Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Lack of God in schools = killings, beatings, rapes, and rampant sex (eek!)

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Pastor T.Estes of HardTruth is quite the amusing character. Once again, he falls right into his propensity for using ridiculous fallacies that a five-year-old with Down Syndrome would laugh at. Take a look at this post, where he describes how horrible “[r]emoving God from our education” has been for kids and society:

Let me ask you; does anyone really think removing prayer, the Bible, and any mention of God as our Creator has helped anyone? Have we really grown as a society by teaching our children that the only person they should be accountable to is themselves?

(And to others … and to the legal system … and so forth …)

Plenty of people one can be accountable to other than themselves, you know.

But here, the real stoopid begins flowing:

If you believe things have improved, let me give you some stats that come from a book written by William Jeynes:

  • Murder arrests among 13-18 year olds is five times the 1962 levels.

  • Murders by girls are also five time their 1962 levels.

  • Aggravated assaults by girls are up five times since 1962.

  • Rape among 13-14 year old boys are three times their 1962 levels.

  • Teen pregnancies among unwed teens is seven times higher than it was in 1962.

  • Half of sexually active adolescent males had their first sexual experience between the ages of 11-13.

Still believe removing God from our educational system was a good move?

First of all, I have no idea whether these numbers are accurate, as I have not crossed-checked them with other survey and study results (and frankly, I’m not bored enough to do so). I know nothing of Jeynes’ book, or about him. What I do know, is that whether these statistics are accurate or not, is completely, totally and utterly irrelevent to God being removed from schools. To claim that the rise of secularity in classrooms has anything to do with the rise of violence is to fall into the old “correlation-vs.-causation” fallacy. The fact that two things are present at once indicates nothing without some hard evidence to support their correlation, and this hard evidence is exactly what Pastor Tom has nothing of.

Yet, just when you think the Pastor has sufficiently shot himself in the foot with his stupid claims and lame suppositions …

And when you look at our public schools today, this is clearly the situation; you have a lot of people who believe in God, yet still lack the basic fear of Him needed to be a productive member of society, and that's the HardTruth.

… he goes ahead and shoots his entire leg off. Yes, Tom, the only way anyone can lead a decent life and become a productive member of society, is to fear God. You can not do it because of necessity, or personal pride, or out of the joy in helping others, or simply as to not mope around the house bored to death all day. Nah … gotta fear the flying fairy.

Any doctors in the area? We need a psychiatric consult here

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Preferably, one ending with the diagnosis of “raving mad insanity”. Subject: Glenn Beck (no surprises there). Topic: his exceedingly strange screed against atheists and religious “nones”.

There really isn’t much to be said about this video, other than to mock it or select your favorite insanity quote.

So, of course, you know certain crackpots will be all over it in half-a-second flat.

(via Pharyngula)
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How to treat humans like non-humans

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Georgia has some of the harshest laws in America, particularly when it comes to sex offenders and how to deal with them. Recently, a story erupted over how a group of such offenders, who aren’t allowed to be within a thousand feet of any public areas where children gather (including schools, churches and parks), were forced to live in a makeshift tent city in the woods.

What’s even more fair than to cast these people out into the woods (literally)? How ’bout this: they’re now being expelled from the woods, even if they aren’t even allowed to actually live anywhere else, either.

William Hawkins, 34 (convicted at 15), next to his tent in the woods MARIETTA, Georgia - Georgia probation officers tried to line up temporary housing on Tuesday for nine homeless sex offenders who were kicked out of a makeshift tent city behind a suburban Atlanta office park where state officials had directed them to live.

State officials ordered the offenders to leave Monday night after The Associated Press reported details of the unique arrangement, said Cobb County Sheriff Neil Warren. Many met with their probation officers Tuesday and were told that authorities were trying to find them hotels, shelters or other temporary places to live.

And, of course, they’re obligated to notify state authorities of their new residence after moving. Despite them not having any, which doesn’t count as a valid excuse.

For that “human factor”, let’s profile one of these homeless offenders. Here’s an account of what William Hawkins, currently 34 years old, has gone through thanks to these draconian laws and measures:

Hawkins, who was in prison for violating probation by failing to register as a sex offender in Georgia, and others had tried to make the muddy camp relatively comfortable. They cooked food on a donated grill, took showers under a bag of water they filled up at the office park, and were storing away wood for the coming winter.

[…]

"He's constantly in my mind. I always wonder where he's going to get his next meal, where he's going to shower," [his wife] said. "I wouldn't wish this on my worst enemy."

And what did Hawkins do to merit such a pitiful existence?

The former truck driver has been on the registry since he was convicted of attempted sexual battery of a 12-year-old in 1991 when he was 15.

Yes, in the minds of the heartless and amoral politicians who peddle these heinous laws “to protect the children”, anyone who does something stupid at 15 years old – because, you know, 15 is the universal age for committing stupid acts – basically has the rest of their lives ruined, like this. The guy made one stupid mistake (of which we don’t know any details, mind you) at an age known for being where people make stupid mistakes, and now, nearly two decades later, he’s still homeless, despite having a wife, a family, and a perfectly suitable support system available back home.

I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again, and people should be screaming it from their rooftops: justice has left the Justice System, along with morality and humanity. How else can one explain their treatment of humans, even criminals (who may or may not deserve the title of “sex offenders”), as mere junk to be thrown away at their leisure?

(via The Agitator)

Stupid Quote of the Day: Dembski on Darwin, the imperfect atheist god

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Poor William Dembski; he seems to have gotten his panties in a twist over Blasphemy Day (which is all good, you know, as any atheist event with which such kooks as Dembski and Donohue actually agree just isn’t worth anything), and in response, he basically reacts like the childish and petty man we all know him to be:

Since Darwin is their god, it would be interesting to submit to this contest true statements about Darwin's less than divine attributes.

Seriously? This is what he comes up with? “Oh, you insult our god, huh? Well, fine then, I’ll insult yours!” (I’ll neglect to point out, for the thousandth time, the ridiculousness of hailing Darwin as anything more than a brilliant scientist and the father of the ToE, and by extension, all of modern biology. A god, he is not.)

(Oh, wait, I just did point it out. Oops.)

(via Dispatches From the Culture Wars)

Obama, the Son of Africa

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From Rev. Austin Miles, chaplain/writer/moron, comes more evidence pointing to the deluded having so ability to comprehend metaphors or figures of speech (other than their own ridiculous ones, perhaps):

Then, yesterday a session of the United Nations began in New York. Libyan leader, Moammar Gadhafi, who was supposed to have limited speech time, raged on for a full 90 minutes during which he praised Obama and then said: "We Africans are happy, proud that a son of Africa governs the United States of America." How's that again? Did he unintentionally expose once and for all that Obama was born in Africa? A "Son of Africa" would be said of someone born there.

He who fails to understand how the phrase “son of Africa” refers to all Black people, instead of being taken literally to designate someone who was born in Africa, is not someone whose words anyone else should be giving credence to.

(via Dispatches from the Culture Wars)
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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Ha, I knew they were lizards

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Today’s edition of Pearls before Swine shows us exactly how predators can sneak into prey’s homes for their dirty deeds.

‘Pearls before Swine’: letting religious folks in just because they say “God loves you”

I fail to count the number of levels on which this WINs. =P

(via Friendly Atheist)
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Honoring the anniversary of a great country, and economic crises = same thing, really

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I’m bored, so I thought I’d mention yet another stupid quote from Vox Day. Because I can.

