29 June 2021

Class struggle from below

Congress is near-paralyzed due to the filibuster and tiny Democratic majorities, but that doesn't mean the people are.  They are taking action on their own while the government stumbles.

As the pandemic winds down and bosses try to drag home workers back to the office and re-assert the old model of shitty pay and shitty working conditions, workers are quitting in unprecedented numbers.  It's becoming a cliché that service-sector businesses can't get people to come and work for them -- unless they offer decent wages for a change.  Republican state governments have been cutting unemployment benefits in an effort to force their serfs to give in and submit to the re-shittyization of the economy, but it isn't working.

As for those white-collar workers who have been working from home for a year, I've been saying all along that companies which try to drag them back to offices will wind up at a huge competitive disadvantage -- they'll lose their best workers to other companies which continue to allow work from home.  Now that some workers are indeed being dragged back, they're coming to realize just how awful the misery of commuting and spending all day in an office really was.  They know they can do their jobs from home as well or better.  They know there's no valid reason for forcing them back to the office.  They know the supposed justifications are just squid-ink for the bosses' desperate control-freakery.  They're going to start looking for something better.  People are already quitting rather than give in.

When NPR did a story about "the great office return", they managed to find someone to quote who said that "businesses have a civic duty to bring workers back".  He's an executive of a company that leases out office space to other companies.

Since our country has no major political party which is explicitly committed to the class struggle, and the structure of our government allows the Republicans to block the Democrats from doing even as much as they wish to do, that struggle must be waged by the workers themselves.  If Congress won't bring our minimum wage into line with that of other developed nations, the workers themselves will do it by refusing to work for shitty pay any more.  If the government won't defend our right to keep working from home instead of commuting (a zero-cost contribution to the fight against global warming, on top of everything else), then we ourselves will defend that right, by refusing to settle for anything less.  And given time, who knows what else working people will be able to achieve once these changes help them realize their power?  I've said before that this pandemic may ultimately be remembered as a catalyst for social progress.

Oh, and over time our people are developing a more favorable view of socialism and a less favorable view of capitalism -- and this is especially true among younger people.

Be afraid, fuckers, be very afraid.  We're on to you, and things are going to change around here, big time.

27 June 2021

Link round-up for 27 June 2021

Various interesting stuff I ran across on the net over the last week.

o o o o o

Here are some tips on staying cool in the heat.

All these signs are open to interpretation.

Install a bar in the shower.

Look at the cutting edge of clothing design.

Shoulda left the effing spider alone.

Addictions are bad for you.

True, this dog is a bit of a drama queen, but that's a pretty grueling beauty ritual for an animal.

Already we have too many social media platforms.

Not the best place for a straw.

Visualize Star Wars characters as food.

Mike is feeling some effects of age.  Also, here's where to send the bill.

Not sure skulls are dishwasher-safe.

Petunia genetics can produce unexpected results.

A disobedient child makes difficulties for its parents.

I've heard of "drawing down the Moon", but.....

Job's done, come home.

What does it mean to be "cringe"?

Everything is racist nowEverything.

If you read or write fanfic, this person could use your help.

This house's pride month display wowed the neighborhood (found via SickoRicko (NSFW)).

Annie Asks You has some remarkable dog yoga, plus Juneteenth.

"She fed them on minutes.  The old ones ate years."

Images here from the son et lumière show at Notre Dame in 2011, its 800th anniversary.

Ba afraid of big herbivores.  Very afraid.

Wild gorillas are smart enough to find and dismantle poachers' traps.

Luckily, this bartender was alert.

Cheating boyfriend gets pwned big time.

This is the city of Strasbourg in eastern France.

Tumblr is re-inventing the Hayes code.

He can be trans too.

In a job interview, these questions are improper or illegal.

"Don't feed the troll. Let it perish, cold and hungry, in the wasteland of your indifference."

Beware of the dog.

Actually, this is epic-scale kitsch.

Put that "heritage" in its place.

God needs your money!

Quit messing up other nationalities' names for themselves.

There should be a support group for survivors of this support group.

If you're shipwrecked on an island, don't build a raft.

Let the Bible be our guide to how marriage should work.  Apparently Ben Shapiro got the message.  More Biblical law here.

Keep your door locked.

I don't get how this counts as "art".

Replace egg and meat protein with nuts -- you'll live longer.

Land subsidence due to rising sea levels probably played a role in the Florida building collapse.

This asshole should not be a school principal (the Magellan quote is fake, unfortunately).

Logically, who would be most hostile to escapism?

"Oh, you're tired of my anti-religion posts?" (NSFW blog).

