Okay then.

Aug. 12th, 2010 03:59 pm
So I heard this guy was pushing the "America was founded as a Christian Nation!" thing, by trying to say the Founding Fathers were his variety of Christian, but that wasn't what made me facepalm. No, he was trying (of course) to justify it by talking about the Founding Fathers, particularly Thomas Jefferson.

Um.

Has he ever read ANYTHING Thomas Jefferson wrote? (Even leaving aside the Jefferson Bible where he wrote out all the supernatural parts)

"But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no God. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg." Notes on Virginia, 1782

"Question with boldness even the existence of a god; because if there be one he must approve of the homage of reason more than that of blindfolded fear". lletter to Peter Carr, August 10, 1787

"Where the preamble declares, that coercion is a departure from the plan of the holy author of our religion, an amendment was proposed by inserting "Jesus Christ," so that it would read "A departure from the plan of Jesus Christ, the holy author of our religion;" the insertion was rejected by the great majority, in proof that they meant to comprehend, within the mantle of its protection, the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and Mohammedan, the Hindoo and Infidel of every denomination." Autobiography, in reference to the Virginia Act for Religious Freedom

"I have sworn upon the altar of god, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man." - Jefferson memorial, from this letter, coming near the end of the third paragraph. The sentence before it is "They believe that any portion of power confided to me, will be exerted in opposition to their schemes." The "they" he's referring to is "the clergy", who "hope of obtaining an establishment of a particular form of Christianity thro' the U. S."

Hell, Thomas Jefferson was the one who came up with the phrase "Wall of separation of church and state" in this letter.

If he wanted to argue that some of the Founding Fathers were religious, that's fine and dandy, but still wouldn't prove that his religion now should be given legal preferences over others. But Thomas Jefferson? Seriously? Seriously?
Well, Fulton, Mississippi is apparently full of asshats. That's the town that canceled the prom because one of the students wanted to take her girlfriend. Well, the school then said they would have it, at a country club. Seven students showed up at this fake prom", while all the other students went to an unofficial prom somewhere else, and then posted pictures etc on Facebook. (More)

Yes, they wanted badly enough to exclude her that they rented two venues, and did all the legwork to set up a second fake prom. Not only is it asshattery, it's asshattery that took a lot of extra work and money, just to make a few people feel bad. Seriously, people? As if that's not depressing enough, reading the comment pages of some of those articles is pretty bad too. I really don't get it. But then, back in HS, I'd probably have been invited to fake parties, if I'd gone to parties.

She will, however, get to be Grand Marshall of a gay pride parade in NYC, and was invited to a national "lesbian prom" in San Francisco. And Green Day is going to be helping host a prom geared for gay couples in Tupelo, Mississippi on May 8. Which is probably one of the best steps to take.

So yes, Fulton, Mississippi? You've successfully shown the entire nation you're a town full of bigots and idiots. Congratulations. You managed to take a minor incident and turn it into the first time most of the country has heard of your town, and it's for this kind of stunt.
So, a high school in Mississippi canceled their prom because a girl wanted to bring her girlfriend, and wear a tux. Seriously.

Now, I admit I didn't go to many school dances when I was in HS, and that was what, like a decade ago now, but I know people came to our proms with people of the same sex, generally two guys or two ladies who didn't have dates. And I know of women who came in tuxes, and by brother wore a skirt one yet (Yeah, okay, a kilt, but still), so the idea of dress codes that say guys have to wear tuxes and ladies have to wear dresses alone just strikes me as weird anyway. And isn't girls dancing with each other because there's lots of guys too shy to ask them to dance like, a staple of the high school dance experience?
Via TVTropes, I found out that there are people who write slashfic about anthropomorphic personifications of concepts. Like scientific disciplines, or continents, or websites. Or planets. Or software packages.

That is both insane, awesome, and hilarious. And probably disturbing, but more hilarious.
Wow. Not one, but TWO op-eds, in major newspapers, ranting about the evils of denim and jeans. Seriously. I'm not gonna bother linking to either of them, they don't need any more traffic.

But the entire premise, besides Grumpy Old Man syndrome, seems to be that because of jeans, they can't look at people and tell what social class they are. Ohnoes!
Since I've moved to the South, there's occasional guys selling confederate battle flags out of RVs by the side of the road. Georgia only took the Confederate Battle Flag off their state flag a few years ago, after all.

