Monday, April 30, 2012

Daily Blend: Monday, April 30, 2012

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U.S. President Barack Obama
Pres. Barack Obama
  • Town of Concord, Massachusetts “make[s] a really huge statement to the world” … by banning bottled water.
    (via The Agitator)

  • Dan Savage points out anti-gay, pro-slavery hatred in the Bible; young Christians walk out on him and wingnuts everywhere crank up the outrage machine. Savage partially apologizes. My thoughts in short: What Jen said. Fuck homophobia, fuck hypocrisy, and fuck religion – including Christianity.

  • Amazing: President Obama [pictured] signs order to stop colleges from taking advantage of veterans; Fox News bashes him over this latest “insult to the troops”.

  • Orac at Respectful Insolence bashes Vox Day and Mike Adams over their even-stupider-than-usual anti-science claims.

  • Texts From Drone.
    (via The Agitator)

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

    Study: Homophobia caused by repressed homosexuality – take 3

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    Badge: “Homophobes are Gay!”

    Following up on reports I mentioned both last year and just weeks ago, here’s another study that claims to show a link between anti-gay behavior and latent, repressed homosexual desires:

    Our paper describes six studies conducted in the United States and Germany involving 784 university students. Participants rated their sexual orientation on a 10-point scale, ranging from gay to straight. Then they took a computer-administered test designed to measure their implicit sexual orientation. In the test, the participants were shown images and words indicative of hetero- and homosexuality (pictures of same-sex and straight couples, words like “homosexual” and “gay”) and were asked to sort them into the appropriate category, gay or straight, as quickly as possible. The computer measured their reaction times.

    The twist was that before each word and image appeared, the word “me” or “other” was flashed on the screen for 35 milliseconds — long enough for participants to subliminally process the word but short enough that they could not consciously see it. The theory here, known as semantic association, is that when “me” precedes words or images that reflect your sexual orientation (for example, heterosexual images for a straight person), you will sort these images into the correct category faster than when “me” precedes words or images that are incongruent with your sexual orientation (for example, homosexual images for a straight person). This technique, adapted from similar tests used to assess attitudes like subconscious racial bias, reliably distinguishes between self-identified straight individuals and those who self-identify as lesbian, gay or bisexual.

    Using this methodology we identified a subgroup of participants who, despite self-identifying as highly straight, indicated some level of same-sex attraction (that is, they associated “me” with gay-related words and pictures faster than they associated “me” with straight-related words and pictures). Over 20 percent of self-described highly straight individuals showed this discrepancy.

    Notably, these “discrepant” individuals were also significantly more likely than other participants to favor anti-gay policies; to be willing to assign significantly harsher punishments to perpetrators of petty crimes if they were presumed to be homosexual; and to express greater implicit hostility toward gay subjects (also measured with the help of subliminal priming). Thus our research suggests that some who oppose homosexuality do tacitly harbor same-sex attraction.

    Naturally, stand by for squawks about “junk science!” from the usual bigoted suspects to commence shortly. Because, of course, science is only valid when it can be twisted to seemingly support their delusional worldview about being the last bastion before the evil perverted gay onslaught. And any findings that dare to contradict them are clearly the result of prejudiced and incompetent shills for Big Homo.

    (via Joe. My. God.)

    Australian billionaire plans to build Titanic II

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    Clive Palmer
    Clive Palmer

    Consider me provisionally intrigued:

    Queensland billionaire mining magnate Clive Palmer has unveiled his plans to build the Titanic II to add to his tourism portfolio.

    Mr Palmer said his new company Blue Star Line Pty Ltd had commissioned the state-owned Chinese company CSC Jinling Shipyard to build a near replica of the ill-fated Titanic. The cost is unknown.


    Mr Palmer said the companies had signed a memorandum of understanding to build the cruise liner in China, with the ship's maiden voyage from England to North America scheduled for late 2016.

    "It will be every bit as luxurious as the original Titanic but of course it will have state-of-the-art 21st-century technology and the latest navigation and safety systems," Mr Palmer said.

    Technical specs are limited:

    Mr Palmer said a historical research team was involved in the design of the Titanic II, which would have the same dimensions as its predecessor, with 840 rooms and nine decks.

    The only differences would be found below the water line, he said, and would include a bulbous bow for greater fuel efficiency and diesel generation, and an enlarged rudder and bow thrusters for improved manoeuvrability.

