Monday, August 31, 2015

Nothing says "bottom tier" like Ohio presidents

The Speaker of the House is mad at the President for dissing one of its long string of forgettable presidents- and for not asking Congress, "May I?" so he could reply, "Hell, no!"
“There is a reason President McKinley’s name has served atop the highest peak in North America for more than 100 years, and that is because it is a testament to his great legacy. McKinley served our country with distinction during the Civil War as a member of the Army. He made a difference for his constituents and his state as a member of the House of Representatives and as Governor of the great state of Ohio. And he led this nation to prosperity and victory in the Spanish-American War as the 25th President of the United States,” Boehner said in a statement Sunday night. “I’m deeply disappointed in this decision.”
The Washington Post reports people have been trying to change the name back to Denali since 1913.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

The NOM Horserace: Week 1

The National Organization for Marriage has issued a number of press release/money begs announcing they have "identified" four Republican presidential candidates who have "emerged from the field" as "champions of marriage.

Since every politics blog worth its salt has some kind of poll operation, we're unveiling the NOM Hate Market. We'll be tracking the Real Clear Politics averaging of all polls and posting how the NOM champions are faring in the overall Trumparty nomination race.

Here, from the RCP averages for August 9-25, is the first standings:

1. Ben Carson
Average Poll Rating: 10.3%
Average Field Ranking: 2

2. Ted Cruz
Average Poll Rating: 7.3%
Average Field Ranking: 5

3. Rick Santorum
Average Poll Rating: 1%
Average Field Ranking: 13

1. Bobby Jindal
Average Poll Rating: 0.5%
Average Field Ranking: 14

Average Poll Rating of the Marriage Champions as a group: 4.77%

Enter, if you dare

                All are welcome...who believe exactly as we do, and don't welcome the same sorts.

From an instructive article in The Guardian:
Christianity no longer asserts a dominant influence in American society; instead, American Christianity is now heavily influenced by popular, secular culture. Much of that is benign: pop culture has influenced religious music and opened up the church to new ways of worshipping, as exemplified by Christian Hip Hop artist LeCrae and Christian Rock band Gungor. But other adaptations are more likely harming Christianity’s once-broad influence. One of the biggest threats now is the effect of external political considerations on various faith communities, the result of religious conservatives who allegedly promote a return to “traditional Christian values.” Unfortunately, many of those same, prominent individuals – leaders like Franklin Graham, who recently suggested that the American government block Muslims from entering the country -encourage fellow Christians to use our faith to justify “take our country back” politics linked to the right wing – code for let’s move as far away from Christ’s teachings of love your neighbor as possible. 
As the more politically conservative segments of various American churches have moved away from the teachings of Christ – caring for the poor, justice for the disenfranchised, love and grace – and politicized the faith in order to maintain a status quo that is distinctively racist, sexist and classist, Christianity has essentially repelled many people who it might have influenced a century ago. American Christianity, in many cases, is now either comfortable in the role of oppressor, a laughingstock or impotent to promote the true and good work of the gospel. 
Sadly, Christianity and many of its American adherents are floundering and gasping for air in a sea of irrelevance, held down by the weight of our own arrogance and our indifference to non-believers. If we don’t return to the foundations of Christ’s teaching by being more actively and compassionately involved in serving those in need, if we don’t get back to being the vessel through which others in society experience God’s amazing love and grace by risking our reputations on behalf of those who are suffering and those who have been disenfranchised by injustice, we will drown in that sea with – dare I say it – God’s permission.

Now, on to what "is" is

From an interesting article on the collision of strict gender roles, moral strictures and demographics among Mormons and orthodox Jews, a nugget for good news for Bill Clinton's long-term legacy rehab project:
“At BYU, a lot of Mormons my age don’t consider oral sex to be sex,” said Wheelwright.

It's not about marriage equality, it's about- wait, I need to stop and see her to remind my why I'm doing this

Casey County's Clerk, Casey Davis, no relation to Kim, is riding a bike four-hundred miles this week. On Saturday he rode into Lexington, traveling on Route 60 and was greeted by a large crowd of supporters.
Davis said he's riding to let people know that Kim Davis is innocent and about to go to jail or be fined for being a Christian and exercising her First Amendment rights. Both county clerks have refused to issue any marriage licenses since the supreme court ruling legalizing same sex marriage back in June.
Davis said his first stop Friday morning was in Morehead, where he visited Kim Davis, reminding him of the reason behind his ride.
Davis said his bike ride has nothing to do with same sex marriage, it instead it has everything to do with a woman who could be found in contempt of court, who he said is innocent and he said has done nothing wrong.

