Comey’s memo leaked!

Why Evolution Is True

And it was released on Twitter! Here it is, courtesy of the eagle-eyed Matthew Cobb.  Even if l’affaire Flynn doesn’t get Trump impeached, the way he eats steak surely will. 

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Comey memo: Is Trump finished?

Why Evolution Is True

The events of yesterday may have given Trump’s presidency a fatal blow. First, it’s come to light that former FBI director James Comey wrote a memo to himself in February, noting that Trump had asked him to stop the FBI’s investigation into Michael Flynn. Flynn, you’ll recall, was Trump’s national security advisor, but resigned when it came out that he likely had improper contact with Russian officials before the election.

The New York Times story below (click on picture to access) suggests, if Comey’s memo is authentic (and it seems to be), that Trump engaged in obstruction of justice. That’s a crime. And it’s an impeachable offense. Here’s what Comey reported when sources read parts of the memo to newspaper reporters (it hasn’t been seen by any of them):

Mr. Comey shared the existence of the memo with senior F.B.I. officials and close associates. The New York Times has not viewed…

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Churchill on free speech

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BBC television episode reporting climate change won’t be shown in the U.S.

Why Evolution Is True

Okay, this is from the Daily Mail, but let’s assume it’s reliable. Backed by BBC One, David Attenborough wrote and presented Frozen Planet, a seven-part television series on the natural history of the polar regions.  The last episode, “On Thin Ice,” is about how humans are wrecking this environment via anthropogenic global warming.

Guess what? Although the Discovery Channel is showing the show in the United States, they bought only the first six episodes, omitting the one on global warming. The reason is obvious, even to the Daily Mail:

A poll earlier this year found that the majority of Americans believe that if climate change does exist, it is not caused by humans.

Fifty-three per cent of Republicans say there is no evidence of climate change, while the number is far higher among Tea Party supporters, with 70 per cent saying the theory is ‘junk science’ pushed by…

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HuffPost publishes post urging that white men be disenfranchised, first defends it and then removes it because it was a hoax

Why Evolution Is True

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“Muslims are the true feminists”: HuffPo lies to itself and its readers

Why Evolution Is True

UPDATE: This article appeared on the new HuffPo, and after writing this piece I realized I’d criticized the identical article a year ago, here. Well, so I’ve done it twice. My takes aren’t the same, so if you haven’t read the other one, read this one instead. Better yet, read both, as the earlier piece, which is shorter, has other information about the “feminism” of sharia law.  The piece shows that PuffHo is brain-dead, killed by Toxic Regressive Leftism.


Well, I’m sorry folks, but, like a dog returning to its own vomit, I keep returning to the HuffPo, breaking my vow that I was done with them. The laws of physics dictated otherwise: I could not have done other than write this post. And my also-determined justification for returning to that odious site is that HuffPo may be the premier “clicky” source of news for Lefties, since it…

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Banning early evening gaming ads on TV is like being ‘a little bit pregnant’

The Conversation

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While gaming advertising will be banned before 8.30pm, the ban doesn’t extend to perimeter advertising or on-air mentions of betting odds. From

Simon Chapman, University of Sydney

Early this month, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull made his family friendly announcement that advertising for gaming, including sports betting, would be banned from television and radio before 8.30pm each night, plainly a message about reducing exposure to children. The Conversation

The “siren to siren” ban, which will cover all sports broadcasts on TV and radio except racing, will start five minutes before matches start and end five minutes after full time.

We don’t know when this will start, but you can probably get low odds somewhere on implementation taking as long as possible.

Just as you can’t be “a little bit pregnant”, you can’t have a partial ban.

Turnbull’s announcement said nothing about on-ground and perimeter advertising, TV commentators and their guests mentioning betting odds or the many sneaky ways direct advertising bans were subverted by the masters of the art, Big Tobacco.

No kid watches sport after 8.30pm, right?

Just take a nanosecond to think about what has been promised. Yes, the policy will take direct advertising of gambling out of pre-8.30pm sport. But last time I looked, the State of Origin, all day/night cricket, major world events like the World Cup and the Olympic Games, and Grand Prix events all run well after 8.30pm.

While most seven-year-olds may be tucked in bed before 8.30pm, many older kids stay up much later. So picture the living rooms across Australia as armies of parents say to their 12-year-olds, “Look I know it’s the decider State of Origin match and the game kicked-off only 15 minutes ago, but the TV is going off now because the betting ads are starting up in a minute.”

That’s just certain to work very, very well. Perhaps exactly as well as the gaming industry’s public support for the package would predict.

Former Labor front bencher Stephen Conroy, now with Responsible Wagering Australia told Sky News that Sports Bet “absolutely welcomed” the new package.

This should set cynicism meters off the dial. If this move had even the remotest chance of having any impact on the betting industry’s bottom lines, it would fight it tooth and claw, in the way we saw with tobacco plain packaging.

