Uber has given up on the Afghan refugees?

Last month, Uber was 100 percent devoted to helping Afghan refugees (using $2 million from shareholders and customers rather than executive personal contributions, of course!). See Relative importance of getting a ride from Uber versus helping the Afghan refugees for example.

How about this month? An email from Uber today:

The rest of the page:

Uber is committed to supporting the LGBTQIA+ community and helping create safe spaces where you can be you. Every moment and every interaction matters. Everyone has the right to move.

(Why only LGBTQIA+ and not 2SLGBTQQIA+? (“Two Spirit, Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Queer Questioning Intersex Asexual Plus”))

This email comes from UberEats rather than Uber in general. The whole point of UberEats is that you don’t leave the house. Is the message from Uber that the only safe space for a 2SLGBTQQIA+ person is at home eating out of a plastic container?

Perhaps the rationale for shifting from Afghan refugee awareness is that the 86 cents/refugee that Uber’s highly paid executives previously arranged to generously scoop out of shareholders’ and customers’ pockets was sufficient and now nobody need worry about Afghans anymore? My Uber app now opens with an exhortation to “Rent a car with Uber” rather than anything about either refugees or the 2SLGBTQQIA+. The only sign of virtue in the app is a “vaccine” icon. There is nothing about National Coming Out Day.

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Carousel of Social Progress for Disney World?

We hid from the afternoon rain at Magic Kingdom’s Carousel of Progress, which covers technological progress fairly well:

Follow an American family over 4 generations of progress and watch technology transform their lives.

During each era, learn how the technological marvels of the day made life more comfortable—and paved the way for unimaginable innovations.

Discover how gas lamps, the hand-cranked washing machine and gramophone made the pre-electric era a breeze.

Watch the advent of electricity give rise to modern conveniences like the electric iron, the radio—and the simple, revolutionary light bulb.

See how the automatic dishwasher and television set transformed the American household.

Today’s high-tech marvels include virtual-reality games, high-definition televisions and voice-activated household appliances. Imagine the wonders the next hundred years may bring!

The period covered by the carousel seems to be roughly 1900 (gas lamps, Wright Brothers experimenting but not yet succeeding) through 2013 (Amazon Alexa plus consumer-priced VR goggles).

The attraction doesn’t cover the changes in American society over this period, however. The narrator is a white cisgender married heterosexual male in every scene, for example. None of the children in the nuclear family identify as LGBTQIA+ in any year. No migrants arrive. Nobody has sex with a politician’s son in order to pocket $2.5 million in child support. What about a companion Carousel of Social Progress ride?

Readers: What would you include to show the changes in American society that aren’t technological?

Here are some ideas for a progression…

Start with a family of Native Americans: dad, one wife (not a “squaw“), and two kids. They talk about how they have so much land and so many resources they are hunting and gathering only a couple of hours per day. Once every 6 months, dad smokes some tobacco as part of a religious or diplomatic ceremony. Illustrate with this stained glass from downtown Key West, in which a non-binary “Calusa Indian” parent tells his/her/zir/their non-binary child about the rainbow of LGBTQIA+ possibilities that the white invasion and occupation will bring:

The above family is shoved aside by some white “settlers”, who guzzle corn liquor from a barrel and chain smoke. They talk about setting up a casino.

Californians in 1969 smoke marijuana and talk about how the new no-fault divorce law (“unilateral divorce”) means they can “do their own thing”.

Lunden Roberts talks about how she made good money at a fully legal strip club, but that having sex with Hunter Biden yielded $2.5 million in tax-free child support (pats animatronic Navy Joan on head and $100 bills come out from under the child’s cap).

In the last scene, we find an Afghan migrant family eating goat head soup around the breakfast table in a luxurious apartment building. The father says how happy he is that the town forced the developer to give up 12 percent of the units for public housing so that unemployed migrants like himself could live there. The wife announces that she is suing him for divorce so that she can live in the beautiful apartment with her girlfriend and that he has 48 hours to vacate. The teenage daughter says that seems like a good time to inform the parents about zir transgender identity and says that ze’s going out to pick up some medical marijuana to help treat side-effects of hormone therapy. The younger child says that he hopes to one day open a recreational marijuana dispensary that also sells state lottery tickets.