    "Titanic II will be the ultimate in comfort and luxury with on-board gymnasiums and swimming pools, libraries, high class restaurants and luxury cabins," Mr Palmer said.

    I’ve heard of a variety of plans for a “Titanic II” over the years, few of which even seemed plausible and none of which ever graduated from the drawing board. I’ve never heard of Mr. Palmer and the details are still sketchy, but it does sound like those behind this latest hopeful endeavor have some idea of what they’re talking about.

    Of course, now, being the perfectionist that I am, I will be ever so peeved if they make the critical mistake of giving the ship the Olympic’s open A-Deck promenade wall design. It’s irksome enough to constantly see photographs of the Titanic’s sister ship paraded as pictures of the actual Ship of Dreams.

    … Why, yes, I am a complete and utter pedantic geek. Why you ask?

    (via @BreakingNews)

    Saturday, April 28, 2012

    Daily Blend: Saturday, April 28, 2012

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    Thomas Clark
    Thomas Clark
  • Troubling exposé on how the Bush administration torture regime began.
    (via Dispatches from the Culture Wars)

  • Meanwhile, a U.S. Senate probe finds no evidence that torture ever helped uncover or foil terrorist plots.
    (via ThinkProgress)

  • Police shoot man dead, then arrest man’s father [pictured] and brother for getting upset over it.
    (via @radleybalko)

  • Doggycide slideshow. Alcohol probably required.

  • Another six-year-old arrested for throwing a tantrum at school.
    (via @davidkozin)

  • Today in chutzpah: President Obama wants to sanction other nations who punish whistleblowers, shield torturers and evade accountability … because doing that is the U.S.’s job, dangit.

  • Catholic columnist wants Catholic protestors to be more like “da’ man” Bill Donohue.
    (via Catholic League)

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

    Friday, April 27, 2012

    Fail Tweet: Donohue thinks new law to reveal clerical child abuse is “war on Catholicism”

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    Ireland is currently considering a new law that would force Catholic priests to disclose cases of child sexual abuse revealed in confessionals. Naturally, the clergy is furious – how dare lawmakers besmirch their carefully crafted system of shielding child molesters from accountability? That’s just wrong … and, as the ever-reliable Bill Donohue of the Catholic League points out, is just another step in the pursuit to destroy the Catholic Church as we know it:

    You know, in case you ever needed confirmation regarding where priests’ and their defenders’ loyalties lie. What chance do raped children stand when there’s precious dogma to be upheld?

    (via Joe. My. God.)

    Corny chipmunk

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    How about a picker-upper? Have a funny chipmunk:

    Chipmunk with mouth stuffed full of corn

    Cheeky little thing, ain’t he?

    (via The Agitator)


    Doggycide in Taylor, Texas

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    Dog chalk outline

    Not much is known other than the basics:

    A Taylor police officer shot and killed a dog Saturday that charged at him during a call about a domestic disturbance, said Capt. Don Georgens of the Taylor Police Department.

    The officer, whose name was not released, responded with several officers to a domestic disturbance call at 3:30 p.m. Saturday in the 600 block of Vernon Street, Georgens said. When the officers arrived they could hear screaming inside the residence, he said.

    The officers knocked on the door and when someone opened it a large pit bull and Labrador mix charged in the direction of one officer and then charged at the policeman who killed him, said Georgens.

    “I have reviewed several of the videos of the incident and I don’t believe the officer had any other option,” Georgens said.

    The incident is still under investigation, he said.

    (via The Agitator)

    Doggycide Bingo card
    [full size (514×625)]

    Doggycide Bingo Index

    Confirmed hits:

  • Dead dog
  • Firearm as first reaction
  • Total: 2/25
    Too many missing details. No bingo.

    Repudiated “ex-gay” study author apologizes to LGBT community

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    Dr. Robert Spitzer
    Dr. Robert Spitzer

    Two weeks ago, renowned researcher Dr. Robert Spitzer did the right thing and cut what little leg the “ex-gay” movement had left out from under it when he formally renounced his own 2001 study that showed how religious fervor can delude certain “highly motivated” individuals into repressing their homosexual orientation and basically “acting straight”. Now, he’s gone further and wants to extend an official apology to the LGBT community for the harm he and his paper have caused:

    I believe I owe the gay community an apology for my study making unproven claims of the efficacy of reparative therapy. I also apologize to any gay person who wasted time and energy undergoing some form of reparative therapy because they believed that I had proven that reparative therapy works with some “highly motivated” individuals.

