Saturday, December 31, 2011

Fail Quote: DEA chief spins hundreds of dead children as sign of victory in Drug War

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Michele Leonhart (Administrator, Drug Enforcement Administration)
Michele Leonhart

In case you wanted more proof of the utter amorality that’s leading the endless and entirely pointless bloodbath that is the War on Drugs, look no further than the head of the DEA herself, Michele Leonhart, as she offers this astounding reaction to the news that children are becoming increasingly targeted in the ever-escalating violence between cartels:

U.S. and Mexican officials say the grotesque violence is a symptom the cartels have been wounded by police and soldiers. “It may seem contradictory, but the unfortunate level of violence is a sign of success in the fight against drugs,” said Michele Leonhart, head of the Drug Enforcement Administration. The cartels “are like caged animals, attacking one another,” she added.

In other words: “I know this sounds completely fucking demented, but hundreds of children being butchered actually means we’re winning! For real this time! No, seriously!”

These drug warriors – Leonhart being a stellar example – are always coming up with new ways to spin butchery and inhumanity into a sign that the authorities are getting ever-so-closer to finally winning the Drug War. Of course, the grisly truth, as is obvious to anyone with their head not stuck up their ass, is that there can be no victory in such a barbaric conflict. The reason is abundantly simple: The primary enemy is not so much a clear or singular opponent, such as the cartels in themselves, but rather the desperation and greed that fuel them. In other words, these drug prohibitionists are effectively fighting against human nature in itself. This is why no prohibition has ever worked in the course of human history, and nor will it, no matter how far either side goes in their quest for supremacy.

One of the core lessons in life is never to attack the symptom(s), but the root cause(s) of a problem. Drug prohibitionists, in their mule-headed zeal and ignorance, are apparently content to keep squeezing the cartels, either not knowing or caring that they can never win, that the war will never end, and that the only outcome of increased pressure is increased casualties amongst the innocents. The only way to end the violence is, evidently enough, to end the war. Should that ever happen, the results would undeniably be remarkably similar to what the U.S. experienced soon after the 5th of December 1933. It’s simple and evident logic, and history is not short on examples that demonstrate this with indisputable clarity.

At the very least, we would do well to prevent abject ghouls such as Michele Leonhart from being placed in charge of anything regarding public policy.

(via @radleybalko)

Friday, December 30, 2011

Daily Blend: Friday, December 30, 2011

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Jordan Miles in the hospital
Jordan Miles, hospitalized

Is it just me, or do I need to variate my sources a little?

  • Doggycide in Durham, NC: Herald-Sun guest columnists speak out against cops who shot their little terrier in the head while investigating break-in at neighbor’s.
    (via @radleybalko)

  • Police “expert witness”: It was “illogical” for innocent Black teen [pictured] to run away from cops who nearly beat him to death. Un-fucking-believable.

  • Maine cop writes letter begging colleagues not to retaliate against other officers who busted him for drunk driving. It’s sadly telling that such a plea needs to be made in the first place.
    (via @radleybalko)

  • Los Angeles voters to decide whether condoms should be required in porn films. I thought they already were.
    (via The Agitator)

  • Ridiculously childish political squabble of the day: South Carolina Democrats upset over Gov. Haley’s proposed cheery state agency phone greeting.
    (via The Agitator)

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

Teenager charged with “stalking” for wishing vandal bad karma

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Allie Scott (16)
Allie Scott (16)

In which the stupidity of zero-tolerance is once again exemplified, this time with a bit of a twist:

Is it a crime to wish bad karma on someone? A Pinellas County teenager says she was suspended from school and charged with a crime just for posting a karma comment on her Facebook page.

Allie Scott is a junior at Osceola High School. The 16 year old says it all started in the school parking lot last month when she parked her brother's car in another girl's spot. She was asked to move it, and when she did at the end of the day, the car had been scratched up with a key.

Without naming who she thought did it, she posted this comment on her Facebook page: "Oh, so you keyed my car. Your karma is going to be a whole lot worse than that."

Okay, a perfectly tame and harmless comment, all things considered. If anything, it’s almost rather zen, given the act that spurred it. I expect most students would be up all in arms and post a screeching rant, or else hound whoever did it with a baseball bat. Allie chose to leave it to cosmic balance. Rather zen, I must say. Least worth mentioning of all is the fact that there’s no way any rational person could possibly interpret that post as any sort of a threat.

