Monday, February 28, 2011

Daily Blend: Monday, February 28, 2011

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Sarah Palin
Sarah Palin

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

Speaking out against Anonymous and Internet vigilantism [updated]

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NOTE: (03/01/11 4:00 AM) – Speaking with a friend has alerted me to the fact that I make some unfounded generalizations in this post. Rather than revise the entire thing, I’ll leave this little “foreword”: I realize that “Anonymous”, as an online collective, is an extremely vague group that just about anybody can claim to be a part of, and that most likely only a tiny faction of Anonymous are actual black-hatters or “hacktivists”. I am also aware that factions of Anonymous have presented perfectly legal means of protesting, such as encouraging people to simply abandon PayPal, or to disseminate the Cablegate documents as far and wide as they could through legit methods, and others of the sort. The reasons I don’t mention these decent and honorable initiatives in the below post are A) I had honestly forgotten about them (I’ve paid only minimal attention to Anonymous’s activities), and B) my point was to argue against online vigilantism (of which factions of Anonymous now play a large role), not to present some sort of exposé on Anonymous’s history.

“We Are Anonymous”

They’re one of the latest trending issues these days, it seems (or, at least, one of the rare ones that actually matter). First rising to prominence in the midst of the US Government’s crackdown on WikiLeaks and the debut of “Cablegate”, and retaining a certain (and apparently increasing) media and online notoriety thanks to both their mystery and their power, the Internet group known as Anonymous has become a beacon of inspiration for many who are passionate in their opposition to Big Brother and entities that are generally perceived (especially by the Left) as being detrimental to socio-politics, in the US and internationally. From crashing credit card websites to their recent and thorough trashing of Internet security firm HBGary (and one agent specifically), this stringy collective of black-hat hackers has mounted a sudden, vigorous and dangerous resistance to anyone they decide is an enemy of the general population, in the best interests of whom they claim to act.

In other words, they are no more than common vigilantes gone digital. Self-righteous thugs who hide behind the Internet’s cloak of anonymity.

I may very well receive some level of flak for calling them such mean names, but the fact is that their own actions have revealed their own galling hypocrisy. They claim to espouse and defend free speech, yet they attack groups and people who say things they don’t like. They claim to keep people accountable, yet they’re the ones smashing perfectly legit websites for choosing to take what they believed was the best and safest (and entirely legal) course of action in severing ties with WikiLeaks, given the threats they were facing from the US Government*. They claim to espouse common morality, yet they blithely go on a rampage against people who try to stop them from committing any more crimes, to the point where they may even be endangering their safety by posting their most sensitive personal information online for any assholes to see.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Student uses smartphone to beat trumped-up speeding ticket

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Police car pulling someone over

Kudos to wily kids and their cop-busting gadgets:

A student describes how he was able to get out a speeding ticket by whipping out his Android.

The cop cited him for going over 40 mph in a 25 zone, which he was too frazzled to contest at the time. After he had cooled down and parked his car later, he remembered that he had been running the My Tracks app by Google which records your GPS info and speed. Pulling up the data, he found that he hadn't been speeding. When his court date arrived, he plead not guilty, presented his GPS data, and successfully got out of the ticket. Nice!

Of course, the logical outcome of this story is that cops will now demand to see drivers’ smartphones whenever they’re pulled over, after which their owners will find that their contents been “accidentally” wiped clean.

You’d think I kid, but expectations about police professionalism standards have sunk low enough for this to be a perfectly conceivable occurrence to me.

(via The Agitator)

Daily Blend: Sunday, February 27, 2011

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Video journalist Bill Alleman
Bill Alleman

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

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Daily Blend: Saturday, February 26, 2011

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Pamela Geller
Pamela Geller

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

Supplemental tags:

Friday, February 25, 2011

I, Equitator: Day Six – Weird, dumb, dirty, lovable horses

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Personal: It’s All About ME

I, Equitator: Day OneDay TwoDay ThreeDay FourDay FiveDay SixDay SevenDay EightDay Nine

After an all-too-long week without horse-riding lessons (five weeks, one week off, then another five weeks), I finally had my sixth day at Equi-Sens today. (Which almost didn’t happen, seeing how I had somehow managed to utterly forget about it when I went to bed at three in the bloody morning last night, and had forgotten what my alarm was for and thus ignored it when it woke me. Thank God my mother woke me up, thus placing me in her debt (for once, not financially).) It actually ended up being the best hour I’ve spent there so far, which is rather impressive, given how every lesson is by far the highlight of my week. (Which is either pretty cool or rather depressing, depending on how you look at it.)

