Friday, December 31, 2010

Enter the MMXI: A brief retrospective

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Happy New Year 2011

And so another year has arrived, outstayed its welcome and is finally being ushered out the door into the wintry cold beyond. For me, 2010 carried no unusual significance; the most that changed was that I’m now living with my mother again, something that hadn’t been true for … I don’t even know how long. Ever since my parents broke up and she moved out. Four years? Maybe five? Anyway, it doesn’t matter.

My life has certainly improved in both leaps and tiny steps, depending how you look at it. I’m now financially secure (or close to) and my timetable is slowly but surely being developed. I’m especially excited about starting equitation lessons (that’s horseback riding for you non-equine-lovers), even if they only start in mid-January. (Thursday the 14 can not come fast enough.)

Normally, I’d follow along the bandwagon (hey, nothing wrong with that) and put up an end-of-the-year “Top 10 Posts” or some such, but much to my irritation, it seems that when I finally converted to Disqus last August, I’d forgotten to reinstate Google Analytics’s tracking code in the blog template, which I had been forced to replace with a backup version that somehow didn’t include it. Which means that I only recently found out, when I went to check out the cumulative blog stats for the past year a couple of days ago, that the stats for nearly half the year hadn’t been tallied.

I grumbled a little bit.

So, there will be no “top posts” feature for 2010. But no matter; the stats are now being recorded dutifully, and barring any further mishaps, I’ll be able to make one such post for the end of 2011. At any rate, here’s that obligatory boilerplate blog post wishing all my readers a joyous holiday season filled with friends, family, good food and lots of materialism-induced flailing, and of course, a happy new year.

Feel free to share your thoughts, wishes and doomed new year’s resolutions in the comments; consider this an open thread.

Daily Blend: Friday, December 31, 2010 – Adieu, twenty-ten

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Police: I’m gonna kick your ass / and get away with it

If you have any story suggestions, feel free to leave them in the comments or send them in.

Another poll reveals most Americans do want healthcare reform

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Healthcare Reform

It has long-since become conservatives’ favorite and primary argument in their zeal to overturn the recently passed healthcare reform law: that a majority of Americans don’t want it. Of course, anyone who asks people from outside of conservative circles will quickly be informed that, in fact, a clear majority of US citizens do want the changes the law is said to implement. And what’s more, if the polls indicate that a majority seems to oppose it, that’s only because a decent fraction of the opposition believe it wasn’t progressive enough.

Here’s just the latest poll [PDF, 256 KB] from CNN, dating from December 27:

Generally favor or oppose healthcare reform (as of Dec. 17-19, 2010): Favor = 43% / Oppose = 54% / No opinion = 3%

So 54% say ‘no’ to healthcare reform. But, that is only true if you, like virtually all conservatives and Republicans, neglect to actually look at the reasons why the majority of Americans seem to be against healthcare reform:

Why oppose (as of Dec. 17-19, 2010): Too liberal = 37% / Not liberal enough = 13% / No opinion = 7%

The Beauty of Pixar

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I am a Pixar fanboy. My only shame in admitting that is that I can’t back it up by saying that I’ve seen all of their movies, but I’m now in the process of fixing that as we speak (or, er, I write. Whatever). Meanwhile, I’ve got this beautiful video homage to gaze all starry-eyed at.

“To infinity and beyond”, indeed.

(via Roger Ebert's Journal)

Friday Canine: Some questions are better left unanswered

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Thursday, December 30, 2010

Deciding whether or not to debate a Christian (or anyone)

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Whenever you find yourself in company of someone who wishes to talk to you about conflicting ideas and beliefs, especially when it comes to matters of science vs. religion, this is the guide you ought to adopt:

Flowchart: “‘Debating A Christian’: Our Discussion” from

That’s exactly how I’ve been operating for a long time, now. I’m often amused when people I follow on Twitter (namely skeptics and atheists) get embroiled in pointless and irritating exchanges with various types of kooks and cranks, be they Creationists, antivaxxers, global warming denialists, and so on. If even a cursory glance at a person’s attitude and past remarks indicates they aren’t worthy or capable of holding an honest discussion, then there is really no point in even acknowledging them. Whether you call it severity or self-preservation, it works.

