Friday, August 31, 2012

Daily Blend: Friday, August 31, 2012

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Clint Eastwood
Clint Eastwood
  • Ten-year-old Maine babysitting girl and her mother charged with manslaughter over baby’s accidental death.
    (via @thedailybeast; RT: @radleybalko)

  • Wonkette presents the best summary of the Clint-Eastwood-berates-an-empty-chair [pictured] spectacle. I still love him and his movies, dammit.

  • And finally, it seems that Ray Comfort is running out of ways to deliver his “Darwinism leads to Hell!” mulch.

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

    This week in doggycide: Triple-header edition

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    Perennial buzzkill Radley Balko was, erm, kind enough to pass along three new milestones in the police’s war on dogs, which I thought I’d condense into one single post rather than clutter up the blog front page with frustration.

    Scar (5yo pitbull) with owner John Lara
    Scar and John Lara

    We begin last Sunday in Thornton, Colorado, where officers arresting a man on minor drug charges promptly shot and killed a bulldog mix they claimed was on the attack, while both the owners and neighbors tell a very different story:

    A Thornton police officer shot scar once in the face.

    The department says in a news release: “….a large pit bull started to run toward the officers from a nearby residence. The dog charged one of the officers and began to leap at one of the officers. To protect himself from the attack as the dog’s mouth was open while charging, the officer fired one round and struck the animal.”

    “He wasn’t running, he wasn’t growling, he wasn’t barking. He was not lunging,” says a witness who saw the shooting.

    But neighbors and family say the dog didn’t threaten anyone–didn’t even leave the front yard.

    “He just saw that dog, didn’t even look twice, went boom,” says the witness who didn’t want to be identified.

    The family was unable to save Scar despite rushing him to the vet’s (and receiving a $1,000 bill). The shooter never apologized.

    (via @radleybalko)

    Prada (10yo black Labrador Retriever)

    Next, we go to Buffalo, New York, where a woman returned home last Saturday to find that police had barged in on a drug raid and left, leaving behind a search warrant and a trail of blood and bullet holes leading to where her black Labrador had been slain:

    There was a puddle of blood on the floor and bullet holes in the door of a bedroom where Prada slept.

    But it was not a burglar who broke in. Hairston found a search warrant, signed by a judge, issued to the Erie County Sheriff's Department, on her kitchen floor.

    Vox Day loves his slippery slope: Brazilian polygamy edition

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    Theodore Beale (aka Vox Day)
    Vox Day

    That really didn’t take long. Barely a day after reports broke about Brazil’s consideration of three-way unions, here comes our favorite slippery slope enthusiast, Theodore “Vox Day” Beale:

    The advocates of homosexual "marriage" have been proven to be completely wrong, as the push for polygamous marriage has gotten rolling before homogamy has even been made legal in most states.


    As I pointed out, correctly, once you start messing around with the nouns in "one man + one woman", you eliminate all the grounds for not messing around with the numbers too. Besides, the multiculti idiots have no choice but to support polygamy, since their precious third-worlders both practice and demand it.

    Today’s lesson in logic: Some other country is thinking about maybe someday debating a change to some of their laws, which can only mean that your country is now on the brink of legalizing some behavior you personally find questionable. Mark my words. (Or, well, his.)

    Of course, that’s not even mentioning the question of why polygamy is thought of as wrong or should be illegal in the first place. There’s nothing bad about polyamory in itself; easily one of the most fundamental truths in our modern society is that people have the right to love whoever they want and for any reason, regardless of what current local expectations may be. Some people simply have too much love to give (to phrase it in admittedly simplistic terms), or else may feel torn between two people they love equally; who are lawmakers or pearl-clutchers to decide who they may or may not be with?

    Granted, this particular debate is more about legal recognition of unions rather than romantic attachment in and of itself, but the overall point remains the same. And as of now, the only argument anyone opposed to polyamory/polygamy has bothered to bring forward (beyond the tautological “that’s just wrong!”) is whining about how progressives are trying to “redefine” marriage, which is absurd for any number of reasons. There have been more types of legal marital unions throughout human civilization than can be counted, so that’s obviously not an issue; not a single critic has ever advanced a credible explanation as to why broadening the scope of marriage beyond “one man and one woman” would be deleterious to anyone else, anywhere, and the continued existence (if not prosperity) of the various countries (notably my own motherland) that presently allow for married same-sex couples categorically debunks any fantasy about non-heteronormative legal unions harkening the demise of society, itself.

