This is getting personal

manlybeard

Now the alt-right/MRAs/neo-Nazis are appropriating…beards.

The subject of masculinity comes up and the White man’s ability to grow a luxurious beard. According to early racial science the original Negro and Chinaman were unable to grow beards and the fact that the White man could, showed that our race was more mature and fully grown than the others. The fact that some Negroes now have beards shows that they are mulattoes. Matt encourages men to grow well-kept beards as a sign of being anti-feminist, as feminists hate them.

I am so confused. Being excessively hairy is now a sign of the white man’s more evolved status? And it’s a measure of greater masculinity, but women hate them? So Nazis are going to grow this symbol of manliness to repel women?

Oh, no. I’m not confused. They are, because none of that makes any sense at all.

The Morris NorthStar once again demonstrates its nonexistent value

Nothing ever changes. The NorthStar, the stupidly conservative campus newspaper, is back. Well, one thing changed: now the editor comes to my office and personally hands me a copy. Yay. I am so special.

So I could at least take a look at it. I opened it to the first article, Why I Love Feminism, and skimmed the first page.

On one hand, I held the firm belief that feminism, hoorah, is about as important as condoms are for Donald Trump. But on the other, this girl is feeling my vibe and I don’t want to mess that up. As a young, overly-serious freshman, I unfortunately would tell the truth, albeit in a gentle way (the worst way if you are trying to score). “Well, I think women should be treated equally, not necessarily granted equal results,” [which is, actually, what feminism is all about, so I don’t know why he would think this uncontroversial statement is a moodkiller] I would say, as my chances of parking the beef bus in tuna town went to donut.[Charming.]

Fellas, you need to learn now from the mistakes I made as a freshman. Remember that feminism, hoorah, is a tool; it can be used for good, not just bad. While often times feminism, hoorah, is used to perpetuate negative gender stereotypes of men as pigs and sex-hungry animals [wait for it…] (one of many examples), you need to realize that it can also be used to your advantage to hook up with the (few attractive) feminists for the purpose of getting your banana peeled. [I think it’s obvious that the negative stereotype isn’t coming from feminists, but is being continually reaffirmed by anti-feminst men themselves]

Glancing ahead, I saw that the primary purpose of the article was to squeeze yet another tacky euphemism for sex in every paragraph, so I did another thing that never changes: I crumpled it up and threw it in the recycling, where it belongs.

Phyllis Schlafly is dead

They say if you can’t say something nice about the dead, you should say nothing at all.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Continued below the fold)

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Antivax, chemtrails, and creationism

hovindjail

Kent Hovind is getting divorced from Jo Hovind. I guess this isn’t surprising — maybe his former wife is smarter than he is (a hurdle easily cleared), and saw through all the BS and manipulation and realized it was time to get out.

He’s also remarrying, to an anti-vax crank named Mary Tocco. He’s made a video announcement of his engagement, and it’s another bit of obnoxious lunacy. He spends half of it blaming his ex-wife completely for the divorce — I guess he had absolutely nothing to do with it, despite getting the two of them arrested and imprisoned with demented legal advice — and the other half reassuring everyone that he checked with a whole bunch of fellow ministers, ranging in age from 60 to 85, and 15 out of 16 assured him that it was perfectly OK, and then he mumbles on about how this opens up whole new options for his ministry, allowing him to understand all those divorced people out there at last.

I predicted that there would be interesting times ahead for Hovind’s Creation Science Evangelism once he got out of jail — he’d left management of the creationist organization in the hands of his son, Eric, and I kind of figured it would not be an easy transition once he got out and tried to take back the ministry he’d run into the ground with his tax fraud. And it was so. Hovind is claiming that Jo and Eric conspired to steal all the assets of CSE out from under him. It’s gotten very ugly and confusing.

When Kent originally announced that his divorce, he claimed that Eric had stolen from him and would not let him have the web domain “drdino.com”. He claimed Eric sold himself over two-million dollars worth of equipment and supplies. He mentioned a couple of four-wheelers, a copy machine and a fork-lift. Deana Holmes, a non-practicing attorney, who has been following the Hovind story speculated that he was way off on his valuation and that a lot of the supplies were old T-Shirts, VHS tapes, DVD’s and CD’s of Kent’s old non-copyrighted videos which are all on YouTube. I don’t normally take Kent’s public word as fact, but assuming that we have a couple of old four-wheelers, a fork-lift, some office furniture, plus, the material that Deana mentioned, the price that Eric paid for this is probably about right. Deana pointed out that these accusations were pretty stupid in the light of his tax-liabilities and legal problems they could cause for his son. Kent said in court and in public that he took a vow of poverty and owned nothing. Then turned around and claimed publically that Eric and his mother conspired to take everything away from him. Which one is the truth Kent? Did you own nothing? Or did you own two-million dollars worth of items that Eric stole from you? Just like all of Kent’s statements that seem to change to fit the circumstance.

