Friday: Hili dialogue

April 21, 2023 • 6:45 am

Welcome to the tail end of the work week: Friday, April 21, 2023, and National Chocolate Covered Cashews Day.

It’s also Big Word Day, National Tea Day in the UK, Thank You for Libraries Day, Tuna Rights Day, and Ask an Atheist Day.

Reader who wish to single out special events, births, or deaths that happened on this day should go to the April 21 Wikipedia page.

Da Nooz:

*This news will cheer you up because, no matter whether Republican or Democrat, it shows the hegemony of empirical fact over wish-thinking. It’s about a disproof of election denialism:

MyPillow founder and prominent election denier Mike Lindell made a bold offer ahead of a “cyber symposium” he held in August 2021 in South Dakota: He claimed he had data showing Chinese interference and said he would pay $5 million to anyone who could prove the material was not from the previous year’s U.S. election.

He called the challenge “Prove Mike Wrong.”

On Wednesday, a private arbitration panel ruled that someone did.

The panel said Robert Zeidman, a computer forensics expert and 63-year-old Trump voter from Nevada, was entitled to the $5 million payout.

Zeidman had examined Lindell’s data and concluded that not only did it not prove voter fraud, it also had no connection to the 2020 election. He was the only expert who submitted a claim, arbitration records show.

He turned to the arbitrators after Lindell Management, which created the contest, refused to pay him.
In their 23-page decision, the arbitrators said Zeidman proved that Lindell’s material “unequivocally did not reflect November 2020 election data.” They directed Lindell’s firm to pay Zeidman within 30 days.
LOL, as they say. The juicily ironic bit is that the winner himself voted for Trump. Lindell claimed that he had archival internet captures demonstrating that the Chinese interfered in the 2020 Presidential election. Zeidman, a text expert, examined the complicated data and showed that none of it had anything to do with the 2020 election. Bingo, checkmate, and Zeidman is $5 million richer.

*The SpaceX Starship launch was somewhat successful: the ship cleared the launch tower and nearly got to separation of the capsule from the booster. But then the rocket pitched end over end and EXPLODED.

SpaceX’s Starship rocket exploded on Thursday, minutes after lifting off from a launchpad in South Texas. The rocket, the most powerful ever built, did not reach orbit but provided important lessons for the private spaceflight company as it works toward a more successful mission.

At 9:33 a.m. Eastern time, the 33 engines on the Super Heavy booster ignited in a huge cloud of fire, smoke and dust, and Starship rose slowly upward. About a minute later, the rocket passed through a period of maximum aerodynamic pressure, one of the crucial moments for the launch of any rocket. Shortly after, it began to tumble before exploding in a fireball high above the Gulf of Mexico.

. .  . . The space agency is relying on SpaceX to build a version of Starship that will carry two astronauts from lunar orbit to the surface of the moon during its Artemis III mission. There was great anticipation from the flight, which had been delayed from Monday as the gargantuan rocket could one day carry massive amounts of cargo and many people into space.

Before the launch, which had no people aboard, Elon Musk, the company’s founder, had tamped down expectations, saying it might take several tries before Starship succeeds at this test flight.

As you can see in the video below, which goes from launch to “rapid unscheduled disassembly” (as the SpaceX announcers called it), at about 3:30 in the ship turns end over end (it was supposed to invert once before separation of the booster), and then explodes into smithereens at 4:05. The explosion might have been triggered deliberately to prevent damage to humans below. Space experts don’t regard this as disastrous because the purpose of these launches is to work bugs out of the system (NASA had plenty of failed launches like this in the old days), and also because no humans were injured.  In the coming days we’ll learn what went wrong.

*Inside Higher Ed reports something that I mentioned briefly the other day involving the notoriously venal scientific publisher Elsevier. They make tons of dosh charging libraries exorbitant fees to subscribe to their journals, and charging authors exorbitant “publishing fees” to get their papers to appear. Now they’ve gone too far (h/t Jon):

Elsevier, which says it disseminated about 18 percent of Earth’s scientific articles last year, declined editors’ requests to lower the $3,450 publishing fee at one of its journals.

NeuroImage editors said they formally asked Elsevier in June to drop the charge below $2,000. Early last month, they warned they would resign.

“We believe that the current slow decrease in submissions/publications is primarily due to the APC [article publishing charge]—we hear a lot on this from researchers in our field, no longer willing to submit papers or review,” they wrote.

“We appreciate that you do not accept that, but it’s not helpful to argue further in the absence of definitive proof.