    The entire crux of a loving relationship, recognized under the law or not, is that it’s a romantic bond between two or more individuals based on mutual affection and consent. Anything else is mere details and background noise. And until the critics and haters have anything more to present than tired and profoundly irrational canards serving as thin cloaks for their bigotry, then all the rest of us can do is point and laugh as they inexorably quibble and splutter themselves out of existence.

    Thursday, August 30, 2012

    Daily Blend: Thursday, August 30, 2012

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    Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI)
    Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI)
  • That’ll teach ’em illegals to have Spanish-like names!
    (via @radleybalko)

  • Woman learns the hard truth about the U.S.’s broken sex offender system when a spiteful ex’s false accusations lands her husband in the registry, ruining his life.

  • You know your Republican candidate [pictured] is particularly full of shit when even a Fox News commentator describes his diatribe as “an apparent attempt to set the world record for the greatest number of blatant lies and misrepresentations slipped into a single political speech”.
    (via Joe. My. God.)

  • Today’s reminder that bigoted Freudian slips happen to politicians of both parties.

  • Surveillance State joins Drug War to protect Orlando, FL’s streets from an evil pot smoker.
    (via @radleybalko)

  • And finally, the only time I shall ever write about Jersey Shore on this blog is to inform y’all that it’s finally been axed.
    (via Joe. My. God.)

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

    Taiga Soundtrack | 06: God’s Manor

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

    Taiga Soundtrack | 05: Meeting Deity

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

    Taiga Soundtrack | 04: Forest

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

    Awkward religious billboard of the day

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    Oh, Jesus

    Billboard: “” with “JESUS” in background
    They can pay for a billboard, but they can’t get their site’s hit counter to work.

    (via Joe. My. God.)

    Fail Quote: Bachmann thinks Obama is too rich for voters

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

    If you thought Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) was crazy before, get a load of her latest delusion:

    President Obama is extremely wealthy. He and his wife have been wealthy for a number of years, and so I think that's really the issue. President Obama is wealthy, what do, or -- what does he understand about the common man right now?

    And I think what people care about is not hating someone for what their assets are -- the American people don't hate President Obama because he's a very wealthy individual. What they care about is how their lives are, would their lives be better? And I think it's very clear under the Romney-Ryan ticket the average Americans' lives [sic] will be much better, they'll have a lot more money to spend in the way that they want, and they'll also have a much more secure future for their children. That's what the American people want, and that's what we'll offer with this new Romney-Ryan ticket.

    Right. U.S. voters don’t trust President Obama because his great wealth (net worth: $11.8 million) prevents him from connecting with the average American. Whereas Mitt Romney is so much better … with his net worth of $250 million. Like, literally more than 21 times better.

    I propose setting up a medical research unit to ensure there’s no risk that the viruses feasting on Bachmann’s brain could infect anyone else. HazMat suits will be required.

    (via Joe. My. God.)

    World’s best dad wears a skirt for his crossdressing son

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    Nils Pickert walking in public in a skirt with his dress-wearing 5-year-old son
    Nils Pickert & son

    In which a German father and his five-year-old boy see your childhood taunt of “My dad can beat up your dad!” and raise you this magnificent example of loving courage:

    "My five year old son likes to wear dresses," says German dad Nils Pickert.

    Back when he lived in West Berlin, it was certainly a conversation-starter, but not much more than that. Now, however, Pickert and his son live in a "very traditional" South German village where his son's predilection for dresses is the talk of the town.

    "I didn't want to talk my son into not wearing dresses and skirts," Pickert tells the German feminist magazine EMMA. "He didn't make friends in doing that in Berlin already and after a lot of contemplation I had only one option left: To broaden my shoulders for my little buddy and dress in a skirt myself."

    From the translated article at the first link, above, we see that Mr. Pickert well and truly gets it:

    Yes, I’m one of those dads, that try to raise their children equal. I’m not one of those academic daddies that ramble about gender equality during their studies and then, as soon as a child’s in the house, still relapse into those fluffy gender roles: He’s finding fulfilment in his carrier and she’s doing the rest.

    Wait, you mean he came to the conclusion that forcibly imposing rigid gender roles upon children and preventing them from expressing what they truly feel like inside may be corrosive to their development all on his own, without being corrupted and pussified by all those crazy, hysterical feminazis and queers with all their crazy ideas about equal treatment? Fancy that.

    And the best part is how the ending to this tale is sure to send a thousand conformists’ heads ass-plodin’:

    And what's the little guy doing by now? He's painting his fingernails. He thinks it looks pretty on my nails, too. He's simply smiling, when other boys ( and it's nearly always boys) want to make fun of him and says: "You only don't dare to wear skirts and dresses because your dads don't dare to either." That's how broad his own shoulders have become by now. And all thanks to daddy in a skirt.

