Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Obama Problem

Wingnut porn
obama, assassination, death, threats, military, coup, voter, democracy,

What do citizens of a democracy do when they don't like their elected officials?

a) vote
b) vote
c) vote
d) all of the above

Seems obvious, right? Not over at Newsmax, where John L. Perry, who's apparently never heard of voting, wrote this (it was subsequently taken down):

There is a remote, although gaining, possibility America’s military will intervene as a last resort to resolve the “Obama problem.” Don’t dismiss it as unrealistic. [...]

Military intervention is what Obama’s exponentially accelerating agenda for “fundamental change” toward a Marxist state is inviting upon America. A coup is not an ideal option, but Obama’s radical ideal is not acceptable or reversible.

Unthinkable? Then think up an alternative, non-violent solution to the Obama problem. Just don’t shrug and say, “We can always worry about that later.”

That's right, Mr. Perry went with e) military coup, the hallmark of every democracy.

Mr. Perry, you seditious spleenweasel, I don't have to think up an alternative, nonviolent solution to your nonexistent problem. We already have one: voting. Why couldn't you think of it?

This, combined with the uptick in death threats against our President, combined with disturbing polls to determine under which circumstance we should assassinate our President, makes me a little . . . concerned.

How is Canada this time of year?

Roman Polanski =/= a Priest

roman polanski, pedophile, pedophilia, catholic, church, christian, persecution, priest,
At first glance, mathew archbold's whinge that Roman Polanski proves our persecution against Christians seems reasonable.

Just for a moment I want you to imagine that Roman Polanski was a priest. Frightening, yes?

But for the sake of my point imagine that he's a priest who drugged and raped a thirteen year old.

Imagine he's a priest who fled to France so as to avoid punishment for his crime. Imagine that he flaunted his freedom in America's face for decades.Now imagine that Roman Polanski as a priest was apprehended by the police after all those years. Now, imagine what the media would be saying.

There's one little problem with this: the Catholic Church demands that we view, and treat, priests differently from producers (and everyone else on the planet).

Priests are special, we are told. Priests hold special moral authority, directly from God, we are told. Priests are better than the rest of us, which is what allows priests to teach us, admonish us and absolve us of sins. (I grew up Catholic before all the scandals. This is exactly how Catholics used to view priests.)

You can't have it both ways, my dear mathew. Either priests are special, which makes their crimes special, or they're not special, don't have the ear of God and don't have the right to tell anyone anything. You can't stand there and tell me that I'm not a good person because I voted for Obama, and then turn around and say, "but Roman Polanski did it, too!"

International Blasphemy Day

blasphemy, atheism, atheist, christian, heresy,

Carry on.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Taliban in Their Own Words

afghanistan, taliban, war,
Newsweek's oral history of the Taliban is a fascinating read, interweaving short stories from several Afghanis discussing how they ended up joining the Taliban and fighting us. They were not the stories I expected them to be. Were the circumstances reversed, I wonder how many of us would be mujahadeen.

Two days before the September 11 attacks on America, we were all celebrating the death of [Northern Alliance commanderAhmed Shah] Masood, [who was assassinated by Qaeda agents posing as television reporters]. His forces were already on the verge of defeat, so his death all but assured us of total victory in Afghanistan. But the September 11 attacks turned our cheer into deep concern. We gave those camels [a derogatory Afghan term for Arabs] free run of our country, and they brought us face to face with disaster. We knew the Americans would attack us in revenge.

Realizing the danger, I immediately sent my wife and children to Pakistan. The entire government started to fall apart. I never thought the Taliban would collapse so quickly and cruelly under U.S. bombs. Everyone began trying to save themselves and their families. When the bombing began, I changed out of my usual white mullah's garb, put on an old brown shalwar kameez, and headed for Pakistan. I crossed the mountains on foot, and at the top I turned around and said: "God bless you, Afghanistan. I'll never come back to you under our Islamic regime."

Just a note: we might consider everyone from a vast area in Eurasia to be Arab, but Afghanis do not consider themselves to be Arabs, and neither do Iranians, for that matter.

Spiritual Care?

religion, christian, health care, hatch, enzi, kerry, public option, rape, birth control, abortion, abstinence, safe sex,
The Secular Coalition for America is fighting three amendments to the health care bill that are egregious examples of religious intrusion in government that we all should be aware of and fight against.

Of great concern is a bipartisan amendment sponsored by Senators Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and John Kerry (D-Mass.) that would require private and public health plans to cover all "spiritual care" - whether or not the individual has religous objections to medical care. This proposed funding undermines our Constitution and will open up your tax dollars to scam artists.

This amendment will make an existing problem worse. Religious people who object to medical care already have some "spiritual care" covered by Medicare and Medicaid. This "spiritual care" includes reimbursements for payments that Christian Scientists make to members of the Church who pray for them when they are ill. Numerous children have died while receiving this "spiritual care" when modern science would easily have saved their lives. And you helped pay!

We currently pay people to watch children die. Allow me to repeat myself: your tax dollars pay people to watch children die. This is appalling and should not be allowed to continue. The fact that the government doles out tax dollars for this reprehensible practice is . . . I don't know what to say. I don't have words for that.

One Christian Scientist congregation presided over the deaths of 64 children between 1975 and 1995, and Orrin Hatch and John Kerry want to encourage that. I suggest contacting them and telling them no.

Senator Enzi wants to make sure that if my doctor is opposed to birth control pills or, well, anything, he doesn't even have to tell me the treatment exists. This is already a problem with morning after pills, especially for rape victims. Rape victims who visit Christian (usually Catholic) hospitals, or who are seen by those opposed to birth control, are often not even told that after the fact birth control exists. I am personally quite opposed to exposing already traumatized rape victims to the further trauma of having to choose between giving birth to their rapist's baby or aborting it.

We are fighting another amendment, proposed by Senator Mike Enzi (R-Wyoming), which would ensure that doctors can deny patients any care or information that violates the doctor's religious beliefs. This violation of medical ethics is labeled with the Orwellian term "Conscience Clause" - i.e. denying or delaying proper care for a person in need. This amendment cruelly places the religious beliefs of practitioners (such as pharmacists) above the medical needs of patients. This amendment threatens your access to contraception, end-of-life care, HIV care, and any other care to which a health provider employee objects.

Senator Hatch also wants to revive abstinence-only programs, despite the fact that they are a miserable failure.

Third, Senator Hatch has submitted an amendment requesting that funding for Title V abstinence-only-until-marriage programs be restored. Congress has wasted $ 1.5 billion on such programs since 1996. Numerous studies, including a 10-year government-funded evaluation of the Title V abstinence-only program, have found that these programs do not delay sexual initiation and have no beneficial impact on young people's health or sexual behavior. In addition to being ineffective and leaving out information on safe sex, many such programs contain false and misleading "medical" statements and teach religious propaganda and theologically-driven gender stereotypes to our children.

There is no reason to teach abstinence only other than religion. Abstinence-only programs don't work, as is ably demonstrated by the fact that teens in highly religious states have the highest pregnancy rates. Abstinence-only programs deter birth control use, not sex.

Please help out teenagers, women, rape victims, children, yourself, and everyone else and tell these politicians, in no uncertain terms, to keep their religion out of the health care bill.

Monday, September 28, 2009

I Stole Food from a Hotel, But Socialism Sucks

mccain, journalism, begging, stealing, theft, thief,

I can't quite figure out wingnuts. Why is it that so many of the people that regard any form of governmental help for those who need it as socialismOMGtheCOMMIESWON! are, in fact, people who need governmental help?