The other week, I noticed one of them had a bunch of Confederate flags, and a flag of the Obama HOPE image. Which made me laugh, since I doubt there's much overlap between the audience for Confederate flags and Obama voters. Maybe they're trying to get into a wider audience. They do have the Confederate flag/pot leaf flags, after all.

Then yesterday, I saw one that took it a step farther. A flag, first half Obama, second half Confederate flag. I almost went back and bought one, just for the sheer bizarreness of it. But I didn't, 'cause I'm broke. I'm trying to figure out the audience for that, besides post-post-post-post ironic hipsters.

O RLY

Oct. 28th, 2008 12:15 pm
Apparently the latest gambit, a week before the election, is for John McCain and Sarah Palin to call Barak Obama a communist or socialist because he supports the progressive income tax.

I have known socialists, and Barak Obama is no socialist, for better and for worse.

(Progressive taxation I'm sure I explained before, but I'm not gonna dig up the link right now. Plus Obama's tax increase is all of three percent on the marginal income above $250K. Which means only your taxable income above $250K will be taxed at 39.something percent, rather than 36%ish it's at now.)

(And calling somebody a commie? Seriously, the hell? What is this, the 1950s?)
So, retail sales over December were flat at best. (Here's some stats) And credit card debt went up over that same time, which meant people were spending money they didn't have just to stay where they were.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke yesterday said "The outlook for real activity in 2008 has worsened," and "We stand ready to take substantive additional actions as needed to support growth and to provide adequate insurance against downside risks,"

The second translates to interest rate cuts. But basically he's saying the economy is not doing so hot, which most anybody could tell you. o in response?
"Stocks in Canada and the U.S. shot up in the hours after Mr. Bernanke speech."

The stock market reacts exactly opposite to how common sense says it should. A company lays people off, its stock goes up. The chief banker of the US says the economy sucks, stocks go up. These people are insane.
There Pacific Ocean has islands the size of Texas in it. Floating islands. Made of plastic trash.

In between the great currents and trade winds, there are areas where the water and wind move sluggishly in great whirlpools, called gyres. Here's a simple map that should give you an idea. The big empty spots in the middle are the gyres. Here's a Google Map bookmark for the North Pacific Gyre.

There are few islands there, nothing for trash to beach on. So much of the great piles of plastic waste floating in the ocean gradually make their ways there, sucked in to the low energy center of the giant swirl. And it builds up there, until in may parts, there's six kilograms of plastic stuff for every kilogram of regular plankton.

Greenpeace has a flash version here for the North Pacific.

There's an even greater gyre in the South Pacific, between New Zealand and the west coast of South America. It's full of plastic too.

I think I'd seen a mention of these online somewhere, but had them impressed on me while reading The World Without Us by Alan Weisman, which is a book about what would happen to all of our stuff if humans disappeared.

On one large hand, dude. We throw away enough plastic crap to fill giant sections of the ocean. That's horrible. And it's not going to go away for a long time, because nothing in nature can break down plastic. But then there's a part of me that thinks "dude. We could totally go just scoop that stuff up and make something new out of it." But for now that'd probably take more energy than it's worth.

And honestly, it'd be better to try and find replacements for plastic in a lot of things, so our oceans don't get filled with bits of bottles and toys and wrappers and bags that all the animals try to eat.

Heh

Oct. 19th, 2007 09:04 pm
Actual voicemail menu option I just got. "To disconnect, press 1. To press another number, press 2."
Okay, so. In an article about Airstream trailers, there's this tidbit.

"Mark Silva, chief of the Washington bureau of The Chicago Tribune, accompanied the vice president as the press corps’ pool print reporter. The group flew on a huge gray C-17 cargo plane that the Air Force calls the Spirit of Strom Thurmond, in honor of the late senator. Mr. Silva said that when he boarded he noted the familiar outline of the Airstream roof inside the vast fuselage."

The Vice-President rides in a plane called "The Spirit of Strom Thurmond." "The Spirit of Strom Thurmond"

What. The. Fuck?
Okay, so last week was a big public debate about legalizing torture and violating the Geneva Conventions.

