Sunday, December 24, 2006

Christmas Time!

It is the Christmas time of the know elves seem to be popping up and furry red hats are in vogue.

So get off the blogs and get with some family or friends,\.

Excuse me, I have to go surf so blogs now, to get away from my family...

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Yes, scifi girls are hot, even without the latest plasma rifle.

Aetiology considers if smart girls can be pretty as well. Can a pretty girl be into science fiction and fantasy, or RPG's and comics? Is it possible in this mad world of ours!!! Maybe is scifi just for the boys, and the dolls and Oprah are for girls and their tea parties? And is it just a question of the Boys Only Club, or do most girls just not want to join in?

And what does this say of guys (We had to being it back to us.)? Can handsome strapping men be into and enjoy, ney, love science fiction and fantasy? Is it possible...


What am I saying, is it not obvious?

Yes, yes it is.

ID - Intelligent Design


It surprises me the numbers of people, including those with science degrees, who are all too willing to acquiense to ID supporters. Let us discuss and tech the Controversy (Trademark pending). Let us be open to the possiblity they say.

And that is the trap of it. It is not about openmindedness (Though it is a lovely tool to bludgeon the kindhearted who open the door for you...), it is about validation, about surplanting evidence, research, and REALITY, with a comforting opinion.


Okay? There is no controversy. Unless you want to discuss, seriously, the Holocaust, the Moon landings, and our alien masters. That is what ID is. Another member of that estemed club. Just like all the people sending in their "proofs" that disprove in totality Einstein's work (I need to point to totality as, with all science, portions of his work have been superceded or disproven - some in his lifetime. But the core of his work stands.).

So here, from Pharyngula, so discussions and words on ID nonscence.

Neil deGrasse Tyson on ID
The great astronomer with some great thoughts, like:
Science is a philosophy of discovery. Intelligent design is a philosophy of ignorance. You cannot build a program of discovery on the assumption that nobody is smart enough to figure out the answer to a problem. Once upon a time, people identified the god Neptune as the source of storms at sea. Today we call these storms hurricanes. We know when and where they start. We know what drives them. We know what mitigates their destructive power. And anyone who has studied global warming can tell you what makes them worse. The only people who still call hurricanes "acts of God" are the people who write insurance forms.

Another day, another ignorant pundit

All the creationist fallacies in one easy-to-read pamphlet

A scientific contribution from Intelligent Design

The A to Z Guide to Political Interference in Science

From the Union of Concerned Scientists,

The A to Z Guide to Political Interference in Science much as one can enjoy bad news.

Intelligent Design research

is right...hang on a minute it's in one of these piles. REALLY! I had it a minute ago.

From, RichardDawkins.Net, The God Lab

And after all this piffle, amounting to nothing we get this:
Ronald Numbers, a historian at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, who has studied creationism, views it in a different light. The lab's existence will help sustain support within the anti-evolution community, he says. "It will be good for the troops if leaders in the ID movement can claim: 'We're not just talking theory. We have labs, we have real scientists working on this.'"

Oh, great! They can SAY they have this or that. That is what this guy wants to hang his hat on? Really? It is all about morale and rallying the troops? Really?

Well, I;m not surprised. That is all they have in ID, a lot of people in denial on the evidence and want that sense of denial to be granted status as science. ..we...DON'T...humor them. If they want to sit around and talk piffle, be philosophers, be poets, or just be theologians.

The SWIFT raids

At Talking Points Memo.

They are considering the full affects of the raids that grabbed over 1,000 people. The families torn apart, the community rended, and what the cost of it really is for us.

The First Lady is explaining it to us all.

You can see the video on Crooks and Liars.

But it seems the FL is taking a like tack as her like minded pundits on various subjects. For instance, why are things so bad in Iraq and why are people in the US opposed to the war now?

Hmm? What will she say?

Laura: I understand why those polls are like that—because of the coverage that we see every single day in Iraq. It is not encouraging coverage for sure, There's no doubt about it, but I do know that there are a lot of good things happening that aren't covered and I think the drumbeat in the country—from the media—from the only way people know what's happening unless they happen to have a loved one deployed there. It's discouraging…I'd like to see the media get a little bit more balanced in view of it….


Sigh! Yeah, Conservatives LOVE balance! Oh, yeah! Why? Because BALANCE means, when you criticize them, you have to point off you are equally likely to be completely wrong. Balance!

When 1000's and 1000's are fleeing the country, many to dictatorial nations for safety. When thousands are dying every months. When we lose American soldiers every is a new school, a flat tax bill, a US funded paper, a new army unit (who'll be deserting tomorrow), etc...How is that going to undo the death, the suffering, the fear, the instability, and the money pit?

Apparently, they have been working to build an extended bedroom into Bush's Bubble, for Barbs. How sweet.

Of course, the FL is not just sticking to the party notes. She also has come out to point out that Sec. Rice would not run for president. The reason? She doesn't have a family to aid and support her...


Friday, December 15, 2006

Times and Dobson, tsk, tsk.

From AMERICAblog,

Another doctor is annoyed at Dobson's "research." The issue, that he cherry picked his work, and misrepresented his results. Bad move Dobbie. For shame.

And for Time, this means you published a plagiarized gay bashing article. If the one isn't bad enough, it was a stolen work. Bad move Time. For shame.