As I waited for my woefully short hour to start (my transport arrives a few minutes early), I felt like introducing y’all to some of the gang at Equi-Sens. Here’s Polly, a 16-year-old breed-whose-name-I’ve-forgotten-as-always:

Apparently thinks his butt is his finest feature
[full size (1200×900)]

Fail Quote: Alan Keyes compares gay marriage to slavery

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Alan Keyes
Alan Keyes

From the wingnut’s wingnut, Alan Keyes, writing at the WorldNetDaily:

The DOMA simply makes more explicit the government's obligation to secure the Creator-endowed unalienable rights of the natural family. This obligation precludes government from fabricating other rights that impair them. In this respect, granting homosexuals the right to marry is like granting plantation owners the right to own slaves.

How amazingly incoherent. Not a single rational thought to be found anywhere.

(via Media Matters for America)

Daily Blend: Friday, February 25, 2011

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Jorge Cartagena, Jr (19)
Jorge Cartagena, Jr

Had a great day at Equi-Sens today, even by the usual standards. Will write about it shortly. For now, links!

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

Friday Canine: That log isn’t good for hiding behind

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Thursday, February 24, 2011

Fail Quote: John Yoo accuses Obama of overstepping his constitutional boundaries

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Former Bush administration Deputy Assistant Attorney General John Yoo
John Yoo

After a day filled with possible legalized murder of innocent and courageous live-saving heroes, it’s time to wind down and just point and laugh at some random nut saying something hypocritical and stupid. From John Yoo, former Bush administration Deputy Assistant Attorney General and co-author (along with Assistant Attorney General Jay Bybee) of the infamous Bush torture memos, revealing his epic lack of self-awareness in this criticism of President Obama:

President Obama continues to display his misunderstanding of the constitutional order by repeatedly inserting himself into matters reserved to the states and localities, such as the arrest of Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates, the location of a mosque near ground zero in New York City, and much of Arizona's immigration bill. In ignoring the proper division of responsibility between the national and state governments, Obama distracts the national political state from the pressing responsibilities on its own docket, such as spending no more than revenues and protecting the nation's security.

Amazing. Now, on its own, this inane piece would have been unremarkable. But the fact that Yoo, a man who thought that President Bush’s executive power was so all-encompassing and unchallengeable that he could commit any number of atrocities and war crimes overseas and never receive so much as a judicial slap on the wrist for it, is now arguing that President Obama is overstepping his own constitutional boundaries because he dares to share his opinions on various national matters, is too rich for words.

This guy is giving a whole new definition to being “too stupid to parody”.

(via Dispatches from the Culture Wars)

Iowa wants to legalize murder of abortion doctors, too!

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Murder scene

Someone please kill me. (Oh, irony.) I’ve barely just written about how Nebraska has become the second state, after South Dakota, with a legislature that is actually considering amending the state’s justifiable homicide laws to allow people to kill abortion doctors in order to prevent “prenatal murder”, and here comes Right Wing Watch to inform me that a third state, Iowa, is also thinking about legalizing anti-abortion murder – and several others might be as well:

The Iowa State House is weighing both a Personhood bill, which gives legal rights to zygotes by classifying them as separate “persons,” and a bill that expands the right to use deadly force to protect a third party. The Personhood legislation attempts to criminalize abortion and common forms of birth control and has already been approved by a State House subcommittee; Personhood Amendments are also under consideration in Mississippi, North Dakota, and Georgia. Essentially, by declaring that a zygote and a fetus have all of the same legal rights as a “person” while also broadening the legal protections regarding the reasonable use of deadly force, abortion providers could be legally targeted with the rationale of protecting a third party.

This is turning into yet another one of those times where I’m devoutly thankful I live in Canada. At least politics here are just boring, rather than filled with immoral zealots.

Nebraska also wants to legalize killing abortion doctors

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Murder scene
Coming soon to an abortion clinic near you?

Once again, the rule of thumb that there is no depth to which far-Right ideologues will not eventually sink seems to have been reaffirmed. Last week, it was revealed that a bill making its way through the South Dakotan legislature would amend the state’s justifiable homicide law to effectively legalize the murder of abortion providers from anyone even tangentially related to any woman having her pregnancy terminated. (That bill has mercifully been shelved for the time being after nationwide outrage.)

Well, apparently not to be left out in their inhumane fancies, Republican lawmakers in Nebraska are pushing a bill that somehow manages to be even more dangerous than South Dakota’s indefinitely postponed initiative, allowing not just those who personally know a woman undergoing an abortion to open fire on abortion doctors, but literally anyone at all to grab a gun and go abortionist-huntin’. Once again, Mother Jones reports:

The legislation, LB 232, was introduced by state Sen. Mark Christensen, a devout Christian and die-hard abortion foe who is opposed to the prodedure even in the case of rape. Unlike its South Dakota counterpart, which would have allowed only a pregnant woman, her husband, her parents, or her children to commit "justifiable homicide" in defense of her fetus, the Nebraska bill would apply to any third party.