And you were content to sit back and let three "maverick" Republicans claim all the press glory for stopping the bill, then give in and give the President the right to torture people anyway, instead of talking to every reporter about how the President wants the authority to torture people and trying to put SOME kind of public weight on the wavering Republicans who weren't sure they wanted to turn the USA into an outlaw banana republic that practices torture.

...

WHAT THE FUCK?

WHAT THE FUCK IS IT GOING TO TAKE?

*Boggle*

Sep. 20th, 2006 10:21 pm
Okay, y'know, I'm cynical about religion in general and the people who claim to be the "best" in specific, but even so, somehow I managed to be surprised when I see things like this from places like the "Traditional Values Coalition".

"The Traditional Values Coalition asked members of Congress to support President Bush's reform of prisoner treatment policies because "this is a war unlike any other we have fought -- the enemy is faceless and deliberately attacks the innocent."

TVC Chairman Rev. Louis P. Sheldon said American military and intelligence experts are hampered by a vague "outrages upon personal dignity" statement in Article Three of the Geneva Convention of 1950.

"We need to clarify this policy for treating detainees," said Rev. Sheldon. "As it stands right now, the military and intelligence experts interrogating these terrorists are in much greater danger than the terrorists. Civil suits against our military personnel are tying their hands as they try to get vital information which will save the lives of our young military people and the innocent."

"Our rules for interrogation need to catch-up with this awful new form of war that is being fought against all of us and the free world. The post -World War II standards do not apply to this new war.

"We must redefine how our lawful society treats those who have nothing but contempt for the law and rely on terrorizing the innocent to accomplish their objectives. The lines must be redrawn and then we must pursue these criminals as quickly and as aggressively as the law permits.

"And since this debate is, at its very core, about preserving the traditional value of prosecuting injustice and protecting the innocent, TVC will score this vote in both the House and the Senate. We encourage all of our supporters and affiliated churches to contact their elected representatives and let them know we support President Bush's efforts to update our methods of interrogating terrorist detainees in order to provide greater protection for our troops and the innocent.""


So... these people, who claim to be representing a God of mercy and justice and stuff are all for torturing the innocent. Um. Dudes. The irony abounds. Along with the stupidity and the hypocrisy.

Borrowed from Obsidian Wings
"Firefighters who want to live in high-priced cities can work two jobs, said W. Michael Cox, chief economist for the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. “I think it’s great,” he said. “It gives you portfolio diversification in your income.”"

*blinkblink*

I just... you know, nevermind. It's not even worth trying to get inside that guy's head.

Via Obsidian Wings
Okay, this is just stupid. I've been reading some of the anti-immigration screeds out there, and I'm amazed. Not just at the barely disguised racism, or the irony of it all. No, this time, I'm amazed by the sheer stupidity. One of the things several have mentioned is this dangerous and scary "Reconquista". So what is this bogeyman of sheer stupidity? They're afraid that Mexican immigrants are trying to move in and make California, New Mexico, etc, part of Mexico. I'm sorry, what?

The plan, as far as I can tell:
1) Lots of Mexicans move to the US.
2) ?????
3) California becomes part of Mexico.

I don't get it. What, are they going to vote to become part of Mexico? Okay, but to do that, they have to become US citizens. Doesn't that kinda defeat the whole point? As best I can tell, this whole nonsense started when Michelle Malkin, batshit crazy conservative blogger, posted half a dozen fringe signs from the immigration rallies a couple months back. Signs that didn't even use the "reconquista" term, and one that was a billboard about a Spanish TV news station in LA that said "Your City. Your news." in Spanish. Gosh, it's not like anybody in LA would want to listen to news in Spanish!

Sweet monkeys. More at Orcinus. (and more)

I wouldn't be worried about right wing nutjob conspiracy theories if they didn't have so many hacks repeating their bullshit and pretending it's credible. Like the whole of the Washington Times.
A minor billing dispute between the Pentagon and the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is threatening operations throughout the U.S. national security community.

Last month, OPM -- which currently handles background investigations and issues security clearances for the defense/intelligence community -- abruptly announced it was shutting down the clearance process for new employees.


So, um. The Pentagon doesn't want to pay the Office of Personnel Management $40 million, so they've stopped doing security clearances. So they can't hire new people for any job requiring security clearances. Over $40 million. Which is an assload of money, but the Pentagon misplaces that much money every morning. Who put people that incompetent in charge?

