Thursday, October 29, 2009

Rachel Maddow And The F-22 (c)Raptor

Look, I have a near-fetish for fighter jets myself. But this is RM at her best.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Quote of the Day

"Did any of them find a minute to wonder if their scraping of the hogwash/bullshit/celebrity-baked crap from the bottom of the news barrel and serving it up 24/7 doesn't have something to do with creating a climate that mistakes entertainment for news to an extent that it all but seduces a Richard and Mayumi Heene into believing they are -- even if what they dream up to qualify is a hoax -- entitled to their 15 minutes? I don't know, but I have some empathy for Balloon Boy's Dad.
--Norman Lear.


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Quote of the Day

"Studies of homosexual veterans make clear that having a same gender or an opposite-gender orientation is unrelated to job performance in the same way as is being left or right-handed."
--Defense Personnel Security Research Center study on homosexuals in the military, quoted by Shauna Miller.

Via Sullivan.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Bill Donohue Brings Teh Stoopid--Bonus Simpson's Edition

The gift just keeps on giving. It's actually an act in three parts. Act I: The Simpsons' 20th Halloween special:

One of the shorts was “Don’t Have a Cow, Mankind,” and it deals with a zombie-creating burger that infects all who eat it. Bart eats a burger and manages to stay safe, though, so he is referred to as the “Chosen One.” They have to take him to the Safe Zone in order to create an antidote.

When Marge gets him there, we hear this exchange:

Guard: “Welcome, son. To survive, all we must do is eat your flesh.”

Marge: “Hold it right there, Bub! What kind of civilized people eat the body and blood of their savior?”

Rev. Lovejoy: [Groans nervously]

Act II: Billy-boy's response:
What kind of uncivilized people work at Fox? Last year, when they poked some gentle fun at the Apostle’s Creed on the Halloween episode, we said nothing. That’s because it didn’t cross the line. This year is different: mocking the heart of any religion always crosses the line, and mocking the Eucharist does it for Catholics. They know this at Fox, which is precisely why they did it.
Act III--Hemant Mehta speaks for all of us:
Actually, there’s nothing wrong with mocking the “heart of any religion,” and Holy Communion is perfectly fair game. Let Catholics defend the practice of eating Jesus. The rest of us can call it what it is: absurd.
Via Friendly Atheist.

Bill Donohue Brings Teh Stoopid

This is almost unfair. I think my rear-claws-only cat could shred this marshmallow of a human being. But it's a Tuesday, and my job sucks, and I need a defenseless target.

The fearless leader of the League of Extraordinary Catholics has a new guest commentary in the Washington Post. The whole point seems to be "Catholics are being attacked!" and "Buy my book!" in equal measure. And, yet again, the guy walks into a rake:

If societal destruction is the goal, then it makes no sense to waste time by attacking the political or economic structure: the key to any society is its culture, and the heart of any culture is religion. In this society, that means Christianity, the big prize being Catholicism. Which explains why secular saboteurs are waging war against it.
And Billy-boy, don't you just love all those perceived attacks against your precious church, because it gives you something to do during the day that doesn't involve getting a real job. Next:
Sexual libertines, from the Marquis de Sade to radical gay activists, have sought to pervert society by acting out on their own perversions. What motivates them most of all is a pathological hatred of Christianity. They know, deep down, that what they are doing is wrong, and they shudder at the dreaded words, "Thou Shalt Not." But they continue with their death-style anyway.
Swingandamiss!!! It should go without saying, but any Catholic mouthpiece braying about sex, perversions, pathologies, and "thou shalt not" needs to be hammered over and over and over again with "Thou shalt not rape their followers." Or, alternately, "Thou shalt not co-habitate with them, get them pregnant, then neglect their paternal duties." Radical gay activists, indeed--project much? And your church's continued insistence on celibacy for your priests is what leads to all of these heinous acts, which are contributing to its own death spiral. "Death style," if you like.

Oh, and what, exactly, is so "radical" about decent human beings wanting equal rights? The notion that homosexuality is a perversion is yet another excuse to point and laugh as the rake handle knocks another tooth loose. Next:
There was a time when Hollywood made reverential movies about Christianity. But those days are long gone. Now they just insult.
WAAAAAAHHH!!! Hollywood is mean to me! WAAAAAAHHH!!!

Once you've quit crying, ya big sissy, lissenup: I would agree with you that the Catholic Church is a big, fat, easy target. I also agree with you that your church doesn't deserve it. Well, except for the rape, the coverups, the payoffs of the victims, the cynicism, the hypocrisy, the homophobia (project much?), the prohibitions against women being in control of their bodies, and the idiocy of your pope on virtually everything. Oh, and the funny uniforms need to go, too; they make target acquisition too easy. Next:
The only way secular saboteurs can be stopped is by an alliance of religious conservatives across faith lines. The good news is that this is already happening. In the fight over gay marriage, the scorecard is 30-0: traditional Catholics, evangelical Protestants, Orthodox Jews, Orthodox Christians, Muslims, and Mormons, along with a big contribution from the Latino and African American communities, have succeeded in throwing a roadblock at this crazy idea.
Thanks for providing us a convenient list of bigots. We'll get back to you.

