I get e-mail: Mitt Romney is super likable

Sometimes I get e-mail that I have to share.

Subj: FW: Why should we vote for Mitt Romney when he is such a despicable unlikeable guy?

This is the man who should be President of theUnited States!

A lot is being said in the media about Mitt Romney not being “likable” or that he doesn’t “relate well” to people.  Frankly, we struggled to understand why.

So after much research, we have come up with a Top Ten List to explain this “unlikablility.”

Top Ten Reasons To Dislike Mitt Romney:

1. Drop-dead, collar-ad handsome with gracious, statesmanlike aura. Looks like every central casting’s #1 choice for Commander-in-Chief.

2. Been married to ONE woman his entire life, and has been faithful to her, including through her bouts with breast cancer and MS.

3. No scandals or skeletons in his closet. (How boring is that?)

4. Can’t speak in a fake, southern, “black preacher voice” when necessary.

5. Highly intelligent. Graduated cum laude from bothHarvard Law School and Harvard Business School…and by the way, his academic records are NOT sealed.

6. Doesn’t smoke or drink alcohol, and has never done drugs, not even in the counter-culture age when he went to college. Too square for today’s America?

7. Represents an America of “yesterday”, where people believed in God, went to Church, didn’t screw around, worked hard, and became a SUCCESS!

8. Has a family of five great sons….and none of them have police records or are in drug rehab.  But of course, they were raised by a stay-at-home mom, and that “choice” deserves America’s scorn.

9. Oh yes…..he’s a MORMON. We need to be very afraid of that very strange religion that teaches its members to be clean-living, patriotic, fiscally conservative, charitable, self-reliant, and honest. 

10. And one more point…..pundits say because of his wealth, he can’t relate to ordinary Americans.  I guess that’s because he made that money HIMSELF…..as opposed to marrying it or inheriting it from Dad. Apparently, he didn’t understand that actually working at a job and earning your own money made you unrelatable to Americans. My goodness, it’s a strange world, isn’t it?

*****************************************************

Personal Information:

His full Name is: Willard Mitt Romney

He was Born: March 12, 1947 and is 65 years old.
His Father: George W. Romney, former Governor of the State of Michigan

He was raised in Bloomfield Hills , Michigan
He is Married to Ann Romney since 1969; they have five children.

Education:
B. A. from Brigham Young University, J. D. and M.B.A. from Harvard University

Religion:
Mormon – The Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-Day Saints

Working Background:
After high school, he spent 30 months in France as a Mormon missionary.

After going to both Harvard Business School and HarvardLaw School simultaneously, he passed the Michigan bar exam, but never worked as an attorney.

In 1984, he co-founded Bain Capital a private equity investment firm, one of the largest such firms in the United States.

In 1994, he ran for Senator of Massachusetts and lost to Ted Kennedy.

He was President and CEO of the 2002 Winter Olympic Games.

In 2002, he was elected Governor of the State ofMassachusetts where he eliminated a 1.5 billion deficit.

Some Interesting Facts about Romney:

Bain Capital, starting with one small office supply store in Massachusetts,

turned it into Staples; now over 2,000 stores employing 90,000 people.

Bain Capital also worked to perform the same kinds of business miracles again and again, with companies like Domino’s, Sealy, Brookstone, Weather Channel, Burger King, Warner Music Group, Dollarama, Home Depot Supply and many others.

He was an unpaid volunteer campaign worker for his dad’s gubernatorial campaign 1 year.

He was an unpaid intern in his dad’s governor’s office for eight years.

He was an unpaid bishop and state president of his church for ten years.

He was an unpaid President of the Salt Lake Olympic Committee for three years.

He took no salary and was the unpaid Governor ofMassachusetts for four years.

He gave his entire inheritance from his father to charity.

Mitt Romney is one of the wealthiest self-made men in our country but has given more back to its citizens in terms of money, service and time than most men.

And in 2011 Mitt Romney gave over $4 million to charity, almost 19% of his income….

Just for comparison purposes, Obama gave 1% and Joe Biden gave $300 or .0013%.

Mitt Romney is Trustworthy:

He will show us his high school and college transcripts.

He will show us his social security card.

He will show us his law degree.

He will show us his draft notice.

He will show us his medical records.

