Linky Friday: Toil and Trouble

Andrew Donaldson

Born and raised in West Virginia, Andrew has since lived and traveled around the world several times over. Though frequently writing about politics out of a sense of duty and love of country, most of the time he would prefer discussions on history, culture, occasionally nerding on aviation, and his amateur foodie tendencies. He can usually be found misspelling/misusing words on Twitter @four4thefire and his writing website Yonder and Home. Andrew is the host of Heard Tell podcast.

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25 Responses

  1. DensityDuck says:

    OT: if you follow Internet Birds you’ve probably heard of Birdhism, and Magical Bird Cody. Jen, his human friend, has posted that he’s not in good health, and it looks like this is all for him :'(Report

  2. Saul Degraw says:

    Looks like this what happens when 60 million people and an antidemocratic and archiac voting system decide the best thing to do is elect a barely literate, bankrupt, corrupt, fraudster suffering from neurological decline because the previous President was a black man who wore a tan suit once:

    But hey, those blah people are going to be put in their place so who cares about the economy.Report

    • Chip Daniels in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      This feels like the opening scenes from Chernobyl, as the experts are silenced and the political aparatchiks and hacks are trying desperately to maintain control.

      Not control of the emergency, but control of the messaging.Report

      • LeeESq in reply to Chip Daniels says:

        The messaging is the most important thing of them all. For in the messaging lies the re-election campaign and owning the libs. Those are the most important things in the world. God, we are so fished.Report

    • Brandon Berg in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      Given the current frontrunner in the Democratic primary, you might want to start preemptively ramping down the smug. There’s an uncomfortably high chance that the inmates will be running both asylums in a few months.Report

    • Damon in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      I don’t seem to recall your complaints about the ” antidemocratic and archiac voting system” during the Obama administration. It’s still the same system.Report

  3. Brandon Berg says:

    LF9: You’ve heard about Canada’s Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women crisis, right? A fact conspicuously absent from media coverage of this issue is that the homicide victimization rate of aboriginal Canadian men (12 per 100,000) is roughly three times the homicide victimization of aboriginal Canadian women (4 per 100,000). In fact, the homicide victimization rate of aboriginal Canadian women is roughly equal to the homicide victimization rate of non-Hispanic white men in the US.

    Homicide victimization rates are higher for men than for women in almost every country, and as a rule, the higher the homicide rate, the more heavily male it skews.

    I have not yet read the linked article or investigated the stats for Mexico yet, but I’m preregistering two hypotheses:

    1. The homicide victimization rate in Mexico and Central America is substantially higher for men than for women.

    2. The linked article will not mention this, and will in fact be written so as to give a naive reader the impression that the homicide victimization rate of Mexican and Central American women is substantially higher than that of their male counterparts.Report

    • Oscar Gordon in reply to Brandon Berg says:

      It’s a kind of victim blaming.

      Men are supposed to do dangerous, stupid crap that get’s them killed. Women don’t, so their murders are more sinister, and not just a more deadly form of ‘boys will be boys’.Report

      • veronica d in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

        I do suspect there is a difference in the nature of the murders. It’s not that men are “supposed” to engage in risky behavior, it’s that many in fact do. This seems to be strongly related to economic class and access to education and employment.

        First note that the killers are overwhelmingly male. Second, how many male victims are themselves in gangs or engaged in the drug trade? How many cases is the murder part of a “beef” between two men (or between two gangs) that leads to a homicide, followed by revenge killings, etcetera?

        Is this “victim blaming”? I dunno. I’d love to see drug legalization, combined with much better social support for poor communities. I’d like to see better education opportunities, and somehow (perhaps magic) we could offer hope instead of despair.

        Anyway, it’s complicated.

        For women and LGBT people, it is indeed a very different situation. The murders of women and LGBT people are very often a case of one violent brutal man killing a victim who had no violent tendencies themselves. It’s often about domination. The murders of women are often from either intimate partners or men the women rejected. The murders of LGBT people are pure hate.

