Kimmel to Palin: “You Just Got Served!” ($&@#, Do People Still Say That? Am I Just Showing My Age Again?)

So if you’ve been able to peel your eyes away from the trainwreck currently taking place in the GOP presidential primary, then you are probably aware that climate science deniers have a new “movie” out, promoted by esteemed scientist Sarah Palin as well as Weather Channel founder John Coleman.  Climate Hustle is the latest attempt  by the deniers to trick the general public into believing man made climate change is some vast, underpants gnome-like conspiracy the left is using to fuck over white working class Christians, rather than an actual problem that we’ve already ignored for far too long that 97%* of scientists working in related fields agree is definitely taking place.

Look guys, I get it.  Climate change is scary.  It is a serious problem and we’re at the point now that any effective effort to fix it is going to be painful, especially to our wealthy western way of life.  I’m not immune.  I love steak.  Fucking love it.  I run an air conditioner constantly in order to make my attic room livable rather than just moving everything downstairs into a spare room each summer.  I take long, meaningless drives so my Chow can hang her head out the window and have her excitement.  Sure, I’ve taken steps to have a smaller carbon footprint, but the vast majority of changes I made were relatively pain free.  Ignorance is bliss; it means I can run my AC unit as much as I want and eat that 16 oz ribeye guilt free.  But it is happening.  Fast.  It is the climate changing, not necessarily the current weather, so just cause we get some snow doesn’t negate the fact that we keep setting records for hottest year, practically every year.  I don’t want to give climate change credit for things it didn’t cause, and I know we had an el nino this year, but damn, if you live in Pennsylvania tell me this wasn’t the strangest fall/winter/spring you have ever lived through.  Globally, the temperatures are rising, the ice is melting, and the oceans are rising.  And this is all shit that a layperson can figure out without an advanced degree in the relevant science.  What kind of a world are we leaving for the future generations?  Are we really that selfish, that deniers with conflicts of interest that make Andrew Wakefield blush can cause so many of us to doubt 97%* of climate scientists?

But, but, but….the founder of the Weather Channel!!!!  What about him, hmmm?  Checkmate, atheist liberal progressive person who accepts scientific consensus.  Wow, the founder of the Weather Channel?  That’s incredibly….meaningless.  Is John Coleman a climate scientist?  Is he publishing current research that challenges the results the rest of climate science keeps coming up with?

Both Fox News and CNN have recently invited John Coleman, one of the founders of The Weather Channel and former TV meteorologist, to express his views about climate change to their national audiences. Coleman is simply an awful choice to discuss this issue. He lacks credentials, many of his statements about climate change completely lack substance or mislead, and I’m not even sure he knows what he actually believes.

To begin, Coleman hasn’t published a single peer-reviewed paper pertaining to climate change science. His career, a successful and distinguished one, was in TV weather for over half a century, prior to his retirement in San Diego last April. He’s worked in the top markets: Chicago and New York, including a 7-year stint on Good Morning America when it launched. If you watch Coleman on-camera, his skill is obvious. He speaks with authority, injects an irreverent sense of humor and knows how to connect with his viewer.

But a climate scientist, he is not.

“Many people don’t accept my position that there is no significant man-made global warming because I am simply a Television Meteorologist without a Ph.D.,” he admitted in a blog post. “I understand that.”

I urge you all to go and read that whole article, it makes the point perfectly why it is one thing for a non-scientist to examine the data and agree that climate change is man made and happening, yet a completely different animal for them to look at the issue and declare that practically every climate scientist in the world is wrong or lying.  But the main point I’m concerned with is the meaninglessness of John Coleman’s scientific opinion on any subject.

Palin is actually worse.  No matter the subject, there is only one person I trust less than Sarah Palin in the United States and that person lived in Sarah’s womb for 9 months.  Yet sadly, for some reason probably related to why Donald Trump is the presumptive GOP nominee for President, some people out there continue to not only care what she has to say, but actually consider her opinion when forming their own.  And when faced with Sarah Palin’s endorsement of this oil company propaganda film, today’s best course of action is to turn it over to Jimmy Kimmel**.

Boom, mic drop.  (There, that’s more current, right?)

** Yes, those were 13 words I never thought I would write in that order.

*Okay, time to make the climate deniers change their pants.  Saying that 97% of climate scientists agree that man made climate change is real and currently happening is misleading and I will never quote the statistic again after this post.  Why?  Well, sorry deniers, you shot your wads a bit prematurely, which I am sure has never happened to any of you before.***  Let’s go to volume 39.6 of the Skeptical Inquirer to check out an article by James Lawrence Powell: (Bolding is mine, as always.)

Since it is inconceivable that any climate scientist today could have no opinion on the subject, if 97 percent accept AGW it follows that 3 percent reject it. To those outside of science, 3 percent may seem an insignificant percentage. However, we scientists know that a small minority has often turned out to be right, otherwise there would have been no scientific revolutions. In the 1950s, for example, the percentage of American geologists who accepted continental drift was likely less than 3 percent. Yet they were right.