New York's iconic Empire State Building will light up red and yellow Wednesday in honor of the 60th anniversary of communist China.

Allow me to translate:

Dear People's Republic of China,

Please don't stop buying our debt. Please, for the sweet love of Chairman Mao, don't stop buying it!

Yours submissively,
Wall Street

Oy. Of course, it can’t just be a tribute to a long-standing and ever-growing superpower. Nah – it has to have some subliminal meaning. China is taking over America, of course. (Second are teh Moslems, and then teh gayz.)

Tell you what, though. If anything ever does have a hidden signification, Vox is one of the last people to look towards for finding it out correctly.

The latest atheist bus ad campaign hits … Saskatoon!

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Just as “Blasphemy Day”, however silly I personally think it is, is just around the corner, we have the arrival of a new atheist bus ad campaign. Frankly, this may be my favorite yet. Soon appearing on buses in the largest city in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan, courtesy of the Saskatoon Freethinkers:

Saskatoon bus ads: “Don’t believe in [heaven-miracles-creationism-hell] God [angels-Satan-reincarnation-prayer]? You are not alone.”

This is great on many levels. Other than the non-provocative and non-denigrating message and phrasing (even if we never know how nutjobs will react to passive, even friendly, messages), which is the best way to try and communicate a point to others after all, the ad doesn’t just focus on atheists’ disbelief in God, but also on all that other hokum such as heaven and hell, creationism, angels, the devil, and the idea that there’s anyone other than yourself to hear your prayers.

After all, being an atheist may be about the mere lack of belief in any deity(ies), but the rational mind will also exclude all that other superstitious nonsense. This ad provides a great rallying point and idea for any closeted rationalists out there, effectively enabling it to reach even larger audiences than otherwise.

At least, that’s how I see it.

(via Friendly Atheist)
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Pointers for atheists and Christians

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First of all, an honest “sorry!” for the lack of posts for these past few days. I could say I was busy, but this is only half-true, as technically, I was busy reading online stories. So, make of it what you will. -_-

Anyways, thought I’d take the time to slip in a quick post here. First thing I found whilst searching for blogging fodder was a post from – yet again – Pastor Tom Estes’ blog. It once again showcases some facepalm-worthy silliness and ignorance regarding atheists (big surprise, coming from a blog with the tagline that includes the gem, “Exposing the Atheist Agenda” …). For once, though, the tripe doesn’t come from T.Estes; he merely agrees with it.

Here you go, five things anti-atheists wish atheists would (or wouldn’t) do:

Here are five tips for my atheist friends to help them seem nicer and more reasonable.

1.) Stop being so smug.[1]

2.) Don’t assume every piece of Christian evangelism is directed at you – we want the undecideds, not the decided-uns.[2]

3.) Admit that the debate about God’s existence is complex – and that it can, depending on your presuppositions, be quite possible for intelligent and rational people to intelligently believe in an intervening deity who communicates through a book.[3]

4.) Admit that the scientific method – which by its nature relies on induction rather than deduction (starting with a hypothesis and testing it rather than observing facts and forming a hypothesis) – is as open to abuse as any religious belief, and is neither objective nor infallible.[4]

5.) Try to deal with the actual notions of God seriously believed in by millions of people rather than inventing strawmen (or spaghetti monsters) to dismiss the concepts of God – and deal with the Bible paying attention to context and the broader Christological narrative rather than quoting obscure Old Testament laws. By all means quote the laws when they are applied incorrectly by “Christians” – but understand how they’re meant to work before dealing with the Christians described in point 3.[5]

It seems St. Eutychus shares a brain with HardTruth (so no wonder T.Estes agrees so completely with this silliness). Let’s begin the dissection:

Monday, September 28, 2009

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Poland slowly sinking into inhumanity

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This post contains some opinions of mine that I don’t share very often, for the reason of them being quite … anti-norm, so to speak. Read if you like, but if you don’t like what you find, don’t come crying to me. You’ve been warned.

One thing that has me riled up every time I encounter it is people’s continuing, seemingly obtuse, failure to distinguish between sexual deviants, and sexual criminals. Arguably the best example to use here would be with pedophiles. Pedophilia is merely the “sexual attraction to children”, according to dictionaries. It is not the act itself of harming children, molesting/raping them, and so forth. That is not pedophilia; that is, well, molestation/rape, brought on by pedophilia in those cases. Being sexually attracted to kids, and actually acting on those impulses, are two vastly different things. Pedophilia itself is not a crime, any more than it is a crime to be heterosexual, gay, zoophile, or anything else. Reminding me of the great Dumbledore Quote from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets: “It is not our abilities who define who we are, but our choices”. Replace “abilities” with “ingrained, uncontrollable[1] impulses”, and you get the picture.

This may seem like an odd little outburst, only I’m sick and tired of people being castigated, ostracized and demonized, with varying levels of intensity and hatred, for things that they cannot control. You can control your actions, but you cannot control your impulses. They do not go away just because they’re wrong, can cause harm, or because you don’t want them. Being a pedophile is not a choice, and I am getting seriously irked that most people continue to operate under the belief that it is. One doesn’t choose to be attracted to kids, no more than heteros choose to be attracted to the opposite gender, or gays to the same gender, or zoophiles to animals, and so forth. They just are.

What matters, is whether they choose to act or not on these impulses. A pedophile with a good heart who would sooner rape himself (figure of speech) than an innocent kid, is no more dangerous than anyone else who loves kids. Because of this vicious and unfair anti-pedophile climate, innocent people, with urges they neither want nor control, can get seriously hurt.

Such as in Poland, thanks to a new law enforcing castration for pedophiles.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Friday Canine: Hey, there's two of us!

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(via SwissEduc)

Pastor Tom finally says something (half-)true

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T.Estes of HardTruth (wow, do I seem enamored by his brand of stupidity these days, or what …) comes up with a post that, for the most part, is actually perfectly accurate (and Lord knows how often that happens), devoid of delusions until the last line:

How Atheists View the Bible

I think this is a pretty good representation of how atheists feel about God’s Word.

“The Holy Bible: 66 fairy tales written by 40 authors in three different languages, on three different continents, over approximately 1600 years.”

But of course, we Christians know different.

Oh? Pray tell, how so? Hmm?

Orly Taitz, the walking joke

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Things just can’t stop going downhill for the wackaloon “lawyer” and head of the Birther movement, can they? This latest series of events is just fit to make us all crack up: first, she represents a military soldier who wanted to eschew her duties on the grounds that Obama is illegitimate and unsuitable for presidency. So Orly files the lawsuit, but is rejected by Judge Clay Land, who’s had enough of her bullshit, and who also threatens to sanction her should she waste any more of the court’s time. Princess Nutjob isn’t happy with not having her delusions humored, so she goes on a screed against Land, calling him a Soviet-lovin’ traitor (and, which still stings, likening herself to Nelson Mandela). As a result, an official complaint is filed against Taitz.

Then, funniest of all (well, almost – more later), Captain Connie Rhodes, the birther soldier who hired Taitz in the first place, wanted to disassociate herself from the loon and even filed grievance against Taitz for her “reprehensible and unprofessional actions”. Still waiting on Taitz to call Capt. Rhodes a commie traitor for canning her ass.

