“Has God forsaken the Republican Party?”

It’s about time someone asked, and Dana Milbank has.

One of the most interesting possibilities is that hurricane Isaac will hit Tampa, where the GOP convention opens on Monday. if you don’t remember how the GOP-ers interpret weather, Milbank reminds us:

By their own logic, Republicans and their conservative allies should be concerned that Isaac is a form of divine retribution. Last year, Rep. Michele Bachmann, then a Republican presidential candidate, said that the East Coast earthquake and Hurricane Irene — another “I” storm, but not an Old Testament one — were attempts by God “to get the attention of the politicians.” In remarks later termed a “joke,” she said: “It’s time for an act of God and we’re getting it.”

The influential conservative broadcaster Glenn Beck said last year that the Japanese earthquake and tsunami were God’s “message being sent” to that country. A year earlier, Christian broadcaster and former GOP presidential candidate Pat Robertson tied the Haitian earthquake to that country’s “pact to the devil.”

Previously, Robertson had argued that Hurricane Katrina was God’s punishment for abortion, while the Rev. John Hagee said the storm was God’s way of punishing homosexuality. The late Jerry Falwell thought that God allowed the Sept. 11 attacks as retribution for feminists and the ACLU.

Even if you don’t believe God uses meteorological phenomena to express His will, it’s difficult for mere mortals to explain what is happening to the GOP just now.

Father’s age a factor in autism and schizophrenia

Or so new research in Nature and reported in the NY Times suggests. (The Nature discussion is very interesting, btw.)

The report seems to me to have political dimensions that can pull us in very different directions. On the one hand, it still seems to me amazing to see any questioning of the idea that it is only women who face a ticking reproductive clock. On the other hand, you know that the chances are very high that there is a lot of ablest thought that the research is going to inspire, and may well have been inspired by.

Let me add in that as a parent, the thought that one’s child might not be able to earn a living is utterly terrifying. Perhaps especially in the US, the fate of at least fairly markedly neuro-atypical adults can be very awful indeed.

Having said that, let me ask that if anyone has information on what people with markedly neuro-atypical children can do to plan a safe future for the child after they have died. Supposing, that is, that they don’t want to be academics. (JOKE!)

Not giving any more money to Romney

Mr Jender and I just spent a couple of hours transferring all of our banking from Barclays to the Coop. Barclays is now claiming that it doesn’t actually pour money into Mitt Romney’s campaign, it just happens to have lots of executives who get together and do so. But Mr J and I were already pretty unhappy about the Libor scandal. And the Cooperative Bank, with its ethical investment policies, seems a nice change. And it was all much easier (so far!) than I had expected it to be. UK readers, you may want to consider doing the same.

Transvestite-bashing from the Huffington Post

The UK version of the Huffington Post has caused a stir recently for publishing a ridiculous piece of transvestite-bashing. As far as I can tell, the article has no purpose other than to point out to readers that transvestites are, y’know, weird and stuff. That’s some hard-hitting journalism for you.

Sean Bean recently played a transvestite in a British TV serial (“The Accused”). And so the Huffpost asks “Is it still okay to find Sean Bean sexy, now that we’ve seen him in a dress?” That’s the entire point of the article. Really.

Here’s a choice bit:

He’s a bona-fide British heart-throb, a man’s man, a Sheffield Blade from his football club tattoo to his four broken marriages and afternoons in the pub. But now we’ve seen him trying to run for his life in heels. . . It might be a while before we get over this and accept him on horse-back, brandishing his weapons, giving his narrow-eyed stare and enticing fair maiden with his silent but strong charisma.

You see, Sean Bean used to be all hot and manly. But then he wore women’s clothes. Which is obviously weird and very unmanly. So now we have to ask ourselves whether it is okay (in reference, I’m guessing, to the objective Plantonic standards about what it’s appropriate to crush on) to still find him sexy.

Nice one, Huffington Post.