The company wouldn’t budge, and so. . . .

On Monday, every editor at NeuroImage and the NeuroImage: Reports companion journal—over 40 people—resigned.

“It’s a pretty big exodus,” said Cindy Lustig, a University of Michigan at Ann Arbor psychology professor and one of the eight now former senior editors of the open-access NeuroImage. The departures also include editors in chief and handling editors.

“Pretty big exodus” is a wild understatement: it’s a fricking disaster, and one that may lead to the death of that journal. (Elsevier, however, publishes 2800 other journals.) What will happen now? The departed editors are going to start a newer, cheaper journal covering the same topic:

They’re starting their own journal, taking themselves, the Twitter profile they were using and (almost) the same name. They plan to publish their new Imaging Neuroscience with MIT Press.

Elsevier says it has over 2,800 other journals. But the en masse exit is part of continuing backlash against the business model of the world’s largest scientific journal publishers.

I signed a petition a long time ago not to have any connection with Elsevier journals. I’m not a Marxist, but this is capitalism gone wild. The $3,450 publishing fee means that the taxpayers pay twice for the research: once via government grants to fund it, and then again when scientists use grant money to pay the money-grubbing publisher.

*Jessica Grose in the NYT has an op-ed in which she dilates on a favorite topic of mine: the declining religiosity of America.  The piece, “Lots of Americans are losing their religion. Are you?“,  (h/t: Ken)

“In the United States,” the authors tell us, “somewhere between 6,000 and 10,000 churches close down every year, either to be repurposed as apartments, laundries, laser-tag arenas, or skate parks, or to simply be demolished.” (I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that my apartment was once the rectory of a church, also built in the 1800s and transformed, a couple of decades ago, into condos for yuppies who want dramatic windows and a hint of ecclesiastical flavor.)

It’s not just the frequency of churchgoing or temple membership that’s declining in our country: Last month, The Wall Street Journal and NORC at the University of Chicago surveyed around 1,000 American adults about the importance of different values to Americans, including the importance of religion. In 2023, only 39 percent of respondents said religion was very important to them, compared to 62 percent who said that in 1998.

But Grose, a secular Jew, says that what’s happening is more nuanced than a simple decline in religiosity:

When you look at the full results, the picture becomes a bit more complicated. Sixty percent of respondents said that religion was either somewhat or very important to them, and only 19 percent said religion was not important to them at all. The United States is still a more religiously observant country than our peer nations in Western Europe — according to Pew Research in 2018, for example, we are more likely to believe in God or some kind of higher power and more likely to pray daily.

But two things can be true at the same time, said Mark Chaves, a professor of sociology at Duke Divinity School who directs the National Congregations Study: America can still be a comparatively observant nation and religious observance can be on the decline in various dimensions, happening at different paces, Chaves explains. “The decline in religious belief and interest is much slower than the decline in organizational participation,” he said when we spoke.

Where’s the nuance in that? Churchgoing, identification with a church (the “nones”) and belief in God are all falling, with the last falling more slowly than the others—but still falling!  Grose tries to flaunt her “I’m better than both atheists and believers” attitude by saying that she doesn’t care much whether religion is good or bad for society:

My goal: to inject some nuance and specificity into this discussion, since I feel like it can be and sometimes is dominated by partisans who want to argue that the decline in religiosity is either uniformly good or bad for society. My own feeling is one of profound ambivalence. I have no interest in going back to temple and little trust or appetite for organized religion. But I feel passionately about being Jewish, and a little heartsick about not knowing quite how to pass along my ritual and history to my children. I do wonder about what may be lost by not having a community connected by belief, but I’m not quite sure what that is, or if replacing it is possible, or even desirable.

It’s certainly possible to replace belief communities, as Scandinavia and northern Europe amply demonstrate. And if you can have their moral and empathic societies without having the undeniably bad bits of religion (Catholic priests raping women, Muslims killing apostates and infidels, orthodox Jews oppressing their wives and keeping their children from learning) then why isn’t the lack of religion also desirable? All religions also tout faith—belief without good evidence—as a virtue, and that by itself makes religion bad, for it’s an enabler of other forms of belief without evidence (e.g., Donald Trump really won in 2020).

It’s interesting that Grose, who may be an unbeliever, is passionate about being a Jew, for Judaism is the one faith where vast numbers of its advocates are atheists. One can be a cultural Jew, but not a cultural Muslim. For many of us, Judaism isn’t even a religion, but simply a tribe or a club. I don’t believe in God or a word of Jewish dogma, but I still enjoy being Jewish.

