OK, which of you guys requested Second Winter?

It’s not funny. One day the snow was mostly melted, the sky was clear and blue, I could walk to work in my shirtsleeves, and then…this weekend we’re hit with screaming winds, deeply chilly temperatures, and more snow.

Sure, you thought it was hilarious to sacrifice a goat to the Northern Gods, but did you give a thought to all the little baby spiders who felt the first touch of the sun’s warmth and hopefully launched themselves skyward on silken threads, and then abruptly got hit with a gale that froze them solid and carried them off to Ohio? These cruel pranks have consequences.

The book bannings will continue

Now the Republicans want to ban math textbooks. Florida has rejected 54 out of 132 proposed math textbooks because Ron DeSantis says they contain Critical Race Theory. Really? I found an example of what they object to.

A few points I have to make:

1. That’s not CRT. Those are just story problems on a worksheet about Maya Angelou.

2. That’s actually a clever way to motivate students to carry out simple algebraic calculations.

3. Isn’t it obvious how it will help kids learn algebra? They have to use algebra to crack the code and puzzle out the whole story.

4. I can tell the critic just zeroed in on the mention of sexual abuse and prostitution. Those things exist. They happen. They don’t disappear if you close your eyes real tight.

5. It’s also not from a Florida math textbook. It’s taken from an unapproved collection of potential math problems from an online site. For shame, Ms Pushaw! You lied!

Florida is working so hard to become the worst state in the union. They’ll have to work harder, though, because Texas is attacking libraries.

In early November, an email dropped into the inbox of Judge Ron Cunningham, the silver-haired head chair of the governing body of Llano County in Texas’s picturesque Hill Country. The subject line read “Pornographic Filth at the Llano Public Libraries.”

“It came to my attention a few weeks ago that pornographic filth has been discovered at the Llano library,” wrote Bonnie Wallace, a 54-year-old local church volunteer. “I’m not advocating for any book to be censored but to be RELOCATED to the ADULT section. … It is the only way I can think of to prohibit censorship of books I do agree with, mainly the Bible, if more radicals come to town and want to use the fact that we censored these books against us.”

Wallace had attached an Excel spreadsheet of about 60 books she found objectionable, including those about transgender teens, sex education and race, including such notable works as “Between the World and Me,” by author and journalist Ta-Nehisi Coates, an exploration of the country’s history written as a letter to his adolescent son. Not long after, the county’s chief librarian sent the list to Suzette Baker, head of one of the library’s three branches.

This is a Texas tradition. There are always prudes and bigots who object to books that don’t pander to their blinkered, ignorant worldview — remember Mel and Norma Gabler? — the problem is that Texas actually listens to them, and has an army of conservative politicians that rush to impose their 19th century views on their electorate. Literally. That’s what motivated the Gablers to go on their long-running crusade to wreck the American textbook industry.

Norma and Mel Gabler entered the field of textbook reform twenty years ago, after their son Jim came home from school disturbed at discrepancies between the 1954 American history text his eleventh-grade class was using and what his parents had taught him. The Gablers compared his text to history books printed in 1885 and 1921 and discovered differences. “Where can you go to get the truth?” Jim asked.

How dare our understanding of the world change? Although best known to me for their efforts to expunge evolution from biology classes, you can tell that what triggered them, from the timing, was race. Same as nowadays.

Bonnie Wallace’s letter is also revealing. The only reason she isn’t sponsoring a book burning is projection — she’s afraid the liberals want to do the same thing to her cherished books. I swear, though, no one is planning to ban the Bible, and if they were, I’d be right there in opposition. The Bible is a piece of our history, everyone should be exposed to it, just as they should be exposed to our history of slavery and lynchings. Besides, it’s such a useful tool for creating atheists.

She’s also lying about “pornographic filth”. Ta-Nehisi Coates’ book is not at all pornographic, but only frankly discusses the effects of racism…but yeah, they don’t want that known.

They also want to ban a whole batch of children’s books, such as Sendak’s In the Night Kitchen, which is quite a lovely weird story, and has, as I recall, two pictures of naked little Mickey falling through a dream. My kids giggled at that and always pointed it out because nudity is so highly censored from all of our books. It was innocent, not pornographic, and only stood out because the prudes and assholes have gotten their way for so long.

Now it’s getting worse. They’re dissolving library boards so they can pack them with conservative Republicans.

Cunningham said in a statement that the restructuring of the library board was in keeping with Texas law and past practices to allow for “citizen participation from different perspectives.” The all-female board is overwhelmingly White and Republican, records show.

And the new board was ready to start focusing on its top priorities, including adding content of “academia, educational value and character building” and consulting with a local Christian school about their needs, Wells wrote in one email. Wells, a member of the local tea party who home-schools her six children, did not return calls for comment.

They’re also ridiculously Christian.