But now, here comes the best bit yet. In a supreme attempt to keep her motion afloat, Taitz is now claiming that the letter Capt. Rhodes sent to the courts asking for Taitz to be reprehended, is a forgery.

Seriously.

Birther attorney Orly Taitz tells TPMmuckraker she believes a letter sent by her now ex-client renouncing Taitz -- in a case alleging that Barack Obama's birth certificate is a forgery -- may itself be a forgery.

This, coming from the woman who’s filed a gazillion stupid lawsuits based on forged and faked evidence and documents. I don’t see how she could possibly still lose credibility here. She’s already well into the negative hundreds now.

(via Dispatches from the Culture Wars)
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Stupid Quote of the Day: Chuck Baldwin and OBAMA THE COMMIE (redux)

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From the idiotic wingnut and former presidential candidate for the horrendously-named “Constitution Party”, Chuck Baldwin, who rages against the commie horror that was allowing people to fly the Chinese flag in a public park next to the White House last weekend in honor of the 60th anniversary of the People’s Republic of China:

Lest anyone doubt the communist leanings of President Barack Obama, look no further than to his decision to hoist the Red Chinese flag (for the first time in history) over the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, D.C., on Sunday, September 20.

Utter nonsense. First of all, there is little that is more routine, even customary, than allowing other countries to hoist their national flags next to the American flag during White House events and such. But this wasn’t even the case here: the White House had nothing to do with this. The celebrators merely obtained a permit to use to public park adjacent to the White House, with no actual White House involvement.

And as for his claim of the White House displaying the Chinese flag “for the first time in history” … oy vey, the stupidity. (And mind you, that’s just one time found on Google.)

(via Dispatches from the Culture Wars)
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Creation finds a U.S. distributor!

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Well, at-frickin’-last! The oh-so-controversial Darwin biopic, which had up ’til now been snubbed by the American film biz out of fear that its content matter – you know, chronicling the life and times of the father of the Theory of Evolution – would prove too negatively rousing for the American Christian audiences, is finally gonna be aired on American soil.

NEW YORK -- Indie distributor Newmarket is back on the acquisitions scene, picking up U.S. rights to Toronto International Film Festival opener "Creation."

Chris Ball's and Robert Fyvolent's company has sealed the deal for Jon Amiel's pic about the life of Charles Darwin, and will aim for a December release.

Newmarket is the same company that also distributed breakouts like Momento and The Passion of the Christ. They do seem fond of giving potential movies a good upstart. It’s also quite clever of them to be aiming for holiday audiences, even if it means we still have a few months to wait before seeing the film.

(via The Friendly Atheist)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Stupid Quote of the Day: Pastor Tom (again) on praying in government meetings

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The Freedom From Religion Foundation is organizing a rally against the use of Christian prayer at government meetings in North Richland Hills, Texas. Their rationale is that it should be up to the individual should they want to pray or not, without having prayer demanded from everyone. Damn straight, no?

Pastor Tom says no:

After reading the Constitution, wouldn't you say that we have the free right to pray before a council meeting if we want to? Of course we do, but groups like the FFRF don't care about our freedoms, they care about pushing their beliefs on everyone else. Just like atheists have the right NOT to pray, Christians have the right to pray, regardless of our location, and that's the HardTruth.

*Sigh* So bloody stupid. One day, T.Estes, and other cranks like him, might get it through their abnormally thick skulls that no-one is taking away anyone else’s right to pray. The FFRF is merely stopping the government from imposing prayer, usually Christian prayer, upon everyone at the assembly at the start of meetings. To claim otherwise proves one to be either illiterate, or of sub-normal intelligence.

In the case of Pastor Tom, he’s consistently shown himself to be both, to varying degrees.

Wingnut hypocrisy on attacking the U.S. “on foreign soil”

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Another silly right-wing notion is that whilst criticizing the U.S. on American soil is A-okay (unless you’re a commie liberal, of course), daring to speak ill about any part of America when you’re on “foreign soil” suddenly becomes an impardonable offense. It’s also interesting to note how this “outrage” always seems to come from the right whilst being aimed at the left, yet whenever it’s a conservative who says anything critical of America or its government … suddenly, the angry voices mysteriously fall silent.

For example, just ask Bill Clinton. When he criticized the Vietnam War whilst at Oxford, he was attacked. In 1992, then-President Bush Sr. disparaged the fact that Clinton “mobiliz[ed] demonstrations in a foreign country” when kids were being deployed to die in a useless war that would put even the modern Iraq conflicts to shame in their pointlessness.

Then, when Clinton had the audacity to actually apologize in America’s name (this time, for the States’ history with slavery), Tom DeLay also flamed him, accusing him of “apologizing for the actions of the United States” as though it were somehow a bad thing to show some humility and acceptance towards the fact that, yes, America did some bad things in the past.

And yet … Now, Sarah Palin is in Hong Kong and eagerly lambasts the Obama administration, using nothing but the same, tired old canards and ridiculous accusations (read: clueless assertions).

Of course, I couldn’t care less about who said what about which country, wherever they are, if said criticism is actually accurate (which, of course, is another story for Palin). It’s their right to criticize anyone, from anywhere. But … where’s the right-wing outrage? The anger at someone daring to criticize the U.S. “on foreign soil”?

Huh. Nothing. That says something, doesn’t it?

(via Dispatches from the Culture Wars)
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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Pastor Tom and the atheist media agenda

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Pastor T.Estes of HardTruth, having been absent from the blogwaves yesterday (and assuredly depriving me of good blogging fodder), now returns with a new load of silliness:

Well, The Media Research Center, a conservative media watchdog group, has released a study that shows around eighty percent of all coverage of atheism is positive, and none of their coverage was negative. That's right, not one atheist received negative coverage.

Oh, dear! You mean to say that a mindset led by rationality and reason is covered favorably by the media, and that the people who adhere to such a school of thought are treated with respect? Poor Christians! … I think.

And conversely, seventy-one percent of all Christian stories were either told from an atheist perspective, or offered the atheist position in addition to the Christian point of view.

Uh, looks like you’re confusing atheism with secularism here, Tom. Any media company worth a damn is pragmatically obligated to cover events and stories from a nonreligious, secular perspective (hence why Fox Newz doesn’t). Secularity is not atheistic, no matter how much dunderheads like you like to repeat it.

Tom also posts a YouTube video on this very subject:

Neil deGrasse Tyson on Stupid Design

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Watch as our favorite skeptic (well, favorite to some of you, no doubt) greedily tears into “Intelligent Design” and leaves it a shredded, bleeding corpse. (Speaking of which: mild graphic content warning during a mention of aborted fetuses.)

(via God is for Suckers!)
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A show of solidarity behind Jericho Fire Chief Don Payne

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Earlier this month, Don Payne, the Fire Chief for the small Arkansan town of Jericho, was shot by cops in the back, in court, over a minor scuffle whilst he tried to contest two traffic tickets he’d gotten in the same day. Then, because the cops cannot be accused of anything and anyone who opposes them has to be shut up, it was announced that Payne would be charged with battery, despite not having actually assaulted the cops (and much less injured anyone).

Now, in a move to declare their support for their ailing Fire Chief, all 18 of Jericho’s firefighters have walked out.

