Convergent evolution of jerks

This sounds terribly familiar.

The self-identified Men’s Rights Advocates just seemed eager to lay into someone they perceived as a liberal “value-signaler.” They targeted my masculinity and sexual orientation, labeling me a “cuck” and a “libfag.” Before I knew it, I was receiving multiple email notices that I’d been signed up for a variety of hardcore gay pornography services.

What did Jared Sexton do to deserve such hatred? He wrote up a factual account of his attendance at a Trump rally, and noted that a lot of the attendees were loud bigots.

It’s a curious phenomenon. I got exactly the same kind of response from Catholics, years ago, and then I got it from right-wing atheists, and then from “scientific” racists and fans of evolutionary psychology, and of course I get it from MRAs. What’s strange is how they all sound alike, and the tactics haven’t changed at all. Email death threats, rage with a common set of slurs, and oh yes, signing me up for gay porn. Do they even realize that that stuff doesn’t disturb me in the least? I might glance at it, be impressed with the remarkable muscle tone of their models, and trash it for lack of interest.

They occasionally come up with a new term, but it sweeps through the population so rapidly that it loses all impact. The latest example is “cuck”: one moment, no one is saying it, and then suddenly it’s ubiquitous among that certain group of people. For the record, I love the word “cuck”, because when someone uses it, it is an instant classifier. It’s like spotting a notochord in an embryo — you just snap your fingers and say, yep, phylum Chordata. I see “cuck”, I know instantly that it’s phylum Blustering-Asshole-Authoritarian-Obsessed-With-Controlling-Women.

But really, what’s sad is how uniform they all sound — like their personality has been excised and replaced with loud yelling, and their creativity has been obliterated with a cancer of buzzwords.

Can we get these rules here?

I was curious to know if there were any preliminary reports on the Brexit vote going on right now, so I popped over to the BBC. There’s nothing. They actually have some sensible restrictions on the media.

What can the BBC report?

* Uncontroversial factual accounts such as the appearance of politicians and others at polling stations or the weather.

* The practicalities such as when the polls are open, the wording of the question and expectations of when the result may be known are allowed.

* The BBC’s online sites will not have to remove archived reports.

What can’t the BBC report?

* The BBC stops short of actually encouraging people to vote.

* While the polls are open, it is a criminal offence for anyone, not just broadcasters, to publish anything about the way in which people have voted in the referendum, where that is based on information given by voters after they have voted.

* The BBC can’t report anything emerging from exit polls (which, by definition, are asking people how they actually voted), although the broadcasters have not commissioned any exit polls for the referendum.

* No opinion poll on any issue relating to the referendum can be published by broadcasters until after the polls have closed.

I marveled. The 24-hour news networks will be a circus on election day in this country — a very, very boring circus presided over by Wolf Blitzer and his mindless monotone, with Fox News providing the clowns. There won’t be any news here, either, but they’ll make stuff up.

To find out how the referendum turns out, we’ll have to tune in after everyone has voted. Amazing! And the BBC tells me that that will be at 22:00 BST, which is 4:00 my time (CST). We shall eagerly, but patiently, await the conclusion.

When picking your hill to die on, choose carefully

I am very happy that the Democrats in congress have chosen to develop a spine on gun control, and are having a sit-in to protest Republican intransigence. John Lewis was inspiring.

Elizabeth Warren has been outspoken in her support.

But here’s the problem: they’re making a stand over a very bad bill, one that attaches restrictions on gun ownership to being on the homeland security no-fly list. That is a terrible, sloppy, lazy list that is more a reflection of false fears of Muslims than it is of credible concerns about terrorism. As the ACLU explains:

Because of the extreme secrecy surrounding the No Fly List, people generally only discover that they are on it when they are denied boarding on a flight – often very publicly, at the airport. The public does not know how many people are on the No Fly List, and the criteria for inclusion are so broad and vague that they inevitably ensnare innocent people engaged in First Amendment-protected speech, activity, or association. The process the government has established for people on the No Fly List to challenge their blacklisting is grossly insufficient and violates the U.S. Constitution’s due process guarantee.

So the Democrats finally scrape up the courage to fight back, they get the leadership of a towering figure in the civil rights movement…and it’s all to increase the authority of a secret enemies list that tramples on our civil rights? There’s something seriously wrong here.

What better way to celebrate our toxic orange presidential candidate?



Burger King, the restaurant chain backed by 3G Capital and Warren Buffett, will begin selling deep-fried sticks of macaroni and cheese encrusted in Cheetos-flavored breading, part of a trend toward blending fast food with well-known snack brands.

Cheesy, commercial, and artificially colored — it should be the official snack food of the Republican party.

I’d make one addition. It should be sold with little cups of vividly yellow Velveeta cheese goo, so you could dip it and put a little swirl of mysterious fulvous color on top.

Bill Donohue is being awful again

“Again?” you ask. “Isn’t he always awful?” Yes. It’s a permanent state for him.

He’s crowing over the defeat of a bill by the NY legislature that would have extended the statute of limitations on child rape crimes, and as we all know, and as Bill is certainly aware, “End Child Abuse” is code for “Destroy The Catholic Church”.

As The New York Daily News reports, Donohue sent out an email to supporters after the defeat of the Child Victims Act, an act that he said was designed “to rape the Catholic Church.” The bill would have extended the timeframe that victims can bring forward cases by five years and would have opened up a six-month period for victims to revive older cases.

“The bill was sold as justice for the victims of sexual abuse, when, in fact, it was a sham,” Donohue wrote in an email obtained by The New York Daily News. “[It was] a vindictive bill pushed by lawyers and activists out to rape the Catholic Church.”

Oh, no. Really? You just called the prosecution of child rape an act of rape? It’s kind of clear that Donohue has no understanding of what constitutes a violent sexual crime.