Panel members often stop to pray over questions brought up in meetings, and until the Lord answers, they can’t resolve them, according to county officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they feared repercussions.

Most chillingly, they’re quietly disappearing books they don’t like from the libraries, firing librarians, and hinting that they aren’t required to even have a library.

“The board also needs to recognize that the county is not mandated by law to provide a public library,” Cunningham wrote to Wallace in January.

I remember the Satanic panics of the 1980s, when all kinds of baseless nonsense about cults and child sacrifice and secret underground rituals made the rounds (often abetted by the police — ACAB — who made up horrific and false stories to further the repressive bullshit). We’re in the middle of another one right now. Their chants are all about “pedophiles” and “grooming”, and they use them and their lunatic fringe Christianity to justify all kinds of oppression.

Many who spoke praised the commissioners for their recent work “saving the children of Llano County” from “pornography” and “pedophiles,” often breaking into enthusiastic applause and shouts of “Amen!” Tension erupted when latecomers stuck in the hallway attempted to speak. “I’d like to speak in the name of Jesus!” one man yelled.

“Amen!” is the new “Sieg Heil!”

This super-villain must be stopped

The Kentucky legislature was finally fired up to enact laws to prevent a terrible crime. No, it wasn’t to finally do something about that blight, Answers in Genesis, that is robbing them blind and promoting ignorance — both houses in Kentucky are dominated by Republicans, and that stuff is their stock in trade. What they decided to do was pass a law absolutely prohibiting trans kids from participating in sports. The trans menace must be stopped in its tracks!

In this case, it’s one (1) trans girl in the entirety of the state. Here she is. Her name is Fischer Wells.

I wonder how it feels to have your nefarious plan to play field hockey with your friends foiled by the entire weight of the Kentucky Republican party being brought to bear on you? The governor tried to veto the law, but over a hundred Republicans got together to override the veto. More than a hundred bullies made sure to shut down one trans 13 year old.

They’ve already put up some high hurdles against trans kids, and this is just the final bit of bullying.

Although it’s unclear if other Kentucky trans students are also competing in school sports, even qualifying to play for a school team is extremely difficult due to burdensome requirements imposed by the Kentucky High School Athletic Association (KHSAA). The KHSAA guidelines mandate that trans athletes must undergo gender-confirmation surgery prior to participating on sports teams that align with their gender, which bars the vast majority of youth from competition.

Kick those trans kids while they’re down, Republicans! You must be so proud.

May righteous wrath consume all tainted by InfoWars

Alex Jones offered each of the families of the Sandy Hook children he defamed $120,000 to settle their lawsuits against him. They turned him down.

Each of the plaintiffs turned down the settlement offer in court documents, saying, “The so-called offer is a transparent and desperate attempt by Alex Jones to escape a public reckoning under oath with his deceitful, profit-driven campaign against the plaintiffs and the memory of their loved ones lost at Sandy Hook.”

Jones treated those murdered children as things, things he could use to jack up right-wing hysteria and fuel profitable traffic to his site. They are not things. Jones was so unconscionably exploitive and abusive that I can entirely sympathize with those parents. They aren’t looking for money, something else Jones can’t understand. They are out to destroy a locus of hatred, one that grew on the bodies of dead children.

InfoWars has now declared bankruptcy, saying they only have assets of between $0-$50,000. That’s a lie. They have a heavily-trafficked website that brings in at least that much every week; they get ad revenue from Breitbart, so at least one other right-wing site is propping them up; they’ve got a quack store and must have a storage facility filled with crap like Ultra Brain Force (although, I’ll give them this: if their supply was valued for their effectiveness, it would be worth $0) and stupid hats; just the video gear that they use to record and edit all the lies they pump out has got to be worth more than that. Jones has a house and cars and a studio.

Take them all and put Jones in an institution for the criminally insane. Cut off all the “reporters” he supports — Ian Miles Cheong, Owen Shroyer, Millie Weaver, Margaret Howell, Savannah Hernandez, etc. — and let them get jobs serving fast food somewhere, if they’re qualified for that. Burn it all down. Scatter salt on the careers of all the people affiliated with it.

Wait, when did Casey Luskin get a Ph.D.?

I met Luskin 8 years ago. How time flies when the idiot stops yapping.

I just learned that the Attack Mouse of the Discovery Institute, Casey Luskin, got a Ph.D. I’d known that he sort of vanished in 2016, leaving the Discovery Institute, but had no idea why…I missed it entirely, but Klinghoffer mentioned it last year, in 2021, that he’d been in South Africa, getting a degree in geology. It was a secret!