Maybe you can do another Ann Coulter cover story and "balance" things out.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Dobson, taken to the woodshed.

At AMERICAblog you can read a response to James Dobson's TIME piece, going after Mary Cheney.

Carol Gilligan, an educational psychologist at NYU, is none too pleased at Dobson quoting her reasearch...I mean misquoting and misusing it.

Give her thoughts on his abuse a read.

Cheap, just cheap.

From, Crooks and Liars,

They have been having quite a time tarring, the up and coming young senator from Illinois, Barack Obama.

As you can see Obama - Bin Laden. They sound similar...WHAT A GREAT TALKING POINT for a serious political interview. CNN should be ashamed to go there.

Then you got Jeff Greenfield make bad, no incredibly dumb, jokes about Obama and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (President of Iran) having a similar dress sense. It first makes no sense, and second, unlike Kerry, has no basis in a flubbed line. It is just dumb.

What is going on with CNN?

Not that this is all that new a strange insult out of CNN. Your liberal media indeed.

Meet the Idiots

With some help from AMERICAblog:

Meet Roy Moore, he's a former State Chief Supreme Court Justice, he wants the 10 Commandments in every courthouse. And he thinks that Muslims, all Muslims, can never be faithful to America or the Constitution. To him belief in the Quran is incompatible with belief in the Constitution. Now the Christian bible... A Muslim theocracy is bad, a Christian one is a mandate from God. Again, meet Roy Moore. He is an idiot.

Meet James Dobson. He's a major religious leader (until his scandal hits, and then everyone will deny knowing him), and a big media star, with short ethics/morals bits on many local news shows. He IS the epitome of the Religious Right. He dislikes single parent families. He dislikes single sex families. He dislikes a lot. But he "hides" it for the masses, with platitudes. Next up on his list, divorce. He not really care for women. So, yes, he is an idiot.

Tim Johnson of South Dakota in the hospital.

I have been very sad to learn today that Sen. Tim Johnson has been rushed to the hospital in Washington. It may be a stroke, but doctors can't day yet. It is a sad day. While it does have political ramifications, it is also sad to we as I have met the Senator years back, and knew his son ages ago.

I hope he will be able to make a swift recovery and be with his family.

The Dennis Kucinich Effect

Well, one more hat is in the ring for the presidential race of '08.

Dennis Kucinich

He has no chance. But good for him. Sure, he'll be picked on, ridiculed, mocked, but, he has a platform, clear positions, and points to make. He wants to ensure the progressive arguments don't get drowned out too fast by the quest for who is "winnable". Sadly we don't look for the best candidate, just the place holder. Just like tales of old.

So I wish Dennis Kucinich the best of luck, and hope he finds merit in the campaign (Heck, it got him a wife already.).

I hope his message gets out, and has a positive effect on the primaries and, hopefully, keeps the rest honest as they move to a possible final run.

This Year of Deepak Chopra Nuttery

The name Deepak Chopra is well known in many circles. He gets a good deal of credit and respect, interviewed in high level magazines and on big time interview shows, and of course given a forum on major websites and blogs, like Huffington Post.

But the man is a fool. Sure, he's a doctor. Sure, he may some things that make sense, but most of the time he is off in his New Age of Wonder, selling his pseudoscientific quackery to the masses.

Here's a link to some audio on the wonderful Julia Sweeney's thoughts on Deepak.

Pharyngula has done many posts on the topic of Dr. Chopra and his flummery. Here are many from this year in chronological order. Enjoy.

Moonbat anti-evolutionist: Deepak Chopra
Deepak Chopra does it again
Glutton for punishment
Chopra, go play with Steve Irwin's ghost on the astral plane
Deepak Chopra and his magic love god
Chopra, again
Shhh...don't tell Deepak
Deepak Chopra slides farther into irrelevancy
Chopra gets brainy
Oh, no...not more Chopra!
The Chopra Delusion
Chopra rambles on some more
If there were a god, he'd make Deepak Chopra shut up
It's never going to end

Here is some work from Respectful Insolence.

The Trouble with Deepak Chopra, Part 2
The Trouble with Deepak Chopra, Part 3: More Choprawoo
Wading through more Choprawoo
Yawn. More Choprawoo.
Chopra's baaaaack

I'm taking back some of my sympathy for England...though I still love her.

As Pharyngula points out, BBC has done just an abominable job on a recent story on creationist Ken Ham. Not that they defamed him, but quite the opposite, they lapped up his ridiculous statements with vigor. He has opened up a creation 'science' museum. The very idea should open him up to instant incredulity and distrust.

As PZ Meyer points to even when Ham makes statements like:

Two-thirds of the US population lives within six hours' drive of Cincinnati, but Mr Ham has bigger ambitions for tackling agnostics further afield.

I appreciate they are in England, but please. Cincinnati is the population center of America? No. He is just fluffing himself up, just as he does when talks about "science", or when he opens his mouth. Why does the BBC feel the need to give him such carte blanche?

Well, look at the article they wrote related to an earlier article of mine about Truth in Science sending parcels of Intelligent Design material to schools. The BBC article is less than scathing in its approach this pseudoscience, more repeating points than going after lies and falsehoods. It is disappointing, from such an austere organization.

But over at the Guardian, they write on Intelligent Design, prodding at its flaw riddled corpse. The BBC could learn a lesson there.