Gamble responsibly

The relentless TV betting ad postscripts that remind us to “always gamble responsibly” are as sincere as Big Tobacco urging smokers to smoke lightly.

The 2010 Productivity Commission report on gambling in Australia estimated that problem gamblers contributed about 40% of gaming revenue via poker machines. The report identified about 115,000 Australians as “problem gamblers” with a further 280,000 people at “moderate risk” of being a problem gambler.

There is no definitive national estimate of how common problem gambling is among people who bet on sports. But a 2014 study in the ACT indicated rates of problem gambling among internet gamblers were three times greater than for gamblers in general and on a par with rates for people gambling on poker machines or on racing.

The bottom line is that problem gamblers are the backbone of the gaming industry’s fortunes. The industry would be devastated if these fortunes somehow dried up.

Incremental tobacco advertising bans

The history of restricting tobacco advertising is likely to point to what’s ahead in reforms on how gambling promotion.

The last time a direct tobacco advertisement was seen or heard on Australian TV or radio was in August 1976. The Whitlam government introduced the policy, which was continued by the Fraser government. Direct cigarette advertising on radio and television was phased out over the three years between September 1, 1973 and September 1, 1976.

The decision was framed as a way of reducing the exposure of children to tobacco advertising. Obviously, the proposition was that kids were a prime target for tobacco companies and their advertising was a powerful way of conditioning interest in smoking in young people.

So, direct tobacco ads on TV and radio could help kids take up smoking. But the very same appeals in ads in print, on billboards, in shops and as sporting and cultural sponsorship apparently could not. This was the bizarre logic in governments at the time banning tobacco advertising in only selected media, but not across the board.

As ordinary commonsense and research highlighted the inanity of this policy, governments incrementally increased the number of media where cigarette ad bans applied. It took from September 1973 until April, 30 1996 (when tobacco sponsorship of cricket finally ended) for all forms of tobacco advertising and promotion to end in Australia. That’s 22 years and 8 months from start to finish.

If we count branded packaging as a form of advertising (as the tobacco industry unequivocally agrees it is) then we need to add another 16 years and 7 months. That’s until plain packaging was implemented in December 2012.

Children seeing sports betting ads can’t participate in online gaming because they don’t have credit or debit cards. But they are a vital audience for the future of the industry. It is in the industry’s interests to beguile them about gaming as early and for as long as possible until the day they can open their first betting account.

Simon Chapman, Emeritus Professor in Public Health, University of Sydney

This article was originally published on The Conversation. (Reblogged by permission). Read the original article.

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Portland student reporter fired for reporting public statement about Islam’s demonization of nonbelievers

Why Evolution Is True

This story, of course, is covered by only right-wing sites (e.g., here, here, and here), but do you expect the liberal press to report on the left-wing vindictiveness of the student press? At any rate, we have video documentation and the testimony of the reporter himself.

The skinny: Andy C. Ngo, a student reporter who works for the student paper Vanguard, was covering (apparently unoffically) a student interfaith panel held April 26 at Portland State University, a notorious home of Regressive Leftist Students—and also of my friend Peter Boghossian, mentioned below.  The College Fix then reports what happened:

Ngo has covered the persecution of atheists and “apostates” in Muslim countries for The Vanguard, and he’s a member of Freethinkers of PSU, which was represented on the panel by student Benjamin Ramey.

After the Muslim student, who organized the panel, took a question about whether the…

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The Extended Evolutionary Synthesis and causality in biology

Footnotes to Plato

IMG_8298I have just spent three delightful days at the Konrad Lorenz Institute for theoretical biology in Vienna, participating to a workshop of philosophers and biologists on the question of how to think about causality, especially within the context of the so-called Extended Evolutionary Synthesis, the currently unfolding update to the standard model in evolutionary theory (for more on the EES, see here).

The workshop was organized by my colleagues Kevin Laland and Tobias Uller, and hosted by the delightful Gerd Müller, an old friend of mine. In an informal sense, this was a follow-up to a meeting that Gerd and I organized at the KLI back in 2008, to explore the very meaning and conceptual boundaries of an EES, and which resulted in the publication of this book about the effort.

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Free article on the Scopes Trial

Why Evolution Is True

Scientific American recently made its January, 1959 issue available free to the public, but you have to go through a complex procedure of registering, ordering it for $ 0.00, and then downloading it when your order is accepted. Reader Barry has done the work for us and sent me a pdf of the issue.

The reason you want it is that it contains an article by Fay-Cooper Cole, who was an expert witness at the Scopes Monkey Trial of 1925, in which lawyers like Clarence Darrow and William Jennings Bryan fought it out over John Scopes, a high-school teacher arrested for violating Tennessee’s Butler Act forbidding the teaching of human evolution. Though it was mostly a show trial to attract attention to Dayton, Tennessee, Scopes was convicted and fined, but the judgement was overturned on a technicality about who levied the fine.

The death of Fay-Cooper Cole two years after…

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