"In short, this bill authorizes and protects vigilantes, and that's something that's unprecedented in our society," Melissa Grant of Planned Parenthood of the Heartland told the Nebraska legislature's judiciary committee on Wednesday. Specifically, she warned, it could be used to target Planned Parenthood's patients and personnel. Also testifying in oppostion to the bill was David Baker, the deputy chief executive officer of the Omaha police department, who said, "We share the same fears...that this could be used to incite violence against abortion providers."

Baker's concern is well-grounded: Abortion providers are frequent targets of violent attacks. Eight doctors have been murdered by anti-abortion extremists since 1993, and another 17 have been victims of murder attempts. Some of the perpetrators of those crimes, including Scott Roeder, the murderer of Wichita, Kansas, abortion provider Dr. George Tiller, have attempted to use the justifiable homicide defense at their trials. Several of the witnesses at Wednesday's hearing cited Tiller's murder as a case where a law like the one Christensen introduced could have come into play.

Daily Blend: Thursday, February 24, 2011

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WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange
Julian Assange
  • Arizona State Republicans now aiming to strike down citizenship by birthright and generally make life hell for suspected illegals with flurry of new, flagrantly unconstitutional bills.

  • British judge orders Julian Assange [pictured] extradited back to Sweden for what I’m certain will be a perfectly fair, not-at-all hidden trail based on not-at-all highly questionable accusations of sexual impropriety.

  • Not doomed yet: Oklahoma Creationist bill killed in the State House.

  • Another former Sarah Palin confidant, Frank Bailey, blows the whistle on her intrinsic demagogic dishonesty.

  • Former head of Bush administration’s Office of Legal Counsel Scott Bloch, charged with contempt of Congress for destroying evidence during their investigation of his wrongdoing, wants to retract his guilty plea upon learning that he’d have to go to jail for a whole month.

  • Right’s reaction to Obama administration’s DoMA renouncement: Schadenfreudelicious.

  • Free Republic nutjobs see God in winds that blew over the national Christmas tree. Sad, and more than a little disturbing.

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

Supplemental tags:

The Cove

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Movie still from ‘The Cove’ (2009) showing dolphin slaughter
That’s not Photoshopped red.

A few weeks ago, PZ Myers tweeted about having seen The Cove, an award-winning 2009 documentary about the secret and horrendous dolphin massacres in Japan, and the tangled web of cover-ups put in place by the Japanese government and its allies to keep it all hidden from the general population. I only just got around to watching it. All I can say is that the filmmakers chose wisely to put the most poignant scenes at the end – most people probably wouldn’t make it through the whole thing otherwise.

I was unable to find any YouTube videos of the scene-in-question that were embeddable*, so here’s the trailer instead. Watch it, then watch the full documentary. Anyone with a conscience will be glad they did. [Warning for loud volume.]

Thankfully, a few things have already begun to change since this film came out and began turning quite a few heads, but the slaughter itself continues unabated. So if you can, do something.

* Seriously, what the fuck? Is there a memo going around telling uploaders to disable embedding of their videos? How incredibly pointless and frustrating.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Fail Quote: Bill Donohue doesn’t care about old crimes

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Catholic League President Bill Donohue
Bill Donohue

From the perennial Defender of the Faith™, Bill Donohue, fulminating against the ACLU’s supposed hypocrisy in defending Muslims in court:

So it is a little too late for the ACLU to feign outrage over FBI agents spying on Muslims in a mosque: it cares not a whit about religious rights, unless they serve a political purpose. That's why the ACLU is so fond of defending the religious rights of prisoners, but is noticeably silent when it comes to the due process rights of Catholic priests accused of crimes that allegedly happened decades ago.

Right, the ACLU should totally be jumping in to defend priests accused of molesting children, because seeing as these atrocious crimes “allegedly” took place decades ago, they’re now utterly meaningless, aren’t they?

This isn’t the first time Donohue has reiterated his absurd and immoral argument that accusations of old crimes should be swept under the rug. Because, hey, those kids got over it, right? Sure, it may have traumatized them for life, but they’re alive, and that’s what the Christian “pro-life” sentiment is all about, after all.