Forget the Iran Deal. Screw North Korea. The Sons of Confederate Veterans want nukes.

After the University of Texas removed a bust of Jefferson Davis to a museum, the inevitable backlash:
The Sons of Confederate Veterans promised to keep fighting the issue. 
“What has happened was a cultural atrocity — this is a discretion of art,” said Kirk Lyons, the lawyer for the Sons of Confederate Veterans. 
Lyons compared Sunday to Pearl Harbor, saying the Sons of Confederate Veterans had lost a battle but not the war. 
“Hiroshima is coming,” Lyons said. “Greg Fenves will rue the day.”

Inside the politicovangelical police state

This weekend, Trumparty candidates proposed barcoding humans and building a wall to keep Canada out. North Dakota cops can now used armed drones to spy on residents.

Hackers wanna take over your car. Police wanna stop it remotely. Allstate wants to make money off it.

A patent issued in August to Allstate mentions using sensors and cameras to record “potential sources of driver distraction within the vehicle (e.g. pets, phone usage, unsecured objects in vehicle).” It also mentions gathering information on the number and types of passengers — whether adults, children or teenagers.
And the insurer isn’t just interested in the motoring habits of its own policyholders.
Underscoring companies’ interest in collecting and analyzing information on you, also known as big data, the patent also envisions gathering information on nearby cars so it can compare its policyholder’s habits to other motorists in the area. The patent, called “traffic-based driving analysis,” is for a server that will receive driving behavior data from sensors, cameras and other devices.
“So my car spies on me and on other drivers near me?” Bob Hunter, insurance director for the Consumer Federation of America and a former Texas insurance commissioner, said after reviewing the patent. “Even if I give permission for this intrusive technology, my car spies on unsuspecting passengers and even on unsuspecting pedestrians or cars passing by?”
Hunter wondered about the “liability for that intrusiveness” as well as the potential to pick up such sensitive data as ATM PINs. It’s “the invasion of the spy car,” he said.
Allstate said it filed the new patent a few years ago. Company spokeswoman Laura Strykowski said the “technology would provide drivers with broader information about traffic conditions and external factors that could better equip them to drive safe.”
It’s at least the second patent in recent months that the insurer has been issued related to connected cars. In June, Allstate received a patent for a driving-behavior database it said might be useful for health insurers, lenders, credit-rating agencies, marketers and potential employers. That patent also said the invention has the potential to evaluate such physiological data as heart rate, blood pressure and electrocardiogram signals that could be recorded from steering-wheel sensors.
In May, Allstate floated the idea of possibly selling policyholders’ driving data, and in doing so held up Google as Exhibit A. “There are a lot of people monetizing data today,” Allstate Chief Executive Tom Wilson said at a conference.

Read more here:

Immigration: A Trumparty Cheat Sheet

Friday, August 28, 2015

Cue the gofundme account.

Having announced they would unleash "limitless" numbers of missionaries, the Southern Baptist leadership says it has run out of their homes to sell off:
Overall, the agency spent about $210 million more than it brought in over the past 6 years, IMB leaders said. 
Platt, who became the IMB's president a year ago, told reporters that he didn’t want to question the decisions made by past IMB leaders. The property sales have helped IMB missionaries spread the gospel, he said. 
But the agency was running out of properties to sell. And relying on sales, along with drawing down reserves, was not a sustainable strategy.