(via Pharyngula)

Astonishing photo of lunar ISS transit

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From the files of “holy shit, that’s cool” comes this latest awesome snapshot from “amateur” astrophotographer Thierry Legault, this time of the International Space Station as it transited before the Moon a few hours before last week’s lunar eclipse (on December 21):

To further blow your mind: According to Phil Plait, as faraway as the ISS looks in that pic at 250 miles from the Earth, the Moon behind it is about 900 times further away at about 240,000 miles in the distance. It’s also about 35,000 times bigger.


(via Bad Astronomy)

Another crony tries to attack Greenwald

| | » staff writer Ryan Singel
Ryan Singel

And the cycle of distortions and dissimulation in the Lamo-Manning chat logs affair by the purported journalists at continues. Yesterday, their chief critic,’s Glenn Greenwald, posted his two-part rebuttal to a previous response by Wired editors regarding his constant criticism of their dogged refusal to release important evidence (and offering nothing but dishonest excuses and strawmen in return). Now, we have’s Ryan Singel stepping up to the plate against Greenwald with more dishonest accusations:

In Glenn Greenwald’s recent response to Wired’s explanation of why it is not releasing more of the Bradley Manning/Adrian Lamo chat logs in the Wikileaks controversy, he defends himself by unethically cherry-picking and truncating a quote from an e-mail from me, that he says, erroneously, that I explicitly put on the record.

He writes that I said, “I’ve long been a fan of your work and I’ll continue to be.”

That’s true, but there was no period after the word “be”.

Instead, the full sentence was, “I’ve long been a fan of your work and I’ll continue to be, but I think you screwed this up, Glenn, and it’s pretty disappointing that you seemed to let your infatuation with Wikileaks color your analysis.”

Any journalism 101 student will tell you Greenwald’s quote is a clear violation of journalistic ethics.


Greenwald and I have also had e-mail conversations over the last few days, where I vociferously objected to his slimy, Yuletide Glenn-Beck-esque insinuations about Poulsen. And at no point, did he bring up the e-mail from June, which according to my records of the conversation, includes nothing about whether it is on or off the record.

Stating that I explicitly wanted it on the record is just wrong, and cutting off sentences halfway through to distort the meaning of a sentence wouldn’t pass muster at even a neighborhood weekly. It’s the tactic of FOX News.

Well, as long as you’re staying reasonable, Singel.

Suffer the little children, courtesy of religion

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Christian rosary
Pictured: Not fucking medicine

Mindless belief in ridiculous superstitions and the well-being of the vulnerable seldom go hand-in-hand with positive results. And nowhere is this made more evident and poignant than when it comes to all the young ones who suffer and perish at the hands of the supposed grown-ups who are charged with their health and security, yet who end up sacrificing them on the altar of religion, whether intentionally or not.

Here’s yet another case where a presumably loving parent chose to help her ailing yet easily curable child, not with actual life-saving medicine, but through magical incantations and supplications to an imaginary sky-being:

A woman was charged with child neglect Tuesday in connection with the death of her 9-year-old son, for whom she had not sought medical attention because of her religious beliefs, court records state.

Susan M. Grady, 42, formerly of Broken Arrow, prayed with others over her son, Aaron Gregory Grady, when he became ill on June 2, 2009, according to an affidavit filed Tuesday in Tulsa County District Court. His condition worsened, and he died June 5, according to the affidavit.

The medical examiner listed complications of diabetes mellitus as Aaron’s cause of death, the affidavit states.

Susan Grady told Detective Mikka Mooney that she is a member of the Church of the First Born and “believes in faith-based healing through prayer,” according to the affidavit, which was written by Mooney.


Grady could face up to life in prison if convicted.

The article goes into some detail about the degenerative development of poor Aaron Grady’s illness and what his guardians did (or failed to do):

Daily Blend: Thursday, December 30, 2010

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Mohammad cartoon by Kurt Westergaard
Mohammad cartoon by Kurt Westergaard

If you have any story suggestions, feel free to leave them in the comments or send them in.

The Book of Noah (by Ricky Gervais)

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Out-and-proud atheistic comedian Ricky Gervais reads from a children’s book about the Biblical tale of Noah and the Flood. Hilarity ensues.

It’s just odd laughing at this sort of purest nonsense knowing that so many people actually take it seriously … but then, they’re only good for laughing at, too, so no matter.

(via Friendly Atheist)

Make up your mind! He can’t be all four!

