…unlucky for some [DOT 13/7/21]

what's in a date...

…so…I don’t know how many of you are superstitious…but I know supposedly it’s friday the 13th that’s unlucky…only to be honest if it was friday today I’d personally consider that a bit of luck?

Four people were arrested and more than a dozen weapons and hundreds of rounds of ammunition seized at a downtown Denver hotel close to several events planned in conjunction with the Major League Baseball All-Star Game.


…&…I don’t know

Here is perhaps the most important medical and political fact of our time: 99.5 percent of all covid-19-related deaths in the United States occur among unvaccinated people; 0.5 percent of covid deaths occur among vaccinated people. If you tell people not to be vaccinated, you add to the former category.

In this light, the recent outbreak of applause at the Conservative Political Action Conference for the United States’ failure to meet its vaccination target was macabre. Here were political activists — many of whom would call themselves “pro-life” — cheering for the advance of death. How did we get to such a strange, desperate place?

GOP anti-vaxxers are sacrificing citizens’ lives for political gain [WaPo]

…it sure feels like we all need a bit more luck

Eliminating plastic pollution, reducing pesticide use by two-thirds, halving the rate of invasive species introduction and eliminating $500bn (£360bn) of harmful environmental government subsidies a year are among the targets in a new draft of a Paris-style UN agreement on biodiversity loss.

The goals set out by the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)to help halt and reverse the ecological destruction of Earth by the end of the decade also include protecting at least 30% of the world’s oceans and land and providing a third of climate crisis mitigation through nature by 2030.
Alongside the 2030 draft targets, new goals for the middle of the century include reducing the current rate of extinctions by 90%, enhancing the integrity of all ecosystems, valuing nature’s contribution to humanity and providing the financial resources to achieve the vision.

The Guardian understands that the summit, scheduled for October, is expected to be delayed for a third time due to the coronavirus pandemic. It is now likely to take place in Kunming in the first half of 2022, pending in-person preparatory negotiations that could happen in Switzerland early next year.
Scientists have warned that humanity is causing the sixth mass extinction in the planet’s history, driven by overconsumption of resources and overpopulation. One million species are at risk of extinction largely due to human activities, according to the UN’s assessment, threatening the healthy functioning of ecosystems that produce food and water.


…meanwhile we have problems with things that aren’t cold enough

The Trans-Alaska Pipeline, one of the world’s largest oil pipelines, could be in danger.

Thawing permafrost threatens to undermine the supports holding up an elevated section of the pipeline, jeopardizing its structural integrity and raising the potential of an oil spill in a delicate and remote landscape.
This appears to be the first instance that pipeline supports have been damaged by “slope creep” caused by thawing permafrost, records and interviews with officials involved with managing the pipeline show.

In response, the Alaska Department of Natural Resources has approved the use of about 100 thermosyphons — tubes that suck heat out of permafrost — to keep the frozen slope in place and prevent further damage to the pipeline’s support structure.


…& problems with things being way too hot…& in one case I think I read this one was listed as 0% contained

The Bootleg Fire in southern Oregon nearly doubled in size from Saturday to Sunday to more than 150,000 acres as extreme heatwaves and wildfires continued to scorch the West.


…anyway…I also know HamNo is something of an acquired taste…which I may never quite have acquired…but in the piece of his that ran in the guardian he does note one thing I often wonder about when the topic of the 1% comes up

the top 0.00001% of earners to continue to accumulate a share of our nation’s wealth that already exceeds the famously cartoonish inequality of the Gilded Age of Rockefeller and Carnegie.
They and their fellow billionaires got more than 50% richer during the pandemic year, by doing absolutely nothing but sitting back and watching their capital grow as millions around the world suffered and died.


