What happened in Houston?

Here’s a chilling account of what it was like to be in Houston during Harvey. It points out that this was a disaster exacerbated by you-know-who — Republicans and their stupidity.

Texas is run by Republicans, many of whom have disavowed climate change. About six or seven years ago, when Governor Greg Abbott was the Texas Attorney General joining a climate change lawsuit against the federal government, I was still science reporter at the Chronicle, and we spoke for about an hour on the telephone. What was most striking to me is that here was a lawyer, with practically no science background, arguing against the scientific claims of scientists. How did he know more about atmospheric science than they did?

If Houston is to remain the prosperous, vibrant, great city that it was before Harvey, we are going to have to take a hard look at our unfettered development and willingness to let almost anyone build almost anywhere, including in floodplains. Our state officials are going to have to recognize that these events will be possible again, especially in a warmer world. I’m not holding my breath for all that to happen. And as dark as these last five days have been, that may be the biggest tragedy of all.

There’s also more information about disastrous policies that had disastrous effects on the region’s ability to respond to disaster: wetland destruction, uncontrolled urban development, bad zoning, etc. The people of Houston just turned their homes over to greedy developers who got their money and got out.

Wait, that’s not funny at all

But it’s supposed to be! It’s on McSweeney’s!

It’s about journalists. I’m now ashamed to say that I’ve actually told a few students that they’d be great at science journalism, we need more good journalists, it’s difficult to make a living at it, but you might consider it as an option. Now I’m feeling like I’d been suggesting they consider a career in the exciting field of dumpster diving for pennies.

As cockroaches scurry for the darkness, so do the Nazis

The major social media sites have been making some weak, token efforts to clean up the racism and sexism endemic to places like Twitter and Facebook, but so far it’s been feeble. They’ll occasionally boot someone who gets as obnoxious as Andrew Anglin or Chuck C. Johnson, but it takes months or years of complaints (which I think is usually totally ineffective) or that they do something that is high profile and starts making the service look bad. But meanwhile, it’s fine for Joe Sixpack with 50 followers to scribble about how women should be happy to be raped, or that Jews belong in ovens, with no repercussions at all. We know, however, that Twitter and Facebook could prohibit hate speech, because they already do in France and Germany. It’s a conscious plan to allow Nazis to flourish in American social media. Why?

In an article about alternative social media, there’s a hint. The white nationalists, the Nazis, the MRAs, the general bottom-feeding trash of the internet, are getting worried about the few examples of evicted Nazis, and so are building their own new brands: a chat network called Gab, and there’s something that is an alternative to Patreon that is, amusingly, openly called Hatreon, for people who want to get paid for hating. If you’re wondering why American companies are so reluctant to block online hatred, one answer is that American tech workers have a high proportion of haters.

The early iterations of whatever Gab’s movement produces may very well be funded by its builders, many of whom purportedly have high-paying jobs in Silicon Valley. Andrew Anglin, the publisher of the Daily Stormer, told Mother Jones in March that the majority of his site’s traffic comes from Santa Clara County, in the heart of Silicon Valley. “The average alt-right-ist,” the white supremacist Richard Spencer told the magazine, “is probably a 28-year-old tech-savvy guy working in IT.”

But why? Why would American computer programmers drift towards Naziism? I think there’s an answer to that, too. They’re saturated in triumphal capitalism, and in particular, Libertarianism, which is the gateway drug to full-blown greed, which they’ve branded as “liberty”.

Since Google fired Damore and Gab lost its spot in the Google app store, the effort to found an alt-right internet has taken on a new urgency. Dickinson released a slide deck on Friday to try to appeal to investors and new entrants who wish to join the budding movement. “Alt-Tech promises to restore and revive the old libertarian ethos of technology as a leveler and tool for increasing liberty,” read his slides, which proclaim that the movement doesn’t care about race, gender, or pedigree and that its motto is “Shut up and code.” The plan promises to revitalize rural and small-town America by providing engineering jobs to people who will build the new “anti-Marxist” internet. “The first VCs to fund these alternatives will be the ground floor profit-makers of the Alt-Tech revolution,” reads one of his slides.

