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Lori Holyfield, Sociologist, Ph.D., Calls For Retraction Of Anti-Gay Regnerus Paper

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Lori Holyfield is a Ph.D. and an Associate Professor of Sociology at the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences of the University of Arkansas. She authored the book, Moving Up and Out: Poverty, Education, and the Single Parent Family.

I interviewed Dr. Holyfield via telephone about the scientifically invalid, NOM-linked Regnerus study, which is being used as a political weapon against gay rights. She did not mince her words:

“I am calling on Elsevier to retract the Regnerus article from publication.”

Holyfield elaborates:

“The study’s methodology is not valid. Regnerus claims to have proved correlation between gay parents and bad child outcomes, but his study does not support those claims. This is a bogus study that perpetuates negative stereotypes.”

I spoke with Dr. Holyfield apropos of W. Bradford Wilcox’s involvement in the scandal.

Regnerus was chiefly funded by the NOM-linked Wtherspoon Institute. Wilcox was the Witherspoon Institute Program Director who organized the Regnerus study, and then collaborated with Regnerus on study design before Witherspoon approved Regnerus for full study funding. Wilcox also collaborated with Regnerus on data collection and data analysis. A preponderance of evidence shows that he was permitted to do peer review. Furthermore, Wilcox is on the editorial board of the journal that published Regnerus, Elsevier’s Social Science Research.

Dr. Holyfield says:

“It is Research Ethics 101 to disclose conflicts of interest. Wilcox had so many roles in this, that it is unbelievable that journal editor James Wright never bothered to disclose any of Wilcox’s conflicts of interest to the public.  That I see, we know for sure that Wilcox is on the journal’s editorial board, and that he is a long-time collaborator of Regnerus and of journal editor James Wright, and that he was the Witherspoon Program Director who recruited Regnerus for the study, and that he collaborated with Regnerus on study design, and then also did data collection and data analysis work. How did it happen, that none of this was disclosed?  It is extremely important to note, that disclosure of these conflicts of interest would be necessary, whether the study was valid or not.”

We spoke about Wilcox’s laughable claim that his title of Witherspoon Program Director was “honorific.”

“For Wilcox to use the word “honorific” about his position of Witherspoon Program Director, and Regnerus study design collaborator, is a veiled attempt to turn back the clock. But the damage is done, and the credibility of this study is absolutely, indisputably undone. That Wilcox was a study designer, and that was not disclosed, is alone enough to justify retraction. The further possibility that he was a peer reviewer just adds weight to the case for retraction.”

“It is especially unacceptable that the conflict of interests were hidden, and that there is an ongoing attempt to deceive the public about them.  It adds insult to that injury, that what was produced was a methodologically invalid study that perpetuates negative social stereotypes. This is a very malevolent situation; something must be done about it.”

Regnerus alleges to have found that 23% of his respondents, young adult children of “lesbian mothers” experienced sexual victimization while growing up. Yet, the question he posed to come up with that finding asked only if “a parent or other adult caregiver” had abused the respondent. Dr. Holyfield says:

“The question as posed does not give us answers that we can use in any way to help sexually abused children.  The abuser could have been the heterosexual husband, or an uncle, or an older cousin, or anybody. The question Regnerus posed is an irresponsible and ridiculous question. In the absence of anything that would tell us who was the most likely perpetrator, the information is useless to us. But we see that it is useful to political agents seeking to perpetuate negative stereotypes. Regnerus is implying causation by reporting this rate for children of lesbian mothers. He can say he didn’t prove causation all he wants; the fact is, he implied causation. And, it is ironic, because we know that pedophile perpetrators often are male heterosexuals. That would be just one reason this finding should have raised a red flag.”

Dr. Holyfield is aghast that the Regnerus study was carried out at the University of Texas at Austin.

“Politically-motivated groups bend facts all the time. The difference here is that this took place at a research university, which absolutely should have measures in place to insure that this kind of thing doesn’t happen. It sounds like there was some social networking going on, and that the $55,000 planning grant from The Witherspoon Institute got talked about, and then the work with the full $785,000 in funding followed. Somewhere along the way, though, the relationships that allowed this unacceptable thing to happen in a research university got obscured.”

Social Science Research editor James Wright took the Regnerus paper from submission to acceptance for publication on a suspicious rush schedule. It is documented that the Regnerus submission did not receive valid peer review. Dr. Holyfield says:

“When you look at that phenomenally short turn-around time from submission to acceptance, you just can’t help but wonder if somebody connected with Witherspoon or Regnerus didn’t call the editor and make special arrangements. With all the evidence and documentation now known, all signs point to Wilcox. Because of that, I think it would be in the best interest of the editorial board and the journal to provide the names of the peer reviewers in this case. Peer reviewers’ anonymity should be respected when the research is valid. This research is not valid. If a full investigation is not carried out, the journal’s reputation will be permanently darkened. Peer reviewers who were in any way involved in Regnerus’s funding and/or in his research should have recused themselves immediately; this never should have happened.”

Dr. Holyfield continues:

“Wright himself has lost credibility. I can not imagine that the protection of the peer reviewers is more important that the protection of the integrity of the research.”

Writing in his sham “audit” of the publication of the Regnerus study, Social Science Research editorial board member Darren Sherkat said: “scholars who should have known better failed to recuse themselves from the review process.”

