Sunday, March 31, 2013

Daily Blend: 03/31/13 – Happy Zombie Jesus Day

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Jesus Christ in Easter Bunny costume
  • There’s something especially hideous about sentencing someone to complete surgical paralysis for a crime they committed as a juvenile a decade ago. (From a US-supported “allied” country, no less.)
    (via @tomgara; RT: @ggreenwald)

  • Cracked has a very solid and informative piece explaining how the causes and nature of gun violence are never as simple as we make them out to be.

  • I am shocked, just as I assume you will be, to learn that the much-ballyhooed “college student suspended for refusing to stomp on Jesus!” story isn’t actually what the wingnuts claim it is.

  • And finally, while I find it odd that Google chose to celebrate Cesar Chavez over Easter, it’s hilarious how utterly incensed the Christianist-Right is getting over it. Gawd forbid a secular company not celebrate their cherished religious holiday!

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

    The Epic Scenery

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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, March 30, 2013

    Inhuman Soundtrack | 01: Escape from the Chartraine [deprecated]

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

    Vox Day asks some (dumb) questions about feminism

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    Theodore Beale (aka Vox Day)
    Vox Day

    Amidst reiterating his usual claim that feminists are literally worse than Nazis (because most of them promote abortion rights, and terminating pre-viability fetuses that can’t feel or think is obviously worse than murdering millions of mature adults), Theodore “Vox Day” Beale then presents one of his critics with the following query:

    [T]he statement [that feminists demand that women be immune from any legal repercussions for any breaches of contract, theft, and murder] not only is true, but it can be easily defended. There is no reconciliation necessary to defend it because it is based on straightforward observation. I direct the following questions to A. Man.

    1. Did American women not demand, and do they not presently possess, the right to break marital contracts at will?
    2. Have feminists not defended the right of women to kill men who abuse them?
    3. Does the feminist definition of abuse include non-physical abuse?
    4. Have feminists called for ban on actions that make a woman feel uncomfortable?

    And so, partly to break the tedium of spending all day coaxing recalcitrant audio mixing software into working properly, here I go:

    1. Wait – that’s a bad thing? Forget for a moment about Vox’s apparent wish of stripping women of the right to extract themselves from abusive or loveless unions; the ideals of personal liberty and bodily autonomy alone – which, as a self-professed libertarian, Vox should take particularly to heart – require that people have the right to enter or leave any relationship as they see fit. (Or are women so inferior to the Great Purveyors of XY ChromosomesTM that some fundamental freedoms are just too good for them?)

      Furthermore, how does giving women the right to file for divorce somehow equate to allowing them to break any other contract at will? And when has any feminist ever demanded such a thing? That’s an impressive hybrid of strawman and non-sequitur right there.

    2. What a ridiculously loaded and overbroad statement. It would certainly help to know what the hell he’s on about; but ravings from fringe-dwelling nuts on street corners aside, no, feminists most certainly do not request the right to murder anyone they see fit, except in extreme cases of self-defense (an exception that applies to anyone, not just abused women).

    3. No, Vox, that’s the standard definition of abuse, as employed by anyone, anywhere, ever. Look, it’s in the dictionary and everything:

    Friday, March 29, 2013

    Adrian Finale

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

    Musical revisionism incoming

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    My music

    An unexpected opportunity regarding my musical works that I may or may not be at liberty to discuss at some point in the near future may have presented itself recently. As such, I am now entering my usual routine of rushing to revise and revamp my songs in preparation, updating them with improved sounds and other various tweaks. As a result, this means you may perhaps expect a higher number of bumped musical posts on this here blog for the foreseeable future.

    That is all.

    Man, do I rock this cryptic talk stuff or what.

    Thursday, March 28, 2013

    Teacher offends high-schoolers with talk of vaginas and weather

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    Tim McDaniel
    Tim McDaniel

    In today’s edition of what’s wrong with the US education system:

    A Dietrich[, Idaho] science teacher is being investigated by the state’s professional standards commission after a complaint from parents over his teaching methods.

    Tim McDaniel is being investigated after a complaint was filed by a handful of parents who objected to how McDaniel taught the reproductive system, Dietrich Superintendent Neil Hollingshead said.

    Ooh, looks like we’ve got ourselves a pervert on our hands! Okay, so what did the miscreant do? What unwholesome, inappropriate, child-endangering teachings were forced upon his cherubic audience?

    According to McDaniel, four parents were offended that he explained the biology of an orgasm and included the word “vagina” during his lesson on the human reproductive system in a tenth-grade biology course.

    Oh, the deviant! What other unwholesome things did this fetishist do to those poor, defenseless young’uns?

    According to a letter from the Idaho State Department of Education to McDaniel, the allegations also include that he shared confidential student files with an individual other than their parents, showed a video clip in class depicting an infection of genital herpes, taught different forms of birth control and told inappropriate jokes in class.


    According to McDaniel, the commission is also investigating a complaint that accuses him of using school property to promote a political candidate. The complaint was because he showed the climate change film “An Inconvenient Truth,” also in his science class.

    McDaniel said he includes the film to spark a discussion on climate change among the students. After watching the film, he asks students to write a response paper explaining their thoughts on climate change.

    So he’s a political activist to boot! (Never mind that Al Gore hasn’t been in any elections in 13 years. That’s just no-good facts-talk.)

    Loony Headline of the Day: Alex Jones edition

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    From Alex Jones’s den of hilarious crackpottery:

    Infowars headline: “Obama Now Global Head of Al-Qaeda: Will President order drone strike on White House?”

    And here’s the opening paragraph:

    President Barack Obama is now the global head of Al-Qaeda – bankrolling, arming and equipping terrorists around the world in order to achieve his administration’s geopolitical objectives – while simultaneously invoking the threat of terrorists domestically to destroy the bill of rights.

    You’re welcome.

    (via Joe. My. God.)

    Wednesday, March 27, 2013

    Yahtzee Croshaw’s quasi-definitive review of ‘SimCity’

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    Speaking of awesome web series, here’s Zero Punctuation’s Ben “Yahtzee” Croshaw on the superbly polished turd that is the new SimCity [WARNING: Crude language & humor ahead]:

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

    Electronic Arts. Arts. Arrrts. If there was ever a name that illustrated a need for some kind of verbal equivalent of Social Services to come and forcibly take words away if they’re being misused … Then again, they do mainly go by EA these days, so maybe they’ve quietly changed their name to Extruding Arseholes so as not to offend reality. My point is that if there was ever a time when artistry was important enough to the company to be eponymous, then that is not a time in which we are currently living. Now, they just talk about money and being a dick about things. Perhaps EA now stands for Expel All. (Your money. From your wallet. So that we can have it. And be a dick about it.)

