Christin Scarlett Milloy couldn’t get a mortgage approval, because she couldn’t get a photo ID, because she’s transgender:

I sat on the phone and patiently explained why I can’t provide photo ID. Because I don’t have any. Because the government has destroyed all my previous ID documents and refused to replace them on several occasions. Because I am transgender. Yes, really. No, I don’t think it’s fair, either. Yes, a lot of people are surprised it’s so hard for us, but there it is. No, I really don’t have anything at all. Mmm, OK. Call me back. Goodbye.

We looked into other ways I could prove my identity. It turns out, there aren’t any. What if I show the dozens of letters back and forth between me and the government, where officials explain that my identity is not in question, but they still won’t send me new ID, because I refuse to check “male” on the application form? Apparently that doesn’t count.

How about expired government-issued ID? Back from a simpler time, when the government and I agreed on what my gender should be. I have that; it even has my photo and my old name on it. (Old-name ID presented alongside a legal ”change of name” certificate is considered valid to identify a person by their new name.) But alas, it’s against the rules to accept expired ID, even under exceptional circumstances.

Steve Jimenez is not interested in allowing the liberal media monitor to slime his book on the Matthew Shepard murder while offering no substance to back up their claims. In Out magazine, he challenges their assumptions:

In its attacks against me and my book, Media Matters relies frequently on the claim that “investigators… have denounced the book as ‘fictional.’ ” Although two police officers, Dave O’Malley and Rob DeBree, have quarreled with some of the findings of my 13-year bookofmatt-jimenez_0investigation, Media Matters fails to mention that several key law enforcement officials involved in the Shepard case agree with my conclusions. In September 2014, veteran prosecutor Cal Rerucha, who won life sentences for Shepard’s assailants, was quoted in The Casper Star-Tribune stating unequivocally, “If methamphetamine [hadn’t been present] in this case, we wouldn’t have had a murder.” The newspaper also noted, “[Rerucha] remains adamant that Shepard’s death wasn’t a hate crime.” He has repeatedly gone on record praising me and my work. In 2004, O’Malley, a police commander at the time of the murder, urged prosecutor Rerucha not to talk to ABC News 20/20 for a story I produced about undisclosed aspects of the Shepard case — “because of all the good that’s been done in Matt’s name,” according to Rerucha. In essence, O’Malley tried to enlist Rerucha in covering up the truth.

Lieutenant Ben Fritzen of the Albany County Sheriff’s Office, who was a lead detective on the Shepard case and took killer Aaron McKinney’s recorded confession, has also stated on the record that the homicide was driven by drugs and money, not anti-gay bias. Former Laramie officer and state drug enforcement agent Flint Waters, who arrested McKinney’s accomplice Russell Henderson on the night of the crime, agrees with Rerucha and Fritzen. Is Media Matters saying these and other law enforcement officials interviewed for my book have been “discredited” and “debunked,” too?

There’s one way to find out, isn’t there? In the piece, Steve dares someone from Media Matters to debate him in public on the facts behind the case. Will they? And if they won’t, will they retract the smears and apologize?

A reader very close to the controversy writes:

I saw your blog post about the feministic censoring of my debate in Oxford. I thought you might be interested in my piece about this debacle published in this week’s Spectator. The terrible irony of my having effectively been banned by “pro-choice” students is that I intended to make a very pro-choice speech … now published here.

Another dissents:

Oy, Andrew, your framing of this situation. Like the group who shut down the debate, you have a salient point but undermine it with utter, contemptuous bullshit lines like this:

But men, it seems, are not allowed to debate abortion at all, according to a fem-left group at my alma mater. Because: men. Even pro-choice men.

Come on, you know the impetus behind why they’re upset is bigger than such an idiotic reduction. As a straight man who is also pro-choice, I’m not at all hesitant to say that while I might debate the topic off the cuff with other men, if a woman’s voice is available, I’m going to cede to that voice. The reason should be obvious given that as a man I have no way of knowing the anxieties and issues that go along with childbearing and the general reproductive issues that women face. Similarly to that being that I’m not African American or Asian American, I’m not going to go diving into any debates that concern those groups.

Another responds to that kind of that argument:

Men are not allowed to speak about matters related to the female body? That drives me crazy. Question for these women: how many of them have male doctors who advise them on their health, including pregnancy and abortion?