    You know, slippery slopes aren’t all bad, really. And while no-one who’s been through grade school can deny that little Pickert Jr. is undoubtedly in for some rough times ahead, he’s incredibly lucky to have a father who’s ready to go to bat for him whenever needed. I do think he should be just fine.

    And at any rate, how’s that for a rejoinder? “Oh, yeah? Well, my dad has the guts to wear a skirt in public because he loves his son enough to allow him to wear a dress. Does yours?”

    (via @GodlessPoutine)

    Wednesday, August 29, 2012

    Ray Comfort still really doesn’t like atheists

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    Ray Comfort
    Ray Comfort

    This probably won’t be true of everyone, but I, for one, am pleased to note that that every atheist’s favorite rhetorical whetstone, Ray Comfort, has finally ended his months-long spam-a-thon of his dumb “godlessness leads to Nazis!” book and has returned to his favorite fundagelical spiel. It’s been getting lonely in my Necropolis since Pastor Tom Estes of Hard Truth turned out to be even more boring than I remembered, so I’ve finally returned the Banana Man to keep Vox Day company. (They go so well together, don’t you think?)

    Comfort’s also come back with both guns bubbling. For example, did you know that public schools are where kids go to fall into drug abuse, sexual depravity and – worst of all – not Creationism? I know, that’s totally what I remember all my school years being like, too. (Well, except for the Creationism bit, as Canadian schools, especially in Québec, are generally pretty good at keeping religious fluff at bay.)

    He also wants you to know that atheists are the reason why public schools are so very bad, m’kay:

    Atheists want to keep creationism out of public schools. They see themselves as the intellectual saviors of the poor dumb college and university students, who don’t have the ability to think for themselves. These creationism censors are the book burners, who do what they do “for the good of society” --their godless society. And they do what they do in the name of “reason” and "science," when their atheistic belief is (in reality) completely unreasonable and absolutely unscientific.

    Oh, those dirty, rotten, no-good, book-burning, student-distrusting, god-hating, unreasonable heathens! How dare they try to get government institutions to comply with the very first provision in the civil rights section of nation’s founding legal document? That’s just secular poppycock. And all their talk about providing students with the most accurate information available is really just a ruse to get them to shake their rebellious, Marylin Manson-filled heads at God’s Word, and you know it.

    And you know you can take Comfort at his word – after all, he understands atheists so well:

    If you think atheism is scientific and reasonable, let me ask you some questions. Do you believe that nothing created everything? If you do, that's not only unscientific, it's unreasonable. This is because your "nothing" isn’t “nothing” at all. It is something because it had the amazing ability to create everything. Perhaps you have changed your mind, and after hearing that you think that you then believe that something created everything, although you are not sure what that something was?

    School to prison in one photo

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    What Mississippi’s “school-to-prison pipeline” looks like:

    12yo Black child with “HARRISON COUNTY JUVENILE DETENTION CENTER” prison clothes in tiny dilapidated prison cell with boarded-up window
    (Click the picture for source confirming its legitimacy)

    Why, I bet that’ll teach him not to fart in class. Or maybe he just wore the wrong clothes to school that day. Who knows? There’re so many incarcerable crimes to choose from.

    (via The Agitator & ACLU of Mississippi)

    Tuesday, August 28, 2012

    Daily Blend: Tuesday, August 28, 2012

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    Richard Dawkins
    Richard Dawkins
  • Eleven-year-old Indiana boy arrested for “sexting” to a girl. Any bets on how long before “child porn” charges are brought out?
    (via @AdamThierer; RT: @radleybalko)

  • Sadly, Richard Dawkins [pictured] still doesn’t get it. So frustrating to see a supposed icon of reason embrace a fallacy as obvious as “I don’t see it, so it doesn’t exist!”.

  • UK bigots use anti-abortionism to argue against same-sex marriage.

  • These fish are dickheads. Literally.
    (via @science)

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

    Fail Quote: Limbaugh accuses Dems of wanting “human misery”

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    Rush Limbaugh
    Rush Limbaugh

    In which I again violating my half-assed self-imposed moratorium on writing about Rush Limbaugh’s latest nugget of imbecility:

    LIMBAUGH: [Democrats] want Hurricane Isaac to hit New Orleans. And they want disaster. They want floods, they want homelessness, they want despair, they want human misery, so that they can contrast that with the Republican convention. They wanna split-screen it.

    Someone feed him a movie reel so we can organize an outdoor screening.

    Preschooler’s sign-language name violates zero-tolerance policy

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    Hunter Spanjer (3)
    Hunter Spanjer

    This may just be the stupidest thing I’ve heard all month (and it’s been a long one):

    Hunter Spanjer says his name with a certain special hand gesture, but at just three and a half years old, he may have to change it.