    Yes, I am quite bitter, because I had to install Origin to play SimCity, EA’s overpriced, I’m-going-to-make-my-own-clubhouse-just-for-all-my-friends-and-its-gonna-have-cake-and-Subbuteo-and-it’s-gonna-be-so-much-better digital distribution system, and putting that on my computer felt like leaving a child of my own in the Jonestown daycare center. I felt dirty afterwards. I had to take a Steam bath. That’s where you load up Steam and download a bunch of indie games to scrub yourself with.

    So, I gave SimCity about a week before I started it up, because as we all remember, once EA had everyone’s money, they had to start making up for the “being a dick” part of the mission statement and dick everyone around with connection issues. Because SimCity has to be played online now, for the sake of some features nobody fucking asked for, and also because EA assumed that we’re all dicks who steal games, so they have to dick us first, preemptively-like.

    I’d like to quote now from a statement made by Maxis, which I will read in an insulting, dismissive voice: “SimCity is made to be played online, and if you can’t get a stable connection, you’re not having a good experience.” I agree with that last part: I certainly am not having a good experience as I sit and wait for an update to download every dicking time I start a session. By this point, I imagine a cute little finger-puppet on the end of EA’s many slick, black tentacles hovering earnestly behind my shoulder. “No, it’s all right, it will be fun! You can play alongside other people and what a jolly lot of fun you’ll all have!”

    Okay. So on a desolate plot of land, I placed the foundations for the emerging city of Dogbollock, USA.

    “Oh, no-no-no!” went the little finger-puppet, leaning over and typing a row of asterisks. “Can’t call your city that! That would be ever so beastly!”

    Why not? It is a fun name. I would be having more fun as the mayor of a city called Dogbollock. I’m hoping to set up a Department of Dogbollock Beautification.

    “Oh, but other players will see it! A small, innocent child might see it and suddenly know that bollocks exist.”

    This “online play makes things more fun” assertion has sort of fallen at the first hurdle, hasn’t it? So, what benefit is there to being next to other cities that other people are running? Well, if they’ve got an excess of facilities, you can buy some of them. Choo-choo, all aboard the fun train! Suppose we should be grateful they didn’t charge fucking micropayments for it. Buying facilities from other cities was a SimCity 3000 feature, so maybe being able to do it between player cities is a natural development. I wouldn’t say it was worth dicking the entire user base for. Oh, but who doesn’t have a constant Internet connection these days? Poor people, who could only fantasize about holding a position of power and influence? Why would they want to play a God game?

    I’ll say this for EA: They are full of innovative ideas. As we’ve just discussed, they have innovative new ideas on what the word ‘fun’ means. And they’re breaking new ground with the definition of ‘sequel’, too. I always thought it meant “game with more stuff in it”, but that just shows how archaic my thinking is. The area given for each city seems a bit small, which I suspect may be intended to incentivize sharing facilities with your neighbors, which I think is one of the ways HIV can get transmitted. You also can’t edit the terrain before founding the city like you could in SimCity 4, and you can’t import characters from The Sims anymore, either.

    So, tell me, little finger-puppet: Assuming that multiplayer elements are about as enticing to me as the sight of a dog sniffing another dog’s bum (an easy thing to assume, because they are), are there any new features that SimCity can offer me?

    “Well, there’s a poo map!”

    I bet your pardon?

    “We got a special map that lets you see all the poo falling in big piles under people’s houses! Then, you can build an outlet pipe and watch all the poo speed away on a wee-wee one-way system!”


    So for a while, I played along, grew my city, waited for the hourly cash inflow so I could build whatever I was being nagged for the loudest at the time, occasionally switching to the poo map and watching it, mesmerized, for about an hour. But then, I was informed that a meteorite[sic] strike was incoming and I should prepare for fires. Okay, prepare how? I don’t directly control the fire service; am I supposed to just, what, print off some leaflets? WHOOPS – too late, bombs away. Within minutes, my city was an inferno.

    But like a strong leader, I stayed level-headed and built twelve new fire stations, which seemed to eventually sort the problem out, and after bulldozing half the city in some sort of invisible mass grave, things swiftly returned to normal. “Well, on the bright side,” I thought, “I now have the most fireproof city in the universe, with the possible exception of Rapture.” Then, about an hour later, the game said, “Hey, a house burned down! Why haven’t you improved the fire services, spaz?” And I wondered about this until I noticed nine of the city’s fire engined arranged in a conga line on the far side of town. I think there may be something wrong with the AI. This might also explain why my town was briefly terrorized by a rampaging criminal whose house turned out to be directly opposite the police station.

    Specifics are kind of moot, though, ’cause I don’t see what this game has over, say, SimCity 4, which is cheaper, and deeper, and available on a download service that doesn’t make my hard drive dry-heave. It’s just the online features, la-dee-cunting-da. “Oh, but everyone else seems to like them,” has been the gist of EA and Maxis’s company line on this issue. “It’s not our fault you don’t know how to have fun.” Listen to me, EA: Not every introvert is longing for the day that Zooey-fucking-Deschanel kicks their door down and forcibly drags them to a roller rink. I know how to have fun. It involves feeling like I’ve achieved something with a sense of independence. It does not involve gangs of punks from some asshole’s gambling town coming over to kick all my bus stops over.

    Can I suggest that perhaps you only ever hear from people who like online features because such people are extroverts, and it is only extroverts who think anyone gives a shit about their stupid opinions? And before you say anything, my opinions are actually very clever.

    CREDITS: “Can barely run a fucking bath: BEN “YAHTZEE” CROSHAW

    “Also I thought Dogbollock would’ve been a good name because the name on the local sports team would have been a total no-brainer”

    “There are parts of Brisbane in dire need of a public poo map”

    Until or unless they fix the crippling server issues, allow cities larger than mountaintop villages and – has this been said yet? – add a freaking offline mode (or I find a crack/patch that does all this for them), I’m choosing to double down on SimCity 4 while holding my breath for the next iteration. (Unless EA/Maxis kicks the bucket first, and with the way things are shaping up for them lately, that wouldn’t come as much of a shock.)