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Because too many people need a reminder:

“Obama Hitler” poster with Islam, Soviet, Nazi and Peace symbols: “MAKE UP YOUR MIND / HE CAN’T BE ALL FOUR”

I’m not sure if the fact that the “Obama is an CommuniSocialiIslamoNazi” crowd clearly haven’t a clue that communism, socialism, Islamism and whatever-the-hell else they accuse the President of secretly being are not only completely different things, but also often outright contradictory, indicates a sweeping failure of the US education system, or that there’s just something quite nasty in the water around those parts. Of course, the logical answer is that they’re just desperate to attack the man at any cost, regardless of such trivial things as accuracy, logic or even a minimum of coherence.

(via Political Irony)

UN reinstates sexual orientation protection against extrajudicial executions

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United Nations flag


Remember how the UN, mostly African and Islamic countries, disturbingly voted to remove sexual orientation as a basis for protection against discriminatory extrajudicial executions last November? We have some good news: The UN General Assembly has approved an amendment sponsored by the Obama administration to reinstate it. From Reuters:

The 192-nation General Assembly approved a U.S. amendment to the resolution that restored the reference to sexual orientation with 93 votes in favor, 55 against and 27 abstentions. The amended resolution was then adopted with 122 yes votes, none against and 59 abstentions.

The main opposition to the U.S. amendment came from Muslim and African nations, which had led the push to delete the reference to sexual preference from the resolution last month.

As I’ve stated before, I doubt this actually does anything in a concrete sense, under the reasoning that countries that are willing to slaughter gays (amongst others) probably aren’t exactly the sort that have much respect for things like human rights in the first place. But nonetheless, it was revolting that enough UN countries originally voted to actually remove the basis of sexual orientation from the list of protected groups, and all the more telling was that those countries were, unironically enough, the some of the worst offenders when it comes to homophobic violence. It’s comforting to see the US take the lead in this case and win with such a decent margin.

(via Dispatches from the Culture Wars)

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Obama wants to give the United States back to the Indians!

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President Barack Obama
Pictured: Indian sympathizer!

You really can’t ever stop and think that the far-Right has reached its apex of crazy in its efforts of finding new and ridiculous ways to attack President Obama. Just the fact that some, like the American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer and the WorldNetDaily, are now claiming that the President wants to turn the United States over to the Native Americans, regardless of what garbled rationale they may come up with, should be enough to cement the fact that they’re either incredibly moronic or incredibly full of shit. And at this point, it really doesn’t matter which it is (though it’s quite possibly both) – the lunacy that results is the same.

The Chaser’s War on Everything takes on The Secret

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Following my earlier revelation that I once entertained vague ideas about things like karma and even The Secret* (aka the “Law of Attraction”, a belief that’s as guff as they get) before finally becoming an atheistic skeptic, I was shown this bright little parody from the Australian satirical show The Chaser’s War on Everything where The Secret is treated with every bit of respect it deserves:

As they say: Some beliefs are just too utterly ridiculous to merit a serious critique and should be handled with no more than the mockery they inspire in normal, rational people.

(via Evan McHugh McAwesome)

* In my defense, this was only after my sadly woo-believing mother had me going for a little while, though I never truly believed in it as she does. It often perplexes me how a generally rational and intensely anti-religious woman like her can hold so firmly onto such bizarre notions. I guess it just comes to show you how the brain really is hardwired to believe in some form of supernaturalistic crap or other, thus making the struggle for skeptical thought all the more important.

Greenwald responds to Wired’s accusations

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Glenn Greenwald
Glenn Greenwald

Well, that was quick (as expected).’s Glenn Greenwald has posted his two-part rebuttal to yesterday’s response to his (and others’) criticism by editors Evan Hansen and Kevin Poulsen. The first part is his detailed fisking of the numerous accusations against his supposed inaccuracies and lack of journalistic integrity, while the second is his attempt to “ensure that the focus remains on what matters”:’s continued obfuscation of the Lamo-Manning chat logs and what is, or isn’t, included in them, in light of Adrian Lamo’s continued spouting of (often contradictory) claims that may or may not be present in the concealed remainder of those chat logs.

Seriously, how can expect to retain any journalistic credibility when they continue to not only hide the chat logs (wherein their concerns for the implicated individuals’ privacy could be alleviated quite readily simply by releasing the logs with any private information redacted), but most tellingly, to refuse to even comment on whether or not what Lamo says is actually supported by whatever is in those logs? It’s becoming close to impossible not to suspect ulterior motives at this time with all this apparently deliberate hiding of the evidence.