I'm calling a Delay of Game, 10 yard penalty...don't make me make it 20!

So here we are now. The election is over. The Iraqi Study Group report is not only in the president's hands, but the public's hands. Time to make your next play, Mr. President. You said before Christmas. Now it is sometime next year.

I'm blowing the whistle, throwing the flag, and balling you out.

Is it not bad enough the Study Group, choose to wait until after the election to release the report, but them you sit on it, and now want more time to talk, plan, and learn. LEARN! Isn't it a little late in your life to pick up an interest in education? (Not that education is a bad choice for people later in life.)

But come on now. You get the ISG to drag its feet, now you do your bit. The report isn't the one you wanted, and you've known since well before the election what it would bring. And, as mentioned in Crooks and Liars, you are off on a "Listening Tour".

So let me get this straight, you say you have been engaged in this war, talking with generals all along, but now after getting this report, where they went and interviewed a lot of these people, you now have to as well? Sigh, I'm winded and drained.

As Jack Cafferty points out in the video on their site, he gets to not make "the change in course", he gets cover, as he has to again study the options. And by study I mean scrounge for everyone he can find who will just back whatever his opinion in at this point.

You know, I think I can be pigheaded at time. But this president is an excellent lesson in getting over yourself, and talking some good advice.

The media is to blithe about this, talking about the president seeking out all sorts to talk and engage with on this subject. His embracing all of this information.

This is a great thing, the thing great presidents do. But it is the thing they do before major decisions, such as the one that got us in this mess to start. This bares mentioning as well. Where was this zeal for good Intel and insight three and four years ago? Where was it indeed.

The Christian Pretzel

It is amazing the twists and turns one can make to bring together to radically different activities and make them stick.

From Pharyngula, we hear about a new discussion of the Left Behind video game. Based on the ridiculous books (I'll have to pull up the link to an evangelical fellow who chapter by chapter dissects and ridicules the books for people to read through) about the mythical end of days of the...well it isn't really from the of some nuts.

In the game you fight to survive and "save" people. Either you gun them down, or convert them. The trouble is that for a pacifistic people this seems incongruous.

But not to worry, the game makers explain it all.

Left Behind Games' president, Jeffrey Frichner, says the game actually is pacifist because players lose "spirit points" every time they gun down nonbelievers rather than convert them. They can earn spirit points again by having their character pray.

Doesn't it just make you feel all warm inside. Kill, but pray over it, Gods cool with it. The reasoning of mobsters, pirates, and mass murders for centuries.

A touching thought for Christmas.

Right Wing science at work...for YOU!

Among the nutty fringe of the ring wing and the religious nutters has come a new break through in science.

Soy makes you gay. Spit out that tofu burger you liberal fool!!!

Via Crooks and Liars, we learn World News Daily has sounded the alarm on soy. Though apparently through the magic of science, soy sauce is still manly, so slather it on boys.

From PZ Myers, you can learn the deep flaws in the "research", plus the generalizations and outright lies about soys effects on the body. A good read, from a great researcher.

So thank you, James Rutz, chairman of Megashift Ministries and founder-chairman of Open Church Ministries. You are a credit to science, just like te Discovery Institute and Truth in Science.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Neopolitan Iraq

Three different flavors of national identity, one country. Mmmmm. Tasty.

Not really. Dividing the nation of Iraq (merged into what it was guessed it the lot who have been bollocking up nation construction for over a century now. Who are our flavors...I mean, national identities? For those not in the know (the majority of employees of the US government, almost everyone hired to rebuild Iraq, etc.), we are talking about the Sunni and Shia (the major players/opponents of Islam), and the Kurds. There are actually many other players in our little game- but lets not overtax our brains, hmm?

Now there are some who think breaking the country up is the best way to go. Three new nations. Everyone’s happy. Top Gun's theme music plays. We all high five each other. Roll the credits.

But wait...shoot! It isn't that simple. Beyond the other innumerable troubles this brings, we have one hamdinger. The Kurds. Remember them?

You know the Kurds, well, since they don't get in the news much, as they aren't (to the best of the news corps recollection) Shia or Sunni, they aren't a problem and don't count. Never mind the "fights" to annex cities into the new Kurdistan (Which is not trying to make itself a new state!>) in the north. Never mind that they don't want to raise the Iraqi flag, but one they made for themselves. Never mind...oh, you know.

Many in Iraqi Kurdistan have a dream, to break off, with its oil and US support and become sovereign. To finally make official the nation state that has been denied their people for so long. Not too bad for us. Kurds, overall, are not as fervent in their religion as other groups in the Muslim faith, and we have been able to deal and negotiate with them well (granted we have hosed them when it was convenient). It would be nice if they were the face of the Middle East.

Now the trouble of it all. This would lead to the other Kurds (Yes, they don't only exist in that one place. - Shocking!), in Iran, Syria, and Turkey to get agitated (More agitated, since they are deemed terrorist in places like Turkey.) and then agitate for land of their own, which they believe is their right, to help fully build a proper Kurdistan. And, of course, flush with oil money, a liberated Iraqi Kurdistan can do such a thing. Now it should be pointed out the Kurds in the various nations Armenia to Turkey have been historically, up to this day, treated quite cruelly, populations and cities being wiped out.