Dr. Luskin’s PhD in geology, from the University of Johannesburg, is something to celebrate. It was five years in the making, during which his location and activities were a closely guarded secret. In truth, while he was far away geographically, we thought of Casey often and missed him. The reality of the Darwinist cancel culture meant that if word got out, some malignant ID critic — more than one, in all likelihood — would try to hurt him and ruin his doctoral work, get him kicked out of his university, whatever they could do. There were a couple of times when we were anxious that something just like that might happen.

Wow, your persecution complex is showing. If they’d been open about it, I would have figured it was a good thing that he was finally off learning something. Truth be told, I didn’t care and failed to notice that he’d stopped lying for 5 years, and barely noticed his return. That’s saying something, because when I took a look at my blog archives, I’ve been ripping on Luskin’s stupidity and mendacity for over a decade and a half, at least.

September 2006: Luskin claims that the fusion of chromosome 2 in the human lineage is not evidence for evolution, and poses a huge problem for neo-Darwinism, because a Robertsonian fusion would be non-viable, and even if it were, you’d have to have two individuals of different sexes to acquire the same mutation in order to reproduce. He knows nothing of genetics, but he likes to pretend otherwise.

March 2007: Luskin reviews Carroll’s book, The Making of the Fittest, and to show how wrong the book is, inadvertently reveals that he doesn’t understand junk DNA or pseudogenes. This is a habit with him: anytime he is expected to discuss a subject, he quickly reveals that his understanding is a millimeter deep.

October 2007: Luskin declares that gene duplication is simultaneously trivial and incapable of generating new information. To make his point, he quote-mines a Nature article to misrepresent its conclusions.

May 2009: Luskin is invited on to Fox News (a match made in hell) to claim that all the biology textbooks are wrong, repeating the Haeckel nonsense, and further claiming that horizontal gene transfer invalidates all evolutionary trees.

January 2010: Luskin thinks that finding fossil trackways older than Tiktaalik invalidates transitional forms. Everything is supposed to be linear and sequential, don’t you know.

July 2011: Luskin claims that I conceded that embryology does not support evolution. I, of course, said no such thing. This is how he operates, though.

July 2014: Luskin quote-mined me to claim I agreed with Behe that chloroquine resistance in malaria couldn’t possibly be a result of evolution, when I said the opposite. This is something of a theme in Luskin’s ‘work’, that he can’t read for comprehension and replaces understanding with lies.

September 2015: Luskin gets cranky about the discovery of Homo naledi. Once again, because the fossil demonstrates a mosaic set of features, rather than recognizing that biology predicts a complex branching pattern in the human lineage, he thinks it disproves evolution. Really, the guy has the most child-like understanding of basic concepts.

Possibly most revealing, way way back in 2006 he also criticized the journalist Chris Mooney for not having a degree in biology, claiming that he has no formal credentials in neither science nor law, back at a time when he only had an undergraduate degree in geology. I guess being blind to hypocrisy is an important skill for a creationist, and I’m going to guess that he went back to school to get an advanced degree in something just so he could claim to have credentials of some sort. Joke’s on him, though: we don’t care.

Trust me, I have a long history of dealing with Luskin’s lies. Now that he’s back at the Discovery Institute — I guess he didn’t actually get a doctorate so he could do advanced study in geology — one might wonder what idiocies he’s promoting more recently? Professor Dave has got you covered.

Oh man, he was terrible in the past, he’s just as terrible as ever now. I guess the only thing his new degree did was promote him from Attack Mouse to Attack Rat.

Hell has many chambers

It isn’t just the one in the previous post. It also includes this nightmare hellscape:

It’s next week, the damned will need to get their tickets soon. Of course it’s in Texas.

It’s a one-day event, noon until 10pm, and look at all those people! Everyone is crammed into panels so they can shout over each other, a crucial part of being in Hell. They seem to have simply drafted a bunch of otherwise unknown nobodies from social media; I especially like the ones who don’t even go by an identifiable name, like Nuance Bro and Andrew, just Andrew, and oooh, Spectre. Spooky. They seem to have no qualifications other than a follower count and reliably regressive opinions.

You know, once upon a time I was one of those guys in great demand to appear at conferences, but then I became Mr Unpopular practically overnight because I spoke out against a rapist. I suppose I could have been there if only I’d abandoned human decency and all of my principles to be part of that mess, like a Peter Coffin (who is also going to be there.)

At least I can attend Skepticon without any regrets…and yes, it’s happening this year, July 29-31, in person in St Louis. Look for a real announcement from the organizers sometime soon, but keep that weekend open.

An outbreak of vampires in Kentucky this weekend?

It’s the only way to interpret this rather ominous newspaper ad.

Except, right, it’s Easter, that weekend when the death-cult celebrates involuntary sacrifice and grisly torture methods.

It’s all OK, because maybe their victims of slow murder will pop back up and be alive again, despite the fact that in two thousand years of repeated trials with billions of participants, it’s never happened, not once, other than the occasional apocryphal hallucination.