7 things @ 11 o’clock (7.1)

7 things @ 11 o’clock (7.1) July 1, 2013

1. Funny or Die offers a sneak preview of the first new film from Rick Santorum’s EchoLight Studios. (Not really, but it is a good joke, well-executed.)

2. Joe Hanson shares a wise comment from J.B.S. Haldane: “My own suspicion is that the universe is not only queerer than we suppose, but queerer than we can suppose.”

I think of Haldane as the “inordinately fond of beetles” guy. I’ve noted before that I think that comment — “If one could conclude as to the nature of the Creator from a study of creation, it would appear that God has an inordinate fondness for stars and beetles” — is an excellent piece of theologizing. Same goes for the quote above about the surpassing strangeness of the universe.

The other place I’d encountered Haldane was in C.S. Lewis posthumously published essay, “A Reply to Professor Haldane,” which included Lewis’ condemnation of theocracy (see here). That “reply” was a response to a couple of barbed pieces by Haldane in response to Lewis’ worries about what he called “scientism.” They seem to have been talking past one another a bit in that exchange.

3.I’ll be post-feminist in the post-patriarchy.”

4. Gary Bauer — the diminutive founder of the Family Research Council who later came up short in his bid for president — says that those of us advocating for marriage equality are not actually advocating for marriage equality. We’re just using that as an excuse to imprison anti-gay Christians like Gary Bauer. In a Washington Times column, Bauer writes:

The ultimate goal of homosexual-rights activists is not to legalize same-sex marriage. Rather, it is to silence those who disagree with them and, if necessary, to throw them in jail. … How did we get to the point where homosexual-rights activists would be clamoring to redefine society’s oldest and most reliable institution and people of faith would be worried about being fined or jailed for teaching their faith?

To answer Bauer’s question, if any “people of faith” actually are “worried about being fined or jailed,” my guess is that this fear comes from columnists like Gary Bauer repeatedly telling them that this is something they should be frightened of.

It also comes from these people of (very timid) faith somehow being the only people in America who have never heard of the Rev. Fred Phelps and his notorious Westboro Baptist Church. If they know who Phelps is, then they know that what Bauer is saying is not true. If no one is trying to put Fred Phelps in jail, then it’s ridiculous for cowardly Christians to fear they’re facing prosecution or persecution just because they believe in some less-confrontational and less aggressively abrasive form of “God hates [The Other]” theology.

5. Delaware has a new law protecting manufactured-home owners. As you may have read, the trap for manufactured- or “mobile-” home owners is that they own their house, but not the land it sits on. Most manufactured-home owners pay rent for the lot beneath their not-so-mobile home, and since trying to relocate the home can cost thousands of dollars, there’s no market-based check against landlords imposing predatory increases in rent. Delaware’s new law doesn’t impose rent control, but says that any proposed lot rent increase of more than the CPI has to be justified to and approved by a state commission. It’s not as ideal as helping residents to buy the land under their homes in order to form a resident-owned community, but it’s an enormous improvement over the former status quo, in which these folks had no protections from markets or from government.

6. A reminder: The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act was reintroduced in the U.S. House of Representatives in May. A second reminder: “Pro-lifers” still seem mostly silent and/or hostile toward this bill. That suggests something.

7. Two examples of what the Internet is for: The Skunk River National Park Twitter feed (via Grist) and the Amazon customer reviews for the Mizuno Women’s Wave Rider 16 Running Shoe (the Sen. Wendy Davis model). Well done, folks.


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  • Lorehead

    In the days when the judges ruled, there was a famine in the land. So a man from Bethlehem in Judah, together with his wife and two sons, went to live for a while in the country of Moab. The man’s name was Elimelek, his wife’s name was Naomi, and the names of his two sons were Mahlon and Kilion. They were Ephrathites from Bethlehem, Judah. And they went to Moab and lived there.

    Now Elimelek, Naomi’s husband, died, and she was left with her two sons. They married Moabite women, one named Orpah and the other Ruth. After they had lived there about ten years, both Mahlon and Kilion also died, and Naomi was left without her two sons and her husband.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Thomas Jefferson wait what now?

    I can understand, though of course I disagree with, whitewashing history regarding the personal motivations of slaves with respect to slavery, and I can understand, though ditto, the profit motive of pushing people to invest in gold. But how in hell does one write the author of the Declaration and an early President out of the events surrounding the formation of this nation?

  • A few years ago, the Texas Board of Education approved textbooks which minimize the role Thomas Jefferson played in American politics, among other things. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/13/education/13texas.html?_r=0

  • Lori

    It’s Texas. They cut him because he was inconveniently tied to the Enlightenment, which is of course anathema to wingnuts. Plus, they needed to make room for more John Clavin.


