We have beenÂ reportingÂ on a politically-motivated hoax â€œstudyâ€ of supposedly gay and lesbian parents, funded through theÂ National Organization For Marriage-linkedÂ Witherspoon InstituteÂ and carried out byÂ Mark RegnerusÂ of the University of Texas at Austin (UT). The hoax study has been weaponized for use against gay rights in the courts and during the 2012 elections.
This reporter sent UT an Open Record Request for communications between Regnerus and his Witherspoon authority funder W. Bradford Wilcox.
In response, the University of TexasÂ sent Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott a letterÂ asking for authorization not to honor the Open Record Request.
Here is a letter subsequently sent to Abbott, explaining that the public has an overwhelming, legitimate interest in his telling UT to release the requested documentation.
September 28, 2012
Honorable Greg Abbott
Attorney General of Texas
Open Records Division
Price Daniel Building
209 W. 14th Street, 6th Floor
Austin, Texas 78701
In Re: Â Â Â Â Open Record Request #3 from Scott Rose to
The University of Texas at Austin â€“Â AG ID# 471661 (OGC#146221)
To Texas Attorney General Abbott:
I made the above-referenced Open Record Request for 1) communications between 2) UTâ€™s Mark Regnerus and W. Bradford Wilcox, Director of 3) Â The Witherspoon Instituteâ€™s program for Marriage, Family and Democracy, which is: 4) the chief funding agency for Regnerusâ€™s New Family Structures Study (NFSS) carried out at UT.
For the record, Witherspoonâ€™s 2010 IRS 990 form describes the NFSS as an â€œachievementâ€ of Wilcoxâ€™s Witherspoon program.
I requested the communications because Regnerus and Wilcox have been deliberately dishonest in their public statements about the NFSS. They are seeking to mislead the public into believing that Regnerus carried out his study independently of influence from his studyâ€™s funders. Their deliberate dishonesty has undermined the trust on which science is based. Fulfillment of my Open Record Request is essential to beginning to restore public trust in science. The public has a legitimate interest in having access to the requested communications.
As UT explained to you in its September 24, 2012 letter about my Open Record Request, Regnerus and Wilcox have collaborated on NFSS data collection and data analysis. Indeed, Wilcox was issued, and signed, the Regnerus NFSS study consulting contract — for data analysis — to which UT assigned the â€œUT EID or Doc IDâ€ number ww2897. Â The record shows that Wilcox was paid $2,000 for that one contract.
Despite the clear documentation that Regnerus collaborated with his studyâ€™s Witherspoon funding agency representative Wilcox, both Regnerus and Witherspoon repeatedly have lied to the public by saying that no NFSS funding agency representative has participated in NFSS data collection, data analysis, study design, et cetera.
In his published study, which appeared June 10, 2012 in the Elsevier journal Social Science Research, Regnerus wrote: â€œthe funding sources played no role at all in the design or conduct of the study, the analyses, the interpretations of the data, or in the preparation of this manuscript.â€ A PDF of â€œAdditional Analysesâ€ of the NFSS that Regnerus recently had accepted for publication in Social Science Research for November repeats that same deliberate lie.
Please note, Attorney General Abbott, that Wilcox is on the editorial board of the journal that published Regnerus, Social Science Research. Regnerusâ€™s submission received no valid peer review prior to publication, as the peer reviewers were non-topic-experts with conflicts of interest. Note also that in his published study, Regnerus states that a â€œleading family researcherâ€ from the University of Virginia was on his study design team. Wilcox is Director of the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia.
Witherspoon established a stand-alone website to promote the NFSS to an international public. Wilcox obviously has editorial authority over that site. On the Q&A page of that site, Question 13 reads: â€œWhat involvement did the Witherspoon Institute have in the design, implementation, or interpretation of the NFSS?â€ The deliberately misleading response that Wilcoxâ€™s Witherspoon Institute gives is: â€œIn order to insure that the NFSS was conducted with intellectual integrity, beginning from the earliest stages the Witherspoon Institute was not involved in the Studyâ€™s design, implementation, or interpretation.â€
In a study of this sort, interpretation and data analysis coincide.Â Data collection certainly coincides with study implementation. Witherspoon incontestably is lying in its Question 13.
These are far from being the only ethically-challenged public communications about the NFSS that Regnerus and Wilcox have made. Along with three other Witherspoon authorities, Wilcox signed an open letter in support of Regnerus under the banner of Baylor University, without disclosing that they are Witherspoon authorities and that Witherspoon funded and is promoting the NFSS. Wilcoxâ€™s Baylor letter, furthermore, contains multiple distortions of the scientific record.
No scientific authority without a conflict of interest with the NFSS has vouched for its methodology. In fact, in Golinski v. United States Office of Personnel Management, the following 8 parties filed an amicus brief, in which the NFSS methodology is analyzed as being scientifically unsound: The American Psychological Association, The California Psychological Association, The American Psychiatric Association, The National Association of Social Workers and its California Chapter, The American Medical Association, The American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Psychoanalytic Association.