Sure, I’m older, but am I wiser? (… Don’t answer that)

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So … 19, is it? Why do I still feel 18? Must be getting old.

LOLcat: “Birthday, Schmirthday.... I iz the Wizard”
Trust me, bloggers have a comparable ego. Or so I’ve been told

At least, in consolation to my poor, aging heart, I’m being treated to a dinner at Le Wok De Szechuan, scientifically proven (by means of my infallible gastronomical tastes) to be the best Chinese restaurant on the face of the Earth.

Unrelatedly, I’m not eating anything all day until the evening.

Even most Republicans don’t want Palin for President

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Sarah Palin
Sarah Palin

Well, this is interesting. It looks like even a majority of GOPers wouldn’t give Sarah Palin the chance to quit a presidency mid-term to launch some sort of self-aggrandizing platform or other. From

A new CNN poll finds that support for a Sarah Palin presidential bid among Republicans has dropped from 67 percent in December 2008 to just 49 percent this month.

This is the question to which 49 percent of Republians answered "very likely" or "somewhat likely" when Palin was named […]

This is obviously related to the fact that more and more conservative pundits and politicians are starting to admit that the political failure who made John McCain look like a idiot in 2008 (and this was before he lapsed into far-right crankery) and has continually shown herself to be categorically, even hilariously, unfit for any sort of political office just might be a bad pick for the GOP’s future after all. Which is a bit of a shame; I personally hoped she would garner all their support and be promoted to ever-greater levels of prominence, just for the beautiful moment that would offer us all when she (and, by extension, the Republican Party) was inevitably crushed in 2012 – ideally by President Obama. If there’s any better sort of a simultaneous symbolic and literal victory, I don’t know it.

(via Right Wing Watch)

Tuesday, December 28, 2010 responds to criticism regarding Lamo-Manning chat logs

| | » senior editor Kevin Poulsen
Kevin Poulsen

After enduring months of constant criticism for their behavior in hiding the chat logs between ex-hacker Adrian Lamo and alleged WikiLeaks source US Army Pfc. Bradley Manning, editor-in-chief Evan Hansen and senior editor Kevin Poulsen at finally respond to “set the record straight”, particularly to’s Glenn Greenwald, easily their most prominent critic.

I don’t know enough about the whole story and the numerous details involved to make any sort of judgment just yet, and at any rate, the two-pronged rebuttal (from both Hansen and Poulsen) does present some interesting information, not to mention a fair bit of bitter criticism of Greenwald’s own charges. I now await Greenwald’s own response, which is sure to be as curt, timely and detailed as always.

At any rate, though, their argument for continuing to keep the fabled chat logs hidden – that it would compromise the privacy of the individuals involved – feels flaky at best. For crying out loud, Manning’s already rotting away in prison (and almost literally), and the feds have seized Lamo’s own computer and copy of the chat logs. All involved parties are already as compromised in their privacy as they’re ever gonna get (not to mention that I personally doubt that Lamo and Manning shared social security numbers or anything). Frankly, this argument for the involved parties’ privacy seems somewhat sophistic to me.

(via @todayspolitics)

Daily Blend: Tuesday, December 28, 2010

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92-year-old grampa
Things will happen to this pic. Strange things.

If you have any story suggestions, feel free to leave them in the comments or send them in.

Monday, December 27, 2010

A diagrammatic analysis of the abortion rights debate

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Try to recall any discussion you’ve ever had with a preachy anti-abortionist and see if it doesn’t just fit perfectly with this flowchart:

The Pro-Life Debate: A Diagram[m]atic] Analysis (by Alfonso, the Monk)
[dunno source]

I’m not ordinarily one for calling people “fascist”, but when you’re actively trying to impose your own brand of morality upon other people for whatever reason, no other word fits you better.

Feedback: Evolutionists vs. Creationists and the same old arguments

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Creationism parody
Pictured: Typical Creationist
[full size (400×400)]

Readers of this blog who have stuck around since close to its very inception might remember one early post from September of ’09 where I took a detailed look at an article from Telegraph that listed the top five arguments for and against Evolutionary Theory and Creationism. As expected, the arguments in defense of Creationism were piss-poor, filled with illogic and falsehoods, but even the arguments in favor of Evolution weren’t all that great, either (though at least they didn’t make my brain bleed).