Unless, of course, one were not a rational person. Such an individual might instead see into Allie’s benign statement a hidden desire to do evil, using the advent of bad karma as a cloak for further hostilities in a dark scheme of vengeance.

And so, cue the typically overzealous authorities:

She wound up in the office and her mom was called.

"I started crying immediately. I didn't know what to say. I've never been in trouble before," Allie said.

Her mother drove to the school and also went to the office to meet with administrators.

"I had no idea what she was in trouble for and the severity of it until we got to the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office," Paula Scott recalled.

Allie was charged with stalking by the sheriff's office. She has a court hearing next week.

It should be telling that the fact that Allie was charged with the completely nonsensical accusation of “stalking” is only one thing wrong with this picture.

Now, there’s much good to be said about the current wave of anti-bullying fervor sweeping through the education system. (I’d even add, in my completely unbiased opinion, that it’s about fucking time that adults everywhere decided to get off their asses and do something about it.) But all movements have their irrational fringes, and Allie was unfortunate enough to get caught up in it. Punishing kids who torment others is a good thing, and criminal charges are sometimes exactly what the situation calls for, but there’s a problem when posting a completely innocuous message in reaction to an actual offense lands one in front of a judge.

(via @radleybalko)

Doggycide in Raleigh, North Carolina

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Elvis the dog
Elvis the dog

What a better way to keep up that Holiday cheer than with another report of a dog being slaughtered by police for no good reason?

A Wake County sheriff’s deputy shot and killed a couple’s 3-year-old dog Wednesday night while searching for a runaway teenager.

John and Linda Super say two deputies came to their home on King Circle, looking for a 15-year-old neighbor who had run away and had often spent time with them.

One of the couple’s dogs, Elvis, forced his way out the front door and ran outside as the couple talked to the deputies, they said. One of the deputies shot Elvis twice, including once in the back of the head, killing him, according to the Supers.

“All we’ve got is a dead dog and a lot of questions that need answers,” Linda Super said. “(Elvis) came running out, never bothered a soul, never opened his mouth, never woofed or nothing when he came out the door.”

Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison said the deputy, Roderick Belfield, said the dog was barking and running towards him. Belfield will not be punished for shooting the dog.

“Nobody wants to shoot a dog, but things like this are going to happen,” Harrison said. “Please put yourself in the deputy’s position. If you had been standing there, what would you have thought when the dog comes out charging towards you?”

How utterly formulaic. Dog presumed innocent and reportedly non-aggressive: Check. Police’s first reaction is to immediately use deadly force: Check. Police department disputes what happened in defense of trigger-happy officer: Check. Refuses to hold anyone accountable: Check. Silly and pathetic attempt at making excuses: Check. This could be a movie.

(via The Agitator)


Indiana senator wants to fine anyone who doesn’t play the anthem the way she likes it

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Senator Vaneta Becker (R-Indiana)
Sen. Vaneta Becker (R-IN)

There’s always a fine line between encouraging one’s fellow countryfolk to pay their respects for their country, and forcing them into a creepily fascistic lockstep. And Indiana Senator Vaneta Becker (R) is blasting over it with a rocket strapped to her back:

Many people have murdered The Star Spangled Banner, but an Indiana lawmaker wants to criminalize deviant versions sung or played at school functions, our colleagues at The Indianapolis Star tell us.

Sen. Vaneta Becker, R-Evansville, has introduced legislation that would direct state education officials to set "performance standards" for singing and playing the national anthem at any event sponsored by public schools, charters or state universities. (Private schools receiving tax- funded scholarships or vouchers would also be covered.)

Singers and musicians would have to sign a contract agreeing to follow the guidelines and would be fined $25 if their performances weren't deemed "acceptable."

"Sometimes it's just done in a joking manner, but I don't think the national anthem is something we ought to be joking around with," Becker said.

Actually, anything can be joked around with, Senator. That’s rather a basic tenet of the First Amendment, even if you don’t care for it. For instance, we could start by ridiculing your deranged notion that everyone must perform your fetishized song in exactly the way you want them to under penalty of legal sanctions. Because if there’s one thing that positively screams “Freedom of Speech” (if not freedom in general), it’s punishing anyone who doesn’t sing the anthem in exactly the way you like it, right?