Interesting Harvard-Harris survey of the US here.  People are getting optimistic, Biden is popular.  Approval of the police is at 68%; Antifa, Hamas, Russia, and China are all at 21% or below.

Fiction is fiction, and reality is reality.

Atheist Revolution has some advice for new bloggers.  A few more words here.

This doctor made a remarkable recovery from multiple sclerosis.

Here's a proposed voter ID law I can support.

It's not healthy to fetishize guns.

A democracy can't be a "Christian nation".  Nor can it work by minority rule.

Gay people in earlier times dreamed of a more enlightened future.

Learn to recognize progress.

Freedom of religion exists only in secular societies.

Title IX helped an American pioneer get her start.

"Immigrants aren't taking your jobs.  Slavery is."

Twitter commentary here on the clash between Gaetz and general Milley.

Our region has more heat waves in its future.

Yes, ideological indoctrination in schools does exist.

After a year of working at home, returning to offices and commuting means misery.  Watch for a lot of people to quit if they're forced back.  We need to do better than "back to normal".

Savor a small but important Supreme Court victory for free expression.  But the ruling should have been even stronger.

We mustn't fund infrastructure by privatizing public services.  In the real world (as opposed to theory), that brings rising prices and often deteriorating quality.

"Don't say inclusion if it's a form of intrusion."

A proposed Pennsylvania law would treat miscarriages as homicides, with burdensome effects for women.

It's capitalism!  Thank Gawd the Republicans are saving us from the nightmare of socialized medicine.

Following in the footsteps of Tumblr, OnlyFans betrays the people who built it up so it can turn itself into just another ad-clogged wasteland.

Don't silence the voices of de-transitioners.

Shower Cap blog reviews the week in wingnuttery.

Watch out for evangelicals posing as friends.  In this case, one turned stalkerish.

Why has the US murder rate gone up so much this year?

Almost all US covid-19 deaths are now among the unvaccinated.  Natural selection in action.

"Listen to marginalized voices," but only if they agree with us.

Don't mess with Philadelphia.

Perhaps Manchin and Sinema can be brought around by voters in their own states.

Having your own sexual boundaries is now "hate speech".

Some business websites cheat you on price, but there are ways to prevent it.

The US right wing has now turned hostile to the military (found via Hackwhackers).  More on this at Annie Asks You.

Which one of these people knows what he's talking about?

At least in Illinois, the practice of putting male criminals in women's prisons (and the predictable results) dates back at least to 2019.

The housing-as-investment culture is a trap (found via Steve Ruis).  There's no substitute for a strong labor movement.

"Southern Christians who fought for the Confederacy and agreed with racial domination will one day, by God's grace, be resurrected to eternal life. Conversely, non-Christians from the North who fought for freedom will one day, because of their sin, experience eternal torment in hell."  Christianity is a moral abomination.

This is how scapegoating works.  Don't get fooled again.

Fight cancer with teh shrooms.

Sometimes reality isn't complicated.

If you're working from home and your company is using keystroke monitoring to re-shittyize your job, here's a work-around to beat it.

Don't pretend fascism and democracy are the same.

"Sexual predation is a male problem. It’s no surprise that males of any identity demonstrate this perversion."

This person exists.

The Chinese regime has shut down the last pro-democracy newspaper in Hong Kong.  It's now purely a police state.

The large imbalance of the sexes in China and India is causing growing problems.  Some commentary here.

Japan promotes clean energy in southeast Asia while China promotes coal.

Here's some interesting stuff about pre-colonial India and Gandhi.

This is the woman who lost her shot at the Olympics due to trans ideology.  Even The Guardian gives some attention to the other side of this issue, but the BBC is still a bit clueless.  It's a growing problem around the world.  Update: Manumua will be going to the Olympics after all thanks to a special invitation from the relevant agencies.  No doubt the world-wide public outcry helped.  More action is needed to prevent further such injustices in the future.

More links at Fair and Unbalanced.

o o o o o

In case you missed it -- this week I posted a couple of music-video tributes to space pioneers, a discussion of why local independence can promote progress better than unity does, and a note on my area's current heat wave.  The first day of serious heat wasn't too bad in my place; however, today and tomorrow are expected to be even hotter.

26 June 2021


As those who follow the news may have heard, we're about to get an unprecedented heat wave here in the Pacific Northwest.  Here in Portland, the current forecast is for highs of 103°, 110°, and 110° for Saturday, Sunday, and Monday, then dropping to the range of 88° to 95° for the rest of the week.  This is actually less bad than was expected earlier -- I saw a forecast a few days ago that had Sunday at 117°.

It's going to be worse further inland in Oregon, where some places are forecast to be well above 100° for the entire week, maybe longer.