Standup conspiracy comic seeks audience

Bryan Fischer is a mouth-foamer who uses The American Family Association  as his platform for 24.7 antigay crazy:
Why would Obama suddenly bring the hammer down on homosexual prostitution? 
Maybe, in the wake of the Ashley Madison hack, he wants to get all the client information from this website in federal custody to protect the identities of his political and social friends who may be customers.Or Obama believes, with homosexuality being the flavor of the year in the world of sexual abnormality, this is the moment to haul homosexual prostitutes into court and get some federal judge somewhere to rule that prostitution cannot be made illegal under the United States Constitution.With no prayer of getting a bill legalizing prostitution through Congress, his best hope is the court system. 
And his best chance to get the favorable ruling he wants, given the current cultural zeitgeist, is if the defendants in courts are homosexual prostitutes rather than heterosexual ones. What politically correct judge today would dare to rule against the sin of sodomy anywhere at anytime?In other words, Obama is pursuing this action not because he wants to punish homosexual prostitutes but because he wants the Supreme Court to exonerate them. 
Obama knows that this action will be challenged in court, and that when the appeal makes it to the Supreme Court, he can count on the Court’s five homosexual activists to rule that laws against money for sex are antiquated, outmoded, and so 18th century. 

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Defying gravity, The Donald's way

Nate Silver:

What’s interesting is how Trump seemed to go out of his way after the debate to ensure that he’d remain the center of attention, with his tirade against Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly (a feud that he’s since resurrected). That tended to drown out most of the coverage of whether, say, Fiorina or Kasich had gained momentum after the debate, perhaps preventing them from having the sort of feedback loop of favorable attention that can sometimes trigger surges in the polls.
I don’t know whether this was a deliberate strategy on Trump’s behalf. But if so, it’s pretty brilliant. Trump is perhaps the world’s greatest troll, someone who is amazingly skilled at disrupting the conversation by any means necessary, including by drawing negative, tsk-tsking attention to himself. In the current, “free-for-all” phase of the campaign — when there are 17 candidates and you need only 20 percent or so of the vote to have the plurality in GOP polls — this may be a smart approach. If your goal is to stay at the center of attention rather than necessarily to win the nomination, it’s worth making one friend for every three enemies, provided that those friends tell some pollster that they’d hypothetically vote for you.
Is it sustainable? In the long run, probably not. There are lots of interesting candidates in the GOP field, whether you’re concerned with the horse race, their policy positions or simply just entertainment value. Sooner or later, the media will find another candidate’s story interesting. Cruz has a lot of upside potential in the troll department, for instance, along with better favorability ratings than Trump and a slightly more plausible chance of being the Republican nominee.
But there’s not a lot of hard campaign news to dissect in August. Fend off the occasional threat by throwing a stink bomb whenever another story risks upstaging you, and you can remain at the center of the conversation, and atop the polls, for weeks at a time.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Burr, under the saddle

Opposition press release:

With his own poll numbers in the basement, Richard Burr has tried a new strategy – embrace the GOP Presidential frontrunner Donald Trump. Burr had this to say about The Donald to WNCN:
I think Donald Trump has brought a level of passion to running for office that I’m delighted to see.  He’s approached a majority of the issues in a more common sense way that a majority of Americans can associate with.

Only if they're still married next November...

Making the social media rounds:

Sex site servicing incurable itch gets scratched

The website has been raided by federal agents as part of a prostitution and mony-laundering investigation, New York media reports.

Seven people were arrested at the company's offices and the company's website has been shut down.

Where does that name ring a bell?

In 2010 was where Dr George A. Rekers, then on the faculty of the University of South Carolina medical school, found a personal, male masseuse to accompany Rekers- who was married- on a solo European holiday.

Rekers, who built his professional name in the anti-gay reparative therapy movement, and was a popular and highly paid expert witness in litigation over Boy Scout policies and state bans on same-sex couples' adoptions, said he had a bad back.

But when he was photographed in the Miami airport, schlepping bags for himself and the rentboy, the truth spurted out. Rekers resigned his posts with USC and various antigay and reparative therapy groups he was a member of and promised litigation to clear his name.

Kristol, but never clear.

The man who championed Sarah Palin is playing Svengali again:

Who could such a mysterious dark horse be? Well, it's not as if every well-qualified contender is already on the field. Mitch Daniels was probably the most successful Republican governor of recent times, with federal executive experience to boot. Paul Ryan is the intellectual leader of Republicans in the House of Representatives, with national campaign experience. The House also features young but tested leaders like Jim Jordan, Trey Gowdy and Mike Pompeo. There is the leading elected representative of the 9/11 generation who has also been a very impressive freshman senator, Tom Cotton. There could be a saner and sounder version of Trump—another businessman who hasn't held electoral office. And there are distinguished conservative leaders from outside politics; Justice Samuel Alito and General (ret.) Jack Keane come to mind. 