Now, we are ostensibly assured that the “song police” will not target anyone who just sucks at singing, but only those rebellious rascals who deliberately wander from the traditional composition. The USA Today also notes that other states have also set their own standards for performing the anthem, though it’s unclear if those guidelines also come with sanctions for anyone who dares play the song in any way that doesn’t strictly conform with how it was originally written.

This is even more ridiculous than all those flag fetishists who get an embolism the second anyone dares exhibit anything less than worship-level reverence for their prized multicolored cloth. The whole idea of a free country is that its people should be allowed, and even encouraged, to display their sentiments about their home in any damn way they want, good or bad, proper or not. Those who cheerfully clap their hands to their chests and dole out their favorite jingoistic tune have no more the right to censor those who choose not to than the latter group can silence the former. The same goes with those who choose to derive from the usual standard; if you take away the people’s right to parody and satirize, you might as well throw the Bill of Rights into the nearest fireplace straightaway.

(via @pourmecoffee)

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Yearly round-up time! Top 10 posts of 2011

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Top 10

Another year, another another obligatory list of the top-ranking posts from the last twelve months. Thanks to the magic that is Google Analytics, I give you the 10 most trafficked Preliator entries of 2011:

(Note: stats retrieved 12/29/11 1:08 PM ET)

#10: Orangutan rescues drowning bird chick
Posted: June 11, 2011 | Total Pageviews: 318
Awesome video of an ape pulling a trapped baby bird out of the water and examining it with either curiosity or compassion (if not both).

#9: Vox Day’s classy response to objectification of women scientists
Posted: June 03, 2011 | Total Pageviews: 464
Aetiology’s Dr. Tara Smith vents about being objectified; Vox Day seizes the chance to belittle her concerns and deride her as a “transparently superficial twit” who only complained in order to seek attention. Classy chap.

#8: Vox Day: Science can’t explain everything!
Posted: July 11, 2011 | Total Pageviews: 493
Another Vox post, wherein he attacks PZ Myers over his own blatant misunderstanding of the nature of science.

#7: Zon: Follow-up on Penny Arcade and dickwolves
Posted: February 08, 2011 | Total Pageviews: 526
My friend Zon writes some more about yesteryear’s Penny Arcade “dickwolves” controversy (original post below at #5). Comes with a somewhat protracted debate in the comments section.

#6: Ask an Atheist Day marred by occasional self-stabbing nut
Posted: April 13, 2011 | Total Pageviews: 842
Wherein an “Ask an Atheist Day” event was rudely interrupted by an inconsiderate student who stabbed himself in the hand to “prove to us God existed”. No comment on whether any divine revelations were had.

#5: Zon: On the matter of Penny Arcade and dickwolves
Posted: February 04, 2011 | Total Pageviews: 871
Zon’s first post regarding the “dickwolves” affair. Includes another lengthy debate in the comments.

Exactly 20 years ago today …

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On this day, back in the snow-sodden, technologically repressed ages of 1991, the dreary clouds parted, a rainbow shone through, and all the birds and launched into song as the angels heralded the advent of a glorious new being into the world.

Oh, and meanwhile, I was born, too.

“20” birthday cake

Odd, I feel like I’m 19 again.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Man’s best friend is guitarist’s most selective audience

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It is proven: Dogs love guitar. QED.

My transcript: (click the [+/-] to expand/collapse →) []

Golden retriever “smiles” and nods in rhythm with guitar strumming, then “frowns” and goes still when guitar stops. Happens over and over again.

Also, something about this video – possibly the nearly three million views received in less than a week – tells me we’re about to witness the birth of a new meme.

(via The Agitator)

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Daily Blend: Tuesday, December 27, 2011

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Tomas Torres (54) with post-raid injuries
Tomas Torres with post-raid injuries

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

Monday, December 26, 2011

2011: This Year In Crazy

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Just in case you’d forgotten, here’s Tom Tomorrow with a reminder of just how insane this past year has been:

So … 2012, anyone?

(via Political Irony)

Daily Blend: Monday, December 26, 2011

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Siobhan Reynolds
Siobhan Reynolds, RIP

So, y’all working on figuring out what your soon-to-be-short-lived New Year’s resolutions will be?

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

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Cracked’s Gladstone wants atheists to stop picking on believers

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Scarlet letter of atheism

Well, this sucks. Here I was, having a perfectly mundane Christmas eve, when I came across this article about four snarky clichés employed by both sides of the atheo-religious divide. Now, I ordinarily have nothing but zealous adoration for Cracked (something made readily evident by even a cursory search of this blog), but I’m afraid I’m gonna have to take it to task now for royally screwing the pooch with its depiction of atheists and their beef(s) with religion(ists). Bah, humbug.