…okay…so that quote mentions two things, I guess…& if you include the tweet that first link goes to

…effectively more than that…& arguably the “absolutely nothing” part is a somewhat typical overstatement…in that hyperbole isn’t really necessary when you’re dealing with subject that’s already extreme…but the bit that tends to make me think is that often I think when the 1% comes up we don’t really mean the 1%…we mean less than 1% of that 1%…the people whose wealth is so extreme that it warps everything from that grading curve on down…

It is odd that a nation obsessed with identifying threats has developed such a blind spot to the existential threat posed by the rich getting infinitely richer. Americans stockpile guns to fight off imaginary home invaders, flee to gated exurbs to hide from imaginary street crime, and launch doomed forever wars to battle imaginary foreign terrorists. But 40 years of wage stagnation, rising inequality, and the nightmarish gig-ification of all aspects of economic life are not enough to prompt us to cast a wary glance at an annual confab of all the people responsible for creating the conditions that have made it impossible to work one job and retire with dignity. The people who have, in fact, sucked up all of the money that no longer belongs to the mythical American middle class cavort openly in Sun Valley while we fearmonger about antifa breaking the windows of some coffee shop. It is enough to make me think that we are not so skilled at threat assessment, after all.

from the same article…

…so…I’m not exactly brimming with goodwill to all men this morning…although that does mean this sounded pretty good to me?

Virgin Galactic shares fall after $500m stock sale announcement [Guardian]

…but if you start getting into the details about branson’s little jaunt to the upper atmosphere…it’s a wind up…so I’ll just leave it with the bit that at least sounds like something about that little vanity project cost him…because it’s hard not to feel like these people to whom cost is no obstacle might actually be an obstacle that’s costing the rest of us more than we can afford…or I got out of the wrong side of bed today…again

GDP numbers released later this month will likely show the economy has already recovered from its pandemic losses. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office expects it to grow at a searing 7.4 percent pace in 2021, and a still-respectable 3.1 percent in 2022, adjusted for inflation, which would be the strongest two-year growth spurt the U.S. has put together in 37 years.

But the post pandemic boom, fueled by pent-up demand for services, trillions in extra savings and trillions more in government aid, will fade. CBO now projects growth will slow to 1.1 percent in 2023 and an average of 1.2 percent in 2024 and 2025 — the slowest sustained growth the U.S. has seen outside of a recession, according to Commerce Department data going back to 1929. Before the pandemic, the CBO projected steady growth of between 1.6 and 1.8 percent, rather than a dramatic boom and a leveling off.

And while the economy will be bigger and Americans will be better off than they would have been otherwise, the fading boom could cause its own problems as businesses, homeowners and others find themselves mired once more in a slow-growth economy, and saddled with purchases and investments they made in headier times.

What happens to the economy when $5.2 trillion in stimulus wears off? [WaPo]

There are signs of worsening inequality across the U.S. economy. But recent surges trace back to a major change after 2008, which transformed how America fights economic recessions.

By the start of 2021, the richest 1% of Americans held 32% of the nation’s wealth, its highest level since these records began in 1989.

The bottom 50%, meanwhile, held just 2% of the nation’s wealth.

This new record comes on the heels of a year’s worth of huge economic stimulus and more than a decade of rock-bottom interest rates.

Who was helped by this policy? Since the start of 2020, the bottom 50% gained $700 billion in wealth.

But this is a pittance compared with the mammoth gains for the ever fewer who are ever richer: In the same period, the richest 1% gained $10 trillion.

Only the Rich Could Love This Economic Recovery [NYT]

…&…no offense to anyone of faith…but I don’t think praying is necessarily helping

The church is called Mercy Culture, and it is part of a growing Christian movement that is nondenominational, openly political and has become an engine of former president Donald Trump’s Republican Party. It includes some of the largest congregations in the nation, housed in the husks of old Baptist churches, former big-box stores and sprawling multimillion-dollar buildings with private security to direct traffic on Sundays. Its most successful leaders are considered apostles and prophets, including some with followings in the hundreds of thousands, publishing empires, TV shows, vast prayer networks, podcasts, spiritual academies, and branding in the form of T-shirts, bumper stickers and even flags. It is a world in which demons are real, miracles are real, and the ultimate mission is not just transforming individual lives but also turning civilization itself into their version of God’s Kingdom: one with two genders, no abortion, a free-market economy, Bible-based education, church-based social programs and laws such as the ones curtailing LGBTQ rights now moving through statehouses around the country.

