Well, that’s all right then

The man who murdered people in a Planned Parenthood clinic was a “gentle itinerant loner”, accorded to the New York Times. He went to church, read the Bible cover to cover, and had an assortment of guns, so I guess he couldn’t have been that bad. He just wanted to be left alone.


At least they don’t say he’s crazy, the usual go-to excuse when a white man goes on a misogynistic murder spree. Progress! But they still don’t take that necessary next step of noting that someone who tries to intimidate people with violence is, of course, a terrorist. Terrorism is only a word to be deployed against Muslims, it seems.

But still, you can read between the lines. You know how after a psychopath is caught, there’s usually a litany of interviews with former neighbors saying how he was such a perfectly normal, ordinary guy? Not with Robert L. Dear.

Mr. Davis said he was unsurprised to see Mr. Dear, whom he described as “a pretty poorly adjusted guy,” emerge as the suspect in the Colorado shooting.

“I think I would have thought he was a guy who would go on a rampage,” he said. “We were very wary.”

The most chilling line to me was just a few words from Dear:

On Cannabis.com, the writer said in December 2005: “AIDS, hurricanes, we are in the end times. Accept the LORD JESUS while you can.”

Have you ever noticed that while Americans will freak out over Muslims praying on an airplane, we think nothing of the huge army of death-cultists in our midst, people who are certain the world is going to end soon (and welcome its destruction!) and who want to steer our representatives and policy towards Armageddon? No big deal. A bunch of smiling used car salesmen live among us, own whole television networks, serve in congress, and they grin and assure us that our death is imminent and well-deserved, and we shrug and ignore them until one snaps and opens fire with his constitutionally protected semi-automatic rifle.

It’s so reassuring to know that the New York Times will report our demise in its blandly neutral tone, as long as the shooter is good white Christian.

No Darwin for Turkey

In 2009, Turkey censored the cover of a science magazine because it portrayed Darwin.

TÜBITAK [the Turkish science agency] vice-president Ömer Cebeci, who sits on the magazine’s editorial board, pulled the plug on Darwin. He denied censorship, charging that Atakuman had secretly changed an issue intended to cover global warming. Not true, says Atakuman, who says Cebeci told her that the Darwin cover was a “provocation” at a time of imminent local elections. One editorial-board member of Bilim ve Teknik has resigned in protest at what he, at least, considers censorship.

This row has brought into focus two issues that plague Turkish science. One is political interference in the scientific civil service; the other is high levels of public support for creationism.

It happened again in 2011, when, under the guise of filtering porn, the government blocked all mention of Darwin or evolution on the internet.

So this is old news, but Turkey has done it again: they’ve blocked the sale of books about evolution.

The Scientific and Technical Research Council of Turkey (TÜBİTAK) has put a stop to the publication and sale of all books in its archives that support the theory of evolution, daily Radikal has reported.

The evolutionist books, previously available through TÜBİTAK’s Popular Science Publications’ List, will no longer be provided by the council.

The books have long been listed as “out of stock” on TÜBİTAK’s website, but their further publication is now slated to be stopped permanently.

The poor citizens of Turkey. First they were lied to by Christians about evolution — proselytizers have been streaming into the country for at least 50 years, searching for Noah’s Ark, and leaving a trail of ignorance behind them. I suspect they’re currently very tense about the situation with Russia, so Darwin is a convenient distraction that will have a lot of popular support.

Stop me if you heard this one before

Trump is arguing with historians. He’s claiming that some golf course he owns is also the site of a historic Civil War battle (if so, good job of historical preservation, guy); real historians are saying he’s wrong, the battle he’s talking about took place miles away. But Trump has a rebuttal!

Trump waved off the historians’ criticisms in his own interview with The New York Times Tuesday.

How would they know that? he asked of regional experts. Were they there?

Maybe this particular battle is written up in the Bible. I don’t know how we could know anything about it, otherwise.

Jebus, Sam Harris again

As expected, every time I highlight some reactionary idiocy from Sam Harris, I wake up to a chorus of his fan boys urgently typing at me to tell me the rallying cry of the Harrisites everywhere: HE DIDN’T REALLY SAY THAT. Yeah, he did. He really does prefer Republican nutjob Ted Cruz over any of those ‘leftists’ he despises on foreign policy, because Muslims.

But at least it was Cruz, right? He didn’t say anything nice about Ben Carson, I would hope? Sorry to break your illusions, but another reader also told me I had to listen to his recent interview with British neocon, Douglas Murray. He was kind and told me I could skip almost all of it, and just zip up to the 1:56 mark.

Given a choice between Noam Chomsky and Ben Carson, in terms of the totality of their understanding of what’s happening now in the world, I’d vote for Ben Carson every time. Ben Carson is a dangerously deluded religious imbecile, Ben Carson does not…the fact that he is a candidate for president is a scandal…but at the very least he can be counted on to sort of get this one right. He understands that jihadists are the enemy.

Yeah, that’s right. Ben Carson is a religious imbecile, but according to Harris, he’s better qualified than some damn leftist on the basis of his foreign policy expertise, which consists of hating Islam almost as much as Sam Harris does.

Just think about that.

Sam Harris listens to Ben Carson and thinks he makes sense on Middle East policy.

Oh, boy, I’m going to get so much hate mail in the next few days…

What does Sam Harris have in common with the Republican presidential candidates?

Sam Harris is fully supportive of the latest bigotry craze sweeping the country.