Georgia anti-abortion bill would equate abortion to murder, require investigation of miscarriages

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Rep. Bobby Franklin (R-GA)
Rep. Bobby Franklin (R-GA)

Seems like Newton’s third law of motion might as well be applied to society as well. Having just come off a bit of splendid news, I must now blog about how Georgia Rep. Bobby Franklin (R), last seen trying to relabel rape victims as rape ‘accusers’, is now pushing anti-abortion legislation that would require that all miscarriages be investigated and would even go so far as to make abortion the legal equivalent of murder:

The bill, known as HB 1, was uncovered by the progressive blog The Daily Kos.

Franklin's bill would classify the removal of a fetus from a woman for any reason other than to produce a live birth or to remove a dead fetus as "prenatal murder." Physicians indicted for alleged "prenatal murder" would have their license suspended until they were found innocent of the crime.

Although the legislation would not place any criminal penalties on natural spontaneous abortions, it would require miscarriages to be reported by hospitals and other medical institutions, and a fetal death certificate issued.

You gotta hand it to these ideological asshats. They really just don’t give up, ever. This sort of tenacity would be so very welcome in politics, if only it didn’t come at the expense of women’s health and civil rights in general.

(via @PersonalFailure)

BREAKING: Obama administration renounces DoMA defense!

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Same-sex marriage

I could barely believe it when I first saw Glenn Greenwald praise it on Twitter, but it’s true: The Department of Justice has officially stated that they will no longer be defending the Clinton-era Defense of Marriage Act (DoMA) in courts against same-sex marriage [formatting is [sic]]:

After careful consideration, including a review of my recommendation, the President has concluded that given a number of factors, including a documented history of discrimination, classifications based on sexual orientation should be subject to a more heightened standard of scrutiny. The President has also concluded that Section 3 of DOMA, as applied to legally married same-sex couples, fails to meet that standard and is therefore unconstitutional. Given that conclusion, the President has instructed the Department not to defend the statute in such cases. I fully concur with the President’s determination.

Consequently, the Department will not defend the constitutionality of Section 3 of DOMA as applied to same-sex married couples in the two cases filed in the Second Circuit. […]

Furthermore, pursuant to the President ’ s instructions, and upon further notification to Congress, I will instruct Department attorneys to advise courts in other pending DOMA litigation of the President's and my conclusions that a heightened standard should apply, that Section 3 is unconstitutional under that standard and that the Department will cease defense of Section 3.


Much of the legal landscape has changed in the 15 years since Congress passed DOMA. The Supreme Court has ruled that laws criminalizing homosexual conduct are unconstitutional. Congress has repealed the military’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy. Several lower courts have ruled DOMA itself to be unconstitutional. Section 3 of DOMA will continue to remain in effect unless Congress repeals it or there is a final judicial finding that strikes it down, and the President has informed me that the Executive Branch will continue to enforce the law. But while both the wisdom and the legality of Section 3 of DOMA will continue to be the subject of both extensive litigation and public debate, this Administration will no longer assert its constitutionality in court.

Daily Blend: Wednesday, February 23, 2011

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Patricia Marilyn Spottedcrow
Patricia Marilyn Spottedcrow

Hold onto your butts, I sense a big news day a-comin’ …

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

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Daily Blend: Tuesday, February 22, 2011

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Former Judge Mark A. Ciavarella, Jr.
Former Judge Mark A. Ciavarella, Jr.
  • I’m against the death penalty, but monsters like this [pictured], who happily condemn innocent kids to lives of unmerited punishment and misery, send me reaching for alternatives.

  • Cop who groped woman gets paid leave; cop who turned him in gets fired.
    (via Dispatches from the Culture Wars)

  • Four Layton, Utah Walmart employees harmlessly disarm a shoplifting gunman, get thanked with pink slips.
    (via @ebertchicago)

  • Austrian woman charged and fined €480 for implying Mohammed was a pedophile. So older men marrying nine-year-old girls is fine, then, as long as it’s in a religious context?

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

Monday, February 21, 2011

Sid Galloway doesn’t get evolution (or biology, or science)

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Sid Galloway
Sid Galloway

One of the more amusing constants about evolution denialists is how incredibly simple and stupid their arguments are, to the point where any averagely educated Joe (pun unintended) can point out just how full of crap they are with a minimum of effort.

The latest example comes courtesy of Sid Galloway, an evangelical zookeeper who apparently thinks that his stint as a high school biology teacher makes him qualified to make all sorts of crazy pronouncements about all of science that even the thickest high school students would find risible. For example, it probably tells you all you need to know when you hear that one of his central arguments is that faith is “rational” and that Biblical Creationism is more “logical” than the Theory of Evolution. Yep, he’s definitely one of ’em “expert” thingies.