Exit through the gift shop exclusively stocked with Pride products from the Rainbow Disney Collection, e.g., this Mickey Mouse Intersectional Flag pin:

(not to be confused with the Mickey Transgender Flag pin, the Mickey Lesbian Flag pin, or the Mickey Bisexual Flag pin)

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Chris Cuomo and what to avoid doing on the It’s a Small World ride

“Chris Cuomo Sexually Harassed Me. I Hope He’ll Use His Power to Make Change.” (New York Times, today):

“Now that I think of it … I am ashamed,” read the subject line of a 2005 email Mr. Cuomo wrote me, one hour after he sexually harassed me at a going-away party for an ABC colleague. At the time, I was the executive producer of an ABC entertainment special, but I was Mr. Cuomo’s executive producer at “Primetime Live” just before that. I was at the party with my husband, who sat behind me on an ottoman sipping his Diet Coke as I spoke with work friends. When Mr. Cuomo entered the Upper West Side bar, he walked toward me and greeted me with a strong bear hug while lowering one hand to firmly grab and squeeze the cheek of my buttock.

“I can do this now that you’re no longer my boss,” he said to me with a kind of cocky arrogance. “No you can’t,” I said, pushing him off me at the chest while stepping back, revealing my husband, who had seen the entire episode at close range. We quickly left.

What had been a private email is now public:

Note the domain for both sender and recipient… the super wholesome disney.com!

Separately, whatever your opinion of these allegations and the email between two people within the Happiest Place on Earth, isn’t it safe to say that there is no better family in New York State? Voters kept electing Cuomos to lead them and they kept tuning into CNN to watch Chris Cuomo. Maybe Chris and Andrew Cuomo, flawed though they may be, are as good as New Yorkers can get.


From earlier this month at Magic Kingdom, Orlando …

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It’s hard to fight the centuries-old idea that womanhood and childbirth are inextricably linked

From CNET, originally a source of information about technology, “Women aren’t the only people who can get pregnant”:

Not everyone who gives birth is a mom. Trans, non-binary and intersex people can and do get pregnant, too, and they have a place in the parenting world.

Though it’s hard to fight the centuries-old idea that womanhood and childbirth are inextricably linked, the ability to get pregnant doesn’t automatically make someone a woman. Many of the issues that affect women can affect trans, non-binary and intersex people, too, and that includes pregnancy.

Yet fight we must!

Some helpful vocabulary:

Chestfeeding: Some trans and non-binary parents choose to feed their babies with their own milk. You can swap out “chest” for “breast,” and “chestfeeding” for “breastfeeding.” Refer to the milk as “chest milk” or “human milk.”

But don’t men have breasts? (After 1.5 years of coronalockdowns, sometimes pretty significant in size!)

Earlier this month, CNN celebrated two apparently healthy guys who didn’t give birth occupying one of the hospital beds that CNN also said were scarce to the point that Americans were dying for want of a hospital bed. I like the implication that the depicted individuals had actually pushed the babies out themselves (is there no limit to the credit that white men will steal?) and also that the browser renders this with a “99% acceptance” ad. Let’s hope that not even 1% of Americans would be sufficiently Deplorable to object to these guys getting credit for baby production.

See also “Why that tired ‘men v. women’ line won’t work with Texas’ new abortion law” (Arizona Central):

Harvard Medical School agrees, using “birthing person” to include “those who identify as non-binary or transgender because not all who give birth identify as ‘women’ or ‘girls.’ ”

And the apology from Harvard:

The webinar panelists used the term “birthing person” to include those who identify as non-binary or transgender because not all who give birth identify as “women” or “girls.” We understand the reactions to this terminology and in no way meant for it to erase or dehumanize women.

Women will not be erased, but let’s also not forget that men might be better at giving birth.