I shared my thoughts regarding each argument and left it there, and since that time, that post has gotten a steady trickle of traffic until it finally received its first comment by “kk” earlier today. Sadly, it’s an incongruous melange of distorted thinking that comes from someone who claims to believe in evolution, and yet seems to possess a very fractured idea of what evolution actually is and does, all the while spouting the sort of garbled faith-talk and “testing is unreliable” nonsense that would make any old Creationist proud:

What evolutionists fail to understand is the concept of FAITH.[1] I agree that Creationists should not use the "WHY?" question when debating Creationism vs. Evolution. Evolutionists do not care about the WHY.[2] I believe that yes, the universe was created by GOD - AND I believe that evolution has certainly happened within species (not across species)[3]. Carbon dating and other methods of dating can't be totally reliable unless these methods were available for the past billion years.[4] Remember, people thought the world was flat not too long ago. It's impossible to say that we have all the answers today.[5] Every day there are new technologies and ways of finding the truth.

Daily Blend: Monday, December 27, 2010

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Joe Miller
Joe Miller
  • When Bush administration officials are raining praise upon you for continuing (and even toughening) Bush/Cheney terrorism policies, you’re doing it wrong.
    (via @ggreenwald)

  • Sore loser: Joe Miller [pictured] plans to continue to challenge Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s (R-AK) win all the way to the US Supreme Court.
    (via @todayspolitics)

  • The New York Times recognizes The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart’s role in saving the Zadroga “9/11 health” bill, with a perhaps gratuitous comparison to legendary journalist Edward R. Murrow.

  • Lightning, seen through an X-Ray camera for the first time.

  • Where Aren't They Now? 13 Overlooked Deaths of 2010.

  • I am about 75% Socially Awkward Penguin. I’d bet more people would relate than you’d think.
    (via @jennifurret)

If you have any story suggestions, feel free to leave them in the comments or send them in.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Daily Blend: Saturday, December 25, 2010 – Christmas!

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Four Power Balance wristband models
Power Balance wristbands

Well, I got two cutesy notebooks and an elegant collection pen. They’re pretty and all (though disassembling and reassembling that pen is about as fun as advanced trigonometry), but seeing how I do all my writing (and everything else) on my computer, their practicality might be a bit limited. How about y’all? Get lots of good and presents and booze and … stuff?

  • Another skeptic win: “Power Balance” magic rubber wristbands [pictured] ordered to issue a wonderfully humiliating retraction admitting their claims are bullshit. Personally, I won’t be happy until they get those damned Q-Ray ads off the air.

  • The newest inductee on Tennessee’s state anti-terrorism list for “terrorism events and suspicious activity”: … The ACLU?
    (via @todayspolitics)

  • FOLLOW-UP: Remember how Pat Robertson shocked the world when he came out against criminalization of marijuana? Apparently, his PR spokesman doesn’t quite agree.
    (via The Agitator)

  • FOLLOW-UP: Google engineer pays $50,000 bail to free Jeremy Marks, who faced years in prison on charges of “lynching” – for videotaping police brutality.
    (via The Agitator)

If you have any story suggestions, feel free to leave them in the comments or send them in.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Bonus Links: Not news, grieving animals, WSJ vs. PolitiFact, & more

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‘Fox & Friends’ hosts Steve Doocy (left), Gretchen Carlson (center) and Brian Kilmeade (right)
‘Fox & Friends’ hosts

If you have any story suggestions, feel free to leave them in the comments or send them in.

Daily Blend: Friday, December 24, 2010 – T’is the season …

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US Army Pfc. Bradley Manning, alleged WikiLeaks source
Bradley Manning

… to be waking up at the crack of dawn, apparently. Oh, cats. At least I get a head-start for being bored all day …

  • Forget that stupid “War on Christmas” you hear about on Fox News. Here’s what a real attack on Christmas looks like.
    (via @religionnews)

  • UN top official on torture to conduct a formal investigation into the inhumane conditions of alleged WikiLeaks source US Army Pfc. Bradley Manning’s [pictured] detainment.

  • Christian mental health worker asserts she will continue sharing anti-abortionist materials at health center even if it costs her her job. Good riddance to bad rubbish.
    (via @religionnews)

  • Ricky Gervais answers some questions following his pro-atheist Wall Street Journal article. Includes a heartfelt Christmas message.
    (via Friendly Atheist)

  • Are Homeland Security employees trolling the anti-TSA We Won’t Fly blog?
    (via The Agitator)

If you have any story suggestions, feel free to leave them in the comments or send them in.