In the past two weeks, a handful of far-right video bloggers have jumped onboard to promote the nascent movement, including Styxhexenhammer666, a popular libertarian video blogger, whose two videos about the effort have notched almost 70,000 views. Others have posted “call to action” videos, rallying technologists to join the movement to build “new ‘free speech’ platforms,” which have also attracted thousands of viewers. While these might not read as huge numbers, they suggest a movement with a groundswell of grassroots support.

They don’t care about race or gender. That usually means they don’t care about the inequities constructed around race and gender, because they’re mostly white men who have got theirs already. They also claim to not believe in ideology, even to be ideology-free, while not noticing that they’re soaking in a particularly ugly ideology.

“Most of the people that I see migrating to alternative social platforms identify as either Conservative or Libertarian,” one member of Gab who asked not to be named told me in an email. “They see how there is a double-standard when it comes to enforcing so-called ‘hate-speech’ by Google, Facebook & Twitter. Much of what is being censored or shadow-banned is not hate filled. It is often simply an idea that the loudest do not agree with.” Unlike legacy white supremacist sites, Gab isn’t centered on any one political ideology, even if many hate-filled ideologies gravitated there. Rather, it’s ostensibly a place that values free speech first, no matter how offensive it is.

Oh, right. “Free speech”. I like free speech, I think it’s an important value to have, because I want to be able to loudly declare these people to be rancid, hate-filled, selfish assholes. I also recognize that there’s a difference between openly detesting an ideology and inciting the torture and murder of whole peoples, a distinction they fail to acknowledge. “I hate Jews” is an opinion that labels the speaker as a bigot; “We need to organize to do something about the Jewish Problem” is encouraging people to do physical harm.

But how can they say they aren’t centered on any one political ideology when they also admit that they’re full of conservatives and Libertarians? If Google and Apple wander very slightly from the far right (it’s insane that anyone thinks a major American corporation is actually liberal), they get blamed for being a gang of SJWs. But Gab specifically and intentionally appeals to far-right fascists, and they get to claim they’re relatively non-ideological.

“If Google and Apple are straight-up corporations for their political sides, they should openly declare their discriminatory behavior. They should be proud of it,” said Gab’s Sanduja. “They should not be mendacious and talk about change and be different. Stop engaging in sophistry. Come out to us as the major SJW platforms you are.”

It’s always revealing to see them using the same buzzwords my personal haters are fond of. I’m not black, I’m not Jewish, I’m not a woman, I should be safe, right? My privilege is sky high. But they’ve found a way to target me, too, so it’s more than just an empathy for others, they’d like to kill me, too. After all, I am one of those hated Social Justice Warriors.

So now I have to be a white Nordic male with Libertarian leanings to be part of this in-group? Keep on narrowing your requirements until no one meets them. I guess this is the point where I’m supposed to quote Reinhold Niebuhr or Martin Niemöller, but you already know what they said, it’s obvious. Except to Nazis.

Regulations require you to plan ahead

No wonder Republicans hate them! Planning and responsibility — who has time for that crap? Especially when it costs money.

Who needs review and ethical approval of drug trials, after all? These are just things we put in our mouths or inject into our veins, so sure, let’s just go crazy and shoot up whatever. It can’t hurt. If a rich tech vampire endorses it, that should be good enough for everyone. Especially if they are testing it, just not on Americans — those brown guinea pigs on Caribbean islands are good enough.

Heavyweight tech investor and FDA-critic Peter Thiel is among conservative funders and American researchers backing an offshore herpes vaccine trial that blatantly flouts US safety regulations, according to a Monday report by Kaiser Health News.

The vaccine—a live but weakened herpes virus—was first tested in a 17-person trial on the Caribbean Island of St. Kitts without federal oversight or the standard human safety requirement of an institutional review board (IRB) approval. Biomedical researchers and experts have sharply rebuked the lack of safety oversight and slammed the poor quality of the data collected, which has been rejected from scientific publication. However, investors and those running the trial say it is a direct challenge to what they see as innovation-stifling regulations by the Food and Drug Administration.