This is the world of Trump’s spiritual adviser Paula White and many more lesser-known but influential religious leaders who prophesied that Trump would win the election and helped organize nationwide prayer rallies in the days before the Jan. 6 insurrection, speaking of an imminent “heavenly strike” and “a Christian populist uprising,” leading many who stormed the Capitol to believe they were taking back the country for God.
What is new is the degree to which Trump elevated a fresh network of […] leaders who in turn elevated him as God’s chosen president, a fusion that has secured the movement as a grass-roots force within the GOP just as the old Christian right is waning. Increasingly, this is the world that the term “evangelical voter” refers to — not white-haired Southern Baptists in wooden pews but the comparatively younger, more diverse, more extreme world of millions drawn to leaders who believe they are igniting a new Great Awakening in America, one whose epicenter is Texas.

A new and rapidly growing Christian movement is openly political, wants a nation under God’s authority, and is central to Donald Trump’s GOP [WaPo]

It is not hard to figure out why they are losing young people and shrinking as a result. “The positions that White evangelical churches have become known for as they have become more politicized — opposition to same-sex marriage, opposition to abortion, a denial of climate change, anti-immigrant sentiment, anti-Muslim sentiment — are all strongly out of step with the values of younger Americans,” Jones observed. “And White evangelicals’ unequivocal embrace of [former president Donald] Trump also has them at odds with younger Americans. While White evangelical Protestants voted 84 percent for Trump in 2020, only 35 percent of Americans under the age of 30 did the same, according to Pew’s validated voter study.”

In short, as White evangelical churches turn into MAGA political clubs, many who otherwise may have found a spiritual home with them have fled because they are alienated — if not horrified — by the politicization of their faith and the abandonment of values such as inclusion and empathy. The price of politicizing religion is therefore bad not only for our politics (by heightening polarization and converting policy disputes into existential crises) but also for religious communities that chase away potential adherents.
The decline in White evangelicals’ numbers has sown desperation and increasingly anti-democratic political sentiments. “Notably, the declining population shares are most acute among the Republican Party’s most stalwart supporters, White evangelical Protestants, who have declined steadily from 23 percent of the population in 2006 to 14.5 in 2020,” Jones explained. “With 84 percent of them voting for Trump, there are few new voters to be gained.” Instead of trying to reach out to new voters, Republicans choose to “drive down the votes of the growing number of Americans who are not White and Christian.” Hence, their “big lie” that the election is stolen and their ensuing crusade to suppress voting.

Why are White evangelicals embracing an anti-democratic movement? Because they’re panicking. [WaPo]

…& while we’re on the voter suppression thing

the history of pursuing Black people for voter fraud is long. It is a form of terror as a deterrent. It is a scare tactic aimed at the Black people who intend to vote and for the benefit of the white electorate nervous that their electoral power and supremacy is in retreat. According to their logic, the determinative white vote and white voice is in danger not because of shifts in values and demographics, but because of deceit and chicanery. As such, they must pass laws to crack down and ensure the purity of the vote. They don’t want to bolster the vote, but to bleach it.

The Voter Fraud Fraud [NYT]

…plus…& it’s been a while so forgive me if I have this wrong…but isn’t one of the 10 commandments “thou shalt not lie”?

The Republican Party’s top lawyer warned in November against continuing to push false claims that the presidential election was stolen, calling efforts by some of the former president’s lawyers a “joke” that could mislead millions of people, according to an email obtained by The Washington Post.
“What Rudy and Jenna are doing is a joke and they are getting laughed out of court,” Riemer, a longtime Republican lawyer, wrote to Liz Harrington, a former party spokeswoman, on Nov. 28, referring to Trump attorneys Rudolph W. Giuliani and Jenna Ellis. “They are misleading millions of people who have wishful thinking that the president is going to somehow win this thing.”