Eric has stuffed his ministry into a shiny new dumpster, called “God’s Quest”, while Kent seems to be trying to set up a place of his own in a gravel pit in Lenox, Alabama, where he’ll build a brand new Dinosaur Adventure Land. I’m sure this marriage with Mary Tocco will bring order out of chaos. After all, look at her credentials.

Mary is co-founder of the American Chiropractic Autism Board (ACAB) 2006, helped manage Hope For Autism, (HFA) a training program for physicians who want to help children with autism recover and is the Vice President of the Foundation for Pediatric Health. She is also the Director of Vaccine Research and Education for Michigan for Vaccine Choice, a non-profit (501c) watchdog group, insuring vaccine choice in Michigan. Mary Tocco is on the Board of Directors for WAVE, World Association for Vaccine Education (www.novaccine.com)

Wait. The American…Chiropractic…Autism…Board? Those words do not belong together.

Once again, the Hovinds — every one of them — set the standard for creationist inanity.

Why present evidence when the critic ignores evidence?

How Brian Cox keeps his cool is quite impressive. Here, he’s arguing with an Australian senator and climate change denialist, Malcolm Roberts, who keeps insisting, quite rightly, that evidence is important, that evidence trumps opinion, that policy should be defined by empirical evidence…and every time Cox shows him the evidence, he simply rejects it, accusing NASA of faking the data, and arguing that the various climatoogical agencies have been colluding to “corrupt” the data.

I guess it’s a step forward that the kooks are at least acknowledging that real data is important, now we just have to carry it through to the next step, of paying attention when the data slaps them in the face.

But Kurzweil is always talking bullshit

I’m not the only one who thinks Ray Kurzweil is an ignorant buffoon — here’s a post dissecting his latest foolishness:

People think the world’s getting worse, and we see that on the left and the right, and we see that in other countries. People think the world is getting worse. … That’s the perception. What’s actually happening is our information about what’s wrong in the world is getting better. A century ago, there would be a battle that wiped out the next village, you’d never even hear about it. Now there’s an incident halfway around the globe and we not only hear about it, we experience it.

The big problem with this? It’s not true. Like, at all.

Let’s start with the time period he’s talking about: A century ago. One hundred years. That would put us smack dab in the middle of 1916.

Do you know what was going on in 1916? The world was tearing itself to bits with destructive technology. The United States wouldn’t enter the war until the following year, but World War I was the war that would see men being annihilated with tanks, machine guns, mustard gas, the works. And everybody knew about it. How do I know this, sitting here in 2016? I just walked three feet behind me to a bookshelf and looked for some of my magazines from World War I.

The author is pointing out that one problem with Kurzweil’s claim is that it is simply false; Kurzweil wants to argue that we think the world might be getting worse is that we’re just aware of what’s going on, but clearly, almost everyone had a crystal clear idea of the horrors that were going on a century ago.

But I think there are other problems, as well. The world might be getting worse, it might be getting better, but this is a question about people’s perception of the world, and I suspect most of us think we’re better off than we were a century ago (with significant exceptions for bombed-out nations in the Middle East, or people victimized by terrorist groups, like ISIS or Boko Haram). I know I’d rather live in the 21st century than the 19th or earlier. So his initial premise is wrong, or at least misleading.

Another problem: when was this mythical time that a village could get wiped out and one a few miles away wouldn’t know about it? Communication was slower, but the information would get there eventually. Europe had a series of continent-wide wars in the 17th century; Rome controlled everything from Syria to Britain. Information might have flowed via boat or horseback rather than fiber optic cables, but it’s simply not true that people in the Middle Ages or the ancient world were sitting about only aware of the local dungheap.

It is also egregiously absurd to claim that we not only hear about it, we experience events around the world. We don’t. For instance, the latest news from Nigeria is that Boko Haram is still holding 200 girls captive. Are you experiencing it? Have you felt even a tiny fraction of the pain the families of those girls have felt over the last two years?

And finally, I have to point out that his definition of ‘better’ is unstated and implicit — he assumes that a better world is one where people have more and faster information about events in the next village or the next continent. Why? In particular, if we do nothing with the information we have about the next town over, how does that improve the planet?

