A Side Dish of “Notpology” Alongside the Main Course of Misogyny

I have to admit that I had no idea who Cee Lo Green was until the beginning of 2012.  Perhaps I was aware of his existence, perhaps I had read his name at some point in time, or heard it spoken in polite conversation,  but without a doubt, I knew less about him than what I currently know about the guy who is married to Mariah Carey.  (Fun Fact:  The only thing I know about the guy who is married to Mariah Carey, is that he is married to Mariah Carey.)  Then Cee Lo performed at NBC’s New Year’s Eve celebration, and decided to change the lyrics of some song written by some guy named John Lennon.  After reading about the idiocy on a few atheist blogs, I promptly gave him the attention he deserved and completely forgot all about him, other than a small note deep in my long term memory, marking him as “that guy so full of himself that he changed Lennon’s lyrics to Imagine.”

Sadly, Cee Lo Green has once again caught my attention, and this time it isn’t for something as idiotic-but-harmless as changing the lyrics to a classic song because he didn’t agree with the message.  No, this time, Cee Lo decided that the world was interested in his views on rape,  and it turns out that we are quite interested in what he has to say:

Displaying the clear thinking and sound judgment that usually accompany a Twitter rant, Green declared that women who have “really been raped REMEMBER!!!” before helpfully clarifying the definition of rape for the women of the world:

For some weird reason, Green deleted his Twitter account shortly afterwards (it’s since been reinstated), although he first took the time to explain that he only meant to start a “healthy exchange” about what a creep he is. The only bright spot in this deeply disappointing scenario is that Cee Lo forgot to blame the victim for not wearing anti-rape nail polish, but that’s probably just because it hadn’t been invented in 2012.

Umm.  Did he just claim that if the woman is unconscious, it doesn’t count?  *head desk*

Oh, wait.  There is an update to this story!

In case you were too busy clinging desperately to all that is pure and good in this world, over the weekend Green ignited some major controversy by stating on Twitter that rape doesn’t count if the victim is unconscious—a move that was especially tasteless, considering he had just pleaded no contest to drugging a woman on a date in 2012. After his statements attracted immediate backlash, Green deleted his Twitter account, which lasted all of one day.

But now, his social media confidence restored, Green paused between posting links to his own songs on YouTube to issue an apology for all those things that he may or may not have said—even though they were definitely said—on his verified Twitter account:

https://twitter.com/CeeLoGreen/status/506989756585353216

 

 

Well damn, notpology accepted!  I wonder what evil group of Cee Lo haters were responsible for attributing comments made on your verified Twitter account to you?  How horrible and unfair!  As for the final part of the notpology, well, two out of three ain’t bad.  The comments were definitely idiotic and untrue, but I have a hard time believing you tweet ignorant shit like that just for the “lulz.”  Oh, shit.  There I go, attributing things tweeted from your official verified Twitter account to you.  Sorry!

Congrats, Cee Lo!  You are now filed away in my mind as “that rape apologist.”

Fuck you.

 

They Threw a Tea Party

Mixing their gift for political doublespeak with the nation’s love of alliteration, the Blair County Tea Party sponsored the 6th annual “Freedom Fest” yesterday, (Sunday, 7/20/14) drawing a crowd of approximately 150 who suffered the loss of significant quantities of brain cells while listening to conservative talk show host Rose Tennent.  (That sound you just heard was the sound of all 0f my readers asking “who?” in unison.)  In keeping with the alliterative “F” theme of the event, Rose was quick to bring the discussion around to the founding fathers:

“We are living in a time not unlike Thomas Paine’s time … a time that tries men’s souls,” Tennent said.