…pretty sure there’s even something in there about bearing false witness…& how that isn’t ok

The latest effort to hold former president Donald Trump and his allies accountable for months of baseless claims about the 2020 election played out Monday in a Michigan courtroom, where a federal judge asked detailed and skeptical questions of several lawyers she is considering imposing sanctions against for filing a suit seeking to overturn the results.

U.S. District Court Judge Linda V. Parker said she would rule on a request to discipline the lawyers in coming weeks. But over and over again during the more than five-hour hearing, she pointedly pressed the lawyers involved — including Trump allies Sidney Powell and L. Lin Wood — to explain what steps they had taken to ensure their court filings in the case filed last year had been accurate. She appeared astonished by many of their answers.

While their suit aimed to create a broad impression that the vote in Michigan — and specifically Detroit’s Wayne County — had been troubled, the affidavits filed to support those claims included obvious errors, speculation and basic misunderstandings of how elections are generally conducted in the state, Parker said.

‘This is really fantastical’: Federal judge in Michigan presses Trump-allied lawyers on 2020 election fraud claims in sanctions hearing [WaPo]

…I know it’s not exactly breaking new ground…but there’s a certain poetic justice to be had in the idea of shitty lawyers having the book thrown at them…I just worry a little that things being ass-backwards is starting to feel like the norm…hell, when you wind up rooting for the politicians that refuse to show up…you gotta know shit ain’t good

Texas Democrats fled the state on Monday in a last-ditch effort to prevent the passage of a restrictive new voting law by the Republican-controlled Legislature, heading to Washington to draw national attention to their cause.

Texas Democrats Flee State to Highlight G.O.P. Voting Restrictions [NYT]

…either way, the truth is the above barely scratches the surface of the day’s news…but somehow as far as the day’s concerned I’ve managed to already be behind with mine so I’m out of time for this…& kind of wishing I was back in bed, to be honest



  1. Lemme get this straight, Cheeto is the messiah? I was like born thinking religion is a crock but that’s just, no words.
    Anyway, fuck that, I was on patrol, scaring squirrel away from my bird feeders when a hummingbird landed about 4 feet from my head close enough for me to see it’s tongue. She hung around, sampled some bee balm, checked out the thistle [because the feeder is yellow?]. yeah, that was a good day.

  2. I managed to catch a clip of the Lone Star state’s Governor Abbott, responding to Democrats fleeing the premises on chartered flights to prevent a vote on the various voter suppression bills (the irony.) He said something like, “That is not the Texas way, to run away from a fight. We’ll be calling special session after special session and when they return to Texas soil they will be arrested and brought to the capitol and we’ll vote.”

    Compulsory democracy! It worked so well in the postwar Soviet Union. This isn’t really remembered but there were elections in the Soviet Union with phenomenal turnout rates and candidates would win majorities of 99+ percent. Best of both worlds: a free democratic society with guaranteed results at the ballot box.

    As a resident of the Empire State (all hail Emperor Andreus Marcus Cuomo, Hero King!) I really have no standing to criticize the goings on in the other 49 states, but Texas must be a special place. I would love to go. Over the course of the last year I know of three couples/families who left New York to move there, one such to Austin. I have a standing invitation to visit all of them. Maybe to get my feet wet I could try Austin. One other went to Dallas and one went to Houston. I’ve always wanted to go to Ft. Worth, for all the cultural amenities that the Bass family bought and imported, and I thought, “Well, Dallas must be close enough, it’s the next town over isn’t it, like going from Manhattan to Brooklyn?” I was quickly disabused of this notion.


    • @MatthewCrawley I don’t know who told you that. I have friends in Ft Worth who commute to Dallas every day for work. Like anywhere it depends on what part of the city you’re in and what part you’re going to but it can be done in 40 to 45 minutes.