As honorable as the sentiment and actions are, this raises problems. Already, Jericho has lost its police department when the Police Chief disbanded it last week as a response to this whole affair; not only does the town not have any criminal protection, but now they won’t be having anyone to come and put any potential fires out. I understand how showing support for wronged innocents is important, but at the same time, surely it isn’t wise to do so at the expense of other innocents, the citizens who may need firefighting help sooner or later?

(via The Agitator)
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This just in: Fox Newz is a whore

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Arguably the clearest indication that a media company has turned into nothing more than a praise-seeking groveler with no credibility whatsoever is when said company goes around seeking advertisement and positive soundbytes from high-ranking public figures. Now, Jesse Watters, that irritating little attack lemming-of-a-producer Bill O’Reilly often sends out to ambush those who dare to criticize him, was caught doing just this, interviewing politicians in the hopes of getting them to go on-camera promoting the Fox Newz website. David Weigel, who was covering the Values Voters Summit over the weekend, has the details.

Jesse Watters, the infamous Fox News producer who’s sometimes dispatched to ambush people who’ve said mean things about Bill O’Reilly, made the rounds of the Values Voter Summit–I watched him interview Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.) with some of the friendliest questions I’ve ever heard. At the close of that Cantor interview, Watters asked the second-ranking Republican in the House to say something to his “fans” at Fox Nation. “Keep clickin’ on Fox Nation,” said Cantor.

What was the point of that? It was one of the interviews contained in Watters’ “behind the scenes” look at the summit, which consists of Republicans like Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), Gov. Rick Perry (R-Texas.), and former Gov. Mitt Romney (R-Mass.) shouting out to readers of the conservative site.

“FoxNation.com and my fans there,” said Romney, “they’re the best.”

“Fox Nation,” said Bachmann, “you rock!”

I’d post the video here, but for some reason the stupid code won’t work.

They even got (whom I’m fairly certain is) Carrie Prejean, the girl whose cranial substance has been sucked out and injected into her breasts. Give the poor girl a break – how much more well-deserved ridicule can she take?

Fox Newz has turned into a veritable How Low Can They Sink? contest. Kinda like the totality of the Republican party, come to think of it.

(via Dispatches from the Culture Wars)
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Quick little joke: sleepy bear

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A bear is about to hibernate. He lies down and just before closing his eyes, he says to himself: ‘I hope I won’t have the same dream as last year’.

From Michel Beaudry of the Journal de Montréal.

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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Texas State Board of Education sinks ever lower

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The Texas BoE just keeps sinking deeper into patheticness. After having lost the right to insert Creationism Intelligent Design into science classrooms as an “alternative” to the Theory of Evolution (though they successfully implemented the much-woe’d “strengths and weaknesses” system), the kooks at the head of the Texan educational system have spent the last few months deliberating on which “version” of history to teach. (Because, I suppose, the one taught in actual history books isn’t good enough.)

However, just when you thought things were getting stupid, especially with their attempts at history revisionism, it suddenly gets a whole lot more downright insane:

On day one of hearings in Austin, disagreements flare over the importance that should be given to civil rights leaders including Cesar Chavez and Thurgood Marshall.

On the other side some members are looking at adding mentions of people like Newt Gingrich and Rush Limbaugh to the curriculum.

What. The. Fuck.

Rush Limbaugh? I mean, Newt Gingrich is debatable, perhaps (after all, he led the “Republican Revolution” which brought the GOP back to the majority after 40 years of Democratic rule, which is something) … but Rush fucking Limbaugh? They are seriously considering including that fat, odious, sub-moronic gasbag-of-a-radio host as a “civil rights leader”?! Which fucking planet do they come from? What movements has he led, except the ones that have successfully turned the majority of Republicans into unthinking, blinded sheep and imbeciles (along with Beck, Hannity, O’Reilly and all those other scoundrels)?

This is stark raving mad, even by Texan standards. I’m seriously starting to pity any kids stuck in such a disastrously fucked-up educational system, if these pathetic, incompetent cretins are at the head of it.

(via Pharyngula)
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Another vid that makes me wish I wasn’t stuck in a concrete wasteland

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YouTuber Samron is one lucky girl. Just look who decided to have a bout of fun on her trampoline one day:

Way too damn cute. I’ve also just learned that the fox is apparently second only to kangaroos as far as jumping real high goes.

(Wait – don’t ’roos jump for distance, not height? Me all confused now …)

(via L.A. Unleashed)
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How very telling (yet completely unsurprising)

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Not much more to say about this:

GOP approval rating graph

The South is like its own little country, ain’t it?

(via The Daily Dish)
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Chuck Norris on 9/12 teabaggers and tea-stained flags

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Ah, Norris. One of the icons of Rethuglican dumbassery. Here, he’s talking about those ridiculous “tea party” protests that were carried out on September 12th, as per Glenn Beck’s infamous “9-12 Project”:

What I loved about the 9/12 idea is that it was a non-political, non-partisan movement. The 9-12 Project was designed to bring Americans back to the place where we were on Sept. 12, 2001 - the day after America was attacked by terrorists. We were not concerned then with red states, blue states or political parties. We were united as Americans, standing together to protect our nation.

Right, and what better way to unite, “as Americans”, than to swarm the capital and accuse the President of being a communistic, baby-killing, grandma-offing, terrorist-loving, Hitler-esque, traitorous illegal alien?

And all of this, on the day following the anniversary of the most horrific and tragic terrorist attack in American history. Yeah, he’s truly patriotic.

By which I mean, he and his band of shitheaded, illiterate, teabagging mongoloids are the true traitors here.

But, wait – it gets even better! Why not add some flag-staining to that?

So what do you say we make a statement by flying a different flag, and educate our neighbors when they ask us, "Why are you flying that flag instead of the contemporary stars and stripes?" (If you insist on posting a modern U.S.A. flag too, then get one that has been tea stained, to show your solidarity with our founders).

Wait, hang on. Now, this über-patriot is proposing people actually stain the Flag of the United States with tea? Ooh, how … allegiant! (The link above leads to WorldNutDaily’s shopping center, where you can buy tea-stained flags for yourself. Because, of course, nothing says “proud to be American” than commercialization of stupid ideas.)

Now, of course, let’s just glibly slide over the fact that any Democrats, or anyone else, who ever dared to so much as smudge the precious starred-and-striped cloth with their evil fingers, much less stain it, would instantly be decried as an America-hatin’ traitor. Because this is the sort of silly stuff Republicans just love to go utterly apeshit over.

(via Dispatches from the Culture Wars)
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Monday, September 21, 2009

Have we killed God?

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One of the most polarizing questions floating around these days is about whether or not modern science has disproven God. We hear it all the time, and the answers received, along with the reasoning behind them, are vastly varied. Whether they are “no”, “yes”, or “I don’t know”, people always seem to have a differing opinion from the rest on the matter. There is no consensus, even amongst those of the same belief in God’s existence (of lack thereof).

First of all, it might be important to note what exactly I’m talking about here. When I say “God”, I’m talking strictly about the Christian God, the deity from the Bible (and, perhaps, any other deities from similar molds). There are, of course, endless other possible gods and deities from all the possible religions and faiths out there; some of them may be applicable in this post, others may not.