Raiding the Supreme Court: The Republican's Hundred-Year Itch

To come: every decade, another one running for president

From an appreciation of Daniel Patrick Moynihan, this snapshot of American monarchism:

Instructive though the surrounding Moynihan literature is, it’s better to read Moynihan himself. He really could write. One place to start is Daniel Patrick Moynihan: A Portrait in Letters of an American Visionary. Published in 2010, it began the trickle of interest that now amounts to a full-scale Moynihan revival. It’s most profitably read in snatches—a thumbnail sketch of George HW Bush and his wife, Barbara, arriving to greet him at the Beijing airport in 1975, “she in mink; he in tennis glow. They are quintessential gentle folk, who have lived most of their lives in oil fields, political conventions, and now Red China; a triumph of good manners and good digestion...”

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Inside The Donald's teeming id

In a remarkable foreshadowing of his current campaign, The New York Times profiled The Donald's 2011 flirtation with the race:

During a lengthy conversation in his 61st-floor suite at the Trump International Hotel in Las Vegas, amid the Trump-branded room service menus and bottles of Trump Ice water, Mr. Trump provided ample fodder for supporters and skeptics — waxing about foreign policy and his TV ratings, displaying a detailed understanding of the political landscape and a curious insensitivity toward potential voters.
At one point, he compared his opposition to the legalization of same-sex marriage to his reluctance to use a new kind of putter.
“It’s like in golf,” he said. “A lot of people — I don’t want this to sound trivial — but a lot of people are switching to these really long putters, very unattractive,” said Mr. Trump, a Republican. “It’s weird. You see these great players with these really long putters, because they can’t sink three-footers anymore. And, I hate it. I am a traditionalist. I have so many fabulous friends who happen to be gay, but I am a traditionalist.”
He said that, should he run, he would offer himself as a “conservative with a big heart.”

Saturday, August 22, 2015

"Not a single CEO has expressed concern to me about money laundering for drug cartels and terrorists."

While SC Governor Nikki Haley bloviates about a proposed transfer of Gitmo detainees to the Charleston Navy Brig, under her nose close to a billion dollars a year is getting wired to their paymasters.

"Now Eastern Europe, they do send their best..."

Bill Maher revs his chainsaw:
“Nobody brings this up about Donald Trump, who is always on about, ‘We can’t have foreigners coming into this country!’” said Maher. “His first wife is from Czechoslovakia. His current wife is from Slovenia. So, if you think crawling under a wall is the most disgusting way to become an American, somewhere there is a Panamanian woman hiding in a truck full of chickens with ten pounds of heroin-filled condoms in her stomach who’s thinking, ‘Well, at least I didn’t have to blow Donald Trump.’”

'Will there be an offering? Yes, but only for the campaign."

Ted Cruz is clearly aiming to be The Donald Alternative Who Believes in God, and who believes he who serves God best gay-bashes most.
In an Iowa rally for Cruz yesterday, Aaron and Melissa Klein of Sweet Cakes by Melissa and Stand with Barronelle Stutzman were among nearly a complete set of the American Antigay Martyrs of America. Only The O'Connors of Memories Pizza- the founders of the movement; Jack Phillips, the martyr-baker of Colorado,and Kim Davis, the hereditary county clerk of Kentucky, were absent. The eight proved themselves more than happy to trade their previously-occupied, mostly moral high ground of adherence to religious belief for an evening's wallow in the mud with Cruz, and another media fix.
It's hard to see how any of these people have been hurt by their personal crusades to keep "them" from darkening their otherwise open-to-all businesses. Before they found fame and profit defaming others, all were obscure business owners and small-time governmental functionaries. Now they have book deals, and make media appearances, and are romanced by presidential candidates. Hundreds of political and religious websites obligingly pass around the same stories about them month after month.
And they make money! The O'Connors snarfled up nearly $850,000. The Kleins have raked in over $500,000; Barronnelle Stutzman, a quarter mil. Dick and Betty Odegaard- Cruz's pets- closed their wedding chapel after banning same-sex marriages cost them so many traditional wedding clients they couldn't make the rent. They are now set up comfortably in the antigay roadside billboard business.
If there is good to be found in Cruz's carny act, it is that it is just a sideshow. For all his brilliance, his arguments before the Supreme Court, his clerkship for Chief Justice Rehnquist, Cruz and his ilk got outlawyered all the way up the line in the decades-long marriage equality fight. He is the personification of Orwell's definition of the critic: a railway crossing gong, clanging noisily and ineffectively as the train rushes past.
And his stageful of martyrs? All they want to know is, where's the next event, and who do they split the pot?

Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain

Faced by a $743 million tab for repairing neglected infrastructure, the mayor of Jackson, Mississippi does the only thing one can in a state that beggars itself:

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Friday, August 21, 2015

The Donald: "I'm a big believer in the Bible."

"What can I say? I believe what I believe. But, I mean, c'mon, the guy was the greatest marketer of ideas in history! Who wouldn't believe he was on to something? And lemme tell ya, churches, they drive hard bargains. I've had to push hard to get my way when they wouldn't sell me the air rights for a condo tower. Not even after I offered them some free brownfields land as a relo site in Camden! It's like they were willing to be thrown to the lions over a postage-stamp lot on the East Side, lower 40s. Not even the best neighborhood, nothing they had to offer like what I could bring to the table. And speaking of lions, that's why my boy hunts them. I tell him, shoot or be thrown to 'em. Santorum is a weakling. He worries about men and dogs. I' ve been in there with the big game all my life. And you see all the stories in the Bible? The lions always lose to the stand-up guy. So, yeah, the Old Testament, David had how many wives? Way more than I've had. And I've never arranged to have any guys killed to get their wives, either. No binders full of women for me. I can just call one of my concierges and get a sampler plate sent up."

Palmetto Pride

From a long, entertaining Matt Taibbi article on the Trumparty primary race, a participation trophy for The Bachelor:
...In late July, in a cramped conference room of a Marriott in West Des Moines, Graham showed up to introduce himself to voters. In person, he's an odd character, like an oversize ventriloquist's dummy, with too-bright eyes and cheeks frozen in a half-grin. 
He calls his event a "No Nukes for Iran" rally. Clearly gunning for a Cabinet post in Defense or Homeland Security, Graham is running almost a one-issue race, campaigning on being the candidate who most thinks Barack Obama's Iran deal sucks. 
Of course, all 17 of the Republican candidates think Obama's Iran deal sucks, but Graham wants you to know he really thinks it sucks. Part of his stump speech is ripped straight from Team America: He thinks the Iran deal will result in "9/11 times a hundred." Actually in Graham's version, it's 9/11 times a thousand. 
"The only reason 3,000 of us died on 9/11 and not 3 million," he said, "is they could not get the weapons." 
Graham would seem to be perfectly suited for this Twitter-driven race, because he has a reputation in Washington for being a master of the one-liner and a goofball with boundaries issues who not infrequently crosses lines in his humor. "Did you see Nancy Pelosi on the floor?" he reportedly once quipped. "Complete disgust. If you can get through the surgeries, it's disgust." 
But in person, Graham is a dud. His nasal voice and dry presentation make Alan Greenspan seem like Marilyn Manson. Still, it doesn't take too long for him to drift into rhetoric that in a normal political season would distinguish him as an unhinged lunatic, which is interesting because pundits usually call Graham one of the "sane" candidates. 
First, he firmly promised to re-litigate the Iraq War. "I'm gonna send some soldiers back to Iraq," he said. "If I'm president, we're going back to Iraq." 
Promising concretely to restart a historically unpopular war is a solid Trump-era provocation, but Graham then took it a step further. He pledged to solve the Syria problem by channeling Lawrence of Arabia and leading an Arab army in an epic campaign to unseat the caliphate. 
Graham, a politician who reportedly once said that "everything that starts with 'al-' in the Middle East is bad news," insisted he was just the man to unite the Saudis, Egyptians, Jordanians, Turks and other peoples in battle, and also get them to pay for the invasion (getting dirty foreigners to pay for our policies is another Trump innovation). "We're going into Syria with the Arabs in the lead," Graham said. "They will do most of the fighting, and they're gonna pay for it because we paid for the last two." 
I looked around the room. No reaction whatsoever. An old man in the rear of the hall was picking a cuticle off his middle finger, but otherwise, nobody moved. There were reporters, but Graham's hawkish bleatings don't rate much in an America obsessed with Caitlyn and Rachel Dolezal and the Donald.

