All entries by this author

Five exclamation points

Jul 10th, 2018 8:17 am | By

Silke-Maria Weineck in the Chronicle of Higher Education:

Is there anything more gratifying to a nice, liberal academic than turning on NPR and hearing them talk about a book you have written? In that lovely, calm, reasonable NPR voice that makes you think all will be well with the world, if only we can all learn to talk to one another in that lovely, calm, reasonable voice?

Not a lot, I would guess, although I myself have gone all the way off the NPR voice, because to me it sounds not so much lovely calm reasonable as soporific, exaggeratedly slow, and determinedly middlebrow. In reality I would of course rejoice at the publicity and expansion of readership, but I … Read the rest

What was that about submission again?

Jul 9th, 2018 3:05 pm | By

Not such good news. Sylvia Acosta on Facebook:

I just experienced a Handmaidens Tale moment at the DFW airport by Customs and Border Protection. I was traveling back from Rome and stopped by US customs. I was asked if Sybonae was my daughter and I said yes. Then they asked why if she was my daughter I didn’t have the same last name. I told them I had already established my career and earned my doctorate with my last name Acosta so I had decided not to change it. That is why we had different names. Then the customs office said, well maybe you should have taken your husbands last names so you could prove you were her mom.

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Jul 9th, 2018 2:13 pm | By

A nice piece of news for a change. Reirani Kiri Taurima on Facebook:

This is The Prime Minister Of New Zealand, Jacinda Ardern. She’s 37. She’s the youngest head of government in the world. She’s also the first western woman to give birth while in power. 2 days after the baby was born – with midwives, standard in NZ hospitals – she introduced her to the country during a press conference on the nightly news. It was really lovely. She named her Neve Te Aroha. Te Aroha means “The Love” in Maori. It represents ALL the names that were submitted (upon her request) from various tribes throughout the country, and was her attempt at capturing them all.


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Oh no you don’t

Jul 9th, 2018 11:43 am | By

Another religious maniac heard from:

Leaders must once again acknowledge the importance of submission to God in a free society.

If “leaders” must acknowledge the importance of submission to God then we’re not talking about a free society, are we. The mandate is not free, the “acknowledgement” of a lie is not free, the citation of a non-existent entity is not free, and above all the demand for submission to a god is the very opposite of … Read the rest

Marketing homeopathics

Jul 9th, 2018 10:46 am | By

A CFI press release:

The Center for Inquiry has filed a lawsuit in the District of Columbia on behalf of the general public against drug retailer CVS for consumer fraud over its sale and marketing of useless homeopathic medicines. CFI, an organization advancing reason and science, accused the country’s largest drug retailer of deceiving consumers through its misrepresentation of homeopathy’s safety and effectiveness, wasting customers’ money and putting their health at risk.

Click here to access the official complaint (PDF).

Homeopathy is an 18th-century pseudoscience premised on the absurd, unscientific notion that a substance that causes a particular symptom is what should be ingested to alleviate it. Dangerous substances are diluted to the point that no trace of

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For a series of offensive rants

Jul 9th, 2018 9:58 am | By

More Trump dragging us all down down down: a California prosecutor calls Representative Maxine Waters a cunt and a bitch and says she should be killed.

The lead hard-core gang prosecutor in the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office is under investigation for a series of offensive rants on social media, triggering demands for his dismissal.

Deputy District Attorney Michael Selyem, who joined the D.A.’s Office 12 years ago, targeted outspoken U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters, former first lady Michelle Obama, Mexican immigrants and the victim of a police shooting in Facebook and Instagram posts labeled by one critic as “hateful rhetoric.”

Of Waters, Selyem said: “Being a loud-mouthed c#nt in the ghetto you would think someone would have shot

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To manufacture 140,000 pairs of shoes

Jul 9th, 2018 8:41 am | By

One rule for Them, another rule for Us.

Donald Trump’s tariffs on Chinese goods won’t touch Ivanka Trump’s foreign-made products for her fashion line.