It is so fitting for Tea Party activists to latch on to the words of Thomas Paine, since it is so obvious that he would support the ultra-conservative Christian theocratic vision so many of them seem to share.  It is a fact many of us progressives desperately want to deny, but it is far past the time for honesty.  How could anyone read Thomas Paine’s words:

All national institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian or Turkish, appear to me no other than human inventions, set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit.

or more to the point

that the fall of man, the account of Jesus Christ being the Son of God, and of his dying to appease the wrath of God, and of salvation, by that strange means, are all fabulous inventions, dishonorable to the wisdom and power of the Almighty

and not believe that we would find him today, wrapped in the yellow “Don’t Tread on Me” flag, at the forefront of the culture wars if he still lived?  No matter the words that one hears at a Tea Party event, the truth is that if the previously mentioned founding fathers still drew breath, the Tea Party would label them “socialist God-haters,” Ann Coulter would savage them in a best seller titled “Pinko: How America Narrowly Avoided the Yoke of Godless Communism Desired by the so-called Founding Fathers,” and Rush Limbaugh would cause an eruption of controversy by calling Betsy Ross* “the nation’s first slut” and claiming that the stars on the flag represented each founding father that she bedded rather than the number of states in the union.

But this is the Tea Party we are talking about, and no one ever claimed they gave a single solitary shit about reality.  In their minds and at their rallies, the founding fathers become The Founding Fathers (trademarked), God-fearing conservative Christian men who wanted to form a nation in the image of Jesus, ruled by the free market, where what little government was allowed to exist concerned itself solely with the defense of the nation, outlawing intoxicants, insuring citizen’s right to own AK-47s, protecting the favored status of Christians who worshiped correctly, and controlling that dastardly bit of sin that resided between the legs of sinful women.  Ever since the nation was born, the devil has been trying to undermine their sacred vision through such tactics as activist judges, civil rights laws, and pinko commie democrats.  Let’s return to the train wreck:

But the founding fathers, she said, put their energy and sacrifices into building a nation that was free and prosperous, not only for their children but for future generations. So when it comes to leaving an inheritance, she had one recommendation.

“It must be liberty,” she said, drawing applause.

The highlight of Rose Tennent’s rousing speech will not soon be forgotten:

“You and I are people our founding fathers never met,” she said.

What an incredible use of language.  Even as her political opponent, it brought a tear to my eye.  It was a tear of laughter, but still, it was a tear.  The article unfortunately did not note the reaction of the 150 person strong crowd upon finding out that they never met men who were politically active in 1776.  Was it a knowing nod?  A gasp of shock?  A jaw dropping moment of realization?  Alas, until I find another witness to the event, we can only wonder.

After Rose’s patriotic, buzzword filled, meaning devoid speech it was time for the entertainment portion of the event, with Blair County Tea Party President Andrew Katz surprising all in attendance with a blisteringly hilarious stand up set.  Simply writing about it will in no way do justice to his brilliant routine, so I won’t even try.  If you have a chance to see him perform though, I recommend it without hesitation.  To try to give you the flavor of his style of comedy, I will quote just one of his jokes, but remember that the delivery matters as much as the material:

Blair County Tea Party President Andrew Katz said the organization remains a nonpartisan group

Even typing the sentence caused coffee to shoot out my nose, covering the screen and the keyboard.  It is almost like Fox News calling itself “fair and balanced,” yet so much more absurd that the laughter comes unwilled and unwanted.

The article ends abruptly, so I can only imagine what other entertainment was provided at this year’s Freedom Fest.  Perhaps a dunking booth featuring a femi-nazi taunting contestants with man-hating bile like “women should be paid the same as men for the same work,” “no means no,” or “make your own damn sandwich”?  An original copy of the US Constitution that includes the 713 references to Jesus Christ that the Founding Fathers(Trademarked) included that the evil secularists somehow managed to erase?  A duck pond, that replaced the rubber ducks with little rubber fetuses?  A caged African-American homosexual who for 5 dollars will provide you with a picture of the two of you and a note stating he is your friend, so you aren’t lying when you say “I’m not racist/homophobic, one of my best friends is black/gay”?  A shooting gallery with targets consisting of pro-choice protesters and Muslims?  My imagination runs wild.

Perhaps next year, I will have to take a field trip.

 

*Yeah, I know the Betsy Ross story is more than likely apocryphal.  If you care to suggest a different well known historical woman from the time period that I can have serve as the nation’s first victim of slut-shaming, feel free to make the suggestion.

Prepare to Stare, Mouth Agape and Wide Eyed, With the Single Thought of “Wait. What?!?”

