Good morning (or “grüß Gott,” as the Austrians say) on this Sunday, November 20, 2022: National Peanut Butter Fudge Day (if you can’t have chocolate, I prefer maple fudge to peanut butter fudge):
The World Cup has begun in Qatar (Warning: NO BEER!) and today’s Google Doodle is a GIF that links to the latest games (click to see):
It’s also Mother Goose Parade Day (held yearly in El Cajon, San Diego County, California on the Sunday before Thanksgiving, National Absurdity Day, World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims, and Transgender Day of Remembrance
Here’s the highlight float of the 1984 parade:
Readers are welcome to mark notable events, births, or deaths on this day by consulting the November 20 Wikipedia page.
*Joe Biden turns 80 today. Hoist a flagon in his honor: he saved us from another four years of Trump. And although he’ll be 82 if he runs again, he may get to save us again.
To his doubters, he says: “Watch me.”
Biden has been diagnosed with several very common age-related health conditions, none causing him serious problems.
In his November 2021 summary of Biden’s health after the president’s first full physical in office, Dr. Kevin O’Connor noted Biden’s gait had become somewhat stiffer, something doctors watch for in older patients as it could signal a fall risk.
But after testing, the doctor concluded it’s mostly due to ongoing “wear and tear” arthritis of the spine, as well as compensation for a broken foot sustained a year earlier and the development of “mild peripheral neuropathy” or subtle damage to some sensory nerves in the feet.
. . .In Cockeysville, Maryland, outside Baltimore, Nelson Hyman, 85, and his wife, Roz Hyman, 77, credit Biden with getting big things right and especially with appointing a strong team. To these Democrats, that adds up to an effective presidency that taps the value of age in a society that often doesn’t.
“I’ve always felt the president is as good as the people that he appoints, and I think he’s appointed some very, very good people, very competent people, and he uses them,” said Roz, a retired counselor in a psychiatric hospital.
“Now, are you going to ask me, is he going to be competent in two years? Who knows? I don’t know.”
And remember that Nancy Pelosi is 82, and runs around the Capitol like a hamster in a wheel, and in high heels, too.
*The World Cup is about to begin in Qatar, but it’s been plagued by troubles: heat in the 100ºF range outside, officials caught taking bribes to bring the contest to that country, the employment of thousands of ill-treated foreign laborers, and on top of all that, a ban on selling beer. Not to mention that why are they having it in a country where homosexuality is a crime? It’s a debacle.
The cherry on top of this merde sundae is a new and unhinged rant by the head of FIFA:
In a bizarre news conference the day before the World Cup is set to begin in Qatar, FIFA President Gianni Infantino dismissed concerns about Qatar’s human rights record, compared himself to marginalized people and took aim at critics of the country’s hosting of the tournament.
“Today I feel Qatari. Today I feel Arab. Today I feel African. Today I feel gay. Today I feel disabled. Today I feel a migrant worker,” Infantino told journalists in Doha, Qatar.
In wide-ranging remarks, he appeared to cast questions about the treatment of migrant workers and discrimination against LGBTQ people as attempts to sow division in the world and to portray people concerned about those alleged human rights violations as wanting “to spit on others.”
. . . Since FIFA awarded the tournament to Qatar in 2010, criticism and protests from human rights advocates, players, workers, and others have been steady. The sheikhdom has a large number of migrant workers, criminalizes homosexuality and restricts the rights of women.
Human rights organizations including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have estimated that the death toll of migrant workers building World Cup facilities is in the thousands, a number Qatar has disputed. Many of the workers are from South Asian and African countries. Meanwhile, fears about the safety of LGBTQ fans attending the tournament have mounted.
Seriously, FIFA is corrupt, disorganized, and should be disbanded.
*Until the NHS decided to close its London Tavistock Clinic for treating transgender children, it, and the NHS elsewhere, practiced “affirmative therapy”, which you’ll know involves a rush to judgement, puberty blockers, and on to hormones and surgery. Well, that ended with the Cass review. Still, children who have gender dysphoria need help. And what they get is going to change, according to an article in The Economist, “Britain changes tack in treatment of trans-identifying children.” (h/t Wayne).
Next spring the NHS will close its specialist youth gender-identity clinic in England, the Gender and Identity Development Service (GIDS) at the Tavistock Foundation Trust in London. It will be replaced by eight regional centres in which gender services will be integrated with other mental-health services. That is partly because GIDS had long waiting lists. But it also reflects concerns that in the hurry to affirm gender identity, other conditions were ignored. Children with gender dysphoria often experience comorbidities, including autism, depression and eating disorders.