Not every corner of the CDC is up to date on this, despite energetic efforts. An August 24, 2021 page doesn’t mention using “birthing person”:

  • not inmate, but “People/persons who are incarcerated or detained (often used for shorter jail stays or youth in detention facilities)”
  • not disabled but “People with an intellectual or developmental disability”
  • (great news here) not alcoholics, but “Persons with alcohol use disorder”
  • not homeless people, but “People experiencing homelessness”
  • not the poor, but “People with lower incomes”
  • not crazy, but “People with a diagnosis of a mental illness/mental health disorder/behavioral health disorder”
  • not foreigners, but “Asylee or asylum seeker”
  • not illegal immigrants, but “People with undocumented status”
  • not elderly or frail, but “Older adults or elders” (also, not Elizabeth Warren, but “Native American elder”?)
  • not Afro-American, but “Black or African American persons”
  • not Eskimo, but “American Indian or Alaska Native persons/communities/populations”
  • not rural people, but “Residents/populations of rural areas”
  • not Using MSM (men who have sex with men) as shorthand for sexual orientation to describe men who self-identify as gay or bisexual, individually or collectively, but “Using MSM (men who have sex with men) to mean people who report being male at birth and having had sex with a person who was male at birth, regardless of self-identified sexual orientation”
  • not homosexual, but “Two-spirit”

(To the above I would add, in light of Maskachusetts law and the 69 governor’s orders, not pothead, but “Person who smokes healing essential marijuana every hour.”)

We’re in a fight to the death (ours!) against an unprecedented respiratory virus that has caused a global pandemic, but taxpayer-funded workers at the CDC had time, at least on August 24, 2021, to write up the above.


  • “The Culture War Over ‘Pregnant People’” (Atlantic): Last year, a brand-new labor-and-delivery hospital opened on the well-to-do Upper East Side of New York City. Its name, the Alexandra Cohen Hospital for Women and Newborns, might strike most people as innocuous or straightforward. But to some people, the suggestion that a hospital where babies are born is for women is offensive, because transgender and nonbinary people who do not identify as women can also get pregnant and deliver babies. … I called Louise Melling, the deputy legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union, who leads projects on women’s rights and LGBTQ rights. Louise Melling: First of all, if we’re talking about “pregnant people,” that language says to people—to transgender men and to nonbinary people—“we see you.” It should do a fair amount of work to help address discrimination. If we talk about “pregnant people,” it’s a reminder to all of us to catch ourselves when we’re sitting in the waiting room at the GYN that we’re not going to stare at the man who’s there. We’re not going to be disconcerted. … It’s interesting to me, for example, that the CDC website now speaks of “pregnant people.” With every passing year, it’s more pervasive. My GYN just talked to me about this: “Oh, I just learned this,” and was really working to change her language. … I work on LGBTQ rights. My colleagues are people who are in pain. … They are threatened because of language. [i.e., some language is far more painful than childbirth and potential birthing persons who are concerned that childbirth will be painful should know that it won’t be any worse than hearing the term “pregnant woman”]
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Ellen Pao and Elizabeth Holmes intersect

“The Elizabeth Holmes Trial Is a Wake-Up Call for Sexism in Tech” (NYT, 9/15/2021) is a delightful intersection between two of the greatest gifts to this weblog, i.e., Elizabeth Holmes of Theranos fame and Ellen Pao. If you need a refresher on Pao-ology, see the following:

For Holmes, see Theranos was an immigration and H-1B story and Management lessons from Theranos.

Let’s see what the glorious Ellen Pao gives us via her platform on the NYT:

When she founded the unconventional blood-testing company Theranos in 2003, I was relieved to see a woman finally benefit from the hyperbole that dominates venture investing, a world I worked in for nine years, total. Why shouldn’t a woman show the same single-minded confidence that her male peers did?

But after it was revealed that Theranos was not transparent when its blood-testing equipment failed…

Holmes’s psychotic belief that she knew something that the PhD chemists at Siemens and Philips didn’t know was “single-minded confidence.” Diluting blood samples and then running them in the European machines because the Silicon Valley geniuses couldn’t make it work yielded incorrect results for patients (just like the European PhDs said it would), but that was only being “no transparent.”