Practically right off the bat, the post starts with a strawman:

After all, God -- like the Loch Ness Monster or that Canadian girl I lost my virginity to junior year -- can neither be proven nor disproven. And given that, it always seems to take an act of both extreme faith and arrogance to mock the very notion of a God or to tell others you know precisely what He is thinking.

Except that atheists don’t “mock the very notion of a God”, in the sense of ridiculing the merest possibility that a supernatural force may exist. Even the most hardlined of nonbelievers will readily concede that it’s always possible that something might be out there. What atheists do act so indignantly dismissive towards is the God(s) as is/are paraded around by theists and their holy books, supposed entities proven to have been conjured up by humans long ago and whose alleged feats (global floods, Creation myths, etc.) can be empirically disproven by modern science and historical documentation. If you’re going to write a post haranguing atheists (either in part or as a whole) for their supposed wrongful treatment of theists and their beliefs, it would be best not to start off with a mischaracterization of your own.

Onwards to the first point: Believers need to stop declaring that “God hates <X>”, because A) they can’t actually know their God’s mind, B) their holy books were written by people, not supernatural beings, and C) and it makes them arrogant assholes to preach their beliefs by singling out everything their chosen deity detests. Fair enough.

But immediately afterwards comes thing #2 and the tone-trolling:

God Is Not Great was the 2007 anti-religion book by popular atheist and author Christopher Hitchens. Last week, Hitchens -- known for his intellect, eloquence and insufferable arrogance -- achieved his life-long goal of becoming God by ceasing to exist.

I get the impression that’s meant as a barb, but I can’t really address it as I have no idea what the hell it even means.

Cherry Mistmas an’ all that

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Merry Christmas

It appears the Internet has effectively slowed to a standstill, so I will now regale y’all with a personal anecdote about something that happened a couple years ago.

>At my aunt/godmother’s (for either Christmas or my birthday, either one)
>Gives me present, a package
>Open package
>Remove shirt assumed to be wrapped around present
>See no present
>Ask where is present
>Dumbfounded expressions on aunt and mother’s faces
>Realize shirt is present

And that is how people learned not to give me material presents.

Merry Christmas, y’all.

(Oh, wait – should I be running from the radical anti-Christmas secular terrorists now?)


Friday, December 23, 2011

Fail Quote: Brent Bozell calls Obama “skinny ghetto crackhead”

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Brent Bozell (founder, Media Research Center)
Brent Bozell

From Brent Bozell, founder of the wingnut Media Research Center, making an illustrative appearance on Fox News:

How long do you think Sean Hannity’s show would last if, four times in one sentence, he made a comment about, say, the President of the United States and said that “he looks like a skinny ghetto crackhead” – which, by the way, you might wanna say that Barack Obama does – everybody on the Left would come forward and demand he be fired within five minutes for being so insulting towards a leader of the United States. Well, this is the kind of stuff that Chris Matthews – by the way, who cares? I mean, he’s got 48 people watching him, so we really shouldn’t care.

Rather speaks for (and refutes) itself, doesn’t it?

(via Joe. My. God.)

Adopt an Atheist: Stan Johnson – Round 1

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“Adopt an Atheist” banner

I’ll admit, I had little expectations when I put myself up for Christian adoption two weeks back in response to Bill Donohue’s “adopt an atheist” initiative. But lo and behold, I’ve received a challenge!

Taker: Stan Johnson (Protestant Christian)

Rules —

  • The format is a free exchange (no jury or “winners”/“losers”).
  • Each round starts with Stan’s argument(s) (A = Argument)) and concludes with my counter-argument(s) (R = Rebuttal).
  • Subject matter is limited to arguments of logic and evidence to support the existence of God(s) and/or the validity of Christianity.
  • Any other topics or tangents may be ignored.
  • Any and all rhetoric, tactics and content is acceptable, so long as all participants adhere to the blog rules.
  • Arguments can be as many and lengthy as desired (though conciseness is appreciated).
  • Participants may choose to ignore any argument(s) that they feel have been sufficiently addressed (as to avoid beating a dead horse).
  • Rounds will continue indefinitely until any participant(s) choose(s) to end the debate for any reason.

