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Succumb to an Onslaught of Marketing and Branding

December 3, 2019

It’s Giving Tuesday, which means do-gooder nonprofits are besieging your social media with pleas for your money. WELL SO ARE WE and we have a pretty compelling ask, if I do say so myself: No one else is fighting fake medicine like homeopathy like we are, so why not take this opportunity to join the good guys? Unlike homeopathy, your donation is not diluted and is a very active ingredient.

Speaking of fake medicine, Marjorie Rose at Fit is a Feminist Issue has a pretty good idea: Trigger warnings for pseudoscience. Here’s why:

I am finding myself angry to the point of nearly yelling whenever someone mentions their “love languages” like it’s anything more than a convenient construct. The other day, I wanted to ram into the minivan ahead of me on the freeway with their anti-vaxxer bumper sticker. If I have to listen to one more Republican politician espouse a conspiracy theory as if it were the truth, I might remove my car radio and throw it out the window. …

… I live in a city that doesn’t fluoridate its water because a majority of the voting public considers it unsafe. These voters aren’t thinking about the consequences for the uninsured and underinsured children who don’t receive regular dental care and benefit measurably from fluoride treatments. Instead, there’s a mindset that “impurities” or “chemicals” are “toxins” and therefore things we should all want to avoid. This is pseudoscience.

Also fake medicine: William Wan and Laurie McGinley at the Post look at the rise of “stem cell therapy” clinics that bilk patients out of their life savings for, well, nothing:

Former patients of the Tampa-based Lung Health Institute said they were encouraged to take out bank loans or borrow money from family members. Some withdrew from their retirement accounts and took up church offerings. Others borrowed against their homes.

“What they’re doing is taking a predatory approach to people with progressive, fatal diseases,” said Gregory Cosgrove, chief medical officer for the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation. His foundation issued a warning this year against such stem cell therapies, noting that desperate patients continue to “succumb to an onslaught of marketing and branding.”

Alex Morris at Rolling Stone explores why Donald Trump has emerged as an idol of worship for the Christian right:

The fervent embrace of Trump seemed not just expedient, but something more insidious. If Donald Trump was to be its standard-bearer, was something in American Christianity profoundly broken? The answer to that question mattered profoundly to me.

John Stoehr at Religion Dispatches says Trump truly is one of them:

There is no such thing as abuse of power when one has been chosen by God to rule. There is no such thing as obstruction of justice when God alone decides who is worthy of justice. Since God chose Trump, only God can end his presidency, and any attempt to impeach and remove him is, by consequence, a sinful attempt to obstruct God’s will. … That white evangelical Christians believe they are an oppressed minority … should not in any way deter other Americans from fighting like hell. Their worldview is categorically incompatible with a just and equitable democratic republic. Their politics is their religion, and their opponents should act accordingly.

Is Trump as Christian as evangelicals are. Yes, it’s obvious.

Once you see them for what they are, that is.

WDAF in Kansas City reports on how folks from all different faith groups—including atheists—are working together to feed the homeless every Monday night. I love hearing stuff like this:

Volunteers from different faiths come from about two dozen local churches, synagogues and mosques. They give their time year-round, united in one goal.

“We are Christians, we are Jews, Muslim and folks from the Atheist Coalition, and we all serve side by side, knowing that these are all our brothers and sisters. And we’re just trying to do the best we can, trying to make sure that people have food and clothing,” Sharon [Cantrell] said.

Elizabeth Warren gets a question about how she’ll protect the rights of atheists, and she actually sounds super excited to get the question. She says:

So it starts with the Constitution of the United States, right? It protects anyone to worship the way they want, or not to worship at all, and I think that is powerfully important. … And I think what it means to be an American is that, at core, we recognize the worth of every single human being. That’s part one. And part two, we’re called to act on that. … If those are the core values, right down at the heart, that make us Americans, I think that leaves us all the room in the world for worshiping differently or for not worshiping at all.

Okay so it’s not an answer to the question, really, but it’s nice all the same.

The Cincinnati Inquirer reports on the confusion and frustration being caused by Ohio’s risible “Student Religious Liberties” bill:

Some teachers and administrators, meanwhile, say the various interpretations of the bill illustrate the confusion it could cause in classrooms throughout the state.

“While it was not my own personal initial interpretation, I can see how that interpretation [about incorrect test answers] can be made due to the lack of clarity,” said Joe Friess, principal at Wauseon Middle School in northwest Ohio and president of the Ohio Association of Secondary School Administrators.

Another provision of the proposed law – which removes existing Ohio law that allows schools to limit the exercise or expression of religion to lunch or other non-instructional time – is also drawing attention. Some question how educators will manage classroom disruptions and distractions if it takes effect, while supporters say it’s necessary to correct unconstitutional law.

Lawsuits over the Catholic Church’s enabling of generations of sexual abuse against children will cost them, as of now, about $4 billion. Would it were much, much more.

Looks like a justice of the peace in Texas wants to be the next Kim Whatshername. Her official warning from the state Commission on Judicial Conduct says:

Judge [Dianne] Hensley and her court staff began giving all same-sex couples wishing to be married by Judge Hensley a document which stated “I’m sorry, but Judge Hensley has a sincerely held religious belief as a Christian, and will not be able to perform any same sex weddings.” … [T]he Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct has determined that the Honorable Judge Dianne Hensley … should be publicly warned for casting doubt on her capacity to act impartially to persons appearing before her as a judge due to the person’s sexual orientation in violation of Canon 4A(l) of the Texas Code of Judicial Conduct.

Oh look a Bible that leaks oil. That’s a miracle and totally not gross.

John Kerry and Arnold Schwarzenegger and a boatload of celebrities and former politicians of varying degrees of relevance are all part of an effort to combat climate change in a campaign called World War Zero. NYT reports:

The name, World War Zero, is supposed to evoke both the national security threat posed by the earth’s warming and the type of wartime mobilization that Mr. Kerry argued would be needed to stop the rise in carbon emissions before 2050. The star-studded group is supposed to win over those skeptical of the policies that would be needed to accomplish that.

Former presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter are part of the effort. Moderate Republican lawmakers like Arnold Schwarzenegger, the former governor of California, and John Kasich, the former governor of Ohio, are on the list. Stars like Leonardo DiCaprio, Sting and Ashton Kutcher round out the roster of more than 60 founding members. Their goal is to hold more than 10 million “climate conversations” in the coming year with Americans across the political spectrum.

Hey India, this is awkward, but, uh, we found your lunar lander. It’s, um, broken.

This is the darkest timeline. Josh Brolin (you know, Thanos) reports that perineum sunning was maybe a bad idea:

Tried this perineum sunning that I’ve been hearing about and my suggestion is DO NOT do it as long as I did. My pucker hole is crazy burned and I was going to spend the day shopping with my family and instead I’m icing and using aloe and burn creams because of the severity of the pain.

The first interstellar comet ever discovered, 2I/Borisov, which has come to us across the unimaginable expanse of space, is now expected to disintegrate as it approaches the Sun BECAUSE WE CLEARLY JUST CAN’T HAVE NICE THINGS.

Linking to a story or webpage does not imply endorsement by Paul or CFI. Not every use of quotation marks is ironic or sarcastic, but it often is.