But there is another side to this. That it hoses over Iran, Syria, and Turkey (Hey. I thought we liked Turkey. - Not that much. - Oh.)? No, Syria and Iran in no way want this outcome. To have to deal with a better armed Kurdish minority is something they want to avoid. So it is in there interest to help prevent the breakup of Iraq.

I bring this up, because, sadly the Republicans, and it seems also the many of the Democrats, are without a clue when it comes to Iraq. I don't know, do they not study these things, do they not care? But they should realize that these countries do have an interest in stabilizing this country. Because if it goes, they are going to face the aftermath of it. And that could widen instability, and threaten their states. If we aren't even willing to sit down with them and discuss the dangers of this possible outcome...

We are fools.

The State of the Union *Update*

Sorry. I am sure the president was going to get around to this, but...gosh...he seems busy.

Seems that in our current flourishing economy, things aren't so great for some of us. As talked about in this AMERICAblog post, "More Americans losing their homes through foreclosures.",

"A mortgage survey due on Wednesday is expected to show that more and more Americans are in danger of losing their homes. The quarterly report from the Mortgage Bankers Association is also expected to show that the same mortgage products that helped send the housing market into the stratosphere are now weighing homeowners down."

Here is a direct link to the Reuters story, here.
And more from Bonddad Blog.

It goes on to point out that October foreclosures were the highest of the year. That is not a good trend...for homeowners, or for the US of A.

But I am sure the president was getting around to this.

It is the irony of the love given this economic condition we American are enjoying now.

Cost of living keeps going up. But you have to fight years to get a minimum wage increase, fighting economists who shill and say the raise will hurt the economy...TOMMYROT!!! Wage earners all over the lower to mid range are suffering. Bankruptcy laws are now set against those with little money. Insurance and medical costs are against the average person.

But wait! The stock market is up. That's good...we are told. But what does it mean to the average person on the street? Do they have more cash in their pocket or bank account? How many of us are invested, and how much is in, and in the right investment? Hmm? Sure many people are making some money, like many people gamble; play the slots, etc, but how many are getting rich, and how many are getting enough to get a new TV...and how many are getting enough to pay for the buffet? That is the truth of it. The market is up. The companies and the big time investors rake in cash...and I'm sure that whole trickle down economics thing will kick in any decade now.

And that is where we Americans are now. Heaven forbid you have a severe medical problem, one which sucks up your savings (as the hospital bill won't be a lean one), the law isn't there to offer an out to the average person, those are reserved for the more valued personages of this land, the corporate entity. Apparently, only a corporation has a good reason to run out of money. I do exaggerate slightly, but the point is that the trend of governance has moved in the direction of screwing over the populace. I wish there was a nicer way I would want to put it. But these decisions are in our best interest. And I don't want it to seem I am partisan in this. While much of this is Republican and conservative ideological pigheadness, many Democrats have seen fine going along with many of these changes, including some people eyeing a run at the presidency.

This country has a slew of troubles to deal with in the age. Allowing the lower 80 percent of the nation to slip into poverty and insolvency is not a way forward. It is not something to get to after the BIG things are fixed. It is something that needs to be dealt with now. It is the greatest threat to this country.

I am sure the president is going to get around to this any day now.

Where the Great Bear is heading.

Here are a couple of interesting analsis of the state and future of Russia.

No, it is not good news.

Who Lost Russia?
A longer historical view.

Losing Russia.
A more current events view.

Not too comforting.

Getting to know..eeew!

FAIR (Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting) has an article on a good friend to all, Glenn Beck

It goes into his charming way of suggesting concentration camps are the way to go, if you don't go his way. Talk about an awkward pick up line.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Why do we hate the English?

First we get them into our dumb war.

Now we give them ID, Intelligent Design. The dear givers of Beatles, Rolling Stones, Doctor Who, Monty Python, and toffee. We are talking about a country of less than 7% church goers. What's up?

In the Guardian, we learn of dozens of schools are now using packs, sent to them, with creationist teachings of ID. DVD's, manuals, and other tools for promoting the Creatist agenda. These packs are coming out of the UK group Truth in Science. And like the Clean Air Act, Patriot Act, and No Child Left Behind in Ameroca, this group is a living example of irony.

These materials have already been declared by government officials, like Liberal Democrat MP Phil Willis, chairman of the parliamentary science and technology select committee.

"I am flabbergasted that any head of science would give credence to this creationist theory and be prepared to put it alongside Darwinism," he said. "Treating it as an alternative centralist theory alongside Darwinism in science lessons is deeply worrying."

But it is being used in these schools just the same.

The DVD's in the pack come from us in the states. Specifically the Discovery Institute in Seattle, another ironically named organization, as it has yet to discover anything of merit (except ways to try and worm bad science into schools).

Go to TalkDesign, for more informnation in the pseudoscience of ID.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

So I have to take the BO, but they can't take scotch breath.

Eh, I already feel bad about the cheap shot.

I can across this story via One Good Move.

From the Middle East Online site, Should Muslims be allowed to impose Islam on Americans?

One of my favorite cities, Minneapolis, is having trouble with it's cabbies. Apparently, on the airport run, the majority of taxi drivers are Muslim (Yeah, their is a tired joke in there.). This has lead to a demand...