Another dissenter of sorts:

As a feminist, I share your belief that anti-feminist ideas should be openly engaged and debated, not censored and suppressed, on college campuses. But the ferocity of your response got me thinking. You say that “free speech should be absolute.” But in universities, as everywhere else, there are always ideas that are beyond the pale.

Read On

Scientific Paper Of The Day

Nov 24 2014 @ 2:59pm

Screen_Shot_2014-11-21_at_10.19.51_AM.0.0

Joseph Stromberg flags the above document (pdf):

According to the blog Scholarly Open Access, this PDF made the rounds, and an Australian computer scientist named Peter Vamplew sent it to the International Journal of Advanced Computer Technology in response to spam from the journal. Apparently, he thought the editors might simply open and read it. Instead, they automatically accepted the paper — with an anonymous reviewer rating it as “excellent” — and requested a fee of $150.

This incident is pretty hilarious. But it’s a sign of a bigger problem in science publishing. This journal is one of many online-only, for-profit operations that take advantage of inexperienced researchers under pressure to publish their work in any outlet that seems superficially legitimate. They’re very different from respected, rigorous journals like Science and Nature that publish much of the research you read about in the news. Most troublingly, the predatory journals don’t conduct peer-review — the process where other scientists in the field evaluate a paper before it’s published.

A reader is moved by this post:

I have sat in the waiting room of my vet’s office three times a week for the last two months, waiting while my beautiful Maine Coon gets subcutaneous fluids for his failing kidneys. I have seen an entire cross section of the population – all ages, all economic levels, many races, and definitely an abundance of both genders. It has been so heart-opening for me to watch people with their sick pets. There is an attachment that I don’t even see as I sit in the pediatricians office. The look of sweetness and aching pain on the faces of owners as they try to comfort their dog or cat is a lesson in pure love.

But what has struck me is the realization of that universal desire to love and be loved, to need to be cared for and to want to care for others. From the cranky old man in tears over his sick poodle to the hassled moms with the limping giant dog and crying toddlers, to the teenager cradling her sick cat fearing maybe the first loss in her life, the love and the care is the same. It’s such a beautiful window into our humanity. It has been quite the gift to my life to see it all.

Another reader shares his own relationship:

Thank you for sharing the post on pets and recovering from addictions. While I have some doubts about the efficacy of dolphin or wolf therapy (especially as a primary component of therapy), I can testify that pets can, and for me have, played a very helpful role in my ongoing treatment.

Read On

Climate Change As God’s Will

Nov 24 2014 @ 2:22pm

Climate Change Religion

Emma Green passes along a worrying survey:

As of 2014, it’s estimated that nearly half of Americans—49 percent—say natural disasters are a sign of “the end times,” as described in the Bible. That’s up from an estimated 44 percent in 2011.

This belief is more prevalent in some religious communities than others. White evangelical Protestants, for example, are more likely than any other group to believe that natural disasters are a sign of the end times, and they’re least likely to assign some of the blame to climate change (participants were allowed to select both options if they wanted). Black Protestants were close behind white evangelicals in terms of apprehending the apocalypse, but they were also the group most likely to believe in climate change, too. Predictably, the religiously unaffiliated were the least likely to believe superstorms are apocalyptic—but even so, a third of that group said they see signs of the end times in the weather.

Ryan Koronowski also analyzes the poll:

Read On

Iran Talks Get An Extension

Nov 24 2014 @ 1:57pm

After failing to reach a permanent agreement, the officials representing Iran and the P5+1 in the ongoing nuclear negotiations in Vienna extended the talks for seven more months:

“We have had to conclude it is not possible to get to an agreement by the deadline that was set for today and therefore we will extend the JPOA to June 30, 2015,” British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond told reporters at the end of the talks. He was referring to the so-called Joint Plan of Action, an interim deal agreed between the six and Iran a year ago in Geneva, under which Tehran halted higher level uranium enrichment in exchange for a limited easing of sanctions, including access to some frozen oil revenues abroad.

Hammond said the expectation was that Iran would continue to refrain from sensitive atomic activity. He added that Iran and the powers “made some significant progress” in the latest round of talks, which began last Tuesday in the Austrian capital. Hammond said that there was a clear target to reach a “headline agreement” of substance within the next three months and talks would resume next month.