To wit, lecturing at Baton Rouge, Louisiana’s Chapel on the Campus:

"The Bible doesn't teach that faith is a feeling — it is to be rational," he said. "Don't believe anything I say today unless you can find evidence for it."

Not a problem, I assure you. Also, aren’t feelings and emotions, practically by very definition, irrational?

Galloway argued scientists who challenge evolution in favor of creationism are often ignored.

"There is a very active persecution of those who stand for a biblical worldview, especially in the worlds of science and academia," he said.

Ignored, yes, and deservedly so. Persecuted? No. Keeping charlatans and ignorami out of positions of educative authority over malleable minds is not “persecution”, no matter how much these “Teach the Controversy” types try to claim it is. Just as one wouldn’t want a kook in charge of their surgery or their home electrical repairs, one also shouldn’t accept to have a deluded Bible-thumper filling their kids’ heads with unscientific and endlessly debunked fibs and fables.

However, evolution wasn’t Galloway’s only target, as he also took on other fundamental foundations of modern science as well:

First, he argued against the Big Bang theory.

Repost: Ed's View of Islam and Sharia Law

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Islamic crescent
Islamic crescent

Ed Brayton at Dispatches from the Culture Wars has posted a lengthy and detailed response to some cretins who keep insisting that he only mocks the far-Right’s hysteria over the nonexistent threat of a radical Islamic “takeover” of the United States because he actually supports it, or some such nonsense. It’s a clear and eloquent essay that truly deserves to be shared around, which is why I’m reposting it here, in full, for the sake of posterity. In brief: Just because “reactionary Islam” is evil and disgusting does not make it a credible threat to the American way of life, at least not in this current society.

Since I have at least two incredibly persistent trolls and their various sockpuppets who insist that my making fun of the right wing's fervent overreaction to the threat of radical Islam constitutes support for radical Islam, I thought I'd lay out my views on this subject in plain language so no one can doubt where I stand. None of this will come as any surprise to those who have been reading this blog for the last few years, of course.

Let me first state the obvious: Radical Islamic -- which probably should be called reactionary Islam instead -- is the single most dangerous and malevolent ideology on the planet today. Any ideology that contains the idea that one is justified in killing those who disagree with us or who "insult" -- i.e. criticize -- our views is fundamentally dangerous from the very start.

Reactionary Islam is opposed to every core value I hold -- liberty, equality, decency, rationality. It is anti-science and anti-reason. It is fundamentally barbaric in its treatment of women, sexual minorities, infidels, heretics and apostates (which happen to be some of my favorite kinds of people).

I'll go further: Anyone who thinks that God tells them to kill people for being apostates or unbelievers is a barbarian, and quite likely insane. Anyone who thinks it is okay to kill those who criticize their religion is a barbarian, and quite likely insane. Anyone who thinks that it is okay to beat women for being disobedient or stone someone for being gay is evil in a way that I will never comprehend.

And no, I do not think that modern Christianity, even at its worst, is anywhere near the threat that Islam is. Yes, there are Christian Reconstructionists with their own dangerous -- and remarkably similar -- ideology. But they are a tiny fringe with little power. Meanwhile there are whole nations like Pakistan and Saudi Arabia that enforce the most barbaric aspects of Islamic law.

Daily Blend: Monday, February 21, 2011

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“Chestbuster” from ‘Alien’
Pictured: Republican

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

Inhuman Illustrated | Chapter 11 illustration [updated]

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This entry has been removed from Preliator and can now be found over at Creativitas. (See here for more info.)

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Obama administration strikes down most “conscience clauses”

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After the wretched healthcare news of yesterday, I think it’s time we had some good news to counteract the wretched. The Obama administration has repealed most of the Bush-era “conscience clauses” that allowed doctors, nurses, pharmacists and assorted caretakers to opt out of dispensing medical assistance to anyone who did or believed things that offended their precious moral or religious sensibilities. The Washington Post reports:

After two years of struggling to balance the rights of patients against the beliefs of health-care workers, the Obama administration on Friday finally rescinded most of a federal regulation designed to protect those who refuse to provide care they find objectionable on moral or religious grounds.

The decision guts one of President George W. Bush's most controversial legacies: a rule that was widely interpreted as shielding workers who refuse to participate in a range of medical services, such as providing birth control pills, caring for gay men with AIDS and performing in-vitro fertilization for lesbians or single women.

Friday's move was seen as an important step in countering that trend, which in recent years had led pharmacists to refuse to fill prescriptions for the emergency contraceptive Plan B, doctors in California to reject a lesbian's request for infertility treatment, and an ambulance driver in Chicago to turn away a woman who needed transportation for an abortion.


