Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Administrivia: Sidebar Cleanup

Dumping a few things that no longer work (including, surprisingly, judgybitch.com, Janet Bloomfield's old site; it went dark last year, and is now redirecting to femoid.com. Adding some not-quite-new websites, but things that definitely deserve to be on the list, most of which are in the new section on Biology and Women's Sports.

The IAAF Still Can't Spell "Male Puberty"

The International Amateur Athletics Federation has lately released a new version of their eligibility regulations for female classification (PDF, h/t Cathy Young). It is superior to the IOC's eligibility requirements in one respect only: it actually contains references to scientific papers. Particularly, the IAAF document rests on the fulcrum of an October, 2018 Endocrine Reviews paper, "Circulating Testosterone as the Hormonal Basis of Sex Differences In Athletic Performance" by David J Handelsman, Angelica L Hirschberg, and Stephane Bermon. The concluding bullet point of their "Essential Points" section reads (emboldening mine):
Based on the nonoverlapping, bimodal distribution of circulating testosterone concentration (measured by liquid chromatography–mass spectrometry) with 95% references ranges of 7.7 to 29.4 nmol/L in healthy men and 0 to 1.7 nmol/L in healthy premenopausal women—making an allowance for women with the mild hyperandrogenism of polycystic ovary syndrome, who are overrepresented in elite athletics—the eligibility criterion for female athletic events should be a circulating testosterone concentration of <5.0 nmol/L
This of course fails to explain the results from the Karolinska Institute, which showed M2F transsexuals still retained the majority of their muscle mass (PDF) even after testosterone suppression therapy.  Handelsman et al. at least have the good sense to mention male puberty:
The strongest justification for sex classification in elite sports is that after puberty men produce 20 times more testosterone than women (4–7), resulting in circulating testosterone concentrations 15-fold higher than in children or women of any age. Age-grade competitive sporting records show no sex differences prior to puberty, whereas from the age of male puberty onward there is a strong and ongoing male advantage (8). The striking male postpubertal increase in circulating testosterone provides a major, ongoing, cumulative, and durable physical advantage in sporting contests by creating larger and stronger bones, greater muscle mass and strength, and higher circulating hemoglobin as well as possible psychological (behavioral) differences. In concert, these render women, on average, unable to compete effectively against men in power-based or endurance-based sports.
They later have the guts to bust out with an obvious truth: "If sex classification were eliminated [in sporting events], such open or mixed competitions would be dominated almost exclusively by men." But in the end, this is so much lip service. They have no way of explaining the Karolinska results without also taking into account the advantages of undergoing male puberty. It is not enough to suppress testosterone.

Update: Reminder that the IOC knew or should have known that testosterone suppression was inadequate back in 2016 when they cooked up that document. Dr. Antonia Lee last year asked several people involved in the process to comment now that there have been a significant number of M2F transsexuals beating biological women in various athletic events. Particularly interesting is the section on professor Arne Ljungqvist (note, I have added hyperlinks to the footnote):
In 2005 and writing in the Lancet (5), Ljungqvist, in a basic review of the literature commented, “…after one year of therapy, male-to-female muscle mass remained greater than that observed in the comparison female-to-male group…”. In other words, he was previously aware of at least one retained physical advantage as shown in one study that had informed the IOC’s former (2004) and more demanding participation guidelines. In the same Lancet piece, Ljungqvist also says, “Ultimately, the number of transsexual athletes who can successfully compete in open international events is likely to be small, in accord with the estimated incidence of gender dysphoria of one in about every 12 000 men and one in about every 30 000 women”.
The IAAF document looks, in this light, increasingly a product of an engineered process designed to arrive at a conclusion already decided upon.

Friday, February 21, 2020

The Non-Invisibility Of Elizabeth Warren

I have previously written about the cesspit that is The Root, particularly its perceived profitability versus sister G/O Media outlet, Jezebel. Unless you like stale intersectional dogma delivered with a heaping helping of snark, there’s little inside that dank cave for anyone searching for fresh insights on racial matters.

Recently, a new essay by Michael Harriot on the subject of the Democratic primary generally and Elizabeth Warren hove into view, "Elizabeth Warren Exists". This one is so bad that it may have actually lowered my already basement-level opinion of Harriot as a journalist.

At this point, we need to take a brief detour into Harriot's recent coverage, and one story in particular. Harriot, you may recall, was late to writing about the Sarah Braasch "napping-while-black" non-incident; The Root's first installment came from Anne Branigin, a story that mostly pulls from the Yale Daily News piece. Harriot's first piece on July 20, 2018, "Woman Who Called Police on 2 Black Yale Students Says She's 'Done Absolutely Nothing Wrong' in Whitest Tweets Ever", manages to be both snarky and uncharitable to Braasch. (By contrast, Cathy Young's report covering the incident and fallout in The Bulwark gets the details that Harriot missed or refused to learn: that Braasch called campus police on a black non-resident in the dorm, Lolade Siyonbola, napping in a common room that was off-limits to outsiders. Siyonbola had a reason to extract revenge on Braasch for earlier calling police to break up a loud party on her dorm level. It was not, as Harriot and much of the outside press insisted, simply a matter of Braasch calling the police on a black person in the wrong place.) For reasons only he knows, he later called Braasch a "swamptwat", which is of a piece with former Gawker Media properties: if you can't be good, be snarky.