I'm not worried for myself.  I've been through days reaching close to 110° before, though not this early in the year.  This apartment is well insulated and there are things I can do to minimize the heat inside.  We've been told, though, that it's possible the electricity could fail due to excess demand from air conditioning.  So if, say, the link round-up doesn't appear at the usual time, that's probably what happened (it will just be posted late).  I imagine restoring power in the metro area will be a priority, since elderly people whose air conditioning suddenly fails at such temperatures will be in mortal danger.

I do wonder what the rest of the summer will be like, though, if we're already getting a heat wave like this in June.  The fire season is now expected to be even worse than last year -- when at one point the smoke got so thick that my view of the building across the street was substantially obscured, even though the nearest fire was twenty miles away.  I'd hate to be spending the next few months in the southwest, especially in Texas with its (as we now know) frail power grid.  It's getting harder and harder for the remaining global-warming denialists to sustain their faith.

24 June 2021

Divided we stand

Toward the end of his landmark book Guns, Germs, and Steel, Jared Diamond poses an interesting question.  From the fifteenth century on, why was it Europe rather than China that launched the Renaissance, produced an explosion of scientific research and technological innovation, explored and colonized the Americas and Australia, and eventually came to dominate the globe?  During the Middle Ages, China had been far more technologically innovative and advanced than Europe.  From 1405 to 1433, Chinese "treasure fleets" of hundreds of ships, much bigger than those later used by Columbus or da Gama, plied the Indian Ocean.  An observer at that time would have predicted that China, not Europe, would achieve colonial dominion over the world and lead it into industrialization and modernity.  So why was it actually Europe which did that instead?

Diamond's answer is interesting, and has important lessons for our own time.

For reasons ultimately connected with geography, China for most of its history (since the third century BC, at least) has been a single huge unified state, while Europe since the fall of Rome has been fragmented into dozens or sometimes hundreds of small independent countries.  This meant that certain kinds of bad decisions by leadership, while equally likely to happen in either civilization, had much more decisive impact in China than in Europe.

For example, China stopped sending its "treasure fleets" due to the outcome of a power struggle between two factions in its government.  The fleets had been a project of the faction which ultimately lost, and were strongly identified with it -- so the winning faction made an end to them and even dismantled China's shipyards to prevent more ocean-going ships from being built in the future.  It's the kind of thing that could happen in any country.  But because all of China was under a single government, this one accident of history took the whole Chinese civilization out of the running in the field of global exploration.

In Europe, even if one country had banned shipbuilding due to some similar political event, other countries would still have continued.  As Diamond points out, Columbus went to several European leaders looking for support for his plan to circumnavigate the globe and was turned away, until the king of Spain agreed to sponsor him.  If Spain had also turned him down, he would have kept trying other monarchs until one finally agreed.  Even if China had produced a similarly ambitious explorer, he would not have been able to carry out his project.

Similarly, at various times during the fifteenth century China abandoned development of a number of promising technologies.  China's political unity meant that once these decisions were made, they were enforced throughout the whole vast region.  In Europe, at the same time, there were many cases of individual governments rejecting or trying to suppress various new technologies -- but in every case, there were other countries that embraced the new ideas and moved forward.  When the new technologies were militarily or economically useful, those countries which rejected them were left behind and marginalized, and ultimately had no choice but to abandon their recalcitrance -- so Europe as a whole continued to progress, while China stagnated.

The lesson for our own time is clear.  Many people find the divided condition of the world frustrating and wish for a global government which could solve problems on a world-wide scale.  But the example of the fifteenth century shows the potential danger of this.  The anti-technology mentality is still very much alive in some circles, motivated either by religious taboos or by a bizarre tremulous "there are things man was not meant to know" mentality, or sometimes simply denial or misunderstanding of science.  It's not so long ago that religionists in the US were opposing AIDS treatments and mass HPV vaccination on the grounds that they would encourage "sexual immorality", and the general anti-vaccine movement continues to do great harm in many parts of the world.  Advocates of teaching creationism in schools instead of evolution, which would cripple the study of biology as a whole, have had some political success in the US.  Printing, lightning rods, airplanes, and many other new technologies aroused opposition on various grounds when they were first introduced.  Today, there are forces which oppose work on nanotechnology, anti-aging research, and certain fields of genetic engineering.