The new rule leaves intact only long-standing "conscience" protections for doctors and nurses who do not want to perform abortions or sterilizations. It also retains the process for allowing health workers whose rights are violated to file complaints.

Perhaps coincidentally, this decision comes only a couple of weeks after the Idaho Board of Pharmacy decided that it was perfectly acceptable that a Walgreen’s pharmacist refuse to dispense some particularly crucial medicine for a Planned Parenthood patient on the moral grounds that she might have had an abortion. The fact that these conscience protections would have covered these sorts of asshats is all the more reason to get rid of them. Unfortunately, though, these protections still exist when it comes to matters of abortion or reproductive care … but at least caretakers won’t be allowed to judge which patients can be cared for on the basis of where they like to stick their junk in the privacy of their bedrooms. That’s a fairly good start, at least.

Once again: Medicine is no place for the morally squeamish. If you can’t do your job properly without feeling the need to sacrifice care for some of the needy people who approach you in search of aid, then take off your scrubs and go do something else that won’t force you to actually take care of people. Simple enough.

Daily Blend: Saturday, February 19, 2011

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Caricature of DEA agent (by Fred Noland)
Pictured: Average DEA agent
  • Another isolated incident: Drug bust ends with cops [caricature pictured] bursting into the wrong residence and arresting an innocent law professor, who pledges that “[t]here will not be a better litigated case this century”. Fingers crossed!
    (via The Agitator)

  • Turns out Christian reproductive health clinics aren’t actually so good with that “reproductive health” bit.

  • New report finds that police officers commit sexual crimes almost three times as often as civilians.
    (via @todayspolitics)

  • Bizarre case: Man convicted of murdering his wife, despite no evidence that he harmed her or that she’s even actually dead.

  • Theocrat Rep. Sally Kern (R-OK) proposes a “non-Creationist” Creationist bill. So … she’s proposing a blank piece of paper?
    (via Dispatches from the Culture Wars)

  • Man gets a $275 ticket for not wearing a helmet at a skate park … despite the fact that he wasn’t skating.
    (via The Agitator)

  • Buenos Aires prepares for a gay ol’ cruise.

  • Ray Comfort has a question for anyone who isn’t a complete idiot.

  • Oh dear Dog.
    (via Infidel753)

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

Supplemental tags:

Friday, February 18, 2011

Fail Quote #2: Coulter wants gays to align with the Right

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Ann Coulter speaking at CPAC (02/12/11)
Ann Coulter

This is one of those days that just seems to be drowning in stupidity wherever I look. Which, I guess, makes it fitting that there be more than one Fail Quote post for the day. This time, from Ann Coulter, spreading some more nonsense at CPAC:

"The left is trying to co-opt gays," she said. "They should be on our side."

You probably shouldn’t have been eating or drinking anything while reading that.

Meanwhile, Ed Brayton over at Dispatches from the Culture Wars puts it rather plainly:

She said this at a conference that was missing all of the major religious right groups and leaders because they refused to attend a conference with gay people. A conference that will now reject sponsorship by gay conservative groups. And where the majority of people are against any action that gives anything approaching equality to gays. Oh yeah, gays should be flocking to the right in droves.

’Course, I’d like to go one step further and declare that she’s out of her farking mind. But that relies upon the assumption that she has one to begin with, a claim that scientists may not be able to substantiate.

(via Dispatches from the Culture Wars)

Time to out closeted anti-gay Indiana legislators

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“We’re Not Gossiping, We’re Networking”

Normally, I’m against any attempts at intrusions into other people’s private lives. This is especially true when it comes to closeted gays and lesbians, who may be unable to come out without incurring all sorts of negative repercussions, depending on their environment and circumstances. But when it comes to hypocrites in the government trying to legislate what people can or cannot do in the privacy of their bedrooms, all the while engaging in the same behaviors they try so persistently to eradicate, it’s only fair that the gloves come off.

And so, that’s why I love and fully support this proposal by Bil Browning over at LGBT blog The Bilerico Project:

I'm sick and tired of hypocritical Hoosier legislators who think that our personal lives are any of their business. Do I intrude on who they're sleeping with? I didn't, but I'm going to start now. We need to show them that unnecessary intrusion into other people's relationships is not only unwelcome but unwarranted. We need to burn their hand so they won't touch the stove again.

Now that a marriage discrimination amendment has passed the Indiana House of Representatives, apparently it's time to put out the same call I made in 2007 that helped to kill attempts to amend the constitution until now. Last time we found out that Senator Brandt Hershman, one of the sponsors of the amendment and right-to-life darling, had forced his wife to have an abortion in 1997 before he filed for divorce one week later. I also found an anti-gay legislator who was shtupping a male hairdresser while his wife died of a long-term illness.