    "He's deaf, and his name sign, they say, is a violation of their weapons policy," explained Hunter's father, Brian Spanjer.

    Here’s a grand idea: If your policy prevents someone from just signing their name, maybe you’ve got a bad fucking policy. But then, it’s evidently just swell to the sort of bureaucratic goobers who think going after a handicapped preschooler for using sign language that reminds them of some completely unrelated symbol that is obviously entirely unfamiliar to said child is fair game.

    At least these officials are doing him the favor of starting him early on distrusting the competence of public authority.

    (via @radleybalko)

    Monday, August 27, 2012

    Daily Blend: Monday, August 27, 2012

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    Reince Priebus (Chairman, Republican National Committee)
    Reince Priebus
  • Wow: All nine bystanders who were injured during the recent Empire State Building shooting were hit by police. (But I’m sure random nobodies with conceal carry licenses would do much better!)

  • This year marks a new all-time record low for Arctic sea ice extent. But I’m sure it’s totally just a fluke, of course.

  • Very satisfying: MSNBC’s Chris Matthews unloads on Republican toady Reince Priebus [pictured] about the GOP’s playing of the “ethnic card” with Mitt Romney’s recent Birther joke.
    (via @BilgeEbiri)

  • Biologists hook up a deceased squid’s tissue to an electrical current timed with ‘Insane in the Membrane’. SCIENCE! ensues.
    (via Pharyngula)

  • And finally, here’s a little duckling offering its food to some hungry fish:

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

    NRO writer: Obama’s daughters are turning him into a woman!

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    Kevin D. Williamson
    Kevin Williamson

    I’ve never heard of National Review Online columnist Kevin D. Williamson, and I’m willing to bet that no biology schoolteacher ever has, either. And yet, here he is, waxing profound idiocy about evolutionary biology in this bizarre argument about why women should vote for Mitt Romney instead of President Obama:

    You want off-the-charts status? Check out the curriculum vitae of one Willard M. Romney: $200 million in the bank (and a hell of a lot more if he didn’t give so much away), apex alpha executive, CEO, chairman of the board, governor, bishop, boss of everything he’s ever touched. Son of the same, father of more. It is a curious scientific fact (explained in evolutionary biology by the Trivers-Willard hypothesis — Willard, notice) that high-status animals tend to have more male offspring than female offspring, which holds true across many species, from red deer to mink to Homo sap. The offspring of rich families are statistically biased in favor of sons — the children of the general population are 51 percent male and 49 percent female, but the children of the Forbes billionaire list are 60 percent male. Have a gander at that Romney family picture: five sons, zero daughters. Romney has 18 grandchildren, and they exceed a 2:1 ratio of grandsons to granddaughters (13:5). When they go to church at their summer-vacation home, the Romney clan makes up a third of the congregation. He is basically a tribal chieftain.

    Professor Obama? Two daughters. May as well give the guy a cardigan. And fallopian tubes.

    I’d declare that Williamson is a sexist prick, but upon further reflection, I realize that I have no bloody idea what he’s even trying to say. Having daughters makes a father effeminate? Are women supposed to be less likely to vote for a man based on whether his offspring is male or female? What about if he has both girls and boys? And what about the fact that he’s, y’know, the President of the United States, which one might think ranks a fair bit above “boring rich dude” when it comes to social “status”?

    Oh hell, I’m overthinking it again. Williamson is a sexist prick – and scientifically illiterate to boot.

    (via Dispatches from the Culture Wars)

    Fail Quote: Rove complains Obama never thanked Romney for not going Birther

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    Karl Rove
    Karl Rove

    From Karl Rove, getting all huffy on Fox & Friends that the Obama campaign had the gall to bristle at Mitt Romney’s recent Birtherism-tinged joke when they never thanked him back when he was supposedly the only candidate who didn’t give into the Birther delusion earlier in the race:

    ROVE: This is faux outrage, and we oughta accept it for what it is, which is the President’s campaign is hypocritical. This is not what they were doing a year and a half ago when people like Trump and Rick Perry and others were out there, pushing this line, and they certainly never gave any acknowledgment, were never gracious to the one guy who stood up and said, “This is all BS, he was born in Honolulu, we all know that.” And that was Mitt Romney.

    What does he want, a fucking medal? I don’t think it’s customary to go around thanking anybody who says the equivalent to, “Why, no, I don’t believe my opponent is a puppy-kicking hospital arsonist”. That’s just expected. You don’t get a prize for exhibiting some basic decency and not going off the deep end.

