Homily: Men Made Mad by Religion (plus Tweets)

Once again, most of today’s tweets are from yesterday. I put them in the post, then fell asleep watching the tennis (NZ Open). I’m not sure where I saw the joke recently, but it certainly applies to me right now. I don’t know what day it is, and I wake up to eat and wash. I have become a cat!

A couple of things caught my eye this morning. Firstly, the new year has started in Pakistan with another acid attack by a man on his wife. Apparently he entered into a contract for a second wife a couple of days ago, and he and his first wife have been quarreling about that since he told her about it. As you would! I mean, FFS!

Oh, by the way dear, I’m getting married again. You will have to share me and all we have with another woman. There may be some more kids to share my attention too. You can’t leave me, because you know how that would go down in our society, and besides, you would have no means of support.

Anyway, the wife went off to a Sufi shrine to pray after the most recent disagreement. On her return home, her husband did what rather a lot of men in Pakistan do with quarrelsome wives – he attacked her with acid.

The woman is in hospital in a “critical condition” with serious burns to her arm and shoulder. The man has disappeared in the meantime.

The police say they’re collecting evidence and attempting to arrest him. However, it’s possible he will get away with it. As Dawn reports:

According to a World Health Organisation report, acid violence against women in Pakistan is increasing at an alarming rate, particularly in the southern part of Punjab. It says 450 gender-based acid violence incidents occur in the country every year and a majority of the cases remain untraced.

Acid violence in Pakistan came to global limelight after filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy’s documentary ‘Saving Face’ received an Oscar award in 2012.

It is religion, in this case conservative Islam, that makes men believe they can act towards women in this manner. And religion is the reason they keep getting away with it as well.

The second Man Made Mad by Religion is Jim Bakker, though there’s a women (Michele Bachman – yes she’s back) with serious signs of  religious delusion in this story too.

Bachman is apparently considering running for the Minnesota seat left vacant by the resignation of Al Franken, She’s awaiting God’s decision on whether she should run or not. But her delusion (in this instance at least) is nothing in comparison to Bakker’s.

Here he is telling his fans, with accompanying wild eyes, that God’s enemies and Trump’s enemies (the terms are synonymous) want Trump dead. He even thinks there may already be a contract out for Trump’s death by his enemies in Washington DC.



Here’s a slightly longer version of the video from Right Wing Watch, in which Bachman goes on at greater length. According to her, she’s the reason the GOP are anti-Obamacare! If that were true (it’s not) she’s actually done her party and country a great disservice. It also highlights the lack of compassion in modern US Evangelical Christianity.



Even if they were inclined to put a contract out for Trump’s death, I suspect Washington DC insiders would leave things as they are. Trump is doing a pretty good job of hanging himself all on his own. Besides, assassination would make him a martyr, and the last thing the world needs is St Donald!

People are having fun on Twitter with the idea of Michele Bachman running again. Ann German sent me this tweet:


 Political Tweets

More Trump lies.
(Both tweets via Ann German.)


The evidence:


There were 29 successful terror incidents in the US in 2017. 24 of those were perpetrated by white supremacists and similar.
(Via Ann German.)


I feel sick for poor USians when I see tweets like this. People are going to die in large numbers as a direct result of Republican legislation.


Pre-Mueller Time Tweets

If Trump is impeached, this is where it all started!
(Via Ann German.)


An interesting development. One regular commenter on this site has regularly pointed out the issues with these two states. Another regular commenter has mocked the questions the first raises. Are we about to see who’s right? Mueller at least thinks the issues need investigation!
(Via Ann German.)


Jared Kushner by the numbers.


Human Rights Tweets

More from Iran.


This woman speaking out against corruption in Iran is brilliant! (Note that she’s not wearing the compulsory hijab either.)


Statistics Tweets

Now you know. They’re more polite in Britain when this stuff happens.
(Via Ann German.)




One of the responses was, “Why only in Britain,” to which someone else said, “Depends on the time zones.” SMH. Someone did, of course, point out that there’s a 119 year old in Japan, so it’s not the whole world. Because this is really important stuff. Then someone commented about how interesting it would be to talk to someone with three centuries of experience. That got someone noting how old a 119 year old would be in 1899; there wouldn’t be many, if any, memories let alone experiences! It goes on. Such is the Story of Life on Twitter.


