Dylann Roof’s Manifesto

A picture from Dylann Roof's Manifesto; 1488 means "We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children, Heil Hitler"
A picture from Roof’s website; 1488 means “We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children, Heil Hitler”

If you’re at all interested in how Dylann Roof decided to murder 9 black churchgoers, the internet has discovered his manifesto.

One of the most interesting things about it, though not at all surprising, is that internet hate sites were key to Roof’s development of racial animosity.  He claims he was raised in a non-racist household and in a mostly non-racist environment.

The event that truly awakened me was the Trayvon Martin case. I kept hearing and seeing his name, and eventually I decided to look him up. I read the Wikipedia article and right away I was unable to understand what the big deal was. It was obvious that Zimmerman was in the right. But more importantly this prompted me to type in the words “black on White crime” into Google, and I have never been the same since that day. The first website I came to was the Council of Conservative Citizens. There were pages upon pages of these brutal black on White murders. I was in disbelief. At this moment I realized that something was very wrong. How could the news be blowing up the Trayvon Martin case while hundreds of these black on White murders got ignored?

The Council of Conservative Citizens was formerly the White Citizens Council.  They are dedicated to the separation and segregation of the races.  The first post on their website today is them mourning the loss of the 9 lives in Charleston.  An early post says this (they obviously haven’t seen the manifesto yet):

Continue reading “Dylann Roof’s Manifesto”

Dylann Roof’s Manifesto

Politicians trying to make Charleston shooting about anything but race

I’m just trying to collect all these quotes in one place — please comment if you know of any I’ve missed.

Dr. Alveda King: The motivation, it’s insanity, it’s rage.  Race can be behind it, I’m not going to deny that, but the man who shot my grandmother… in Ebenezer Baptist Church the mother of Martin Luther King, Jr. was gunned down by a black man… he was outraged, he was making his statement about the times… So now this disturbed young man, I understand he’s caucasian and he shot black people and that’s not good, but evil is not just limited to color.”  “It’s a lack of value for HUMAN life, you know I’m going to say that as director for African American Outreach for Priests for Life.  You kill babies in the womb, kill people in their beds, shoot people on the streets, so now you go into this church where people are praying…”

Nikki Haley: “While we do not yet know all of the details, we do know that we’ll never understand what motivates anyone to enter one of our places of worship and take the life of another.”  “Parents are having to explain to their kids how they can go to church and feel safe, and that’s not something we ever thought we’d have to deal with.”

Rudy Giuliani: “We have no idea what’s in his mind. Maybe he hates Christian churches.”

Rick Santorum:  This is one of those situations where you just have to take a step back and say we — you know, you talk about the importance of prayer in this time and we’re now seeing assaults on our religious liberty we’ve never seen before. It’s a time for deeper reflection beyond this horrible situation.”

Tim Scott: “…this senseless tragedy at a place of worship – where we come together to laugh, love and rejoice in God’s name – is absolutely despicable and can never be understood.”

Lindsey Graham: “Every decent person has been victimized by the hateful, callous disregard for human life shown by this individual. Our sense of security and well-being has been robbed and shaken.”  (Because Graham is likely to be targeted for execution by racists?)

Dr. Ben Carson: “In my lifetime I have seen such great progress. Though racial based hate is still very much alive as last night so violently reminded us. But I worry about a new hate that is growing in our great nation. I fear our intolerance of one another is the new battle ground of evil. Today many feel it is ok to hate someone who thinks differently than you do. The left hates the right. The right hates the left. This attitude is poison. Poison that will sicken all of us.”

And for a bit of a palate cleanser:

Bernie Sanders: The Charleston church killings are a tragic reminder of the ugly stain of racism that still taints our nation.

Politicians trying to make Charleston shooting about anything but race

Fox News on Charleston: Not about race or politics, about hating Christians

Dylann Roof of Columbia, SC, wearing a jacket with apartheid era flags from South Africa and Rhodesia
Dylann Roof of Columbia, SC, wearing a jacket with apartheid era flags from South Africa and Rhodesia

I shouldn’t be surprised by what Fox News does ever, but I have to tell you, their response to the shooting in my home state has me furious.  In a segment on Fox and Friends, they discuss the shooting as an Attack on Faith, fail to mention Reverend Clementa Pinckney’s role as a State Senator, and don’t even mention the race of the shooter and victims until the very end of the segment, when they do so only to s0w doubt — instead they choose to speculate on the anti-Christian motivations of the shooter and suggest that pastors need to start arming themselves to kill intruders.  Turn the other cheek while you reload.