    Tuesday, March 26, 2013

    Daily Blend: 03/26/13

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    Governor Jack Dalrymple (Republican-North Dakota)
    Gov. Jack Dalrymple (R-ND)

    Applying for an internship/apprenticeship/something at a ranch tomorrow! Wish me luck. (Or a broken leg. However it goes these days.)

  • North Dakota Gov. Dalrymple (R) [pictured] signs law banning abortion at six weeks, presumably planning emergency fund for inevitable court loss. Wonder if he’ll also enact the even worse “personhood” law.
    (via @BreakingNews)

  • Berlin-based company confirms their “atheist”-branded packages take significantly longer to reach their destinations, when they don’t go missing altogether. Looks like the US Postal Service has some explaining to do.

  • Oh, look, it’s another boilerplate, evidence-free diatribe about how “[m]ilitant atheism has become a religion”. (Hemant Mehta tears it apart, as does PZ Myers.)
    (via @religionnews)

  • Vox Day: Egalitarians are “inferior beings” (because some of them sometimes make crude jokes on the Internet).

  • And finally, here’s the trippiest damn water spiral you’ll’ve ever did seen (more info here):

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

    Nostalgia Critic examines popular dislike of “princess” archetype

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    One of my favorite web series is the Nostalgia Critic, wherein Doug Walker of That Guy With The Glasses plays a cynical, often histrionic reviewer of old-timey flicks and assorted media. Lately, the series has added a recurring, bi-weekly opinion segment where the NC talks about some aspect or other of pop culture and its effects on society in general.

    Today, he put forth a rather thoughtful look at the much-bemoaned “princess” archetype (especially as popularized by Disney) and the lackluster role model it generally provides to young girls. While I don’t agree with every argument he makes and I think he misses a few logical connections, it’s still an interesting and insightful perspective to consider:

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

    NOSTALGIA CRITIC: Hello! I’m the Nostalgia Critic. I remember it so you don’t have to.

    Hey, what’s with the “princess” hate?

    Yes, most little girls fantasize about being a princess at some point. With their elegant beauty, kind heart and enchanted surroundings, the princess, for many, is the epitome of femininity. But there’s been a bit of a backlash in the past several years, saying that the “princess” stereotype is a more damaging fantasy than an encouraging one. Even I’ve had my rants on the overuse of it in media.

    NC: (to a movie character) You’re not really a princess! You just took the title ’cause it sounds cute!

    NC: So, is it just innocent make-believe, or is there really something to get angry about? Well, in order to answer this, we should probably look at what the majority of people take the most offense at. And I guess it’s only the most logical, albeit clichéd, to look at the most famous lineup of princesses: Disney.

    Disney has practically reinvented the fairy tale. And seeing how their Princess line is the best-selling licensed entertainment character merchandise, it’s safe to say they have a clear understanding of what makes princesses so popular.

    What do they have in common? Well, they’re all pretty; they’re all kind; they all have various clothes and accessories you can buy for them. But naturally, the intrigue in owning one has to come from their personalities formed in the movies, which many consider, from an ethical point of view, not the best role models. “They don’t do anything,” many complain, “they’re just damsels waiting to be rescued and never take responsibility in getting things done for themselves, instead relying on their status and/or beauty to get them what they want. Which, in most cases, is just a man.”

    Aaand … sometimes that’s true.

    Sleeping Beauty, for example, I still stand by as one of the most forgettable characters in Disney history. Yeah, we all know the iconic image, but her fantasy extends to her doing absolutely nothing while her true love comes to save the day. And what, of course, happens? She does absolutely nothing while her true love comes to save the day. And on top of that, she has nothing else to make her stand out, be unique, or have any specific characteristics. So, yeah, the argument is pretty valid there.

    But fuck it, I’m gonna defend the other ladies a little bit. Not that they’re always the best, but there’s[sic] still good virtues that we can learn from them. Snow White kindness and helpful nature, for example, serves as a second mother for the dwarfs. And anyone that says being a mother doesn’t make a hard-working, responsible woman clearly has never been one. It’s work, and worst about it is that you don’t even get paid for it. So the fact that she can still be pleasant while also teaching the dwarfs responsibility may not be major, but it’s still something.

    But, many would argue, it’s one thing for one of them to fall in that category. What about three?

    We mentioned Sleeping Beauty before, but Cinderella is often the biggest offender to the “sit back, do nothing and let someone else save the day” routine. Again, to her defense, she’s working her ass off. I mean, like, every second she’s on-screen, she’s doing something. And in the end, she’s rewarded for her hard work and kindness, even in the face of such nastiness.

    And if your argument is this is still not a good role model, that it wouldn’t inspire people to go out there and achieve, guess who’s favorite fairy tale this was? Yup – the “D-man” himself who supposedly started this whole controversy: Disney. He said Cinderella was his favorite because he often felt like her: Working as hard as he could every day until destiny finally gave him a chance, and that hard work and kindness can result in a virtuous reward.

    But what does that arguably-greatest-businessman-creative-genius-and-heartwarming-icon know? Pfft. Slacker.

    Now, granted, while I don’t think these characters are that bad, it’s clear to acknowledge that these women were limited to the roles that women were expected to have at the time. In the following years, the princess would be a little more proactive, taking more chances and forming more definitive personalities. But even that can take some flak, too, particularly Arial, the Little Mermaid, who many complain is just a whiny teenager who needs a man to save the day. And while she can at times certainly be her own teenage drama queen, people forget, at the time, she was praised as being much more independent than the past Disney princesses. She traveled, she explored, she broke the rules, she left the house, she had a distinct personality, she was curious.

    ROGER EBERT: The character is active. She’s not just a little girl that things happen to. She’s up there, she’s gonna go to the surface, she’s gonna find her prince, she’s gonna take care of business, and so, you can really identify with her.

    NC: And on top of that, while the prince does save the day in the end, she saves his life not once, but twice in this movie. Hell, if we wanna get technical about it, I’m surprised more people weren’t pissed off at Jasmine. I mean, yeah, she fights for her independence once and even takes a chance at living her own life, but she quickly returns to the world she said she hated, stays in it, and constantly lets her boyfriend save her.

    But nevertheless, the complaints were heard, and the Princess brand over the years has made an effort to try and make their lady more and more independent, having them save the male just as many times as the male saves them, while still keeping true to the kind and moral virtues that – let’s face it, people – are enforced in every Disney character, not just the princesses: Be nice, be kind, be true to your heart. When has that not been a major part of the lesson in a Disney film?