The Other McCain, a/k/a* Robert Stacy McCain, apparently has to steal food now. Seriously, he stole food from a hotel. On a trip to Kentucky to the learn the truth about the murdered census worker (I guess the real journalists are all on vacation or something), he stole food from a hotel:

Hang on, Freda Collins. Just another 390 miles to go today, and I should be there by nightfall. As for the rest of y'all -- hit the tip jar.

I can scavenge pretty well when I have to. They serve a free continental breakfast here at this motel, and everybody evidently assumes I'm a guest, even though I just pulled off the I-79 exit and walked in the door. But professional journalism savvy like that will only get me so far . . . hit the tip jar.

And, in typical wingnut fashion, theft becomes "professional journalism savvy"**, and the kind of begging that would piss off a wingnut in the subway is capitalism. Seriously, how many times have you seen me beg for money from my readers? Twice in two paragraphs, no less.

Here's a clue for you, Other Mr. McCain, if you can't afford food, don't go on cross-country journeys to repeat the work of people far more qualified than you.

*Why, yes, I am a legal secretary, in case that looks odd to you.

**If it's something homeless people typically do, it's not professional journalism savvy, it's just desperation.

Iran, Alaska, It's an easy mistake to make

sarah, palin, hong kong, cavier, alaska, stupid,
I often mistake Iran for Alaska, and vice versa. They have so much in common: climate, language, culture- they're virtually indistinguishable.

That's why I forgive Sarah Palin for making the following mistake during her speech in Hong Kong:

And – here was a reference to the Alaska fish and caviar consumed in this "beautiful", "magnificent" and "libertarian" part of China – "some of the fruits of our labour, mine and Todd's, ended up on tables here". The caviar at the Hyatt, it should be added, comes from Iran.

I did find it a little strange that she seems to now support gay marriage. Or something.

"I have a husband," she said. "I think I could have used a wife. He's awesome." This really floored the Chinese. Poor Todd.

Um, yeah.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Senator Kyl: Well, I Don't Have a Uterus

conservative, republican, kyl, health care, obama,
Here we have the perfect example of Conservative thought- I don't need it, so fuck you.

Can't you just feel the love?

Friday, September 25, 2009

$5 to the first person who can correctly identify

acorn, tim jones, 912 project, washington, vendors, racism, tea party, teabagging,
all the amendments to the constitution Tim Jones does not understand.

Tim Jones is the wingnut "hero" of the above video. In the video, shot at the 9/12 Washington DC protest tea party hate rally whatever, he accuses three black street vendors (two of them minors) of being ACORN*, then proceeds to yell at and follow them until they leave. He later characterized his actions as a victory, stating: “The truth caused them to leave finally,” he said. “The truth can win out if we stand with the truth!”

What truth? That you can scare three black people half to death by attempting to whip up a group of 70,000 white people into an angry mob against them? I think we already knew that one.

Ignoring the absolutely absurd notion that Acorn sent street vendors to the 9/12 thing, (and the fact that Mr. Jones didn't suspect any white vendors of being Acorn plants*) so what if they did? This was a public event on public property. What right does anyone have to tell another person they can't attend?

Those street vendors have the First Amendment right to believe and say what they wish. They share in the right to demonstrate also guaranteed by the First Amendment. One would think Mr. Jones would recognize, as a proud believer in capitalism, their right to make a living, maybe even pull themselves up by their bootstraps, as it were.

Wait . . . I think I know which amendment Mr. Jones is unfamiliar with. I do believe that would be lucky number fourteen.


*actually "Akawn". apparently, "Dora the Explorer" actually rhymes in the Jones' household.

Not Exactly Productive or Anything

sad little AI
halo, odst, the superintendent, nathan fillion, captain mal

Yeah, I've been playing a lot of Halo 3: ODST.

Lots and lots of ODST.

Which curiously stars Nathan Fillion, as Captain Mal in space armor. It's a good thing.

My favorite character, however, is the Superintendent, a broken AI that seems a little frustrated that it took me 3 levels to figure out that "your bill is overdue" means "you're about to walk into a whole lotta Covenant, better start shooting now."

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Debunking the Debunking

environmentalism, global warming, climate change, the story of stuff, right, indoctrination, communism, socialism,
If you're like me, and have no real concern for the state of your heart or brain cells, you spend a lot time on conservative sites/blogs. Which means you've seen a lot of hysterical demagoguery concerning The Story of Stuff.

Basically, The Story of Stuff is a 20 minute video on the effects of human consumption, told in a child-friendly format. Of course, the right views this as "indoctrination" into communism by the left. Because we're all communists and we hate stuff. In fact, I don't even have stuff at my house. I don't even have a house. Good little communist that I am, I live in a field and eat off the land. Which makes it a little hard to explain this blog, but as a communist, I don't actually have to explain things.

What I can't figure out is, what parent wouldn't like to hear a little less "Mommy/Daddy/Whatever- buy me that! And that! And that, too!" As [redacted] pointed out, understanding that there is no cellphone fairy who magically provides batteries that never drain or die, and no magic involved in cell towers, and what all exactly is behind all of our "stuff" is apparently INDOCTRINATION now.

If the little boy's reaction in the New York Times' article is typical, The Story of Stuff is an excellent video.

And many children who watch it take it to heart: riding in the car one day with his parents in Tacoma, Wash., Rafael de la Torre Batker, 9, was worried about whether it would be bad for the planet if he got a new set of Legos.

“When driving by a big-box store, you could see he was struggling with it,” his father, David Batker, said. But then Rafael said, “It’s O.K. if I have Legos because I’m going to keep them for a very long time,” Mr. Batker recalled.

Exactly, Rafael. That isn't just environmental good sense, that's economic good sense, too. Instead of 100 cheap plastic toys (imported from China, no less), get one great toy you'll play with for years.

Now why is the right opposed to that kind of thinking?

Some Suicide Note

glenn, beck, frog, 912 project, liberty, census, undocumented workers, death, hanging, extremism, conservative, wingnut, bachmann
On September 12, the day of Teabagging Madness, a census worker was found hanged with the word "Fed" scrawled across his chest.

WASHINGTON — The FBI is investigating the hanging death of a U.S. Census worker near a Kentucky cemetery. A law enforcement official says the word "fed" was scrawled on his chest.

The body of Bill Sparkman, a 51-year-old Census field worker and occasional teacher, was found Sept. 12 in the Daniel Boone National Forest in rural southeast Kentucky.

Investigators have said little about the case. A law enforcement official, who was not authorized to discuss the case and requested anonymity, tells The Associated Press the word "fed" was written on the dead man's chest.

FBI spokesman David Beyer said the bureau is helping state police determine if Sparkman's death was the result of foul play, and if so, whether it was related to his census work.

I suppose it's possible "Fed" was a rather inscrutable suicide note, and that the only place he had to write such a note was his own chest, but that seems rather unlikely to me.

It seems a little more likely to me that somebody got a wee bit riled up by the likes of Michele Bachmann, who said that she was worried if she filled out a census form, she would be thrown in a Japanese internment camp run by Acorn. (What I can't figure out is, when did Bachmann become Japanese? Or is the internment camp in Japan?)

It also strikes me that with Glenn Beck (who, at the very least, simulated boiling a live frog on TV yesterday) calling upon people to "water the tree of liberty", the 9/12 connection is a bit suspicious.

Yeah, that DHS report is looking like a load of bullshit, now, huh?

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Such Is My Life

obama, religion, christian, stupid,
I'm going to deal with this stupidity now, because I just know it's going to turn into a massively popular email forward very soon. You can read it for yourself, but basically, a legal secretary that used to work where Obama used to work accuses him of being a big meanie.