Mitt Romney’s background, experience and trustworthiness show him to be a great leader and an excellent citizen for President of theUnited States.

You may think that Romney may not be the best representative the Republicans  could have selected. At least I know what religion he is, and that he won’t desecrate the flag, bow down to foreign powers, or practice fiscal irresponsibility.

I know he has the ability to turn around this financial debacle that the current regime has gotten us into. We won’t like all the things necessary to recover from this debt, but someone with Romney’s background can do it.

But, on the minus side, he never was a “Community Organizer”, never took drugs or smoked pot, never got drunk, did not associate with communists or terrorists, nor did he attend a church whose pastor called for God to damn the US.

If you care about the United States of America– Send this to all your friends!

The “We” of It: An Apology

Last night, another atheist leader stepped down from her position.

She was a name I recognized, perhaps not as prominent as others who have taken breaks, who have found themselves preferring an indefinite hiatus to a former passion. Right here and now, her name and the Why don’t matter. She’s one of many who have decided that perhaps they’d just feel a little happier, a little less stressed if their Twitter and their email weren’t filled with anger, hate, and insults. Maybe she decided it would be nicer if her Facebook wasn’t a battleground.

There’s a good number of passionate people who’ve made that decision. Sometimes you have to pick between those causes that light you on fire and wake you up with ideas at midnight and dealing with pushback for that one time you said just…less harassment, please.

Then there’s this vague, nebulous number of people who’ve lurked and read and followed the controversies, and then decided their time could be better spent on some other cause, that conferences just were too much risk or trouble or worry. There’s those who just…stopped. Stopped lurking, stopped reading, stopped considering a role in atheist activism.

If you’ve left, quietly, anonymously, or just never felt you’d be welcome in the first place, I’m sorry. I’m sorry it was easier for me to figure out that I was an atheist than a feminist, sorry that ‘ableism’ and ‘transphobia’ didn’t enter my vocabulary until this year. I wish I’d spent a little less time cheering on Team Atheism in the Oppression Olympics, and a little more time educating myself.

I’m sorry we didn’t make this movement a place for you. I’m sorry that I count myself part of the ‘we’ in this movement, and you don’t, or don’t want to, or have been made feel that somehow you can’t be in that pronoun. I’m sorry I missed out on checking my websites for screen-reader compatibility, on transcribing those videos I was posting. I regret how long it took me to realize the only authors I recommended were cis white men. I’m trying to do better now. I’m learning–floundering around a little bit–but I’d like to stop missing out on your voices. I don’t even know what they sound like yet, but they probably do not sound like mine. And that can only be a good thing.

And separately–perhaps more importantly–thank you.

Thank you for knowing that your ability to be okay day-to-day is more important. Thank you for deciding that being in an environment where you could feel safer, happier, and more mentally healthy was the right decision for you. Thanks for taking care of yourself.

Because, you know, someday we’d like you to feel okay enough to give us a try. Give us some time, but we’d like to see you dip your toes in, maybe, or tell us what we can do to improve. One day, you might feel like lurking again, might dust the dis-use off that commenter’s identity,  register for your first conference. Until then, we’ll try to listen to the things we can learn from your absence.

Oh hai!

Oh hai there!
I’m Kate Donovan.

It’s lovely to meet all of you too.

I’m sorry to have disappeared for a bit after JT (accidentally) and Ashley (intentionally) announced I’d be writing here. I just moved  back to school, then promptly got viciously sick, left my computer at a friend’s apartment in Chicago, and basically flailed about. But! I’m back now, and I even have free time, which is a very strange feeling. That means you get this Introductory Post, to be followed by Real Posting.

You may have seen me around the internet if you’ve ever wandered to Teen Skepchick or Heresy Club or Friendly Atheist, or In Our Words Blog (where I wrote less atheist-y things). I’ve also transcribed some of the G+ Hangouts FtB has done. In fact, the first and only time I met Ashley, my brain borked and I said something like “Erm. Uh. You talk good for transcribing!” (She does, but as far as first impressions, demonstrating an utter lack of grammar and conversational skill wasn’t part of the plan.)