Apparently, the cab drivers have provided the Metropolitan Airports Commission with a Fatwa dated June 06, 2006, from the Fatwa department of the local chapter of the Muslim American Society [MAS]. The fatwa proclaims that "Islamic jurisprudence" prohibits taxi drivers from carrying passengers with alcohol, "because it involves cooperating in sin according to Islam."

So they refuse to carry passengers who have alcohol on them.

Now, it is worth noting other Muslims in MN have called the argument merit less, and that it was not intended to deny others the right to...blaspheme, I guess. It is a matter of nor trading or consuming the stuff. So they are on shaky ground in their own religion.

But with groups like MAS, looking to force their views on the rest of the country, it is going to put Muslims in an even more awkward place.

As Dr. Muqtedar Khan said in the article,

The alcohol issue is not really the problem. It is just a tip of the ice berg. It raises a fundamental and critical issue, can Muslims who live in free and democratic societies, simultaneously demand freedom and tolerance for Islam while denying others the same. Can we and should we demand freedom to practice Islam and then turn around and use these same freedoms to impose anachronistic understandings of Islam on others.

What next? Will Muslim doctors working in ER refuse to administer to patients brought in from an accident site or with a heart attack because they have alcohol on their breath? Will Muslim doctors refuse to serve an HIV positive patient because he or she is gay? Will Muslim fire fighters refuse to save people who are caught in a fire in a place that sells alcohol? Will Muslim cops refuse to protect women who do not wear Hijab [head scarf]? Will Muslim teachers refuse to educate children because their mothers do not wear the veil? All of the above would entail supporting sin according to popular Muslim beliefs.

If the cab episode in Minnesota becomes a norm, and MAS could make it so. It claims that it is the biggest Muslim grass roots organization in America; can America then trust Muslims in any job where it is important to treat all people, Muslim and non-Muslim, sinner and Imam equally? Since 98% of Americans are non-Muslims, I am sure they routinely commit acts which according to Islam are sins, such as worshipping Jesus. Will Muslims stop doing business with them?

Can Muslims live with those who do not share their beliefs?

This is an important debate, especially for Muslim immigrants, who come to America with their religious baggage. Are we here to give our families a better life or are we here to convert America into an Afghanistan under the Taliban? Do we want to use American freedoms to learn about Islam and practice it in an intimidation free environment, or use it to spread the disease of religious intolerance? Will Muslim presence in America strengthen it or subvert it?

And that is the problem. As it is we have to deal with Christian pharmacist who refuse to serve customers. Not to mention the Christian schools churning out people with a poor understanding of the sciences, a determination to fill the legal field with "right" thinkers (and then the courts), and...did I mention the poor understanding of science, that distrust of the scientific method? Good.

This country may have had many "Christian" involved in its founding, but that is a far cry from being a Christian nation. We are not and should not be obligied to one hold book, or another, one quaint philosophy, or another. And that goes for Islam as well. This country should respect peoples beleifs. That means let them pray and live their lives. But when it means I can't go about my life freely, have to walk home from the airport, can't get medical aid, and I COULD GO ON... That is plainly wrong.

It is sad to see a group like this acting out...with their fatwa. It is important to be aware, and for their fellow Muslims to be sure they don't sit quiet and let these folks speak for them. As the good doctor says, they are as threatened as the rest of us.

And if this starts the discussion on the silly Christian laws (like no alcohol sales on Sundays), then let us get this started.

Atheist, shhhh.

From Pandagon

Some are concerned by what they can't get away with amidst possible atheist.

Including "reference to sinners, apostates or blasphemers, or to the promise of salvation offered in evangelical churches".

He is upset that suggesting you are a sinner and blasphemer, going to hell, unless you embrace his beliefs, is not a popular conversation topic. Funny. I wonder why?

Likewise, I imagine, a dinner group consisting of Muslims, Jews, and Hindi would also not love this dinner conversation. But they either don't count, or exist in his world view. Read the article and responses.

Gingrich gets...

scarier. For a guy that has gone after orphans in his time, he really had to search long and hard for a way to creep fans of the First Amendment. Makes me think back to Judge Bork. How could he go lower than when he did Nixon's dirty work in the 70's? (ANSWER: Attack the power of the court, and suggest and push for the crippling of the Supreme Court.)

In New Hampshire, getting an early start on the presidential bid. While in Manchester, he suggested that a "'different set of rules' may be needed to reduce terrorists' ability to use the Internet and free speech to recruit and get out their message."

He went on to bring up "We need to get ahead of the curve before we actually lose a city..." Nice of him to bring the fear to the party.

Now this gets back to other larger issues, including Net Neutrality. Look it up.

Free Speech is in the way. It is inconvenient for people to have web sites and blogs, to espouse unpopular ideas, to...disagree. And, in truth, it is necessary, on rare occasions, to install limits. But this is the troubling thing. The War on Terror. How does that end? As Jonathan Alter, on MSNBC's Countdown, pointed out, when Roosevelt curtailed various rights (the internment was just plain wrong) in WWII, and Lincoln curtailed Habeas Corpus during the Civil War, the defeat of the Axis forces, the defeat of the Confederate Army led to the resumption of full rights. How does this end?