Reality has never been a particular concern of science denialists.  Creationists are not interested in learning the facts of evolution anymore than the deniers of human aided climate change want to understand how our species’ byproducts effect the planet’s carbon cycle.  “The human eye is too complex to have evolved,” they claim.  So you turn on the television and call up your dvr’d copy of Cosmos, or pull a popular science book on evolution off the shelf, or if comfortable enough with the subject, just explain the fascinating way that natural selection crafted light sensitive spots on cells, step by step through out the long history of life on Earth, into the complex varieties of eyes found in nature today with your own words.  And if you can actually get them to pay attention and follow along, the vast majority of the time the result is the same.  They look you in the eye and say, “the human eye is too complex to have evolved.”

Most climate change deniers share this trait with evolution deniers; an ideological basis to their belief on the issue.  The scientific evidence for both issues is overwhelming.  The consensus is in, and any actual debate within the scientific community is on specific mechanisms and matters of degree.  How much warmer is the climate going to get?  How much can we limit the damage if we act now?  Is there anyway to stop it now that we have started it?  What other natural causes drove evolution other than natural selection?  What role did gene transfers play early on in the history of life?  The questions are endless, and the deniers are quick to use this legitimate scientific debate to try to make the public believe the consensus is much weaker than it is in truth.  Stephen J Gould’s theory of punctuated equilibrium and the scientific debate surrounding it has been pulled out of context and used by creationists to paint evolution as a theory in crisis for decades.  They do not care about the context because they do not care about the science.  Their ideology tells them that God created us all six thousand years ago, or that men have dominion on Earth and God would never let us unbalance the cycles, or whatever their own particular reason for turning their backs on evidence, reason, and logic happens to be, and that is all that they care about the issue.  The evidence against them becomes a conspiracy.  The existence of a scientific consensus turns them into a persecuted minority.  It becomes more than a question of scientific literacy.  Suddenly it is a plot by the atheists to turn their children away from Christ.  A trick by the secular left to convince people that we are only animals to change the nation’s sexual morality.  An attempt by the Muslim in the White House to get us more dependent on oil from the Middle East by making the practically infinite reserves in our country untouchable.  Or the final ploy of the pinko, socialist, homosexual hippies seeking to end the American way of life by forcing men to emasculate themselves and perform such humiliating actions as conserving, recycling, and driving a compact electric car instead of a manly Hummer 3,  factory modified to burn coal.

Ideology before reality unfortunately has become a trend.  Perhaps it always was so, at least for a certain segment of the population.  I would love to yearn for a time past where people studied the evidence and reached rational conclusions on issues, using their new found knowledge to update their ideological worldview, rather than the tragic mirror image that seems so common today, but I question if any such time actually existed.    If there is any sort of silver lining to this cloud that interferes with rational policy debate, it would be the unintentional comedy that results when people hostile to science try to claim a scientific basis for their ideological beliefs.  Listening to a young earth creationist explain how the scientific evidence really does support a global flood a few thousand years in the past is practically identical to hearing a satirist skewer the same beliefs.  There is a reason Poe has a law. The denialist doesn’t care if the scientifically literate thinks his arguments are insane.  They only have to make sense to him, because scientific arguments are just accessories to the ideological certainty.

Today we will travel to the Kentucky state legislature to learn a bit about the climate on other planets in our solar system.  Why Kentucky?  Because it may be the only place in the nation where this specific fact can be learned.  No university or high school teaches this bit of trivia, yet here in the Kentucky state Senate, Sen. Brandon Smith is straight up schooling people during a hearing on climate change:

“As you (Energy & Environment Cabinet official) sit there in your chair with your data, we sit up here in ours with our data and our constituents and stuff behind us. I don’t want to get into the debate about climate change, but I will simply point out that I think in academia we all agree that the temperature on Mars is exactly as it is here. Nobody will dispute that. Yet there are no coal mines on Mars. There are no factories on Mars that I’m aware of.”

There is nothing at all I could possibly add to that.  That is a State Senator.  An elected official.  As Ed Brayton points out in his post:

Smith has been elected to the Kentucky House four times and the Kentucky Senate twice.

That, my friends, is weapon grade idiocy.