    So, after looking them all over, I’m not sure if it’s entirely Disney’s fault for the negative stereotype. Okay, it didn’t always help, but in many respects, it did help. They’re still trying to teach the importance of patience and kindness, which are great virtues for any gender. And Disney is even pushing harder to make their most marketable icons be a symbol of strength and honor, as see in these recent ads:

    GIRL: I am a princess. I am brave even when I am scared. I believe compassion makes me strong. Kindness is power.

    NC: So, if the virtues that the massive Disney’s promoting isn’t the problem with the princess icon, what is? I’ll admit, something was rubbing me the wrong way for years about girls wanting to be princesses. I just couldn’t put my finger on it. But then, the answer came to me when I saw Bridge to Terabithia, which is a godawful flick, by the way. (Right, note to self: Review Bridge to Terabithia.)

    When our main lead brings his little sister into his fantasy world.

    SISTER: Is there a king? Are you the king, Jess?

    BROTHER: Only if you’re princess.

    NC: Wait a minute. Why is he King, and her Princess? Shouldn’t it more logically be King and Queen? In fact, even more recently, in Wreck-It Ralph, why is it when the king is destroyed, again, it’s a princess who rules the land, and not a queen?

    In fact, how come in a lot of nostalgic shows and movies I’ve reviewed, even if the original ruler is gone, they still hold the title “Princess”? Yeah, Princess Sally, Princess Lana; hell, even Princess Leia. All their parents are out of commission, and yet, they still hold onto the title of Princess and not Queen. Why does that seem more marketable for some reason?

    And that’s when it suddenly hit me. It’s not necessarily the virtues of the princess that piss people off. Maybe it’s the title. Why do so many boys want to be King? Because they want the power and responsibility to control and change things.

    DUKE NUKEM: Hail to the King, baby.

    NC: Well, then, why do so many girls not want to be Queen, then? In fact, we’re almost anti-Queen, aren’t we? The more research I did, the more I found there aren’t that many fictional queens that are kind, heroic women. They’re usually the villains.

    Which brings us back to the question: Why do so many girls prefer Princess to Queen? Well, maybe because being a princess not only indicates you’re younger, which often translates to prettier, but also that you have a position of power with responsibility, but not too much responsibility. “Oh, I’m just holding the spot for the King until he returns. I still have the title of youthful innocent who has power, but not all the power, thus projecting an image of daintiness and elegance who makes everybody cookies instead of an image of strength and determination who makes powerful changes.”

    It’s the same thing as calling a grown man a “boy” and a grown woman a “girl”. If you call a grown man a “boy”, they’ll usually be pissed off. Why? Because they want to be seen for strength and responsibility over youthfulness and innocence. Whereas sadly, many women who prefer it the other way around, valuing the youthfulness and innocence over strength and responsibility. Oh, don’t get me wrong; there’s many who don’t, but you all know out there, there’s plenty that do.

    Now, why this is is a whole other argument. Is it society over nature, nature over society, a combination of both; it’s a whole other issue. And I’m also not forgetting that prince and princess are not made-up titles; they really exist. It’s not titles we created to keep people in certain roles; they’re actual royal positions.

    But what is obvious is that a reinforcement seems to be that princesses are young, beautiful and try to live in an innocent world free from conflict. And if one does arrive, it’s somebody else’s job to take care of it. With that said, no matter how tough, action-packed or honorable you make your heroine, by keeping your “princess” title a very popular title, it’s still reinforcing that youth and the need not to take responsibility are the best virtues.

    And don’t get me wrong; I know men and women are different. I know, instinctually, we’re gonna have a different emphasis on different values; men are from Mars, women from Venus; etc., etc. But the world is changing more and more every day, and we’re seeing much more variety in our female characters than we have in the past. So, maybe it’s time to really look at the changes happening around us and see which virtues we really want to enforce. And, at least, making it very clear that there’s a definite option that any female can be as powerful as she wants to be. And that second place, or being under somebody else’s wing, is not the furthest you can go.

    Because, let’s face it, guys: With so many female characters that are good, strong, interesting, funny, entertaining, intelligent, responsible and just as compelling as male characters, perhaps it’s time for the princess in so many people to stop living in fairy tales and look at the reality that is unfolding around us.

    I’m the Nostalgia Critic. I remember it so you don’t have to.

    (I have got to start writing shorter summaries …)

    I would personally take it a few steps further than he dared to and posit that one reason for the historical popularity of the “princess” role model, particularly instead of the much more logical role of “queen”, is that it’s essentially another subtle manifestation of that ol’ bugaboo, the patriarchy. It only makes sense for a society that’s long been geared towards emphasizing male dominance in most fields (especially leadership) to depreciate the value and contributions of women in society at large. This would also help explain the long-running trope of the “evil queen”, given the precious few good queen characters that exist in our culture. (I can’t even think of any off the top of my head, though that may well just be my own ignorance showing.)

    The Onion on the Supreme Court on gay marriage

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    Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States

    It seems someone at The Onion has discovered the ability to peer into an alternate reality where today’s Supreme Court hearings on California’s Proposition 8 and the federal Defense of Marriage Act took a more straightforward and commonsensical turn:

    Ten minutes into oral arguments over whether or not homosexuals should be allowed to marry one another, a visibly confounded Supreme Court stopped legal proceedings Tuesday and ruled that gay marriage was “perfectly fine” and that the court could “care less who marries whom.”

    “Yeah, of course gay men and women can get married. Who gives a shit?” said Chief Justice John Roberts, who interrupted attorney Charles Cooper’s opening statement defending Proposition 8, which rescinded same-sex couples’ right to marry in California. “Why are we even seriously discussing this?”

    “Does anyone else up here care about this?” Roberts added as his eight colleagues began shaking their heads and saying, “No,” “Nah,” and “I also don’t care about this.” “Great. Same-sex marriage is legal in the United States of America. Do we have anything of actual import on the docket, or are we done for the day?”

    Seriously, why is this still an issue? The same once went for interracial marriage, and will one day go for polygamy and any other form of interpersonal relationship based on consent. It simply isn’t the government’s business who loves or shacks up with who else, end of story.

    I can only hope to see the day where articles like this are no longer considered satire, but fundamentally and obviously true.