… as Ms. Holmes’s trial for fraud continues in San Jose, Calif., it’s clear that two things can be true. She should be held accountable for her actions as chief executive of Theranos. And it can be sexist to hold her accountable for alleged serious wrongdoing and not hold an array of men accountable for reports of wrongdoing or bad judgment.

This is where I can agree with Pao. David Boies of Boies Schiller Flexner was on the Theranos board and his firm was the chief enabler, according to the excellent book Bad Blood, of the continuing Theranos fraud. Yet he is not being charged with any crime.

Though never charged with crimes, WeWork’s Adam Neumann and Uber’s Travis Kalanick hyped their way into raising over $10 billion for their companies, claiming they would disrupt their stagnant, tired industries.

Remember the accusations of harassment, privacy violations, price gouging, misleading advertising and any of the other dozens of scandals at Uber? How about the genocide incited on Facebook in Myanmar, or its engagement-centric approach that led to the proliferation of anti-vaccination propaganda on the platform? Neither Mr. Kalanick nor Mark Zuckerberg has faced any significant legal consequences.

Meanwhile, a Tesla employee reportedly described part of a Tesla manufacturing plant as a predator zone for women.

Hmm… what is different about a Tesla that you can drive, admittedly at the cost of neighbors thinking that you’re a sanctimonious douchebag, compared to a blood testing machine that doesn’t work? And you could drive that Tesla or take an Uber to an actual functioning cubicle at WeWork where you could distract yourself from the pain of working by posting on Facebook some righteous hatred for the young people who refuse to get vaccinated against a disease that kills 82-year-olds.

This article is a bit of a letdown, but it is great to see these two female-identifying giants on the same page in the newspaper of record.

(What else do Ellen Pao and Elizabeth Holmes have in common? Nobody would ever have heard of Ellen Pao if she hadn’t been having sex with Ajit Nazre, a married junior partner at her Kleiner Perkins office. That was the basis of her story in the courtroom when she was seeking to extract cash from KP. Elizabeth Holmes’s story in the courtroom is that all of her apparently bad actions were a result of having sex with Ramesh Balwani, a guy in her office. Is it too much to ask that the New York Times devote some space to a woman who didn’t have sex with anyone in the office?)

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U.K. news: Can the dog also become transgender?

Apple News thought I would love “Singing songs of praise for our non-binary family” (The Sunday Times (not one of the tabloids!)) and the robot overlords were certainly correct. From the article:

The broadcaster Carrie Grant and her presenter husband once had three daughters. Now she is the only female

Carrie, 56, and her husband David, 65, the Songs of Praise presenter and former pop star from the band Linx have four children. The three oldest were born girls; now all are “trans/non-binary”.

This raises the question… if all of your children have changed gender IDs, what project remains open? Perhaps the family dog can be persuaded to get on the LGBTQIA+ bus?

Readers: if we can convince Mindy the Crippler to identify as non-binary or as a “male”, what should his/zir/their new name be?

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Is high school LGBQTIA+-ism regional?

Messages from a suburban Massachusetts friend to a group chat:

  • Philip, you were right to move out of here
  • I just got into my daughter’s phone to read what she and her friends are talking about
  • Friend: Guess what happened to day. G told me that M is bisexual and went on a date with R. G also said that she thought I was bisexual and had a crush on me in 6th grade
  • [Daughter]: No way. Not M. Can’t believe it.
  • Friend: Why is everyone bisexual now? We are literally the only ones left. I want more straight friends.
  • [Daughter]: Me too. Nothing against LGBTQ people, but they talk about being LGBTQ all the time.

Another participant pointed out that maybe the identification as LGBTQIA+ is helpful/necessary to get into elite colleges. He referenced Harvard Law School, at which 17 percent of students are LGBTQIA+:

(Exercise for readers: See if you can walk around the campus and identify the “47% students of color”!)