Note: Challengers’ arguments may be paraphrased/edited for clarity/formatting reasons.

ARGUMENT(S): Stan Johnson

A1: The natural world (specifically the biology of organisms) doesn’t seem random, and instead appears to have been designed. This is a thought even shared by some very well known atheists. Richard Dawkins in his book The Blind Watchmaker even said "Biology is the study of complicated things that give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose." Yet, non like Christians, who follow the implications of what they study (in this case that it is designed), atheists throw out the notion because it doesn't follow their worldview. Francis Crick was once cited as saying "Biologists must constantly keep in mind what they see was not designed, rather evolved."

A2: The Earth has to have been designed because it doesn't make sense for the earth to be able to exist unless there was a plan going into making it. The earth would have destroyed itself as soon as one minute thing was off. Also, a lot of things would happen at the same time because there are instances where one thing could not happen before or after other events for it to have come into being.

Florida cops cleared after pepper-spraying prisoner to death

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Nicholas Christie (62), strapped to chair, naked, gagged, dripping with pepper-spray at Florida’s Lee County Jail
Nick Christie’s final moments
[source | full size (310×221)]

Another sterling example showing how no matter how excessively cruel cops can be, they can usually count on their higher-ups to clear them from facing any sort of accountability. An Ohio man was vacationing in Florida when he was arrested for causing a drunken disturbance at his hotel. Whatever happened next left him strapped naked to a chair for hours, gagged, and doused in pepper spray until his heart gave out:

A picture of 62-year-old Nick Christie could be worth thousands of dollars when a jury sees it.

The photo shows the Ohio man restrained inside the Lee County Jail with his body covered in pepper spray.

"This photo is a picture of a man who is strapped to a chair naked inside a jail for hours with a hood over his face. That evokes thoughts of being tortured," says Cleveland-based lawyer Nick DiCello who represents the Christie family.

The photo, which was obtained by FOX 13's investigative unit, was taken in the final hours of Christie's life.

The District 21 Medical Examiner ruled his death was a homicide because he had been restrained and sprayed with pepper sprayed by law enforcement officers. But to this day, nobody has ever been charged with a crime, and the Lee County State Attorney cleared the sheriff's office of any wrong doing.

So, hosing a medically compromised man in enough pepper spray to drown an elephant and leaving him strapped naked to a chair for hours until he dies is still not enough of an abuse to warrant any sort of disciplinary action from Lee County officials.

Must be nice, having a badge that enables one to get away with virtually anything – up to and including wanton murder – with complete impunity.

(via @radleybalko)

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

First-ever same-sex kiss at U.S. Navy ship’s return

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I didn’t really feel like smiling. Then I came across this story:

Marissa Gaeta (Petty Officer 2nd Class, left) and girlfriend Citlalic Snell (Petty Officer 3rd Class, right) kissing at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek, Virginia Beach

A Navy tradition caught up with the repeal of the U.S. military's "don't ask, don't tell" rule on Wednesday when two women sailors became the first to share the coveted "first kiss" on the dock after one of them returned from 80 days at sea.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Marissa Gaeta of Placerville, Calif., descended from the USS Oak Hill amphibious landing ship and shared a quick kiss with her partner, Petty Officer 3rd Class Citlalic Snell of Los Angeles. The crowd screamed and waved flags around them.

Now I can’t stop.

Long may the barriers continue to fall like the decrepit leftovers of institutionalized bigotry that they are.

(via @BadAstronomer)

2011, buh-bye!

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With a year as crazy as 2011 (wait – aren’t we saying that at the end of every year these days …?), what better fitting commemoration is there than JibJab’s annual tribute?

(via Joe. My. God.)


Synthetic skin from baby foreskins to replace animal testing?

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“Should I circumcise my newborn son?” → “No.”

Finally, researchers have found a valid (so to speak) reason for male circumcision: The Fraunhofer Institute in Germany is growing synthetic skin using cells from infant foreskins (<pause for double-take and/or bleaching of mind’s eye>) in the hopes of finding a replacement for animal testing. The Local reports:

A research organization is growing human skin in the hope of using it to trial cosmetics and medicines, reducing the need for animal testing. The synthetic skin is made using cells from infant foreskins.

The idea of a "skin factory" may sound sinister, but that is exactly what scientists at the Fraunhofer Institute in Stuttgart have created. Their so-called Hautfabrik grows tiny swatches of skin - not for skin grafts, but for testing consumer products.