Christmas Canine: You know you’re overdoing it when …

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Christmas dog in overly decorated doghouse

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Ugly monkey

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I admit, I had to stare for a moment or two before the epiphany landed.

(via Roger Ebert's Journal)

Daily Blend: Thursday, December 23, 2010

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Tea Party Nation founder Judson Phillips
Judson Phillips

If you have any story suggestions, feel free to leave them in the comments or send them in.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Fail Quote of the Day: Donohue won’t mind his own business

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Catholic League President Bill Donohue
Bill Donohue

From Bill Donohue, reacting to a segment on today’s episode of The View where the hosts criticized the excommunication of a Catholic hospital administrator who thought it would be better to allow the termination of an 11-week pregnancy than to allow her patient to suffer a certain death:

It is an ugly site [sight]: grown women sitting around bashing a religion that none belong to. Though at one time three did: Joy Behar, Whoopi Goldberg and Elisabeth Hasselbeck are all ex-Catholics. They went bonkers today—the crosstalk makes them look downright delirious—ripping away about the Catholic Church because a nun was excommunicated for allowing an abortion at St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix. What they didn't say was that the nun gave her formal consent to the killing of an innocent child. More important, since none of the panelists are Catholic, it is none of their business anyway.

So, wait – the hosts aren’t allowed to criticize something that pertains to a religion that they don’t (or no longer) belong to? I ask, is that rule only limited to TV hosts, and not angry little blowhards who spend much of their time attacking anything and everything that doesn’t quite sit well with them, from atheists to Muslims and anything in between?

The only thing worse than Donohue’s self-righteous idiocy is his blindness to the irony of his own attacks. As one might say: Bitch, please.

The Zadroga/Stewart Bill finally passes

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‘The Daily Show’ host Jon Stewart
Jon Stewart
The literal hero’s hero

And thus, we all (especially 9/11 first responders) have yet one more reason to adore Jon Stewart, as the Zadroga Bill, aka the 9/11 healthcare bill that’s been repeatedly blocked by game-playing Senate Republicans, has finally been approved:

The Senate on Wednesday approved a bill to cover the cost of medical care for rescue workers and others who became sick from breathing in toxic fumes, dust and smoke after the 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center.

The vote, passed by unanimous consent, came soon after a deal was reached between conservative Republicans and Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand. The New York Democrats agreed to changes demanded by the conservative lawmakers, who raised concerns about the measure’s cost and prevented the bill from advancing in the Senate. After drawing criticism in recent days from Democrats and Republicans alike, the Republican senators backed down.

Under the new agreement, the bill provides $4.3 billion over five years for health coverage to the 9/11 workers, instead of the original $7.4 billion over eight years.

Of course, what the above report apparently forgot to mention is the reason why the Republicans’ filibuster has “[drawn] criticism in recent days” from both sides of the political aisle. It’s now pretty much clear as day that the bill would have effectively died under Republican obstructionism had it not been for Jon Stewart, and Jon Stewart alone, who took it upon himself to campaign for public awareness of this bill, for the heroes of 9/11 who were being stabbed in the back, and to show just who it was holding the knife. As The Young Turks’ Cenk Uygur put it, this might as well be named the Jon Stewart Bill in order to credit the guy for single-handedly bringing the issue back to the spotlight in its most dire hour.

So, really, if 9/11 first responders want to thank anyone, let it not be the heartless Republican ghouls who’re so willing to use them for political gain and then abandon them the next second, or the media, who’ve been just as neglectful as always in letting this crucial issue die. Let them thank that comparatively obscure funnyman who hosts a “fake news” show on Comedy Central, the comedian who’s shown time and time again why he deserves, more than nearly anyone else in the media industry, the title of the most trusted journalist in America.

Daily Blend: Wednesday, December 22, 2010

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Harrison Ford in Blue Angel
Harrison Ford in Blue Angel

If you have any story suggestions, feel free to leave them in the comments or send them in.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

How Jon Stewart (might have) single-handedly saved the 9/11 health bill [UPDATED]

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Last Thursday night, Jon Stewart took it upon himself to end his one-man crusade for the Zadroga Bill, which is meant to offer healthcare services to all the 9/11 first responders who are suffering from various medical issues as a direct result of their work in the toxic Ground Zero during and after the 9/11 attacks, by criticizing the media for failing to report on it and even hosting a roundtable discussion with four actual 9/11 first responders to discuss the Republican blocking of the bill in the Senate. It was a magnificent bit, and pleasantly enough, it seems to be having the desired effect of waking people up to the issue:

The Jon Stewart Bill. I like that. The man certainly deserves that sort all the credit he can get.