    It sounds like somewhat of a lackluster recognition of error and expression of contrition to me, but it’s still a solid step in the right direction. The real issue, though, isn’t just that some people “wasted time and energy” pursuing a pointless endeavor because they thought it worked (although that is true of many), but rather that hundreds and thousands of influenceable and vulnerable individuals, including countless minors, were forced by family and other peers into these self-destructive attempts at denying and distorting such an integral part of their being. Dr. Spitzer’s study was undeniably the most prominent piece of evidence (however faulty) that “gay deconversion” programs cited in support of their methods and goals.

    It’s good – very good – that Dr. Spitzer recognizes he was wrong and that his paper helped continue some of the hardships faced by LGBT folks. But it would be better if he realized just how horrible its impact has truly been for so many victims of the “ex-gay” movement.

    (via Joe. My. God.)

    Thursday, April 26, 2012

    Obama escalates War on Terror in Yemen (without knowing who he’s killing)

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    U.S. President Barack Obama
    Pres. Barack Obama

    I don’t think there’s ever been a Nobel laureate who so quickly and thoroughly undermined the significance of their award than Peace Prize-holder President Obama. As if launching multiple (and for more than one, extra-judicial) simultaneous wars, continuing (and even worsening) the Bush administration’s desecration of civil liberties and continually expanding the Security and Surveillance States weren’t enough, he’s now gone ahead and okayed the targeted assassination of anyone in Yemen who is secretly declared to be a terrorist – even if they don’t know who the targets even are:

    The United States has begun launching drone strikes against suspected al-Qaeda operatives in Yemen under new authority approved by President Obama that allows the CIA and the military to fire even when the identity of those who could be killed is not known, U.S. officials said. . . .


    So here’s yet another war that Obama is escalating, now ordering people’s death with greater degrees of recklessness, now without even bothering to know who is being targeted. Although Miller doesn’t bother to mention the likelihood of more deaths of innocent Yemenis, this is the same policy that has caused large numbers of civilian deaths in Pakistan (just read this heart-wrenching and amazing account of a 16-year-old Pakistani boy, Tariq Aziz, oh-so-coincidentally killed by an American drone, along with his 12-year-old cousin, just days after he attended a meeting to protest civilian deaths by drones).

    One has to wonder how very threatening these alleged TerroristsTM must be in order to justify being designated as such by a secret cabal (that never needs to reveal its evidence or reasoning to the outside world) and having the Most TransparentTM and peace-loving Leader of the Free WorldTM send drones after them to level the area and leave behind any number of dead civilians (including children), all in a not-at-all-futile effort to wage war on terrorism itself.

    Meanwhile, Steven Rosenfeld at Salon details the President and his inner circle’s continuation of those same policies he so vehemently decried only four years ago [links removed]:

    Wednesday, April 25, 2012

    Daily Blend: Wednesday, April 25, 2012

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    U.S. President Barack Obama
    Pres. Barack Obama
  • PZ Myers debunks an incredibly shoddy Salon article claiming that science has explained near-death experiences (NDEs).

  • President Obama [pictured] lies about lying about breaking his campaign promise to stop federal prosecution of legal medical marijuana providers.
    (via @radleybalko)

  • Five gender stereotypes that used to be the exact opposite (often until only recently).

  • The responses to Greta Christina’s call for sex worker testimonials are utterly fascinating. General theme: The biggest problem with the sex industry isn’t sex work, but all the “anti”s and abolitionists who give sex workers a hard time.

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

    Gingrich to pull out next week?

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    Newt Gingrich
    Newt Gingrich

    Here’s a shocker (of sorts):

    The inevitable has finally come for Newt Gingrich, or will next Tuesday when he will suspend his campaign for the presidency, according to Fox News. Gingrich, however, will continue to campaign this week. Senior campaign aides told the conservative news network that the former House Speaker will “more than likely” endorse presumed nominee Mitt Romney at that time. Gingrich had been hoping for a strong showing in Delaware’s primary last night, but Romney bested him by a 2 to 1 margin.

    To which the rest of the world collectively reacts: “… Wait, that guy’s still running?”

    Fox Nation: Space mining = liberal socialism!

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    Planetary Resources logo

    You may have heard about a certain little press event yesterday concerning something to do with, oh, I dunno, several famous billionaires and private space exploration corporations planning to launch spacecraft to go mine asteroids in space? Phil Plait has the juicy details; the whole thing is quite fascinating and far too advanced for a rube such as I to have anything worthwhile to write about.

