Cold Grey Pre-Dawn Open Thread: Getting the Mule’s Attention

It would greatly simplify the Media Village Idiots’ job if we could all pretend that the Oval Office Occupant actually got more votes than Hillary Clinton. But it would not be true.

Among the many delights of the day when a woman (Harris? Warren? Klobuchar? Gillibrand?) faces a (no doubt fuming) John Roberts on Inaugural Day… will be watching people like Chuck Todd and Jonathan Karl earnestly inquire of each other how ‘The American voter could possibly have made such a counterintuitive choice!’…








Title inflation and male privilege

This tweet below is a fairly common experience:

I have seen this behavior a lot. Right now, most of the work groups I’m on have a female Ph.D or MD as the primary investigator and team lead. It is not uncommon for them to be referred to as Ms. Doe while all the guys are referred to as Dr. Smith.

I get a massive amount of title inflation. My highest degree of training is a master’s degree and then an ungodly amount of on the job training and exploration. At this point in my life, going back for a doctorate does not make a ton of sense at this time. A doctorate might be something I do once the kids are in college but the current opportunity cost is higher than the benefit.

I talk with the press a lot. I talk with policy analysts frequently. I am a resource for Duke students, staff and faculty to talk about the arcane and obscure aspects of the Affordable Care Act (Silver Loading and Medical Loss Ratios for the win!) and more broadly insurance questions. I get a reasonable number of cold requests depending on the news, policy and semester cycles. /

If I am getting a cold e-mail from someone who is trying to set up a conversation about something I know something about, there is an even chance the greeting is Mr. Anderson. Most of the inaccuracies are for Dr. Anderson or Professor Anderson.

I get a massive amount of title inflation for something that I have not earned. I get that because I’m a white guy who writes with big words and arcane subjects. I benefit from this credential inflation. I always correct as Mr. Anderson whenever I’m referred to as Doctor or Professor as I have not earned those titles, but I don’t know how to change this situation so the table is not as inordinately tilted my way.








2020 Election Open Thread: Stacey Abrams Is Going Places

Abrams has traversed the country meeting with top Democrats since her narrow loss in the Georgia governor’s race. She’s met with every leading candidate for president, and become a regular draw on the big-ticket fundraising circuit, donors and fundraisers told POLITICO. Abrams headlined major donor events for the Democratic National Committee, the progressive donor collaborative Way to Win and former Sen. Barbara Boxer in recent months, and has discussed her political future with top Democratic donors.

At the reception for Abrams hosted by Boxer, held at a five-star Beverly Hills hotel in late February, local Democratic leaders and entertainment industry donors heard her talk about her work against voter suppression and about her brother’s struggle with addiction. After the event, she was mobbed by attendees.

“We must have had several hundred people there but everyone felt she was speaking to them,” Boxer told POLITICO. “I think every single person in that room will help Stacey with whatever it is she wants to do.” …

In contrast to Beto O’Rourke, who wrote Medium posts and took a road trip after his loss, Abrams has been keenly focused on the nuts and bolts of building her political base. She’s attended dozens of events across the country, according to descriptions of her itinerary from sources close to Abrams and others who’ve spoken with her. She also drew high marks for her performance delivering Democrats’ response to President Donald Trump’s State of the Union speech in February…

Throughout her national travels, Abrams has attempted to draw attention to her mission on voting rights and her gubernatorial race. “Wherever she goes, she shares the stories of those who faced these suppressive tactics with new audiences,” said Caitlin Highland, an Abrams spokeswoman…

And I, for one, am looking forward to seeing where she decides to go next. Great NYMag cover story by Rebecca Traister:

She is a serious introvert, yet her work requires glad-handing extroversion; she is excruciatingly aware of the electoral challenges that face her as a black woman who grew up what she calls “genteel poor” in rural Mississippi, yet she pushes forward politically with the drive and confidence of a white man; she devours romance novels and soap operas, yet she is also a science-fiction, math, and tax-law geek; she can come off as one of the most relatable politicians out there, yet she is a total egghead who drops million-dollar vocabulary words, once sending me to the dictionary to confirm what panegyric means (I mostly got it through context!). And she is a woman who, having just run in a historic election that many of her fellow Democrats expected her to lose, is now being counted on to win, and perhaps save her party, by prevailing in an equally difficult Senate contest, or maybe the race for the presidency. The deepest irony, of course, is that what Abrams wants to do is fundamentally rebuild the electoral system that failed her, just as the system itself wants to pull her in…

Nonnormative as she may be, Abrams is an almost old-fashioned Democrat, with her ideological (and personal) roots in the civil-rights, labor, and women’s movements. Her parents, a librarian and a dockworker, both of whom would later get divinity degrees and become pastors, were civil-rights activists from Hattiesburg, Mississippi. As an undergraduate, she was trained as an organizer at the A. Philip Randolph Institute of the AFL-CIO; she gave her State of the Union rebuttal in an Atlanta union hall.