      • The new Dallas-ites (Dallasians? I don’t know what they call themselves) seemed think it would be a not-bad day trip, but it would take some effort. I’d be going to the Kimbell, and I’m not sure where they live. I gather it’s not downtown Dallas, so maybe they’re not on the Ft. Worth side. In any event, it sounds more like I’d be going from Manhattan up to the Yale museums in New Haven rather than just hopping in an Uber to go to the Brooklyn Museum.

        I really need to get out more and see more of the this country.

        • Yes, see more of the country, but please don’t waste your time with Texas.  I recommend Northern New Mexico, Western Colorado, and Alaska.  I’m guessing that cities are more your style, than the back country, so Taos, Santa Fe, Durango, and Aspen.  Don’t bother with the cities in Alaska.  Trust me and go visit Denali National Park instead.

          • Funny you should mention that, because I have been to (making a loop, although this was more than one trip) Albuquerque, up to Santa Fe, then on to Durango, and then to Denver, and loved all of it. I love the high desert SW. We used to go to Palm Springs a LOT and I loved that too. Los Angeles, the beach towns in Orange County, the coast towns between LA and SF (Santa Barbara more times than I can count), SF, up to the Wine Country for a long weekend. I also [heart emoji] Miami, we used to own a place in South Beach, but aside from that and a week in Charleston, SC no Southern Exposure at all, not even New Orleans. So the closest I’ve ever gotten to Texas is, I think Albuquerque.

    • Kelsey McKinney at Defector has a Texas-centric novel just published about a girl who struggles with her fundamentalist upbringing.
      They published an except and it seems very good — unsparing while not being cartoonish. I want to get it — it’s probably cheaper and easier than a flight right now.

      • I follow Kevin James Thornton on Insta, and he talks about his evangelical youth in Indiana from a gay perspective. He also has a short podcast called American Queer. He’s very funny. 

  3. Wording is everything, democrats ‘flee’ gop would ‘steadfastly refuse to vote rather than betray their principles’ or some other nonsense. Sensationalization of everything is so fucking tiresome.

    • I should have put “fleeing the premises” in quotes, you’re absolutely correct. I’m not sure those were Abbott’s exact words but that was the intent, and it was a clip originally aired on Fox News, which I don’t watch, replayed with critical commentary on some other channel. 

  4. So let’s dabble in some logic here:
    99.5% of COVID deaths = unvaccinated people
    Unvaccinated people = Republican voters
    Unvaccinated people = evangelical religion practitioners
    So these lunatics are killing their own, reducing their voter numbers and the number of people alive to donate money to their religions. I’m not the first to point this out, and it’s not even the first time I’ve said it.
    I mean, I don’t see a problem here, but you’d think that Republicans might. 

    • They’re counting on even more independent low motivation voters are hit.
      They’re also setting the table for using Covid rampaging through their constituencies as a campaign issue for even more resentment in their base. The more they can get their people to stick with them in the face of reality, the tighter their reactionary bond becomes.

      • Even the low motivation voters are fleeing them.
        As for the GOPers and COVID the problem is that when CoVID strikes their base, the GOPers will probably lose a % of the survivors which will add to the decline in their ranks despite CoVID’s well known long term brain damage/cognitive decline issues which (shockingly work to the GOPs benefit.)
        However, I don’t disagree that the GOPers will try desperately to cling to the “we vs Libs + CoVID” mentality for that reactionary bond.
        The GOP hasn’t realized that one can only deny reality for so long before it comes kicking in the door.

        • If you’ve ever played Hearts, they’re shooting the moon.
          It’s a high risk/high reward strategy that turns a rotten hand into gold, and depends on everyone else in the game being blind to what they’re doing and laughing about how badly things are going for them.

  5. Cheer up! Tomorrow is Bastille Day, “la Fête Nationale”, and to celebrate tomorrow night I am making savory French omelets alongside some French cheeses, sausages, and crusty French bread I going to dispatch the Forager-in-Chief to gather later this morning. We have precisely one bottle of Champagne left and what better time to use it. A verse or two of “La Marseillaise” might be sung by me once the Champagne kicks in.