(via @todayspolitics)

Vox Day doesn’t like Ricky Gervais’s atheistic holiday message

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Ricky Gervais
Ricky Gervais

Last Sunday, Ricky Gervais showed the size of either his balls or his love for rousing rabble when he brazenly, almost impetuously, took to the Speakeasy blog of the Wall Street Journal, that traditional conservative den, and posted an essay explaining why he’s an atheist. It’s a good read overall, not especially provocative or reflexive, similar to the countless others of its sort that we’ve seen over the years, but still worth checking out.

Of course, the main reason why I check out atheistic sermons (oh, you know what I mean) isn’t so much for expanding my mind, but to regale in the assured tooth-gnashing to come from nearby anti-atheists. And indeed, the response has not been disappointing, least of all on the part of my favorite chew toy, Vox Day, who just can’t miss a good opportunity to attack atheists and, in doing so, reveal once again just why no-one’s willing to share a debate scene with him. (Hint: It isn’t, as he’s whined about in the past, because others are afraid of losing to him.) Unlike Gervais’s measured, civil and generally interesting piece, Vox’s contains no more than the sort of empty insults, distorted facts and general childlike seething that we’ve come to expect of him. Hence why I so enjoy dissecting his diatribes every now and then.

So, as usual, from the top:

No, you can't have your own facts. And yet, that is exactly what Gervais attempts to do throughout his "sensitive and reasoned answer". First, Gervais is too socially autistic to to understand that the statement "I don’t believe in God because there is absolutely no scientific evidence for his existence and from what I’ve heard the very definition is a logical impossibility in this known universe” is no more patronizing or impolite than science is arrogant.

It is Gervais himself that people find patronizing, impolite, and arrogant, not his illogical statement or anthropomorphized science. He is the walking, talking evidence of the existence of the definitive Dawkinsian atheist, who does not believe in God because he is an asshole. Despite his attempts to blame people's natural dislike of him on other things, there is no irony to be found because there is simply nothing there.

Daily Blend: Tuesday, December 21, 2010

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Sarah Palin with teleprompter in home camera studio
Sarah Palin and her teleprompter

If you have any story suggestions, feel free to leave them in the comments or send them in.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Doggycide and a dumb reaction

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Puppy looking sad
Sad puppy is sad about doggycide

It’s the same story as ever: Cop happens to be in the neighborhood on unrelated business, dog starts barking, cop immediately shoots and kills pooch in its own yard:

A Clayton County mother of six said the family dog did what he always did when he saw someone. He barked.

But when "Boomer" started barking and running toward a police officer Saturday morning, the officer shot the dog and killed it, Lawrene King told the AJC Sunday night.

“He’s a golden retriever," King said. "He barks, but he’s never bitten anyone.”

A Clayton County police officer was on foot patrol on North Shore Drive when the dog jumped off a porch and started barking and running toward the officer, Capt. Tina Daniel said. The officer ordered the dog to stop and when it didn't, the officer shot and killed the animal in its yard, Daniel said.

The officer, whose name was not released, was responding to a call reporting a suspicious person, police said.

Meanwhile, tweep Todays Politics (@todayspolitics) had this common yet stupid reaction:

Cop shoots, kills family dog. Is it time we tell cops to stop being such pussies and take a bite from a dog. #politics” | Twitter

The Pedophile’s Guide author arrested for obscenity

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‘The Pedophile’s Guide To Love & Pleasure: A Child-Lover’s Code Of Conduct’

Last November, the Internet suddenly boiled with the news that was selling a book titled The Pedophile’s Guide To Love & Pleasure: A Child-Lover’s Code Of Conduct, which was described as a manual purportedly informing pedophiles how to engage in sexual relations with children in a harmless manner. (Again, that’s from the book’s own back-cover description, not mine.) The outcry was as sharp as you’d expect, and before long, Amazon removed the offending book from its listings.

Now, it may be no secret that I don’t consider pedophilia, in itself, to be morally wrong, no more than any other sexuality, no matter how “deviant” society may perceive it as. (It’s the act of molesting children that’s morally wrong, and neither is it inherent to pedophilia, nor are all child molesters pedophiles. Hence my pet peeve with people continually lumping pedophiles and child molesters in the same group; don’t.) However, this being a self-proclaimed guide to consummating sexual relations with children, it had an undeniably high potential for use in harmful acts, and therefore had no place on; thus, and I fully support its removal.