        The point is, if you’re a middle class man, your chances of being gunned down is pretty darn close to zero. Who targets middle class dudes minding their own business?

        It’s very different for women and LGBT people.

        I suspect that none of the men on this forum are likely to be murdered in a drug deal gone bad, nor in a gangland revenge killing. The women on this forum must be aware of intimate partner violence. It’s part of our lives. I must be aware of transphobic hate. There is a big difference.Report

        • Brandon Berg in reply to veronica d says:

          The murders of LGBT people are pure hate.

          I want to focus on the issue of murder of trans people, because that’s an issue I’ve actually investigated. Every year, a trans advocacy group puts out a list of trans people who were murdered in the US in the prior year. Usually it’s on the order of two dozen.

          Media coverage of this report frequently insinuates that this is a list of people killed for being trans, but it is fact an exhaustive list of every known trans murder victim in the United States. The report includes a description of the details known about the circumstances of each victim’s death. Almost none of them give any evidence that the murder was motivated by bias, and most give evidence that there was some other reason.

          Trans people, it turns out, are killed mostly for the same reasons cis people are. And if you divide the number of trans people killed by estimates of the number of trans people, they seem to be killed at the same rate as cis people.

          White trans women in particular seem to be virtually immune to homicide, which is why the narrative has recently shifted to “murders of trans women of color.” But there’s not much evidence of an epidemic of bias-motivated killings of trans women of color, either. Most of the murders seem to be a result of living in areas where a lot of murders and other violent crimes happen.

          It’s bad that such neighborhoods exist, of course, but that’s a separate problem. I’m just not seeing any evidence that the claimed epidemic of bias-motivated killings of trans people is real.

          Maybe I’m wrong. It’s possible that killings of trans people are undercounted, or that estimates of the total number of trans people are exaggerated. But when activists tell me that 26 trans people were killed in the US in 2018 and that there are 1.6 million trans people in the US, I’m not going to draw the conclusion they want me to draw.Report

          • Brandon Berg in reply to Brandon Berg says:

            Quick clarification: When I said trans people are killed at about the same rate as cis people, I meant that trans women are killed at about the same rate as cis women. Overall, the ~1.6 rate of homicide victimization for trans people is about one third of the overall homicide victimization rate for the United States of ~5. The gap probably grows if you adjust for age; trans-identified people skew towards young adults, which is the prime homicide victimization age.Report

            • veronica d in reply to Brandon Berg says:

              Show your work. First, how many trans women are there? Do you know? How did you find that out?

              Note, there is no generally agreed figure, so you don’t even have a denominator for your fraction. So any results you gin up will be invalid.

              Islan Nettles, just to pick an example off the top of my head, was murdered because she was trans. A guy catcalled her. Then he discovered she was trans. So he murdered her.

              I’ve had friends assaulted under the same circumstances. A guy drew a knife on a couple of my friends once. He tried to stab them. (He failed, it turns out. But still, he tried to stab them, because they were trans.)

              Stories like this are fairly common. These are hate crimes. You can try to diminish this fact, because of course you will. But fuck that.Report

              • Brandon Berg in reply to veronica d says:

                For total trans population, there’s the 2016 Williams Institute estimate (based on 2014 data) of about 0.6% of the adult population, with a confidence interval of 0.36%-0.95% (title: “How Many Adults Identify as Transgender in the United States”). There’s also Gates 2011, which used data from 2003-2009, finding a 0.3% estimate. Given the recent progress made by the trans acceptance movement and the rapid increase in people coming out as trans, it’s quite possible that both estimates were correct for the time, but may be low for the present.

                On the other hand, with less than 1% of the population, there’s room for concern that estimates may be biased upwards due to mischievous responders or people misunderstanding the question.

                In each of the last two years, there have been 26 known homicides of trans individuals in the United States. Here’s a list. The US individuals named here are more or less the same list you’ll find in the annual HRC reports.