Read more:

Family values requires being a whiz at math

Josh Duggar, the oldest of 19 children, made the rounds Friday at a central Missouri rally for Santorum after previously doing the same in Iowa, Oklahoma, Georgia and many places in between. “Our family is like the epitome of conservative values,” Duggar said. “People connect to us in that way.” [AP, 3/17/12] 
Including having your wife on call- except, of course, when she's on the bench:
If Anna has been adhering to her mother-in-law Michelle's top marriage tip, she will have said 'yes' to sex whenever her husband has wished to have it - regardless of how tired she may have been. 
'Be available. Anyone can fix him lunch, but only one person can meet that physical need of love that he has,' Michelle, 49, told TODAY Moms in an interview last year, citing a friend's advice. 
'You always need to be available when he calls.' 
Both Michelle and Jim Bob said the advice has been a 'lifesaver' in their 31-year marriage.  
However, the couple added that there are times when they have chosen to abstain from sex. 
They did not get intimate in the 80 days after Michelle gave birth to each of her nine daughters. And they abstained from sex for 40 days following each of their 10 sons' deliveries, it is reported. 
The parents of 19 also do not engage in sexual activity when Michelle is on her period.  
These sex-less stretches, which are 'loosely based on Old Testament traditions', are beneficial to Michelle and Jim Bob's marriage and make them 'look forward to [sex] even more', Michelle said. 
So, if Anna and Josh have been following the couple's advice, they will have abstained from sex for 80 days in 2009 after the birth of their daughter, Mackynzie Renée, and for two 40-day periods following the deliveries of their sons, Michael James and Marcus Anthony, in 2011 and 2013. 
They will also be currently abstaining from a physical relationship after welcoming their fourth child, Meredith Grace, into the world on July 19, amid controversy over Josh's molestation scandal. 
Data released by the hackers allegedly lists Josh's full name and address and says he was looking for 'conventional sex, experimenting with sex toys, one-night stands, sharing fantasies, sex talk'.  
One of the father of four's accounts was reportedly closed around the same time that it was first reported that he had molested four of his nine sisters - and a babysitter - as a teenager. 

Like the Bourbons, she remembers all but learns nothing

Only a few months into the campaign and already the She-Clinton is showing she has learned nothing from her three previous presidential campaigns. The cheeseparing answers, the listening tours, the scripted spontaneity- all that's left is the return of The Cackle.

Elizabeth Drew, who has been covering presidential races for forty years, sums up the state of play here:

But Clinton is now facing an unpredictable and volatile situation. The email issue metastasizes by the day and an ordinary citizen could be in serious legal jeopardy over the kind of careless handling of classified material that Clinton apparently engaged in. It’s now known that someone attempted to wipe the server before it was turned over to the FBI. Clinton’s efforts to brush aside the criticism of her failure to adequately protect her official emails as partisan politics—when the matter is being investigated by the FBI, the Justice Department, and the Inspector General of the intelligence community, all obviously part of the Obama administration—and her strained and obviously false claim that she turned over her emails to the State Department “out of an abundance of an attempt to be helpful” have only worsened her situation. People in her own campaign as well as within the Obama White House have been telling reporters that they’re appalled by her carelessness with sensitive government messages and the way she has dealt with what, through her own doing, has become a crisis for her campaign.
I don’t think she would be subjected to the same intensity of scrutiny and criticism over this issue if it weren’t a reminder for how she had behaved in the Clinton White House—resisting investigators’ demands for documents. The episode also raised concerns that no one around her had persuaded her—if they tried to—of the riskiness of the course she took with the private server. Clinton maintains that what she did with the server was legal—but that’s now in question. (A majority of respondents has for some time been saying that they don’t think Clinton is trustworthy.) The point is that by using her own private server—which was recently disclosed to have ended up being stored in a bathroom closet in a Denver condo owned by an official of the small company whom she entrusted with her and the nation’s secrets—she had rendered them vulnerable to hackers. It will be a while before Joe Biden discloses whether he will enter the race, but Hillary Clinton’s mounting problems must make it all the more tempting to do so.