Yeah, that’s their motive: skip the whole structure of regulatory fol-de-rol and fast-track testing by throwing it on a non-American population. The work was done to benefit a pharmaceutical company, which was plugged in the manuscript that the author attempted to publish (conflict of interest much?) and was done on a tiny population. What work was done put subjects at risk and also had negligible statistical power, but hey, the PI, Halford, and Thiel were stickin’ it to the Man and bypassing those onerous regulations, so it ought to get extra brownie points for that.

Other researchers and experts strongly disagreed with Halford’s stance and handling of a live, attenuated virus vaccine, which can cause infections in the uninfected or severe side-effects in those already infected. “What they’re doing is patently unethical,” Jonathan Zenilman, chief of Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center’s Infectious Diseases Division, told KHN. “There’s a reason why researchers rely on these protections. People can die.”

Robert Califf, who served as FDA commissioner during the Obama era, agreed. “There’s a tradition of having oversight of human experimentation, and it exists for good reasons,” he said. “It may be legal to be doing it without oversight, but it’s wrong.”

You can read the reviewer’s comments on the paper for yourself. They are polite, professional and scathing. A sample:

4. The author presents results of 2 experiments on humans, the first one a safety study that he conducted on himself. While self-experiments are generally permitted, these still require IRB review. Please provide assurance that this protocol was IRB reviewed and that the participant signed an informed consent. Unfortunately, data on 1 person does not prove safety of a product.
5. The subsequent Phase 1 study was conducted on a Caribbean island nation. Again, no information about IRB for this study is provided, and the trial does not seem to be listed on clinicaltrials.gov. The data for efficacy are based on self‐report on participants who were questioned by the author and other staff before and after. As the author states “self‐reported cessation of genital herpes… should be viewed with skepticism.” Agreed.
6. On Figure 8, there is an impressively small p value. However, how it was derived is not shown. Given that there were only 17 persons in this study, it is unlikely that an appropriate statistical test for performed to obtain this result.

Someone also saw right through the whole game.

6. Flying U.S. trial subjects to St. Kitt for the immunizations and then flying them back to the US is ethically questionable. Who is giving the immunizations in St. Kitt and who is following them medically when they return to the US? Where is the clinical protocol based? Is this an end run around the FDA?

It is true that IRBs are a pain in the butt, and sometimes you just want to scream that they are unnecessary — that you know how best to care for your subjects, you have years of experience, why do you need to document basic stuff that everyone in the field knows you have to do? Well, just imagine that a Peter Thiel gets hired by your university. That’s why we have to go through the nitpicky rigamorole, because there are bad guys looking for excuses to do stuff you would never imagine doing.

For another example of disastrous lack of planning and oversight, look south to Houston. Texans are notoriously defiant about regulations and little things like zoning, so Houston grew willy-nilly, with industry flourishing for the short term with the relative lack of demands for safety and disaster planning, and factories and chemical plants sprouting little clouds of residential housing around their dangerous facilities. I’m sure it made commuting convenient, and also helped pay for desirable amenites like schools, but still…would you want to live next door to a bomb?

In Crosby, Texas, there is a place called the Arkema chemical plant where they work with something called organic peroxides. This plant is located amid a residential and business district where, remarkably, human beings live and work. If the cooling systems in the plant fail, as they apparently have, these organic peroxides can explode. A 1.5 mile radius around the plant has been evacuated.

The state and plant owners have been lying lately about the hazards

“[The Harris County fire marshall] said that they don’t expect like a shock wave kind of explosion,” Matt Dempsey, a data reporter for the Houston Chronicle, told Maddow. “That’s in contradiction to the expert said who said we’re sitting on a powder keg type of situation here.”

“Experts on one side are saying it’s a huge thing, and I have the government officials and the company saying it might not be that big,” Dempsey continued. “It’s hard to tell for sure.”