    Of course, I know what you’re all wondering: What does Fox News think of all this?

    Well, behold:

    Fox Nation headline: ‘Liberals Push Socialism in Outer Space’ [@ 04/25/12]
    Original headline: ‘Does Asteroid Mining Violate Space Law?’ (Yahoo! News)

    Yeah … because wealthy citizens and privately owned enterprises choosing to bankroll an economic venture with their own money – ie. the textbook example of industrious capitalism – is “socialism”.

    I don’t think there’s anything more to be said.

    (via @bendimiero)

    Tuesday, April 24, 2012

    California bill would protect minors from “ex-gay” therapy, require informed consent & disclaimer

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    Switch: “GAY | NOT GAY”

    Some good news out of California today, as Senate lawmakers are considering a bill that would require informed consent from anyone seeking “gay deconversion”/“ex-gay” therapy (aka informing them that it’s a bullshit treatment for something that can’t be cured because it isn’t a disease) and would also prevent it from being inflicted on anyone under the age of 18:

    A California Senate committee today advanced SB 1172, a bill that would help protect citizens from harmful, ineffective ex-gay therapy. The law does not outright ban all ex-gay therapy, but it does prohibit anyone under the age of 18 from undergoing sexual orientation change efforts. It also requires that any prospective patient sign an informed consent form that includes the following disclaimer:

    Having a lesbian, gay, or bisexual sexual orientation is not a mental disorder. There is no scientific evidence that any types of therapies are effective in changing a person’s sexual orientation. Sexual orientation change efforts can be harmful. The risks include, but are not limited to, depression, anxiety, and self-destructive behavior.

    Medical and mental health associations that oppose the use of sexual orientation change efforts include the American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the National Association of Social Workers, the American Counseling Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy.

    This is model legislation that applies scientific knowledge to the benefit of the general welfare. Ex-gay therapy has been debunked repeatedly and deserves the marginalization that this bill would implement.

    Only two weeks ago, one of the most notorious and oft-cited “ex-gay” studies was officially renounced by its own researcher, who finally admitted the whole thing only served to show how religious beliefs and peer pressure could coerce the confused and vulnerable into trying vainly to suppress their sexual orientation, usually with significant consequences to their mental and emotional health. And that’s just the most famous and recent of such retractions; every other such study has also been thoroughly debunked.

    Of course, the cranks aren’t happy, and at least one “ex-gay” group has (presumably unintentionally) revealed their true reasons for supporting such anti-gay quackery. From a news alert email released yesterday by NARTH (National Association for the Research and Therapy of Homosexuality):

    While this is a direct assault on everyone’s freedom it is also a not so subtle attack on religious liberty. Individuals of faith often seeking to live lives congruent with their religious convictions are often motivated to seek help for their homosexual attractions. This type of legislation would in effect criminalize those formerly ethical relationships between a client and their therapist unless those interactions were supervised by agents of the state.

    Hey, waitaminute – what does “religious liberty” have to do with it? Or – perish the thought! – is “ex-gay” therapy less about “helping” people overcome their “homosexual tendencies” and more about pushing their ridiculous, harmful and endlessly discredited religious dogma down the throats of needy and conflicted individuals in order to bully and shame them into “acting straight”?

    (via Joe. My. God.)

    Tennessee lawmakers vote to criminalize miscarriage

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    Pictured: Murder victim?

    Those of you paying attention to the goings-on in Tennessee lately might be wondering what’s next for a state legislature that already wants to infuse science classrooms with religious fables, ban any mention of homosexuality in schools, and even prevent teachers from talking about “gateway sexual activity” like kissing and holding hands?

    Well, if you thought lawmakers would eventually tire of desecrating educational policies and instead focus a bit more on punishing women for having a uterus, you’d be quite correct, as the state House and Senate have passed a couple of bills to criminalize virtually any form of miscarriage:

    The Tennessee House last week voted 80-18 to make miscarriage — or the killing of any fertilized egg — murder. Last night, the Tennessee Senate passed by a 28-2 margin a companion version of the bill. The bill specifically includes all embryos “at any state of gestation in utero.” Tennessee’s Republican Governor Bill Haslam has not indicated if he will sign the bill.