    Attempted doggycide in New York City

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    As if writing about these incidents wasn’t draining enough, today’s report comes in video form. Watch what happens when police officers from New York City’s East Village react to a dog running around with a wagging tail, trying to protect its passed-out owner on a public sidewalk before dozens of onlookers [warning: graphic video; not for sensitive stomachs]:

    Sorry, but I’m not transcribing that. There’s no need to, anyway; the shooting itself occurs during the first ten seconds of the video, and the rest is the dog squirming and howling in pain while the cops call for backup and try to appease the shocked and outraged crowd – all the while leaving the poor pooch lying there without assistance. (There are reports that the dog was pepper-sprayed, but I can’t find it in the video.)

    If this isn’t a perfect example proving right the critics who call for better police training in dealing with animals and restraining their level of force, I don’t know what is. Anyone, cop or otherwise, who believes that the appropriate manner for dealing with a ten-pound animal, whose biggest threat is brushing their pant-leg with its wagging tail, is to start shooting at it is not someone who should ever be allowed within the vicinity of a firearm.

    Star the pitbull recuperating
    Star recuperating

    Thankfully, we do have some good news about the outcome. Contrary to some claims (such as in the above video’s description) that the pooch had died, it turns out that Star the pitbull survived the ordeal and is now recuperating:

    Saturday, August 25, 2012

    Preliator 2012 Survey: Results and analysis

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    Earlier today, I closed the polls on the month-long Preliator 2012 Survey, the third iteration of my yearly reader census. Here are the results, including replies to personal comments and suggestions. I received a total of 19 responses, not enough to form an ideal decent sample pool, but still more than I’ve gotten in previous years, so I’m definitely not complaining. :)

    As before, I’d like to reiterate that all the responses I received were completely anonymous, with the only information I could see being the respondents’ individual timestamps and the answers they chose. So you can sleep soundly tonight, free from any worry of waking up to find subscriptions to Brony Magazine in your inbox. (Unless you’d like that.)

    (Note: Some of the “Other” answer choices are marked as such because they were left blank.)

    1) Readers’ age

    Headline of the Day

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    From Gay Star News:

    Gay Star News headline: “Lawmaker who thinks gays are a threat to children crashes boat into children”

    The full story is a bit less cartoon-villain-sounding.

    (via @todayspolitics)

    The Preliator 2012 Survey is now closed

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    It’s been an awesome month, but alas, today marks the end of the Preliator 2012 Survey. I’ve closed the poll, removed the link at the top of the page, and will be going over the results tomorrow. A cool 19 of you (a new record!) have chosen to share a little about yourselves, for which I thank y’all grandly. Nothing beats confirming that people actually do read this little online journal of mine, and that some may even do it willingly. (IKR?)

    Friday, August 24, 2012

    Headline of the Day: The Onion on today’s shooting

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    The Onion headline: “Nation Celebrates Full Week Without Deadly Mass Shooting / UPDATE: Never Mind”

    (via Joe. My. God.)

    RIAA ruins another life over a few unpaid songs

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    RIAA and crossbones

    Speaking of assholes being assholes, here’s the latest in the RIAA’s neverending quest to make overly draconian examples out of anyone caught enjoying some free music:

    Yesterday marked the end of Joel Tenenbaum's court battle with the RIAA over 31 songs he illegally distributed on Kazaa. A federal judge denied his latest appeal, and now he's on the hook for $675,000. That's nearly $22,000 per song, plus some wholesale character assassination that has now been sealed with judge's rubber stamp.

    And the moldy cherry on top is Judge Rya Zobel’s pontification following Tenenbaum’s defeat:

    In short, there was ample evidence of willfulness and the need for deterrence based on Tenenbaum's blatant contempt of warnings and apparent disregard for the consequences of his actions. In spite of the overwhelming evidence from which the jury could conclude that Tenenbaum's activities were willful, the award of $22,500 per infringement not only was at the low end of the range – only 15% of the statutory maximum – for willful infringement, but was below the statutory maximum for non-willful infringement.

    In other words: “Tenenbaum was a total inconsiderate brat for downloading those few songs without paying for them, and he should totally be thanking me on bended knee for not ruining his life as much as I could have. ’Cause I’m so lenient.” Because bankrupting a teenager with $675 thousand is just so much more reasonable than bankrupting him with $4.65 million instead.

    Mario Aguilar at Gizmodo summarizes the case (much more civilly than I would) thus:

    Regardless of what the maximum allowable penalty for a crime is, anything more than a slap on the wrist for Tenenbaum's actions would have been hugely disproportionate to the crime. As it stands, the RIAA has certainly made an example by ruining one kid's life financially and dragging his name through the mud. Although it's maybe not the one they intended.