It all turns out badly.

Economist Noah Smith considers what happens when people start crossing their politics with their science: 
Basically, I think societies where scientists obey this norm will generally be more effective - whatever their goals - then societies that don't. For example, suppose there are two societies, Raccoonia and Wombatistan, and both are suffering from lots of bacterial diseases. Both countries generally subscribe to a religion that says that invisible gnomes cause disease. But Raccoonia is committed to the norm of science that I described above, while in Wombatistan people think that politics and science should be mixed. In Raccoonia, scientists put aside their religion and discover that antibiotics fight bacterial disease, while in Wombatistan, scientists publish papers calling the Racconian papers into doubt, and arguing for gnome-based theories. Raccoonia will discover the truth more quickly and manage to save a lot of its people. 
WAIT!, you say. Isn't the goal of stopping disease itself a political goal? Well, sure. There's a clear division of labor here: The politicians tell the scientists a goal ("Find the cause of disease!"), and the scientists pursue the goal (actually, the scientists could even assignthemselves the goal for political reasons, then try to disregard politics while pursuing it, and they'd still be following my norm). When the scientists go into a "science mode" in which they disregard all political considerations, they are more effective in reaching the goal. 
This norm I'm suggesting won't solve all of society's problems, obviously, because that depends on what you think is a problem. If you have bad politics - for example, if you think disease is a just punishment for sins and shouldn't be cured - then all the scientific discoveries in the world won't help you much (I think the Soviets kind of demonstrated this). But whatever your goals, following my norm of science will make you more effective in accomplishing them.

Why media hound Josh Duggar is a special case in a shameful episode

There will be little enough sanity as the Ashley Madison data dumps get thoroughly parsed. If you think it's bad that there are companies that post jail photos and then charge to take them down, just wait until the new forms of blackmail this mass exposure will engender get up and running. Chris Hayes and Dan Savage discuss in this clip, there is a place for some public discussion of the venal, cynical Josh Duggars of the world- the people who make a good living holding themselves up as role models, who denigrate others, and others' relationships, for media attention, and who believe God looks the other way when they clock out and go do what they denounce:

Probably just seeing what Senator Vitter's up to these days.

The executive director of the Louisiana GOP spent $176 on Ashley Madison, a website for people seeking affairs, but he says he wasn’t using it to cheat.

Jason Doré acknowledged that his name is on the list released by hackers this week, according to The Times-Picayune. But he said he used the account strictly for “opposition research.”

Read more:

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Audace, audace, toujours l'audace! Their crowdfunding stuck for two weeks, the Sweet Cakes grifters pull a promo stunt for a film company.

Melissa Klein, the Oregon baker who refused to create a cake for a same-sex wedding and was fined $135,000, has baked 10 cakes to send to 10 top gay organizations throughout the United States. 
"The idea of sending cakes was suggested to me by a Los Angeles filmmaker, as a gesture of love for homosexuals," Klein said. "My husband and I have been vilified as being hateful, but we don't hate anyone, let alone gay people." 
"Ray Comfort produced an award-winning film that epitomizes our attitude toward the LGBT community—that Christians are not their enemy," Klein continued. "After seeing it, I wanted to send a copy of Audacity to gay organizations and ask them to watch it." 
Comfort, whose movies have been seen by millions, said, "When I saw that Melissa Klein and her husband, Aaron, had been fined $135,000 for not baking a cake for a lesbian wedding, I wanted to say something important in their defense. Like Melissa, I want the LGBT community to know that we are not their enemy."
The Kleins' crowdfunding beg, at Continue to, was stuck at 266% of the $150,000 they want to not pay their $135,000 judgment for deliberate infliction of emotional distress on a lesbian couple with. Today, they reached 267%. With their previous haul, they have made $509,500, plus whatever Franklin Graham's secret Samaritan's Purse campaign has gotten for them. They continue to claim they cannot afford to pay the judgment and fear a lien being put on their home for nonpayment with all that money.

Their advocates continue to say they are out of business, too.