    To be clear, this bill goes further than covering, say, a violent attacker harming an expectant mother who then, unfortunately, miscarries. This bill, House Bill 3517 and the Senate’s companion, makes anyone’s actions that presumably cause a miscarriage murder. Opponents of the bill question how law enforcement would actually enforce this law or determine if someone’s action was a direct cause of a miscarriage.

    Or, for a TL;DR take on the bill’s merits:

    [T]he law is poorly-written, poorly-conceived, and based on other poorly-written bills in other states, and an aggressive prosecutor has room to misuse the law — and the legislature knows it.

    Sounds like standard fare from a Republican-controlled legislature.

    At this point, Radley Balko points out the seemingly inevitable:

    Up next, a bill that would allow legal gun owners to shoot anyone they reasonably suspect to be a sex offender, undocumented immigrant, or abortion doctor.

    Jeez, man, don’t give them any ideas. Especially since, in addition to being hauntingly reminiscent of last year’s attempts in South Dakota, Iowa and Nebraska to legalize the murder of abortion providers, it honestly sounds exactly like something we could expect from these regressive ideologues.

    (via @radleybalko)

    Monday, April 23, 2012

    Daily Blend: Monday, April 23, 2012

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    Chuck Colson
    Chuck Colson

    Isn’t it actually a compliment when homophobes equate gays with the Devil? It’s like saying they’re so big and scary, they make God himself crap his pants.

  • Obama administration launches official Stop Bullying website.
    (via Joe. My. God.)

  • Watergate felon-turned-anti-gay preacher Chuck Colson [pictured] dies at 82. Why, God, why? … not years ago?

  • Today in conservative asshattery: comparing the outrage over Romney sticking his terrified pooch on top of his car for a 12-hour road trip with the trumped-up nonsense over how President Obama once tasted dog meat as a child in Indonesia. Is there really no pseudo-scandal too abjectly pathetic for the Right to harp on?

  • Victory!: American Airlines plans to show interview with antivaccination crank Meryl Dorey. Skeptics everywhere roar, threaten boycott. AmAir backs down.

  • Jon Stewart brushes off the Catholic League’s inane boycott, which Bill Donohue’s ego interprets as a sign that he’s “getting to” Stewart.

  • This awesome fan-art raises a very important question: Where’s the Harry Potter animated TV series?!
    (via @KyellGold)

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

    Pitbull vs. Kitty

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    I apologize for the lack of blogging these past few days. To tie you over, have some absurdly cute pitbull-vs.-kitten videos:

    There’s no way that great big canine bully survived such a sound thrashing.

    (via @ebertchicago)

    Friday, April 20, 2012

    Daily Blend: Friday, April 20, 2012

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    Salecia Johnson (6)
    Salecia Johnson
  • More and more female soldiers get labeled “crazy” and discharged for trying to report rapes.

  • “Don’t Say Gay” bills advance in both Tennessee and Missouri.

  • Another young child [pictured] gets handcuffed for “throwing a tantrum” in school.
    (via The Agitator)

  • Vatican cracks down on nuns for being too much like Jesus and not enough like Pope Ratzi.
    (via Joe. My. God.)

  • Fox News’s Bill O’Reilly and Gretchen Carlson: Glee makes kids want to “experiment” with homosexuality and transgenderism!

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

    Obama campaign touts (and slightly embellishes) LGBT progress

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    The official President Obama campaign has put out an infographic boasting about the current administration’s track record with advancing LGBT rights in the last three years (excerpt below):

    Excerpt from infographic: “Progress for the LGBT Community” timeline
    My transcript: (click the [+/-] to open/close →) []

    > OCTOBER 1 Awarded a grant to the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Community Services Center to work with LGBT foster youth

    > OCTOBER 21 Recorded “It Gets Better” video to support LGBT youth experiencing bullying

    > DECEMBER 21 Led a United Nations measure to restore “sexual orientation” to the definition of human rights

    > DECEMBER 22 Signed the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”


    > FEBRUARY 23 Declared the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional and announced the administration will no longer defend it in court

    > MARCH 10 Hosted first-ever White House Conference on Bullying Prevention in America’s schools

    > MARCH 31 Completed an Institute of Medicine study on LGBT health, the first of its kind

    > MAY 27 Issued guidance to foster safer working environments for transgender federal employees

    > JULY 19 Endorsed the Respect for Marriage Act, a legislative effort to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act

    While that is an impressive list of achievements, it’s sad that they felt the need to repeat the falsehood that the Obama administration has officially renounced DoMA, when all they really did was declare they would no longer be defending it in one single judicial circuit (the Second, to be precise), and even then, only so far as it applied in two specific court cases. For all intents and purposes, DoMA is still absolutely the law of the land in the remaining 12 circuits and is actively enforced there, as evidenced (to name just one example) by the numerous deportations threatening to tear binational gay couples apart. As superficially reassuring as the DoJ’s decision sounded, it effectively changed nothing at all for any other such court cases around the country.

