Enter your email address to subscribe to Irregular Times and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 658 other subscribers

Irregular Times Newsletters

Click here to subscribe to any or all of our six topical e-mail newsletters:
  1. Social Movement Actions,
  2. Credulity and Faith,
  3. Election News,
  4. This Week in Congress,
  5. Tech Dispatch and
  6. our latest Political Stickers and Such

Contact Us

We can be contacted via retorts@irregulartimes.com

Mike Huckabee Is Talking Trash Against Women

Mike Huckabee, an unemployed former politician, thinks he should be the next President of the United States. How is an out-of-work guy like Huckabee going to gain enough support to get elected to the White House?

mike huckabee trashyHis plan is simple: Tear other people down. Specifically, Mike Huckabee is launching verbal attacks against women. Huckabee’s campaign strategy is to shame women into silence, to make them feel small so that he can look bigger.

Mike Huckabee’s latest slur is against Northern women. He doesn’t like the way they talk.

Specifically, Huckabee accuses women in the North of saying the word “fuck” too much. “For a woman to say them in a professional setting, we would only assume that this is a very – as we would say in the South, that’s just trashy,” he told a radio show host this morning.

I’ve worked with a good number of women in many different Northern cities, but I can’t recall any office where the women were in the habit of using the word “fuck” on a regular basis. I have to wonder what kind of professional experience Mike Huckabee was having, to hear the word so much – if he really did.

Whether women in the northern United States really say the word “fuck” a lot at work, the way that Mike Huckabee targets women’s language in particular is concerning. He accuses women in the North of being “trashy”, but he doesn’t have any specific insults to hurl against men.

Mike Huckabee seems most outraged at the simple idea that women would have the freedom to use the same kinds of words as men. When men say “fuck”, he shrugs. When women say “fuck”, Mike Huckabee loses self control and throws a fit.

The big problem isn’t what women say. The big problem is that Mike Huckabee thinks that he has the legitimate authority to tell women what they can and cannot say.

Five House Democrats Help Republicans Chain America To Outdated Energy Technology

In the 20th century, America discovered how to harness the power of fossil fuels. It was a powerful source of energy – for its time. That was generations ago, however, and America’s energy needs have changed.

Coal, methane, and crude oil don’t meet our century’s need for sustainable, clean, advanced sources of energy. Yet, the Republican Party, financed by the fossilized fossil fuel industry, is seeking to hold back America’s transition to advanced forms of energy. They’re seeking to chain our country to last century’s outdated energy technologies.

Yesterday, the Republican-dominated House of Representatives voted to approve a bill to rush approval of applications to export liquid methane, one of the most potent greenhouse gases there is. The accelerated export of this fossil fuel will increase both methane leaks and carbon dioxide emissions, amplifying the damage caused by climate change.

That this bill would be passed by Congress just weeks after the end of the hottest year in all of recorded history is an outrage.

Republican Party Energy Policy

The promotion of dirty, outdated energy technologies through legislation such as this is not just a Republican problem, however. The bill was passed yesterday with the help of 5 Democrats: John Delaney, Gene Green, David Scott, Kyrsten Sinema, and Filemon Vela. Their turn into the camp of climate deniers comes on the heels of the defection of Claire McCaskill, Heidi Heitkamp, and Mark Warner in the U.S. Senate.

It’s bad enough that Republicans are taking action to worsen the climate crisis. That Democratic politicians are helping them to do so is outrageous.

Did Albert Einstein Really Say He Never Discovered Anything Through Rational Thinking?

This morning on Twitter, I saw one of the organizations I follow quoting Albert Einstein as saying, “I never made one of my discoveries through the process of rational thinking.”

It seems a clever idea, that the world’s most famous physicist, well-known for his careful thinking, would contradict expectations and announce to the world that he never discovered anything by thinking rationally. But then, the categorical nature of the statement seems too strong. Would Albert Einstein, who deeply considered how to express his ideas, really say that he never-ever-ever made any discovery through the process of rational thinking?

albert einstein fake quotesIt seemed implausible to me, and so I decided to check it out. I searched for the quote in the Digital Einstein collection from Princeton. I searched online any instance of the quote with a specific cited source. I could find none.

I did find Einstein writing in a letter in 1919 that “No rational person can doubt the validity of my theory any more.” Other than that, Einstein isn’t translated as having used the word “rational” or “rationality” very much at all.