First of all, I would like to explain what working at a law office is like. First, the pecking order:


Clerical Staff
the Receptionist

Partners are gods, and get whatever they want, no matter how unreasonable it is. I once spent my entire lunch hour (which I don't get paid for, btw) scouring the mall for crystal salt and pepper shakers because my boss didn't like the plastic ones in the lunch room.

Associates are about a half-step above the clerical staff in the eyes of partners, though not in the eyes of associates. Associates get paid significantly more than the clerical staff, but trust me when I say to you that partners don't treat them with much more respect.

The clerical staff is lucky to be allowed time to pee. I come in early (unpaid), stay late (unpaid) and I think I've left for lunch on time twice in the last two years. That's just the way it is. I get blamed (and screamed at) for things that aren't my fault all the time. In fact, I frequently get screamed at for doing what the partner told me to do (after he realized it wasn't a good idea).

We're not allowed to leave work for doctor's appointments. Guess the last time I saw a doctor. The managing partner recently abolished personal days because he got sick of not knowing where people were. He once threatened to fire a woman while she was in the hospital because she was missing too much work. This was the first time she'd called out sick in 3 years.

Why do I stay? It's a job. Unemployment in my area is around 20%. I don't get paid much, but I do get more than I have or would anywhere else.

So I'm not taking too seriously some woman whining that Obama didn't demand, as a lowly associate, better pay and benefits for the clerical staff. The fact that her friend was frequently kept late doesn't strike me as odd, either. Oh, and the fact that the firm didn't encourage prayer and religious discussions on premises: she didn't work at a church, she worked at a law firm. Get over it.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Strangely, I'm Okay with This

obama, acorn, republican, conservative, fox, stupid
Republicans, in trying to defund Acorn, may accidentally end up defunding the entire military-industrial complex.

The congressional legislation intended to defund ACORN, passed with broad bipartisan support, is written so broadly that it applies to "any organization" that has been charged with breaking federal or state election laws, lobbying disclosure laws, campaign finance laws or filing fraudulent paperwork with any federal or state agency. It also applies to any of the employees, contractors or other folks affiliated with a group charged with any of those things.

In other words, the bill could plausibly defund the entire military-industrial complex.


Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) picked up on the legislative overreach and asked the Project on Government Oversight (POGO) to sift through its database to find which contractors might be caught in the ACORN net.

Lockheed Martin and Northrop Gumman both popped up quickly, with 20 fraud cases between them, and the longer list is a Who's Who of weapons manufacturers and defense contractors.

I have only one thing to say to this:


All we'll be left with is Obamawan Kenobi.

When Chuck Norris Jumps into a Lake

flag, obama. chuck norris, 912 project, patriotism, US, america, socialism,
Chuck Norris, the famous guy with a house not in foreclosure, a big bank account and health care, would like you to stop treading on him.

What I loved about the 9/12 idea is that it was a nonpolitical, nonpartisan movement. The 9-12 Project was designed to bring Americans back to the place where we were Sept. 12, 2001 -- the day after America was attacked by terrorists. We were not concerned then with red states, blue states or political parties. We were united as Americans, standing together to protect our nation.
That's completely absurd. The 9/12 thing is nonpolitical and nonpartisan? On what planet? I would also like to reiterate that I, like most people, felt sad, sick and scared on 9/12. The man who wants you to stay sad, sick and scared the rest of your life does not have your best interests at heart.

On Sept. 12, 2001, we sought to protect our nation against terrorists from without. Beginning on Sept. 12, 2009, we are seeking to protect our nation against enemies of our republic from within. Many of us are protesting the present political direction of Washington. Outrageous borrowing, excessive bailouts, massive spending, speedball stimulus plans, universal hell care and swings toward socialism are just a few of the things that were protested that day. Of course, economics is far from America's only problem, as large as it appears to loom.

McCarthyism; borrowing, bailouts, spending and stimulus that started under Bush (didn't hear you complaining about that, did I, Chuck?); universal hell care- he's so clever!; and, of course, socialism. Teh Oolitmat Evul.
I want to emphasize: This revolutionary movement is not solely an independent, Republican or Democratic fight. It represents patriots who are fed up against modernists who seek to overturn almost every principle and tenet laid down by our country's Founding Fathers at the inception of our republic. From the East Coast to the "Left Coast," America seems to be moving farther and farther from its Founders' vision and government.
I can't decide what is more absurd in the above paragraph: referring to the 9/12 thing as possibly being a Democratic fight, or insisting that the 9/12 thing is nonpartisan and then refusing to use the geographically correct term "West Coast" in favor of the you're-all-evil-socialists term "Left Coast".
John Adams declared, "Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people." Yet we've bastardized the First Amendment, reinterpreted America's religious history, denied our Christian heritage, and secularized our society, and now we ooze skepticism and circumvent religion on every level of public and private life.
Atheism: It's oozy!

Chuck has a solution to all the socialists and oozing atheists: a new flag. Well, actually an old flag.
As 9/12 concluded, we all heard many ways to keep this revolutionary movement going. But I was sitting back thinking there's one way we can take a daily stand and declare that as for me and my house, we will serve God and the republic as the Founders did.

If that describes you, then I suggest you fly some revolutionary flag in lieu of your 50-star flag over the next year. Post the 13-star Betsy Ross flag, Navy Jack or Gadsden flag ("Don't Tread on Me") or any representation that tells the story of Old Glory and makes a stand for our Founders' vision of America.

Of course, patriots know that the 50-star flag truly represents one nation under God and our Founders' republic, but modernists simply don't get it. So what do you say we make a statement by flying a different flag and educate our neighbors when they ask us, "Why are you flying that flag instead of the contemporary Stars and Stripes?" (If you insist on posting a modern USA flag, too, then get one that is tea-stained to show your solidarity with our Founders.)
I don't get what the flag means? Because I've never been through elementary school, you jackass? Honestly. And if you're going to insist on using the flag that actually represents our country, defile it with stains. According to the Flag Code, one is not to allow the flag to be stained or dirtied, nor is one allowed to change the colors of the flag. Mutilation of a flag is a crime. And Chuck? "Under God" was added to the Pledge of Allegiance in 1954, in response to McCarthyism.

Oh, and not related to Chuck's post, but remember the brouhaha at the beginning of the election over the fact that McCain for a flag lapel pin and Obama did not? Turns out, Obama was correct. According to the Flag Code §901(b)

Individuals Entitled To Display Service Lapel Button.— A service lapel button approved by the Secretary may be worn by members of the immediate family of an individual serving in the Armed Forces of the United States during any period of war or hostilities in which the Armed Forces of the United States are engaged.

Monday, September 21, 2009

¿Hablas Wingnuttian?

journalista, illegal aliens, undocumented workers, crime, racism, bigotry, wingnut, stupid,
I'm starting to think the journalista chronicle might be a Poe. Surely no one in real life is actually that much of a clichéd Republican. Surely not.

Her latest article begins as a screed against a government website in- ¡gasp!- Spanish. I know, right? It's insane, providing Spanish-speakers with information in Spanish. What kind of communists are we?

Journalista, in case you read this, there are many legal aliens and US citizens that speak Spanish natively, and speak English. However, and I speak from experience here, no matter how fluent you become in another language, no language will ever be as comfortable to you as your native tongue. That's why we provide translations of government notices, etc.- to ensure that nonnative speakers are absolutely clear on what it is we're trying to tell them. Asshat.

What follows next is an admission of both crimes and bigotry.