    The rest appears to be all fine and dandy, though the seasoned observer will remember how unnecessarily long it took for President Obama to make good on his early promise to end “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”, not to mention how he continually claims that his views on same-sex marriage – which he was all for as a senator – are now “still evolving”. Of course, there’s no doubt that the President personally supports marriage equality; it’s just frustrating that he refuses to be open about it, instead playing such pointless political games in the vain hopes of appeasing some of the bigots on the Right.

    In short, the Obama administration has done a great amount of good, but there is still a long ways to go, and the President doesn’t seem too keen on speeding things up anytime soon.

    (via Joe. My. God.)

    Thursday, April 19, 2012

    Doggycide in Dalhart, Texas

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    Smokey (Australian Shepherd & Blue Heeler mix)

    Not enough doggycide yet? Here’s another dog killed by police in suspicious circumstances:

    A Dalhart police officer shoots and kills a family dog after responding to an animal control call.


    [Crystal] Woods says she came home to find her children playing with this Australian Shepherd and Blue Healer mix.

    She says she wanted to find the owner and called animal control, only to find out the officer was on vacation.

    Dalhart PD is considered the next responder in the absence of animal control.

    "We probably take an average of 25 animal control complaints a week," Dalhart Police Chief Gary Sinclair said.

    However, this call ended in the death of a beloved family pet named Smokey.

    Naturally, the two sides disagree on what happened:

    "An officer responded to the call and took custody of the animal," Sinclair said. "While attempting to place the dog in the officers vehicle, the dog resisted and bit the officer on the hand resulting in the unfortunate and immediate destruction of the dog by the officer."

    Woods tells a different story.

    "The officer had the dog in the car because he went around and told other neighbors to put their dogs up and came back to tell me to put my dog up," she said. "The only thing I can say is that I did see the dog in his patrol car."

    Woods suggests the officer drove off with the dog and shot him minutes later in an alley.

    Dalhart PD denies those allegations, saying the officer fired three rounds after being bitten while trying to lift the dog into the patrol car.

    The department even showed us incident statements regarding injuries to the officers hand.

    Even if the officer’s account holds true, I can’t imagine that a single bite, as mentioned in the report, should be just grounds for outright slaughtering the animal. It seems that only with dogs is the slightest (alleged) misbehavior regularly used as justification for ending an animal’s life without first attempting to control it.

    Doggycide in Chaffee, Missouri

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    Dog chalk outline

    Police in Chaffee, Missouri respond to a call about an apparent lost dog with mange. What happens next leads to investigations that result in the city pound being shut down and accusations that the police chief and the mayor himself ordered an officer to kill the pooch and then tried to cover it up:

    A dispatch log shows that a dispatcher was later ordered to not tell the dog's owners about the fate of their pet.

    But it appears that no criminal charges will be filed in connection with the dog's death.


    The report says the police department received a call around 1 p.m. from a Chaffee resident who said a dog had been outside the resident's apartment for most of the day and appeared to have mange. Ludwig responded to 537 W. Yoakum St. and then called the station to have a dispatcher request the city's animal control officer, Jerry Laxton. Ludwig also thought the dog had mange.

    The dispatcher could not reach Laxton, so Ludwig drove to Rhodes 101 store in Chaffee, where Laxton works part time. As they talked about the dog, Loucks entered the store and was told about the dog and that the officers weren't sure what to do with it. It was then, Ludwig wrote, that he suggested taking to the dog to a veterinarian, but Loucks said no and to take the dog out to the city compost site and shoot it.

    Ludwig and Mark Lueder, a city employee who picked up the dog, met at the compost site around 3 p.m. Ludwig wrote that he went to the site because Lueder left a message at the police station that he did not have a gun. When Ludwig arrived, Lueder had already dug a hole.

    "I then loaded a range round into my service weapon and then Mark placed the dog into the hole. At that time I took aim and shot the dog once in the head," Ludwig wrote.