Additionally, a group of over 200 Ph.D.s and M.D.s in fields relevant to the NFSS sent the journal Social Science Research a letter expressing concerns about the studyâ€™s lack of intellectual integrity as well as about the suspicious rush publication schedule for it. The signers of that letter now include the President of the American Sociological Association, Dr. Erik Olin Wright, and the editor-in-chief of the premiere journal in this field, the Journal of Marriage and Family.
One example of the umpteen manifestly false and absurd â€œfindingsâ€ in the NFSS will for now suffice. Regnerus asked his respondents â€œHave you ever masturbated?â€ According to Regnerusâ€™s NFSS Codebook on UTâ€™s NFSS site,Â 110 of Regnerusâ€™s 2,988 respondents chose not to answer that question. However, 620 respondents between the ages of 18 and 39 said that no, they had never once in their lives masturbated. That data obviously does not correspond to empirically understood reality. The more so that Regnerus claims his study is generalizable to the entire population of the U.S., meaning, that according to Regnerus and Witherspoon, out of every 2,988 Americans aged eighteen to thirty-nine, 620 ( six-hundred-and twenty) have never once in their lives masturbated.
Witherspoon authorities and their associates are using the NFSS in the courts and in political campaigns, despite the manifest unreliability of the study. While UT alleged it was conducting a misconduct inquiry into Regnerus this summer, it had conflicts of interest; UT officials had placed advertorials for the NFSS as a favorable example of what the university produces. Throughout the inquiry, UTâ€™s Communications Director David Ochsner was given to the public on the Witherspoon site as the contact for information about the NFSS.Â At one point when I attempted to supply UT attorney Jeffrey Graves with documentation relevant to the inquiry, he told me in an e-mail that UT did not need to hear anything more from me.
In its letter, UT tells you that the stateâ€™s investment in UTâ€™s research efforts must be protected. That actually is an excellent reason for my Public Record Request to be honored, as all other state investments in research at UT are imperiled by the way that the NFSS has undermined the trust on which science is based. The public understands that Regnerus, Wilcox and Witherspoon have deliberately lied about the NFSS. Â The public understands that such organizations as The American Medical Association have — in official court filings — declared the NFSS’s methodology scientifically unsound. Therefore, the public looks at all research done at UT with suspicion. That suspicion, furthermore, is amplified by the matter of UT Professor Charles Groat. Groat conducted a study without disclosing his conflicts of interest. At first, outside groups urged UT to investigate, but the university refused. Only after additional pressure was brought to bear did UT decide to review the matter.
UT additionally told you that my Open Record Request must not be fulfilled because the NFSS â€œdata can be used to validate the original survey instrumentation.â€ UT appears to be telling you that the public should not be allowed to fact-check the NFSS.
UTâ€™s claim that people could use the requested communications as products for sale is absurd. Since his study was published, Regnerus has been saying he will release his raw data â€œsoon.â€ The study is plainly irredeemably defective; no serious-minded sociologist of integrity wants anything to do with it or its methods. By contrast, allowing the public a better chance to understand exactly what Regnerus, Wilcox and Witherspoon have been lying about will go some distance toward restoring trust in science.
All arguments UT presents against release of the requested documentation are outweighed by the overwhelming legitimate public interest in release of the documentation. Regnerus, Wilcox and Witherspoon have told the public deliberate lies about the NFSS in hopes of better promoting the study to the public, out of non-science-based motives. The entire balance of public investments in research at UT — other than the NFSS — is in jeopardy so long as the requested communications are not released.
New York City-based novelist and freelance writerÂ Scott Roseâ€™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 â€œMr. David Cooperâ€™s Happy Suicideâ€ is about aÂ New York City advertising executive assigned to aÂ condom account.
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Trump Has Left Behind a Republican Party Almost as ‘Toxic’ as He Is: GOP Adviser
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.
Matt Schlapp Lashes Out at Critics of CPAC’s Nazi Symbol Stage Design
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.
And by “resembles,” I mean “is identical to.”
— Ilyse Hogue (@ilyseh) February 27, 2021
Would be easy for Matt Schlapp to address this today, apologize and make some small changes to the stage.
Would make it clear it was a mistake and that CPAC doesn't want any one to believe they are giving any more aid and comfort to American extremists than they already are.
— Simon Rosenberg (@SimonWDC) February 27, 2021
Schlapp, however, did not apologize. Instead he said, “stage design conspiracies are outrageous and slanderous.”
Stage design conspiracies are outrageous and slanderous. We have a long standing commitment to the Jewish community. Cancel culture extremists must address antisemitism within their own ranks. CPAC proudly stands with our Jewish allies, including those speaking from this stage.
— Matt Schlapp (@mschlapp) February 27, 2021
Trump Is Making Noises About a 2024 Run to Get Rich Off the ‘Rubes’: Ex-White House Official
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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