    (via Political Irony)

    Maher on media’s dewy-eyed treatment of Pope Francis

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    For all his faults, no-one’s quite as adept as Bill Maher when it comes to exposing the zaniness of religion and its sycophants. Here he is ripping on the mainstream media’s absurdly lovey-dovey coverage of Pope Francis, treating the 266th self-declared shepherd of humanity as if he were just the most precious thing evar:

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

    (Original via Daily Kos; edited for format/style)

    BILL MAHER: And finally, New Rule: The news media has to stop all this ridiculous, over-the-top coverage of the virgin bachelor.

    [GRAPHIC: “The Virgin Bachelor” edition of US Weekly”]

    MAHER: No, not that one. This one.

    [GRAPHIC: TIME Magazine cover with Pope Francis]

    MAHER: Now, I gotta tell you, I’ve just about had it with the press squealing in delight at every mundane thing the new Pope does. “Ooh, look, he walked across the street! He picked the name ‘Francis’! He shook hands!” Oh, fuck, he’s a 76-year-old executive who got a promotion; they act like he’s a baby who just made a boom-boom.

    In his first tweet, the new Pope asked everybody to pray for him, and the media was blown away. “Wow, prayer. I never saw that coming. So out of the box. He is amazing. And did you hear he used to ride the bus?”

    It’s like we’re all suddenly living in a papal tabloid. “Popes, they’re just like us!” “They like riding with the top down.” “They enjoy gossip.” “They put up with Joe Biden.”

    Look: There are over a billion Catholics – just on the back of my gardener’s truck. So, I get it, that this is a legitimate news story, but can we at least stop saying that the job of Pope is so hard, such a burden, no-one would even want it?

    What?! Okay, first of all, you’re selling an invisible product. It doesn’t get any easier than that. No-one’s ever going to come back from the dead and say, “Ah, it’s bullshit up there. There’s no heaven. It’s just an empty lot.”

    Hard job? All the Pope does is talk and everything you say is right by definition. And you’re there for life; talk about tenure! And what other business could you be in where your company gets caught running a child sex ring since forever, and you still keep your customers?

    And that is the advantage of being around for two thousand years. You know, people think all the Church’s rules and traditions come right from Jesus. But almost none of them do. The Catholic Church has basically always done what we do here at Real Time: It’s a bunch of guys sitting around making up New Rules.

    For example: “New Rule: Confession”. Jesus never said anything about confession. Never even thought of it. They pulled that out of their ass in the 12th Century. Just like they did with “New Rule: Women can’t be priests”. That’s also not in the Bible. Neither is celibacy for priests. We didn’t have that until the 4th Century, and even then, priests could still get married. They just couldn’t have sex — like regular marriage.

    Jesus also never said anything about a Pope, let alone that he should live in a palace and get carried around in a chair like Liz Taylor in Cleopatra. Or papal infallibility, another rectum-derived edict that came in the year 1870. It’s an eternal truth that’s 11 years younger than the escalator.

    I remember the New Rule they made up when I was a little Catholic boy. Okay, first we had, “New Rule: No meat on Fridays.” And then one day — and I do mean one day — the Pope went, “Uh, this just in … Hold on, I’m getting something. New Rule: Meat okay on Fridays!”

    I mean, the whole thing is just so shamelessly made up as they go along. Or, how about this whopper? New Rule: Not only does God have a son — who’s really him — but there’s also a “Holy Ghost” in there, and they’re all one person called the Trinity. A Catholic monk named Tertullian made up the Holy Ghost in the 3rd Century. And after that, “It is true.”

    I tell ya: Religion? It’s like Wikipedia. Anyone can write something in.

    I must take exception to that closing zinger, though. Wikipedia is much more reliable and safer around children than the Catholic Church.

    At any rate, you can tell Maher’s right on by how much froth one can imagine dribbling down Bill Donohue’s jowls in his outraged retort. Funny how he always focuses on how very very offensive the Church’s critics are rather than any of their actual arguments, eh?

    (via Friendly Atheist)

    Saturday, March 23, 2013

    NYC Mayor Bloomberg reaffirms his disregard for privacy rights

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    Mayor Michael Bloomberg (New York City, NY; Independent)
    NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg (I)

    New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has long been renowned for sacrificing privacy rights and personal liberty on the altar of health and security, and now he’s gone and revealed just how many damns he doesn’t give about people’s concerns for his fantasized nanny/surveillance state:

    Envisioning a future where privacy is a thing of the past, Mayor Bloomberg said Friday it will soon be impossible to escape the watchful eyes of surveillance cameras and even drones in the city.

    He acknowledged privacy concerns, but said “you can’t keep the tides from coming in.”

    “You wait, in five years, the technology is getting better, they’ll be cameras everyplace . . . whether you like it or not,” Bloomberg said.

    The security measures have drawn scorn from some civil libertarians — but Bloomberg scoffed at privacy concerns on his Friday morning program on WOR-AM.

    “The argument against using automation is just this craziness that 'Oh, it’s Big Brother,’” Bloomberg said. “Get used to it!”

    It’s one thing to claim that the rise of automated surveillance technology is perhaps inevitable, but it’s quite another to so openly embrace and exacerbate it under the thin guise of public safety.

    It continually disturbs me just how many people act like Orwellianism is an ideal rather than a cautionary tale.

    (via @BuzzFeedAndrew)

    Doggycide Roundup: 03/23/13

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    Dog chalk outline
  • Midwest City, OK (uncertain date): Bounty hunter shoots & kills “aggressive” family black Lab, then tazes its distraught owner in the chest.
    (via Dogs Shot by Police | Facebook)

  • Indianapolis, IN (uncertain date): Typically sparse police report states dog was shot and killed during an investigation into a shooting that left two men hospitalized.
    (via Dogs Shot by Police | Facebook)

  • Rochester, NY (?03/15/13?): Patrolling officer reportedly shoots & wounds Choco the pitbull terrier after apparently confusing his excitement for aggressiveness. Family stuck with $1,200 vet bill.
    (via Dogs Shot by Police | Facebook)

  • Delta, British Columbia, CA (03/16/13): Officers on a routine patrol reportedly attacked by two pitbulls, use a baton to force one to flee and shoot & kill the other. Officers treated for injuries. All seems to indicate a proper escalation of force.
    (via Rob F)

  • Newport, VA (03/20/13): Pitbull shot by police and later euthanized by owner after allegedly “nipped” two children.
    (via Dogs Shot by Police | Facebook)

  • Allamakee County, IA (03/20/13): Another spotty police report says deputy shot & killed “attack[ing]” “pitbull” during drug raid. Lots of arguing in the comments.
    (via Dogs Shot by Police | Facebook)

  • Statistics:
    Shootings: 6 · Victims: 7 · Deceased: 5 · Survivors: 2 · Power Breeds*: 5

    EDIT: 03/24/13 1:17 PM ET – Edited to add clickable “hidden note” for “Power Breeds”.