“The point is,” Dr. Holyfield continues, “to not protect a reviewer who engaged in conflicts of interest, over the integrity of the research itself.  Just to say ‘This is not valid research’ is not enough, given that the study made it into publication in these unethical ways on Social Science Research editor James Wright’s watch. This is a terrible disservice both to the journal and to the discipline. And, it is a tragedy for the American academy and for the public as a whole.”

I asked Dr. Holyfield if she wanted to make any other statements about the Regnerus study.

“Yes,” she said. “I am calling for retraction of the Regnerus study from publication. I call for retraction, and I strongly encourage disclosure of the names of the peer reviewers who engaged in conflicts of interest.  These are only some of the ways that integrity can be restored to the process. The Regnerus study must be retracted from publication.”

 

New York City-based novelist and freelance writer Scott Rose’s LGBT-interest by-line has appeared on Advocate.com, PoliticusUSA.com, The New York Blade, Queerty.com, Girlfriends and in numerous additional venues. Among his other interests are the arts, boating and yachting, wine and food, travel, poker and dogs. His “Mr. David Cooper’s Happy Suicide” is about a New York City advertising executive assigned to a condom account.

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'POLICY WASTELAND'

Trump Has Left Behind a Republican Party Almost as ‘Toxic’ as He Is: GOP Adviser

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According to a report from Politico, Donald Trump may no longer be president but the Republican Party he left behind has been damaged to the point where it has almost become as “toxic” as he is to voters, according to one former top aide to a Republican senator.

As the report notes, high-profile members of the Republican party are still pushing Trump’s “Big lie” that the 2020 election was stolen from him and have made that their focus going forward in lieu of proposing new policies that would allow them to win back the White House and both chambers on Congress.

Writing for Politico, David Siders explained, “Nearly four months after the election and one month into Joe Biden’s presidency, the politics of grievance has become the near-singular organizing principle of the post-Trump GOP. And whether at CPAC or in statehouses across the country, policy prescriptions for restoring so-called voter integrity have emerged as the primary focus of the party’s energy.”

That focus on stopping people from voting could blow up in their faces, but worse still, it means they have no other message for voters other than the fact that they are lingering on Trump’s loss.

Benjamin Ginsberg, a conservative election lawyer asked, “Tell me what the innovative Republican policies have been of late?” before adding it is “probably a sign that the Republican Party is mired in a bit of a policy wasteland and doesn’t know which way to turn to get out.”

According to former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, who served in President George W. Bush’s administration, there is no evidence of widespread election fraud and Republicans harping on it is, “a big distraction. And I worry that it will continue to be a big distraction as long as a certain individual makes statements that it was stolen.”

Former Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) adviser Kevin Madden was a bit more blunt in his assessment.

“It is a party that has been fashioned in the mold of Trump — Trump’s message, Trump’s tactics — and it is perfectly comfortable being a party that is defined by what it’s against,” he explained before adding, “… you become almost toxic as a party brand to larger, growing parts of the electorate. … The limitation of a message and a platform that’s just about disagreeing with the opposition is that it doesn’t speak to the broader concerns or anxieties of a big part of the electorate.”

You can read more here.

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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

Matt Schlapp Lashes Out at Critics of CPAC’s Nazi Symbol Stage Design

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The head of the Conservative Political Action Committee on Saturday attacked critics noting CPAC’s stage looks like a Nazi symbol.

Matt Schlapp made his denial after “Nazi” trended nationwide on Twitter as users discussed the stage looking like an Odal rune symbol.

Schlapp, however, did not apologize. Instead he said, “stage design conspiracies are outrageous and slanderous.”

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GRIFTERS

Trump Is Making Noises About a 2024 Run to Get Rich Off the ‘Rubes’: Ex-White House Official

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President Donald Trump will be running for president for a third time in 2024, but the effort will be largely geared towards personal enrichment, a former official explained on Saturday.

MSNBC’s Alex Witt interviewed Anthony Scaramucci, who briefly served as Trump’s communications director in 2017.

“Is he going to run in 2024 or is this just a great excuse to fundraise?” Witt asked.

“I think it’s both,” Scaramucci replied. “I think he’s going to run in 2024, this is the most money he’s ever made — just imagine making $300 million off of these rubes that he’s coning after the election with his big lie. So he’ll run again in 2024.”

“Will he go to the finish line? Maybe not,” he continued. “There are 10 or 12 Republicans that see themselves as a future president. They’re going to try to find ways to undermine him, obviously Governor Nikki Haley already started that process, so I don’t know if he gets to the finish line, but why would he not run and raise money off the rubes that he’s raising money from?”

“Right, but if he runs, do you really think he doesn’t get the nomination?” Witt asked. “Today he would, there’s no doubt today he would get it.”

“I think it could get interrupted by the potential criminal investigations that are going on and the potential indictments, so if he runs and there are no indictments and I think he has a clear path to that nomination, and that’s why Sen. McConnell said ‘Of course I’m going to support him’ — which is even more levels of hypocrisy, but yes, he runs, he wins the nomination,” Scaramucci replied. “There is risk here, though, because of his potential tax fraud case and other cases — even the D.C. case related to the insurrection is a potential speed bump to him getting that nomination.”

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