“More Harvard, Yale freshmen identify as LGBTQ than as conservative, surveys find” (NBC, 2018):

Approximately 20 percent of first-year students at Harvard and Yale identify as something other than heterosexual.

Unless fully 20 percent of high school students identify as “other than heterosexual,” being non-hetero is advantageous in being admitted to Harvard and Yale.

Back to the heroine of our story… The daughter in the above chat session attends a public high school in a prosperous, but not crazy rich, suburban Boston town.

[How about middle schoolers? A local 8th grader came home and said that she’d been assigned to interview a parent regarding their attitudes toward the rainbow religion. The father, despite being a passionate Trump-hater and reliable voter for Democrats, failed all five questions in the daughter’s estimation. She then reported his attitudes regarding the official government religion to a government employee. I noted that the government had previously used schoolchildren to rat out parents for using drugs (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drug_Abuse_Resistance_Education#Use_of_children_as_informants ). The 8th grade girl’s take-away? “I think they’re trying to convince us to become gay because they’re always talking about how great it is.”]

Readers: Is the prevalence of high school students identifying as LGBTQIA+ a regional variable, as this father supposes? Would a young scholar in a suburb of Tampa, Albuquerque, or Chicago be just as likely to identify as LGBTQIA+ as his/her/zir/their counterpart in the Boston suburbs?


  • “Outbreak: On Transgender Teens and Psychic Epidemics” (Psychological Perspectives, 2017): … we appear to be experiencing a significant psychic epidemic that is manifesting as children and young people coming to believe that they are the opposite sex, and in some cases taking drastic measures to change their bodies. Of particular concern to the author is the number of teens and tweens suddenly coming out as transgender without a prior history of discomfort with their sex. “Rapid-onset gender dysphoria” is a new presentation of a condition that has not been well studied. Reports online indicate that a young person’s coming out as transgender is often preceded by increased social media use and/or having one or more peers also come out as transgender. These factors suggest that social contagion may be contributing to the significant rise in the number of young people seeking treatment for gender dysphoria.
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Islam is more powerful than Rainbow Flagism?

An Islamic army has beaten the U.S. military’s proxy force in Afghanistan. The embassy that flew a rainbow flag in June was overrun in August. The U.S. military is nominally secular, but its focus for the past 10 years has been on all things LGBTQIA+ (See “Obama hails end of U.S. military restrictions on gays,” Reuters 2011, for example, and “With Transgender Military Ban Lifted, Obama Cements Historic LGBT Rights Legacy,” NBC 2016).

Given the enormous asymmetry in equipment and funding and the stunningly rapid victory of the Muslim faithful armed with basic rifles, is it now fair to say that Islam is more powerful than America’s current state religion?

Is Rainbow Flagism truly our military’s official religion? The U.S. Air Force:

Our Navy, in 2017:

Seventeen days later, they proudly rammed a cargo ship with a $1.8 billion destroyer and, two months later, smashed a different destroyer into a tanker.

Our Army:

(Trump had a West Point graduate and then a former Army Ranger in the role of Secretary of the Army; Biden appointed someone who had never served in the U.S. military.)

Recruiting new soldiers under the rainbow flag:

Separately, why was it only LGBTI that was celebrated by the U.S. Embassy Kabul? Why not LGBTQIA+?

Perhaps the above post is too negative. Maybe we should say that we’re proud of having spent 20 years and $4 trillion (counting PTSD disability pensions to veterans and all of the welfare that will need to be paid out to Afghan immigrants and their descendants) to transform a nation. When we started the war, Afghanistan was being governed by the Taliban. Now that two decades of war are over and we have run away, the Taliban are governing Afghanistan.


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GE: Proud to be years late

EAA AirVenture (“Oshkosh”) starts today. Given how slowly everything in aviation moves, Oshkosh is more of a social gathering than a trade show, but manufacturers do like to announce their progress here.