But then, this is Kurzweil all over: ignorant of history, ignorant of science, but mumbling words of technological wish-fulfillment and making his fans happy.

The lying must be contagious

batboy

You’d think Rudy Giuliani would have 9/11/2001 seared into his brain, since he shrieks about it so much. But here’s Giuliani, stumping for Trump:

Under those eight years, before Obama came along, we didn’t have any successful radical Islamic terrorist attack in the United States. They all started when Clinton and Obama got into office.

He must also trust that the Trump fans are friggin’ idiots, too.

You don’t believe Giuliani could possibly have said that? Here it is, at 57 seconds into this clip. Most remarkably, before he made that claim, he listed specific attacks by radical islamic terrorists, in 2001 and 1993.

Maybe he thinks Obama has been in office for 23 years?

What are the assnuggets up to now?

invasion-of-the-body-snatchers-1978-donald-sutherland

There are horrible, awful, no-good people everywhere who are doing wretched things and making the world a worse place. Let’s catch up with a few of them.

  • James O’Keefe, still lying for a living. The fraud was caught trying to make another video in which he pretends he’s someone he is not, in this case, he tried to commit election fraud to ‘prove’ it is a serious problem. It isn’t. Unsurprisingly, he was immediately caught trying to fake his identity in Michigan. This is a succinct summary of O’Keefe’s entire career.

    “James O’Keefe is a professional liar,” Dickerson said. “He just isn’t very good at it.”

  • Do you know of the all-time horrible person, Mike Cernovich? He’s an MRA and general Twitter troll, a conspiracy theorist and racist, and an advocate for rape. Not a nice guy at all. But he got invited to appear on a Fox News show called Red Eye, which prompted howls of outrage, not from lefty liberals, but from far right wingnuts who have their own reputation for looniness.

    “You’ve got to be kidding me. He’s a nutcase,” said right-wing author and radio host Ben Shapiro. “Granting any legitimacy to a fringe kook like Mike Cernovich, and all of the attendant nastiness and problems, is close to insane by any cable network.”

    “Are you serious?” asked Ben Howe, a writer and editor of the conservative blog RedState, when informed of Cernovich’s Fox News appearance. “He was a guest on fucking Red Eye? They’re giving this motherfucker legitimacy? Oh my god!”

    Shapiro is a former editor at Breitbart, and fan of the Tea Party. When you’re so extreme that you’re getting repudiated by the likes of Shapiro and Howe, just say goodbye.

  • And finally, of course, Donald Trump. Digby writes about the time he pointed his finger at a woman reporter, opened his mouth, and screamed…I mean, told a crowd of fans that she was a liar, and the Secret Service had to act to protect her from the mob.

    He knows very well what he’s doing. He’s intimidating people, especially women, into going easy on him by threatening to sic his violent cretins on them. There was no other reason to publicly name her.

    Pure, vicious demagoguery. Now he’s also primed his thugs in Pennsylvania by declaring that the only way he can lose that state is if there is cheating. This is unadulterated bullshit, of course; he’s currently substantially behind Clinton in the Pennsylvania polls. But you all know what fun we’re going to have the day after the election when Trump makes excuses for his defeat by telling his lackeys to riot.

    Also, why is CNN calling Trump’s lie a “bombshell”? It’s not. It is just an open fabrication.

Academic failures in elementary humanity

Here’s the deal: I am paid to teach, which means I have a professional relationship with my students, and it’s an ongoing relationship that typically extends over four years. My job is to educate them in those domains of biology I specialize in. The administrators here have an expectation that I will show up, be prepared, behave professionally, and engage with students at a level beyond lecturing at them: I advise them on professional opportunities, I write recommendations, I try to help with small crises that might derail their progress.

I do not have sex with them or beat them up. This should be obvious, right? Those kinds of behaviors would be antithetical to my university’s mission and my obligations.

This seems to be a poorly understood concept at the University of Sussex. Dr Lee Salter was a lecturer there. He was convicted of viciously beating his girlfriend (warning: graphic photos of a battered, bloody woman at that link), a woman he met as a student.

This is where it gets into some difficult boundaries. She was a former student, she is an adult, and this was a consensual relationship. That part, you can’t prohibit…but it’s a bit skeevy, and says that you should be keeping an eye on the guy to make sure he is not preying on students.

The part where he batters her bloody was not consensual. That part immediately moves the relationship from slightly creepy (but maybe it was “true love”!) into flagrant criminality. That’s where you’ve revealed that this wasn’t a healthy relationship between two adults, but an abusive relationship with a man who thinks he’s the boss.