* Voting along party lines, the House of Representatives passed a sensible vote that will undoubtedly be rejected by the Senate, or, if passed there, will be vetoed to death by Biden:

Transgender athletes whose biological sex assigned at birth was male would be barred from competing on girls or women’s sports teams at federally supported schools and colleges under legislation pushed through Thursday by House Republicans checking off another high-profile item on their social agenda.

The bill approved by a 219-203 party-line vote is unlikely to advance further because the Democratic-led Senate will not support it and the White House said President Joe Biden would veto it.

Supporters said the legislation, which would put violators at risk of losing taxpayer dollars, is necessary to ensure competitive fairness. They framed the vote as supporting female athletes disadvantaged by having to compete against those whose gender identify does not match their sex assigned at birth.

And, in fact, that’s the correct framing. Here I stand with the Republican vote itself, even if some of its members are surely motivated by transphobia. The Democrats frame it another way:

Opponents criticized the bill as ostracizing an already vulnerable group merely for political gain.

The House action comes as at least 20 other states have imposed similar limits on trans athletes at the K-12 or collegiate level.

The bill would amend landmark civil rights legislation, known as Title IX, passed more than 50 years ago. It would prohibit recipients of federal money from permitting a person “whose sex is male” to participate in programs designated for women or girls. The bill defines sex as “based solely on a person’s reproductive biology and genetics at birth.”

I’m sorry, but the Democratic framing is largely bullpucky. The simple fact is that the data show, over and over again, that transwomen who have gone through male puberty retain, probably permanently, muscle, bone, and physiological features  that give them substantial athletic advantages over biological women. There are no data I know of to the contrary. To deny the evidence in favor of ideology puts you in the camp with ivermectin-pushers and QAnon conspiracists.

To me the bill is about keeping sports fair to women, not demonizing transsexuals, and although I get my share of emails for being a transphobe, I laugh them off. What I can’t laugh off is that organizations like the American Civil Liberties Union and the Freedom from Religion Foundation, who support the participation of trans women in women’s sports—even if the transwomen are medically untreated biological men who identify as women—are trampling on women’s rights without admitting it. I hate being in bed with Republicans, but on this issue the facts stand on their side. And their definition of sex as “reproductive biology” is okay, though they should have left out the “genetics” bit. They need a biologist to tell them what a biological woman is: it’s simply about gamete size and the reproductive apparatus that makes different-sized gametes.

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili and Szaron are worried:

A: What are you looking at?
Hili: We are observing global warming.

In Polish
Ja: Na co patrzycie?
Hili: Obserwujemy globalne ocieplenie.

And a photo of baby Kulka:


From Barry, checkmate religion! (This appears to be a real organization, at least.)

From Facebook, a cartoon by Jimmy Craig:

From Jesus of the Day. It helps if you sit several feet away and move your head, though some might see it without moving:

From Masih: More brutality directed towards protestors in Iran. Look what they did to this girl! Be sure to read the whole tweet by clicking on it.

I found this one after I discovered that Twitter will accumulate tweets that it thinks you will like. Sound up.

. . . and I found this one too. Ten tweets by FIRE showing the disturbing trend of scholars being investigated for speech and their work. It’s skyrocketing!

From Simon. Someone applied SpaceX’s description of the “malfunction” today to the Hindenburg:

From “Otter”:

From the Auschwitz Memorial, a family probably gassed upon arrival at the camp. The boy wasn’t even a year old.

Tweets from Dr. Cobb, who’s temporarily abandoned Twitter for his book. (Good choice!) Thank Ceiling Cat I have a backlog of his tweets.  Here’s one of a nice gentleman saving an owl. The Google translation is:

“The best part of a good man’s life is his small, unknown, forgotten acts of kindness and love.”

I wonder if this guy got beheaded because he didn’t show sufficient fealty to The Cat:

25 thoughts on “Friday: Hili dialogue

  1. Describing the SpaceX rocket as being “somewhat successful” is rather like a surgeon saying that an operation was successful but the patient died !


    Welcome back to the US, PCC !

    1. Or perhaps a euphemism like calling a brutal invasion in your neigbor country a “special military operation”.

    2. Or the time I said I was going to run a marathon, but tripped over and sprained my ankle after a mile and a half. I was somewhat successful.

      The failure was that the separation step didn’t work. The explosion was a self destruction commanded by mission control – I think.

      The rocket took off and cleared the tower, which was allegedly the goal, except that is about the lowest possible bar SpaceX could set.