While Trump rails at Harley-Davidson motorcycles for moving some production to Europe to dodge EU tariffs, the first daughter and senior White House adviser has never manufactured a single product for her Ivanka Trump brand on American soil.

Because it’s so much cheaper to outsource manufacturing to countries where wages are even lower than they are here.

Trump enacted tariffs Friday morning on $34 billion worth of Chinese goods, affecting hundreds of products from boats to medical devices and auto parts. Products spared include those manufactured by his daughter.

That means Chengdu

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Froggy mustard outrage

Jul 8th, 2018 5:26 pm | By

A year ago Newsweek wryly pointed out that back in 2009 Fox News was so desperate for material on Obama that it had to resort to sneering at his lunch choices.

In news from eight years ago that appears to be from some alternate reality, Obama left the White House and went out for a local bite to eat with vice president and BFF Joe Biden in May. The two politicians ordered hamburgers, MSNBC journalist Andrea Mitchell reported at the time, with the sitting president requesting mustard on his red meat.

The story was featured on Sean Hannity’s show, Hannity’s America, as a screen showed a photoshopped image of Obama surrounded by bottles of mustard with the words “PRESIDENT

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Something you haven’t had to deal with

Jul 8th, 2018 3:15 pm | By

I just love it when men explain to women how lucky they are to be free of oppression.

Yaaaaaaaz definitely, women never have to feel the prick (or stab) of being labeled. Nobody ever tells us what we are, corrects us about what we are no matter how vehemently we protest, calls us harsh names, teams up in groups to do all that. Lucky lucky … Read the rest

Busted for dancing

Jul 8th, 2018 12:30 pm | By

The Guardian:

Iran has arrested a number of people for posting videos on Instagram, including a young woman whose targeting for her clips of her dancing to music has prompted outrage.

According to activists, Maedeh Hojabri, who appears to be in her late teenage years, was one of a number of users behind popular Instagram accounts who have been arrested. The identities of the other detainees have not been confirmed.

Her account, which has been suspended, was reported to have had more than 600,000 followers.

Hojabri has since appeared on a state television programme with other detainees, in which she and others made what activists say were forced confessions, a tactic often used by Iranian authorities.

State TV

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Floods and fires

Jul 8th, 2018 12:08 pm | By

One effect of global warming was always going to be more extreme weather events. That’s not in the future tense any more.

Japan is being swamped by rain.

Record rainfall continued to batter Japan on Sunday, with millions of people being urged to leave their homes because of the risk of flooding and landslides that have already killed dozens.

Government officials pleaded with affected residents to “take adequate actions and follow evacuation instructions issued by municipal governments” as forecasters predicted more rain in western and central Japan.

The flooding had killed at least 68 people by Sunday afternoon, and 56 more were missing. More than three million people were told to move to safer places such as school

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Popular with the girls

Jul 8th, 2018 11:57 am | By

Dan Balz at the Washington Post points out that Trump is not universally popular with women. Who knew?

Trump is doing nothing to mitigate the problem. Just the opposite. A man accused by multiple women of sexual misbehavior, he seems to take special delight in denigrating women, especially House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.), Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and his 2016 rival, Hillary Clinton. In one comment at a rally in Montana last Thursday, he mocked Warren and the #MeToo movement, and he also went after Waters.

And then there was the time he threw candy at Angela Merkel.

The latest Washington Post-Schar School poll, released Friday, highlights the differences in the way women and

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Embracing the interests of infant formula manufacturers

Jul 8th, 2018 8:29 am | By

Ice cream, Mandrake? Children’s ice cream?

A resolution to encourage breast-feeding was expected to be approved quickly and easily by the hundreds of government delegates who gathered this spring in Geneva for the United Nations-affiliated World Health Assembly.

Based on decades of research, the resolution says that mother’s milk is healthiest for children and countries should strive to limit the inaccurate or misleading marketing of breast milk substitutes.

Then the United States delegation, embracing the interests of infant formula manufacturers, upended the deliberations.

Ahhh yes the interests of people who make $$$ by selling substitutes for human breast milk – of course they are self-evidently more important than the interest of billions of infants.