Dempsey went on to detail a back-and-forth he’d had with Arkema’s CEO, who refused to make the plant’s inventory public and who hasn’t answered questions about whether the plant has industry standard fail-safes that deplete the stock in case of disasters like Hurricane Harvey.

Oh, no, they say, it’s safe — that big container of highly reactive peroxides isn’t going to explode if neglected and without power. It’s fine. You can trust the CEO who’s not saying anything about their safety measures or even what’s stockpiled there.

Guess what? This morning, it exploded. Twice. And there are concerns that multiple storage sites means that more explosions will occur. But don’t worry, while tons of toxic chemicals are now pouring into the flood waters, we can all hope they’ll catch fire and burn.

Still, the company said Wednesday, “the most likely outcome is that, anytime between now and the next few days, the low-temperature peroxide in unrefrigerated trailers will degrade and catch fire. There is a small possibility that the organic peroxide will release into the flood waters but will not ignite and burn. … In the alternate, there could be a combination event involving fire and environmental release. Any fire will probably resemble a large gasoline fire. The fire will be explosive and intense. Smoke will be released into the atmosphere and dissipate. People should remain clear of the area.”

The Associated Press reported that Arkema was previously required “to develop and submit a risk management plan to the Environmental Protection Agency, because it has large amounts of sulfur dioxide, a toxic chemical, and methylpropene, a flammable gas.”

Good luck, Texans. Your water is poisoned, your neighborhoods have been washed away, and what’s left is on fire, with clouds of sulfurous black clouds in the air. Yeee-hah!

These are human beings suffering from the consequences of generations of irresponsible neglect — where business has flourished at the expense of people’s long term health and happiness. We can blame all of this on the Republican party, which has built its popularity on this kind of contempt for government and regulation.

This is probably going to end up being the costliest disaster in American history. Who do you think is going to pay for it? Not the shareholders in the Arkema chemical plant. Not the legislators who shirked their responsibility. Not the rich capitalists who took advantage of the lax regulatory environment in Texas. It’s going to come out of the pockets of the victims.

Hurricane Harvey could be the costliest natural disaster in U.S. history with a potential price tag of $160 billion, according to a preliminary estimate from private weather firm AccuWeather.

This is equal to the combined cost of Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy, and represents a 0.8% economic hit to the gross national product, AccuWeather said.

“Parts of Houston, the United States’ fourth largest city, will be uninhabitable for weeks and possibly months due to water damage, mold, disease-ridden water and all that will follow this 1,000-year flood,” said AccuWeather president Joel Myers.

The Federal Reserve, major banks, insurance companies and other business leaders should begin to factor in the negative impact this catastrophe will have on business, corporate earnings and employment, Myers said.

That last paragraph says what is wrong with this country. Oh, gosh, the bankers, insurance companies, and CEOs are going to suffer so much! Screw ’em. They’ve been exploiting the people who are now actually suffering for decades.

Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood? Jebus, just from the name you know it reeks

The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood has released something called the Nashville Statement. The name of the organization tells you everything you need to know about it. Here’s their first statement:

Yeah, no, no thanks. It’s just another homophobic, ant-transgender group of theocrats who want to deny the right to love and be happy to people who don’t fit their rigid dichotomy.

I was relieved about one thing: I first read it as the Council on Biological Manhood and Womanhood and was briefly horrified. Then, though, I realized that the people who argue for strict gender roles on ‘scientific’ grounds were no different, and Biological and Biblical have become practically the same thing to dogmatists, and I was horrified again.

At least the good people of Nashville are protesting the appropriation of their name for this poisonous document.

Can I be a colonel in the Outrage Brigade?

A few days ago, I had a couple of exchanges with a well-known and well-regarded YouTube atheist who recited a set of familiar tropes. I’ve blurred out their identity below, despite that being against all of my instincts (you say stuff, own it) because Stephanie Zvan also commented on it, and she’s being courteous. But damn, I’ve been hearing this demand for politeness for over a decade now, and it’s getting old.

