The Guardian must take headlining lessons from the HuffPo

Blazoned across the spiffy new tiled format of The Guardian‘s website were the words, “Amelia Earhart aeroplane fragment identified.” I know these words, and I know that in their particular order they necessarily imply A) there is a piece of an airplane, and B) it has been identified as belonging to Amelia Earhart’s erstwhile Lockheed Electra. Continue reading


Gay conversion therapy false advertising?

Writing for The New York Times, “third year law student” Jacob M. Vitter provided to one and all his solution to ending gay conversion therapy for good:

Despite the nearly universal consensus — including the professional associations that represent America’s pediatricians, psychiatrists, psychologists, school counselors, social workers and marriage and family therapists — that “conversion” or “reparative” therapy is ineffective, harmful or both, its practitioners, many of them affiliated with religious groups, continue to advertise messages like “change is possible.”

Under commercial law, this is the very definition of a deceptive trade practice. Victims could sue practitioners for damages in state courts. With support from the Southern Poverty Law Center, several former patients did just that in 2012, seeking damages under New Jersey’s Consumer Fraud Act from an “ex-gay” group called Jonah (Jews Offering New Alternatives for Healing). The plaintiffs cited Jonah’s false promise that it could “cure” their homosexuality — for which it charged $100 per individual therapy session. Last July, a state judge refused Jonah’s request to throw out the case, which could soon go to trial.

Lawsuits? Sounds like a conflict of interest to me…

If suggesting the mere possibility of results in the face of scientific evidence to the contrary is enough to justify a false advertising suit, then what’s stopping skeptics from suing the snot of out every acupuncturist, chiropractor, and Mona Vie peddler in the lower 48? Couldn’t we do the same to preachers who promote prosperity doctrine, or the power of prayer? Can’t the same rationale apply to any peddler of woo?