As far as posting goes, I hope to post daily–though I may have just set your expectations far too high–and you should anticipate snark and Oxford commas. Topics will include the asexuality/sexuality spectrum, psychology miscellany, broad spectrum anti-stupidity, alternative medicine, mental health, and dashes of grammar-geekery. I’m also an incorrigible optimist, which means the occasional and not-so-occasional sprinkling of exclamation marks and cheer. Grouches, you have been warned.

DayQuil providing, I’ll begin blogging all the things tomorrow!

Stalkers: Welcome to life as a girl on the internet

I think people sometimes underestimate the weirdness that one faces by being a semi-public online woman.  The following is a story about extreme creepiness and stalkerdom.  I was asked by another stalkee to publish the stalker’s name — I felt justified in doing so on my own, but probably wouldn’t have, but since she has requested it: his name is Mauricio Martinez, he is from Ontario, and he is a creepy ass liar who uses the internet to try to hurt people.

Prologue: Once upon a time (2 years ago) in Canada, there was a Girl and there was a boy, MM. MM was married, with a pregnant wife. Girl was polite to MM, and so, barely knowing her and right after they met, he asked her out.  Girl was not interested, for many reasons, including because he had a wife and children, and so she said no, thinking that was the end of it.  Very soon after this, MM proposed to Girl.  Girl, unsurprisingly, said no to this as well.

In response to the proposal rejection, MM ragequit his job.  He sent Girl a message and was dismayed to find that she didn’t particularly care.  There were some fleeting attempts at contact, and then Girl blocked him.  And so two years passed without her thinking about him.  Occasionally, the pass one another in same public spaces, but do no interact other than to avoid one another.  She had no idea he still thought of her, and now is afraid because he knows where she lives…

Last winter, Girl and I became Facebook friends because we both enjoyed the same sort of threads and arguments.  We weren’t terribly close or anything, just friendly acquaintances on the internet.

Beginning in April, I got several Facebook messages from this guy, MM.  In the first, he complimented me on my choice of FB picture, but then he followed with some basic questions about atheism.  Basic meaning many paragraphs long about him, but questions like “does calling religion stupid help atheists”, which I answered in a short reply, and he followed with a lengthy essay to which I gave an even shorter reply.

I did not reply to his many further attempts at contact.  I don’t know him, have no friends in common with him, and did not friend him.  He seemed creepy and weird, but hadn’t done anything particularly Alarm worthy.  Just weird messages like this that I didn’t respond to:

I was wandering around the internet (quite innocently) the past few weeks when suddenly someone decided to pull out the fucking ACME Handbook of Online Seduction and Emotional Manipulation (believe me I am familiar with every page of it, don’t get me started) and they clearly also bought the expansion pack with 50 per cent more passive aggression. Being well-versed in its conventions I naturally spotted it and shut it down pretty quickly, but you know, sometimes with a sports team, you like the team but you hate the playbook; sometimes with a movie you like the actor but don’t like the script. And sometimes, with an individual, you can like them just fine but their methods are pretty fucking disgusting. They really followed the handbook with a kind of dogmatic fervor, down to the implied suicide threat.

Doesn’t bother me too much really; it does bring out a ruthlessness in me that I must admit I kind of enjoy. It’s just that a surplus of profit soon brings an embarrassment of riches. It’s funny, kind of, in that I’m sure IRL this person is somewhat of a prize. Wasting their time on bullshit doesn’t seem like a good use of time and resources. But you never know, maybe it’s influences of environment or people they hang out with. Too bad. It’s a game really, with the ending always decided in advance. The game always ends with a block.

Anyway, it’s not the first time it’s happened. If there’s any real annoyance involved it’s that if I really start attracting that many psychos I guess I’m gonna have to take a second look at the cologne I’m wearing.

A couple of weeks ago, I guess he got called out on lurking by somebody when he commented on some post about rape culture, and I got another very long message from him, but this one was significantly weirder.  As far as I can tell, he started stalking me on Facebook so he could convince Girl that he and I were “soul mates”. For unrelated reasons, around the time he started following me, she deleted her FB account and started a new one under a pseudonym, but he interpreted this as a sign of success of his plan to drive her away, despite the fact that he had not been in contact with Girl for years.