Gail Gray, chief executive of RISE, Brighton and Hove’s specialist domestic abuse service, said: “This is not a romantic ‘Educating Rita’ scenario. This is about a man who has abused and exploited his position of power and authority to perpetrate domestic abuse.”

So far, so tawdry. But what is appalling is that the administrators at this university were completely aware of his behavior, and continued to allow him to teach students, despite the clear violation of university policies.

During the 10 month period between his arrest and conviction, Salter continued to teach, the university has admitted, while Ms Smith said she remained so traumatised she was afraid to leave the house.

This is despite regulations laid out on the university’s own website which say “staff and students are subject to disciplinary procedures that, amongst other things, proscribe violent behaviour”.

The policy reads: “The University will take disciplinary action in accordance with its procedures against anyone who behaves in a violent manner including, should it be necessary, the immediate exclusion of the perpetrator from the campus.”

“The University may also seek injunctions to exclude the perpetrators of violence form University premises in order to protect staff and students from further violent incidents.”

These problems will continue to arise as long as the awareness that domestic violence is unacceptable fails to be understood at all levels. Too often, having something written in a policy handbook is a cover-your-ass move to forestall actually doing something about it.

What should have happened is that the university administration should have said, “You’re going on a trial for beating up a former student? You’re not going into a classroom until this is resolved, and are on academic leave.”

His colleagues should have said, “Nope, we’re not working with you until this is cleared up.”

And the students at the university should have been made aware of the charges, so that they wouldn’t sign up for a course and then discover it’s being taught by an accused violent abuser. There’s an element of coercion there — students must take certain courses at certain times to graduate on schedule, so the entire university has to take responsibility for the professoriate, for their safety.

We also discover that this wasn’t unusual for Salter.

Described by Ms Smith as a manipulative and cruel man”, Salter alluded to her of having previous relationships with former students. She said he attended his court sentencing accompanied by another young student from the University of Brighton.

The court heard that Salter’s relationship with that student would be “closely monitored” as part of his sentencing.

Jebus. This is a guy with a thing for young students. He’s a predator. He should not be employed by any educational institution, because he brings disrepute to the entire profession.

Yet the University of Sussex kept him on the job until only recently? I didn’t know that lecturers in media and film were such a rare commodity that they had to be retained at all cost (I know science professors aren’t; if I were tossed out for good cause there’d be a long line of applicants ready to step right into my shoes.)

Zika and political obstructionism

Maki Naro has a very good overview of the Zika virus in comic form.

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naro-zika-3a

The effects of the virus are actually easy to understand: mild, flu-like symptoms in adults, but a significant chance of debilitating brain damage to developing fetuses. You don’t want to get Zika because it’s unpleasant and nasty, but your fetus must be protected from it because it’s devastating.

Unfortunately, the USA has a dysfunctional congress that can’t respond to serious problems anymore. An effort to dedicate money (to the tune of almost two billion dollars) to preventing the spread of the disease was killed because Republicans loaded it with irrelevant, poisonous addenda — baggage to snipe at Planned Parenthood (an organization that is vital to putting together a response) or to allow Confederate flags to fly, for instance.

But especially unfortunately, diseases that cause birth defects are a vector for the pro-life-at-any-cost fanatics to gallop in and wreck any process with their delusional antics. We are supposed to love that tiny slug of human fetal tissue so much that we’ll defy any attempt to combat a virus that will poison its nervous system, and don’t you dare think about abortions. A fetal slug with a deformed, shriveled brain is still to be regarded as a full human person!

If you think I’m making this up, listen to Marco Rubio.

Obviously, microcephaly is a terrible prenatal condition that kids are born with. And when they are, it’s a lifetime of difficulties. So I get it.

I’m not pretending to you that that’s an easy question you asked me. But I’m pro-life. And I’m strongly pro-life. I believe all human life should be protected by our law, irrespective of the circumstances or condition of that life.

No, he doesn’t get it. He’s lying.

He also doesn’t believe in protecting life, because he’s also in favor of the death penalty, and in fact thinks the big problem with capital punishment is that we don’t shuffle the condemned into the death machine fast enough.

zikacuts

Meanwhile, Donald Trump thinks we have Zika under control, and is praising Florida governor Rick Scott for how he’s handling it. His little PR helpers are arguing for inaction because birth defects are nothing new.

The United States has been paralyzed by the Republican virus. They know nothing, they do nothing, and they actively interfere with necessary responses to problems. We need to do something about that. Never vote for any Republican, ever.