      On the other hand, it destroyed its launchpad and five or maybe six engines out of thirty three failed. It got through max Q – the point where the stresses on the airframe are the highest – which might be considered a success, except that first stage separation failed soon after and maybe that was because the stresses at max Q damaged the release mechanism.

      Only Elon Musk could spin this as a success and have so many people believe him.

      PCC(E) says:

      NASA had plenty of failed launches like this in the old days

      That is true, but they were the old days before they learned how to build rockets properly. They had thirteen launches of the Saturn V and all of them reached at least Earth orbit. SpaceX has the benefit of all of that experience and has launched many more rockets than NASA had when it launched the first Saturn V. I’m sure that, privately, SpaceX is very disappointed in what happened.

      1. I don’t care what Musk said. It’s just factual that it was a successful test because it returned a great deal of data that will help for the next flight. If you didn’t hear, they had a pretty high expectation for a RUD. It wasn’t a surprise. This is how you develop rockets if you want to try new things and do it quickly. The typical NASA procedure tends to stick with old technology (since it’s already tested), takes longer and costs more. See SLS for an example, largely repurposed decades old shuttle technology.

        SpaceX flies more rockets than any other entity, they have the technical expertise. If Starship doesn’t make it to orbit in the next three years, that’s when we can say Starship is a failure, but it won’t come to that.

        1. SLS sent a vehicle around the moon on its first test. Don’t think you should be drawing that comparison.

          While they did probably get some useful data out of the test, they’d have got a lot more if it had gone to plan.

    3. It was certainly hard to miss the positive spin that the announcers/hosts were putting on events, but given the flight plan, I’m sure there was plenty of (well concealed) disappointment. Though one of the hosts mentioned the running joke at Space-X about Rapid Unscheduled Dissassembly (RUD), I don’t believe that’s what terminated this flight.

      It was clear from the very first “reversal” (i.e. tumble) of the booster, before which point separation should have occurred, that separation was not likely to succeed. After three more tumbles, obviously control over the vehicle was going to be lost, and the trajectory would have become unpredictable, or at least significantly deviant. At that point the range safety officer (or Space-X equivalent) would have signalled destruction of the vehicle, and that’s exactly what they did.

      I agree that trial and error is an unavoidable part of designing complex systems, especially in this domain which is completely outside the realm of prior experience. But at the same time, it seems that computer simulation has become so central in the design process, that I would have expected fewer trial failures. But obviously, I don’t know what I’m talking about! I’m going to guess that these systems are so complex, and the operating envelopes so unknown, that simulations just cannot be reliable enough. Critical inputs to the simulations are simply not available.

      I enjoyed the part of the video that went over some of the recent history, launching and landing Spaceship (without the booster). It’s amazing technology for sure! What I find even more amazing is how some early science fiction / space art “predicted” the vertical landings of rockets, during a time when the necessary technology was difficult to envision.

  2. The continuing decline of religious affiliation among the American population is taking place simultaneously with the growing influence of religion in public policy and its dominance in a major political party. This tension is a major factor in the growing polarization of the country. I am hoping that the religious gains in the public sphere is the equivalent of the Battle of the Bulge. That is, at the end of 1944, the Germans made large advances against in the Allied armies in the West, but they were very temporary and quickly lost, thereby severely crippling their war effort. Perhaps that is what is going on with the religious: trying to stave off the inevitable, they are engaged in an all-front offensive out of desperation, but will ultimately fail. However, if they do not fail and succeed in foisting their theocratic values on the majority of the population, the ending of American democracy will be permanent.

    1. By the end of today, we should know how theocratic SCOTUS wants to go with their ruling on mifepristone. Will they allow a single (and by any objective standard, radical) judge in Texas to undermine settled science, thus opening the door for all sorts of drugs being banned for ideological reasons? Does Roberts want to further damage his court in the eyes of the public? He knows the popularity and trust of his SCOTUS is at the lowest point in American history. Maybe Alito will issue another stay.

      And here these “brilliant” minds on the court thought the Dobbs decision was going to put the abortion issue to rest; they could just force the states to deal with it, wipe their hands of it and move on. Talk about lack of foresight. They’re going to continue dealing with abortion issues until it becomes a federal right once again, whether they like it or not. And I’m surprised that the GOP still hasn’t figured out what a disaster the Dobbs decision was for them; they are still in denial that they overstepped and it’s not a big issue (denial works well if you live in a bubble). They think the problem is the voters, not their unpopular policies. Now their new imperative is trying to figure out how to stop young people from voting. They don’t want or don’t know how to appeal to the younger generations, so they oppress them instead- great strategy against the largest voting block!