I have to admit, I don’t mind them being here. I just think that if they work, they should pay taxes like everyone else. And if they aren’t legal, the government shouldn’t be footing their bill. Living in S. California it’s nice to have someone to clean my house and keep up the yard and help me flip my houses for a really cheap price, and most illegal immigrants that I have met are really sweet, but I also don’t think that my tax dollars need to go to individuals who broke the law and came to this country illegally. If they’re here illegally, and don’t pay taxes, then they should not benefit from those of us who do put money into the system…I mean, that have our money stolen from us by the government and put into the system.

Yeah, journalista doesn't mind letting "really sweet" illegals scrub her toilets or mow her lawn or help her make money, but she doesn't want them stealing her tax dollars! How dare the people that help her make a buck quick want to drive on her roads and visit her hospitals and . . . and . . . breath her air? That's Amurkin air! It's for Amurkins!

First of all, journalista, you are committing a crime every time you pay an undocumented worker. Glass houses, my dear. I'm sorry you don't like scrubbing your own toilets, but you're a criminal.

Secondly, how could anyone possibly live in the US and not pay taxes? You pay taxes at the store, at the gas pump, and when you pay your landlord, you're helping to pay their property taxes. Nobody is not paying taxes in this country.

Next, the same person that flips houses and pays someone else to clean up after her is "taxed to death".

Honey, you aren't "taxed to death". For one thing, you're still alive, unless your ghost wrote this little bit of ridiculousness. Secondly, if you have the money to flip houses and hire a maid and a gardener, you're not poor. I'd say come talk to me about being poor, but you have people right at hand to have that discussion with: the undocumented workers you hire.

But I suppose you'd actually have to, you know, listen to them for that.

Thanks for Sharing

misogyny, feminism, sex, android, christian,
Often, what a person worries about tells you more about that person than about the world at large. For example, I worry terribly about spiders, but that doesn't make spiders a great threat to the human race, it just makes me arachnaphobic.

Rich Deem, in his article Why Sex With Robots is Always Wrong: The Impending Demise of the Human Species, commits such an act of oversharing.

Initially, all FACA [Female Anatomically Correct Androids- isn't he clever?) had been designed as young adult versions of their human counterparts. However, emboldened by their sweeping victories in the courts, FACA were soon designed as young girls and boys, and even animals, to meet every possible sexual perversion of their intended markets. Even those men who bought the adult FACA versions found their attitudes changing, since there were no consequences to anything they did with their FACA. After all, it didn't matter if you swore at your FACA or spoke harshly to it, since it always did exactly what you wanted. Over time, men who owned FACA became more and more rude to their human counterparts as the degradation of society accelerated. Men who owned a FACA disdained the company of real women, with all their incessant demands and mood swings. The sexual revolution was complete and we were all the victims.

Wow. Mr. Deem seems to think that all men would, if they could, rape small children and animals and abuse women. And look carefully at how Mr. Deems views women: real women, with all their incessant demands and mood swings.

I'm sorry, Mr. Deem, but while you may be awaiting your chance to fuck the family dog, that's you. And women aren't incessantly demanding and moody, you're just a misogynist. With a really disgusting imagination. Leave the rest of us out of it.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Wrong Bug

My butterfly bush, finally living up to its name. Prior to this point, it was more aptly named the "Really Big Bee Bush".
A few notes on butterfly bushes:
They get really big. In June, this thing was 1' x 1.5'. Now it's 6'x8'.
You have to trim the dead flowers off, or you don't get new flowers. I didn't know this, so for 2 months, my butterfly bush had no flowers. Within a week and a half of trimming off all the dead flowers, it had dozens of flowers again.

Saturday, September 19, 2009


evolution, science, creationism, belief,

Often xkcd says what I want to say, but more elegantly than I ever would.

I hate that riddle, too.

Friday, September 18, 2009

So That's How That Works

puerto rico, vacation, secretary,
Some days, being a secretary drives me crazy.

Literally on his way out the door, my boss tells me to book a vacation for himself and 3 of his friends/clients in San Juan, Puerto Rico. "Golf . . .," he said as he walked out the door.

Before you ask your secretary to engage in such a task, ask yourself one question: What the fuck do you suppose your secretary knows about lavish vacations in unincorporated territories in the US? Do you suppose the person who makes a little over 20k a year spends a great deal of time at expensive resorts and/or golf courses? How do you suppose I choose hotel rooms? Price. The cheaper the better. I'd share a room with an angry bear to save $10. I assume that's not what my boss is looking for.

The El San Juan Resort looks lovely, and the people who answer the phone are amazing. The concierge gave me the number for a mysterious gentleman who booked three days of golfing that I am assured is PGA quality. If my boss ends up being sold for organs, he really has no one to blame but himself.

Also, could somebody please tell USAirways that Puerto Rico is not a separate country from the US?

No Racism Here, Nope, None at All

segregation, rush limbaugh, racism, obama, america,
There's absolutely no racism in the opposition to Obama. None. So you can imagine my surprise when I learned that Rush Limbaugh wants to bring back segregation.

LIMBAUGH: I think the guy’s wrong. I think not only it was racism, it was justifiable racism. I mean, that’s the lesson we’re being taught here today. Kid shouldn’t have been on the bus anyway. We need segregated buses — it was invading space and stuff. This is Obama’s America.

Do I need to explain exactly how wrong this statement is? And before you lecture me about "oh, don't pay attention to that old windbag, nobody else does", allow me to remind you that his show is carried on more than 600 domestic radio stations, and even conservative (not in the political sense) estimates of his audience are in the tens of millions.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Misunderstood Slumlords

journalista, government, landlord, slumlord,
The journalista chronicle wrote a love poem to slumlords today that actually made me shake with rage. Her premise is, and I am not making this up, that if people want to live in subcode housing - holes in the floors, dangerous electric, broken window, leaking pipes - who is the government to step in and say that the landlord has to maintain their property to a certain minimum standard?

I have to ask, journalista: have you ever been within 20' of a poor person before, or are you worried that it might rub off on you?

This all goes back to the government, city, state, or federal, staying out of our business. Here you have a building that you own, that nice people live in, and here comes the government saying that people have to move. Why should they have to move if they are perfectly happy living in a building that just happens to be under the city standards? So what if the windows don’t have screens, or the door doesn’t have a separate dead bolt (just some codes in CA for example)? Isn’t that the choice of any American to make, about where and in what conditions they live? Yeah, it should be our choice, not the government’s. If the property owner doesn’t make certain repairs according to the city’s rules, but there are still tenants who want to live there, then that should be absolutely no business of the government’s.

Window screens? Those are for the wealthy people who made good decisions in their lives. If you want to keep insects and wild animals out of your house, you should have gotten a college degree. Dead bolts? I guess if you don't want to be raped, killed and/or robbed, you should live in a better neighborhood. Sheesh, if you're living in this shithole, you must enjoy assaults. You know how poor people are.

I am just utterly blown away that this woman seems to think that (a) minimum building codes are an unjustifiable government intrusion, and (b) people who live in substandard housing do so because they like it.

(a) Minimum building codes include things like fire alarms. You know what would happen if fire alarms were not required? Landlords would come to the realization that fire alarms are expensive, and changing the batteries every six months is a pain in the ass, and they're not living there, so whatever. Who cares if the children of poor people die in a fire?

(b) Journalista included a long, not-really-illustrative-of-her-position story, so I will, too, only mine will be short and on topic.

I have a friend, poor, like me, who is currently living in my basement with his girlfriend and one-year-old child. (It's very nice. Two normal size windows, a seperate entrance, a 3/4 bathroom.) They're living in my basement because they were evicted from their apartment. You see, they chose an apartment based on the fact that while they would be responsible for the electric and water bills, heat was included. Heat in Pennsylvania is a much larger expense than electric and water. It should be, anyway.