The failure to meet today’s deadline was not unexpected. Elias Groll and John Hudson look over the sticking points that remain unresolved:

Read On

The Party Of Executive Power?

Nov 24 2014 @ 1:37pm

Julia Azari suspects “strong executive action enjoys more legitimacy when it’s taken by a Republican president than a Democratic one”:

Obama’s supporters on the left haven’t really developed a good political story about why governing through enforcement is a good thing. Most justifications involve vilifying Congress – satisfying for partisans but still casting the administration in a defensive role.

For conservatives during the Bush administration, the narrative was pretty easy to develop. Unilateral presidential action defends elephant.jpgthe nation. Furthermore, the president is a legitimate defender of his own Constitutional prerogatives (so the justification goes; not necessarily my view). This works better for Republican presidents because conservatives have gained issue ownership not only over national security but also, to a great extent, over the question of Constitutional protection.

Civil libertarians are an important part of American political and legal culture. But they haven’t recently formed a political movement around their ideas about the Constitution the way that the Tea Party has. The dominant political framework for understanding the Constitution casts it as a procedural document, meant to protect against excessive government action – even when that action might bring about positive results. This framework is a much more powerful tool for conservatives than for liberals. Although liberals also sometimes draw on Constitutional principles – including limits on executive action – it’s less central to their ideology. This means the politics of enforcement are much more difficult for a Democratic president to justify – enforcement decisions must either be done on substantive, rather than constitutional grounds, or they must tread on territory usually dominated by the other party.

Maybe the Democrats need to take another look at Burke. Or be reminded of the roots of progressivism in The New Republic‘s founder, Herbert Croly. Frank Foer explains:

Read On

Hagel Out

Nov 24 2014 @ 1:23pm

While the White House is at pains to say he was not fired, it sorta looks that way:

Administration officials said that Mr. Obama made the decision to remove Mr. Hagel, the sole Republican on his national security team, last Friday after a series of meetings between the two men over the past two weeks. The officials characterized the decision as a recognition that the threat from the militant group Islamic State will require different skills from those that Mr. Hagel, who often struggled to articulate a clear viewpoint and was widely viewed as a passive defense secretary, was brought in to employ.

“This,” Morrissey declares, “is what happens with Cabinet Secretaries when policies go bad”:

Presidents ditch them as a signal for a shift in direction.

Read On

My “Scorn Of Feminism” Ctd

Nov 24 2014 @ 1:02pm

The in-tray keeps getting flooded with feedback on this subject:

Here is my take, as a long-time reader, on the reason so many of my fellow Dishheads have written in to express disappointment with the coverage of feminist issues on the Dish. I read articles such as the recent expose of the culture of silence and tacit acceptance of rape at UVA in Rolling Stone and am outraged but also moved and emboldened by the recent attention that sexual violence has gotten in the media.

Then I go to the Dish, my daily source for news and analysis, and read that the real pressing issue is the “demand that men be gentlemen, rather than something other than men,” as presumably you believe feminists do.

I can’t help but feel that you have your priorities way off. We’re living through a major shift in the way our culture deals with gender, rape, and sexuality, in large part led by a new generation of feminists (men and women), and the impression one gets from the Dish on this is a sense of annoyance and a worry that masculinity as a whole is being unfairly indicted. This strikes me as an analysis not worth my time to read – something I rarely feel about the blog, even (or especially) when I disagree.

Thanks so much for your work. I hope to see more coverage of issues that actually matter when it comes to gender politics today, such as the sea change in how we address rape as a culture.

Another critic:

Andrew, your stances in the Gender Wars threads are disheartening. As passionately as you’ve argued your causes, surely you must know there is not “always a debate to be had,” and that sometimes debates get good answers on questions that are essentially settled. The endless “debate to be had” is one thing that frustrates feminism and its good cause, because it constantly has to solve the same problems over and over for every new person who comes to the table. Frankly, every feminist contradiction you’ve covered in this thread has been debated within feminism since its beginning. It’s not feminism’s burden to educate.

If I may share an anecdote: in my very first job at an entertainment news TV show, I was endlessly harassed. By men. I’m a cis-gendered straight white male.

Read On