Unsurprisingly, this being a society made up primarily of believers (with atheists, agnostics and the likes forming a lowly 15–20% of demographics, according to most surveys), the usual answer one will get is that, no, science has not truly challenged or denied the existence of God. After all, how can it? We’re talking about a being that cannot be seen, felt, heard, smelled, observed or tested in any way. Science cannot measure what doesn’t physically exist.

However, even if something cannot be seen or tested, that doesn’t not mean we cannot “prove” its existence. When something cannot directly be tested, the next step is to try and observe its effects on the world around it. Take black holes, for example. You know, those cosmic bodies so unimaginably dense that even light (which travels at over 290,000 miles per second) cannot escape? We cannot measure them in any way; instead, we observe what black holes do to the astral formations around themselves. This is how we know they exist, and even how we can begin to theorize just what they might be like.

This very same example can be used to try and prove, or disprove, the existence of God. If we can indirectly measure the characteristics, effects and behavior of an object by observing how it affects the world, then logically, this is how we can make a case for God and his power: by searching for his influence in the innumerable processes that make the world work as it does.

And so, we have searched for his influence in the world around us, for many, many years, applying all of our not-inconsiderable knowledge, expertise and logic skills. And what have we found?

You tell me.

Anti-gay marriage cognitive dissonance, anyone?

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It’s rare to see an article with only two short paragraphs carry so much meaning:

In the first Des Moines Register poll since the Iowa Supreme Court overturned a statutory ban on gay marriage in April, Iowans are evenly divided on the issue with 41% saying they would vote for a constitutional ban and 40% opposed to a ban.

However, the overwhelming majority of Iowans -- 92% -- say gay marriage has brought no real change to their lives.

Shorter Iowans: “Who cares if it has no repercussions whatsoever? Ban it anyway! ’Cuz we said so.”

*Sigh*

(via a tweet from Veritas)
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Maybe we should pity Orly Taitz by now

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This is perhaps becoming the wackjob “lawyer”’s most embarrassing affair yet (worse still than her appearing on The Colbert Report a while back and obviously not even realizing she was having her nuts grilled). A few days ago, Taitz represented a soldier who wanted to eschew her orders on the grounds that Obama was ineligible for presidency. However, when she brought the matter to court before Bush appointee Judge Clay Land, the judge had no interest in hearing about Taitz’s “frivolous” lawsuit and, what’s more, threatened to impose sanctions should she try and waste his court’s time again.

Naturally, poor missie dingbat was pissed and went on a screed, accusing Judge Land of being a traitor, a commie, and so forth (and worst of all, comparing herself to Nelson Mandela. That still freakin’ stings). As a result, an official CA bar complaint was filed against the kook.

That’s not the end of it, though. There’s never an end to Orly Taitz’s lunacy. Now, Taitz filed a motion for reconsideration – in the same court. You know, the one with the judge that had very clearly and publicly told her to sod off lest he sanction her.

Plaintiff Connie Rhodes files this request for stay of Deployment pending Plaintiff's Motions for Rehearing and to Amend and/or Alter Judgment pursuant to Rule 59(e).

But now, just in case you aren’t dying of laughter yet, here comes the real good part: you know that soldier whom Taitz represented, Capt. Connie Rhodes? The one who refused to do her job on grounds that Obama wasn’t the real president? Apparently, she never asked for Taitz to file this new motion in her name, and now, she wants to be disassociated from the crackpot.

I do not wish for Ms. Taitz to file any future motions or represent me in any way in this court. It is my plan to file a complaint with the California State Bar due to her reprehensible and unprofessional actions.

This is hilarious and piss-in-pants ironic on so many levels. For one thing, you know you’re a miserably failed lawyer when even your own client – who also shares your ridiculous beliefs (such as in the Birther movement) – demands you be reprimanded and punished for behaving like an lunatic ass.

Oh, God. What’s next? (Well, I think we all know what’s coming next: of course, Taitz is gonna declare Capt. Rhodes to be another one of them Soviet-lovin’ commie traitors.)

(via Dispatches from the Culture Wars)
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Monday Grainy Cuteness: Who goes there?

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When what you say doesn’t really sound right …

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This pastor is either quite arrogant, or a neat little joker:

“Pastors feed & lead. Members swallow and follow. Pastor J L Peake”

Sadly, I’m willing to believe that he says this with a perfectly straight face.

(via Pharyngula)
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Sunday, September 20, 2009

Non-apologies and non-corrections

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Back on the subject of the travesty that is the new, abridged 304-page edition of Darwin’s On the Origin of Species being spread across American schools through Ray Comfort and boytoy Kirk Cameron, I’ve just come across a post from Comfort himself (on his blog) where he tries to assuage us ticked-off atheists (and others with scruples in general) in assuring us that he’s now toned down the anti-ToE, anti-Darwin message of his 50-page intro. Unfortunately, as is customary with Ray, he completely misses the friggin’ point – possibly worse than ever.

It's now heading for 100 universities and 100,000 copies, and it will be the entire book (every jot and tittle).

Except for over half the contents, which were necessarily taken out to reduce the book from its original 600-plus pages to 304. And I’m certain that no important info will have been removed, of course. Naturally.

Thanks to advice from Atheists and others, the new Introduction will address Darwin's "racism"--and how he was truly a gentle-man who was admantly against slavery.

And it will qualify his apparant denegration of women. Besides, the moral character of Charles Darwin is irrelevant to the Theory of Evolution, just as the Theory of Relativity should stand on its own merits, and not on the morality of Albert Einstein.

Here, Comfort is completely missing the point. (Actually, if I didn’t know him better, I’d say he was setting up red herrings just to try and present his efforts in a benign light that they do not deserve.) First of all, that your “introduction” makes false and long-debunked claims against the man Darwin himself is totally irrelevant to the Theory of Evolution – like you’ve just said yourself.

Which brings us to my second point: if attacks on the ToE’s father himself (even if false) are irrelevant, and you actually admit to this, then why are they still in there, regardless of how you may change them around a bit? The fact that you both realize that they are ad hominem accusations, and that you nevertheless choose to leave them in, demonstrates how your intro is really just one large ad hominem against Darwin himself.

I will also make it clear that Hitler abused his theory, and is also irrelevant to whether or not it's true.

Again, if its irrelevant, then why mention it?

I want this Introduction to be fair-minded, free from prejudice against Darwin, no straw men or quote-mining. I'm sure many of you won't believe that, but it's the truth.

You know what? I actually do believe that Comfort is being honest in what he says, that he believes it is true and that he is right. That’s the major problem here. He is so used to being dishonest, it’s been a natural reaction to him for so very long, that he literally doesn’t even notice it anymore; it’s ingrained in his very nature, mind and words, tainting everything he says, everything he does.

And as is the case with most Creationists, I daresay. (Most, because there are undoubtedly some, if not plenty, who are more-than-aware of how blatantly dishonest and hypocritical they are, but just don’t care.)

When innocent children and teens are prosecuted for growing up normally

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There’s just no better way to broach the subject of this post, one that has me simultaneously depressed and outraged, than with these two graphics:

Sex offender average ages graph
16-year-old “sex offender” (now 18)

Where does this come from? I, for one, have just spent the last half-hour thoroughly burning myself out reading this blog post from Classically Liberal.

Now, I almost wish I hadn’t. I hate reading things that leave me feeling shitty.