Terrorism? Bush isn't going to end it. Islamic extremist? Nope. And they know it. The Patriot Act is not a short term law, it is meant to irrevocably rewrite this nation, a power grab long yearned for in many corners. And if they want to cut away further from Bill of Rights, it will mean more than a short year or two inconvenienced. This will mean redefining what we feel America and the Republic are at their core.

It is time for the people to start remembering the value of saying NO. Republicans? Try it out. You used to be so good at it.

Gingrich's idea? NO!
Gingrich for president? NO!
Not bothering with securing the country in useful and fruitful ways? NO!!!
Voting Republican? ...I lost the Republicans, didn't I?

BEYOND BELIEF...a little late.

Check out Beyond Belief 2006. Put together by the Science Network in association with the Crick-Jacobs Center, you have a collection of scientists and philosophers, worth giving a listen to.

At the site you can see video from the conference, including Neil deGrasse Tyson, Michael Shermer, Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, and Ann Druyan.

Check it out.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Join the chhhaaain...

Thanks to Pharyngula

Acephalous is attempting to measure the rate of propagation of links across the net. He's asking everyone to link to his post, and he's going to be monitoring its movement through Technorati, and will report the results at the MLA meetings.

So join the chain. If you have yourself a blog, link to, and let's see far this will spread. HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! Ahem.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

The GOP, Conservatism, and the Good Old Days

Now to start I want to be clear in saying I am not talking about all Republicans or conservatives. I know plenty and they are nice people. But I am talking about the key players in politics. The ones who pick candidates to take to the big leagues, the ones who choose where to send the heaps of cash to, the ones who decide this is the way the while of the party should be going. I hope any Republicans passing through will give this a read and think about how they feel about their party. And then, what are they going to do about it.

Starting with this year's turning point, when the majority realized the House was drifting from their influence and the Senate started to budge, Republicans needed to make choices. Steele, in a blue state tried to blend into the blue background. In California, the Governator ran to the left and progressive programs. Worked for one, didn't for the other.

In places like Tennessee, a different tact was taken. Walk about the edge of "race baiting", as seen in the troubling attack as on Harold Ford Jr., and let the audience do the mental leg work. RNC leadership was okay with the ad. They considered it a valid argument, and simultaneously backed away from any responsibility. It was a tricky tightrope to traipse. But they seemed to do it proudly.

Now if this was it that would be one thing. A dark and nasty moment, but one could try to move on, and just note it. But since then GOP has seemed to embraced this sentiment. Is it out of desperation? Is it a shift in internal power? I can't say. But in the last week the power players are shifting in DC and those seeking to nest there.

This week the Senate welcomed back an old friend. Trent Lott. Remember him? He is back in power as the Minority Whip in the Senate, the number 2 post. What's worse a doctor/senator who blithely makes shady medical prognosis from the Senate floor for political gain or someone too proudly steeped in the worse the old South has to offer. It is hard for me to say.

And now, heading into '08. We have Gov. Mitt Romney of MA hiring AlexCastellanos, a GOP ad man. Famous for his ads against Gore in '00 and for Jesse Helms in SC, implying good whites were losing jobs to the minorities. in 1996, Bob Dole refused to run some of his ads, saying they went too far. One Jeb Bush used during his first run may have cost him that election.

He is an old party favorite, and he will be back with more ads.

But it goes beyond party leadership.

Look at Glenn Beck, on CNN Headline News, but they love to bring him on to CNN proper to give "everyman" insight. This week, on his show, he brought on the newly elected representative of Minnesota, Keith Ellison. He happens to be Muslim. So that should explain why Beck chose him out of all the numerous incoming freshman class. He had some questions. Why should he be trusted? Will be betray America? Charming stuff, of course, couched in claims that he didn't believe it, but that it concerns some. Apparently not the populace of his MN 5th district, but still.

Here's his starting question"

"OK. No offense, and I know Muslims. I like Muslims. I've been to mosques. I really don't believe that Islam is a religion of evil. I -- you know, I think it's being hijacked, quite frankly.

With that being said, you are a Democrat. You are saying, "Let's cut and run." And I have to tell you, I have been nervous about this interview with you, because what I feel like saying is, "Sir, prove to me that you are not working with our enemies."

And I know you're not. I'm not accusing you of being an enemy, but that's the way I feel, and I think a lot of Americans will feel that way.

Soooo. He does not think he's a terrorist. Buuut, he gut tells him he needs proof. And that is what "a lot of Americans" think. Sadly, it probably true, Muslims are almost as hated in the US as atheist. Quite a feat.

Now Beck is good a couching his nasty remarks. Saying it isn't his opinion, or is wrong. But then he proceeds with it and keeps coming back to it. It is his M.O. for doing a show. "X is a horrible thing...Not that I think this...But a lot of people do." His says so many nasty unfounded thing, but unlike the Weiner, he ducks for cover. It allows him to throw out these, abominable, ideas, without any responsiblity (It would seem to actually make him worse than the Weiner). And this is the face of conservatism, beside Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, Michelle Malkin, Laura Ingraham, and others. That's a nasty bunch.

Especially if you consider there effect. Liberals/Democrats/Progressives/Immigrants/Scientists/etc. want to destroy America. That is the message sent out. What happens when this message is delivered and blindly and fervently embraced?