    FYI: The Germans are singing “Die Wacht am Rhein”.

  6. Sometimes the NYT is really behind the times, but then again with their frequent ‘Cletus’ Safaris to Red States they really should have figured that out.  Even GOPer strategists have been talking about this since the 2000s.
    The Demographics have been strongly against the GOPers.  I took a long look at the photos of the Capitol Hill rioters back in Feb when they were published to help identify them.  The common theme among them: most of them are white, middle aged and up.  I peg the average age to be at least 45+ maybe even 50 which is not good for the long term prospects as a political movement.  And many did not look to be in good health (hence the constant jibes about them being Meal Team Six.)
    One of the factors in the German Nazis favor were they were made up of mostly angry young men (20-30) who had recently fought a war so they had the benefit of yout’ (but not mental stability nor intelligence.)

  7. I honestly have never understood the aversion to science and reality from the right wing churches.  I grew up Catholic (which has its own set of baggage, but at no point were we told that dinosaur fossils were a trick from the devil), and eventually joined the Episcopal church (which still has some baggage, but their stance on social issues is in line with most of the country) where I met a priest who had retired after a long career as a theoretical physicist.  He saw zero discrepancy between his faith and the science which explains the reality in which we live.  It’s really not that hard.

    • Did I ever tell you (all) abut the Jesuit I met at a party (long story) and we got talking about observatories? The Catholic Church has a slew of them, a lot of them Jesuit, but one of the finest is overseen by the Holy See in Castel Gandolfo. “Are you searching for alien life? I mean with Galileo and all–” “Some Holy Days and the most joyous day in the Christian calendar [here he raised an eyebrow at me somewhat accusingly] EASTER is determined by the Spring equinox and then by the phase of the moon. That’s why the date is not fixed.”

      Here is where I would be tried for heresy if I were Catholic: “I’ve never understood that. The birth of a baby born to an impoverished itinerant Jewish couple, with a divine assist, wandering one of the most far-flung outposts of the Roman Empire, is well known to be December 25th. And yet the date of Christ’s crucifixion, which was overseen by the Roman governor of Judea, and the Romans wrote everything down, they were like Germans, great recordkeepers, this date is dependent on the phase of the moon?”

      • …jesuits sometimes seem like a branch of the christian faith that specialize in convoluted arguments but although I’ve had at least a few conversations with a priest or two about the christmas thing I don’t think any of them were jesuits?

        …to be honest I don’t know enough about how the various calendars have shifted over time to be able to refute the obscure calculation from which the date for easter is derived but one time when talking about why it seemed awfully convenient that christmas seemed to have been timed to coincide with a pagan mid-winter feast I was told that it wasn’t supposed to be christ’s birthday but a celebration of christ’s birth…which seemed like an elegant workaround…or cop-out, depending on your point of view

        …sort of like the date they officially celebrate the queen’s birthday isn’t actually the day elizabeth was born…which I may have been known to use as an excuse to have a birthday party months after my actual birthday some years…I mean, if it’s good enough for royalty?

        • My understanding (and I’m not 100% on the details here) is that it goes back to Pope Gregory the I–Gregorian Chant is ascribed to him.  Anyway, the story goes that one of the larger problems with converting pagans was that the pagans could never remember when to celebrate the Church’s holidays, so Gregory moved the holidays to coincide with the pagan festivals to make them easier to remember.  Don’t know if that’s totally true, but it seems reasonable enough.

        • The Jesuits’ love of knowledge and argument puts them at odds with the greater Catholic hierarchy sometimes.

          They are great linguists: their missionary zeal led them to learn all sorts of languages when they went along with the conquistadores and whoever else would take them, thereby learning to communicate with the locals and recruit them to The One True Faith. A lot of what we know about indigenous languages originated with Jesuits traveling hither and yon God-bothering unsuspecting innocents, from where they produced countless bilingual dictionaries and grammars. The Holy See was in a quandary: What if, God forbid (literally), someone somewhere produced a Bible not in Latin? But on the other hand, the locals made for good converts and servants/slaves, so, Thy Will Be Done.