 

Delusion is Strong with this One

Note:  The following post quotes a story that has since been corrected.  Apparently, the statement that homosexuality doesn’t exist in South Williamsport was not actually said.  This blog, unlike the majority of those on the other side of the spectrum, does care about silly things like facts.  I am keeping the post up because the principal’s decision is still repugnant, and I am sure there are people living in the Williamsport area, and in my own Altoona area, who believe homosexuality is something found only in the evil Sodom like lands of the large metropolis.  Just because this principal didn’t proclaim the delusion doesn’t mean others don’t hold it.

 

Everyday, we walk through a world populated with other members of our species.  For all of us, the vast majority of humanity will forever be strangers, unmet and unnoticed.  Most of those we interact with will also stay strangers, our knowledge of the fellow humans in our social circle increasing with the frequency and nature of contact, ranging from those we see under purely professional circumstances, to acquaintances, to friends, lovers, family.  Those closest to us, we may feel that we know them very well, and we do, in a way.  Yet everyone is a stranger at some level, for we only reside in our own head.  No matter how well we think we understand their thought patterns, no matter how well we feel we can predict their actions, we can never see their actual thoughts.  Each of us owns our own mind, if nothing else.  Does the pastor truly believe the hellfire and brimstone he is spouting from the pulpit or is it just his tactic to fill the collection basket?  Do the cast members honestly think Bigfoot could be in each forest they visit, or are they just grateful for the spot on television?  Does Adam Sandler really think his last ten years of movies are good comedies, or is he on a quest to find out exactly how insulting of a film it takes for the American public to stop paying to see them?  Some questions like this do seem obvious.  For instance, I am fairly certain that neither Ann Coulter or Bill O’Reilly believe every inflammatory statement that they make, that they are to some extent performance artists.  But still, where the actual line between honest belief and publicity seeking lies, only that individual actually knows.

Where am I going with this?  A post over at Dispatches from the Culture Wars got me thinking about the delusions we harbor in our minds,  how they remain hidden unless we ourselves call attention to them, and how well someone can function professionally and socially with a mind that, on some subject, has no grasp on reality.  While I do consider it a delusion, I am not currently referring to religion; the honored place our society reserves for religious beliefs and the sheer number of believers turn a certain level of belief into a helpful delusion in the eyes of many, as long as the religion you delude yourself with is approved by the masses.  No, here I am talking about stranger (although I will certainly admit that believing in ritualized cannibalism of God made flesh, and the idea of God sacrificing Himself to Himself in order for Him to forgive His creations their sins both fit firmly in the “strange” category) and rarer delusions.  Some are mostly harmless.  Does the librarian believe in psychics?  Not likely to matter to me.  Others can be far more disconcerting.  I am willing to bet that at least one member of Congress believes that the Illuminati and the Freemasons secretly control the world.  Perhaps only at the state level, but I am certain that some elected officials believe in reptoids.  Those are delusions I am sure the electorate would wish to be aware of, yet unless they share the belief, it will remain hidden.

It never ceases to amaze me how certain delusions can survive intensive education, how some seem to grow stronger the more contradictory evidence is revealed.  If my doctor believes that autism is caused by vaccines, I want to know so I can quickly find a new doctor, yet even direct questioning will not allow me to know her beliefs for certain.  If I decided to reproduce and my child’s principal or teacher didn’t believe homosexuals lived in our area, I would want to know so I could pay closer attention to the schools policy on social issues.  Which, amusingly enough, is the delusion that set my mind wondering what crazy shit the people I interact with believe.  Here is another link to the post from Ed Brayton:

The principal of a school in Pennsylvania forced the drama department to cancel a production of Monty Python’s Spamalot because two of the characters in it are gay and, she claimed, there are no gay people in their small town so it would be inappropriate.

Dawn Burch, director of the school’s drama department, told WNEP news that Principal Jesse Smith wrote an email to her informing her that homosexuality does not exist in a conservative community such as South Williamsport.

As far as delusions go, this is just about “reptoids are running the government” level crazy.  Ed chalks it up as the bigotry of a small town:

showing gay people in a play? Scandal! Outrage! And, of course, bigotry. Welcome to small town America.