Religion Tweets

This isn’t just about religion, but that’s a big part of it.


Good to see religion practicing what it preaches.
(Via Ann German.)


Weather Tweets

Says it all.
(Via Norm Walsh)


Literature Tweets

As Ann German said when she sent me this, “Asimov nailed it.”


Space Tweets



We’ve all seen this before, and read this before, but it’s always good to do it again.


Scenic Tweets

Very cool!

Science Tweets

Looking forward to this!


The highlights of the year at CERN.


Paleontology Tweets

This is very cool! There are some amazing finds here.


Good graphic.


Marine Tweets

Honestly, eels give me the creeps – it’s a hangover from going eeling as a kid. But I can still see the beauty in this.


What is it about eels and Twitter today?
(Via Ann German.)


Wow! What a cool creature!
(Via Ann German.)


The fourth in the excellent series about the work of the Norfolk Wildlife Trust.


Amphibian Tweets

What a horrible looking frog (?toad), and poor wee mouse!



Other Animals Tweets

Cute kid!
(Via Ann German.)


What a horrible way to go! Poor beaver!


I still can’t tell the difference with confidence. It has pretty big ears. I can’t see its tail. It’s antlers grow from a central beam.


You’ve probably seen most of these before, but they’re all nice stories so it’s good to see them again.

Dog Tweets

Oh dear!


Very cute!


What a cool dog!!!


Cat Tweets

Very cute!!!


Not a happy camper!


Look at those ears!


What a lovely cat (and staff). A good one to end on!



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32 Responses to “Homily: Men Made Mad by Religion (plus Tweets)”

  1. j.a.m. says:

    “One regular commenter on this site has regularly pointed out the issues with these two states. Another regular commenter has mocked the questions the first raises. Are we about to see who’s right?”

    The so-called “issues” I’ve seen raised have to do with purported electoral discrepancies. The article you link to has to do with the targeting of political advertising. I fail to see a connection (except that both allegations smell a bit fishy).

    • nicky says:

      in Wisconsin the discrepancy between exit polls and results was 4.8% , suspiciously high, in Michigan it was only 0.2%, within the margin of error. The biggest discrepancies in swing states, where they mattered, were North Carolina 5.9% , Pennsylvania 5,6% and indeed Wisconsin. Another state where it mattered was Florida with 2.9% discrepancy. Always in favour of Trump, and all states where a republican was overseeing. I think in those states it was not ‘the Russians’, but ‘counting irregularities’: discarding votes, not counting ‘provisional votes etc. Fraud in other words
      You are completely right, Mueller is investigating if lists targeting specific voters in those 2 states were given to ‘the Russians’, allowing them to target voters more precisely with their campaign. And to which degree the Trump campaign conspired there. This is indeed very different from electoral fraud, but I suspect it is illegal too.

      • j.a.m. says:

        Except that inasmuch as the losing side found no basis to lodge an objection, your fraud fantasy is moot. And nobody has any idea what Mueller is or isn’t investigating. Even if one is gullible enough to fall for anonymous sources, your feverish speculations go far, far beyond the purported “facts” credited to those sources in these articles.

      • There’s actually a history of fraud in counting in US elections, and the candidates affected seem to have been convinced that rocking the boat would be worse for the country than finding out the truth. Personally, I think that is a major cause of the huge partisan divide in the country. It started getting really bad with the Gore/Florida episode. Millions of USians feel disenfranchised by the system, and many others constantly feel the need to justify a win they know they don’t deserve. The corruption in the US electoral system, which starts with voting, electorate boundaries, and unequal representation, is causing the people to rise up. There will be an explosion, and when the whole thing is written about, people will say they should have fixed things decades ago.

        • Linda Calhoun says:

          I would have liked to ask every Supreme Court Justice who was involved in the Bush v. Gore decision whether they would have decided the case the same way if the litigants had been on the opposite sides of where they were.

          Justices are supposed to be impartial, but in this case, they clearly were not. Each of them voted their politics, rather than the law. The positions they held consistently in other cases were abandoned in favor of them getting another vote for the presidency. It’s supposed to be illegal for people to vote twice in the same election.