Google Books places the quote in a great number of books published in the 21st century, but not in any books published before 1990. The earliest source of this supposed Einstein quote is a book called The Quotable Einstein, edited together by Alice Calaprice in 1996. However, the quote is conspicuously missing from an updated version, The New Quotable Einstein, also edited by Calaprice and published in 2005.

In 1918, at the Physical Society of Berlin, Einstein did say, during an address celebrating the 80th birthday of Max Planck, “The supreme task of the physicist is to arrive at those universal elementary laws from which the cosmos can be built up by pure deduction. There is no logical path to these laws. Only intuition, resting on sympathetic understanding of experience, can reach them.”

This passage sounds something like the attributed quote, “I never made one of my discoveries through the process of rational thinking,” but it’s not so absolute. In his 1918 address Einstein is only saying that there is one category of ideas in physics that cannot be reached by pure deduction. He isn’t completely discounting the role of logic and rationality in the process of discovery. Einstein’s point is that observation of the actual universe, combined with insight, is an essential part of physics. Pure philosophical reasoning isn’t sufficient, and neither is observation on its own.

It seems that we can put these words about “the process of rational thinking” into the growing pile of fake Einstein quotes, including the inspiring but non-Einstein advice that “There are two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle,” and the warning, actually made after the fact, that “I fear the day that technology will surpass our human interaction. The world will have a generation of idiots.”

New York City Blasted By 152 Millimeters of Snow!

snowmaggeddon2015It was truly an historic snowstorm that hit New York City yesterday. Never before has the metropolis received so much snow on January 27, 2015.

Governor Andrew Cuomo instituted a state of emergency, forbidding people to travel in huge areas of New York State, and forecasters predicted up to 3 feet of snow. What actually happened was shocking:

152

millimeters of snow fell on New York City!

What are they going to do with all of that snow? It’s not as if it’s just going to melt away and disappear on its own!

New Yorkers are famously tough, but how can they possibly handle this?

Jim Webb For President Struggling To Gain Jim Webb’s Support

jim webb not newsThere’s always a sense of energy that comes when the first official presidential campaign from one of the two dominant political parties shoots out of the gate. There’s a difference however, between a sense of energy and actual energy.

It’s been months since Jim Webb set up the first exploratory committee of any Democratic 2016 presidential candidate, and since that time… not much has happened.

– The last “news” out of Jim Webb’s web site came in the middle of November last year.

– Jim Webb’s last campaign Facebook post was a week ago, thanking a few people for showing up to talk with him on Twitter. “Thank you to everyone who joined us on Twitter this evening.”

– Everyone who joined Webb on Twitter? During that Twitter conversation, Jim Webb received only two retweets, from his 25 tweets.

– Much of what Jim Webb tweeted about was the wisdom he had shown during his own featured State Of The Union response… eight years ago.

– The most recent of the “articles by Jim” on Jim Webb’s site was written in the early spring of 2013.

– The last of the “op-eds by Jim” on the site appeared in the summer of 2012.

Before Jim Webb can gain the votes of anyone else, he needs to make sure that his campaign actually has support… from himself.

Where Congressional Legislation Lies, January 2015

Number of bills before the 114th Congress to let military chaplains proselytize troops: 1

Number of bills mentioning “military waste“: 0

Number of bills to give zygotes legal rights at conception: 1

Number of bills to rescue frozen “snowflake babies” or prosecute in vitro facilities for child abuse: 0

Number of bills celebrating Pope Francis: 2

Number of bills condemning Pope Francis for declaring people that who insult religion should be assaulted: 0

Ben Carson Warns That Christian Bakers Are Likely To Poison LGBT Wedding Cakes

How can a man who has never been elected to public office gain enough political support to be elected President of the United States? Apparently, Ben Carson has decided that his rise to the Oval Office will be achieved using the power of outrageous statements to audiences filled with people who are ready to hate.

When asked about the attempts of GLBT Americans to gain equal marriage rights, Carson warned that it wouldn’t be wise for them to try to buy wedding cakes, because Christian bakers would be likely to add poison to the recipe in order to murder the loving couples.

Carson warned that demanding equality would be likely to result in violence: “They can go right down the street and buy a cake, but no, let’s bring a suit against this person because I want them to make my cake even though they don’t believe in it. Which is really not all that smart because they might put poison in that cake,” he said.