. . . Dr Cass’s report seems to have prompted the NHS to rethink its wider approach to gender ideology— which holds that gender identity is as important as biological sex. The affirmation model is predicated on the idea that being trans, like being gay, is innate. Yet in draft guidelines published in October the NHS cautioned that in children “gender incongruence…may be a transient phase”. This suggests that prescribing blockers to some children may have harmed them. The vast majority who take blockers proceed to cross-sex hormones; this combination can lead to sterility and an inability to reach orgasm. It is unclear when the guidelines, which could be altered, will come into effect.
This, of course, was precisely Abigail Shrier’s point in her book Irreversible Damage, attacked by trans activists everywhere and most strongly by ACLU lawyer Chase Strangio. But prudence dictates a thoughtful “objective” therapy—not to prevent transitioning, but to see if it, rather than letting children work out their own fate with counseling, no medical treatment should be given.
. . . and a few more changes:
Beyond the NHS, too, things are changing. This month a group of education organisations published guidance on “provision for transgender pupils”. Apparently aimed in part at protecting schools from lawsuits, it warns that making all toilets open to both biological sexes can raise safeguarding concerns and that requiring a pupil to sleep or undress “in the presence of members of the other sex” could break equality law. Its straightforward, scientific language stands in contrast to literature and training produced for schools by Mermaids, an activist charity which is also coming under increasing fire.
. . The way politicians speak about gender ideology is also beginning to change. Sir Keir Starmer, the leader of the Labour Party, has long tried to sidestep a furious row between trans activists and “gender-critical” feminists within his party. But in October he said that “children should not be making these very important decisions without the consent of their parents”. Trans-rights activists were livid.
Now if only the U.S. could slow down and follow the models of the UK, Netherlands, Sweden and Finland, who are using blockers only in clinical trials, as there is very little data on their long-term effects (sterility is a side effect of the transitioning process when hormones are added. The worries that remain are that blockers and hormones are still available to young people online, some doctors may continue to practice affirmative therapy, and that people in their teens may also be rushed into hormone therapy. As the article quotes, “A significant number of those who identify as trans are unhappily gay.”
*The Wall Street Journal, which broke the details on the Theranos scam that brought the company and its two heads (Sunny Balwani and Elizabeth Holmes) down, adds a few details to the 11+ year sentence that Holmes received yesterday. First, although a huge fine was recommended, it wasn’t yet levied: there will be another hearing for the fine. Here are a few other tidbits.
Judge Davila ordered Ms. Holmes to serve 135 months, or 11.25 years, and to surrender on April 27, 2023. The sentence length falls in the midrange of those received by the dozen white-collar criminals with similar offenses cited by the government in its sentencing memorandum.
. . . Judge Davila, who also sentenced Ms. Holmes to a three-year supervised release, said he would schedule a hearing to discuss restitution.
He expressed some admiration for Ms. Holmes, saying her motivation with Theranos wasn’t to gain personal wealth and praising her grit to break into a male-dominated industry. “The tragedy of this case is Ms. Holmes is brilliant,” Judge Davila said.
No, the tragedy is that Holmes is smart but also a grifter. Finally,
A probation officer who submitted an independent report, which helps guide the judge’s sentencing decision, recommended that Ms. Holmes receive a 9-year prison sentence.
U.S. Sentencing Commission data show the median prison term for offenders with economic crimes similar to Ms. Holmes’s was 16 years, according to an analysis by consultant Empirical Justice LLC. The review, which covered 102 first-time offenders, excluded defendants who cooperated with authorities or entered guilty pleas, which often results in lighter sentences. Ms. Holmes didn’t cooperate.
She should consider herself lucky that she didn’t get another four or five years slapped on. I suppose people who are well behaved in a minimum-security federal prison will get a considerable part of their sentence shaved off for good behavior.
. . .Alex Shultz, the father of former Theranos employee whistleblower Tyler Shultz, was the only victim to address the court ahead of Ms. Holmes’s sentencing. Mr. Shultz discussed her vengeance against his son, who was also a source for the Journal’s stories. Ms. Holmes had hired a private investigator to follow his family.
“My son slept with a knife under his pillow every night thinking that someone was going to come and murder him in the night,” Mr. Shultz told the court. “We are happy that this is finally coming to an end.”
Ms. Holmes was crying at the conclusion of Mr. Shultz’s comments.
Grifter’s crocodile tears. . .
*Andrej (not my Polish friend) sent a link from the Spectator to an article called “Cambridge University is blind to reality in the gender debate.” Again, it describes the authoritarian Left prohibiting or chilling speech. Just a snippet:
Newnham College, Cambridge, was once a bastion of feminist activism. No longer. This summer my curiosity was drawn to two women whispering to one another in the college cafe. They were, as it happened, a senior fellow and doctoral student; leaning over their table, they spoke furtively for fear that someone might overhear their conversation about gender politics. At Cambridge, professors and students alike are afraid to speak critically, or at all, on the subject of gender.