Two months after moving in, my friend gets his first water bill. $500. I don't use that much water in a year. Turns out, the toilet in the apartment was broken and water was constantly flowing through it, resulting in the insanely high water bill. My friend called the landlord repeatedly asking him to fix the toilet. Finally, my friend paid a plumber to fix the toilet and subtracted that amount from the rent (complete with receipt to the landlord.)

My friend was immediately evicted. Now he lives in my basement.

That's what happens when poor people complain. We get fucked. We're not happy living in dangerously ill-maintained apartments in crime-ridden neighborhoods. That's just what we can afford. The idea that the government needs to step back from protecting its most vulnerable citizens because those protections are annoying is obscene and shows a shocking lack of concern for one's fellow person.

Shame on you, journalista.

Do As I Say, Not That Other One

czar, obama, republican, democrat, politics,

I now have confirmation that the GOP is not in fact, a political party. It is performance art.

Representative Jack Kingston of Georgia is now criticizing Democrats for being too much like Republicans. Yes, he actually said that in his anticzar speech.

"I think we made a mistake as Republicans rubber-stamping too much from the Bush administration. In fact, if we had had a little more oversight and scrutiny of the administration's decisions when Bush was president we'd still be in the majority, probably. So I think that the Democrats are making a huge mistake here, and I can promise you the members who voted against this amendment, they will regret that."

Various Republicans added their own "thoughts" as to what Obama's czars are doing.

The more than a dozen House Republicans who joined Kingston's Wednesday-afternoon press conference offered a number of theories as to what the "czars" are up to. Rep. John Shadegg (R-Ariz.) compared the officials on his "czar" chart to those responsible for last year's Wall Street collapse. Rep. Pat Broun (R-Ga.) suggested that they are creating policy and law "counter to the Constitution." Either that, Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) said, "or they're simply figureheads, at which point they're collecting a salary for doing no work for the taxpayers."

Oddly, none of these gentlemen had anything similar to say about Bush's czars, which included:

Cyber Security Czar
Regulatory Czar
Bird Flu Czar
Intelligence Czar
Health IT Czar
Katrina Czar
Manufacturing Czar
Drug Czar
Domestic Policy Czar
War Czar
Copywright Czar
Abstinence Czar
Mine Safety Czar
Latin American Czar
WTO Health Czar
Corruption Czar
Privacy Czar
Health Czar

Do as I say, indeed.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Shut Up Already About That Time You Lost

religion, christian, bible, marriage, divorce, no fault, craven
The fundys are trying to get rid of no fault divorce, again. Yes, they've fought this battle before. Yes, they've lost this one before. Trust me, if fundamentalists ran this country, we'd have been back in Vietnam at least five times by now, because fights aren't over until the fundys say they're over. (See also: Iraq wars I and II.)

I'd like to preface my comments on the War Against No Fault Divorce (catchy, eh?) by pointing out that marriage is in the best shape since 1970.

America's divorce rate is down to 36% — the lowest since 1970. That means nearly two-thirds of those getting married today are likely to fulfill their lofty wedding-day promise.

Which makes Mr. Craven's rant against no fault divorce at this juncture a little ill-timed, but hey, if you're going to fight a losing battle, you may as well fight it when it's no longer all that necessary.

Beyond currently lacking the moral authority to preserve marriage, the church seems generally indifferent to the idea, especially when it comes to tampering with no-fault divorce. This past week I spoke with my friend, Kelly Shackelford of the Free Market Foundation about my desire to abolish no-fault divorce and the FMF’s ongoing efforts to do the same in the Texas state legislature. Kelly, a respected attorney who has worked for years on this issue, told me, “So far, the biggest problem has been the apathy of the church on this. If they rose up, we could do this in one legislative session.” The biggest problem is the apathy of the church! This sentiment is shared by many Christian activist organizations.

Let's review what no-fault divorce means, shall we? We'll start with what came before no-fault divorce. Prior to no-fault divorce people did get divorced. However, you had to prove to a Judge that your partner committed adultery, physical or mental cruelty, desertion, alcohol or drug abuse, suffered from insanity, was impotent or infected you with a venereal disease.

In other words, if you wanted a divorce, you had to publicly humiliate yourself and your spouse on the record. Right there, in black and white, for all the world to see, forever.

It's not that people are "indifferent" to current divorce statutes, it's that nobody wants to go back to that system. Except for Mr. Craven, now that he's already gotten his divorce.

I realize there are many in the church that have suffered divorce, perhaps even pursued divorce in defiance of biblical justification. I myself experienced a divorce many years ago while in my twenties. I believe this divorce was very clearly allowed under the provisions of 1 Corinthians 7:15, which refers to an unbelieving spouse who seeks divorce. While most Christians would agree that divorce under these conditions is indeed permissible, some would argue that my remarriage was unjustified and therefore sinful. Suffice it to say, there is much debate on the issue. Regardless, we can repent and seek forgiveness from a grace-giving God and make every effort to sin no more.

1 Corinthians 7:13-17 (I like a little context with my bible quotes):

13And if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him. 14For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy.

15But if the unbeliever leaves, let him do so. A believing man or woman is not bound in such circumstances; God has called us to live in peace. 16How do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or, how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife?

17Nevertheless, each one should retain the place in life that the Lord assigned to him and to which God has called him. This is the rule I lay down in all the churches.

Why how convenient for you, Mr. Craven. You got your divorce, it may or may not be biblical, but nobody else should be allowed a divorce, unless they'd like to admit to having erectile dysfunction or syphilis in open court. How kind of you!

The Religious Right: No, it's not hyprocrisy, and yes, we do prefer that you live lives of quiet desperation. All of you.

Nothing to See Here

and now you're gay
homophobia, homosexual, gay, cat cora, stupid,
I never knew this, but apparently Teh Gai is more contagious than swine flu. So contagious, in fact, that merely viewing homosexuals portrayed in a neutral light on television, say as the host of a cooking show, will mire your soul in sin and condemn you to hell. Srsly.

So even on a seemingly innocuous history program or cooking show there might be a moment of cultural decay on parade, just so we can all get that 5 second message of social re-engineering having to do with, say, the host's extremely alternative lifestyle, subliminally reinforcing the message that our disgust with such things is somehow our fault and our problem, because "everybody else" approves.

Five seconds of viewing Cat Cora (a chef on FoodTV) will cause every homophobe in the world to suddenly start wearing assless chaps and dancing at the Gay Pride Parade? In that case, we should stop showing people pictures of Osama bin Ladin, because . . . oh, shit, too late, I'm a terrorist now.
Infidels to see, bombs to blow up, gotta go!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Your Boot on My Throat Makes Conversation Difficult

morningstar, christian, palin, republican, militant, reeducation, muthee, joyner
"When Fascism comes to America,will it come wrapped in the Flag, and carrying a cross." - Upton Sinclair

I've added Alaska to the list of places I'm never visiting, and if I do have to visit Alaska for some reason, I am draping myself in crosses and carrying at least two bibles at all times.

Last March, Sarah Palin enjoyed an extended telephone consultation and pep talk with Morningstar* Ministries founder and head Rick Joyner, who has contacts among Republicans in Congress and whose ministry is closely tied to Palin's most important Alaskan church, the Wasilla Assembly of God.

[Mr. Joyner] publicly advocates the establishment of a government regime that, in his own words, "may seem like totalitarianism" and would re-educate citizens in 'correct' decision making . . .

No wonder wingnuts spend so much time bleating about "reeducation camps"- they're afraid Obama will beat them to it.