This is a pattern with Harriot, who fancies himself a connoisseur of what he labels "wypipo" (white people); he once made a defense of this racist expression of contempt which boils down to, only power plus prejudice can equal racism. As the Twitter account @neontaster once put it, "If you can't be racist against white people, then why are you trying so hard?" The answer to this question is that there's coin to be made, albeit not as much as women trying to plump their victimhood scores, which latter is over half again more profitable. Writing about matters racial with snark and verve doesn't have to be an exercise in unalloyed hate, something Gustavo Arellano showed us with his syndicated "¡Ask A Mexican!" column; he gave back as good as he got from racist idiots, but the genuinely curious (and polite) received thoughtful replies in Spanish-infused English. It is a model Harriot plainly rejects in favor of intersectional pugilism.

So, back to Warren. Warren, we learn, is invisible in the media, by which I presume Harriot means the TV punditry. A recent New York Times story expanded on this, mentioning her absence in a NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll as well: the poll asked about head-to-heads with other leading candidates versus Donald Trump — but not Warren. To some degree, Warren has only herself to blame for this state of affairs. Despite being fourth in overall fundraising among Democratic candidates (and second if you omit self-funders Tom Steyer and Michael Bloomberg), Warren badly trails both Steyer and Bloomberg in ad spending — but also trails Bernie. What is she doing with her war chest? Saving it for Super Tuesday? Running a sham campaign so she can guarantee her reelection as senator from Massachusetts?

But of course the main reason why Warren might prove invisible is her showing thus far, winning a grand total of eight delegates. Of course, this is after only two states have rendered results, so it's hardly a representative sample. Warren hasn't drawn the same level of interest as Bernie, either, at least if you count Google searches:
Looking at news results, Google News shows 72,600,000 for "Elizabeth Warren" versus 107,000,000 for "Bernie Sanders", which is maybe more encouraging, but also broadly tracks the Google search results as well. What accounts for this state of affairs? I don't know, but I would speculate it's a number of things:
  • She has Hillary Clinton's technocratic iciness, although I do think Warren's a better politician. Both had or have very long and detailed policy lists that can be off-putting.
  • Warren hasn't had to win a state outside cobalt blue Massachusetts, so her success elsewhere is open to question. (But then, so is Bernie's.)
  • Warren's virtue-signaling. This is an absolute guess, but her bid to give a veto to the Secretary of Education to a transgender kid smacks of political grandstanding she has no intention of implementing in office. Likewise her wealth tax that Peter Suderman called "probably unconstitutional" and a "stunt policy" that Sweden and most other countries adopting it eventually repealed when it failed to produce the promised revenues. She would also pursue a flatly unconstitutional program threatening social media companies for permitting protected speech on their websites.
Overall, things are not looking up for Warren. Recent polling shows her with less than half of Sanders' totals (24% to 6% in South Carolina, and 30% vs. 12% in Nevada) in the next two primary states. Even a Sanders/Warren unity ticket would not work, as national polls together show they don't make up even 50% of Democrats. It's a long road to November, and there's a strong chance Warren won't even complete the run of primaries. Harriot, incurious, fails to ask why black voters pulled the lever in greater numbers for Trump in 2016 than for Romney in 2012. Absent a historic candidate, it seems likely an enervated black electorate (and the presence of someone like Mayor Stop-And-Frisk) might possibly not change matters much.

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Why Do Feminists Keep Claiming Women Lack Agency?

It's too common anymore to think it's anything but intentional: a feminist sees an outcome in the world she doesn't like, and then blames this state of affairs on men, i.e. the patriarchy. Differences in the numbers of men and women in STEM fields? Didn't get the job she wanted? Must be men. Income inequality between spouses? Men again (never mind that women have demonstrably higher income standards than readily exist in the real world).

So now Ellen Lamont in The Atlantic has discovered (again) that the New Feminist Woman has largely not arrived on the scene. Surprise, surprise: women want men to pay for things, among other unapproved behavior (emboldening mine):
And yet in a throwback to an earlier era, many women I spoke with enacted strict dating rules. “It’s a deal breaker if a man doesn’t pay for a date,” one woman, aged 29, told me. A 31-year-old said that if a man doesn’t pay, “they just probably don’t like you very much.” A lot of men, they assumed, were looking for nothing more than a quick hookup, so some of these dating rituals were tests to see whether the man was truly interested in a commitment. A third woman, also 31, told me, “I feel like men need to feel like they are in control, and if you ask them out, you end up looking desperate and it’s a turnoff to them.”