The post is basically an analysis of sorts, of the great sex offender hysteria currently rampaging across the U.S. (and likely elsewhere, even if we don’t hear about it). The madness that pushes the common people – ie. the mob – to demand that anyone who does anything remotely sexual with underage kids or teens, even (or especially) if they are kids or teens themselves, be prosecuted in the worst possible ways: by taking the sledgehammer of justice and shattering their lives forever.

It’s a very difficult post to read; you will be both outraged and terribly saddened. I know I was. Here are just a few choice quotes:

StormTruthers!

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This video’s been floating around for a few days now, and quite frankly, I’m not really sure why I haven’t posted it here yet. Anyway, here ya go: Stormtroopers reminiscing about the Death Star on its one-year-since-it-was-blown-up anniversary.

The satire is delicious.

(via Respectful Insolence)
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Here’s a novel idea for attracting tourists: scare the crap out of them

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Look, I don’t know anything about the small town of Kalona, Iowa. For all I know, it could be a wonderful little burg, with pleasant people and pretty scenery. I just think they’ve really chosen one hell-of-a wrong approach towards attracting tourists to visit and spend time in their little town, as you can see here:

KALON, IA - Imagine you're taking a road trip, when you see the flashing lights in your mirror. It's probably the worst feeling you can have.

People traveling through the Washington County town of Kalona Thursday had that feeling, and they weren't even speeding.

Every day thousands of vehicles pass through Washington County on US Highway 218. Many don't notice the small towns listed on the signs. But at least for one day Larry Moeller is going to change that.

"We're planning on catching a northbound out of state tourist," said Chamber of Commerce member Larry Moeller. "We'll go up to the car and ask them if they have about 20 hours to spend with us here in Kalona," he added.

In other words: their fine plan is to chase down passing cars with a police-arrest-like set-up, and once the pulled-over folks have sufficiently crapped in their pants wondering what the heck they did wrong, the tourist-seekers put on their cheery smiles and go, “Hiya! Wanna spend time in Kalon?”.

Lemme know how that works out.

(And that’s not to mention the fact that some of these passers-by may actually be in a hurry to get somewhere, as demonstrated by how they once pulled over a group that were rushing to get to a hospital. Really, this isn’t a wise move at all.)

(via The Agitator)
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Bill-O receives Irony of the Year Award

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Recently, Bill O’Reilly was set to give a speech in acceptance of some award at the Values Voter Summit. However, when the press arrived, they were surprised and dismayed to find this:

Sign banning the press from O’Reilly’s acceptance speech

Wanna die laughing? Guess what award Bill-O was receiving at the time?

The “Media Courage Award”.

It is now customary for buffoons to receive honors for their openness and frankness towards and about the media, whilst simultaneously drop-kicking the press out of their speeches and events, it seems.

(via The Agitator)
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This just in: Oklahoman schoolkids are ignorants

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Wanna feel depressed this morning? Knew you would. Now, just check these results from a survey carried out in Oklahoma that reveals how many schoolchildren can (or can’t) answer basic questions from the U.S. citizenship test:

Question % of Students Who Answered Correctly

What is the supreme law of the land? 28

What do we call the first ten amendments to the Constitution? 26

What are the two parts of the U.S. Congress? 27

How many justices are there on the Supreme Court? 10

Who wrote the Declaration of Independence? 14

What ocean is on the east coast of the United States? 61

What are the two major political parities in the United States? 43

We elect a U.S. senator for how many years? 11

Who was the first President of the United States? 23

Who is in charge of the executive branch? 29

To be fair, I myself can only answer 7 out of those ten questions … but then, I was brought up to learn about Canadian history and civics stuff.

So really, you should pity me doubly more for that. I do.

(via Dispatches from the Culture Wars)
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A response to Comfort & Cameron’s “revised” On the Origin of Species

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A few days ago, came the announcement that the new, abridged (read: mutilated) version of Darwin’s masterpiece from Ray Comfort and his little minion, Kirk Cameron, complete with that notorious 50-page Creationist “introduction” from the Banana Man himself, would be freely distributed amongst dozens of schools of higher learning across America in what has got to be the single most wide-spread and misleading Creationist advance in recent times.

Half of me demands to know how such dishonest horseshit can still be legal, whilst the other half screams to correct the endless lies and hypocritical tripe spewing like submachine gun fire from Cameron’s crooked mouth.

Anyway. There are ways to deal with such loathsome and rank dishonesty, and for further info, I now turn you towards this fantastic response from none other than ZOMGitsCriss:

Instead of passing around a copy of the book with the 50-page “intro” torn out (and shat upon), maybe we should just distribute viewings of this video. It’s perfect.

(via Friendly Atheist)

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Kids in a bathtub = CHILD PORNZ!!!1!!eleventy!

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I am getting so sick and tired of all these wild-ass child porn accusations being flung left, right and center, usually to end up with something that no sane or reasonable person could ever label as kiddie pornography. Pics of naked kids in a bathtub = CHILD PORN. Personal-use home video featuring naked kids running innocently around the house = CHILD PORN. Any inch of flesh exposed = CHILD PORN, basically. It’s utterly ridiculous. You’d expect people to be able to distinguish between cute photos, and actual child porn – but then, expecting most people to be reasonable about anything these days is just stupid.

Here’s just the latest example of this child porn hysteria. An Arizona couple took a few innocent photos of their three little girls during bath-time – a crime that probably 99% of parents in the world are guilty of – and later went to have the pics developed at Walmart.

You can imagine what happened next:

Lisa and Anthony "A.J." Demaree's three young daughters were taken away by Arizona Child Protective Services last fall when a Walmart employee found partially nude pictures of the girls on a camera memory stick taken to the store for processing, according to the suit.

The Peoria couple's attorney said Walmart turned the photos over to police and the Demarees were not allowed to see their children for several days and didn't regain custody for a month while the state investigated.

Neither parent was charged with sexual abuse and they regained custody of their children — then ages 1 1/2, 4 and 5 — but the Demarees claim the incident inflicted lasting harm.

[…]

Richard Treon, the lawyer for the Demarees, said the images of the girls were part of a group of 144 photographs taken mostly during the family's vacation in San Diego.

There were seven to eight bath- and playtime photos of the girls that showed a "portion or outline or genitalia."

"There was nothing sexual about it," Treon said. "This is a parent's worst nightmare."

Thankfully, the parents have decided to sue, but I don’t think Walmart is the right target to aim their rightful furor at. After all, it’s not the retail giant that took their kids away and accused them of creating child porn, but the idiotic Arizona Child Protective Services. They’re the ones who should sizzle in the frying pan of courtroom justice for a while over this travesty.

In the end, though, these two should probably count themselves lucky, considering how much worse things could’ve turned out.

(via The Agitator)
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Injustice or silliness? You decide

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There are all sorts of religions to fit the faiths and beliefs of all sorts of people. We all know religions are fakery and silliness incarnate, but some of them just make you shake your head despondently. For example, did you know that Jedi is an actual religion?

George Lucas must be so proud. (Either that, or he’s facepalming every time he hears about these weirdos.)

Now, religious discrimination is just as unfair and unacceptable as any other sort of discrimination, of course, but this story here will probably leave you wondering … was any harm really committed, or is this just one case that’s too silly to be taken seriously? You be the judge:

The founder of the Jedi religion inspired by the Star Wars films was thrown out of a Tesco supermarket for wearing his distinctive brown hood.