    With these RIAA fanatics, it thankfully never is.

    (via @todayspolitics)

    Fail Quote: Limbaugh blames Obama for latest shooting

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    Rush Limbaugh
    Rush Limbaugh

    I honestly do my best to stay away from the likes of Rush Limbaugh most of the time, as the poisonous gasbag rarely has anything novel to offer amidst the bigoted freakshow he calls a radio program. But every now and then, I just have to let you know that he’s just said something exceptionally moronic:

    The New York Daily News and a lot of the New York media and some of the television networks -- New York Daily News reporting that the Empire State Building shooter -- you heard about this? OK. New York Daily News reporting the Empire State Building shooter did indeed kill his boss. Well, he was fired yesterday [or a year ago … whichever, right?]. He went out there and he killed his boss. I wonder if Obama's constant warfare on bosses and so forth might have led this guy to pull the trigger.

    He’s like a mildly less religion-addled Pat Robertson: Whereas the latter likes to blame all sorts of disasters on whatever minority or civil rights group he imagined pissed in his morning oatmeal, Rushbo prefers to point his slimy finger solely at the President, no matter what sorts of Olympic-level mental gymnastics he must force his brain through in the process.

    I’m honestly not sure which is more loathsome. Can’t we just blast them both into orbit?

    Thursday, August 23, 2012

    Daily Blend: Thursday, August 23, 2012 [2/2]

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    Eric Bolling
    Eric Bolling

    (Part 2/2. Part 1 here.)

  • Another irony meter bites the dust: Same homophobes who cried “blacklist!” when GLAAD chronicled their anti-gay activity now want to ban LGBT rights activist from Fox News.

  • Fox News’s Eric Bolling [pictured] takes a break from accusing President Obama of “chugging 40's” during tornado outbreaks, bringing “hoodlums in the hizzouse” and usurping the office to complain that Obama officials refuse to appear on his network.

  • Vox Day sees research concluding that older men are more likely to father autistic/schizoid children and naturally claims it supports his fantasy that atheists have “daddy issues”. (For the record: I’m an atheist with clinically diagnosed Asperger’s (and Tourette’s), my father was 29 at my birth, and I’ve had an excellent relationship with him all my life, no matter how many times I call him an old schnock.)

  • And finally, here’s a sea otter stacking some cups like a pro:
    (via @radleybalko)

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

    Daily Blend: Thursday, August 23, 2012 [1/2]

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    Tony Nicklinson
    Tony Nicklinson

    I managed to forget all about posting yesterday’s Daily Blend, so enjoy this double digest edition! (Part 1/2; stupid label length limits. Part 2 here.)

  • Not all evil originates in malice. Mindless adherence to heartless legal principles does the job just fine. (Update: Tony Nicklinson [pictured] finally passed away of pneumonia a week later.)

  • Meanwhile, British “pro-lifer” Richard Carvath devotes 2,700 “love”-filled words to calling Nicklinson a “selfish”, “dishonorable” “coward” and smearing those who wanted him to have the right to die on his own terms as a pro-“murder” “lobby”. Also, Jesus.
    (via @RichardDawkins)

  • Hearteningly positive and insightful write-up about Atheism+ at the New Statesman.
    (via @jennifurret)

  • Guess which virulently homophobic, “traditional values” preacher is now caught in a terribly embarrassing sex scandal today?

  • Once more debunking the patently false claim that nonreligious people are less charitable than believers are. Maybe if poll-takers stopped considering money given to fatten preachers’ wallets as “charity”?

  • Record-setting petty fascism leads an Oklahoma high school to refuse to give top student her diploma because she said “hell” in her valedictorian speech.
    (via The Agitator)

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

    Wednesday, August 22, 2012

    Why “piracy” makes artists richer than “going without”

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    Copyrights & piracy

    One of the most common and mindless arguments used against illegal filesharing is that the moral and honorable thing to do when faced with a lack of availability or affordability of content (be it movies or TV shows, videogames, software, etc.) is simply to “go without”. Because to opponents, it’s apparently better to just deprive yourself of what you want/need than to acquire it through illegitimate means, despite the fact that both scenarios end up with the content creator/owner receiving exactly zero income. Maybe they just use their self-satisfaction at preventing the financially or geographically unfavored from enjoying their products for free to keep warm at night.

    But the reality is that not only is “piracy” no worse than going without altogether, it’s markedly and demonstrably better for both customers and content providers alike. Here’s Tim Cushing at Techdirt to explain the obvious:

    What exactly does "doing without" do for the content creator? How does "not purchasing" (or not having the option to purchase) the disputed content do anything for the creators? Because the bottom line in both scenarios is that $0 has made its way from the potential customers to the people desiring the income.