On dates, the women talked about acting demure, and allowing men to do more of the talking. Women, they said, were more attractive to men when they appeared unattainable, so women preferred for the men to follow up after a date. None of the women considered proposing marriage; that was the man’s job. “I know it feels counterintuitive … I’m a feminist,” the first woman said. “But I like to have a guy be chivalrous.”
As ever, the problem with such articles is the lack of actual data rather than anecdotes. Yet finally, we are talking about women's choices as much as men's. Do they not matter? Are we talking about equal outcomes or equal opportunities?

Sunday, January 19, 2020

The Democrats Take California's Fratricidal AB5 National

California Democrats are nothing if not persistent in their virtue-signaling nonsense. California's AB5, an existential threat to the gig economy when it passed, was ostensibly aimed at Uber and Lyft, two companies the left has suddenly started hating (except when they use those services). Author Lorena S. Gonzalez has been in explaining-the-benefits-to-people-she-screwed-over mode for a while now, as shown by this exchange back in December:
Because Gonzalez is smarter than the people who want side hustles and must save them from themselves, or something. This experiment has gone so well that the truckers have managed to get the courts to delay enforcement of AB5 (sadly, only for truckers), but freelance writers continue to get the shaft. (That group includes Vox Media writers, many of whom were just terminated.) Gonzalez is absolutely certain of her moral rectitude though, and doesn't approve of freelance writers, like, at all:

One gets the sense, reading such exchanges, that Gonzalez is pretty solidly in somebody's pocket to deflect the daily hectoring implied by the #AB5 hashtag. In fact, you would be right: about half of Gonzalez' war chest came from public employee and trade unions. It really makes you wonder about the calculations that went on behind the scenes:

First Democratic Operative: We really need to do something to reconnect with the working class, do something that really benefits them.

Second Democratic Operative: I know! We'll help private sector unionization! Unions always love the Dems, so it'll be a win-win!

FDO: We'll start with the "gig economy". It keeps people low-paid, and prevents them from becoming real employees with benefits. You know, like Uber and Lyft. <writes AB5>

SDO: Hey, cool, this covers everyone.

FDO: Even freelancers? Cool. Margarita time!

Not content to stop at California's borders, Team Blue is now expanding this disastrous nonsense nationally. Daily Kos has a good story on the matter, which explains that apparently the AFL-CIO wrote AB5 (though the evidence is pretty thin on that subject). At issue is an obsolete test for who should be classified as an employee:
It’s enraging that Democrats are taking this career-killing stance from sea to shining sea, given that Tom Perez himself, the current head of the Democratic National Committee, already showed America’s lawmakers how to attack the worker misclassification problem during his tenure as Labor Secretary under President Obama—and did so without the draconian language that’s in these state and federal bills.

Perez achieved that goal by using the existing Internal Revenue Service test to determine who is, and is not, an independent contractor. That approach worked just fine. If every state adopted the IRS test, too, then the states and federal government would be in alignment. A bad-actor company caught misclassifying workers anywhere would automatically be breaking the rules everywhere, and could be fined everywhere, too, as it should be. At the same time, people like me, who prefer to work as independent contractors, could continue to do so, because we can pass the IRS test.

Instead, what’s happening now is an attempt to eliminate the existence of independent contractors, including those of us who are operating lawfully under the IRS test. At the core of each of these bills is an overly tough test to determine who can, or cannot, legally be defined as an independent contractor. This test is known as the ABC test, and was written back in the 1930s to reflect the workforce of the Great Depression. It is different from the test that the IRS now uses, and it makes it impossible for many lawful, happy, thriving independent contractors to remain that way in the economy of 2020, when the world looks a lot different than it did back when Americans still listened to Jack Benny on the radio for entertainment.
It really appears that H.R. 2474 is suicidal for Democrats, who are more beholden to labor than they should be as a constituency, given that only 14.7 million private sector workers belong to unions. It's hard to see how Uber and Lyft will change this, nor how terminating freelance writers would improve union membership. Gonzalez's stubbornness is understandable given her backing. National Democrats' press to extend this incredible blunder is not.

Update: H.R. 2474 apparently would repeal Taft-Hartley, meaning states could no longer choose to be right-to-work states; all states would have to provide for closed shops.

Saturday, January 4, 2020

The Twitters Turned A Mean, Dumb Comic Into A Lesson About Empathy

So, this cartoonist made a cartoon that was supposed to show the dorkiness of having empathy for another person:
This was probably not the wisest thing to do, but then, she seems unwise anyway, when she isn't being a self-centered jerk:
But wait! Somebody flipped it! The disposable #NewGuy suddenly becomes the hero we deserve, teaching us about empathy even for people we might not instantly feel relatable?
There's already a #NewGuy Twitter feed. Cast this moment in amber, kids. It doesn't happen every day.

Saturday, December 28, 2019

Vox Fires Workers Supposedly Helped By Legislation It Supported

They will never learn.


Source at Vox, and blowback at CNBC.