You get Chad Castagana, a Free Republic member, who idolized the likes of Coulter, Ingraham, and Malkin. What did he do in their honor? Sent out white powder and threats to create anthrax scares. Against who? The media, like Olbermann at MSNBC. Politicians, like Pelosi and Schumer. Entertainers, like Jon Stewart and David Letterman. Why? They opposed America and its safety. And worse some opposed his idols.

You spread hate and venom, hate and venom spread. Seems obvious. America is stuck reaping what these types sow. Yet time and again these people are brought up to the forefront by the GOP to rile up the base, and strike and wound their enemies. Amazing how literal this effect is in the end. They are actually creating terrorist. And not just in Iraq and Afghanistan anymore.

This is out Republican party, defiantly race baiting, questioning the patriotism of non-Christians (to start), and spewing such hate that they inspire terrorism

Is all of this what they have to offer America now? No wonder they lost big. It is something to remember in 2 years.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Julia Sweeney is so sweet.

Thanks to Pharyngula for spreading the word.

The ever humorous and witty Julia Sweeney (of SNL fame) has a new CD Letting Go of God out. As much as I love a good comedy CD, this has the added benefit in being the latest of her works (books, stage, and CD) discussing her move from Catholic schoolgirl to mature caring atheist. She her humorous turn at delving into science, new age pseudoscience, and Santa Claus in these CD clips at her site.

She's ready to make you laugh and think.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

The Nation wishes to suggest 10 reasons that Wal-Mart pundits are wrong.

From The Nation,

Ten Reasons Why the Wal-Mart Pundits Are Wrong

The Nation brings up 10 arguments often used to defend and justify certain actions by Wal-Mart executives, and in their name by friends in hugh places, and attacks the merits of the reasoning and facts on the ground.


Wal-Mart's low prices save American consumers $263 billion a year.

If Wal-Mart increases wages, it will have to increase prices. (A classic among opponents of the minimum wage.)

Wal-Mart's health benefits are about as generous as those of comparable employers.

Wal-Mart has helped poor and middle class consumers--in fact, more than anybody else.

Wal-Mart coming into a community expands the tax base and boosts overall community development.

See what the analysis of these arguments suggests. Then consider where you stand, and what you think.

Some articles for thinking and debate.

Here are some interesting articles to provoke thought and debate. They are all brought together on's Article Archives.

Religions don't deserve special treatment.

The rise of the 'New Atheists'.

Teach sex and evolution or close, Quebec evangelical schools told.

As well, for people who haven't heard yet, Cambridge University has placed the complete works of Charles Darwin on the Internet. Swift, the Weekly Newsletter of the JREF, has more.

Don't worry, it's the good type of lying.

The President is pretty blasé about his bouts of dissembling. He isn't to concerned about his occasional fable. He is in no way vexed by his own fibbing. He doesn't mind LYING to your face. Not to put to fine a point on it.

Our President George Walker Bush:
"I didn't want to inject a major decision about this war in the final days of a campaign..."
- Or the truth of his actions. why discuss your set plans, not exactly a state secret. But thanks your party thinks you cost them the Senate by that sage strategy (or is it a tactic?).
"And so the only way to answer that question and to get you onto another question was to give you that answer."
- Or, I lied so I wouldn't have to tell you the truth. And besides, you were preventing me from lying about a whole parcel of other things.

He sure seemed pretty casual about the whole issue, as shown on Crooks and Liars.

And, again, this choice was costly to Republicans, who had to hold the line for the president, and suffer for it. Made grand statements of praise, knowing many candidates would have to nod along, and knowing he was telling a lie that would soon be seen through.

Add to this his casualness about talking about his comments about Democrats ushering terrorist victories, leading to death in America, etc. Just politics and campaigning. No biggie. All is forgiven, right?

And of course this disinterested admittance to reality continues through other sources, such as Rush Limbaugh. He is tired of "carrying water" for the Republicans. Poor man he is liberated now, free even. Yeah, forced to do these vile things. COME ON! You knew it was all a lie and you joined in. Free will. Ever hear of it Rush? You picked the side you liked, with the money and perks you wanted. You got the perks, and now you claim buyer's remorse? Please. Thanks for helping the Democrats win MO Rush. Keep up the good work and I'm sure you'll put Hillary Clinton in the White House.

Post-Election Recovery

Well, it has taken me a while to adjust to the outcome of election night...and it was mostly in favor of the things I was supporting.

The House and Senate, the whole of the legislative branch of the Federal government (Civics’ students please take notes) has gone from the control of 1 party (also dominating the other 2 branches), to another party (the Democrats). Good. It should mean oversight, an end to blank checks for the executive, and end to just signing off on ill conceived ideas spitballed from the White House.

But part of me is saddened to see victory through an influx of many conservative (many rather conservatives). I am, of course, talking about social conservatism.

The fight for progressive values and positions was put off, in deference to focus on victory through default. Sure they talked about a horrible war and corruption, but it was about how bad tings were due to Republican greed. Few were willing stand on the idea of being progressive, obviously not even talking of the outright conservatives. At Pharyngula PZ Meyer bemoaned the state of things.

But, in the end, Democrats are supposed to be a big tent party. Many differing positions, which we can debate and argue over, hoping to find an answer to meet everyone’s needs, or win the others over (obviously, this is the preferred event). And as things are, things looks good. Howard Dean's 50 State Plan deserves accolades, as was given at Crooks and Liars. No more of this focus on NY, NJ, MA, CA, MN, and handful of other races. The whole country needs to be fought for, and Dean has ended the presumptive scenarios.