    The Venn Diagram of Irrational Nonsense

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    Crispian Jago once again shows us how it’s done (classifying irrational nonsense, that is):

    “The Venn Diagram of Irrational Nonsense” (by Crispian Jago)
    [full size (984×1075)]

    I think I want a poster of this even more than of his “Periodic Table of Irrational Nonsense”. Though, I have to quibble with some of the overlapping (or lack thereof) – isn’t all pseudo-medical quackery a part of pseudoscience by definition, with all the bullshit explanations drawn up to bolster them (and excuse their invariable failure)? And Christianity’s “faith healing” component should arguably grant it a spot right by Scientology’s side. But I’m just nitpicking at this point.

    Seriously, posters. Make them happen.

    (via Friendly Atheist)

    Friday, March 22, 2013

    Daily Blend: 03/22/13

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    Richard Littlejohn
    Richard Littlejohn
  • Today in “there ought to be a hell”: Fuckbrained bigot Richard Littlejohn [pictured] and trash-rag extraordinaire Daily Mail succeed in blithely bullying a transgender schoolteacher into killing herself.
    (via Pharyngula)

  • Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) officially signs civil unions bill.
    (via @breakingpol; RT: @BreakingNews)

  • Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear (D) vetoes “Religious Freedom Act” that would’ve permitted anti-gay discrimination based on bigots’ “sincerely held religious beliefs”. Expect wingnut heads to commence exploding shortly.
    (via Joe. My. God.)

  • PZ Myers is dead on: Adria Richards did everything exactly right. It’s amazing how many men can’t stomach the idea of being called out publicly for misbehaving in public.

  • Pope Francis comes out swinging against Catholic Church’s track record with covering up clerical child abuse. Now to see if his actions match up with his words.
    (via @BuzzFeedAndrew)

  • And finally, why is it still such a shock (to some) that women can be science aficionados, too?

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

    North Dakota trumps itself, now wants to ban all abortions

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    Abortion: My Mind, My Body, My Choice

    This is getting ridiculous. Just two weeks ago, the Republican-controlled North Dakota Legislature passed a bill banning abortion at a mere twelve weeks, well before fetal viability and in direct violation of Roe v. Wade. Then, just a week later, they trumped themselves by becoming the first to pass a “fetal heartbeat” bill banning abortion at only six weeks, before many women even suspect they may be pregnant.

    Well, it appears they still aren’t happy that the occasional lucky woman might still be able to enjoy some reproductive agency, as they’ve now decided to try and just ban abortion outright:

    Lawmakers on Friday took a step toward outlawing abortion altogether in the state by passing a so-called personhood resolution that says a fertilized egg has the same right to life as a person. The House's approval sends the matter to voters, who will decide whether to add the wording to the state's constitution in November 2014.

    It's one of several anti-abortion measures to pass the Legislature. Most are awaiting the signature of Republican Gov. Jack Dalrymple, who hasn't yet indicated whether he supports the laws. Even if he were to veto them, some could have the support for the Legislature to override him.

    I can’t be the only one to find grim amusement in the irony of patriarchal ideologues declaring that mere eggs should have all the rights and protections they’re trying to strip from actual adult women who simply want to make their own decisions regarding their well-being, can I?

    There’s little in Gov. Dalrymple’s record to indicate which way he swings on abortion rights in general, though he appears to be a consummate Republican in just about everything, which isn’t exactly reassuring. At any rate, should he enact these laws, it’s all but guaranteed that they’d meet certain doom in the inevitable court battles to ensue, given how very clear the Supreme Court made their view in 1973. It’s almost like Republicans enjoy a good spanking by the courts these days … which, given how many of their “traditional values” hypocrites end up making headlines for their quirky bedroom proclivities, is comedic fodder all on its own.

    Who knows; there may just be hope for the state’s lone functioning abortion clinic yet.

    (via @BreakingNews)

    Washington drug dogs retrained to ignore marijuana

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    Drug-sniffing dog

    Sign of the times: Drug-sniffing dogs are about to have a lot more free time in Washington State now that recreational pot has been legalized, as police departments are already starting to adapt their training:

    The passage of I-502 made things difficult enough for the humans tasked with creating and enforcing the laws for legal marijuana. Now, try explaining the difference between "personal use" and "intent to sell" or the gray area between state and federal law to a dog.

    That's why many law-enforcement agencies around the state, including the Seattle Police Department and Washington State Patrol, will no longer be training their drug-sniffing dogs to alert for marijuana.

    “Moving forward, it makes most sense not to train dogs to alert to marijuana as that would likely lead to unwarranted investigatory detentions of people who are not breaking any law," said Alison Holcomb, author of I-502 and drug policy director for the American Civil Liberties Union.

    The Washington Association of Prosecuting Attorneys sent out a memo advising the state's law-enforcement agencies that narcotics dogs are no longer required to be trained to alert for marijuana in December. And, marijuana was removed from the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission's Canine Performance Standards test in January.

    Such a move is made particularly relevant in the wake of the gob-smackingly bad Supreme Court ruling in February that essentially declared drug-detection dogs to be “probable cause on a leash” despite their craptacular track record (which often results from human vice).

    Thursday, March 21, 2013

    Sen. Chambliss won’t marry a gay, so neither should you

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    Senator Saxby Chambliss (R-Georgia)
    Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA)

    From Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), affirming the typical Republican line on LGBT marriage equality:

    When asked if his views had changed on gay marriage, the Georgia Republican quipped: “I’m not gay. So I’m not going to marry one.”

    Who ever asked you to? And furthermore, why should your personal decision extend to everyone else, gays and lesbians included?