I would like to reiterate that I do not know this guy at all.  He has apparently constructed in his mind that his assholery has cost him something with me — like I was interested in him before he sent his confession e-mail rather than someone who ignored the five previous long e-mails he’d sent.  I don’t know, the whole thing is super weird and I don’t know what to make of it.  Other than I feel 1. stalked 2. like someone intentionally tried to make someone hate me for twisted, fucked up reasons and 3. like someone is stalking my internet friend hardcore and trying to transfer his weird stalker obsession onto me.

August 21

Hey,

Sorry for speaking out of turn or whatnot but I felt I had to make that point as I’m really interested in rape culture and this whole harassment situation has really angered me and that anger needed an outlet.

I think your friend there kind of called me out for lurking and rightly so – I have been lurking, for quite some time – and here’s why.

I guess around two years ago now I had an unfortunate entanglement with [Name Redacted] which I ended – to the benefit of me, her, and everyone around us – but which led to close to two years of passive-aggressive trolling from both of us. She was basically tracking every single move I was making on the internet so I kind of cooked up a scheme whereby I would find someone on her f-list and kind of make it look like I was into them. Maybe you didn’t notice. She did. And so.

And it worked! Holy shit. The whole thing lasted for about five minutes but led to – as far as I know – her deleting fucking everything and moving on with her life. Yay! You have no idea of the victory dances that were had with this. Ok. So it should have stopped there. And then…

AND THEN…

That whole TAM thing exploded and it was SO FUCKING INTERESTING. I started lurking lots of people in the skeptical community because every day there was more new drama and it was (sorry for being morbid and prurient here) SUPER FUN. Like, you ever watch Maury and are like *GASP* all the time and you can’t turn away? Yeah. And it continues now, even with the tfoot thing.

So there it is I’m a drama addict and I lurk. I think it’s pretty harmless, but if it makes you uncomfortable obviously let me know and I will try my best to pry myself away. I must admit a highlight for me was the blocking of [Name Redacted] – I really didn’t like that guy – I hated his vulgar Marxism.

On an added note, I do self-identify as an atheist now. I used to say I was just agnostic, but I agree with Penn Jillette that agnosticism and atheism are answers to two separate questions. And since I don’t actively believe in God… yeah

43 minutes ago

Hi.
I keep writing because I keep feeling as if I owe you something, and I think that’s true, and now I guess it’s time to settle up.

I’m sorry for using you as a bit of a chess piece there. Now, I realize I was just going by the surface of things, and there’s a lot that I will never know about the situation, but [Name Redacted] – as she goes by now – really seemed to have this persistent obsession/bitterness that needed to be put to rest, and I hope it is now.

Please believe me, this was a real problem. Sure, for the short time (six fucking weeks) we knew each other emotions ran high but we’d never kissed or even so much as held hands with each other. We’ve never even been out for coffee – and I go out for coffee, even drinks, with women all the time and it’s never been a problem, and we never even got that far. For someone to act as if their life is ruined and that somehow that justifies them owning your ass is seriously fucking dangerous. I’m sorry for venting but she makes me really fucking angry. That said I hope you reconnect, because I’m sure she’s over it by now. And if you don’t, I’m really sorry you lost a friend, especially from this.

So why you, and why did it work (at least, I think, in the long run)? Well, part of this – how shall I call it – ‘determined love’ (oh my. lol) was this idea of soulmates or two people who were so alike that they were perfect for each other. And the fact is on paper – or in the third person, what have you - you fit that description far far far better than she did, or ever will. That was the trump card. And I genuinely thought you were really cool. You are, of course, very crushable and I’m sure you have stockpiles of creepy internet love there in your archive as evidence to support that sentiment. But my intentions are far less than creepy so I’ll decline to elaborate on that here.

To close, I’d just like to reiterate how sorry I am for treating you like an object in some twisted manipulative game. While I can argue that my intentions were good, there was some real damage done and this has resulted in a significant loss – for me. I’ve always liked you and I tend to be careful with people I have reservations about losing. And if I had met you under any other circumstance I would have been far more careful with you.

Welcome to the creepy archive, MM.