But the delusion is worse than small town bigotry, because honestly, South Williamsport is not a small town.  Pull up a map and you will see that it is fucking part of Williamsport, which is a city!  I once lived in Williamsport.  If you have Google Maps open, my apartment was on W.4th st, right across from the Bullfrog Brewery.  I used to walk to work at Two Boys from Italy along Washington Blvd, and my significant other worked at Wegman’s, right across the river from South Williamsport.  In fact, my downtown apartment, right beside the Community Arts Center, is closer to South Williamsport than my workplace.

This may come as a shock to you all, but there are homosexuals in South Williamsport.  I actually knew homosexuals who lived in South Williamsport.  My best friend in South Williamsport, who I knew at the time as Kevin*, now goes by the name Tiffany* and is in the process of reassignment.  Does this principal believe there are no trans people in South Williamsport as well?  Sorry.  I’d tell the principal that I was in a coven at the time with members from South Williamsport, but I’m afraid finding out there are witches in South Williamsport would explode his brain.

I am willing to concede that South Williamsport has changed some in the decade plus since I lived across the river from it.  I am sure it is a conservative area; my home city of Altoona, Pa is similar in size to Williamsport and is part of the ultra conservative county of Blair.  I am sure that most homosexuals who grew up there got their asses out of dodge as soon as they hit legal age, just as the majority flee Altoona for more progressive areas, but fate and circumstance keep a population within the borders of the city.  Unless every member of the GLBTQ community moved from South Williamsport to Altoona, this principal’s belief is indeed a delusion.  A delusion that is frightening for a public school official to hold.

*names changed to protect my friend from transphobia.

Today’s “Wait, What?!?,” Brought to You by Cognitive Dissonance

Thanks to Tom and Cecil from the Cognitive Dissonance podcast for catching this story from the HuffPo for our amusement/terror:

The debate about global warming is over. A Texas pastor has come up with a watertight theory that will shame the swathe of scientists that have concluded, through precise calculations and years of theoretical modelling, that the rise in the earth’s average temperature is a result of increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases.

Rather than man-made carbon emissions, global warming is in fact due to… the imminent return of Jesus. How did the scientists miss it? Speaking to his flock in a recent TV broadcast, Matthew Hagee explains that when scientists contradict the world of God, “God’s word is accurate and men are wrong”.

Well, of course.  Why didn’t I think of that?  And I’ve even read the Bible multiple times, you’d think I would have caught the part about climate change and how we shouldn’t worry about it.  Let’s see what proof Matthew Hagee found in the greatest text in the world.

As the pastor explains: “The Bible says that whenever we approach the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ that there would be strange weather patterns. Jesus said this in Matthew the twenty-fifth chapter.

“So we have a decision to make: do we believe what an environmentalist group says and choose to live in a world where we’re attempting to make everything as clean in the air as possible, or do we believe what the Bible says, that these things were going to happen and that rather than try to clean up all of the air and solve all of the problems of the world by eliminating factories, we should start to tell people about Jesus Christ who is to return?”

*facepalm*  Matthew 25?  How stupid am I not to have noticed that?  I mean, I was thinking that he found the proof hidden deep in one of the less flashy books in the Bible, something like Titus, Chapter 3 or Ecclesiastes, Chapter 11, Verses 2-6, but right there in one of the Gospels?  I mean, fuck!  There are only 4 of them, and everyone who reads the Bible has read them.  Hell, even most people who say they have read the Bible when what they really mean is they believe in the Bible and are Christian so they are going to tell pollsters that they have read the Bible have read at least one of the Gospels.  I see it now, it is all so clear to me…….

Wait a second.  Matthew 25?  *sound of pages flipping*

Okay kids, all together now:

Wait, What?!?

Matthew 25 is long enough that I am not going to quote it here.  It consists of the Parable of the Ten Virgins, the Parable of the Silver Pieces, and The Last Judgement.  (Or NIV version, The Parable of the Ten Virgins,  The Parable of the Bags of Gold, and Sheep and Goats.)  In fact, here is the NIV version, in case you do not have your Bible ready at hand.