          The current Pope, Francis, is the first-ever Jesuit. This must have sent tremendous shockwaves through the Curia, and thereby the vast bureaucracy at large, since he is God’s representative on earth and does this mean…God is a Jesuit??? It’s all political, of course, and how they chose Francis is known only to the College of Cardinals, but still. Imagine being a 70-year-old nun in a teaching order toiling away teaching spelling and penmanship to 7-year-olds at Most Precious Blood elementary school in Queens, and learning that the new Holy Father is…a Jesuit. It would Test the Faith.

          I find all of this fascinating, in a “Margaret Mead Among the Samoans” kind of way.


    • It’s not science and reality (well, not science) they’re averse too, it’s critical thinking and honestly, basic literacy. If the rubes start thinking for themselves, or, let’s face it, read their own Bible, they’ll start asking awkward questions and eventually may wander away from the “faith.”
      What’s the problem with questions? Well, as I’ve mentioned before, I grew up Southern  Baptist and my father was a Southern Baptist minister. At that time, a pastor was expected to have a seminary education, preferably a doctorate but at a minimum a master’s degree in divinity or similar. And this is Southern Baptist, which traditionally set the bar much lower than other Protestant religions. 
      Now, my father and his cohort were trained to address questions of religion and Biblical inconsistencies and the like. There were convoluted explanations about how it was okay for Abraham to sacrifice Isaac or Elisha to murder children via bear attack. They learned to address these questions in seminary, and typically shied away from those areas as sermon topics, but still could, if pressed, offer up an acceptable explanation. (By the way, explaining these things away gets MUCH harder if you accept Biblical inerrancy, which is now a cornerstone of evangelicism).
      Those men (no women ’cause Southern Baptist), with rare exceptions are all gone. I still know one minister trained in that tradition with a doctorate but he’s the last one I know of (was good friends with my dad). 
      Today “evangelicals” typically get their pastors by accepting any sociopath that wants the job and has sufficient charisma to motivate the congregation. They rarely have any education beyond a bachelor’s degree (and frequently not that) in some mundane subject and have no religious training whatsoever. They cobble together sermons by plagiarizing them off of the Internet (https://www.plagiarismtoday.com/2021/07/07/southern-baptist-convention-president-accused-of-widespread-plagiarism/). They don’t read the Bible beyond what’s necessary to bumble through the sermon. They’re often part-timers who have to hold down a full-time job because the church can’t pay them. So filling the collection plate is a major concern.
      All that becomes much more difficult if your congregation can read. As with Republicans, ginning up fake outrage is key to filling the collection plate. Generating hysteria is harder if your audience can objectively evaluate your argument and think ‘wait, that’s not right.’ Abandoning evangelicism is highly correlated with increased education and experience (there’s a reason they proliferate in rural areas). 
      All this is correlated with the Republican war on education. It ties together very neatly — education is tax-supported, and then leads in turn to thinking. All of which violates Republican ideals. 
      This isn’t new. “The opiate of the masses” has been functioning this way since the Middle Ages. Commoners were told “they’d get their rewards in heaven” and to do what their betters instructed them to do. Compare that to Republicans pimping a non-living wage now.
      It’s funny — I actually told a boss that years ago. I was telling her the company didn’t pay us enough, and she started in with the “be patient, eventually you will get yours” crap and I told her it sounds like you’re saying I’ll get my rewards in Heaven. To her credit she got the reference. We … did not get on particularly well. 

      • That was one of the things which attracted me to the Episcopal Church.  They encourage questions and aren’t afraid to make changes when they find the answers don’t jive with current practice.  They’re also pretty clear that the Bible is mostly allegory, not the actual literal word of God.  I can’t imagine growing up in an environment where asking those kinds of questions is essentially forbidden.

  8. I swiped right on HamNo on a dating app and he did not swipe back on me so he is persona non grata to me. 

    Not that I wanted to date him, I just wanted to troll him about yogurt. 


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