  • Yeah. That’s one reason why Walter Mattfeld declares that the Bible cannot be the Word of God. http://www.bibleorigins.net/MoabiteBloodMessiah.html

  • Lori

    DNA testing. All the African Americans we have walking around now are not descended from the same 3 white slaveholders. You’re trying so hard to prove how clever & skeptical you are that you’re being ridiculous.

  • EllieMurasaki

    …still wtf.

  • Lori

    Oh yeah, a total WTF?

  • Well, after the response to calling Abraham Lincoln a war criminal who should have been (or was…) executed for treason and being told “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all,” well…

  • Hey! I took A.P. U.S. History in a High School in an upper middle class school district in a northern state! The textbook mentioned Jefferson (though the teachers didn’t emphasize him), the teachers and the textbook author were both strong Keynesians, and none of the teachers ever said that “slaves were fine with being slaves” or anything similar. BTW, I got an A- in that class throughout the year.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Run that by me again?

  • I wasn’t talking to or about you, Klondike Bar. All I was offering was a counterpoint that textbooks aren’t always reliable indicators of trustworthiness. That’s a point in your favor, if anything, except that in this case, there are too many sources (like genetic markers in thousands of people) to dismiss the claim.

  • Again, why do you call me Klondike Bar?

  • *Snirk* Sorry. I knew that phrasing was a little clunky. The joke was supposed to parse as “They couldn’t think of anything nice to say about Thomas Jefferson, so they decided to say nothing at all.”

  • EllieMurasaki

    “He’s a big part of the reason we don’t have Queen Elizabeth II on our currency” isn’t a nice thing to say about him? Not that I’ve any particular objection to either the UK or its Queen, but USAians like our independence.

  • Also, you replied to a response to me, so I considered there was a good chance you were talking about me.

  • Lori

    They’re not fans of the Enlightenment, they’re not actually fans of democracy, they hate the Jefferson Bible and the religious beliefs that created it. They’re not big fans of Jefferson. (Accept the slave owning. They don’t ever seem to have any complaints about that.)

  • Actually, how many of the people who signed the Declaration are remembered by name today? I think their intent is to relegate him to the same sort of role.

  • Because you’re square and satisfying when the mood strikes, but induce headaches when consumed too quickly and a violent stomachache if consumed in too great a quantity.

  • Lori

    Well, he didn’t just sign it. But yes, I think they’d love for us to forget about Jefferson. Feel the love of the Founding Fathers.

  • Lorehead

    You know, Ruth, the Moabite woman, was the grandmother of King David. And the Gospels say that King David was the ancestor of Jesus. Therefore, people who obsess over racial purity (I have the impression that you consider those laws as ridiculous as I do) reject Jesus.

  • EllieMurasaki

    There’s reasons watching 1776 on July 4 is a tradition in my house. The fact that I can only name (for certain, off the top of my head) four signers of the Declaration (Adams, Jefferson, Franklin, Hancock) is one of them. Eventually I’ll memorize all the names of all the characters.

    I do know the events were somewhat dramatized, and not just to provide musical interludes and place Martha Jefferson in Philly that summer. For instance, dude from Pennsylvania who’s the swing vote in the musical, reality wasn’t that way. I forget how reality was exactly, but it wasn’t that way.

  • SkyknightXi

    Nauseating…That fits with quite a few of her more infamous recipes, truth be told…


    {grimace} An onion-suffused burger…fine. Fried egg? Bleh, although I don’t like eggs on their own in the first place. Framed in a doughnut?! How does that even work?

    I hope these aren’t a proper sigil of her idea of cookery, but just the outliers…

  • Lori

    Now that she’s shilling diabetes meds she’s not pushing that sort of thing the way she once did, but before her diabetes was revealed her recipes tended to be heavy on the butter and sugar.

  • Lee B.

    Historiography is not a mathematically-based field of scientific study where you can expect to use statistical methods to disprove a null hypothesis.

    Primary sources are always limited in number. Primary and secondary sources are always in some way biased (as are historiographers, for that matter), and are sometimes unreliable. Statistical tests will not help you to overcome these limitations.

    This doesn’t mean statistics is never useful in the study of history, but it is just one of many tools, and is only appropriately used with the right kind of quantifiable data.

  • Lorehead

    I’m now convinced that you’re arguing in bad faith. I have nothing more to say to you.

  • That seems like an admirable goal. My terrible memory makes it hard to memorize names (anyone’s), so I have to admire that.

  • SkyknightXi

    I’m thinking more in terms of how such fat-and-sugar elementals could hope to be delectable.