Daniel Jones, 23, who has 500,000 followers worldwide, was told the hood flouted store rules and was ordered to remove it or leave the supermarket.

As a result Jones, who also goes by the Jedi name Morda Hehol, claims he has been 'victimised over his beliefs' and left 'emotionally humiliated' by the supermarket in Bangor, North Wales.

[…]

A Tesco spokesperson said: 'He hasn't been banned. Jedis are very welcome to shop in our stores although we would ask them to remove their hoods.

'Obi-Wan Kenobi, Yoda and Luke Skywalker all appeared hoodless without ever going over to the Dark Side and we are only aware of the Emperor as one who never removed his hood.

'If Jedi walk around our stores with their hoods on, they'll miss lots of special offers.'

The worst thing in reading this is learning that there are 500,000 who actually adhere to this stuff. *sighs*

As laughable as this incident is, it does raise some questions. First of all, yes, Jediism is about as fringe a beliefs system as they get, but then, who gets to decide which religions should have their traditions respected or not? Should there be a Religious Customs Allowance parliament or something?

And then, which religions would deserve to have their customs be allowed and respected? All of them? Or only those of a select few, “major” faiths, like Christianity or Islam? If adherents to small-time faiths like Jediism don’t have the right to cover their heads in public, then should it be tolerated that a Muslim woman hide her head and face behind a burqa? Same basic principal, no?

So why is that permitted?

Food for thought.

(via Friendly Atheist)
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Friday, September 18, 2009

Please welcome the inclusion of Helga the Battle-Ax in Pastor Tom’s Wall of Shame!

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My, what a time this is. A time of great awards, honors and privileges. You see, there’s this blogger on the web, named Jen. She holds a blog, currently about 810 times more popular than mine. *growls* However, even such popularity isn’t enough to get her noticed by most folks, even amongst her dissenters and opponents (ie. Christians, religious people in general, etc.).

But, oh ho! Now Jen has finally made it big. Not only has she just appeared in the (local) news, thus bringing her that much closer to the celebrity level of fearless cracker-hunter PZ Myers, but she’s now got her own entry in Pastor T.Estes of HardTruth’s “Evil Sites” links, as “Helga’s Battle-Ax”! Hooray for Jen! For you see, now, she is now considered, by T.Estes, to be on the same level of importance, popularity and influence in the godless hedonistic world as other such foul heathens as PZ himself of Pharyngula PharyTales, Hemant Mehta of Friendly Hateful Atheist, and even the godforsaken realms of the Global Atheism CEO, Richard Dawkins Richie Dawkinham’s website!

I thus invite you all to raise your steel goblets filled to the brim with the blood of kittens and babies, and to drink to Jen the Blag Hag Battle-Ax’s eternal inclusion upon T.Estes’s wall of Evil Sites. After all, he’s been following her, raptor-like, stalker-like, for so long, without mentioning her or admitting that he’s been using her blog as his own blogging fodder (as to not beset her, of course, I’m sure), that it’s only natural he should finally declare to the world (or the sliver of it that reads his blog) what an evil, amoral and vicious blog Jen the Battle-Ax operates – if only by sneakily including a link in an obscure sidebar section. Transparency and all that. (Wouldn’t want Tom to appear to be dishonest or hypocritical, would we?)

And so, I say: congrats to you, dear Jen! And in closing, I must therefore muse: when will it be time for reliably cranky ol’ T.Estes to include yours truly, moi, amongst his list of wretched Internet havens for the wicked, the damned and the faithless? I await with trepidation.

(via @jennifurret)

Reassuring news: Glenn Moon finishes last in elections

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You remember Glenn Moon, right? That insanely over-the-top religious crackpot who was running for city council of Livonia, Michigan? Well, the results of the elections have come in, and they’re good: he finished dead last, pulling in only 301 out of the total 3,946 registered votes.

Definitely some reassuring news, though it’s still obvious that at least 301 Livonians are insane nutters. But, at a tiny 8% of Livonia’s population, I don’t see them posing any threat to any future elections any time soon.

(via Pharyngula)
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Stupid Quote of the Day: Limbaugh wants segregation back

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From the ever-odious gasbag, talking about how, in “Obama’s America”, “white kids now get beat up” (referring to the publicized incident of a couple of Black youths assaulting a White kid on a bus):

LIMBAUGH: I think the guy’s wrong. I think not only it was racism, it was justifiable racism. I mean, that’s the lesson we’re being taught here today. Kid shouldn’t have been on the bus anyway. We need segregated buses — it was invading space and stuff. This is Obama’s America.

Nope, there’s absolutely no racism in the opposition to Obama. None at all. How silly to suggest it. Hmm.

(via Forever in Hell)
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Friday Canine: This seat's reserved

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(via Advocacy for Animals)

Birther Queen is pissed at Judge Land’s decision to throw her (basket)case out

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Just yesterday came the news that Judge Clay Land had thrown out yet another of nut extraordinaire Orly Taitz’s endless lawsuits claiming the invalidity of Barack Obama’s presidency. Judge Land had minced rather few words in telling the crazy loon just what he thought of her, her stupid movement (“frivolous”, in his words) and threatened to impose sanctions upon her should she try and waste the court’s time with her nonsense again.

Well, wouldn’t you know it, Taitz is now throwing a little hissy fit, and does everything from claiming Judge Land should be tried for treason, to asserting her opponents are part of a Soviet-like oppressive regime, and – perhaps most odious of all – comparing herself and her ridiculous, laughably stupid “fight” for the “truth” to the Nelson Mandela and all the hardships he went through.

This woman is fucking insane.

In an interview with TPM just now, Birther evangelist Orly Taitz fired back at Clay Land, the U.S. district court judge who tore apart Birtherism and threatened Taitz with sanctions in an order today, saying that "somebody should consider trying [the judge] for treason and aiding and abetting this massive fraud known as Barack Hussein Obama."

"This is so outrageous what this judge did -- it goes in the face of law and order," said Taitz, reached at her office in Mission Viego, CA. "Not every judge is as corrupt as Judge Land. Some judges believe in the Constitution. And some judges believe in the rule of law."

[…]

I asked Taitz what she will do next with the Rhodes case, which was filed and tossed out in another district before it was refiled with Land. "This is the decision of Connie," she said. "I will be talking to her and making a decision."

And if Rhodes is open to continuing the fight, would Taitz go along?

"Oh absolutely, absolutely," she said. "Listen, Nelson Mandela stayed in prison for years in order to get to the truth and justice."

And Taitz brushed off the possibility of sanctions. "I'm not afraid of sanctions. Because I know this is not frivolous. I know this is extremely important -- the most important issue in this country today."

"Judge Land is a typical puppet of the regime -- just like in the Soviet Union," she said.

The only good thing to mention here is that an official CA bar complaint has been filed against this insane nut, particularly for her comments about Judge Land. Good. This is one “lawyer” who’s even less deserving of holding a courtroom than moronic anti-game activist Jack Thompson.

Hell, maybe they should marry and form their own Coalition for Courtroom Stupidity or something. (Just pray they don’t have kids together, though. That would be a national – nay, global – disaster.)