I am well and truly sorry, but I am going to have to call “shenanigans” on Pastor Matthew Hagee.  If I were forced to bet on the matter, my money would be on the good Pastor figuring he could tell believers whatever the fuck he wanted to and claim that Jesus said it as well, because he knew that not one of the believers he was talking to would check to see if he was actually full of shit.  Of course, that is if I was a betting man.  Pastor M. Hagee could have meant to cite a different chapter, or he could actually believe he sees Jesus saying what he claims he says, through his personal way of reading between the lines.  But I doubt it.

Think about it.  Sure, we know that Matthew 25 does not say what he claims it says.  But he isn’t talking to us.  He isn’t going to change some progressives mind on climate change by quoting the Bible anymore than we are going to change some conservatives mind by showing them peer reviewed studies.  This is just one more roadblock in the way of meaningfully dealing with climate change.  Now there is a group of people who believe Jesus predicted it in Matthew 25 and it is therefor a good thing.  In addition to the other groups with their own mind-numbingly dumb objections to science and reality.  If you made it through this winter without hearing the words, “God, it is cold and there is so much snow.  I bet those people who believed in global warming feel stupid now.” then you are a luckier person than me.

Cosmos: Too Soon to Judge, But…..

This past Sunday marked the premier of the Cosmos reboot, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Seth MacFarlane and the Fox Network’s remake of Carl Sagan’s classic science mini-series.  Fox did everything it could, so it seems, to make sure as many viewers as possible tuned in to the first episode, capping off the promotional blitz leading up to the premier with a statement from President Obama, and then airing the first episode on a myriad of channels.

While I do not believe this version of Cosmos has any chance of reaching the significance of Carl Sagan’s version, I also do not believe that is even a fair criticism.  The television landscape has changed more than most of us can even comprehend since the original airing of Cosmos.  Science fans, and those of us who mourn the day reality shows took over channels such as National Geographic will no doubt tune in each week.  For most of us, Cosmos will be a review of fascinating things we already know.  For me, the question is how many of those for whom this is new information will choose this over the other seemingly infinite entertainment choices?

For a series such as this, one episode is far too small of a taste to give a fair review.  I will definitely be tuning in next week, but that really isn’t saying anything.  With the lack of documentaries, especially astronomical/cosmological documentaries, now that shows like Amish Mafia dominate, Cosmos would have had to literally claim the Earth was 6000 years old for me to stop watching after one episode.  While I feel it is too early to pass judgement on the show, there are a few things I want to point out.

Hitting the positives first, the effects are awe-inspiring.  I have no doubt that Cosmos is going to feature some of the most impressive effects ever seen.  Hopefully they will draw people in who will stay and learn from the science.  Neil Tyson a rockstar.  He is the only science communicator who I think could fill the Carl Sagan role for the reboot, and this far in I think he is doing a fine job.  The most memorable part of the first episode, for me, was his snowy bus stop story of meeting Sagan.  I was already familiar with the story, but that didn’t stop it from bringing a tear to my eye.

Now a couple negatives….

First off, I think Fox really dropped the ball by not finding a sponsor willing to let them present the first episode either commercial free or with limited interruptions.  Maybe a block of ads right after the title sequence or something?  I know that ads are what pays the bills and allows shows like this to be made in the first place, but I find it hard to believe, with the amount of channels they were airing the premier on, that they couldn’t have found a sponsor or two willing.  The amount of commercial breaks was jarring and made it seem much more like just another documentary and less like the start of a special, 13 week event.  Of course, I can’t lay this criticism at the feet of Cosmos.  This ball was dropped by Fox.

The next issue I had though is all Cosmos, and I fully expect that most people will accuse me of picking nits over it.  And perhaps I am.  Of course, with a science documentary, the most important thing in my mind is getting the science right instead of reinforcing misconceptions.  Yet twice during the trip through the solar system the visual designers chose to either pick artistic license or popular misconceptions over reality.  First, by portraying the asteroid belt as described in multiple sci-fi flicks instead of astronomy textbooks, and then doubling down later in the trip by having the space ship weaving through a flock of trans-Neptunian objects when they came to the Kuiper belt.  Now I completely understand that showing the asteroid belt and the Kuiper belt as they are would make a much more boring shot than what they went with.  (The vast majority of both belts is empty space.)  That being said, by showing the belts as they really are, Cosmos could have helped fix a major misconception people have about the asteroid belt.  Instead, they chose to reinforce it.  Here, from Phil Plait’s first book, Bad Astronomy:

Astronomer Dan Durda puts it this way:  imagine a scale model of the solar system where the Sun is a largish beach ball a meter across.  The Earth would be a marble 1 centimeter in size located about 100 meters from the Sun.  Mars would be a pea about 150 meters away from the Sun, and Jupiter, the size of a softball, about 500 meters out.