    If everyone just "does without," how does this improve the situation for either the content creator or the customers? Once you've taken the piracy out of it, all you've got left is a set of lousy options that do nothing for everyone involved. If rights holders are happier merely saddling up their high horse and riding to the nearest moral peak, so be it. Riding that horse won't make you any richer, though. All it does is further separate you from your potential income.

    A bit of the old infringement, on the other hand, gets your work into the eyes, ears, brains, etc. of potential customers. Sure, not all of them would buy if they had the chance, but at least in this scenario, you're building a bit of a fanbase that may decide to reward you whenever the distributor finally pulls their head out of their legacy and starts meeting customers, at minimum, halfway.

    Or, to sum it up visually:

    Tuesday, August 21, 2012

    Fail Quote: Fischer compares Todd “legitimate rape” Akin to a rape victim

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    The fallout over Rep. Todd Akin’s (R-MO) “victims of ‘legitimate’ rape don’t get pregnant” remark continues, and several key crackpots are bucking even their own side’s general consensus that the Republican state senate nominee was wrong by actually rising to his defense, including the American Family Association’s crown bigot, Bryan Fischer:

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

    BRYAN FISCHER: Dennis Prager wants him out. Charles Krauthammer wants him out. Hugh Hewitt wants him out. Ann Coulter wants him out. The National Review editorial board wants him out. The Wall Street Journal editorial board wants him out. The Tea Party Express wants him out. So, virtually nobody, other than the Family Research Council and yours truly – even Rush, apparently now, is out saying that he oughta step aside.

    So, everybody is gang-tackling Todd Akin. Now, you talk about a “forcible” situation; you talk about somebody being victim of kind of forcible assault, that would be Todd Akin.

    I know wingnuts aren’t the best at all this “freedom of speech” and “criticism isn’t censorship” stuff, but that’s still the first time I’ve heard critics who rebuke a public figure for saying something monumentally idiotic and outrageously offensive be compared to gang-rapists. Then again, that may just be me, given that my irony meter just exploded and sent shards of glass into my brain.

    How ‘The Dark Knight’ should have ended

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    And I thought Christopher Nolan’s third and final Batman film was so perfect. How very and surprisingly wrong I was (oh, and spoiler alert):

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

    BATMAN: [to Catwoman] Hey, Miss Kyle. You wanna know my … secret identity?

    CATWOMAN: Is it Bruce Wayne?

    BATMAN: [flustered] How does everybody know about –?! [clears throat] I mean … maybe.

    Intro: “HISHE” with Dark Knight Rises-style ice cracks in shape of Bat symbol.

    BATMAN: [tricked by Catwoman into confronting Bane] You just made … a serious mistake.

    BANE: Not as serious as yours, I fear.

    BATMAN: Bane.

    BANE: Let’s not stand on ceremony here, Mr. Wayne.

    BATMAN: Sounds good to me!

    Batman blows a poison dart reading “KNIGHT KNIGHT” into Bane’s neck. Bane picks it out, surprised.

    BANE: Oh, what’s this? Sleeping agents?

    BATMAN: Yeah. I was gonna save it for later … then I thought … now’s good.

    BANE: You’ll have to do better than – [is suddenly peppered by two dozen darts] Ooh, okay, that should do it …! [Collapses.]

    Officer John Blake and another cop are talking with Commissioner James Gordon in his hospital room.

    BLAKE: Bane’s hiding in the tunnels.

    GORDON: Then get every cop in the city down there now! Off-duty, on-duty, I don’t care; no matter what they’re doing, gather them up and march them underground and smoke ’em out!

    BLAKE: I … don’t think that’s such a good idea, sir. I mean, what if something happened? We’d have, like, zero cops left.

    GORDON: Holy cow, you’re right! I think these drugs have me talking crazy. Maybe just, uh, block all the exits and send in, like, a SWAT team to smoke ’em out. Good call. Here, have some [?].

    Bane & co. are forcing Lucius Fox to activate the underground fusion reactor.

    FOX: Okay, I’ll just scan my hand here …

    Fox touches the control panel. Immediately, it flashes red and an alarm rings out. Water crashes in behind them.

    FOX: Whoops! I seem to have activated the emergency flood chambers. I suppose this will put a hiccup in whatever plans you have with stealing the reactor, wouldn’t it? I do apologize.

    Bane and the others flee as the water rises.

    FOX: Well, get busy swimming or get busy dying. [dives underwater]

    Climax: Miranda Tate/Talia al Ghul is dying in the crashed truck.