Here’s the deal: we are supposed to be civil, polite, and supportive of people in the atheist movement, no matter what they say, in the name of “unity”. If we disagree publicly, we are characterized as “the Outrage Brigade” and slandered with hyperbole, while being accused of slandering people with hyperbole. I have, for instance, a great deal of respect for Dawkins’ work and talents as a science communicator, and I also like him personally, but if I disagree with some of his comments, I’m told that I’ve tossed their entire life and work into the shit-can. This is not true, although the defenders of the status quo think it is — that any challenge to any aspect of a Great Leader’s opinions is a black-and-white demonization of everything they’ve ever said.

Unfortunately, Richard Dawkins just tweeted this.

Some Trump votes driven by hatred of liberals. Some liberals deserve it for their hypocritical Islamophilia, safe spaces, deplatforming etc.

Great timing. Thanks for making my point for me. By the way, what do we deserve? Trump?

It’s very nice that he can remain a friend with Peter Boghossian on some personal level. He’s still a terrible person with some very bad ideas. I am not persuaded to appreciate those very bad ideas because Blurred-Out-Atheist thinks they’re a peachy person. I’m not going to sing kumbaya with someone who’s endorsing regressive, hateful ideas because Blurred-Out-Atheist has waved them away as mere “disagreements” and is willing to say so in private email to his pals.

I pointed out the irony of telling some peole to be nicer in the name of unity while also labeling them an “Outrage Brigade” and accusing them of “springing into a frothing rage” over relatively minor disagreements. But mostly I backed away.

See? Not springing into frothing rage. I filed it away and said to myself that I’ll cool off for a few days and see if this guy will see the light of reason.

Nope. He posted this.

This is the difference between respectful, strong, mature, nuanced criticisms, and the inflammatory wailings of the Outrage Brigade…those already in a froth before they’ve bothered to read/watch/listen to the issues – ANY issues – at hand. They lash out in memes. They inflate every thought with hyperbole. They apparently have anointed themselves as some kind of mind-reading Idea Police. And any honest person who has ever used the internet knows they exist.

Are they the agents of good faith, charitable listening, genuine understanding, dialogue, problem-solving, building something better? I suspect not, because they throw gasoline upon every spark, pour salt on every wound, and usually take a flailing machete to the arenas for careful surgery.

What’s most interesting is to watch people protesting the claims of needless outrage with…needless outrage.

Harris deserves criticism and the rebuttals of better ideas. Anyone who declares that someone can’t appreciate his writings, activism, etc while also having points of disagreement is an acting demonstration of the very thing which makes online exchanges so maddening, so ugly, so unproductive.

It’s even worse. Much worse. He has decided that many of the people who criticize Dawkins, Harris, Boghossian, etc. are lunatics with flailing machetes. He has lost all sense of perspective. Look at that: while I was off taking deep breaths and restraining myself, he was busy anointing himself as some kind of mind-reading Idea Police, and decided to compose this respectful, strong, mature, nuanced criticism that doubles down on the Outrage Brigade, accuses them of inflammatory wailings and of throwing gasoline upon every spark, and engaging in needless outrage.

Well, fuck that. If you can live in Trump’s America and deny the existence of needful outrage, if you think that writing great science books makes your social commentary unimpeachable, if all it takes is being a philosophy professor to make your ideas about gender studies bulletproof, if you think writing books that demonize Muslims makes you an unquestionably great scholar, if you think you get to decide which ideas are less important and deserve to be insulated from a righteous anger which you are going to label “needless”, if you’re going to be outraged about divisiveness while declaring that people who criticize Dear Leader are the goats to be separated from the sheep, then hell yes I will tell you to go stuff yourself up your own reverent ass. I can’t help but notice who you choose to consider friends despite their terrible ideas and who you consider enemies of the movement because of their social justice ideas. It tells me what ideas you’re willing to support, and which you oppose.

And those ideas matter. The atheist movement, I’m told, is all about ideas — ideas that can change the world. But as is always the case, there are always more people who adapt to a movement, find themselves comfortable with it, and resist all efforts to change anything ever again. Unfortunately, we live in what can only be described as a dystopian society, and any complaining about change and upheaval and revolution will be seen as favoring the status quo.