The FFRF also has a few things to say.

But the Church’s lobbying and Donohue’s obscene victory dance are admissions of guilt. They are conceding that this problem is far bigger than we know and that, though the new pope talks quite a lot about fixing the problem, the church has no intention of actually fixing it. After more than three years as pope, Francis has done nothing to bring genuine justice to the victims or the rapists to account. Nothing but talk.

Let’s not forget that Bill Donohue is just the easily visible painful boil on the face of a church that continues to protect child rapists.

#CVG2016…next week!

CVG Crescent Logo Purple - RGB transp bkgd

I need this: a relaxing weekend in the company of nerds at Convergence. I’ll be on four panels, talking science:

Th 12:30pm The Reproducibility Problem: How Serious is it?
Th 2:00pm What Does God Need With a Starship?
Th 3:30pm Twin Connection: Myth, Science and Confirmation Bias
Fr 2:00pm Our Place in Space

I’ll be attending lots more, sittin’ back, enjoying the conversation. And I’m easily drawn into discussions, so feel free to talk to me. I’ll also be cruising the party rooms, and stopping in now and then for the science demos and crafts at SkepchickCon.

You might also be able to hit me up for badge ribbons (I’m getting a little nervous that they haven’t arrived yet) — I’ll have one for Freethinkers and another for you Pharyngula readers. See you all there!

Our job is done, atheists!


Pat yourselves on the back. God is dead and has been removed from American politics. And we owe this victory to an unexpected hero, Donald Trump.

You see, the crass, vulgar narcissist who hasn’t shown a hint of piety ever in his entire life has assembled a religious advisory board, and some of the most prominent names in conservative Christianity have stampeded to be on it. Richard Land is on board to to give spiritual counsel and advice and to speak Biblical truth. Trump has Robert Jeffress, Jerry Falwell Jr., and Ralph Reed. He’s got Michele Bachmann and James Dobson. Tony Perkins and Mike Huckabee are cheering him on. And don’t forget, he’s also got the majority of the conservative electorate.

Mr. Trump has received widespread support from Evangelical leaders, communities and voters, winning the majority of the Evangelical vote throughout the primaries.

It is absolutely clear that none of this support is thanks to Trump’s lifelong service to their god, and some long-standing, activist evangelical Christians do see right through him.

Today, a candidate whose worldview is greed and whose god is his appetites (Philippians 3) is being tacitly endorsed by this throng.

They are saying we are Republicans no matter what the candidate believes and no matter how vile and unrepentant his character.

They are not a phalanx of God’s prophets confronting a wicked leader, this is a parade of elephants.

In 1980 I believed that Christians could dramatically influence politics. Today, we see politics fully influencing a thousand Christian leaders.

This is a day of mourning.

God beliefs don’t matter any more. The Christian Right has surrendered. We won without really trying!

Of course, then we have to ask, if it isn’t a god that’s uniting these people, what is it?

That’s also clear. Hatred of others — the LGBTQ community is still in their sights. Controlling everyone’s personal life — they need to tell everyone what they’re allowed to do in the bedroom. Keeping women shackled and oppressed — that women dare to control their own reproduction is an abomination to them. Immigrants, brown people with strange accents who don’t sound like their grandparents, are the enemy. Hell, if you don’t say “Merry Christmas” with sufficient fervor, you’re in need of scourging. The Christians who don’t share these repressive views are not lining up behind Trump.

I’ll also disagree with Michael Farris, who is mourning the end of the Christian Right: this is no surprise and no change. The Christian Right, the Moral “Majority”, have always been about a kind of social tyranny. All that’s happened now is that the godly mask has fallen off, and we see their faces clearly. These are the witch-hunters and parasites and con artists and prudes and puritans who have plagued us forever — not the shining champions of a benign deity, but narrow-minded, frightened zealots.

Thanks, Donald, for helping.

Of course, now that the mask has slipped, atheists aren’t actually done — we have to wake up to the fact that fighting an illusion isn’t particularly useful. Maybe, just maybe, we should change our targets to the reality of the oppression of women, minorities, sexual minorities, and all the things that the god-botherers were actually doing, and still are doing, while they pretended to be doing God’s Work.

You’re not really going to go on imagining that Donald Trump is a sincere Man of Faith, are you?

Always listen to the Glib Sociopath


But, you ask, how do I recognize a Glib Sociopath, the better to obey their authority? That’s easy. They usually put an “R” after their name.

Almost Every GOP Senator Just Voted to Keep Letting Terror Suspects Buy Guns

I agree that that bill is problematic: when being put on the terrorist watch list seems to be a matter of whims by conservative law enforcement officers, being a “suspect” is a damned poor excuse for suspending a privilege. But I also have no doubt that the same people are against closing the gun show loophole, or requiring reasonable background checks or waiting periods, and think a history of domestic violence is not grounds to deny someone a gun.

Cui bono?

The Trump campaign is flaming out spectacularly. His campaign financials have been released, and, much as I hate the way politics is priced out of reach for most people, he’s a loser.

Donald Trump’s campaign is almost broke, and is paying an unusual amount of money to Trump-owned businesses. That’s according to the presumptive Republican presidential nominee’s FEC filing, details of which were released Monday night.

The report provided a number of rather shocking facts, including that his campaign raised just $3.1 million in May compared to Democratic rival Hillary Clinton’s $27 million.

Even worse, you might wonder where that small sum of money is going. It’s going to Donald Trump, of course.

He’s also paying himself a salary, which is really weird for a billionaire running for president, and one of his biggest outlays is $208,000…for hats.

This is a joke candidate, right? Either that, or it’s the ultimate end game of capitalism: a guy paying himself to promote himself to become president of the US.

At least I’m becoming less worried that an inflamed orange hemorrhoid will be elected president.