          And, our Federal legal system is getting worse in that regard. Trumps nominees can’t even answer basic legal questions during their hearings. Their “qualifications” consist of how much they humped for him during the election, and how loyal they will be to him personally.

          I find this to be one of the most disturbing aspects of the Trump Presidency. The rule of law is supposed to be central to our democracy. Each judge who is appointed and confirmed who will be nothing more than a political whore undermines the system a little more.


          • I have always found the US Supreme Court a bit worrying in relation to how obvious the political leanings of the justices is. On Fox I heard a lot of talk during the Merrick Garland issue that he shouldn’t get the job because it was “correct” that the 5-4 split be maintained as if it was set in stone. The appointment of Trump’s young lackey was celebrated as returning the Court to the way it was “supposed” to be. There was mention of dangerous liberal courts, but they couldn’t name any problems with them. Actually, since the mood of the country is now more liberal, a 5-4 Dem split would at least better represent the country. However, political affiliation shouldn’t be obvious either way.

            I actually know screeds more about the US Supreme Court than I do about the NZ one simply because ours isn’t controversial. Decisions are made on no other basis than the law. Most Western democracies are the same.

          • j.a.m. says:

            If judges follow the rule of law diligently and impartially, the lamestream media labels them as hopelessly reactionary. Liberals want judges to be hip, emotional, fashionable, with-it, au courant; to mold the law like silly putty and to regard themselves as philosopher kings with limitless power.

        • nicky says:

          Yes Heather, that 2000 election was indeed a case of a ‘stolen’ election. Thousands of votes in Florida were disregarded because of ‘hanging chads’ and other such excuses, while it was clear these voters did vote for Mr Gore, not for Mr Buchanan. I lost all respect for the SCOTUS, and Scalia in particular, that year.
          I find it somehow significant that all US presidential elections since the 19th Century where the popular vote did not concur with the EC, in 2000 and 2016, there were clear indications of this kind of discarding of votes and voter disenfranchisement.
          I’m not sure there will be an explosion in the form of a popular uprising, although not unimaginable, but I think that indeed something will happen. I’d rather see the Mueller investigation bringing the corruption in the open than a popular uprising. The latter has a tendency to end badly.
          I think the worst about the system is that the different states are not obliged to have a bipartisan or independent body overseeing the elections, from registration to actual counting.

          • nicky says:

            To elaborate on that, the whole ‘primary’ system may be due for a review. There are definitely problems with this ‘direct democracy’ as found in the US primaries. Quillette has an article just about that.

          • Good article. I’ve always opposed DD, at that article highlights three reasons it’s not a good idea.

          • We had an election in the 1980s where the party that won the most seats didn’t win the popular vote. It was an anomaly of our electoral system. It was also common back then for smaller parties to get as much as 15% of the vote but not get a single seat in parliament, which people saw as unfair. So there was a campaign to change our electoral system, then a referendum on different electoral systems, then a referendum running the favourite new one off against the old one, and the new one won. So we changed it. Our system still isn’t ideal, and our own electoral commission has made recommendations for changes, but I still think it’s the fairest there currently is in the world.

            In the US there are too many people with money invested in keeping the current system, and it’s much harder to turn an ocean liner than a small ship anyway. There are also a lot of people who simply don’t want to admit that the US electoral system isn’t the best. They’re so invested in the idea of American Exceptionalism and being the World’s Greatest Democracy they won’t even look at change. The US was a great democracy when it began, but many other countries have not only caught up, they’re surpassed it. They can’t keep doing what they were doing at the time of the Revolution and expect to be the best. Times change.

        • j.a.m. says:

          Oh, my. When is this scheduled to happen?

  2. alexandra moffat says:

    All your E mails are interesting and right on – today is extra specially fun.
    Thank you for all your sharing of ideas, pictures and so much more.

  3. Yes, Asimov nailed it. But both Ms. Brusco and the compiler of the meme garbled it. Here’s the original quotation, from a Newsweek column published January 21, 1980:

    There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there always has been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that “my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.”

    It constantly amazes me that otherwise quotable memes are almost ALWAYS just…wrong. WFLA is a particularly “reliable” offender in this regard; they almost never get anything right.