    Woman fired for denouncing misbehavior at tech conference

    | | »

    Adria Richards, a technology “evangelist” for email marketing firm SendGrid, was attending a developer conference when two men seated behind her began reportedly began making crude sexual jokes. Eventually having enough of this, Richards saw fit to snap their picture and call them out on Twitter:

    After someone made a comment about forking a software repository, the two allegedly began making jokes about forking in a sexual manner and “big dongles.” After listening for some time, Richards got fed up, took a picture of the two, and posted it to Twitter:

    The result: Playhaven “conducted a thorough investigation”, which led to one of the men being fired.

    Wednesday, March 20, 2013

    Daily Blend: 03/20/13

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    Representative Louie Gohmert (Republican-Texas)
    Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX)
  • Happy tenth anniversary to the clusterfuck in Iraq and the spoon-fed lies that got the US populace to go along with it.

  • Another underage victim blamed for being raped by football players. Some people are just fucking sick.

  • Why is it that so many of those in charge of laws pertaining to computers and the Internet are absolute morons about computers and the Internet? (Though, to be fair, Rep. Gohmert (R-TX) [pictured] is usually wrong about everything.)

  • Another day, another blatantly dishonest global-warming-denying article from a renowned crank in a Daily Mail-associated tabloid.

  • I’m really embarrassed by fellow progressives’ penchant for nanny statism at times. Is it really that hard to commit to the ideal of personal freedom even if it means allowing people to make unhealthy choices?

  • Faithlessness is healthy and growing in Canada.

  • More of that Christian LoveTM, this time in Nova Scotia, Canada.

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

    Tuesday, March 19, 2013

    Vox Day: Indian rapes the fault of feminism and too many men

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    Theodore Beale (aka Vox Day)
    Vox Day

    Here’s Theodore “Vox Day” Beale’s predictably charming take on reports that sexual crime appears to be getting worse in India. Guess who gets the blame (if not the actual criminals, of course):

    Note that the problem in India is actually getting considerably worse despite the advance of sexual equality in Indian society that the feminists believe will solve everything. As we've learned to expect, feminism wreaks societal devastation even in the process of supposedly offering a means of improvement. In this case, it is the pro-abortion position that is leading to more rapes in India.

    "According to the decennial Indian census, the sex ratio in the 0-6 age group in India went from 104.0 males per 100 females in 1981, to 105.8 in 1991, to 107.8 in 2001, to 109.4 in 2011. The ratio is significantly higher in certain states such as Punjab and Haryana (126.1 and 122.0, as of 2001)."

    Damn those evil Westerners and their pro-women, abortion-promulgating ways!

    I am curious to know, though, if Vox has any mechanism to propose – any at all – that would explain how or why a barely perceptible increase in men over the last few decades should excuse, justify, or even explain coherently, the sudden spike in sexual violence against women. Do they all just release excess testosterone into the air, which combines with greenhouse gases to drive male libidos upwards whilst ratcheting down their moral standards?

    Or better yet, why do some people insist on twisting all sense and reason in order to blame biology for what is inherently a behavioral problem caused by a culture wrought with regressive sexual attitudes resulting from lacking education and insufficient law enforcement?

    But leave it to Vox to find the silver lining:

    The world is quite fortunate that India's excess male population appears to be inclined to occupy itself in pursuit of gang rape, considering that the more customary outlet is foreign invasion.

    Yes, a (presumably, if not always evidently) thinking and feeling human being actually wrote that. The mind boggles.

    You know, I have a hypothesis for why so few of Vox’s critics bother to refute him anymore – they’re just too goddamned embarrassed to share the same taxonomic classification as this glorified neanderthal to be able to stomach his revolting spiel for any amount of time. (Lucky for SIWOTI-afflicted masochists like yours truly, I suppose.)

    Monday, March 18, 2013

    Top 10 reasons to make gay marriage illegal [updated]

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    Same-sex marriage

    This has been floating around the Web for years (here’s the earliest version I could find), but I thought it was funny and worth sharing here (slightly retouched by yours truly):

    01) Being gay is not natural. Real Americans always reject unnatural things like eyeglasses, polyester, and air conditioning.

    02) Gay marriage will encourage people to be gay, in the same way that hanging around tall people encourages you to be tall.

    03) Legalizing gay marriage will open the door to all kinds of crazy behavior. People may even wish to marry their pets, because a dog has legal standing and can sign a marriage contract.

    04) Straight marriage has been around a long time and hasn’t changed at all, just like many of the principles on which this great country was founded: Women are still property, Blacks still can’t marry Whites, and divorce is still illegal.

    05) Straight marriage will be less meaningful if gay marriage is allowed; the sanctity of marriages like Britney Spears’s 55-hour, just-for-fun marriage would be destroyed.

    06) Straight marriages are valid because they produce children. Gay couples, infertile couples and old people shouldn’t be allowed to marry because our orphanages aren’t full yet, and the world needs more children.

    07) Obviously, gay parents will raise gay children, since straight parents only raise straight children.

    08) Gay marriage is not supported by religion. In a theocracy like ours, the values of one religion are imposed on the entire country. That’s why we have only one religion in America.

    09) Children can never succeed without a male and a female role model at home. That’s why we as a society expressly forbid single parents from raising children.

    10) Gay marriage will change the foundation of society; we could never adapt to new social norms, just like we haven’t adapted to cars, the service-sector economy, or longer life spans.

    A potent blend of irony and common sense is always so refreshing, is it not?

    (via A Femboy Called Jeremie [NSFW])

    UPDATE: 03/19/13 1:17 PM ET —

    Rob F points to this being the original, dating back to 2004. Practically Precambrian, wot.

    Sunday, March 17, 2013

    Daily Blend: 03/17/13

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    Cardinal Wilfrid Fox Napier
    Card. Wilfrid Napier
  • Predictably, the Canadian Government’s decision to lay off all non-Christian prison chaplains has already resulted in a lawsuit.

  • Public Shaming offers these handy guides on how to thoroughly void your Decent Human Being card.
    (via @MotherJones)

  • In the category of “a first for everything”, I defend a clergyman’s [pictured] remarks about pedophilia from someone who apparently can’t distinguish between a sexual paraphilia and the actual act of child abuse.

