I know we’re not supposed to have heroes, but some teachers deserve the title

The money is always supposed to move upwards, and it’s a crime to question it. Take, for example, this Louisiana teacher who dared to ask why administrators were getting raises when teacher salaries had been frozen for years:

Local news station KATC reports that Deyshia Hargrave, a teacher at Rene Rost Middle Schools in Kaplan, Louisiana, attended a Vermilion Parish School Board meeting on Monday to ask questions about how the board could vote to increase the superintendent’s pay despite the fact that many school employees have worked for years without a pay increase.

Hargrave was informed that she was not supposed to ask questions at the meeting, as this was only intended to be a forum for public feedback. Nonetheless, board members tried to answer her questions.

It seems to me that asking a question is a perfectly reasonable form of feedback, especially since asking administrators why they have given themselves a raise is much more polite than simply stating that you protest the inequities constructed by the ratfuckers in charge, which would not be a “question”, and therefore would be allowed.

Unfortunately, in America in 2018 there can only be one response to questioning authority.

Now they’re saying she wasn’t arrested, she was just thrown to the ground and handcuffed. Just.

The next Mythicist Milwaukee con will be worse than the last

That’s a prediction. They tried to invite Sincere Kirabo to the next Mythicist Milwaukee con, and Kirabo is a Very Big Name in the humanist/social justice community, well-respected, and a great writer and speaker. You’d think that was a good sign, right? Wrong. You have to read what they propose that he do.

We are reaching out to see if you would want to be a speaker at Mythcon V. Our idea for your event would to be part of a discussion on “The effects of social justice activism in the African American community” [sic] This topic title is not final. The idea is to have you on stage with someone that would hold opposing views. We would have a moderator that would be present just to keep the conversation moving along.

That was my emphasis. This is exactly the kind of crap they pulled last time: they need an excuse to put an edgelord front and center on stage, and they do it with the pretext of setting up a debate with someone with more respectable views. When I get invited to do a creationist debate, this is always the case: the organizers are really all about promoting the creationist ass on stage, and that’s who the audience is bussed in to see, and they just want me there as a foil for the dishonest twit.

You do have to wonder who the Milwaukee frauds were trying to get who holds opposing views to a black social justice advocated. Richard Spencer? Jared Taylor? Some whiny racist vlogger from YouTube? It doesn’t matter. They’re going to have another audience of white alt-right anti-social-justice atheists there, and they just want an obliging target for them jeer at. Kirabo’s response is perfect.

Or, as secular activist Alix Jules paraphrases the request that he also received: “Please justify your existence, anger, and rage, while defending your humanity.”

They also tried to get Alix Jules? Jesus.

I will not negotiate my humanity. I will not play accomplice to interrogating the significance of Black liberation to indulge the white gaze.

This leads me to a point many who consider themselves a part of the atheist movement may not want to hear: the misguided audacity Mythicist Milwaukee has displayed reflects aspects of an ethos deeply entrenched within organized atheism communities.

It isn’t like Mythcon 4 is the first time atheists or self-described secular humanists have misapplied the right to free speech to express or celebrate dehumanizing views. It isn’t like Mythcon 4 is the first time atheists or self-described secular humanists have trivialized the struggle for a more just world and dismissed it with terms like “identity politics.”

I acknowledge that these elements are alive and well within the humanist movement, one made up of a non-monolithic variety of outspoken individuals, groups, and organizations who share mutual interests but also embrace diverging goals. I’ve gradually disassociated myself from organized atheism (outside what’s necessary for work) because it’s too common to meet those involved in this movement who not only don’t prioritize matters of social change for collective liberation, but also regard those who value these ambitions with contempt. Those aren’t my people, but more than that, they’re obstacles to my work.

I don’t want to waste time and energy trying to convince people why they should examine their allegiance to unjust ideologies, or why they should want to act in solidarity with marginalized communities. I prefer to invest my time in communities of people who acknowledge that there are major social problems that demand solutions.

I’ll just say right now that this conference is gearing up to bring in speakers, and if you get an invitation from them, just say NO right now, unless you want to get tangled up in another contentious shitshow. Or unless you’re a shitlord. Then just go right ahead.

Hard to believe the attempt to vindicate Sandusky retroactively continues

His conviction on dozens of counts of child sex abuse was pretty solid, but some are still trying to claim he was convicted on the basis of that bullshit “repressed memory therapy”. He wasn’t. Here’s a damning summary of the trial that slaps down those “skeptic” claims that the evidence against him was a collection of fantasies.

And then…Sandusky had an appeal built around the claim that unreliable “repressed memories” were used against him. This whole argument has already been debated in a court of law!

Here’s what the judge said in the appeal.

Although he was denied access to the victims’ psychological records, Sandusky was permitted to call witnesses to explore whether the victims had undergone repressed memory therapy prior to trial, and he did explore that subject with Dustin Struble (“Struble”), Michael Gillum, Aaron Fisher, Brett Houtz, and Dr. Elizabeth Loftus, none of whom affirmed the defendant’s hypothesis.

During his direct testimony, Gillum, Fisher’s treating therapist, plainly and credibly stated, “I don’t deal with repressed memory [and] I don’t work with anyone who claims to have repressed memories or anything along those lines.” (PCRA, 03/24/2017, p. 159). He further articulated his negative assessment of repressed memory therapy and why he did not engage in it. (Id. at 164-165). While Struble acknowledged that he and his therapist had discussed methods of unearthing repressed memories, moreover, he stated definitively that he had not undergone that type of therapy prior to the defendant’s trial. (Id., 05/11/2017, p. 20).