A Very Smart Brotha wrote recently about this problem. Preach it, Damon Young.

Polite white people—specifically, polite white people who call for decorum instead of disruption when attempting to battle and defeat bias and hate—aren’t as paradoxical as tits on a bull. But they’re just as useless. They provide no value, they move no needles, they carry no weight (metaphysically and literally) and they ultimately just get in the way. They’re humanity’s tourists: the 54-mile-per-hour drivers in the left lane refusing to get the fuck out of the way so others can pass. And if you get enough of them in one place, they cause accidents.

Unfortunately, they’re every-fucking-where. They’re on Facebook threads and sitting behind you at work. They’re your neighbors and (sometimes) your family members. They’re Academy Award-nominated actresses on Twitter and college professors named “Mark Lilla” peddling terribly premised books about identity politics. Sometimes they ask for level heads, lest we become what we’re fighting against. Which is like saying, “Hey, don’t kill that fly, man, because you’re going to turn into a fly.” Sometimes they misquote MLK. Or Gandhi. Or Mother Teresa. Or Papa fucking Smurf. But you can always find them somewhere, attempting to defeat violence with the devil’s advocacy and danishes.

Of course, these are not bad people. At least not Martin Shkreli bad. They’re just so goddamn inert, and that inertia is dangerous. It’s unwise to mistake their lack of movement with futility. Because this type of idling does make a difference. Just the wrong kind of difference. It can be seductive and sublime. Who doesn’t want to believe that love bombs are enough to devastate hate? Who wouldn’t want to know that good manners win if the manners are good enough? Think about how much less stress battling white supremacy and police brutality would induce if all you needed to do to defeat it was drink a bottle of Pepsi.

Ultimately, this laser focus on niceness and decorum is just a way of policing behavior. Politeness in the face of violence, and terror is a privilege exclusive to them. They just don’t have as much to lose if everyone stays polite and kind and sober. If things happen to change while we’re nice as fuck to each other, great! If not, well, great, too. It’ll still be Wednesday. And bulls still won’t have tits.

They’re also YouTube atheists with “Atheist” in their nom-de-vlog who love engaging and making friends with regressive assholes while dismissing those who support social justice as the Outrage Brigade. If you aren’t outraged right now, you’re doing everything wrong.

Catholics explain why atheists exist

It’s as bad as you might guess. It’s all about selective psychoanalyzing. We’re atheists because we have daddy issues.

There may be lots of reasons for atheism’s recent prevalence, but it is clear that the rise in atheism has taken place alongside the fall of the family. Is there a connection between the two? In his book Faith of the Fatherless: The Psychology of Atheism, psychologist Dr. Paul Vitz answers in the affirmative.

Specifically, Vitz argues that a father often exerts a powerful influence on his child’s concept of God. (Since his original book was published in 1999, other studies have provided support for this point.) Dr. Vitz takes a biographical tour of modern atheists and discovers a relatively consistent thread: “Looking back at our thirteen major historical rejecters of a personal God, we find a weak, dead, or abusive father in every case.” Of course, it is not true, nor is Vitz making the case, that every atheist had a bad father—or that the mere absence of a father must propel one to atheism. It would also be a fallacy to claim that each atheist’s fundamental reason for embracing atheism is his paternal relationship. But to Vitz’s point (and consistent with the findings of other studies), it is legitimate to argue that some persons may be predisposed to atheism because of their family circumstances.

So a guy who’s writing a book that has the thesis that fatherlessness is the basis of atheist psychology found seventeen atheists who had a weak, dead, or abusive father — in every case. All seventeen cases.

This analysis is just incompetent. I want to know what proportion of atheists had a problematic relationship with their father — I know for a fact that it is not all — and I also want to know what proportion of Catholics, and the general population, have poor paternal relationships. Citing a couple of cherry-picked anecdotal individuals is not data.