If the entire world were under a single government, anti-science forces would be strongly motivated to seek influence in that government to bring about a global ban on research into areas they find objectionable.  If they succeeded, this would result in some period of unnecessary stagnation, as happened in China, or perhaps would even mean that progress in those fields would be carried out by underground groups such as terrorist organizations (Ray Kurzweil has emphasized this danger in the case of nanotechnology -- if governments try to slow down research, they will be left defenseless against nanotech-based weapons developed by terrorists, since they will have prevented themselves from building up the knowledge base necessary to create such defenses).  Just imagine how much worse the covid-19 pandemic would be, if for several decades the (mostly Christian and Islamist) global anti-vaccine movement had been able to influence a world government to slow down vaccine research everywhere, so that the mRNA technology which we used to create vaccines against the new coronavirus so quickly had not yet been developed.

The world's politically-fragmented condition is our insurance against such disasters.  Even if anti-vaxers had managed to stop or slow research in one or two countries, it would have continued elsewhere.  Stalin's embrace of Lysenkoism crippled Soviet progress in genetics, but the West continued to move forward.  If reactionaries someday persuade a conservative US government to ban work on genetic engineering or on curing aging, then the work will continue in other advanced nations.  And as in fifteenth-century Europe, any country which stops progress on important new technologies within its own borders will tend to fall behind rival nations which embrace those technologies, ultimately becoming marginalized and irrelevant on the world stage -- unless it changes its ways.

22 June 2021

Videos of the day -- songs for space

British band Public Service Broadcasting celebrates early pioneers of space exploration.

Valentina Tereshkova, first woman in space (1963)

Alexei Leonov, first spacewalk (which turned out to be more dangerous than expected)

Thanks to Hackwhackers for making me aware of this band.

20 June 2021

Link round-up for 20 June 2021

Various interesting stuff I ran across on the net over the last week.

o o o o o

Never interrupt Brits at a drag show.

OK, you guys can just watch football, I'll find something else to do (seriously, this is cool).😈

Remote-working computer engineer is living the dream.

Even animals feel the heat.

Last week it was the gals -- this week Debra She Who Seeks focuses on the guys for Pride Month.

In fact, this vegetable was put to an even nobler use.

Get the correct freezer here.

It actually means "we're looking for you".

Our anti-missile defenses will protect us.

Not such a good deal from God, really.


Her boyfriend is faithful.

Sometimes you make a typo that will live forever.

Fish be high.

"Are you two friends?"

Australian newsreaders find Jeff Bezos's rocket curiously amusing.

It's not polite to interrupt an ogre at teatime.

Here are the most popular baby names of the last two years.

Self-serving blogger at work.

He couldn't visit Santorini, so he built it.

Refrigerators don't need philosophy.

This definitely sounds like a beneficial mutation.

Studio Ghibli is making 1,178 images from its classic movies freely available.

We just have to take it.

Colorful trees hereCool storm pictures here.

Buy real books.  You'll be able to keep them.

This is the East Frisian Islands.

It's only a lie if they have a right to know.

You go girl!💜

Some ancient Greeks buried their dogs with honor.

"Children have a vivid inner world that they do not have the vocabulary to explain to adults."

An author remembers the libraries of her life, with photos (found via By Hook or by Book).

His house is now cat-friendly.

Whatever this is, I hope I never meet one.

Not everybody should have kids.

We mustn't let the end of the pandemic suck us back into the cult of busyness.

Art remembers autistic people who fell victim to violence.

Ken Ham is seriously unhappy about younger Americans' indifference to religion (link from reader NickM), but he can't think of anything to do about it except the usual Bible blather.

Oh FFS, how do they explain ancient Greece then?

Don't do business with a company that charges you $1,200 to dump them.

Speculation here about Trump's alleged upcoming book.

There's one group that everybody is OK with oppressing.

Carol Seidl describes how a family member's mental illness (and abusive "treatment") devastated her father's family.  It's a harrowing story.

Make up your $%#@!# minds, wingnuts (found via Mike).

This has nothing to do with capitalism.

Pull yourself up, don't push others down -- wise words which can apply in many situations.

Travel broadens the mind, at least in some cases.

Arguing rarely serves any practical purpose and it's bad for your blood pressure.

Billionaire philanthropy is no substitute for equitable taxation.

Don't let the bad guys be the only ones armed.

Are humans naturally scavengers or herbivores?

"It didn't begin at Stonewall."

Hey Texans -- Big Brother is roasting you.

Baltimoreans need to make up their minds about the police.  Also, God destroyed Jesus in Ohio eleven years ago (more here).

Your entire economic ecosystem is a lie.

Karen Karen Karen!

Proud Boys?  More like whimpering little brats.

Octopuses and lobsters are self-aware too, and some governments are recognizing it.

Yes, cancel culture exists and is dangerous.  Any claim to the contrary is just willful ignorance at this point.  Read this too.  Disgusting.😬

Biden's success abroad suggests some tactics for dealing with the Republicans.  Is he senile?  Putin doesn't think so.