Dr. Loftus had a different opinion based on “impressions” from Gillum’s book, statements Struble made two years after the trial, and the fact that the victims whose excerpted trial testimony she reviewed did not give consistent stories to the police, the grand jury, and the trial jury. (Id. at 71-90). Having been rendered after an uncritical review of an absurdly incomplete record carefully dissected to include only pieces of information tending to support Sandusky’s repressed memory theory, however, that opinion was entirely ineffective to rebut Gillum’s and Struble’s definitive denials.

Note that comment, that none of the experts called upon “affirmed the defendant’s hypothesis” that the victims had gone through repressed memory therapy…the very thing that the “skeptics” disagreement with the trial result hinges upon.

I have a serious question for Kansas Republicans

One of your own, Representative Steve Alford, stood up to speechify against legalizing the marijuana. And this is what he literally and actually said:

What you really need to do is go back in the ’30s, when they outlawed all types of drugs in Kansas (and) across the United States, Alford said. What was the reason why they did that? One of the reasons why, I hate to say it, was that the African Americans, they were basically users and they basically responded the worst off to those drugs just because of their character makeup, their genetics and that.

Now I can understand why any Democrats in the audience would simply stand there gleefully, watching the ol’ bigot tie his tongue into a noose and hang himself from the rafters. It’s always good to see your opponent make an ass of himself.

What I don’t understand is why time didn’t slow down for shocked Republicans as they hurled themselves at the podium, shouting “NOOOOOOOOOO!” and taking Alford down at the knees? They’re just sitting there, blankly, like this is just standard ordinary run-of-the-mill routine.

The Democrats in Kansas, all 5 of them, are having a grand time tearing him up right now. What do you think the Republicans are doing? Sitting on their hands.

Alford could face discipline from House Republican leadership, but House Speaker Ron Ryckman said it was too early to tell what leaders would do. He said he and House Majority Leader Don Hineman would take the issue under review.

As always seems to be the case, Alford is shocked, shocked I tell you, at the rude people who have called him racist.

He come up and told me I’m a racist, Alford told The Topeka Capital-Journal. I’m about as far from being a racist as I could get.

He has sort of apologized, though.

Alford stood by his remarks without citing his source, but said he should not have singled out African-Americans.

There are certain groups of people, their genetics, the way their makeup is, the chemicals will affect them differently, Alford told the Telegram. That’s what I should have said was drugs affect people differently instead of being more specific.

You see, he should have just implied it — his mistake was actually specifying black people, when he should have just trusted that his audience of all-white Kansans would have known exactly what he was talking about, wink wink, nudge nudge.

But don’t you worry! The Kansas Republican party is “reviewing” the issue.

Memo to James Damore

Guy. Guy. Guy. This is ridiculous. Your 15 minutes are up.

The Internet

Damore is suing Google.

The author of the controversial memo that upended Google in August is suing the company, alleging that white, male conservatives are systematically discriminated against by Google.

James Damore was fired as an engineer after the manifesto, which questioned the benefits of diversity programs and suggested women may be biologically inferior engineers, was widely passed around the company. In a new lawsuit, he and another fired engineer claim that “employees who expressed views deviating from the majority view at Google on political subjects raised in the workplace and relevant to Google’s employment policies and its business, such as ‘diversity’ hiring policies, ‘bias sensitivity,’ or ‘social justice,’ were/are singled out, mistreated, and systematically punished and terminated from Google, in violation of their legal rights.”

You know, women only hold 17% of the tech jobs at Google. Conservatives control the federal government. Most of the top executives at Google are men. Google is currently being sued for wage discrimination against women. How can you possibly argue that men are being oppressed?

Also, the memo that got you fired was a crock.

Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water…

If you thought bathrooms were dangerous, you’re going to be terrified by transsexual sharks.

Many fish are switch-hitters: they have the ability to change from male to female, or vice versa, when it’s convenient for reproduction. Not so for sharks and rays, which develop either male or female organs before birth. But off the coast of Taiwan, fishers discovered a shark with a fully developed set of male and female reproductive organs. The animal is one of only a handful of such sharks ever documented, and the first of its species.

Actually, I suspect these sharks would be more tolerant and more interesting than the bro-sharks with their toxic masculinity.

But wait, even bro-sharks just want to be left alone.

Oprah gives a phenomenal speech

At the Golden Globes award last night, she gave a wonderfully passionate speech and said a lot of the things we need to hear right now.

That was excellent and beautifully presented — she is a professional actor, and a good one, but I am confident that this was more than a well-polished oration, and that she really feels what she said from the heart.

That said, though, I was dismayed to see the tag #Oprah2020 pop up everywhere, and people talking about having her run for president. Are we so shallow that we now see a TV personality — a rich, eminently successful TV and movie star — as sufficient qualification for the job of president? Have we learned nothing from Trump? Oprah has an inspiring message and can actually speak in complete sentences, which puts her light years ahead of our current senile clown, but it is a job that really does require experience and skills and knowledge that Oprah does not have.

If she wants to serve in government, let her run for a state office, and then as a national representative, and then I’ll perk up when she announces a run for the head of the executive branch. No shortcuts. Bring back the cursus honorum!

Innocent even after found guilty

Now I’m getting chewed out for questioning the innocence of Jerry Sandusky.

The best response is this one:

So..in cases of sexual assault we can now add “found guilty at trial” to the list of kinds of evidence that are unacceptable in making any judgements on the accused. Got it.

Quick! Reopen all the molestation cases against Catholic priests! Those boys be lyin’!