    TATE: Prepare yourselves. My father’s work is done.

    Tate dies.

    GORDON: Worst. Death. Ever.

    BATMAN: [despite being stabbed; re: the bomb] I can get it out over the bay!

    CATWOMAN: Are you crazy? You are bleeding all over the place.

    BATMAN: Yeah, I’ve been stabbed. I might be bleeding out. But it’s okay, because … because I’m Batman –! [collapses]

    GORDON: Well, poop. Guess this means we’re screwed.

    The bomb explodes, killing them all.

    Alfred Pennyworth is sitting at the restaurant terrace in Venice. He looks over, and smiles when he sees Bruce Wayne sitting at a nearby table with Selina Kyle. Bruce smiles back. Suddenly, Clark Kent leans in, waving his hand.

    KENT: Hi, Alfred!

    Alfred keeps smiling.

    KENT: Sorry Bruce made you cry.

    Superman and Batman are sitting in a restaurant.

    SUPERMAN: I still can’t get over how no important Gotham characters died in that story.

    BATMAN: I know. Pretty awesome.

    SUPERMAN: I mean, like, nobody. Even you.

    BATMAN: Even me.

    SUPERMAN: You had your back broken, your heart broken, your bank account even broken. You even got stabbed, dude!

    BATMAN: Yep.

    SUPERMAN: How are you still breathing right now? Never mind. [Batman inhales] I already know what you’re gonna say …

    BATMAN: Because I’m Batman!

    SUPERMAN: [glumly] Walked right into that one.

    BATMAN: Yes, you did.

    (via @jakiking)

    Monday, August 20, 2012

    Fail Quote: GOP Senate nominee says victims of “legitimate rape” don’t get pregnant (and therefore don’t need abortion rights)

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    Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO)
    Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO)

    In case you’ve somehow been stuck offline all day, here’s what Missouri Republican Senate nominee Rep. Todd Akin had to say about the recourses available to rape survivors:

    “First of all, from what I understand from doctors [pregnancy from rape] is really rare,” Akin told KTVI-TV in an interview posted Sunday. “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”

    Akin said that even in the worst-case scenario — when the supposed natural protections against unwanted pregnancy fail — abortion should still not be a legal option for the rape victim.

    “Let’s assume that maybe that didn’t work, or something,” Akin said. “I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be on the rapist and not attacking the child.”

    Right. “Legitimate” rape … as opposed to, y’know, all those fake rapes. Got taken advantage of when you were drunk, or drugged, or else some poor, grabby soul just couldn’t resist the allure of your body parts through your skimpy ensemble? Why, that’s just, like, totally normal and acceptable. Or maybe it’s just being benignly mischievous. But whatever it is, it’s definitely not rape-rape, after all – if there’s no screaming for help from a warehouse basement while Big Bob tears the clothes off your battered and bloodied limbs, then it just doesn’t count. Sorry ’bout that.

    Unfortunately, you may well get pregnant anyway, ’cause as it turns out:

    A 1996 study by the American Journal of Obstetricians and Gynecologists found “rape-related pregnancy occurs with significant frequency” and is “a cause of many unwanted pregnancies” — an estimated “32,101 pregnancies result from rape each year.”

    I guess none of them were legitimately raped. Or is it possible Mr. Akin simply missed a few biology classes?

    And of course, even those who are raped for realsies still shouldn’t have the right not to carry their aggressor’s seed around in their loins for the better part of a year … because terminating such an unwanted, unmerited and possibly dangerous pregnancy would be unfair punishment to the unthinking and unfeeling fetus. Nah, it’s better if it’s the very-much-thinking and feeling grown woman who bears that terrible burden instead. But hey, you just gotta keep squeezin’ those lemons, right?

    Now, of course, all those mean, stuffed-shirt libruls in the lamestream media raised a fuss, and poor Rep. Akin was forced to apologize:

    "In reviewing my off-the-cuff remarks, it's clear that I misspoke in this interview and it does not reflect the deep empathy I hold for the thousands of women who are raped and abused every year," Akin's statement said.

    See? He just “misspoke”. By clearly referring to all those conversations he’s supposedly had with all those anonymous doctors. Just an honest little mistake, really.

    In the end, even if Akin didn’t really mean it (and a half-assed notpology isn’t exactly convincing), that doesn’t change the fact that many of his Republican confrères do. But then, what else can you expect from a cabal of ideologues that includes science-denying physicians who distort and cherry-pick the facts to give birth to this reality-defying bullshit in the first place?

    At least The Onion has it right.

    (via Wonkette & @BreakingNews)