Is it crazy to express as Ted Cruz did, a preference for Christians over Muslims in this process? Of course not. What percentage of Christians will be jihadists or want to live under sharia law? Zero. And this is a massive, in fact the only, concern when talking about security. If we know that some percentage of Muslims will be jihadists, inevitably we know we cannot be perfect in our filtering, if we know that a larger percentage, if not jihadists, will be committed to resisting assimilation into our society, then to know that a given refugee, or family of refugees, is Christian, is a wealth of information, and quite positive information, in this context. So it is not mere bigotry, or mere xenophobia, to express that preference.

(He then says he’s not endorsing all of Cruz’s politics, he just thinks Cruz is right on this one thing.)

The fact that we have a president who will not even name the problem is giving the right enormous energy that we really don’t want them to have.

No, guy, making the assumption that being Muslim, the group most lethally targeted by ISIS, makes one more likely to sympathize with fanatical jihadists, is most definitely bigotry. It doesn’t even make sense. Complaining that being Muslim automatically makes one less likely to assimilate assumes that Americans can’t really be Muslim, and is also bigotry.

You need something to cleanse your brain of that awful man now. Here’s John Oliver on refugees.

Feel better now?

Jesus Fascist Christ

Trump goes full Nazi. Never go full Nazi.

So he endorses religious registration, watch lists, surveillance on mosques, and, the shit icing on the big cake made of poop, torture.

We have to be strong, the candidate insisted. You know, they don’t use waterboarding over there, they use chopping off people’s heads, they use drowning people.

I would bring it back, I think waterboarding is peanuts compared to what they do to us, he opined. I would absolutely bring back interrogation and strong interrogation.

And he’s got crowds cheering for that.

How English is weird

John McWhorter explains the peculiarities of the English language — note, not why English is the bestest language of them all, but what’s so idiosyncratically bizarre about this language we native speakers all take for granted. I remember learning German, for instance, and wondering why they had all these annoying articles and declensions and confusing stuff that wasn’t like my language, instead of wondering why English had so many confusing oddities.

For instance, he explains how early on the collision between Germans and Celts produced a peculiar hybrid.

Crucially, their languages were quite unlike English. For one thing, the verb came first (came first the verb). But also, they had an odd construction with the verb do: they used it to form a question, to make a sentence negative, and even just as a kind of seasoning before any verb. Do you walk? I do not walk. I do walk. That looks familiar now because the Celts started doing it in their rendition of English. But before that, such sentences would have seemed bizarre to an English speaker – as they would today in just about any language other than our own and the surviving Celtic ones. Notice how even to dwell upon this queer usage of do is to realise something odd in oneself, like being made aware that there is always a tongue in your mouth.

At this date there is no documented language on earth beyond Celtic and English that uses do in just this way. Thus English’s weirdness began with its transformation in the mouths of people more at home with vastly different tongues. We’re still talking like them, and in ways we’d never think of. When saying ‘eeny, meeny, miny, moe’, have you ever felt like you were kind of counting? Well, you are – in Celtic numbers, chewed up over time but recognisably descended from the ones rural Britishers used when counting animals and playing games. ‘Hickory, dickory, dock’ – what in the world do those words mean? Well, here’s a clue: hovera, dovera, dick were eight, nine and ten in that same Celtic counting list.

And then we get the Norse and the French barging in and weirding the language even more. But it’s still refreshing to see an article that talks about the accidents and contingencies of language without trying to rank one as better than another.

However, we might be reluctant to identify just which languages are not ‘mighty’, especially since obscure languages spoken by small numbers of people are typically majestically complex. The common idea that English dominates the world because it is ‘flexible’ implies that there have been languages that failed to catch on beyond their tribe because they were mysteriously rigid. I am not aware of any such languages.

What English does have on other tongues is that it is deeply peculiar in the structural sense. And it became peculiar because of the slings and arrows – as well as caprices – of outrageous history.

By golly, McWhorter sounds a bit like an evolutionary biologist there.

Is World Net Daily for real?

It’s practically a cartoon of far right idiocy, but it’s popular, and no one ever seems to stop and wonder that they can promote such hatefulness and ignorance and still maintain a readership. But then, this is the country of Trump and Carson, where a race towards stupidity has become a successful strategy for running for the presidency. And that scares me. We’ve got loons promoting murder and fascism, and we shrug our shoulders and say it’s just a fringe, don’t worry.

But look at what that fringe is saying.

My own politically incorrect suggestion is that we remove ISIS from the face of the earth, hopefully as a joint effort with every other nation it has threatened or attacked, and that we then bomb Mecca off the face of the earth, not concerning ourselves in the least with collateral damage, letting the Muslims know once and for all that our God is far more powerful and, yes, vengeful than their own puny deity.

It’s harsh, but they’ve been asking for it for over 1,400 years, and it’s time they got it. I, for one, am sick and tired of seeing the Islamic bullies demand our lunch money and, like a bunch of scrawny wimps afraid of our own shadow, we hand it over. What’s even more appalling, we then pretend we did it because we’re good guys who realized that they’re human beings just like us, and who just happen to be a little bit hungrier than we are.

not concerning ourselves in the least with collateral damage means killing innocent civilians. And that is OK to this fellow, because the important thing is destroying a religious center (yeah, that’ll win us friends and allies), and demonstrating that our god is more vengeful, barbaric, and murderous than their god.

I’m also baffled by the resentful claim that somehow, we are the weak country that’s getting taken advantage of by bullies, as if Iran is the bad guy sending drone strikes against outdoor weddings in Poughkeepsie, Scranton, and Walla Walla. As if Kuwait is forcing Americans to buy their oil at gunpoint. As if our little dribble of foreign aid is going to countries that are faking their poverty.

That guy, you can be sure, gets out and votes in every election, and he votes angrily against those damn liberals on the basis of that kind of bigotry and ignorance. And that’s why we’ve got the representatives we do.

We should be terrified not by terrorism, but by the lunatics in our own country.