“If we aren’t safe in our churches then where are we safe?” asks Elisabeth Hasselbeck

Continue reading “Fox News on Charleston: Not about race or politics, about hating Christians”

Fox News on Charleston: Not about race or politics, about hating Christians

Secular Students Week: Interview with Scholarship Winner Kendall Lovely

Kendall Lovely
Kendall Lovely

It is Secular Students Week this week — which means I get to share an interview with one of the students and I share with you that they’re fundraising! The SSA is trying to get 500 donations by the end of June 17 to unlock a $20,000 challenge grant — the great thing about this goal is that it’s about how many people give, not about how much they give, meaning that everyone can have a big impact regardless of how much they can give.

I was a member of the SSA as a PhD student, it’s responsible for my meeting many amazing activists, including my fiancé, and I am now on the board of the organization to help it meet its goal of being more social justice oriented.

If you’re looking to understand the work that SSA is doing on the ground and how it’s helping students, one of the Secular Student Alliance’s scholarship winners from last year, Kendall Lovely, took some time to talk about the scholarship, her activism, and the SSA.  It’s an interesting read whether you’re interested in donating or not, and I’m particularly excited about the way Kendall is dedicated to both secularism and feminism in her activism.  Close to my heart!

Why did you apply for a scholarship from the Secular Student Alliance?

I was looking for outside sources of funding, just enough to get through graduate school applications, and I thought that I could make a case for my activism through the SSA scholarship. I don’t often come across scholarships out there specific to the sort of organizations that I’m involved with as a secular person and a feminist, so I decided to give this one a try.

How has getting an SSA Scholarship helped you with your activism?

Continue reading “Secular Students Week: Interview with Scholarship Winner Kendall Lovely”

Secular Students Week: Interview with Scholarship Winner Kendall Lovely

My Top 5 on Patreon: Atheism, Art, and Education

There are a lot of great creative projects on Patreon worth supporting, but since I’ve just joined (support me here), I thought I’d highlight the ones that I’ve supported because of their awesomeness.

1. Crash Course — Education

Crash Course is one of my favorite things in the universe. Before they were on Patreon, I supported them on Subbable, and before they were on Subbable I supported them by watching everything they produced on YouTube and evangelizing to my friends.  It is run by John and Hank Green, the Vlogbrothers, and my personal heroes.  I highly, highly recommend their history courses.

We create free, high-quality educational videos used by teachers and learners of all kinds. That’s all we want to do. After 200,000,000 views, it turns out people like this. And our videos aren’t just for schools; the majority of our viewers, around 60% – 70%, watch Crash Course without being currently enrolled in an associated class.

So far, we’ve taught Chemistry, World History, Biology, Ecology, US History, Psychology, Big History, Literature, and we’re in the middle of Anatomy and Physiology, Astronomy, US Government, and World History (again.)

Continue reading “My Top 5 on Patreon: Atheism, Art, and Education”

My Top 5 on Patreon: Atheism, Art, and Education

Expecto Patreon-um & 1 Million hits today, my 3rd Anniversary at FtB

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Today I am launching a Patreon — if you get nothing else out of this post, GO SUPPORT MY PATREON.  If you can’t afford to give, even just raising awareness about it for me would be awesome.  I lost my job last week right before I found out I have narcolepsy, so really, any help supporting myself through writing is appreciated, even just shares or a dollar a month.

If you’re not familiar, Patreon is a way of becoming a patron of the work that I do – I produce cool and interesting things, and you pay me a little bit for each of them; you can even put a monthly cap on how much you’ll pay. Aside from rewards for your contributions, everything I write will remain available on my website and YouTube, donating here is just a way of making sure I have the ability to keep doing what I’m doing, but more and better.

Here are some of the rewards:

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Today is also the third anniversary of my blog’s existence at Freethought Blogs and I’m on track to break 1 Million hits today.  It’s pretty cool that these things are all happening simultaneously!  And tonight is the first game of the USWNT at the World Cup!  Wooooooo!!!


Expecto Patreon-um & 1 Million hits today, my 3rd Anniversary at FtB

Women’s World Cup 2015 Predictions Spreadsheet

America... America... AMERICA, FUCK YEAH
America… America… AMERICA, FUCK YEAH

It’s been a helluva week on a personal level, but I’m completely stoked for the Women’s World Cup which starts Saturday.  All of the games are being shown on Fox, Fox Sports 1 or Fox Sports 2, and theoretically you can stream them through FoxSportsGo (I can’t get it to work) if you’ve got cable or pay $19.99 for a month of subscription to the online service FoxSoccer2Go — I’m waiting to buy mine until the last minute to make sure I get the final match in my month, because hopefully it works like that.

Anyway, before every world cup I like to do a FIFA spreadsheet that uses the FIFA rankings to predict the winners of every match.  This year I threw in the 538 rankings as well, and they actually did predict slightly different games.


It’s worth noting that games never go the way my spreadsheets predict, they’re just a fun exercise in what “should” happen.  You can also download it and update it as games are played to predict based on actual results.  I will be doing that at least once, before the round of 16 begins.