He sent Girl the following message as well.  This is creepy 1. because it’s the first contact she’s had from him in years and 2. because he had to seek her out and find her new FB profile which is under a pseudonym:

Thank you for rejecting me those years ago. It was a really good decision and at the time I didn’t realize how important it was. I’m sorry for ending it the way I did and for whatever hurt it caused then or after but I felt so stupid and guilty for messing with you – and the fact is, if you would have taken that chance believe me it would have fucked a lot of people over and would have killed you, and would kill you now if I ever gave you that chance again and you took me up on it. You have no idea how divorce fucks everything and just looking in from the outside I have to say that nobody ever gets what they want but you have what you need, and I will never be able to match that. And I’m not talking about material possessions here, I’m talking about family ties and support networks and just free time, which I won’t have for a about ten more years. I never want you to feel that whatever happened was because you’re not good enough or whatnot. It’s because I can’t fit you in my life and you fit so much better in other places. Better places. Believe me. So please just let it go. There’s nothing for you here. I’m so sorry but you have to let it go. Just let it go.

TL;DR This is incredibly weird and stalking. You do not get to use someone in your ridiculous plots to hurt other people and then complain that YOU have lost something.  You do not get to make up lies about people and expect them to simply go along with it.

People looking out for Hollywood writers: Eddie Kritzer, the scam that will not die

I got the following comment today, and I’m sharing it as a blog post for everyone.  If you haven’t read the Eddie Kritzer saga, I will include a bundle of links at the end.

Just a PSA to keep Eddie Kritzer (a.k.a. Andy King) on the radar.

I’m almost certain a weekly post on Craigslist in LA is Eddie Kritzer scamming writers.

I have seen this posted EVERY Saturday since I moved to LA about a year ago. I did some digging and discovered Eddie Kritzer, and this post sure sounds like the scam he runs.

Here is the content:

SELL SCRIPT OR BOOK (HOLLYWOOD)

Looking for writers that have a compelling story to tell. If you have a story that you believe in, and you cant believe it’s not at your local Barnes & Noble or on the Movie Screen, then email me.
Say in one sentence what your story is about. You cant? Then how do you expect to sell your movie or book, You cant..Do the best you can
You could make $5,000, $25,000, $125,000, it all depends on your story and if it connects with the public.
This is not a guarantee you will make it, it means you could make it, it depends how strong your story is.
You make money by the number of books you sell, or how much your script sells for
You must be committed and motivated, and have a passion for your story and believe in it

Location: HOLLYWOOD
Compensation: $5,000, $25,000, $125,000

—–

Eddie Kritzer: The Scam Artist

A “manager” or “agent” or “disgusting troll who used my business contact to actually call me to talk about having sex with me”, depending on who you ask. Advice: if someone asks you for a fee upfront to read your screenplay, they are not legit.  Further advice: If you want to hate someone, I highly recommend reading the disgusting e-mails he sent to me.  Warning: Graphic.

Blog Posts in chronological order: 1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   11   12   13   14

New Co-Blogger: Kate Donovan

Exciting news!  Kate Donovan, known for her writing at Teen Skepchick, Friendly Atheist, and other places, is going to be joining me here as my co-blogger.  JT Eberhard accidentally announced this early, so I’m going to post it without her official blurb or anything because I AM NOT PATIENT.

I’ve been somewhat slack on keeping this updated the last few weeks thanks to the difficulty of finishing up my summer classes, starting a new semester, a new job, preparing a talk for Dragon*Con, and being really sick.  It then occurred to me that I could get someone else around here to pick up the slack for me since I am doing that whole “getting a PhD despite my better judgement” thing.

I don’t know Kate as well as I know a lot of others in the movement, but her writing is well-loved by others here at FtB, I’ve yet to read a post from her I didn’t enjoy, and, as I’ve befriended her on Facebook and Twitter, I’ve seen a kindred spirit.  She is sarcastic, but upbeat.  She has a sense of humor and a sense of outrage.  She can criticize without being mean.  And, importantly, she is different from me and will be bringing a different focus with her.

Let’s start with she can bake and juggle.  These are things I do not do… maybe some day we can make a video where I play the ukulele and she juggles to the music.  With our powers combined we could be mildly amusing.

She’s also much younger than me, which is weird, because I don’t feel terribly old.  She was apparently raised to think alternative medicine was real, which is difficult for me to imagine.  I was raised by being given all of the medicines that there were to keep me from dying of asthma and allergies, so I can’t imagine the alt med universe as given credence by not crazy people.