American officials sought to water down

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Non-optional goddery

Jul 7th, 2018 3:40 pm | By

I find this so infuriating – no doubt disproportionately so, but all the same.

When Tennessee K-12 public students begin classes next month, the national motto “In God We Trust” will be required to be posted somewhere in their schools.

That’s not a real thing – a “national motto.” Congress can make one up if it wants to, but it’s stupid. Congress can make up a national sandwich, a national rock song, a national hat, a national ice cream flavor – a national any damn thing, but it doesn’t mean anything. And as for making up a “national motto” that is a fact claim about a non-existent magical sky-pest – they can fuck right off with that. It’s … Read the rest

Maybe everyone else is on holiday

Jul 7th, 2018 11:16 am | By

I’m wondering who runs the Richard Dawkins Foundation Twitter, because it’s someone surprisingly crude and ignorant and dogmatic. A very young intern? But I’m wondering why no adults are supervising.

What? The science is real that transgender people are valid?? What kind of bonkers claim is that? What does it even mean? That’s not something Dawkins would ever say so we know it’s someone else, and … Read the rest

A gangster-like demand

Jul 7th, 2018 10:05 am | By

Oh yes, it’s all going very well.

North Korea accused the Trump administration on Saturday of pushing a “unilateral and gangster-like demand for denuclearization” and called it “deeply regrettable,” hours after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said his two days of talks in the North Korean capital were “productive.”

How is this possible? Trump just told us the problem was over, done, history,  finito. Fixed by him, he said it was.

On Saturday, Mr. Pompeo and his entourage offered no immediate evidence that they had come away with anything tangible to show that North Korea was willing to surrender its nuclear and missile weapons programs.

Tangible? Oh come now, that’s a very high bar. Surely Trump’s word is all … Read the rest


Jul 7th, 2018 8:52 am | By

Fintan O’Toole explains Trump’s fascism tryouts:

To grasp what is going on in the world right now, we need to reflect on two things. One is that we are in a phase of trial runs. The other is that what is being trialled is fascism – a word that should be used carefully but not shirked when it is so clearly on the horizon.

Fascism doesn’t have to wear 1930s clothes to be fascism. It’s not a historical category, it’s a political one; it wasn’t killed, it was injured.

Trump is ignorant of almost everything but he does grok test marketing.

He created himself in the gossip pages of the New York tabloids, where celebrity is manufactured by planting

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He’s a country boy at heart

Jul 6th, 2018 4:48 pm | By

Trump is going to steer around the whole protest problem by…avoiding London.

He will hold talks with Prime Minister Theresa May at her 16th-century manor house, meet Queen Elizabeth at Windsor Castle and attend a black-tie dinner at the home of former World War Two leader Winston Churchill – all outside London.

Well that’s fine, there’s nothing of interest in London after all.

A spokeswoman for May said the British people were looking forward to his visit.

“We are looking forward to making sure the president has a chance to see and experience the UK beyond London and the south east,” she told reporters.

Definitely, because why would anyone with any sense want to go to London? There … Read the rest

If only

Jul 6th, 2018 11:54 am | By


Aw come on. “In America, no one is above the law and common decency”? Really? Then how come so many people get away with being just that for so long? In America lots of people are above the law and common decency, and flourish like the green bay tree. Some of them are eventually brought to justice, but not all. It’s a pretty … Read the rest

To strive for a better relationship

Jul 6th, 2018 6:16 am | By

The delegation of Republican senators went to Russia and made fools of themselves.

Republican lawmakers who went to Russia seeking a thaw in relations received an icy reception from Democrats and Kremlin watchers for spending the Fourth of July in a country that interfered in the U.S. presidential election and continues to deny it.

Members of the delegation set off on their trip late last week promising to be tough with Russian officials ahead of the president’s visit, especially on matters of election interference. But they struck a conciliatory tone once there: The point of their visit, Shelby stressed to the Duma leader, was to “strive for a better relationship” with Moscow, not “accuse Russia of this or

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