Oh yeah.
Sy Hersh in the New Yorker: http://www.newyorker.com/fact/content/articles/060417fa_fact

A government consultant with close ties to the civilian leadership in the Pentagon said that Bush was "absolutely convinced that Iran is going to get the bomb" if it is not stopped. He said that the President believes that he must do “what no Democrat or Republican, if elected in the future, would have the courage to do," and “that saving Iran is going to be his legacy."

Some operations, apparently aimed in part at intimidating Iran, are already under way. American Naval tactical aircraft, operating from carriers in the Arabian Sea, have been flying simulated nuclear-weapons delivery missions—rapid ascending maneuvers known as "over the shoulder" bombing—since last summer, the former official said, within range of Iranian coastal radars.

Wait, hang on, did that say what I think it said?

One of the military’s initial option plans, as presented to the White House by the Pentagon this winter, calls for the use of a bunker-buster tactical nuclear weapon, such as the B61-11, against underground nuclear sites.

!!!????!!!

The lack of reliable intelligence leaves military planners, given the goal of totally destroying the sites, little choice but to consider the use of tactical nuclear weapons. "Every other option, in the view of the nuclear weaponeers, would leave a gap," the former senior intelligence official said. " 'Decisive' is the key word of the Air Force’s planning. It’s a tough decision. But we made it in Japan."

He went on, "Nuclear planners go through extensive training and learn the technical details of damage and fallout—we’re talking about mushroom clouds, radiation, mass casualties, and contamination over years. This is not an underground nuclear test, where all you see is the earth raised a little bit. These politicians don’t have a clue, and whenever anybody tries to get it out"—remove the nuclear option—"they’re shouted down."


????!!!!!!!????!!!!!!

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY hope Sy Hersh is wrong. Because seriously, WHAT THE FUCK? These people want to NUKE IRAN? Are they REALLY that mad? Possibly. Do they have ANY idea what that would cause? Probably not. Do they really think if we NUKED the fucking country, that the citizens would rise up and overthrow their government, instead of, oh, I don't know, retaliating against the people that NUKED them? Have they learned nothing from Iraq? Probably not.

I can think of no better way to radicalize the entire middle east and destroy our standing with the entire world than by using NUKES on another country. And probably bring about something pretty darn close to the end of the world.

Sweet monkeys. Nuke Iran. Our leaders have gone stark raving mad.

But I never figured the United States of America would be torturing prisoners in the 21st century, either.
http://obsidianwings.blogs.com/obsidian_wings/2006/03/we_should_be_be.html

I can't even scream about these things any more. it's just "Oh, look. We're still torturing people. And the President has lawyers arguing this isn't a problem and the people being tortured don't have any rights anyway." It's no less outrageous, but it's not anything NEW. It's OH. AGAIN. AND AGAIN AND FUCKING AGAIN. PEOPLE STILL VOTED FOR THESE SORRY SACKS EVEN AFTER IT WAS OBVIOUS THEY HAD APPROVED TORTURE. People still voted for these fuckers. After they'd approved torture. Enough people found things more important than the fact we're condoning torture to vote for these people. That frightens me. Enough people found torture less important than "flip-flopping" and windsurfing. I don't understand these people. I can't get inside their heads. Well, I can sort of for a few. Like the people who believe any abortion is a murder, because I can sort of see how to them, people being tortured is less important than however many abortions are happening (of course, most of these same people are against birth control too, which is the best way to reduce abortions, but that's a whole separate topic, and makes me doubt their sincerity).

The other most mystifying thing is the Democrats. Seriously. WHAT THE FUCK, people? WHY are you not attacking the President for approving torture? Are you seriously THAT worried about Karl Rove using that to make you look "weak" and "terrorist sympathizing"? Fuck, folks. Do it anyway. Because a country that approves of torture is not America.
Dude. Chuck Norris wrote a book. Like, a novel. It's called "Justice Riders" and has like three co-authors. And for some reason it's shelved under "Christian Fiction" at B&N.

And the amazon comments section seems to be full of roundhouse kicks.

Dude, WTF?

Feb. 19th, 2006 10:59 am
"Shooting Victim Apologizes to Vice President"

Dude, WTF? Full article here.

The Vice President shoots a guy, and the guy apologizes? To Darth Cheney.

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