She hasn’t even bribed me with cookies to give her this space, so I must think she’s OK, right?  Here’s what JT said:

Still in college (leading the secular group at Northwestern) and already starting to get noticed for her abilities as a writer and for her work exposing the bullshit that remains in the field of mental health.  Her project, the Psychology Program Database, helps steer students toward schools that teach only evidence-based therapy.

SO BE EXCITED Y’ALL CUZ I AM.  I am so busy I don’t even remember researching all this information about her, hopefully it’s accurate.  She can yell if it’s not.

Sometimes the bad guys win

It was very refreshing for me to spend the weekend at the skeptic conference at Dragon*Con this weekend.  When you spend most of your time working in this movement online, it can lose a lot of its appeal.  In real life, most of the people I know who care about atheism and skepticism are really nice and fun to be around.  If there are disagreements, they are generally civil.  Not so on the internet.

Since I joined Freethought Blogs in June, there has been a concerted effort on the part of certain online factions to bully anyone on this blog out of existence.  I don’t know how many readers here have ever been the victim of an extended hate campaign, but it is exhausting.  Anything I post publicly draws attacks — and not just attacks on ideas, but personal attacks, mockery about my looks or my mental health, threats, and complete fabrications and accusations of hurting people.

For some reason, there are people on the internet who think that because I blog on a particular network, I am evil.  They think that all these people who spend their free time engaging in activism are monoliths of power.  I can tell you I do not feel terribly powerful.  I do this on top of getting a PhD full-time, working as a GA, and working a part-time job.  My life has too much going on already — I have yet to make enough money from this website to cover the gas money it took for me to get to Dragon*Con to speak.  Being an activist costs me a lot of money.

Perhaps if I had more money, I’d be able to go to more conferences where the commitment of time and resources seems to be appreciated, but instead I spend most of my time online where I am treated like a monster.

Octopus Solidarity

And people will almost certainly say that Freethought Bloggers are all bullies just as bad as  our attackers, but this is false equivalency.  One, just like at Patheos or Scienceblogs, the people at Freethought Blogs are all different people with different opinions and different blogs.  Two, saying that the movement should have more women and minorities and care about social justice is not the same as calling an individual a lying cunt.  Three, the only people claiming that anyone who disagrees with the opinions of anyone on this network are misogynists are people who disagree with the opinions of the people on this network.

I try to believe what Greta Christina always says, that these fights make the movement stronger.  But it’s so hard to believe that when just scratching your ear seems to start a fight about how horrible you are and how you should be destroyed.

No one is obligated to stay in this fight, just like no one is obligated to try to break the glass ceiling in specific industries.  I felt this horrible guilt when I quit pursuing math as my field of study because there were no women in the field and I didn’t want to be the only woman in the room for the rest of my life.  Life is hard, adding extra obstacles isn’t necessary to make it so.  But these things need to change and if someone doesn’t force them to, they never will.  It’s so fucking hard, though, you can’t force someone to take on that burden.

So I want to say that I love Jen and I will miss her.  I hope she comes back, but I can’t honestly say that she should come back.

I have seen so many wonderful people quit being a part of the movement because of the pointless, cruel bile being thrown around.  The constant fights.  The constant bullying.

I can no longer write anything without my words getting twisted, misrepresented, and quotemined. I wake up every morning to abusive comments, tweets, and emails about how I’m a slut, prude, ugly, fat, feminazi, retard, bitch, and cunt (just to name a few). If I block people who are twisting my words or sending verbal abuse, I receive an even larger wave of nonsensical hate about how I’m a slut, prude, feminazi, retard, bitch, cunt who hates freedom of speech (because the Constitution forces me to listen to people on Twitter).

The people on Freethought Blogs are just people.  We’re just individuals doing what we can for something we care about.  We’re not elected officials, we’re not all-powerful overlords of the movement, we’re not “professionals” — most of us are barely making ends meet with our day jobs, working on activist causes in our daily lives, and trying to maintain a blog where we post our thoughts in whatever extra time we can grab.  We are imperfect, we are human, we are sometimes wrong, we care.  And we’re rewarded with threats of rape, insults, and hate from the people who are supposedly fighting for the same causes.  I’d ask why, but I’m sure I’d only get hate in response.

Mazel tov, Jen.  You deserve better.  So do the rest of us — but I think you’ll have better luck than we will.