Earlier this month, I checked in on the General Electric “Catalyst” Advanced Turboprop engine. This competitor to Pratt’s PT6 (first flight: 1961) had been scheduled to fly in 2018 (November 2017 press release). It still hadn’t flown. I went to GE’s aviation blog to see if they offered any explanation for being years behind schedule. The top of the blog was “A Conversation With Carmen Campbell, GE’s Transgender Advocate for Europe”:

They say it’s easy to stand with the crowd but it takes courage to stand alone. This Pride Month, the GE Aviation blog celebrates Carmen Campbell, the first person to ever transition at GE’s Grand Rapids, Michigan, site and now GE’s Transgender Advocate for Europe.

Campbell, originally from the US, is an advanced lead systems engineer based in the Cheltenham, UK Power Distribution & Controls business. She is passionate about using her experiences to help cultivate a safe and supportive workplace for her transgender colleagues.

This role sits within the transgender advocacy group, which is part of GE’s Pride Alliance. We run education sessions, work with GE to develop policies around transitioning, and provide support for transgender people within the business. The role is relatively fluid and it’s important to note that we are a resource for everyone at GE, transgender or not.

One of the areas I’m most proud of is the work we have done on the GE transition toolkit, which summarizes GE policies, provides helpful suggestions (like how to develop a communications plan), goes in to site specifics like bathroom usage, and lists who to contact for further support.

There has been some progress in the last 20 years, most notably the step change in legal representation. Gender reassignment became a protected characteristic under the UK’s Equality Act 2005, for example, and it was stipulated that people should be treated in accordance with their acquired gender.

However, I do think we’ve casually been sliding backwards since then. Certain groups, individuals and media outlets have been chipping away at the trans community, trying to roll back the trans rights that we’ve fought so hard for. Indifference can also be an issue.

“Casually sliding backwards”? Maybe the LGBTQIA+ engineers at GE can slide backwards far enough to catch up to where Pratt was in 1961. Then they could put their turboprop on an airplane and fly!


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Should California build a moat and a rainbow-painted wall around the state?

“California Bans State Travel To Florida And 4 Other States” (from state-sponsored NPR, June 29):

California added five more states, including Florida, to the list of places where state-funded travel is banned because of laws that discriminate against members of the LGBTQ community, the state attorney general announced Monday.

Democratic Attorney General Rob Bonta added Florida, Arkansas, Montana, North Dakota and West Virginia to the list that now has 17 states where state employee travel is forbidden except under limited circumstances.

“Make no mistake: We’re in the midst of an unprecedented wave of bigotry and discrimination in this country — and the State of California is not going to support it,” Bonta said.

Lawmakers in 2016 banned non-essential travel to states with laws that discriminate against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. The 12 other states on the list are: Texas, Alabama, Idaho, Iowa, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Kentucky, North Carolina, Kansas, Mississippi, Tennessee.

Nearly half of the country is now unclean, from a California religious perspective, defiled by failure to fly enough rainbow flags. Why not also ban the untouchables from those 17 states from coming into California? Dig a moat and build a wall to enforce the ban (maybe people who swear a loyalty oath to the rainbow flag and bathe in a ritual bath that cleanses them of hate can be admitted through the checkpoints?).

Speaking of now-banned Florida, here are a few photos of Hate Central (St. Petersburg) from June 25/26 (“Every Day is Pride Day”):

I attended an opera performance in St. Pete and sat next to two middle-aged ladies who had formerly run a B&B in Provincetown, Massachusetts (not exactly the center of straightness). “We’ve been here for two years and love it,” one said. “The government seems to do a better job here. The city is clean, but you never see the cleaners. The roads are very well maintained. Everything is so much cheaper than in Massachusetts.”


  • “California lawmakers take trip to Hawaii amid COVID surge, travel advisory” (Sac Bee, November 2020): COVID-19 has squashed most holiday and vacation plans this year amid travel restrictions and quarantine recommendations to slow the spread of the virus. Yet some California lawmakers have traveled to Maui this week for the California Independent Voter Project’s annual policy conference. … The Hawaii trip follows on the heels of backlash over Gov. Gavin Newsom attending a friend and political adviser’s 50th birthday party at a Napa County restaurant called French Laundry, known for its expensive meals.
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