(Go here for a list of logical fallacies and look up "Argumentum ad populum." Basically, "Just because a lot of people believe it, doesn't make it true. Or in this case, doesn't make it morally right. And any half-assed debate coach would be able to tell that to a high school freshman.)

I'll skip to the last's a real howler:
The culture war is up for grabs. The good news is that religious conservatives continue to breed like rabbits, while secular saboteurs have shut down: they're too busy walking their dogs, going to bathhouses and aborting their kids. Time, it seems, is on the side of the angels.
YOU SCREAMING DUMBO, BILL! You're saying all you need to do is continue to use women as brood mares (quiverful movement, anyone?), then indoctrinate the innocent litters of kids that result into your warped, twisted, and just plain wrong way of looking at the world, and expect it to carry it on throughout their lifetimes. What an arrogant, cynical asshole.

I have every confidence that there is some type of inherent tendency for individuals to be religious or skeptical. I'm living proof of that...I had every excuse growing up to be a lifelong Catholic. I grew up in the era before the Internet, and I went to a Catholic school fuhcryinoutloud. Didn't work. I'm the type of person who's inclined to not believe anything at face value. Ususally...nobody's perfect.

But to suggest that you're just going to keep pounding this guilt, shame, and impossible-to-live-up-to standards into kids until it runs out their ears because queers shouldn't marry... sir, you are a disgrace to your species. All you're really doing is instilling in these kids a perpetual sense of self-loathing. Which, I might add, I battle myself. Daily.

I hope you're satisfied, because a loathsome beast like you will never be happy.
Update: Andrew Sullivan gives the editors of the WaPo some constructive criticism:
That this column - pure fact-free fulmination, jammed with grotesque generalizations, and no actual arguments - ran in the Washington Post tells you that they are either desperate or just beyond caring what appears under their auspices. Did Jon Meacham and Sally Quinn actually sign off on this as a serious piece of commentary? Their faces are grinning at the top of it.
More: Daylight Atheism takes to the screed with a civil scalpel more effective than my own sarcastic sledgehammer.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Digital Cuttlefish: Booty And The Priest

You'll recognize the melody, and the unfortunate real-world situation upon which it's based. Catholic priest knocks boots, knocks up, asks for abortion, gets kid, mom AND kid now have cancer, priest sends get-well card after 23 years of stonewalling. All with the knowledge and help of the Franciscan order.


A good friend of mine (speaking in a customer-service context) said "There's nobody who never makes mistakes. The good ones own up to it and make it right." The Catholic Church pretends they're above that.

Earth to Bill Donohue, maybe you and your alleged followers could do a fund-raising drive for this young man? For once, you'd be doing the right thing.

Via Pharyngula. Seriously, go read it.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Simon Singh Wins Appeal


A science writer who is being sued for libel by the British Chiropractic Association is to fight on after a preliminary judgment against him was overturned on appeal today.

Simon Singh was sued by the BCA after he wrote an article in the Guardian criticising the association for supporting members who claim that chiropractic treatments – which involve manipulation of the spine – can treat children's colic, sleeping and feeding problems, frequent ear infections, asthma and prolonged crying.

Singh described the treatments, for which he said there is not a lot of evidence, as "bogus" and criticised the BCA for "happily promoting" them.

The whole case has underscored and drawn attention to the fact that scientific scrutiny and frank language should take precedence over libel laws. In the court of (scientific) inquiry, if your claims are without merit, you should be more careful about making them.

And in case you think there was any question of the quacks' intentions, the British Chiropractic Associate sent a pointed warning to all of its members:

Date: 8 June 2009 09:12:18 BDT


Dear Member

If you are reading this, we assume you have also read the urgent email we sent you last Friday. If you did not read it, READ IT VERY CAREFULLY NOW and - this is most important – ACT ON IT. This is not scaremongering. We judge this to be a real threat to you and your practice.

Because of what we consider to be a witch hunt against chiropractors, we are now issuing the following advice:

The target of the campaigners is now any claims for treatment that cannot be substantiated with chiropractic research. The safest thing for everyone to do is as follows.

1. If you have a website, take it down NOW.

When you have done that, please let us know preferably by email or by phone. This will save our valuable time chasing you to see whether it has been done.When you have done that, please let us know preferably by email or by phone. This will save our valuable time chasing you to see whether it has been done.

So, do you think they have anything to hide, there, folks?

And remember, these people were advocating spinal manipulations on infants. You think that isn't a bit barbaric?


Wednesday, October 14, 2009

North Carolina Church To Burn Every Book They Can Lay Hands On

Almost every one, anyway. See how much concentrated crazy you can spot in this one...

A Baptist Church near Asheville, N.C., is hosting a "Halloween book burning" to purge the area of "Satan's" works, which include all non-King James versions of the Bible, popular books by many religious authors and even country music.