  • And finally, here’s another month’s worth of refutations to the claim that religious people are more moral:
    (via Friendly Atheist)

  • Highlights: (click the [+/-] to open/close →) []
  • African woman says that “everything bad should be done to” gays, including imprisonment and execution;
  • Former pastor Haden Conrad accused of soliciting sex with a 14-year-old girl;
  • Metro News: “Six new sex abuse charges for retired Catholic priest”;
  • Rev. Donald R. Jung accused of molesting his 9-year-old granddaughter;
  • Birmingham Mail: “Solihull priest Ted Simpson arrested over child sex accusations”;
  • Baltimore, CO Deacon William Albaugh busted for child porn possession;
  • The Irish Times: “Report finds Dutch religious abused ‘tens of thousands’ of girls”;
  • Archdioceses of New Orleans & Lake Charles, LA sued for allegedly harboring accused child-raping priest Mark Anthony Broussard;
  • The Times: “Papal frontrunner Cardinal Peter Turkson links sex abuse to homosexuality”;
  • Manitoba, CA school administration & local churches oppose anti-bullying law meant to stop anti-gay discrimination;
  • The Advocate: “Florist Tells Longtime Gay Customer That Jesus Won't Let Her Do His Wedding”;
  • Gay Star News: “Brazil elects racist, anti-gay pastor to be human rights boss”;
  • Kansas City Atheist Coalition blocked from participating in Saint Patrick’s Day parade;
  • The Raw Story: “Atheist cop sues after being demoted to car washer for refusing to pray”;
  • North Carolina considers forcing Bible study classes on public-high-schoolers;
  • The Telegraph: “Church school pupils will need baptism certificate to board school bus”;
  • Montana’s Pinehaven Christian Children’s Ranch accused of physically abusing troubled children;
  • Deccan Chronicle: “Attackers hack hand off 7-yr-old Tanzania albino boy for witchcraft”;
  • Fifteen-year-old Maldives rape victim sentenced to 100 lashes for consensual premarital sex;
  • Osun Defender: “Father ties, locks up six-year-old daughter for witchcraft”;
  • UN cancels humanitarian marathon after Hamas bans women from racing;
  • Toronto Star: “Muslims storm church in Egypt looking for woman suspected of converting to Christianity”;
  • Middle-Eastern Islamists riot, demand execution of bloggers accused of blasphemy;
  • The Independent: Pakistani mob torches Christian homes in Lahore over prophet Mohamed 'blasphemy';
  • Iran bans Buddha statues as “symbols of cultural invasion”;
  • Bella Naija: “Nigerian Nurse who Caused Baby’s Death after Botched Home Circumcision in the UK Walks Free from Court”;
  • Miami, FL imam accused by US Gov’t of funneling $50,000 to Taliban;
  • Global Post: “Cairo court affirms death for 7 Copts over anti-Islam film”; and
  • 11 extremists stopped “weeks or days” before building bombs for “another 9/11”.
  • If you have any story suggestions, feel free to leave them in the comments or send them in.

    Saturday, March 16, 2013

    Doggycide Roundup: 03/16/13

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    Timber (part collie, left) & Harley (part bull mastiff)
    Timber & Harley (RIP)
  • Double-hit in Châteauguay, Qc, Canada (02/27/13): Animal control fail to disentangle two dogs [pictured] (without any equipment), call in police, who promptly shoot & kill both. Turns out they were just caught on a chain.
    (via Dogs Shot by Police | Facebook)

  • Double-header in Ogden, UT (unknown & 03/08/13): Officers shoot & kill dogs in two separate incidents, with confusing mix of excuses and eyewitness testimonials.
    (via Dogs Shot by Police | Facebook)

  • Averted in Boston, MA (03/12/13): Off-duty officer draws her gun when unleashed dog approaches her pug “in an aggressive manner” in a dog park.
    (via Dogs Shot by Police | Facebook)

  • Statistics:
    Shootings: 3
    Victims: 4
    Deceased: 4 (100%)
    Survivors: 0 (0%)
    Pitbull index: 0 (0%)

    Friday, March 15, 2013

    Daily Blend: 03/15/13

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    Senator Rob Portman (Republican-Ohio)
    Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH)
  • Catholic Church in Joliet, Illinois forced to release thousands of internal documents that “reportedly show every bishop since the 1950s has been aware of diocese priests sexually abusing children”. I can hear Bill Donohue preparing his “old news” stamp already.
    (via @jennifurret)

  • Ironically named National Vaccination Information Center launches anti-vaccination billboards in four states. Not sure why Phil Plait expects the same company that proudly hosts Rush Limbaugh to apologize for, well, anything.

  • Why police officers shouldn’t be automatically believed (especially by the courts).

  • Republican Sen. Rob Portman (Ohio) [pictured] becomes latest example that the best way to get someone to drop their homophobia is for them to know a gay person.
    (via Joe. My. God. & @BuzzFeedAndrew)

  • Information is Beautiful on the major causes of death in the 20th Century. Is it just me, or does cancer seem disproportionately large?

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

    North Dakota to pass strictest anti-abortion law yet? [updated]

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    Abortion: My Mind, My Body, My Choice

    Only last week, Arkansas Republicans made headlines by overriding their governor’s veto and becoming the first to pass a “fetal heartbeat bill” banning abortion at only 12 weeks (and only a week after setting the limit at 20 weeks). I guess one couldn’t expect North Dakota to take such an affront lying down, though, because anti-choice lawmakers there may now be about to prohibit women from terminating a pregnancy they might not even know they have [original emphasis]:

    Republican lawmakers are advancing a “fetal heartbeat” measure to outlaw the procedure after just six weeks of pregnancy, before many women even realize they’re pregnant, and they expect to have enough support to push it though:

    House Bill 1456 would make it a felony for a doctor to perform a nonemergency abortion after a fetal heartbeat can be detected, which can be as early as five or six weeks. House Bill 1305 would prohibit abortions sought because a fetus has been or could be diagnosed with any genetically inherited defect, disease or disorder.

    The Republican-led state Senate will vote today on the measures, said state Representative Bette Grande of Fargo, who co-sponsored the bills in the Republican-controlled House, where both have passed. Grande said she expects the Senate to approve both and the governor, also a party member, to sign them.

    This measure would also necessitate more state-sanctioned rape by unwanted and medically pointless transvaginal ultrasound to detect that fetal heartbeat in the first place. Meanwhile, anti-choice legislators are trying to cram through even more restrictions on women’s reproductive healthcare, including against some forms of contraception. And all this in a state that only has one functioning abortion clinic to begin with … at least until Republicans manage to shut it down, too.

    Why don’t they just come out and challenge the Supreme Court to a fistfight already? They could hardly make their contempt for Roe v. Wade more apparent as it is.

    UPDATE: 03/15/13 2:40 PM ET —

    The bill has passed.