Some cool takeaways: Continue reading “Women’s World Cup 2015 Predictions Spreadsheet”

Women’s World Cup 2015 Predictions Spreadsheet

Adventures in a Definite Narcolepsy Diagnosis: Part 4, I’ve got Narcolepsy

I officially have Narcolepsy with Cataplexy.  I also, as of next Friday, have no job because they’re getting rid of my department and restructuring at work.  It’s been a bit of a week.  I will write up the doctor’s appointment, my test results, and quite a bit more on this subject, but I know there are some people who just want to know the answer.  I also may try to put together a Patreon like Miri has done, now that I am going to be unemployed with these fancy new medical bills, so I guess keep an eye out for that. Yay America.

Narcolepsy with Cataplexy

Congrats to the 23 people who guessed I had Narcolepsy, you win!


Poll Results

Previously: Part 1, How I got Here
Part 2: WTF is Narcolepsy?
Part 3: The Sleep Test
Next: Part 5, The Doctor Visit (Coming soon)

Adventures in a Definite Narcolepsy Diagnosis: Part 4, I’ve got Narcolepsy

Taslima Nasrin is now safely in the US, help support her

I have been holding my breath for, I don’t know, maybe a month, waiting for Taslima to get to the US.  It’s been in discussion for a while, but it was made to happen only recently.  Taslima was named as a target by the same people who’ve killed 3 Bangladeshi atheist bloggers and I’m so, so excited that we got her safe.  It was a covert rescue operation, and it was successful.

Of course, Taslima is now in the US without a job and relying on the support of atheists for her basic needs.  The CFI is raising money to help support her and, once they’ve met the financial goal for that, they’re going to put the money towards getting more atheist bloggers out of unsafe spaces.  The tragedy, of course, is that we’ll never be able to raise the money to get everyone out who is in danger, but no one deserves to be killed for their beliefs.


Because of the very real danger to her life, Taslima has decided to leave India. We at the Center for Inquiry are doing all we can to keep her out of harm’s way. But we need your help.

Please give now so we can help Taslima and other courageous defenders of free expression and secularism.

If we raise more than is needed for Taslima, we will use the remainder to establish an emergency fund to help assist other dissidents in similarly perilous situations.  Without going into detail, CFI has already been contacted by other writers on the subcontinent who have received threats against their lives and who have requested assistance. We are withholding their names for their own safety.


Taslima Nasrin is now safely in the US, help support her

Adventures in a Possible Narcolepsy Diagnosis: Part 3, Sleep Test

Scheduling the test was an insurance nightmare.  As it turns out my ACA insurance (the second most expensive plan offered in the South Carolina Marketplace) doesn’t cover a single sleep specialist in the state.  I’d have to drive to Charlotte, NC, or Augusta, GA, to find a sleep specialist in my plan.  I even called the insurance asking for help and they wanted to send me to pulmonologists that have no special training in sleep disorders — in as much as pulmonologists deal with breathing issues, I thought that this was not the appropriate choice, so I decided to reach out to a lot of people to see what the deal was.  I never heard back.

The sleep test itself, however, was covered, just not a doctor to diagnose me based on the results, as long as I went to the Catholic hospital’s lab and not the sleep specialist lab.  Of course, covered it is still a lot of money, but nearly $4,600 less.  With this and the other expenses of all the appointments I’ve gone to trying to figure out what’s going on and know I will go to, I’m going to be out about $1,800 in medical costs, and that’s before I even try to treat the thing (assuming there is a thing)… hopefully the sleep lab takes installments :/

Screen Shot 2015-05-31 at 12.46.13 PM

Most people who go in to get a sleep test are there to see if they have sleep apnea (hence why the recommendation of a pulmonologist) but I was scheduled for a night before when they’d have someone come in during the day to do a nap test.  To get diagnosed with narcolepsy you do an overnight sleep test to see what it looks like when you sleep at night called the PSG.  The PSG is not enough to diagnose narcolepsy, it’s mostly to eliminate other diagnoses and make sure you sleep enough hours before you do your nap test.  You have to sleep at least 6 hours to be allowed to take the nap test.

I was really worried about the whole thing.  I’d read horror stories of people having allergic reactions to the glue, being woken up repeatedly by their lab technician, not being able to sleep at all because of anxiety, and many other stories.  In my mind, I imagined a room like a surgical room or MRI room — bright white with lights shining down on a twin hospital bed being poked and prodded and attached to hundreds of wires.  I was afraid I’d be locked in without food or ability to leave.

I was way off about what the room was like.  It was essentially the same as any hotel room.  Television, snacks, water, attached private bathroom, big comfy chair, big comfy bed.  And a creepy camera to watch me all night.  The night stand was covered with what I assume are CPAP machines of some kind.