In response, Ben Carson’s employees, standing off stage, laughed. They thought the idea of poisoning gay and lesbian couples was funny.

Rick Santorum vs. Science – Who Wins?

Rick Santorum is running for President again, using old talking points from the last century. Santorum is claiming that climate change is a “hoax”, though he has never been able to point to any specific evidence of the supposed hoax.

Now, Santorum is saying that, even if climate change is real, there’s no point of doing anything about it, “given the world”. Given the world? These are Santorum’s own words, so let’s put them in the context of his larger statement, so that you can try to figure out what he means. “Even the folks who accept all of the science by the alarmists on the other side recognize that everything that’s being considered by the United States will have will have zero impact on it given the world,” Santorum told Michael Smerconish on CNN. “Why would you do something with people admitting that even if you do something, it won’t make a difference?”

The phrase “given the world” is just too vague to make sense of, but we can address Rick Santorum’s larger point, which is that even scientists say that climate change is on too much of a runaway course to do anything about any more. (As an aside, I have to wonder: If Rick Santorum really believes that climate change is now so powerful that it can no longer be controlled, why would he call scientists who are urging action "alarmists"?)

rick santorum makes up factsThe thing is, even though climate change has accelerated dramatically because of the delays demanded by right wing politicians like Rick Santorum, the large body of scientists at the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change do not say what Rick Santorum says they say. The IPCC’s 2014 summary of climate change science for policymakers clearly states that it’s not at all too late to reduce the impact of climate change. The report summary states, “Substantial emissions reductions over the next few decades can reduce climate risks in the 21st century and beyond, increase prospects for effective adaptation, reduce the costs and challenges of mitigation in the longer term, and contribute to climate-resilient pathways for sustainable development,” and that “There are multiple mitigation pathways that are likely to limit warming to below 2°C relative to pre- industrial levels.”

The report concludes, however, that delays in mitigation efforts, such as those that Rick Santorum insists upon, will make adaptation and mitigation efforts in the future both less successful and more expensive.

Rick Santorum is not only lying about what climate science has to say about the opportunities for action to diminish the impact on climate change. Santorum is also, through his deception, increasing the burden that must be carried by generations into the future.

Why would anyone want to support the presidential campaign of such an irresponsible politician? Rick Santorum is betting that his anti-science crusade will win him the support of a substantial bloc of Americans who resent education. Whether he can win the presidency with such a strategy has yet to be seen, but what’s certain is that if Rick Santorum keeps spreading falsehoods about climate change, we’re all going to lose.

1787 for America winds down toward Oblivion

The nascent political party 1787 for America introduced itself in 2013 by promising it would provide an arena for populist, bottom-up participation in the choosing of the next President of the United States.  Choose whomever you like — let the people decide, declared 1787 for America.  But as with the billionaire-funded group Americans Elect, these promises were quickly followed with bylaws stipulating that an elite governing board would call most of the shots and could influence party procedure.  Meanwhile, the idea of letting the people decide was quickly supplanted by a hyper-detailed platform that declared specific stances on abortion, social security, marijuana, gun laws and more.  Although the bylaws stipulate that all votes by the 1787 for America board of directors must be made openly and its Chairman has indicated that the board has met many times, no record of board meetings or decisions has been made available on the party’s website.

This approach has not led to a groundswell of popular support.  Although 1787 for America solicits financial contributions, it has generated decreasing monetary support, as FEC data show:

1787 for america 2013 to 2014 campaign finance patterns

 

1787 for America is financially quiet.  How has it done on other accounts?

Although 1787 for America had an apparently vigorous Twitter presence, with 6269 counted as followers, the service Twitter Audit estimates that about half of these accounts are “fake” accounts — non-active spam accounts used to create the appearance of popularity.  The 1787 for America Twitter account has not posted since October 17, 2014.

The leadership of 1787 for America show little enthusiasm for the project.  In April of 2014, the Federal Election Commission informed Chairman Emily Matthews that leaders “have failed to file the above refernced report of receipts and disbursemnts or failed to file a report covering the entire reporting period as required by the Federal Election Campaign Act.”  Matthews has failed to respond.

This alternative party continues to feature a red, white and blue website with spiffy videos.  It is otherwise spiraling toward oblivion.