Even during droughts, California has plenty of water.  They're just using it wrong.

Must-read of the week -- if you spend any time on Tumblr, you know she's right.

Remember the victims of the Emanuel AME church shooting.

Nan's Notebook raises the idea of splitting the US into autonomous red and blue sub-nations -- discussion in the comments.

Dr Harriet Hall's review of Abigail Shirer's recent book Irreversible Damage, abruptly deleted from SBM, is now re-posted at Skeptic.

Cartoonists look at Obamacare repeal efforts.

Know the enemy -- you'll make more sense talking about them.

"What's bullshit is issuing death threats because you don't care for someone's point of view."

US Catholic bishops wallow in their usual hypocrisy with their condemnation of Biden.💩

When you know your life is coming to an end, you and only you have the right to say how you will feel and react.

Texas has peculiar priorities.  Such as protecting the "right" of churches to spread covid-19.

What's the right term for people who call gay men "faggots" and want them to be exterminated and go to Hell?

Support your local news media -- they do valuable work.

California's county-by-county vaccination rates highlight the toxic nature of modern US wingnuttery.

Religious nonsense is still being allowed to distort science.

"Get back to the office or else" -- fuck you.  Wall Street's obsession with this risks driving its best employees away to more flexible venues like Silicon Valley.

Electoral-Vote has more analysis on Manchin's game.

Sometimes an asshole gets what he deserves.

Accept reality.  The alternative doesn't work.

Texas is facing another electricity disaster this summer.

Here's some valuable advice from rapists (yes, really).

The right-wing internet is still full of conspiracy rubbish.

Don't call people "cis".

The EU parliament has voted to prohibit caged animal farming.

Despite variants, the UK is well on the way to beating covid-19 due to vaccines.

Remember the Dutch freedom fighters Willem Arondeus (found via Yellowdog Granny) and Hannie Schaft.

The German army needs to get its act together (found via Earth-Bound Misfit).

Estonia's early embrace of the internet, and the Putin regime's threats, have made it a leader in cybersecurity expertise.

The entire blue region has fewer homicides than the red region.

Saudi Arabia takes a small step out of the Dark Ages.

Many Chinese young people are trying to drop out of the country's intense work culture.  Here is what "996" refers to.

As the US reclaims its place among the world's democracies, the Chinese regime starts feeling the heat.

Hello from Porto Novo! (scroll down).

Dietary change can fight diabetes and multiple sclerosis.

Bacteriological warfare shows success in defeating disease-spreading mosquitos.

Jupiter's biggest moon looks rather like ours.

The proposed NEO Surveyor telescope would be a major addition to Earth's anti-meteor defenses.

More links (mostly politics) at Fair and Unbalanced and Off the Kuff.

o o o o o

In case you missed it -- this week I posted a set of humorous images and a debunking of the claim that the US will become "majority-minority" in a few decades.

19 June 2021

Resources on trans ideology

To be updated as I discover new items to include.

The famous JK Rowling post -- read it for yourself to see that there's nothing hateful or bigoted there

Huge collection of statistics on gender and the trans phenomenon

Threats of violence compiled by TERF Is a Slur blog

Threats of violence compiled by Jane Clare Jones, with extensive commentary

Threats of violence and projection

An obsession with violent rhetoric and imagery

More anti-feminist threats and hatred

Violent crime, persecution of dissenters, and more threats

Silencing women about biology

Vile misogynistic insults

Examples of "inclusive language" as an attack on women

The "murder epidemic" myth (more here)

Yes, they are "transitioning" minors surgically

Psychological effects of transitioning

Effects of lupron (puberty blocker) (1)

Effects of lupron (puberty blocker) (2)

More links on puberty blockers (scroll down)

Many valuable links on transitioning minors

Resources for parents

The "cotton ceiling" concept

Pressuring lesbians into sex with males (1)

Pressuring lesbians into sex with males (2)

Pressuring lesbians into sex with males (3 -- BBC report)

Sex crimes including attacks in bathrooms and other women-only spaces

Many more links on violence against women, including in women-only spaces

More cases of violent crimes against women

People assaulted, murdered, threatened, de-platformed, or otherwise harassed for speaking out against trans ideology

How TRAs convert allies into TERFs (powerful essay)

The Democratic party is on the wrong side of this issue

A good collection of varied links here.