    According to the report, Lueder covered the hole, and the two men left.

    Hit the article for more details. It almost comes across like an crossover between CSI and Pound Patrol, and not in a good way.

    (via @radleybalko)

    Doggycide Bingo card
    [full size (514×625)]

    Doggycide Bingo Index

    Confirmed hits:

  • Dead Lexi
  • No apology offered
  • Killing was premeditated
  • Total: 3/25
    A highly irregular situation, where the dog’s death was actually ordered and subsequently covered up. But nonetheless, no bingo.

    Poll: Most voters don’t care about abortion or gay marriage

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    Here, according to the latest Pew survey, is why the Republican Party’s endless regressive schtick just isn’t cutting it with the majority of voters:

    Bar graph: “Economic Issues Top Voters’ Agenda” (via Pew Research Center, 04/04-05/12)
    My transcript: (click the [+/-] to open/close →) []

    Economic Issues Top Voters’ Agenda

    Percentage rating each as “very important” to their vote

    Economy: 86
    Jobs: 84
    Budget deficit: 74
    Health care: 74
    Education: 72
    Medicare: 66
    Energy: 61
    Taxes: 61
    Terrorism: 59
    Foreign policy: 52
    Environment: 51
    Iran: 47
    Gun control: 47
    Afghanistan: 46
    Immigration: 42
    Abortion: 39
    Birth control: 34
    Gay marriage: 28

    PEW RESEARCH CENTER Apr. 4-15, 2012.
    Based on registered voters.

    I guess the far-Right just hasn’t done enough to convince people that allowing gays to marry and women to have control over their own bodies will somehow harken Armageddon.

    (via Joe. My. God.)

    Wednesday, April 18, 2012

    Ray Comfort still doesn’t understand pro-choice

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    Granted, there are a great many libraries that could be filled with what Ray Comfort doesn’t understand, but I’ll be a tad more specific. Here’s a recent tweet of his:

    And here’s the linked picture:

    Woman with baby, holding sign: “PRO CHOICE MAMA”

    See, this woman chose to become a mama, which means she’s … pro-choice? Wait a minute …

    Allow me to predict that the day that anti-abortionists finally get it through their abnormally thick skulls that “pro-choice” is not the same as “pro-abortionist”, which is a nonexistent position shared by absolutely nobody, is the day that there are no more anti-abortionists by virtue of having grown a brain and developed a sense of human understanding.

    (via My Secret Atheist Blog)

    Doggycide in Austin, Texas

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    Cisco (Australian Shepherd)

    Yet another cop does the horrible deed where he wasn’t even supposed to be in the first place:

    Apparently, unbeknown to [Michael Paxton, Cisco’s owner], there was a domestic disturbance between a male and a female in his neighborhood, and the Austin Police Dept was called in. Unfortunately (seems like such an understatement), Mike found out quickly about the call when he walked into his driveway from his back yard where he and Cisco, his Australian Sheppard, had been playing frisbee. Police officer T. Griffin, Badge #6778, was standing behind Mike’s vehicle, in his driveway. Before Mike even realized Officer Griffin was there, the officer had pulled his gun on Mike, yelling at him to freeze and put his hands up. In a panic, Mike stated to the officer that he lives there, and asked what and why this was happening.

    Hearing the commotion, Cisco came from the back yard and into the driveway, barking at the officer, as any dog would do. Mike’s hands in the air, a gun pointed at him, he was afraid for his life, and therefore could not move or attempt to quiet or restrain Cisco. He told the officer that Cisco would not bite him, to please not shoot his dog. Almost immediately, a bullet was put into Cisco’s chest, killing him instantly. Mike still leaned against his truck, unable to move, was not allowed to even hold his best friend as he took the last breath of his abruptly-shortened life.


    Nothing will likely happen to Officer Griffin for any of this, as his supervisor arrived after everything took place, and she defended his actions. Mike was given the officers’ information, as well as a phone number to call, if desired. No apologies, no sympathy. Nothing. The officer even told Mike that Cisco should have been on a leash! IN HIS OWN YARD?! […]

    We ended up taking Cisco’s body to be buried at a friend’s house, out in the country. Four of us spent two hours digging and breaking through limestone-filled ground, to make a hole large enough to lay to rest this man’s best friend and companion.