    • Thanks for the correction! 🙂

    • nicky says:

      Terence, maybe I’m not reading correctly, (I have to go up and down to compare the quote in Heater’s post and your Asimov quote) but I see no difference. As far as I can see they are literally identical. Could you please clarify? I’m mystified.

      • Sure, nicky…

        If one looks at the original quotation from Newsweek, one sees that the meme has the words “always has” reversed. Say it out loud–the meme version sounds strange, at least to American ears. (There may be other errors–I didn’t check.) Ms. Brusco has the punctuation modified. If this were a spoken phrase, no big…but this was written, so we can check what Asimov actually wrote.

        Of course, none of these things makes either version unintelligible. Which is where the careless start with the “Grammar Nazi” epithets. But the point of a quotation is that it’s supposed to actually QUOTE someone. Otherwise retelling devolves rapidly into a game of Telephone.

        And so often, the misquotations just take all of the poetry out of the work. Here’s what I wrote about another common misquotation, back in 1995, when I was the Editor-in-Chief of Citations, our local bar association’s monthly magazine:


        I would now like to offer the actual text of the most misquoted aphorism ever uttered in the English language by “a wise man.” The envelope please…that wise man was George Santayana. What he actually said was this:

        “Those who cannot remember the past are CONDEMNED to repeat it.” (Emphasis mine.)

        This first appeared in Volume I of The Life of Reason, published in 1905 when Santayana was a philosophy professor at Harvard. Note that he did not say that anyone is DOOMED to anything; further, the constant butchering of this phrase cannot be ascribed to any error in translation. Despite his Spanish birth, Mr. Santayana wrote in English.


        Of course, my entire screed only makes sense if my source was careful enough to get it right. I found it here: I didn’t know how to check a 1980 Newsweek online, and let’s face it…if a site calling itself wikiQUOTE is itself garbling the original, then…

        BTW, there’s an interesting fact about Asimov: IIRC, later in life, as he closed in on it, he expressed a desire to finish publishing his 500th book. He died right after finishing No. 499. And they say that the godz don’t have a sense of humor…

        • nicky says:

          Didn’t notice, despite looking for it going up and down. I agree the original sounds better.
          Luckily it does not alter the meaning in any significant way.
          There is this Marx quote (I’ citing from memory, don’t shoot me if…) That is regularly misquoted, profoundly changing the meaning.
          “Religion is the opium for the people” instead of “Religion is the opium of the people”
          And I’m sure if we look at the quote-miners in Creationist circles we’ll get a lot more of the latter type of misquotes of Darwin, but then deliberately.

  4. Lee Knuth says:

    Paul Ryam identifies as a Catholic. Every aspect of his budget goes against the tenets of the Catholic Church. He is a hypocrite and needs to go.

  5. nicky says:

    The giant African Bullfrog is a formidable predator feeding on insects, rodents, birds, reptiles and other frogs, basically any animal they can swallow. They are big, easily 1.5 to 2 kg’s. Males are bigger than females, unusual for amphibians, and indeed males fight fiercly for territory and hence access to many females. They have 2 teeth in their lower jaw used in these fights.

    The distinction between frogs and toads only makes sense in Europe, with it’s limited number of species. In other parts of the world, with a plethora of anurans the distinction loses a bit of it’s usefulness.

      • nicky says:

        Note that the size difference (sexual dimorphism) in the African Bullfrog perfectly fits in the sexual selection theory: in polygynic species where the male competition consists in physical combat, males tend to be substantially larger than females. Stronger: just going on the size difference we can predict it is a polygynous species fighting for access to females, as is borne out by observation.

  6. j.a.m. says:

    Regarding job numbers, data released today show that the unemployment rate among African-Americans has improved a full percentage point under the current president, and has now reached the lowest point on record. Too much winning!

    • Do you actually understand economic trends and cycles?

      The current positive news is the result of things that happened in Obama’s presidency, though he can’t actually take credit for all of them either. Many are the result of international trends.

      Less jobs were added in 2017 than the previous four years. The economy is slowing down. It will probably pick up a little again in the first half of 2018, but 2019 will be bad because of the tax bill.

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