 

Mike Huckabee Reduces Flyover Country To A Caricature

Mike Huckabee is clearly either running for President or desperately seeking attention for himself so that he can negotiate for a higher rate of pay when he returns to work as a TV personality on Fox News. He’s taking jet planes flying on private jets< across America to meet with rich families and corporate executives begging for money to upgrade his political profile.

As part of this vanity campaign, Huckabee is pitching a storyline about America that divides the country into two separate camps: Bubbleville, in Washington D.C., Los Angeles and New York City, and Bubbaville, which he says is everywhere else. If you live in Bubbleville, says Huckabee, you’re an elite who’s out of touch with the real America. If you live anywhere else, in flyover country, you’re a Bubba, one of the authentic Americans who speaks with a drawl, eats fried food, and wears cowboy boots and a lot of plaid.

I’m one of those people who lives in flyover country. I have lived in small towns for most of my life – and when I say small towns, I don’t mean mid-sized cities like Little Rock, Arkansas, where Huckabee made a career out of rubbing shoulders with political and financial elites. I mean villages with populations of under 2,000 – if I was in an incorporated settlement at all.

I can tell you from first hand experience that Mike Huckabee’s characterization of rural America is a load of bullshit.

Presuming to speak for everyone who lives in small town America, Huckabee supposes that we hate the big cities, and live like characters from Hee Haw. “A lot of people who live in the ‘flyover’ land will sometimes say, ‘My gosh, that’s very different than the general prevailing attitude of the land of God, guns, grits and gravy’,” he says.

That last phrase is from the title of his latest book of self-promotion: “God, Guns, Grits and Gravy”.

I live in a small town. I don’t own a gun. I don’t believe in any gods. I know a lot of other small town Americans, and I don’t know any who eat gravy and grits.

I’m not denying that there are some people of the sort that Mike Huckabee describes in his book, but they’re a minority in rural America. We aren’t all white Southerners out here in flyover country.

The fact that Mike Huckabee doesn’t understand that, and is willing to reduce our lives into a cartoon like a L’il Abner comic strip for the sake of his own political career, tells me that Huckabee doesn’t really give a damn about the people who live in flyover country. He’s just trying to use us.

Let’s not forget that Fox News, Mike Huckabee’s boss for the last several years, doesn’t broadcast out of Kansas or Oklahoma. Fox News studios are in Rockefeller Center – in New York City.

One Million Moms: Pour Sugar In Your Kids, But Don’t Talk About Jam

The Christian organization One Million Moms is outraged, because, well, that’s what they do. The group has begun a nationwide campaign against Kellogg’s, demanding that it stop distributing the following advertisement for its new peanut butter and jelly Pop-Tart:

One Million Moms offers the following description of the advertisement: “The animated commercial has a mom pop tart and a dad pop tart admiring their newborn baby pop tart at the hospital nursery when a nurse walks in. The dialogue includes: ‘He so has your peanut butter. Well, he’s got your jelly.’ Then the nurse, while rubbing her hands together ready to devour the baby pop tart, says, ‘Time for a feeding.’ “

So, what’s the problem? It’s not what you might suspect. One Million Moms finds nothing disturbing about the depiction of a nurse preparing to eat a baby alive.

Neither does One Million Moms object to the marketing of a snack that is so packed full of sugars that its repeated consumption could lead to the development of type 2 diabetes. Diabetes is okay for Christian moms, it seems.

Instead, the urgent crisis that has provoked a nationwide campaign by One Million Moms is the utterance of the word “jam” at the very end of the ad. One Million Moms writes in shock, “The parents say, ‘No! Ah, Jam It!’ The advertisement could have ended with ‘No!’ but Kellogg’s chose to include a phrase that sounded just like a curse word.”… Kellogg’s executives apparently don’t care about what children hear as long as it puts money in their pockets. Everyone knows kids repeat what they hear.”

Yes, they’re upset about jam. The word “jam” sounds like “damn”, you see, and everyone knows that children repeat what they hear. Therefore, if Christian moms sit their children down in front of the television for hours on end, watching the same advertisement over and over and over and over again, then their children could start repeating the phrase “jam it”. That’s a problem because, apparently, saying “jam it” could cause children to burn for eternity.

Christian families need to be able to abandon their children to lie on the couch and stare vacantly at the television all day long while eating sugary treats without hearing any words that end in the sound “am”. If that’s not an activist cause you can believe in, what is?