Irreversible Damage by Abigail Shrier (also in French and Spanish)

Trans by Helen Joyce


Butterflies and Wheels (Ophelia Benson)

Dead Wild Roses (Canadian)

Jane Clare Jones

Kara Dansky

Legal Feminist UK


Parents with Inconvenient Truths about Trans (PITT)



4W (news)

Arielle Scarcella (YouTuber)

Exulansic (video channel)

Hallucinations Are Nations (snarky Twitter account)

Lesbian and Gay News

Merched Cymru (Welsh activist group)

Mr Menno (YouTuber)

Ovarit (discussion forum, mostly women-only)

Reduxx (news)

Sex Matters (UK activist group)

Transgender Trend

WAHF (weekly news round-ups)

Woman Are Human (news)

Women's Liberation Front (news/activism)

18 June 2021

No, the US is not going to become "majority-minority"

For some years now it's been a common claim that the US, within a few decades, will become "majority-minority", meaning that whites will be outnumbered by non-whites.  The idea persists because it's useful to elements on both sides of the political divide.  For many on the left, who view practically all issues through the prism of race and racism, it provides a reassurance that the Republicans are ultimately doomed because non-whites mostly vote Democratic.  For the fear-mongers on the right, it helps inflame their voting base with anxiety and hysteria about being reduced to a minority, fueling support both for draconian limits on immigration and for laws to obstruct voting by non-whites.

Well, this shift to a "majority-minority" country is not going to happen, and moreover it's foolish and counterproductive for the left to keep claiming that it is going to happen.  I've been meaning on and off for years to write a post about this, but never got around to it.  Now an article in The Atlantic has appeared which makes makes somewhat the same case, though I believe there are actually two reasons why the majority-minority idea is a fallacy, and the article emphasizes only the one I consider the less significant of the two.

(Yes, I'm fully aware that talking about race at all makes some people uncomfortable, but obviously it's impossible to discuss this issue in any detail without doing so.)

To start with the more important point, which the Atlantic article does not emphasize:  Most people in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA*), and a large part of the population of Latin America -- two of our country's major sources of immigrants -- are actually white, and Americans think of them as non-white only due to cultural differences which have nothing to do with race (it is in this sense, and only in this sense, that the "race is just a social construct" nonsense has some truth to it).  Most people in MENA are racially indistinguishable from most southern Europeans, and it was only when the rise of Islam divided the Mediterranean basin into two mutually-hostile occupation zones that the basin's inhabitants started thinking of themselves as two sharply-distinct groups.  Much later, in the time of colonialism, Europeans re-interpreted this distinction as MENA people being "non-white", like most colonized peoples elsewhere in the world; the modern liberal heirs of colonial racial thinking have substituted the term "people of color" for "non-white", but the error is the same.  What differences in physical appearance exist between people in MENA and in southern Europe are mostly a matter of different traditions in clothing and facial hair, and as immigrants from MENA in Europe or the US become assimilated and lose these cultural differences, in most cases they register as "white" by all the same visual cues by which people of southern European ancestry do.

The same applies to some of the population of India, though India is far more racially diverse than the Middle East.  Nobody would look at, say, Nikki Haley and think "not white" if they were unaware of her ancestry.

(As a further example of this point, modern genetics has recently confirmed what historians always knew -- that most of the population of Turkey is descended from the original Greek and Greek-related population of ancient Anatolia, who adopted Turkish language and culture and the Islamic religion after the Turkic conquest in medieval times.  We think of Greeks as "white" and Turks as "people of color", but the differences are purely cultural -- the actual racial stock is the same.)

As for Latin America, the original colonizers who gave the region its dominant languages and cultures were from Spain and Portugal.  Today the region's population is a mix of descendants of immigrants from many areas, plus descendants of the original Indians, in varying proportions in different countries.  A large part of it is still of mostly Spanish or Portuguese or other European (or Middle Eastern) ancestry, who are thus "white" by any reasonable definition.  Again, it is culture and geographical origin which leads Americans to classify very racially-diverse immigrants from Latin America as an undifferentiated "non-white" or "of color" category, ignoring whether their ancestors were mostly Maya, mostly Spanish, or anything else.

The US Census Bureau, by the way, acknowledges these facts.  It defines "white" as "having origins in any of the original peoples of Europe, the Middle East, or North Africa" and recognizes that "Latino" or "Hispanic" do not refer to a race and that people who self-identify by those terms may be of any race.

The significance of all this for the "majority-minority" delusion is that Latinos are the largest "minority" in the US, and among the fastest-growing.  It's largely the growth of the Latino population that fuels the claims that "people of color" will outnumber whites in the US in two or three decades.  But a huge part of the US Latino population, probably the majority, actually is white, and as Americans of Latino ancestry assimilate generation by generation, they more and more come to self-identify simply as "white" and also to be perceived as such by other Americans.  I've known people who had distant Mexican ancestry but knew no Spanish and registered visually and culturally as entirely "white".  The same process applies to descendants of immigrants from MENA over time.