In a "prophecy" published June 19, 2007, Rick Joyner wrote, "The kingdom of God will not be socialism, but a freedom even greater than anyone on earth knows at this time. At first it may seem like totalitarianism ... Instead of taking away liberties and becoming more domineering, the kingdom will move from a point of necessary control while people are learning truth, integrity, honor, and how to make decisions, to increasing liberty so that they can."

So . . . we'll take away your right to make decisions until such a time as you make the decisions that we want you to. Mao, Stalin and Torquemada would no doubt be proud.

But Morningstar Ministries is in fact closely tied to the [Palin's] church, whose head pastor Ed Kalnins, along with Kenyan evangelist Thomas Muthee, anointed and blessed Sarah Palin against the "spirit of witchcraft" in an October 2005 ceremony at the church, shortly before Palin launched her bid to become Alaska governor.

During that 2005 ceremony, Muthee urged his church audience to "infiltrate" key sectors of society such as business and finance, government, education, and media. Thomas Muthee became briefly notorious during the 2008 election, for his claim to have driven a "witch" from Kiambu, a suburb of Nairobi, Kenya.

Considering that witch burnings have become popular in Africa, I'd like (and not like) to know exactly how Muthee "drove a witch" from Kiambu.

Morningstar Ministries promotes the idea that a "last day army" of supernaturally equipped young Christians will conquer and cleanse all evil from the Earth, and a conference advertisement on the Morningstar website features a music track with the refrain, "There is a new generation rising up in power, there is a last day army rising up for war." Militant themes are common at the church.

One part of me says, "so you've got Sylar working for you" with a smirk, but militancy combined with extremist Christian views have not worked out well for the nonbelievers or the unpopular in the past. You know, the Crusades, the Inquisition, the Salem Witch Trials.

At a revival event held during the week of August 7-13, 2008, Morningstar Executive Vice President Steve Thompson gave a frenzied exhortation to an excited crowd, "See, Jesus is waiting seated at the right hand of the Father, having all authority on Heaven and on Earth, having commissioned and empowered and deployed his disciples to go out and enforce the victory and the judgment that he won over the enemy and waiting until his people rise up and demonstrate their glory and those enemies are put under the feet of the body of Christ !"

The body of Christ is a euphamism for the chuch. He wants you and me under his boots and then he wants to forcibly reeducate us. Color me concerned.

*Wasn't Satan's name "the morningstar"? Who names a Christian ministry after Satan? That's just weird.

Poor Is the New Rich

republican, democrat, bush, clinton, poverty, health care,
Here's what I can't figure out about all the people who want their country back: the United States declined under President Bush. Declined. So, what they want back is decreasing wages and increasing poverty? What?
On every major measurement, the Census Bureau report shows that the country lost ground during Bush's two terms. While Bush was in office, the median household income declined, poverty increased, childhood poverty increased even more, and the number of Americans without health insurance spiked. By contrast, the country's condition improved on each of those measures during Bill Clinton's two terms, often substantially.
. . .
Consider first the median income. When Bill Clinton left office after 2000, the median income-the income line around which half of households come in above, and half fall below-stood at $52,500 (measured in inflation-adjusted 2008 dollars). When Bush left office after 2008, the median income had fallen to $50,303. That's a decline of 4.2 per cent.
. . .
Bush's record on poverty is equally bleak. When Clinton left office in 2000, the Census counted almost 31.6 million Americans living in poverty. When Bush left office in 2008, the number of poor Americans had jumped to 39.8 million (the largest number in absolute terms since 1960.) Under Bush, the number of people in poverty increased by over 8.2 million, or 26.1 per cent. Over two-thirds of that increase occurred before the economic collapse of 2008.

The trends were comparably daunting for children in poverty. When Clinton left office nearly 11.6 million children lived in poverty, according to the Census. When Bush left office that number had swelled to just under 14.1 million, an increase of more than 21 per cent.
. . .

The story is similar again for access to health care. When Clinton left office, the number of uninsured Americans stood at 38.4 million. By the time Bush left office that number had grown to just over 46.3 million, an increase of nearly 8 million or 20.6 per cent.
So, under Bush, 21% more children entered poverty, 20.6% more people lost access to healthcare, median income fell 4.2%, and all this after the exact same numbers had improved under Clinton.

I want my country back, too- the way it was when Bill Clinton was President.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Be All That You Can Be

racism, obama, tea party, washington, dc, september 12, 912 project,
Not that long ago, my black-in-the-way-Obama-is-black nephew invited me to say the "n word" to him. Only he didn't say "n word". It's the first time in a long time I've been shocked. Not pearl-clutching "how ever could you say that!" shocked, but honestly-couldn't-think-for-a-second shocked.

It's not like I've been waiting with impatience for 33 years for permission to say that. In fact, I can't even think that word. In my head, in the privacy of my own thoughts, it's still the "n word". I might be able to say that word if someone held a gun to my head, but maybe not.

I guess I was just raised right.

Clearly, some other people, who were in DC on September 12th, were not.

"Mack daddy", huh? Yes, our President is indeed "pimpalicious", a "player of players" and a "romantic lady killer". Nothing like a little respect for the POTUS.

HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!! Obama is a MUSLIM!TERRORIST!HE'sBLACK!! Oh, and Confederate flags always say "I love you" to the black community. They love that.

Minimalizing the suffering of actual victims of the Holocaust, profanity and Godwin'ing your own sign. Classy.

Homophobia, poor drawing skills (what are those- aardvarks?) and an unclear message- you've won me over!

So, he's a vampiric, muslim Vulcan? The screenplay writes itself. Somebody call JJ!
I kid, but seriously, could you wastes of precious resources shut the fuck up and stop making my nephew sad? Please?

There Will Be Blood

Where's Satan? @ Yahoo! Video

satan, stupid, funny,
hat tip to denelian!

I have nothing to say, other than people are really freakin' weird. Really, really, really, re-heeely* weird.

*Watchin' me some Scrubs this weekend.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

The Scientific Method

religion, science, babies, baby, christian, creationism, ray, hovind, atheism, atheist,

My newest niece just turned one*. I caught a ride to work with my sister and my niece, we'll call her Blondie, was in the back seat with a half-full bottle of formula.

I watched Blondie as she tried to get formula out of the bottle without sucking on it. Her first try was to hold the bottle upside-down. This did not work. Then she tried holding the bottle upside-down and shaking it, with no success. Blondie then experimented with variations on the same theme: holding the bottle at a 90 degree angle, holding it straight out from her body like a wand, with and without shaking, etc.

Eventually, Blondie ended up accidentally squeezing the nipple of the bottle and formula flew out. Success! She then worked out the most efficient way to squeeze the nipple (gripping it with her fingers in the manner of milking a cow) and formula was everywhere, at which point the experiment was abruptly ended.**

Blondie proved to me that humans are born knowing the scientific method. She formulated a hypothesis: If I hold the bottle upside-down, formula will come out. She tested that hypothesis. She worked out the results: formula does not come out when I hold the bottle upside down. She then reformulated the hypothesis: if I hold the bottle upside-down and shake it, formula will come out. She then repeated this process until she got her desired result.

So why is it that my one-year-old niece has a complete, intuitive understanding of science while asshats like Ray Comfort and Ed (Ted? Ken? Whatever.) Hovind can't figure it out?

Oh, wait, that's right- my niece is an atheist, being one year old and all.

Yeah, religion's harmless.

*I really wish I could show you a video of her. She is just the cutest thing ever, but this is the internet and there are pervs. Lots of pervs. Pervy pervs.