                In a typical year, there will be, 15,000-20,000 homicides in the US. Call it 17,500. 26 is about 0.15% of that, so unless there’s substantial undercounting of trans homicide victims or overestimation of the trans population, the homicide victimization rate for the trans population is not significantly greater than the homicide victimization for the general population. Maybe slightly greater than the homicide victimization rate for the general female population, but I’m just not seeing any evidence for the narrative about trans women being killed at greatly elevated rates.

                Now let’s go through the specific cases in the list above. As I mentioned, there are very few documented cases of non-Hispanic white trans women in the US being killed for any reason at all. Let’s count them, starting in 2011:

                Betty Skinner (2012, no suspect, but murdered in her home)
                Bri Golec (2015, killed by own father, some combination of bigotry and batshit crazy)
                Mercedes Willamson (2015, killed by gangster boyfriend)
                Gwynevere River Song(2017, killed by father, circumstances disputed; he claims she started it by stabbing him, and he did in fact have several stab wounds)
                Ally Steinfeld (2017, not even going to try to get to the bottom of that clusterfish)
                Rhiannon Layendecker (2017, killed by wife)
                Christa Leigh Steele-Knudslien (2018, killed by husband)
                Zakaria Fry (2018, killed in a double murder along with cis male roommate, no known motive that I can find)
                Nikki Kuhnhausen (2019, “trans panic,” AKA hate)

                That’s an average of one per year over the last nine years, 2 per year over the last 3, the increase likely being driven by a larger population identifying as trans. I’m not saying that white people matter more, but this is more relevant to your personal situation. In the last nine years, there is one documented case of a white trans woman being killed by a stranger out of anti-trans sentiment.

                For all races, let’s look at all cases from the last two years and see how many show evidence of anti-trans motive. This is by and large an activist-maintained page, so if there’s any evidence, it’s going to be there. “Her friend/family just know it was a hate crime” doesn’t count.

                Nikki Kuhnhausen
                Kelly Stough

                That’s two. I couldn’t find any for 2017, either. I found more cases of trans women being killed by other trans women than documented cases of trans people being murdered for being trans.

                Yes, in theory many of those unsolved murders could have been motivated by anti-trans sentiment, but most of them are in cities where there are lots of murders, with low clearance rates, so it’s also kind of a given that some trans people are going to get killed just because of the law of large numbers.

                Which, again, is terrible. That shouldn’t be happening, and it would be great if we could get those numbers down. But my read of the evidence is that any claims that there’s an epidemic of trans-targeted homicides, above and beyond the problem the US has with murder in general, are purely speculative.

                You can try to diminish this fact, because of course you will. But fuck that.

                I’m looking at the numbers, and I just don’t think they match up with the rhetoric. You’re free to disagree, but don’t be shitty about it.Report

              • veronica d in reply to Brandon Berg says:

                You’re rounding off the “I don’t knows” to “definitely not hate.” That’s invalid.

                We know there is a lot of irrational hatred toward trans people. We know that people routinely call for our murder. I’ve personally had people aggressively threaten to kill me, to my face, merely because I was existing in the world as trans.

                One time it was a crazy old bigot with a knife. After harassing some brown people for being Muslims, he shifted his attention to me. He threatened to cut my throat.

                Note, he didn’t cut my throat.

                One time it was a group of guys, and one of the dudes in the groups was talking to his friends. I could overhear very well. He wanted to stomp me for being queer. Another guy in the group, bigger and stronger, and better looking, told the other guy off. He told them to leave me alone.

                This is a very unsurprising social dynamic. Anyway, I wasn’t beaten up that night.

                The statistic don’t capture stuff like that. Even if they had attacked me, it is unlikely they would have murdered me. Instead, it would have probably been a humiliating beatdown. Would that show up in your statistics?


                Let’s take the case of Ally Steinfeld, which you don’t want to talk about. From a random article I found:

                When she didn’t drink the liquid, he stabbed her multiple times, gouging out her eyes and stabbing her genitals, according to court documents.