This is just a continuation of what has been happening throughout American history.  In the nineteenth century, immigrants from Ireland, Italy, and eastern Europe were widely perceived as racially inferior and as threatening to overwhelm the "superior" Anglo-Saxon dominant population of the US.  Today the descendants of those immigrants think of themselves as "white" and are seen as such by everyone else.

One can even see the same pattern in some other countries.  In the British Isles, for centuries, many of the English viewed the Irish, Welsh, and Scots as inferior peoples and subjected them to horrific bigotry and brutality.  Modern genetics has shown that all four peoples are actually of the same ancestry.

If you look at the Census Bureau's 2019 estimated racial breakdown of the US population, the category "white alone, not Hispanic or Latino" is 60.1%.  This is the number people have in mind when they claim the US is going to become "majority-minority" in two or three decades.  But the figure for "white alone" -- the actual racial category -- is 76.3%.  A majority that large is not going to become a minority by 2050, and probably not ever, especially since immigration from Latin America actually contributes to it.

This is politically significant for two reasons.  First, the "majority-minority" myth is a powerful force driving white voters toward the Republican party and right-wing views generally.  If they realized that it is just a myth, many of those who now vote right-wing might be less inclined to do so -- which is why liberals' triumphalist embrace of the myth is foolish and self-defeating.  Second, the myth fuels a dangerous complacency on the left, because of their perception that minorities overwhelmingly vote Democratic.  This is not even universally true, but my point is that as white Americans of Latino or MENA descent merge indistinguishably into the broader white population (as Italian- and Irish-Americans did generations ago), their voting patterns become more similar to those of white Americans generally.  Please read this, and prepare to be a bit shocked if you're on the left.  We cannot count on a shift in the country's racial make-up to overwhelm and defeat the Republicans, because that shift is not happening the way liberals believe it is, and even the country's racial make-up itself is not what liberals believe it is.

So that's one of the two main flaws in the majority-minority myth.  The other, to which the Atlantic article devotes the bulk of its attention, is that racial differences -- real or perceived -- are becoming blurred over time due to intermarriage:

In reality, racial diversity is increasing not only at a nationwide level but also within American families -- indeed within individual Americans. Nearly three in 10 Asian, one in four Latino, and one in five Black newlyweds are married to a member of a different ethnic or racial group. More than three-quarters of these unions are with a white partner. For more and more Americans, racial integration is embedded in their closest relationships.

Both right-wing racism and the left-wing obsession with race share the error of thinking of races (and pseudo-racial categories like "Latino") as sharply-bounded, immutably-distinct groups, like separate species.  Even mixed-race people are perceived as a new group or lumped in with one side or the other of their ancestry.  The reality is that all humans are of the same species, and intermarriage and blurring of racial distinctions is inevitable as the cultural taboos against it erode away.  In fact, the US of 2050 will not be a country with a clearly definable percentage of white vs non-white people at all, but rather one which can no longer be fully described by such categories, however much the racial essentialists of all political stripes will still struggle to do so.  And that, as those of us who are not racial essentialists must surely recognize, will be a good thing.

[*This abbreviation is widely used in academia.  Sorry if it looks odd, but repeatedly typing out "Middle East and North Africa" gets a bit cumbersome.]

16 June 2021

It's a funny world (2)

In some Asian countries, shirts with English words on them are popular, but many people neither know nor much care what those words mean.

13 June 2021

Link round-up for 13 June 2021

Various interesting stuff I ran across on the net over the last week.

o o o o o

Banana table lamp?  Who comes up with these things?

Lots of reptile cartoons here.

Asians dress up for "mundane Halloween".

See an absurdly-complex squirrel feeder.

Perhaps stores should do maintenance on their signs more often.

Her profile picture got deleted?

Even for the therapy dog, it's too much.

Maybe fake news, maybe not (for zebras).

"You do know what a cat is, right?"

Finally, a good use for an oil pipeline.

Who borrowed the car? (found via Funny Links).

An unexpected effect of Ovaltine, "fingering and praying for the Lord", and more.

Astral sex is not always hassle-free.  Some people prefer aliens, apparently.

Here's the password for free wi-fi.

It's just an ordinary Canadian town.

Nice arching.

Some cool nature pics here (click for bigger).

Libraries need your support.

Don't leave your dog out in the cold.

Don't treat an individual as a mere member of a category.

Flip your phone over (seriously, gawking at that thing while on a date is an insult -- I wouldn't even have it out or switched on).

More than half of Oregon's population is now fully vaccinated against covid-19, but 98% of new cases are among the unvaccinated.

Be careful not to access free academic stuff.

Perhaps the Iliad is too sophisticated for modern readers.