The website for the Amazing Grace Baptist Church in Canton, N.C., says there are "scriptural bases" for the book burning. The site quotes Acts 19:18-20: "And many that believed, came and confessed and shewed their deeds. Many of them also which used curious arts, brought their books together, and burned them before all men: and they counted the price of them, and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver. So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed."

Church leaders deem Good News for Modern Man, the Evidence Bible, the New International Version Bible, the Green Bible and the Message Bible, as well as at least seven other versions of the Bible as "Satan's Bibles," according to the website. Attendees will also set fire to "Satan's popular books" such as the work of "heretics" including the Pope, Mother Teresa, Billy Graham and Rick Warren.

"I believe the King James version is God's preserved, inspired, inerrant and infallible word of God," Pastor Marc Grizzard told a local news station of his 14-member parish.

Hey, Pastor Grizzard, Fred Phelps called...he wants you to quit stealing his act.

Seriously, do these people have two-headed alien babies with gills? These people have a list of holy-roller enemies that boils down to "everyone but us." They're like atheists, only without the cool kid factor.

Via Pharyngula.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Halo: ODST Trailer

You're about to watch about a million-bucks-a-minute worth of video game commercial.

And as my friend, Tim, said, it's worth it. Almost nothing except the human faces and the first few scenes is real--it's all CGI. Enjoy

PZ Myers' Birthday Present To Me!

Well, OK, Wise Beard Man Mk. II didn't really give me a present. But he did do a blog post this morning full of win and awesome, so I'll take it. Money quote:

Here's how you should look at the book of Genesis. Long, long ago, a tribe of desert nomads bumped up against the more cosmopolitan culture of Mesopotamia. They learned useful skills from the city people, like writing, but at the same time, the allure of those older, more sophisticated ideas was leading to the dissolution of tribal identity, and especially to a loss of respect for the austere and demanding desert god. Who wants to worship dry old El when slinky, sexy Innini is calling?

So in a move as old as religion, almost, the desert priests slyly adopted the popular culture of their neighbors, stealing all their myths, but rewrote them to put their one great god in charge of the whole story. Genesis is an exercise in syncretism, a wholesale theft of one tradition to be repackaged with a new set of symbols. It is not about the creation of the universe. It is about resolving a conflict between two human cultures. That's interesting, sure enough, as long as you don't forget where you are and start building big pseudo-museums in Kentucky dedicated to your misconceptions.

Via Pharyngula.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Obama Won The Nobel? HUH?!?!

FOR WHAT? Not starting a war with any countries that didn't have anything to do with 9/11? Even Bush only made that mistake once.

Sorry, not declaring war on East Timor and making a nice speach in Cairo doesn't rate a Nobel when you're still raining down Hellfire missiles from drones on targets in AfPak.

All I can say is, it must've been an awfully slow year in the peace-making business. But then again, any "peace" award with Yassir Arafat as a past recipient should be disinfected in the first place.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Shroud Of Turin Recreated

An Italian scientist has allowed himself to be crucified, died, was buried for a weekend, and rose from the dead. In doing so, the divine aura surrounding him transformed his burial shroud into a near-exact replica of the Shroud of Tourin®.

Or maybe not.

You know, we have everything else, why not a Shroud of the FSM?

Via Pharyngula, AtAT.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Sesame Street Censored!

My seat in hell is being moved closer to the furnace for posting this:

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Foundation Beyond Belief Website Is Live

Congratulations to the Foundation Beyond Belief, From their site:

Foundation Beyond Belief is a new 501c3 charitable and educational foundation created (1) to focus, encourage and demonstrate humanistic generosity, and (2) to support a nationwide education and support program for nontheistic parents.

The Foundation will highlight ten charitable organizations per quarter--one in each of ten areas (health, poverty, environment, education, human rights, and more). Members join the Foundation by signing up for a monthly automatic donation in the amount of their choice, then set up personal profiles to indicate how they would like their contribution distributed among the ten categories. Maybe you'd like to give 25 percent each to human rights, poverty, education, and the environment. We'll distribute it accordingly. By year's end, you will have helped support a dozen organizations in the areas you care most about.

Many, many props to those behind the Foundation. They'll do good work -- without any gods. Imagine that.

Judge Orders FBI Interview With Cheney Released

Hey, Dick, does the name Valerie Plame mean anything to you?

The FBI interviewed Cheney in June 2004 as it was investigating the leak of Valerie Plame's identity after her husband publicly criticized the Bush administration. Both the Bush and Obama administrations said they wanted to keep the interview confidential because future presidents and vice presidents may not cooperate with criminal investigations if they know what they say could became public.

But U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan ruled there was no justification to withhold the entire 67 pages of records documenting the interview since the Plame leak investigation has concluded. He said that limited parts could be withheld to protect national security or personal privacy.

I hope that evil motherfucking traitor--and remember, if you out an American agent, that's the legal definition of treason--gets his due.

Which he won't.