Consider this a call to gossip. I want to know the scoop. Tell me the stories that will embarrass those conservative bigots - Democrats and Republican - that are backing a constitutional ban on our formalized relationships. Send me gossip about who's a philanderer, a kink fiend, a drug addict, a porn addict, or had a divorce, an abortion or even a stay in rehab. Ask your friends and family for the dirt. Look it up on the internet. Sniff out a lead and send it my way.

House votes to ax funding for healthcare reform and Planned Parenthood

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Planned Parenthood logo

This is turning out to be a sad day for sick and vulnerable people in America. Not only have House Republicans successfully passed a motion to cut down last year’s healthcare reform law (which, in a House dominated by far-Right loons, should come as a surprise to no-one), but they’ve also voted in favor of cutting off federal funding of Planned Parenthood, the preeminent women’s reproductive care provider in the US, over the bogus accusations raised in the recent “sting” hoax videos by James O’Keefe-wannabe anti-abortion zealots. Because, as every faithful religious-Rightist knows, if you can’t get what you want by being honest and appealing to the facts, why not just bullshit your way into getting things done, to the wrong people and for the wrong reasons?

As the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports:

WASHINGTON — The House has approved a Republican proposal to block federal aid for Planned Parenthood.

The 240-185 vote on Friday is a victory for anti-abortion forces led by Indiana GOP Rep. Mike Pence. He says taxpayer money should not go to groups that provide or promote abortion.

Of course not. ’Cause that would be legal, as sanctioned by the courts. And it would help thousands and thousands of women who need counsel and crucial medical assistance, and who needs those whiny little baby incubators, anyway? Instead, why not spend millions in that same taxpayer money on, say, sponsoring a NASCAR team? See, now that’s fiscal responsibility for ya.

Now, this may be a grievance, but it’s still unlikely that this motion to cut women off from much-needed family planning and reproductive care will survive the Senate, which is still run by Democrats and is therefore far less likely to take to the bill with approval. With a little luck, this horrible initiative will die before it ever leaves Congress. (Not to mention that there’s even littler chance that President Obama would endorse such legislation, given his temperate but generally pro-abortion rights track record.)

In other words, this is essentially just like what we saw last month when House Republicans passed a “symbolic” anti-healthcare reform bill that saw a quick and ignominious death in the Senate. The GOP is more interested in grandstanding and fanciful rhetoric than it is in actually doing anything of merit. As long as the Senate remains under Democratic control, I think things may still go smoothly enough for the time being, despite the shit-flinging right-wing hordes in the lower echelon of Congress.

(via @BreakingNews and @todayspolitics)

Fail Quote: Rep. Steve King attributes term “ObamaCare” to … President Obama

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From the ever-factually challenged Rep. Steve King (R-IA), arguing in favor of defunding the Affordable Care Act (ie. healthcare reform) on the House floor and once again demonstrating his crippling reality impairment:

My transcript:

REP. KING: It is important to me to see $100 million cut out of the resources that would be used to implement ObamaCare. And, Mr. Chairman, I’m also very confident in declaring it to be ‘ObamaCare’. I listened to President Obama address it as ‘ObamaCare’ on February 25th of last year at the Blair House during the healthcare summit. I thought that was the source of the moniker ‘ObamaCare’, was the President himself, and if anyone thinks otherwise, I think they should look back and check the record.

It’s so odd how these right-wing liars often end their misinformation with an invitation to fact-check their claims. Do they think that people (or at least, media watchdogs and political junkies) won’t? Or that they’ll somehow miss the glaring facts, which directly prove him to be either serially dishonest or incredibly stupid?

Either way, Media Matters offspring Political Correction bats this softball out of the park. It turns out, oddly enough, that Obama was referring to the term sarcastically, and that – shockingly! – ‘ObamaCare’ had already been used rather often before the President finally uttered the words himself. Fancy that.

(via Political Correction)

Daily Blend: Friday, February 18, 2011

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Jose Padilla
Jose Padilla
  • Glenn Greenwald on the sick and astoundingly two-faced farce that is the US justice system. [victim pictured]

  • Texas State Board of Education’s ideological pandering heavily criticized by … conservative think thank Thomas B. Fordham Institute. Cool.

  • Turns out military chaplains may not have as big a problem with the DADT repeal as has been claimed by religious-rightists.
    (via @todayspolitics)

  • This piece on constructing the perfect anti-atheist whinefest* is mostly spot-on (love the answer to that “sophisticated theology” canard), except for the part where they somehow leave out “Hitler”.
    (via Diaphanitas)

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

* Blog appears to be stagnant, so here’s a screengrab of the entire article in case the original goes offline.