Observe 2,000 years of Christianity being stupid about homosexuality.  But the results aren't actually funny.

Blogger The Wheelchair Teen explains how to avoid discrimination and insensitivity to disabled people.  More here on the term "disabled".

For wingnuts, "socialist" and "communist" are now just meaningless terms of general disapproval.

Multi-billionaires waste the money they save in taxes on silly fantasies and a dong rocket.

Here are some tips for improving your privacy online.  It's not easy.

Portland's once-vibrant downtown is now so trashed and unsafe that hardly anybody wants to go there, even when the pandemic is over.

Many employees have relocated away from big cities while working from home.  Just try dragging them back to commuting/office hell.

The Oregon legislature has expelled a member who helped a mob of armed thugs enter the state capitol building in December.

A Texas bakery is overwhelmed with local support after getting hate for its pro-gay stance.

56% of lesbians surveyed report being "pressured or coerced" to accept biological males as sex partners.

Sorry, Trumpanzees, the data show that masks help stop the spread of covid-19.  And if you do get the disease, it's far less likely to be severe if you're vegan.  More on that here, and note that low-carb diets actually seem to make it even worse than the standard American diet does.

West Virginia's Republican governor may have a special reason for trying to cut unemployment benefits and force people back into crap jobs.

An anthropologist responds to an attack on Darwin.

Some Oregon businesses have been flagrantly ignoring rules designed to protect employees from covid-19.

Darwinfish 2 is getting pessimistic about the US political scene.  Our democracy will not be safe until the Republican party is crushed.  Electoral-Vote looks at what Manchin is really up to (maybe it's just about money?).  A new report warns that Democrats risk defeat unless they can decouple from the extreme left.  But a form of identity politics can still help if used properly.

Here's why they call it the American dream.

The bluer the state, the better the vaccination rate.

"This is exactly the tactic that cults use."

Support for gay marriage in the US is higher than ever, with even a majority of Republicans now approving.

Let this e-mail from Florida (scroll down) serve as a rallying cry.

The FDA may have made a politics-driven mistake in approving a new Alzheimer's treatment.  At least three members of an FDA expert panel have resigned over the decision.

This is intolerable -- no one should get death threats for expressing opinions, however repugnant.

Christian pastor John Pavlovitz explains why evangelicals must be defeated.

A North Carolina woman was raped for working at an abortion clinic.  Then the harassment started.

Large majorities of US voters support the integrity of women-only spaces, including single-sex prisons.  Yes, the bathroom issue is a problem.

Manchin needs to listen to his constituents.

Super-spreader pastor Tony Spell isn't done being an asshole -- and the law isn't done with him.

Even with Congress paralyzed, the executive branch is taking action to defend voting rights.

Wingnuts go berserk about abortion (and rape).

Book publishers must learn to defy the mobs.

A journalist embedded with US troops in Afghanistan comes back with some surprising revelations.

Relations among the democracies are returning to normal.

Stop willfully misrepresenting non-Western cultures to legitimize Western fads.

Objecting to sexual assault is now un-woke, apparently.

Scottish activist Marion Millar has been charged with a "hate crime" and risks six months in prison for posting a picture of a suffragette ribbon.  Lots more insanity at the link.

The verdict in Forstater v CGD is a major victory for free speech in the UK and against cancel culture

Medical workers in Scotland push back against ideological pressure in the workplace.

Germany has finally got its per-capita covid-19 caseload down to the UK's level.

There are two options, but only one is safe.

Response here to Scientific American's op-ed on the Israel/Hamas conflict.

India's divisive, religio-nationalist prime minister Narendra Modi is the object of a bizarre personality cult, but mishandling of covid-19 is eroding his support (sounds oddly familiar).

Overwhelmed by the pandemic, India's doctors also face violence on the job.

China's one-child policy and misogynistic culture led to horrific abuse of girls.

Buzzfeed has won its first Pulitzer for exposing China's mass detention of Uyghurs.

Microsoft grovels before the fascists.

WTF?  The Chinese regime condemns Japan for offering covid-19 vaccines to Taiwan.

More military cooperation between democracies in the western Pacific against the Chinese threat.

Local militias with primitive rifles are proving surprisingly effective against the regime's army in Myanmar.

This year's drought in the western US is the worst in a millennium.

Here's why mRNA vaccines will be a revolutionary new weapon in the fight against disease.  The covid-19 ones have proven far more effective than anyone expected.

Soon we'll be checking out our solar system's real water world.

How many people would have sex with an attractive stranger, and why?

More links at Off the Kuff, mostly about Texas politics.

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In case you missed it -- this week I posted a question on a diabolonian story and videos on cancer resistance and longevity.