it does state is that refugees have the right to enter, and be safe in, the first country they can get to which they are safe in. Thus, a Syrian refugee, assuming they will be safe in Turkey, has a right to go and be safe in Turkey. This is not the same thing at all as stating that said refugee does or should have the right of entry into the US. Or the UK, Oz or places further afield than the first safe place that a refugee can get to.

That refugee right, as with any rights to asylum over things not caused by a shooting war, applies to the first safe place, no more than that.

And it’s still not the Geneva Convention.

Rich woman wears expensive dress in snub to immigration chaos

These people really need to chill:

Ivanka Trump called ‘tone deaf’ for donning $5,000 worth of aluminum foil amid immigration chaos

Sigh:

Ivanka Trump — who’s made her own fortune with a lifestyle and fashion brand — posted an image of herself in a shiny, silvery gown in front of a mirror where her husband’s hand is clearly on her posterior.

The tweet and Instagram post appeared just after midnight on Sunday morning, as immigration lawyers and protestors were scrambling to free refugee claimants stuck in U.S. immigration detention.

When did Paul Mason become a turncoat?

It does not matter that Republican-drafted legislation to pull the US out of the United Nations is a gesture: “America first” means what it says. The US designed globalisation, benefited massively from it and imposed it through the twin methods of commercial dominance and military supremacy. Now it is determined to walk away from globalisation, and on its own terms.

But until two weeks ago we were all supposed to be fighting against an American imposed globalisation, weren’t we Paul?