Believing that biological sex is binary and unchangeable – and that gender is culturally constructed – may not seem controversial. Yet gender-critical feminists who hold such mainstream views are often slapped with a derogatory label: Terf, or trans-exclusionary radical feminist. Their beliefs, let’s remember, are far from radical: they think that conflating gender with sex leads to violations of the rights of women, children and gay and lesbian people.
Women, faced with censorship and discrimination, have had to fight for the right to assert this basic truth. Last year, finally, a judge-led panel ruled that gender-critical views are a protected philosophical belief under the Equality Act and should be considered ‘worthy of respect in a democratic society’. Yet still, Cambridge University does not do enough to protect those with gender-critical views.
Cambridge Students’ Union recently published a guide titled ‘How to spot Terf ideology’. It suggests that sex is neither natural nor binary, but rather a social construct and a ‘colonial fiction created to oppress trans people’. The guide goes on to claim, falsely, that ‘Terfs spend a lot of time working with the far-right.’ The Union’s Women’s Officer proudly announces in her manifesto that ‘Terfs aren’t welcome here.’
The last paragraph is complete bunkum—”sex is neither natural nor binary, but a social construct and a ‘colonial fiction’ created to oppress trans people. You have to drink plenty of Kool-Aid before you’d buy that. But they do, and the article goes on to describe the downfall of free speech—at least about sex and gender—at Cambridge.
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is busy supervising the yard again, while Kulka watches:
Hili: There is another leaf to rake.Kulka: You are too pedantic.(Photo: Paulina)
Hili: Jeszcze jeden liść do zgrabienia.Kulka: Jesteś zbyt pedantyczna.(Zdjęcie: Paulina)
From Merilee, an appropriate sign:
From Stash Krod, who love’s B. Kliban’s often bizarre cartoons:
I’ve seen this at various places on Facebook. Guess the principals!
The Tweet of God. Can it really be that Twitter is going to fold?
Now every tweet feels like last words.
— God (Not a Parody, Actually God) (@TheTweetOfGod) November 18, 2022
The Iranian regime killed another young person:
“If the Iranian regime cut off the internet, I want these words to be my last post:
Long Live woman
Long Live Freedom
Long live Iran”
The Iranian regime shot him at heart yesterday during protests in Tehran.
Hamidreza Rouhi was only 20 years old, full of life and ambition. pic.twitter.com/QspE7wGaOm
— Masih Alinejad 🏳️ (@AlinejadMasih) November 18, 2022
From Malcolm, more signs of revolt in Iran:
— (((Tendar))) (@Tendar) November 18, 2022
A tweet from Luana; you can read the original story here.
Every male prisoner who've claimed they're now a female to get a move to a womans prison have reverted back to being male on release. pic.twitter.com/Y5ym2zB010
— Silvio Tattisconie 💎 not Berlusconi 🇬🇧 (@SilvioTattiscon) November 17, 2022
Two tweets from Barry. First a kitten attacks a d*g; good thing the d*g is good-natured:
And an attack ON a cat. Is that a sugar glider? Ride ’em, cowboy! (I think I’ve posted this one before.)
a wild horse tamer cowboy 🐿️pic.twitter.com/oUEt3AmqT3
— Herodot (@Heredot85276728) November 15, 2022
From the Auschwitz Memorial: a guy who looks like he was badly beaten before he was killed—6 days after arrival at Auschwitz.
20 November 1887 | A Polish Jew, Wolf Kirschenbaum, was born in Wola Ranizowska. A farmer.
— Auschwitz Memorial (@AuschwitzMuseum) November 20, 2022
Tweets from the eminent Professor Cobb. First, a dystopian Britain.
A map of Britain after The Great 2029 Technology Crash. pic.twitter.com/O4W1UGLiEk
— Tom Cox (@cox_tom) November 17, 2022
A famous French general during WWII had ducks on his coat of arms!
Ex-libris du général de Lattre de Tassigny réalisé par l'héraldiste Robert Louis, qui fut à l'origine de la création de la section symbolique du @DeHistorique. On y voit l'insigne de la 1re Armée, sur laquelle sont apposées les #armoiries du général et sa devise personnelle #WW2 pic.twitter.com/GD4Lr5S7se
— Alban Pérès (@albanperes) November 18, 2022
And a gorgeous mosaic floor revealed:
Stunning 😲 https://t.co/8AXH1n7YPF
— The Dodo (@dodo) November 19, 2022