**My sister knew what was going on the whole time. She thought it was funny, too, until formula started raining all over the inside of her car.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

The Dunkin' Donuts Anarchist

There is a woman who works at the Dunkin' Donuts by my house who seems to be practicing an odd form of anarchy: every time she makes my coffee, she puts flavoring in it. Sometimes hazelnut, sometimes blueberry, once cinnamon. I don't ask for this flavoring, in fact I've emphatically not asked for flavoring, but there it is. I hate artificial flavoring. I can taste the artificial. I can tell if you used imitation vanilla extract in cookies. Yes, I can.

I'd report her to the manager for this, but I bet I'd like spit in my coffee even less than artificial flavoring.

Please, Dunkin' Donuts Anarchist, stop putting flavoring in my coffee. Find some other way to make a sociopolitical statement that doesn't involve my coffee.

Thank you.

Friday, September 11, 2009

A Christian Comic: Final Fantasy Meets Rock Band

comic, christian, safe sex, homosexual, music
The Truth for Youth produces Christian comics of such awesome hilarity that I think the author/artist should get some sort of award. Seriously, look at that picture from "Wasted Words: The Truth About Secular Music". Clearly, the designers of Final Fantasy have gotten together with the designers of Rock Band and this was the result. The lyrics were obviously taken from a rejected song written by the Maynard of Tool after a week long ecstasy binge, and someone's been spending a little too much time with the lolcatz (KEWL!*).

The comic only gets better from there with such classic lines as "I should have listened in bible study!" and "Maybe I'm [at the show] to learn deeper truths".

Born That Way: The Truth About Homosexuality has the standard "gays don't deserve civil rights, it's a choice, blahblahblah", set the exciting atmosphere of a riot- complete with tear gas and flying boulders.

Passes and Plays: The Truth About Safe Sex includes the high school football star, the slutty cheerleader, lies about STDs and birth control, and the instant classic line: "Baby, we'll be doin' more than talkin' later! I'm gonna huddle on your line of scrimmage and go for the extra point! Haw Haw**!"

Fail so awesome it's a win.

*Seriously, who speaks lolcat?

**It appears that Christian comics are required to include that laugh.

Solved the Problem

Robert Rector of National Review Online has solved the problem of poverty by putting sarcastiquotes around the word "poor".

Today, the U.S. Census Bureau will release its annual poverty report. The report is expected to show an increase in poverty in 2008 due to the onset of the recession. It is no surprise that poverty goes up in a recession. What is surprising is that every year for nearly three decades, in good economic times and bad, Census has reported more than 30 million Americans living in poverty.

What does it mean to be “poor” in America? For the average reader, the word poverty implies significant physical hardship — for example, the lack of a warm, adequate home, nutritious food, or reasonable clothing for one’s children. By that measure, very few of the 30 million plus individuals defined as “living in poverty” by the government are actually poor. Real hardship does occur, but it is limited in scope and severity.

Well, sure, if you redefine "poor"*, hardly anyone is poor. I'm not homeless, so I'm not poor. I'll keep that in mind while I wear the same, faded clothes I've been wearing for years, while I freeze this winter because I can't afford to turn the heat above 60, and while I walk past the produce section salivating over all the fresh fruits and vegetables I can't ever afford to buy. Asshat.

Let's see why I'm not poor:

Various government reports contain the following facts about persons defined as “poor” by the Census Bureau:

Nearly 40 percent of all poor households actu­ally own their own homes. On average, this is a three-bedroom house with one-and-a-half baths, a garage, and a porch or patio. A porch? That is untold wealth previous generations only dreamed of! First of all, so what? Rector's never heard of Habitat for Humanity or inheritance**? I suppose he's also not considered all the people who were doing well at one point, but aren't anymore. Not to mention all the places where you can get a house for $80,000 or less. As for 3 bedrooms and 1.5 baths- again, so what? Most houses have 3 bedrooms and at least 1.5 baths these days. Very few people want less than that.

Eighty-four percent of poor households have air conditioning. By contrast, in 1970, only 36 percent of the entire U.S. population enjoyed air conditioning. Air conditioning? Wow! So do I. I never turn it on, because I can't afford to, but I do have an air conditioner downstairs. Check out the link, btw, that first air conditioner is $69.

Nearly two-thirds of the poor have cable or satellite TV. Poor people shouldn't be allowed to watch TV. The joys of House and Lost are only for the rich. Seriously.

Only 6 percent of poor households are over­crowded; two-thirds have more than two rooms per person. two rooms? i suppose by that logic, i get four rooms if you're counting the dining room, the living room and the laundry room.

The typical poor American has as much or more living space than the average individual living in most European countries. (These comparisons are to the average citizens in foreign countries, not to those classified as poor.) has he noticed that most European countries are smaller than the state of Pennsylvania? We gots the space here in the US, we uses it.

Nearly three-quarters of poor households own a car; 31 percent own two or more cars. a car, not a mercedes, you spleenweasel. I used to own a car, a 1983 Camaro. It didn't work more often than it did, and it was useless in the snow. I had no idea how rich I was. Beyond that, outside of New York City, can you imagine trying to get by without a car? I don't have to, I do it. Let me tell you, not easy.

Ninety-eight percent of poor households have a color television; two-thirds own two or more color televisions. a color television? that would be impressive- in 1967. I can get a color television, with built in DVD player, for less than $100.

Eighty-two percent own microwave ovens less than $50; 67 percent have a DVD player $35 dollars; 73 percent have a VCR $14.99; 47 percent have a computer $115.

There you have it, I could buy my way out of poverty by selling my microwave, my computer and cancelling Dish Network. Yeah.


*Two can play this game!

**Which would be why I own my home.

Patriot Day

patriot day, glenn, beck, 912 project
I can't even think of an appropriate Patriot Day greeting. "Happy Patriot Day" is a little too upbeat for the rememberance of 9/11. "Merry" is out for the same reason. "Mournful Patriot Day" is more accurate, but has obvious problems. "Patriotic Patriot Day" is just stupid.

I don't really have much to say about all this. 9/11 affected me deeply, and does to this day. I live a few miles from an airport, so planes fly pretty low over my house all day, and 8 years later, this makes me very nervous. I cry when I think of some of the things I saw, live on the news, that day.

This does not excuse torture, Gitmo, or the deaths of a couple hundred thousand Iraqis. And Glenn Bek's* 912 Project? Inexcusable. Glenn Bek wants me to feel like I did on 9/12. I felt scared and sick and sad. Why would I want to feel that way again? Why would that be a good thing? Oh, yeah, because then the GOP could twist that into a fear of the black man in the white house and death panels and werewolves**.

Sorry, Glenn, I'm not going there.

*Glenn Bek- putting the "" in "oligarhy". Hat tip to the Accidental Historian.

**I'm fairly certain werewolves are next on the GOP's Fear Parade.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Job (and possibly Ben)

christianity, job, bible, satan, god, atheism, atheist,
I have a tremendous problem with the Book of Job: it's the saddest story ever told. It's a tale of a cruel god and a crueler bet.

If you're not familiar with the Book of Job, Job was a righteous man, one of few in the Bible to be named so.

In the land of Uz there lived a man whose name was Job. This man was blameless* and upright; he feared God and shunned evil.

One day, for no apparent reason, Satan pays a visit to God.

One day the angels came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came with them. 7 The LORD said to Satan, "Where have you come from?" Satan answered the LORD, "From roaming through the earth and going back and forth in it."
8 Then the LORD said to Satan, "Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil."