A graduate of Spelman College, with a master’s in public policy from the University of Texas and a law degree from Yale, Abrams worked as a tax attorney and deputy city attorney for Atlanta before being elected, in 2006, to the Georgia statehouse. She assumed the minority leadership position — becoming the first black woman to lead either party there — in 2011. In the midst of her legal and political career, Abrams has published romance novels (under the name Selena Montgomery) and founded several businesses, including one that made formula-ready bottles for babies and another that helps small companies get paid more quickly by buying their invoices.

Where Abrams is the most passionate is in her willingness to rumble over remaking electoral systems that are rigged to deny the country’s most vulnerable their only real route to civic power. It may not be as sexy as free college, but it’s definitely radical — and as Abrams likes to point out, without full enfranchisement, we’ll never get elected officials who’ll back policies that materially improve the lives of people who aren’t well off and/or white…

After a high-school friend gave her a novel by the black feminist writer Octavia E. Butler, Abrams developed a passion for science fiction. She’s a Trekkie who will authoritatively rank series — “The Next Generation and Voyager are about even; I think Voyager is mildly superior, although Picard is the quintessential captain. Then I would do Discovery, Deep Space Nine, and Enterprise. I don’t understand why Enterprise was a show.” These days, she’s into Doctor Who, having grown up on the Tom Baker version. “Right before this campaign started, I was sick and ended up watching the Doctor,” she says. “Then, over New Year’s, there was a marathon. Now I’m watching all the new ones. I’ve seen seasons three, four, five, six, and I’m in the second half of seven.” Abrams watched three episodes of Doctor Who to chill out the afternoon before she gave her State of the Union response…
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Guest Post: Transgender Day of Visibility

(This is a guest post by valued commenter Sister Golden Bear.)


As I mentioned in the comments, today is Transgender Day of Visibility, held every March 31, intended to honor and celebrate transgender and gender non-conforming people (GNC) — both those visible and those invisible.

It started a decade ago but only took off a few years ago, and is intended as a complement to the annual Nov. 20 Transgender Day of Remembrance, which honors the memories of that year’s victims of anti-trans violence — usually always all trans women, the vast majority of them trans women of color, in particular Black trans women. For years, TDOR was the only national/international event for trans people, and while it is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this, it’s also, needless to say, more than a bit depressing. Hence TDOV, which focuses on the living.

It’s all too rare that trans/GNC people have chance to celebrate who we are, and it’s also a chance to express our defiance of attempts to eradicate us from public life (the Talibaptists have a literal five-point plan to do so, and under the Trump administration, and red state governments,  they’ve made significant progress on several fronts).

But perhaps the most important aspect is being visible. These days roughly 37 percent of Americans know someone who’s trans/GNC. Think you don’t know someone trans, well you actually probably do. There’s still an unfortunately-huge number of us who never leave the closet, and for those who do, there’s can often be a desire to fly under the radar, to blend in. For those in red states, this can be a matter of literal survival. But it’s also because — unlike coming out as LGB, which tells who people who you are — coming out as trans, invariably puts the focus on who you were. At least for a binary trans woman like me, i.e. I’m someone who prefers to be seen as a woman who’s trans. Read more








Meanwhile, in China

The Telegraph has interviewed eight former detainees from China’s Muslim concentration camps, where roughly one million Uighurs and Kazakhs are detained. This is one of the least-horrifying things described:

In order to receive a small portion of rice at noon and 6pm he, like all the others, must praise the Chinese president and shout “Long live Xi Jinping!”

Those who refuse are electrocuted with a cattle prod that causes their limbs to spasm uncontrollably.

For some reason this detail leapt out at me:

One detainee the Telegraph interviewed[…] received a receipt after being required to pay for her meals in detention – 10 yuan a day, totalling 1,800 yuan (£202.50).

The concentration camps are only the tip of the iceberg in Xinjiang, where more than a million mostly-Han Chinese have simply moved into Uighur households to spy on them. A database of facial-recognition information, GPS tracking data, and further information on more than 2.5 million Xinjiang residents was recently discovered on the open internet. Something very, very bad is happening in northern China.

You have to register with the Telegraph to read the article, so I’m going to provide some excerpts. I’m also going to put them below the fold. They are very disturbing. We should not let such evil go unnoticed, but I’m not going to subject you to it randomly.

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