My sleep tech was awesome.  She answered all my questions and we laughed about Rachel Maddow.  It was great.  It took a really long time to get all the wires and things on me, so it was great to have someone fun to talk to beforehand.  I arrived at 8 and I was put into bed just before 10.  There was another woman there being tested for narcolepsy.  Interestingly, she was also a ginger, which I find interesting because the only person I know with narcolepsy is my partner’s mother, who is also a ginger.  Once I had all the wires on me I was extremely worried about falling asleep, especially because I never go to bed at 10pm, that’s so early for me.



I did have a little trouble falling asleep — it took probably ten minutes instead of my normal 5.

I woke up a lot all night.  Even though I sleep with earplugs, every noise jolted me straight up in panic.  I didn’t, however, have any sleep behavior, I think because I had to stop taking any stimulants.  The tech woke me up messing with the climate control because I was too warm and that apparently messes up the test.

Then at 6AM, which is about 3 hours earlier than I go to bed, her voice woke me up over the intercom.  And she came in and unhooked me and, while she couldn’t tell me anything about my results, did say that I had slept all night and fallen right back asleep when woken, and I had been “in REM a lot.”  That points to Narcolepsy, but it’s hardly conclusive.  I got unhooked from many of the wires so I was much more comfortable.


My night tech was replaced at 7am with a day tech who was perfectly nice but not as awesome as the night tech.  She was in charge of the MSLT, “Multiple Sleep Latency Test,” which everyone just called the nap test the whole time.  For the MSLT, you take 4-5 naps and they see how long it takes for you to fall asleep AND whether you go into REM when you nap (this is called Sleep-Onset Rapid Eye Movement or SOREM).  At 7:40am, I got put down for my first nap.  I did that thing where I was pretty sure I had napped because time was wrong and I had some vivid images happening in my head and I was super groggy when the tech came in to wake me up and I was definitely *woken* up.  She asked if I had slept, I said I thought I had, and she asked if I had dreamed, I said I thought I had.  Both of those things are also associated with narcolepsy :/

We repeated this little dance at 9:40, 11:40, and 1:40.  I got increasingly emotionally unstable at being forced to get up out of my naps, I almost cried I was so frustrated at her after the 1:40 one, which felt both ridiculous and completely justified.  I got the sense that she’d dealt with some actual tantrums, because she was so apologetic.

At the last sleep test, I was struggling to stay awake even before it started, but the computer started acting up.  I ended up being in a dark room in a comfortable bed fighting to stay awake for 20 minutes while she tried to fix the computer.  Ultimately, she came in and explained that even though this lab always does 5 tests, only 4 are needed for diagnosis if the results are clear, so I didn’t need to do the last test — so either I definitely do or definitely don’t have Narcolepsy.  As she started to unhook me, I tried to get more information from her, and asked, “Could you see me dreaming?” because I knew I had slept and I had felt my eyes going wild, but I wasn’t sure I had dreamed.  She said, “I can’t tell you that, but I can tell you that’s why we don’t need a fifth test.”  That sounds a lot like, “Yeah, you’ve got Narcolepsy,” but it could be, “No, you didn’t dream at all, lady.”

So, it looks like I have every symptom of Narcolepsy, every comorbid disorder or behavior, AND like the tests have confirmed it EXCEPT I don’t know for sure about the cataplexy or the test results.

Do I sound like someone in denial?  Or like someone trying to talk myself into the diagnosis? I’m not sure. Maybe I should run a poll.

After not hearing anything for 2 weeks, I called the sleep doctor office because no one at the lab answers the phone and I didn’t know who else to call.  The receptionist told me she had my results literally sitting in front of her and I needed to schedule an appointment with someone to get them.  This means that I have to go see someone out-of-pocket.  Great.  I feel like I’m being extorted for money just so I can read a test result which I’ve already paid for.  *sigh*  But I agree because what the hell else am I supposed to do and they’ve been very nice and everything.  June 3rd.  11am.

A week later, a nurse from my primary care physician’s office called me.  My PCP had seen my test results and I really needed to get in to see a sleep doctor, they could treat my sleepiness, and had anyone called me?  I confirmed that I had an appointment and asked if the nurse could tell me what was on the results.  She said she couldn’t, because my doctor hadn’t written down a diagnosis so she just didn’t know what the test meant.  SIGH  Again, it sounds a lot like there’s a diagnosis of Narcolepsy sitting on that sheet of paper, since my PCP is making me go to a specialist for treatment, but maybe she just thinks that whatever is going on is outside her area of expertise and it could be anything.  So tantalizingly close to knowing, so far away.

Wednesday Wednesday Wednesday.

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Previously: Part 1, How I got Here
Part 2, WTF is Narcolepsy?
Next: Part 4, I’ve Got Narcolepsy
Part 5, The Sleep Doctor (Coming Soon)

Adventures in a Possible Narcolepsy Diagnosis: Part 3, Sleep Test