If you collected all the asteroids in the main belt and balled them up, they would be in toto about the size of a grain of sand.  Now imagine crushing that grain of sand into millions of pieces and strewing it all over the hundreds of thousands of square meters between Mars and Jupiter in the model.  See the problem?  You could tool around out there for months and never see an asteroid, let alone two.

 

So am I nit-picking here?  Perhaps, and if that is the only bit, to borrow Phil’s phrase, of bad astronomy we see in Cosmos (not going to mention the space ship making a sound as it passed by us in space, not going to do it….) I won’t hold it against the series as a whole.  It does worry me though.  What other bits of artistic license are we going to see them take?

I hope the viewers are tuning in, and I hope this Cosmos is a huge success.  I for one, want more things like this on the air, and less dynasties that involve the instruments of fowl genocide.

 

 

Mitch McConnell Hearts The Violence Against Women Act, Can We Get a “Wait, What?!?”

Silly Republicans.  We’re not all as gullible as your average Fox News viewer.

Senate Minority leader Mitch “I love filibusters so much, I filibustered my own bill” McConnell, famous for performing, in the words of Lawrence O’Donnell, “the most idiotic thing any minority leader has ever done on the Senate floor,”and the man I would most like to see sitting across a poker table from me, is up for re-election, and like all Republicans Senator Mitch has a women problem.  Funny how waging a war against the 50.8% of the nation with vaginas leads to a little backlash against your party, isn’t it?  Senator Mitch is dealing with the problem with the time tested method of gathering a few token members of the population together into a group in your favor.  Ladies and gentlemen, I give you “Women For Team Mitch”, an event held on Friday where press packets featuring testimonials from Kentucky women.  I know, I guess some women want government inside their vaginas.  Weird, isn’t it?  And a bit kinky.  Maybe it is a side effect of the whole “Fifty Shades….” craze.  Think again, ladies.  From what I hear, the GOP ignores the safe word.

One of these testimonials caught the eye of an alert reporter for the Louisville-based LEO Weekly, Joe Sonka, who posted it on Twitter.  Let’s turn to TPM for the rest of the story:

The quote, attributed to a woman named Angela Leet in Jefferson County, read, “Mitch was the co-sponsor of the original Violence Against Women Act- and continues to advocate for stronger policies to protect women. I am proud to call him my senator.”

Wow.  I didn’t know Mitch was such a crusader for women’s rights.  What a stand up guy.  See, not all Republi…wait a second here.  This is Mitch McConnell, right?

McConnell did cosponsor a version of the Violence Against Woman Act in 1991, which never received a Senate vote. But by the time the measure came up again in 1993, McConnell was no longer a cosponsor, and in fact voted against final passage of the bill. In 2005, it was renewed by an unrecorded voice vote. In 2012, McConnell voted against the Senate-passed VAWA, which died in the House. Then early in 2013, he again voted against VAWA re-authorization, which passed the Senate by a vote of 78-22, and eventually passed the House and was signed into law.

Wait, What?!?  A member of the Republican party, a member in a leadership position, engaging in deception?  Say it isn’t so!  I wonder what Democratic candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes would say about this if she found out?   Would she ovary up and call him a lying liar who lies?

“The women of Kentucky will not be fooled by Senator McConnell’s failed leadership and deception when it comes to issues important to women and their families,” Grimes spokeswoman Charly Norton told TPM. “His actions read loud and clear: McConnell repeatedly voted against equal pay for equal work, the Violence Against Women Act and now turns to lies to cover his shameful record.”

Hmmm.  Not as pithy as “lying liar who lies,” but close enough.