The renowned institute is presenting their ground-breaking invention as an affordable and sustainable alternative to animal testing, which many consider unnecessarily cruel.

The article then goes into some detail about the process, but I’m sure most of you are now either A) debating the morality of animal testing, B) debating the idea of infant circumcision, or C) baby foreskins eeek!, so I’ll spare us all the pain of excerpting it at length.

At any rate, who knew that with all those bullshit claims about health benefits and appeals to “religious freedom”, it’s science that would end up offering the best incentive for male infant circumcision? (Not enough to actually make the practice any less wrong and repellent, mind you. The concept is good; they just need to use foreskins from adults who chose circumcision knowingly and willingly, and not children who had it imposed upon them.)

(via Joe. My. God.)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Daily Blend: Tuesday, December 20, 2011

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Spook (3-year-old pitbull)
Spook the pitbull
  • Doggycide: Gulfport, MS police shoot & kill a pitbull [pictured] during a botched raid – right in front of a 3-year-old – and claim the dog supposedly attacked them despite being chained in the yard.
    (via The Agitator)

  • Shocker: Major anti-copyright-infringement advocates caught with millions of dollars in pirated content. ’Cause what good fascist isn’t also a hypocritical asshole?

  • Meanwhile, MythBusters’s Adam Savage speaks out against SOPA.

  • David Barton: Disney, homosexuality and erosion of “Judeo-Christian biblical worldview” to blame for making people think that animals feel and think.

  • List of some of Kim Jong-il’s titles. My favorite is “Highest Incarnation of the Revolutionary Comradely Love”, which has got to be code for something.
    (via The Agitator)

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

Fail Quote: Rep. Bachmann doesn’t know how to be a politician

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Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN)
Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN)

In which Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) takes a leaf from failed Delaware Senate candidate Christine “I’m not a witch, I’m you!” O’Donnell’s book – with similarly disturbing results:

Republican hopeful Michele Bachmann seems to have found a new favorite tag line in the midst of her bus tour: “I'm one of you.”

It's a phrase she's been using more and more, and Monday she seemed to be saying it everywhere she went.

"I am not a politician. I am a real person. I don't even know how to be a politician," Bachmann said in a news conference outside a high school in Grundy Center, Iowa.

"That is why I am in trouble all the time in Washington DC because I am constantly fighting the establishment in Washington, D.C.," she added.

While it’s comforting to finally see her acknowledge her utter incompetence at holding any sort of public office (though not before the entire world had apparently realized it before her), it might be a bit more reassuring if she hadn’t gotten this epiphany while running for President of the United States.

Really, you kooks and nutballs need to stop trying to pretend to be “one of the people”. That would only be true if the global average IQ were below that of a parsnip’s.

(via ThinkProgress)

Monday, December 19, 2011

Fail Quote: Fischer: Hitchens is in Hell “because God loves him”

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From the crème-du-bigot Bryan Fischer:

Transcript from Right Wing Watch:

Let's assume for the sake of argument that Christopher Hitchens maintained his resolve and did not turn, he did not repent, he died an unrepentant and defiant atheist. That would mean today, if the Scriptures mean anything, that he is in Hell today.

But here's my point, the point I was making earlier is that if he is, if Christopher Hitchens is, in fact, in Hell, he's there because God loves him. Not because God hates him but because God loves him. And I explained what I mean by that. What I mean by that is that God loves us enough to, in the end, give us what he insist on having. If we are determined to have our own way then God, in the end, is going to give us what we insist on having, because that's what you do for people you love.


Now if you think about it, and I mention this earlier, to me it would not be a loving thing for God to say to Christopher Hitchens "you spent your entire life, you're still defying me. You died in defiance, you still are in defiance as you stand before me. You don't want anything to do with me. You don't want anything to do with my son. You don't want anything to do with my Gospel. You don't want anything to do with word of God. You don't want anything to do with other people that are followers of me." It would not be a loving thing to compel someone like Christopher Hitchens to spend the rest of eternity in a place that he hated, a place that he does not want to be, a place that he has no desire to be, a place that he has spent all of his life resisting, condemning, avoiding, refusing to embrace. To me, that's not love, that would be a form of cruelty.