Friday Canine: Calling for a towel

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Thursday, February 17, 2011

Maryland on the brink of legalizing same-sex marriage?

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Same-sex marriage

The feisty little Old Line State may be about to become the sixth to grant LGBT folks the right to marry the ones they love over whomever others think they should be coupled with. And unsurprisingly (albeit pleasingly), The Washington Post has come out in favor of marriage equality:

We won't know with certainty for a few days whether Maryland will enact the legislation this year. One key senator with a swing vote - Democrat Joan Carter Conway of Baltimore - says she is praying "real hard" to determine how to vote. But here's something we'd bet on: If state lawmakers don't authorize same-sex marriage this year, they will next year, or the year after that.

Americans, who just 15 years ago opposed same-sex marriage by a margin of about 2.5 to 1, have changed their views with stunning speed. Although a bare plurality continues to express opposition, the opponents skew heavily elderly and less educated, according to surveys by the Pew Research Center. Meanwhile, the number of Americans who favor allowing gays and lesbians to wed has increased sharply. Political independents, who just two years ago were opposed by a considerable margin, are now almost evenly divided. Younger Americans tend to support same-sex marriage, and those under the age of 30 favor it by a large majority.

In Maryland, several formerly undecided lawmakers have listened to the arguments of opponents - and recoiled at the vitriol they heard. State Sen. James Brochin, a Baltimore County Democrat who previously backed same-sex civil unions but not marriage, changed his mind after taking in what he called the "appalling" views of opponents at a Senate hearing. "Witness after witness demonized homosexuals, vilified the gay community and described gays and lesbians as pedophiles," he said in a statement, adding: "For me, the transition to supporting marriage has not been an easy one. But the uncertainty, fear, and second-class status that gays and lesbians have to put up with is far worse and clearly must come to an end."

Which is yet more evidence that compassion happens to people. Hence why most folks who endure injustices, oppression and various other hardships have a knack of turning into liberals.

Anyway, here’s one foreigner with his fingers crossed. Gov. Martin O’Malley has already confirmed that he would enact such legislation if it reached his desk. Go on, Old Liners, make me proud.

Daily Blend: Thursday, February 17, 2011

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Medicinal marijuana
  • Today in bullshit zero tolerance: Colorado teen Bill Smith barred from returning to school unless he stops taking his anti-seizure meds (which contain small amounts of medicinal marijuana).
    (via The Agitator)

  • Rick Santorum (R-PA) talks about his Google problem. Absolutely schadenfreudelicious.
    (via Right Wing Watch)

  • Oh, please. My parents once duct-taped me bodily to a chair when I was about three to get me to stop swearing; they even filmed it while laughing. And as irking as that memory may be, it’s no more child abuse than this is.
    (via @BreakingNews)

  • Nanny Statists in Maryland now want to stop kids from walking dogs.

  • No, Vox Day, you just can’t claim to be more moral than atheists when you say shit like this.

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

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Hawaii legislature passes same-sex civil unions

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“Just civilly united.”
Does lose some of its zest

One might make a crack about this being no surprise coming from a state that’s made its touristic reputation from flowery necklaces and half-naked dancers*, but personally, I’m just happy to see yet another step in the right direction:

HONOLULU — Hawaii lawmakers approved a bill Wednesday to allow civil unions for same-sex couples, marking an end to what the governor called an "emotional process" for a longtime battleground in the gay rights movement.

Democratic Gov. Neil Abercrombie's office said he intends to sign the bill into law within 10 business days. Civil unions would begin Jan. 1, 2012, making the state the seventh in the nation to grant essentially the same rights of marriage to same-sex couples without authorizing marriage itself.

"I'm overjoyed. I'm so relieved. I'm so happy," said Kristin Bacon of Honolulu, who intends to get a civil union with her partner of 15 years. "We're really representing aloha and the aloha spirit with this vote. I'm thrilled."

Bacon was among a crowd of supporters wearing rainbow-colored lei and stickers saying "Equality" as they cheered, hugged and cried for joy after the Senate's 18-5 vote. The House passed the bill last week.

Gay rights advocates praised the vote as a victory for equal rights in a state known for its diversity and tolerance.

Opponents of the measure, many of them Christians, said civil unions erode the concept of the traditional family and could lead to same-sex marriage.

Of course, that’s exactly what we want … even moreso if it’ll make their self-righteous heads explode.

(via @todayspolitics)

* Yeah, I just had to get that zinger out there. (If you got a problem with that, go bite a lilikoi.)