The backing off of the claim at the end of that paragraph is just weaseling. It’s probably true that some persons may be predisposed to atheism because of their family circumstances, but it’s a statement so vague and lacking in numbers that it is meaningless. I could just as well say that some Catholics may be predisposed to leave the faith because their priests are rapists — without data beyond some personal testimonies, however, it gaves us no insight into why people become atheists. Some because they were diddled by Father, but some is not a useful measure.

But he has another authority: the pope!

In his book, Jesus of Nazareth, Pope Benedict XVI makes an interesting point along the same lines, alluding to the connection between fatherhood and faith. Pointing out that the “Our Father” is a great prayer of consolation, insofar as it recognizes and professes God as our Father with Whom we have a personal relationship, Pope Benedict XVI notes that consolation is not experienced by everyone:

It is true, of course, that contemporary men and women have difficulty experiencing the great consolation of the word father immediately, since the experience of the father is in many cases either completely absent or is obscured by inadequate examples of fatherhood.”

As Pope Benedict suggests, the idea of God as a father can be a painful reminder that their own father did not, could not, or would not love them. Thus, the idea of spending fifteen minutes, much less eternity, with a “father” is remarkably unpleasant.

First, who cares what the Pope says? He has no particular qualifications or special insight into family psychology and sociology. Invoking an unmarried, childless celibate on family life has zero relevance.

Second, it is true that some people have crappy relationships with their fathers. It’s a problem in every religious denomination as well as among the godless. Again, we have a recitation of a non-statistical statistic.

Third, it is all kind of fucked-up to suggest that the invocation of an invisible intangible being in church is in any way similar to a real relationship with a real caring father. It suggests that real fathers are an incomprehensible enigma to these Catholics.

Fourthly, a counter-example (since all they have is vague unsourced anecdotes, that’s fair): me. I had a great relationship with my father. I trusted him, he was reliable, he was dedicated to his family, we respected and loved him. His death was a painful loss, and I think of him about every day.

I cared enough for him that I’ll make the Catholics a deal. If you could give me those 15 more minutes with my dead father (my real father, not your imaginary psychopath), I’ll convert to Catholicism in a flash. It would be worth it.

But one thing I’m certain about: you can’t do that. All you can do is lie and make false promises.

Oh no, another lawsuit?

I’m a bit fed up with people who turn immediately to lawsuits to get big money for slights, but this one is different.

  • I’m not the one being sued! Yay! That changes one’s whole perspective, I tell you what.

  • It’s Sargon of Akkad being sued. It’s hard to be sympathetic, sorry to say, but if it was another bullshit suit by people angry about being called mean names, I would be.

  • This is not a bullshit suit! He’s actually been caught dead to rights on copyright infringement.

Here’s the person doing the suing to explain it all. Sargon just simply uploaded her video to his monetized channel, no commentary, no satire, just lazily retitling a copy to get mo’ money.

Note too, that in that first link, there are a bunch of Sargon’s buddies and allies telling him that he screwed up and he better settle, so it’s not just my bias compelling me to pick sides here.

This is not news

It has been discovered that Louise Mensch made false allegations based on a hoaxer’s claims. Why is anyone surprised?

Louise Mensch is a hack, and always has been. This is not news at all.

The only reason that this is worth mentioning is that she was telling lies about the progress of investigations into Donald Trump, asserting that Trump was in even bigger trouble than he actually was, a story the left wants to hear.

The hoaxer, who fed the information to Taylor by email, said she acted out of frustration over the “dissemination of fake news” by Taylor and Mensch. Their false stories about Trump have included a claim that he was already being replaced as president by Senator Orrin Hatch in a process kept secret from the American public.

“Taylor asked no questions to verify my identity, did no vetting whatsoever, sought no confirmation from a second source – but instead asked leading questions to support his various theories, asking me to verify them,” the source said in an email.

Louise Mensch is a fake news source, and her work reinforces the false claims by Trump that his opponents are all liars, even as she disseminates anti-Trump stories. Seriously, people, she is a discredited source. What are you going to do next? Express shock that the Daily Mail and Weekly World News are garbage newspapers?