(via Dispatches from the Culture Wars)

Silly fight over a football team’s name exposes ethnical oversensitivity

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Look. You’d probably be quite hard-pressed to find anyone who’s a stauncher opponent of racism than I am. I believe it is utmostly foul, injurious, unjust, silly, and really, just plain wrong – ie. all the hallmarks of any form of bigotry – to think less of someone just because they happen to look a bit different than you do. I also think that anyone who engages in racism, or who honestly believes that they are superior to others because their skin happens to have less (or more) melanin than other ethnicities’, isn’t somebody worth talking to (to say the least).

Yet, even with my keen leanings for social justice and equality between ethnicities, this story is one that strikes me as being nothing more than just silly. You know about the football team named the Washington Redskins, around since the ’30s (though registered in the late ’60s), right? Well, they’re being sued by a group of Native Americans, who claim that the team’s name is “disparaging” and even downright “racist”.

"It is the worst thing in the English language you can be called if you are a native person," said Suzan Shown Harjo, a Native American writer and public policy advocate who is the lead plaintiff in one of the most compelling lawsuits in sports history.

Seventeen years after challenging the Washington Redskins trademark, Harjo and six others have renewed their fight, petitioning the Supreme Court to examine a lower-court ruling that denied their challenge on a technicality.

Here’s why their “fight” is silly and is (hopefully) doomed to fail. It’s all in the intent. If the name was chosen with the specific intent to be disparaging, or to possess a racist connotation – ie. if it was actually meant to be insulting to American Indians – then yes, I would fully support any movement to remove such a name from a team (or anywhere else). But this is not the case. Here, what we have is a team name that’s not intended to cause any resentment or anger amongst the people whom the name allures to. It’s just a word used to identify a football team (and perhaps, to a lesser extent, to represent their chosen team colors). Claiming that the name is meant to insult others is patently absurd.

Put it this way: the team could be called the Washington Negroes or Niggers (whatever the difference is). Or, it could be named the Washington Nazis. Or the Washington al-Qaeda-lovers. Yes, these particular names would understandably be flagrantly inappropriate in pragmatical terms, but in the essence of it all, what it boils down to is if the name itself is actually calling the team, or anyone else, “niggers”, “Nazis” or al-Qaeda supporters, or any other insults under the sun. What matters is not what the name itself means, but what the reason for its use is.

All this story does, rather than shed light on the supposed inappropriateness or insulting qualities of a football team’s name, is rather reveal latent insecurities and the general tendency for people to be complete sissies at the slightest prod of a jesting or otherwise uninsulting finger. When the name of a football team is enough to set your moral righteousness off, you should take that as a sign that you may have deeper issues to deal with, than the name of something as irrelevent as a team in organized sports.

Just a little thought/rant.

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Thursday, September 17, 2009

Stupid Quote of the Day: Vox Day on free speech in America and Europe

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From a post wherein he first supports those ridiculously harsh British libel laws (referring to the Simon Singh case) and then decries the place’s lack of support for free speech:

And, of course, it's worth noting that the UK, like most European countries, does not possess the strong free speech protections that the USA does. It's yet another way that religious America is better for science than the secular European utopias.

Once again falling into patently obvious fallacies, Vox. Religion in America couldn’t have less to do with strong freedom of speech/expression support if it tried. Not to mention that, the day where a strong religious presence in any country leads to an increase in free speech, is a day that shall only ever be known in the depths of the loonisphere. Last I remember, it’s religion that is the primary detractor to freedom of speech (need I pull up just a few recent examples to make my point further evident? And, of course, that’s apart from the Bible itself being so very tolerant, even embracing, of free speech, dissent, and so forth … *cough-cough-Third-Commandment-hack-cough*).

Snakes on a Cane

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Here’s the new House promotional poster for Season 6 (which starts next Monday (OMGOMGOMG):

New ‘House’ ad: “Snakes on a Cane” (“Incurably himself”)

Is it just me, or does he look angry? (Not that he shouldn’t be, what with being in a mental asylum and forced into rehab and not having had sex with Cuddy and all that … Oh, and anyone who doesn’t know what I’m talking about does not deserve to own a TV set, as they obviously don’t use it!)

Also, those are real pythons putting an uncomfortably tight squeeze on Hugh Laurie, by the way. Brave (or crazy) man.

[pedant]This promo is based off the caduceus, which is very often mistaken as the symbol for medicine (which is actually the Rod of Asclepius, which has only one snake).[/pedant]

Anyone who is also a fan of House (or most shows on TV, anyway) really needs to check out the Ausiello Files for all the latest juicy scoops! Seriously, it’s my lifeblood in these hiatuses in between seasons. Oy.

Dammit, I cannot wait until Monday to see the two-hour premiere … though tonight is the Season 2 premiere of Fringe, so I suppose that might tie me over for a few more days.

Maybe.

Frank Schaeffer takes on the fundies on Rachel Maddow

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Frank Schaeffer was interviewed by Rachel Maddow yesterday, and – wow. Just, wow. Never before has a guy ever come on public television and given a more honest, factual and downright badass description of fundamentalist Christianity in America. It’s one of the sweetest things I’ve ever seen; makes me wish I caught the Rachel Maddow Show on my crappy Bell Canada plan. *whines*

Maddow starts by shining light on a bizarre and frightening New Jersey poll that reveals how over a third of NJ self-described conservatives believe that President Obama might be the Antichrist.

Seriously.

Here are some choice quotes:

Maddow: “What do you think the White House strategy is gonna be to rebut the fact that more than one-in-three conservatives think the President might be the Antichrist (at least in New Jersey)? That, is a PR challenge.”

One they probably shouldn’t even attempt to address, honestly. No good would come out of them giving credence and attention to these kooks by taking the time to address them and their claims.

Schaeffer: “That evangelical subculture has rotted the brain of the United States of America.”

[…]

[Talking about how we should deal with such kooks] “Look. A village cannot reorganize village life to suit the village idiot. It’s as simple as that. And we have to understand: we have a village idiot in this country; it’s called fundamentalist Christianity.”

And that’s just a couple of quotes form the interview. Watch the rest; it’s quite worthwhile to watch Schaeffer describe just how utterly insane fundies are.

Overall, one of the overlying issues in the interview is how to deal with such people, those who believe the current President (and as with so many before him) is the Antichrist, who believe the Earth is 6,000 years old, who believe the end of the world is nigh, and so forth. The answer Schaeffer gives is the correct one: we don’t. We do not try to move them or change their ways; their minds are liquefied, festering with stupidity, ignorance and indoctrination of the worst forms. They are hopeless; they are lost cases, and dealing with them amounts to no more than spending time trying to teach quantum physics to a slug. The only thing to do, is to ignore them, to move on, and perhaps, on occasion, take a fleeting glance back to amuse ourselves at the sight of these crazies amassed on a hilltop, waiting for God to show himself.


Well, wouldn’t you know it, Pastor T.Estes of HardTruth has already found this story and is whining, raging and crapping his tight-binding pants about it as we speak. It’s quite amusing to take in his over-generalizations, his misunderstandings (whether accidental or deliberate, none can know other than him) and the general exhibition of his Christian Persecution Complex. My, his schtick never gets old (if only because he’s always coming up with new ways to express the same silliness).

Just one begs-to-be-corrected example: Tom claims Schaeffer is an atheist. Apparently, Tom is now deaf, for Schaeffer himself clearly asserts to being a “church-going Christian”.

Me thinks doth does project too much, Tom.

(via Pharyngula)