  3. On this day:
    753 BC – Romulus founds Rome (traditional date).

    1506 – The three-day Lisbon Massacre comes to an end with the slaughter of over 1,900 suspected Jews by Portuguese Catholics.

    1918 – World War I: German fighter ace Manfred von Richthofen, better known as “The Red Baron”, is shot down and killed over Vaux-sur-Somme in France.

    1934 – The “Surgeon’s Photograph”, the most famous photo allegedly showing the Loch Ness Monster, is published in The Daily Mail (in 1994, it is revealed to be a hoax).

    1966 – Rastafari movement: Haile Selassie of Ethiopia visits Jamaica, an event now celebrated as Grounation Day.

    1989 – Tiananmen Square protests of 1989: In Beijing, around 100,000 students gather in Tiananmen Square to commemorate Chinese reform leader Hu Yaobang.

    2014 – The American city of Flint, Michigan switches its water source to the Flint River, beginning the ongoing Flint water crisis which has caused lead poisoning in up to 12,000 people, and 15 deaths from Legionnaires’ disease, ultimately leading to criminal indictments against 15 people, five of whom have been charged with involuntary manslaughter.

    1814 – Angela Burdett-Coutts, 1st Baroness Burdett-Coutts, English art collector and philanthropist (d. 1906).

    1816 – Charlotte Brontë, English novelist and poet (d. 1855).

    1912 – Eve Arnold, Russian-American photojournalist (d. 2012).

    1915 – Garrett Hardin, American ecologist, author, and academic (d. 2003). [Best known for his exposition of the tragedy of the commons in a 1968 paper of the same title in Science.]

    1915 – Anthony Quinn, Mexican-American actor (d. 2001).

    1923 – John Mortimer, English lawyer and author (d. 2009).

    1926 – Elizabeth II, Queen of the United Kingdom and her other realms (d. 2022).

    1947 – Iggy Pop, American singer-songwriter, producer, and actor.

    1959 – Robert Smith, English singer-songwriter and guitarist.

    You must come with me, young ones, for I am the Duck of Death:
    1699 – Jean Racine, French playwright and poet (b. 1639).

    1910 – Mark Twain, American novelist, humorist, and critic (b. 1835).

    1946 – John Maynard Keynes, English economist and philosopher (b. 1883).

    1978 – Sandy Denny, English singer-songwriter (b. 1947).

    2003 – Nina Simone, American singer-songwriter, pianist, and activist (b. 1933).

    2016 – Prince, American singer-songwriter, guitarist, producer, and actor (b. 1958). [Seven years already?!]

  4. Re. the transgender sports bill:
    “Opponents criticized the bill as ostracizing an already vulnerable group merely for political gain.”
    This is a claim with no foundation, it is made in various guides every time trans people are told ‘no’, and yet nobody ever states what it is they are vulnerable to. It’s the same with demands for trans ‘rights’; there’s lots of shouting about getting them, yet what those rights are is never explained.
    The reason they are never clearly outlined is because in reality trans people are afforded the same rights as everybody else. What they are demanding are rights over and above those of everybody else, and often by removing the rights of other people – usually girls and women.
    And this – ‘The bill would amend landmark civil rights legislation, known as Title IX, passed more than 50 years ago’ is a flat-out lie. The text of Title IX makes no mention of gender or gender identity at all, it focuses solely on sex. It is only by deliberately conflating sex and gender that the identity apologists are able to make that claim.

    1. We keep hearing that gender is non-binary and that there are more than two genders. So why should there be only two teams, male and female? Transwomen and ciswomen are two different genders and should each have their own teams.

      1. Ah, but gender is fluid, you see. I might be one of many possible genders at various times, but on the day I swim for an NCAA championship I am absolutely 100% woman. Transwomen are women.

        (Besides, the transwomen’s league will have only like six people competing, and they’ll all be mediocre men like me but whom I might still lose to. What if I came in last?

    2. What they claim as a right is to compel the rest of us to accept without question their claim that transwomen are women (and transmem are men) in every way. They say, “I am being discriminated against as a women because I am a woman who is transgender.” Society must say no to this claim everywhere it impinges on women who don’t want to play along with the delusion. We have to say, “No, you are being excluded from this women-only space because you are a guy. Transwomen are not women, even if our Prime Minister calls that hate speech.”