Satan, ever the logical one, I guess, suggests that perhaps Job wouldn't be so righteous if God weren't forever rewarding Job for his righteousness. It's a valid point, but what God does next is nothing short of criminal.

9 "Does Job fear God for nothing?" Satan replied. 10 "Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. 11 But stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face."
12 The LORD said to Satan, "Very well, then, everything he has is in your hands, but on the man himself do not lay a finger."

I have three problems with this: (a) Suppose you were bragging to a friend that your dog is the best natured dog in the world, and your friend says, "well, sure, you're always coddling him, of course he's good natured. I bet if you started starving and beating him, he wouldn't be such a good dog," would you say, "okay, then, beat and starve my dog. that'll show you!" Of course not.**

If you wouldn't torment a dog just to make a point, why is it okay for God to torment a blameless man?

(b) God doesn't even allow Satan to torment Job directly. God has Satan tormenting innocent animals and family members. They didn't do anything, but they'll pay to prove God right. How is that not the worst thing you've ever heard?

While he was still speaking, yet another messenger came and said, "Your sons and daughters were feasting and drinking wine at the oldest brother's house, 19 when suddenly a mighty wind swept in from the desert and struck the four corners of the house. It collapsed on them and they are dead, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!"
(c) What is the difference between Satan and God in this story? Sure, Satan's the one who suggested torturing Job for no reason at all, but God's the one who allowed it. Between the two, God may actually be the less moral entity.

Despite losing all his livestock and his entire family, Job remains faithful to God. Not one to lose a bet, Satan suggests that if God allowed Job himself to be tormented, Job would surely crack.

7 So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD and afflicted Job with painful sores from the soles of his feet to the top of his head.

Job, of course, does not crack. Eventually, Job does (sort of) question God's will, at which point God basically answers with "Because fuck you, that's why!"

1Do you know when the mountain goats give birth? Do you watch when the doe bears her fawn?
2 Do you count the months till they bear? Do you know the time they give birth?

Job immediately backs down, instead of asking what goats and deer have to do with killing his children in order to win a bet with Satan***.

The most disturbing portion of Job comes right at the end wherein God makes everything better by giving Job more livestock and more children. Sure, God, children are all the same. Just replace the one you killed and that makes it all better. Seriously, who would be okay with this?

If the point of Job were to remind me that God is fickle and dangerous, and that even following all the rules could well earn me torture, the story would be bad enough. Christians however, read stories like this and then blather on about "love" and "gifts" and "justice". That's just insane. I'm beginning to think atheism is just the moral response to crazed immorality of Yhwh.

*People like Ray Comfort like to remind us, well, more like beat us over the head with, that no one is blameless, you know, except for Job, as it says, right there in the Bible, that they say is the exact, literal word of god.

**If you would do that, go jump in front of a train, you stupid fucking psychopath.

***Answer: Absolutely nothing.

In case you're wondering, Ben is a Lost reference. It's been suggested that Jacob is God and Ben Linus is Job.

All I Know About Science

gene therapy, disabled, abortion, christian, atheism, doctors, science,
I learned from Jurassic Park.

That was the shortest shorter Ken Connor of The Christian Post.

Recent reports of an unprecedented development in gene therapy indicate that humility before the mysterious and awesome power of nature is a lesson mankind has yet to learn. Like Crichton's Hammond, the scientific community seems unable to resist the Siren song of "discovery," even when the future of humanity may well be at stake.

shorter Ken: I know fuck all about gene therapy, but it scares me. All science does.

The field of genetics has been viewed as the last frontier of biological science, and with good reason. Unlike other forms of medicine that are applied at the individual level-e.g., mending an artery, fashioning a skin graft, or removing a tumor-genetics involves manipulation of the very building blocks of life. Manipulation of genetic material can affect not only individuals, but generations yet to come. That's why some scientists are celebrating after successfully replacing "faulty" genetic material of one female monkey with genetic material from another female monkey to produce several apparently healthy offspring from the genetically altered eggs. Many in the field are excited at the prospect of using this technology to help women with genetic maladies produce healthy children-despite "a host of safety, legal, ethical and social questions" that should give them pause.

I still don't know anything about gene therapy, but if women, even monkey women, are benefitting from it, I'm against it. And I like to put quotes around random assortments of words for no apparent reason.

It is easy to understand the altruistic impulse that drives many scientists to push the limits in pursuit of eradicating diseases and disabilities; but, as they say, the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Scientists and society must weigh the potential benefits of any given scientific "advance" against the costs of any unintended consequences. If we allow ourselves to be guided solely by our passion to break barriers and our irrepressible desire to play God, we could end up the authors of immeasurable damage to the whole human race.

Those scientists, always showing off and trying to disprove god. They couldn't possibly be motivated by a desire to help people by permanently curing such horrific maladies as Tay-Sachs or hemophilia. (Hey, if god wants you to watch your baby bleed to death from a scratch, that's what you should do. He's love, you know.)

Thousands of years of knowledge and discovery have illuminated much, but when push comes to shove doctors and scientists still wonder at the miraculous poetry and precision on display in the workings of life on earth. Of course, things sometimes go wrong. Nature does not always work the way we would like; but considering the vast complexity of the natural world, it is amazing that nature malfunctions as infrequently as it does.

It's not like scientists know everything, and until they do, they shouldn't do anything. Except give me antibiotics when I'm sick and chemo when I have cancer. But other than that, they need to stop playing god. As for the "infrequency of malfunctions"? Wow, really, cuz this is a long list.

True to our nature, however, mostly good is not good enough. Human beings desire perfection on this earth. We reject the Christian understanding of sin and fallenness as inescapable features of the human condition (manifested in part by our physical imperfection and frailty) and resort to the use of science as our instrument of omnipotence. Following Margaret Sanger in the early 20th century, for a time we believed that we could breed imperfection out of the human race by controlling who could and could not procreate. Adolf Hitler extended the theory of eugenics to its atrocious conclusion with his holocaust of 11 million Jews, Poles, Catholics, Christians, gypsies, the mentally and physically disabled, homosexuals, Communists, and others. In the early to mid-20th century, patients with psychological and mental disorders became experimental fodder for doctors convinced that lobotomy was the solution for ailments now treatable through therapy and medication.

atheists like to kill people, doctors and scientists have been wrong in the past, and sure, i'll pass on a bypass and let my heart explode rather than mess with god's perfect creation. right.

Today our methods of playing God are more subtle, but no less inhumane. With our righteous defense of a woman's "right to choose" and an individual's "right to die," we assume the divine mantle of Creation and Destruction. With our embrace of bioethicists like Peter Singer-who defines personhood according to a utilitarian "quality-of-life" criteria that does not recognize the humanity of the unborn, the disabled, the diseased, or the infirm-we endeavor to remake nature in our own vain image.

wouldn't gene therapy prevent abortions related to such disorders as Down's, etc? so, less abortions is bad? oh, i get it, Tay-Sachs is good? no, i don't get it.

So it is with genetic technology. When wielded proudly, unconstrained by humility and a sense of our place in the natural order, it represents a grave danger. Whether you call it the Law of Unintended Consequences or Murphy's Law, experience demonstrates that if something can go wrong it usually will-despite the best laid plans and the best of intentions. This may be of little consequence when applied to the mundane decisions of daily life, but when we are talking about the use of a technology that could irrevocably alter the human species, shouldn't we ask whether some risks are worth taking?

so, gene therapy done whilst praying to the lord would be okay? and, yes, i think we should ask parents whose children have died of these sorts of diseases if some risks are worth taking.

look, there are legitimate questions about this sort of thing, but "why aren't they consulting the bible before making medical/scientific breakthroughs" is not one of them. asshat.
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