  • It’s intensely weird how desperate apologists are to push the idea that slaves were treated well.

    As if “The people who owned these human beings treated them well” would somehow make “These people owned these other people” any less of a crime against humanity.

  • That’s actually pretty mild compared to some things I’ve seen. You can find variations of that in a few places. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luther_Burger

    I’ve seen another one which uses grilled cheese sandwiches in place of buns. http://www.neatorama.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/grilledcheeseburgermelt.jpg

  • SkyknightXi

    {squirm} I…I just..I don’t understand how a doughnut and a burger can be miscible. Vandross was improvising, but what’s everyone else’s excuse?

  • Lori

    I don’t get the donut burger, but some people seem to like it. There are other meat & sweet combos that are more respectable so she didn’t pull it totally out of thin air. She just made it extreme in a way that I’d rather not eat.

    I’ve never actually made any of her recipes, but I have eaten similar things when I lived in the South. I found some of them tasty and some of them definitely not.

  • Amaryllis

    I can only name (for certain, off the top of my head) four signers of the Declaration (Adams, Jefferson, Franklin, Hancock)

    And this is where a Catholic-school education comes in handy, because I can name five! Much was made of Charles Carroll of Carrollton, the Only Catholic Signer.

  • It’s not too dissimilar from people deep frying everything (which, look at the latter three recipes on the page you linked). They like to mix flavors, especially intensely unhealthy ones. In the case of the donut burger, they invert the donut halves so that the frosting melts into the meat and cheese and mixes them even more.

    Though it could still be worse. It could be the Octuple Bypass Burger, which is over 20,000 calories and you are not allowed to split it.

  • What about Thomas Fitzsimons?

  • Interesting, the wikipedia page for Charles Carroll says he was the only Catholic signer, but the pages for Daniel Carroll and Thomas Fitzsimons say they were the only two signers.

  • And an awful lot of the fallout she’s faced on her racism has taken the form of fat-shaming. Which is not cool.

  • 1) The person making the EXTRAORDINARY claim has to back it up.
    2) Go look up recent Civil War texts, and also slave memoirs, yourself. The commenters of Slacktivist are not here to be your personal researchers.
    3) Fuck off.

  • Lori

    I haven’t heard any of that, but I haven’t been keeping up.

  • Ooh you got an A- in an A.P. class in high school, you’re a big boy now. I’m not going to throw out my credentials, because you’re obviously fishing, trying to get other people to brag about themselves so you can have a laugh.

    Are you even trying any more, or have you decided you’re just going to be here to amuse people? I mean, I certainly approve of this new, almost entirely hilarious and thoroughly transparent EH, but really.

  • Lori

    You’re allowed to split it, but if you do you can’t claim whatever dubious honor they give to those who finish it.

  • Lori

    That is the stupidest, greediest thing I ever heard.

  • Clearly you haven’t looked further on their website. Not that I recommend it. XD

    At some point, someone decided to take the phrase “city of sin” at its word and go all out. This is Gluttony. That sickening feeling is your arteries hardening in sympathy.

  • LoneWolf343

    I want 150 randomized samples to prove you’re not an idiot.

  • Isabel C.

    I dunno about that–after editing a few employment law books covering Europe, “independence” sounds like we got the shit end of the stick here.

    Ah well.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Good point.

  • I suspect that when certain right-wing Christians of the gay-hating persuasion make noises about heterosexual, monogamous, complementarian marriage being society’s oldest institution, it is a form of question begging. The premise they assume in order to support their conclusion, if they bothered to spell it out, would go something like this: “Adam and Eve were literally the first two humans on the planet, so when God authored their marriage by creating Eve while saying ‘it is not good for man to be alone’, that was the first marriage in the history of humanity and the first human societal institution ever.”

    It is related to the so-called logic on display when someone says, “Silly, there are no ‘pre-Christian religions!’ Christianity is the oldest religion there is, because God came before and created everything else!”

  • Actually, I’d like to register absolutely unironic, non-tongue-in-cheek displeasure with Fred for the “short” jokes. What possible purpose is there in poking fun at the man’s height? That’s no better than poking fun at Rush Limbaugh’s weight on your way to pointing out his bigotry, or making misogynistic jokes about Sarah Palin while dissecting her politics, or transphobic/gender-normative jokes about Ann Coulter “maybe really being a man in drag” while calling her to task for the hateful things she says. Seriously, Fred’s usually a lot more aware of, and avoiding of, the nastiness of rhetoric that puts down someone in terms of what ought to be value-neutral traits.

    If I’m missing something that makes the “short” jokes OK, please feel free to point it out, but currently I’m not very happy about it either Fred’s original post nor AnonaMiss’s jumping on the bandwagon.