And as well, the South Dakota abortion ban was blocked. In Arizona, the people stood up for civil unions (I could go on for a stretch at how poorly and widely written these laws are. It is the War on Common Law Marriages.). Stem Cell research support passed. And, as well, the fiery topics helped democrats, or, at least, didn’t convince people to vote republicans. That was a blow to the Karl Rove strategy. At Pharyngula, they link to a Science article, about the hit to (ID) Intelligent Design support.

At AMERICAblog, John considers what [Tuesday]'s victory meant. In Colorado a person who openly supports gay rights came close to unseating a very conservative incumbent, the evangelical heartland HQ. And while conservatives came in for the democrats, they have in all along. Harry Reid of NV is a conservative member and leader, and about to become our Senate Majority Leader. And Pelosi of CA, a liberal member of the party is about to become the Speaker of the House, 3rd in line for the presidency Hmm, this is now the closest a woman has come to that seat of power. That will be a milestone next year at the State of the Union.).

And again. OVERSIGHT. Finally!!!

As well, legislative scheduling is back in responsible hands, decision on who goes to the president to be in the judiciary, to ambassadorships, and to the cabinet.

If it doesn't make me confidently smile yet. At long last...I can take a breath.

And it reminds me why this Washington Post front page is warming.

In Memoriam

Ed Bradley, famed for years of investigations and interviews across the globe, died today.

A sad loss to journalism, TV, and the world.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

The Night of Long Analogies

The polls are starting to close.

So start the pundits and talking heads with their chit chat, jibber jabber, and spin. Oh, and the analogies...oh, the horror.

It has been a long day already. The vaunted e-voting machines broke down, shorted out, and destroyed a small toewn in New Jersey. And the news readers have been having fun. People denied the vote? Smile. Voters around the block, but the polls are closing? Smile and tell a joke. Dirty tricks against Democratic candidates? Make a deny and joke of it and Norah O'Donnell will have a nice long laugh and not question you. Thank you ladies and gentlemen.

But this distry tricks business bugs me. All morning it was denied. Tucker Carlson and Joe Scarlborough came out to say it was all a myth. An evil Democratic myth that is dredged up every 2 years. Is their actual evidence? Is there a reason it is brought up at all these elections? Why ask?

It is like the story old story of the "Young Sheperd and the Wolf".

Once their was a village, which hired a sheperd to watch the communities sheep and lamb.

The young man was hired. And on the first night he saw movement along the tree line. A wolf! He called out for help. "WOLF! WOLF!" And the wolf charged out and towards him.

The village hired a new sheperd to watch the flock. On the first night he to saw the wolf approaching.He called out for help. "WOLF! WOLF!" And the wolf charged out and towards him.

The village hired another sheperd. Then another. Then another.

Finally the village had enough and had a town meeting. The argued and fought over the trouble. "These boys. They cry wolf and then run off. Why are they so lazy and truent?" "Yes, why do they make promise and then lie and disappear?" They were all at a lost.

The moral. Just because a problem is pointed out, and pointed out again later, and so on and so forth, doesn't equate to it being a fake problem. Or, sometimes people cry wolf because one is eating your flock.

Something I meant to tell you...

Hmm...What was it? Oh, yeah...


Are you still there?


You still there? You already voted? Oh, sorry. Have a cookie.

Monday, November 06, 2006

RDF, now it stands for more than Robotechnology fun.

The Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science has opened. The site is up at Take some time to visit

Here is the mySpace site,

Also be sure to visit the Official Richard Dawkins Website at It will let you know where he will be going on his latest book tour. Plus, many links on science and reason. The site also has a growing archive of photos, articles, videos, and audios (There are plenty of good download to listen to when working out.)

Here's the link to the Introduction Video (and you'll notice a number of other vids of/on Dawkins for your edification):

While I am at it, I should plug Dr. Dawkins new book, The God Delusion, A book worth a read through to understand the concerns many have with theism and faith.

Starting of a new day...

It's almost Nov. 7th! That means Election Day, USA...well midterm elections. Still this year, in this lifetime, that means either 2 more years of the same wartime strategies (or is that tactics, or is that strategies or is that tactics...), the same lack of legislative oversight, the same pork barrel politics, or...changes of course, a no longer legally blind Congress, and a whole host of new pork barrel fun.

I know the through and through cynics will say nothing will change, but even a grumbly mumbly Jaded Skeptic knows we need true oversight, and, heck, even slight changes in whose at the pork barrel will give us something to talk about.

So, if you absentee voted, good for you! If not, get up and get out tomorrow to your precinct and get those votes in for the candidate(s) of your choosing. Read up and get to it with those referred laws, referendums, amendments, etc. There are plenty of disturbing agendas afoot. It seems to be hardly the time to choose apathy.

Come what may tomorrow, it is a new day. And so will be the next day. Some fools campaign to subvert science. Others want to rewrite history. And still others, they want to make the world in their own image. Sitting back, watching Comedy Central and the latest batch of vids on YouTube, won't mean a tinker's damn if the real world is left to the loons (No, not you, the other ones.).

So go forth you Fools Errant! There's a world that needs saving! And pick up some milk while you’re out.