      A woman might want to take testosterone to grow a beard and get a bigger clitoris in order to present more stereotypically as a man. It is no business of ours if her female lover agrees to refer to her as a man or if either of them still think of themselves as lesbians. That’s up to them. They can get married for all I care. (Although it would become interesting if marriage were ever to be redefined as a union between a man and a woman. Clarence Thomas, if you want to shake things up, here’s your chance.)

      As soon as you reject the claim that transwomen are a subset of women (so not like smart women, black women, disabled women, queer women), then you can set yourself to the necessary task of ejecting men in dresses (or burqas!) from women’s spaces.

      But not before.

      A man in Windsor, Ontario, who is described as “known to frequent the downtown area”, was arrested and charged with sexual assault that occurred earlier this month in a women’s shelter where he was staying. Police confirmed they have booked him as a female as that’s what he claims to be and they said media “should” —we’re warning you now!— refer to him as a woman also. A wag in the comments asked if he would be locked up with other female prisoners. (National Post, April 19.)

  5. I wonder if the current woke/trans mindset is really the Blank Slate in another guise. Because if everyone is born as a Blank Slate then any differential outcome in their lives must be because of discrimination or victimisation… therefore everyone is born as a Blank Slate.

  6. “Catholic priests raping women. . . .”

    I’m not sure why you landed on this. The sex scandals in the Catholic Church almost invariably involved gay priests sexually abusing boys or young men. Of the abused, 81% were male; 22% were younger than age 11, 51% were between the ages of 11 and 14, and 27% were between the ages of 15 and 17. Within the last age group, 85% were male. (Source: John Jay Report.) The reasons for this are historical: back when homophobia was rampant in America, the priesthood provided gay men with 1) instant respect and 2) a cover for not being sexually interested in women. Happily, the progress in accepting gays has alleviated that dynamic.

  7. The most impressive thing about the little girl teaching the cats to draw is that someone got both cats into those chairs and that they stayed there. Cats and dogs are very patient with kids.

    1. This feline classroom confirms my belief that little girls are not only cuter than little boys but much more creative in their play. I have observed this creativity during years of travel. Boys gripe and fuss but do nothing. Girls, if not reading, are busy creating their own fantasies and play. (confirmed by me, mother of twin girls, sadly now older). How she got the cats to be still I dont know but maybe they recognized her creative play and wanted to see what would happen. One of my twins, an avid reader and now writer, having started a book indoors, would continue to read her book while walking with me outdoors.

  8. “The best part of a good man’s life is his small, unknown, forgotten acts of kindness and love.”

    Hey, not too bad for automatic translation back into English of a (probably human) Italian translation of a passage from Wordsworth. The original, from “Tintern Abbey”, reads:

    …that best portion of a good man’s life,
    His little, nameless, unremembered, acts
    Of kindness and of love.

    [This is a noun phrase, complement part of a longer sentence, so it does not have a verb of its own. To make a quotable statement, an “is” was introduced.]

  9. “Ten tweets by FIRE showing the disturbing trend of scholars being investigated for speech and their work.”

    Most of the negative tweets have the theme “What about the takeover of Universities by the radical Right? They’re far worse!”

    The Right has been weaponizing the antics of the illiberal Left; what did you expect? It should go without saying that If you’re in a battle to the death, you should not hand your enemy a loaded revolver. And if you do and he shoots you, it is largely your own d**n fault! Except in this case, the critical justice advocates have painted targets on the backs of liberal-leaning people everywhere. If they could just paint their own backs, that would be far more forgivable.

    I can’t think of a better example that of Chloe Cole, a teenage de-transitioner who has been mentioned on this site before. Marjorie Taylor Green is using her as a prop for own political credibility, and her “Protect Children’s Innocence Act, H.R. 8731”. I once hoped that the GOP brand was so badly damaged by Trump and his ilk that no one would give them their trust ever again. Then along came the critical gender ideologues and their crusade to treat every child with gender dysphoria as transsexual, the earlier in life the better. They couldn’t have planned any actions more effective in rehabilitating the corrupt GOP as the Party of God if they had tried.

    So don’t give me this bit about “but they’re worse!”

  10. What will happen now? The departed editors are going to start a newer, cheaper journal covering the same topic:

    I’m moderately surprised that Elsevier’s contracts with these editors don’t (didn’t) carry provisions against such actions. While such “no compete” clauses are of dubious legality in various jurisdictions, and such an action is likely to backfire really badly on Elsevier, they sound the sort of executives to try enforcing it.

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