[Update: As mentioned in the comments, I’ve changed my mind and now assert that though it’s certainly Amazon’s right to remove whatever item(s) they wish from their listings for whatever reason(s), doing so is still wrong on the basis that the book, itself, posed no threat to anyone for the simple reason that child molesters don’t need a ruddy guide in order to abuse children, and that decent people won’t be tempted to bugger minors simply because they read a book about it.]

What I most certainly don’t support, though, is its author, Phillip R. Greaves [pictured], being arrested merely for writing (or distributing) it. From The Huffington Post:

Phillip R. Greaves, author of ‘The Pedophile’s Guide’
Phillip R. Greaves

Now, the book's author, Phillip R. Greaves, has been arrested in Colorado for violating Florida state obscenity laws, reports Central Flordia News 13.

According to the Polk Country sheriff's office in Florida, Internet Crimes Division detectives contacted Greaves at his Colorado home and requested a copy of "The Pedophile's Guide to Love and Pleasure." Greaves allegedly sent a signed copy to the Polk County deputies.

The transaction led to Greaves's arrest on December 20, writes CFNews13.

Greaves faces third-degree felony charges for "distribution of obscene material depicting minors engaged in conduct harmful to minors," according to the Orlando Sentinel.

Daily Blend: Monday, December 20, 2010

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Susan Caldwell, seeking assisted suicide
Susan Caldwell

If you have any story suggestions, feel free to leave them in the comments or send them in.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Vox Day reacts to the DADT repeal

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USA the Militarized
[full size (468×344)]

Contrary to my expectations, my favorite target’s, Vox Day, reaction to yesterday’s landmark Senate decision to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was actually quite sane and even mostly reasonable, in contrast with his previous hysterics over other pro-LGBT rulings. There isn’t all that much of interest in his relatively short piece, save for two bits I thought were worth dissecting:

The repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell, which effectively permits the many closeted homosexuals in the U.S. armed forces to openly exhibit their abnormal preferences and presumably to act upon them, is therefore likely to prove less salutary to American military efficiency and effectiveness. While it is true that other Western militaries have eliminated their bans on homosexuals, it is also worth noting that none of them are presently capable of successfully invading Jerry Jones's new stadium even if it were defended only by the Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders.

First of all, just as with so many other cranks, Vox seems to believe that allowing homosexual servicepeople to finally stop hiding their sexual orientation is apparently equal to letting them organize gay pride marches through the barracks and hit on anything that moves that has matching genitalia, or something. This is just idiotic. Straight troops certainly aren’t allowed to create sexually charged displays or disturbances within the ranks (and those who do are typically punished swiftly and harshly, as they should be). Why do DADT advocates act as though this would be in any way different for gay and lesbian troops?

And second, I really have to snicker every time some pro-DADT crank implies that the reason why other countries who allow both straight and gay servicepeople to serve openly don’t have militaries as formidable as the United States’ may in fact be due to their lack of a gay ban. Such thinking only appears logical if you coincidentally disregard the facts that the US Military A) is the best-funded on the planet (by a truly absurd margin), B) has a larger number of troops than nearly everyone else, and C) possesses all the latest in equipment and armaments, amongst other contributing factors. None of these have anything to do with the presence (or lack thereof) of gay troops and whether or not they’re allowed to serve openly. The idea that the US is only made better because gays aren’t allowed (which is contradicted by the fact that there are already tens of thousands of gay troops serving at the very least) is downright moronic.

Daily Blend: Sunday, December 19, 2010

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USAF Lt. Col. Stacy L. Maxey
Lt. Col. Stacy L. Maxey [photo retouched by me]
  • USAF Lt. Col. Stacy L. Maxey [pictured] openly asserts his intent to continue being a preachy Christian dickhead if DADT is repealed.

  • Tweep Steven Smith’s tragic death reveals how the online world is filled with people, too. Includes two heart-wrenching last sentences.
    (via @ebertchicago)

  • Unintended irony: House Speaker Boehner (R-OH) names Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) as new member of the House Intelligence Committee.
    (via @todayspolitics)

  • Stop snowboarding like a wuss. Get a fighter jet already!
    (via Fark)

If you have any story suggestions, feel free to leave them in the comments or send them in.