                Dude, I’ll say straight up. He killed because she was trans. How can I tell? Because he mutilated her genitals.

                Like jimminy fucknuggets. Some things are pretty clear.


                Plus there is second order stuff you’re not considering. Trans people face difficult housing and employment situations, which means we kind of have to “take what we can get” regarding housing. I personally know a lot of trans women in crappy housing situations, but they struggle with employment and social acceptance, so they’re kind of stuck.

                By bad housing situations, I mean abusive roommates. Specifically, the kind of dipshit that would murder you and mutilate your genitals.

                Did Ally want to associate with people like that?

                It’s a complicated question, but her choices were shaped by social forces that you don’t understand. I’ve seen it first hand.

                “Move out,” I say.

                “To where,” they reply.

                “Quit that job.”

                “And do what for work?”

                It’s a different game.

                Try to understand this.Report

    • Brandon Berg in reply to Brandon Berg says:

      Both hypotheses checked out. The data here are from 2015, but the female homicide rates correspond roughly to the numbers given in the linked New Humanitarian article, so it doesn’t seem to have changed much. According to NH, El Salvador had a “femicide” rate of 13.49 per 100,000 women in 2018; according to WHO, the “femicide” rate in 2015 was 15.0, and the “androcide” rate was 117.5. In Honduras it was 46 vs. 125. In Mexico it was 3.9 vs. 34.3.

      A few years ago, Mike Huckabee noted that since 94% of people killed by police officers are men whereas about 25% are black, maybe “Male Lives Matter” would be a more appropriate slogan. Internet feminists responded in a manner every bit as thoughtful and mature as you might expect, but he kind of had a point. Activists and the media are constantly pushing the message that women’s lives just matter more than men’s, and “Male Lives Matter” is a message that they could stand to hear and take to heart.

      To be fair, a lot of the male-on-male violence is reciprocal, so even if the men don’t, strictly speaking, “deserve” to die, they are at least kind of bringing it on themselves by getting involved in a lifestyle that involves getting in lots of gun and knife fights with other men. Maybe this explains the whole gender gap in homicide victimization, and women are actually more likely to be victimized through absolutely no fault of their own. Again, though, the activists and media pushing these “femicide” narratives don’t seem the least bit interested in investigating issues that could call the narrative into question.Report

  4. Oscar Gordon says:

    I thought this was cool (I need for work to slow down for a while so I can restart Tech Tuesdays).

    Rust can be a catalyst for hydrogen production.

    Of course, it isn’t just any old iron rust, but it’s also not a crazy rare, expensive rust either. So now the question is simply, can it scale, and can it scale such that it makes economic sense.

    I mean, if you can have a tank of water that feeds a catalytic separator with nothing more than a bright Hg-Xe light shining on it, and it produces enough H2 to run a fuel cell or a turbine that generates way more than the light consumes…Report

    • Jaybird in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      The quickest way to end a disagreement is to agree.Report

    • Marchmaine in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      Strikes me the more interesting story is the downward slope among Women *away* from Democrats starting from a peak just after Trump is elected, sloping down through 2018, and continuing through 2020.

      Those are not 2020 “wave” slopes… not for Democrats, anyway.Report

      • Pinky in reply to Marchmaine says:

        It looks like the graph is based on survey data. If so, that decline in female party preference can’t be statistically significant. Eyeballing the trend line, it’s, what, 1% down since 2016? Even if it was official voter registration levels, that’s too small to be meaningful.Report

    • Oscar Gordon in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      PS: If you don’t want to format a link in html, can you at least take a moment and trim the link to the essential part. The first ‘?’ and everything after that is useless, you can delete it.Report

  5. Pinky says:

    LF14 – “The restrictions don’t apply to the compulsory and better-known Hajj pilgrimage, which doesn’t begin this year until the end of July.” That would be enormous.Report