    This may just be one side of the story, but it’s nonetheless pretty much identical to every other such case we hear of. It’s quite horrifying how quick cops are to pull the trigger as a first reaction to even trivial disturbances, as opposed to situations where lethal force is actually warranted. In the mean, the source article provides some useful information for those who want to help the grieving owner and hold the Austin PD accountable.

    Attack of the atheists! … on Canada’s version of Fox News

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    There’s a reason why Canada’s Sun TV News is commonly nicknamed “Fox News North”, and it appears that it even has its own version of Bill O’Reilly in the form of Brian Lilley, who hosts a program called Byline. Having never watched anything on that channel, I didn’t know this – and I’ve also just learned that the same anti-atheist talking points found south of the border are apparently equally as pervasive here:

    My transcript: (click the [+/-] to open/close →) []

    BRIAN LILLEY: Faith and society: That is the topic of tonight’s Byline. It is Easter weekend. Tonight is the night Christians mark the day when Jesus Christ held the Last Supper with his apostles. Tomorrow, Good Friday, is a statutory holiday, as is Easter Sunday.

    Yet, in spite of all of this, we’re forever told by our better-thans that Canada is not a Christian nation. Some even want to push any mention of religion, any attempt for people to live out their faith, completely outside the public square. They want people of faith to be silent, to give up their rights, whether teaching their own children, running their own schools, or in matters of conscience when it comes to certain jobs. I wonder how many of those people will be at work tomorrow, slaving away at their desks.

    While the new, militant atheists seem to want to push religion completely out of the public square, they have no problem living in a society that was built on a Judeo-Christian foundation. And make no mistake: Our society is built on that foundation. Our laws, our customs, our court system all stem from that.

    Do you know why we don’t execute people that are mentally ill? It actually goes back in ages quite a way. It was established because, well, those not in a proper state of mind would not have been able to make a proper confession of their sins, but therefore, killing them would also be condemning them to Hell. It was seen as the compassionate thing to do. Today, in those places that still has the death penalty, they still don’t execute the mentally ill. And if, as it is suggested – if it’s even suggested that happens, people even here in Canada are horrified at it.

    Those that want nothing to do with religion will claim, “people have died in the name of religion,” “wars have been started,” and “it’s a source of pain, so we should just get rid of it.” It’s true, wars have been started, including the Crusades, but wars have been started for all kinds of reasons, including women. Think of Helen of Troy. And despite all that, we haven’t done away with women, have we?

    Now, about the killing and violence, the claim is that, well, if we just did like John Lennon suggested and imagined there was no religion, then there would be no violence. Let’s examine that. The most vicious regimes of the 20th Century were officially atheistic and also committed more mass killings than anyone else in history. Stalin, the Communist leader in Soviet Russia, oversaw the slaughter of countless citizens, tens of millions. Mao Zedong, the Communist revolutionary who took over China, is responsible for an estimated 60 million deaths.

    Look, I’m not saying that if you’re an atheist, you’re in favor of murder, or are steps away from going on your own killing rampage. I’m just pointing out the fallacy of the lazy arguments passed off as deep thought these days. In fact, while as a Christian, I believe that everyone should join my religion, if you don’t, I don’t have a problem with that. I believe in the theory of live and let live. I can put forward my views, you can put forward yours, we can all make up our own minds.

    But with the new militant atheist, the militant secularist, that doesn’t appear to be an option. From pushing for God to be dropped from our national anthem, trying to make sure you can’t mention Easter, or Heaven forbid, Christmas in a school, to now the issue of conscience rights and trying to force doctors who have religious convictions to perform abortions against their will, there is no rest for the other side. Except for tomorrow. And Sunday, of course. I hope they do rest, and I hope they consider that there may be room for more than one worldview in our society. And that’s the Byline.

    Holy Spot-the-Fallacy fodder, Batman! I implore that no-one make this into a drinking game for the sake of innocent bystanders and hospital ER staffs everywhere. Here’s just a small list of the usual canards that jumped out at me:

    • “Militant secularists” want to end religious rights and traditions! – Myth A13

    • Atheists want to silence people of faith! Except – no, they don’t. They just want Christians to stop pretending they have a monopoly on social policy, or else that their privileged religious status grants them immunity from ever being offended or criticised.

    • Christian NationTM! I guess this revisionist silliness isn’t limited to the U.S., either. The Crommunist Manifesto explains in detail why Canada is not, in fact, a “Christian” nation.

    • Stalin and Mao! – Myth A17