Local news discovers Internet trolls

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From Radley Balko’s “local news hysteria” series, wherein he showcases clips of small-time media outlets breathlessly reporting on the latest supposed big teen scare, comes this bit of breaking news: Sum pplz r meen on teh Interwebz!

To their credit, they do source their information from Know Your Meme, even if they do dress it up with spooky graphics and victimized YouTubers as if they were reporting on anything more than the random brain-droppings of a bunch of maladjusted losers in their mamas’ basements.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Daily Blend: Sunday, December 18, 2011

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Kim Jong-il (dictator, North Korea)

Posting at the 11th hour again … #WellActuallyThe23rdHour #PedantryRules

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

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Quote of the Day: Diaphanus on God’s fanboys

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‘Fanboys’ [2008] poster
Except for God

From my friend Diaphanus:

Two theologians debating the nature of a deity are like two Star Wars fanboys debating the nature of The Force.

A bit obvious, but no less true.

Added to the Memorable Quotes.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Gay marriage opponent: Homosexuality is a “disease”

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Don’t you just love it when bigots lay out their “scientific” reasons for hating various minorities? Here’s Minnesotan Mark Hayes explaining why he plans to vote in support of an anti-gay-marriage constitutional amendment that Christian-Right groups successfully got on the November 2012 ballot:

It wouldn’t be pretty. [laughs] My response to one of my daughters would be … would be a lot like Katrina hitting New Orleans. It would not be good. That’s about all I can say about it. I’m not sure exactly what my reaction would be, but I know that it would be a bad day. [laughs]

Yeah, blowing up in your kids’ face when they come out of the closet – so funny! On the other hand, at least his daughters are now warned that they would be much better off confiding in someone else.

But wait, he’s just getting started:

My name is Mark Hayes and I’m voting “yes” on the marriage amendment because of my scientific experience [of] reproduction being a basic facet of existence for all organisms. Same-sex marriage flies in the face of that. For any organism, be it animal, plant or human, the reproductive urge is very significant as a driving force in life. As a matter of fact, it is one of the seven qualities to dictate whether something is alive or not.

Christopher Hitchens: 1949—2011

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In memoriam to the Hitch. From Vanity Fair [links removed for brevity]:

Christopher Hitchens

Christopher Hitchens—the incomparable critic, masterful rhetorician, fiery wit, and fearless bon vivant—died today at the age of 62. Hitchens was diagnosed with esophageal cancer in the spring of 2010, just after the publication of his memoir, Hitch-22, and began chemotherapy soon after. His matchless prose has appeared in Vanity Fair since 1992, when he was named contributing editor.

“Cancer victimhood contains a permanent temptation to be self-centered and even solipsistic,” Hitchens wrote nearly a year ago in Vanity Fair, but his own final labors were anything but: in the last 12 months, he produced for this magazine a piece on U.S.-Pakistani relations in the wake of Osama bin Laden’s death, a portrait of Joan Didion, an essay on the Private Eye retrospective at the Victoria and Albert Museum, a prediction about the future of democracy in Egypt, a meditation on the legacy of progressivism in Wisconsin, and a series of frank, graceful, and exquisitely written essays in which he chronicled the physical and spiritual effects of his disease. At the end, Hitchens was more engaged, relentless, hilarious, observant, and intelligent than just about everyone else—just as he had been for the last four decades.

“My chief consolation in this year of living dyingly has been the presence of friends,” he wrote in the June 2011 issue. He died in their presence, too, at the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas. May his 62 years of living, well, so livingly console the many of us who will miss him dearly.

Our thoughts are with his family, friends and assorted loved ones.

(via @ebertchicago)

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Daily Blend: Thursday, December 15, 2011

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Seal pup sleeping on couch
Cutest intruder ever

Look, whatever you think of Cesar Millan and his methods, comparing nudging and leash-training to actual abuse – especially child abuse* – is utterly ridiculous.

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

* I fully consider corporeal punishment to be child abuse. As I’ve said: If you cannot get your child to listen without hitting them, you’re a failure as a parent.

I won’t link to what brought this up, as it comes from a very respected friend and I don’t wish to burn any bridges. But it just had to be said.

(PS – My judgment is based on having watched Millan’s show, The Dog Whisperer, for years.)

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Daily Blend: Tuesday, December 13, 2011

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Nicole (l) and Jonas Maines
Nicole (l) and Jonas Maines

How telling is it that we must rely on foreign news agencies to expose wrongdoing in U.S. organizations?

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