If there were a 3 percent minority on AGW it would matter, but there is not. The “97% consensus” is false. The percentage of publishing climate scientists who accept AGW is at least 99.9 percent and may verge on unanimity.

*cut out tweet from Obama here*

How, then, has nearly everyone from President Obama on down come to buy the claim of a 97 percent consensus? The figure comes from a 2013 article in Environmental Research Letters by Cook et al. titled “Quantifying the Consensus on Anthropogenic Global Warming in the Scientific Literature.” They reported that “Among abstracts expressing a position on AGW, 97.1% endorsed the consensus position that humans are causing global warming” (emphasis added). The 97 percent figure went viral and, not surprisingly, the qualifying phrase “expressing a position”—the fine print, if you will—got dropped. But those three words expose the false assumption inherent in the Cook et al. methodology.

Cook et al. used the Web of Science science-citation research site to review the titles and abstracts of peer-reviewed articles from 1991–2011 with the keywords “global climate change” and “global warming.” They classified the articles into seven categories from “(1) Explicit endorsement with quantification” to “(7) Explicit rejection with quantification.” In the middle was “(4) No position.”

The sine qua non of the Cook et al. method is the assumption that publishing scientists who accept a theory will say so—they will “endorse” it in the title or abstract. To count an article as part of the consensus, Cook et al. required that it “address or mention the cause of global warming.” Of the 11,944 articles that came up in their search, 7,970—two thirds—did not. Cook et al. classified those articles as taking no position and thus ruled them out of the consensus.

Do we need to know any more to realize that there is something wrong with the Cook et al. method? The consensus is what the majority accept; you cannot rule out a two-thirds majority and still derive the consensus.

Moreover, is it true that scientists routinely endorse the ruling paradigm of their discipline? To find out, I used the Web of Science to review articles in three fields: plate tectonics, the origin of lunar craters, and evolution.

Of 500 recent articles on “plate tectonics,” none in my opinion endorsed the theory directly or explicitly. Nor did a single article reject plate tectonics.


What of lunar craters? As recently as 1964, nearly every scientist who had studied the moon believed that its craters were volcanic. Then in July of that year, the first successful Ranger mission returned thousands of photographs showing that the moon exhibits craters ranging in size from the colossal to the microscopic. Except for a few senior holdouts, scientists quickly embraced the meteorite impact theory.


I reviewed the abstracts of the most recent 100 articles, which go back to 1997. As with plate tectonics, none explicitly endorsed meteorite impact, nor did any reject it.


Do biologists writing about evolution routinely endorse Darwin’s theory? I reviewed the abstracts of articles in the Journal of Evolutionary Biology from 2000 through 2014. Of 303 articles, 261 had abstracts. Not surprisingly, none of the 261 rejected the modern evolutionary synthesis; neither did any endorse it.

That’s all I’m going to quote from it, but seriously, if you are interested in that 97% number and ever wondered about the apparent 3% who do not accept climate change, you owe it to yourself to read the whole thing.  The actual number is far closer to 99.9%.

***Yeah, I once received constructive criticism that I should leave out little digs like that, or my insinuations that MRAs possess micropenises, and while I understand the critique, in the famous words of Popeye, I yam what I yam.

Move Over Todd Akin, It’s Pete Nielsen Time!

Remember Todd Akin?  Remember how he said that abortion restrictions didn’t need exceptions for rape because “legitimate rape” doesn’t result in pregnancy?  Remember how he lost a senate race that should have been a cake walk mainly due to that comment?

After the amazing crash and burn Akin performed for the nation back in 2012, you would think that Republicans would learn a lesson from the whole fiasco.  You’d be wrong, of course.  Why?  Damned if I know.  Maybe it’s because some of them really believe, with zero evidence, that, ahem, “legitimate” rape is too traumatic to result in conception.  Or maybe it is an “ends justify the means” situation, where as long as it results in punishing women for being sexual beings.  What, you thought I was going to strike that out and end the sentence with “less abortions?”  Why?  When has the so-called “pro-life” movement ever supported something with an actual chance of lowering the number of abortions?  They can say they care about the unborn child all they want, but until they stop opposing common sense measures, like Colorado’s long term contraception initiative for an example, measures that are actually effective at lowering the rate of abortion, why should any of us give them the benefit of the doubt as to their motives?  They aren’t just protesting Planned Parenthood’s abortion facilities; they want it all shut down, because this has much more to do with women’s sexuality than the fate of some fetuses.  Nothing should prove that faster than the speed at which they cease caring about the child upon birth.

Whatever their reasons may be, they keep beating that same old drum.  Today’s “Wait, What?!?” is brought to you by the Idaho legislature.  “I da Ho?  Well then close your damn legs, ya slut!”

From The Spokesman-Review:

During the hearing Rep. Pete Nielsen, R-Mountain Home, said, “Now, I’m of the understanding that in many cases of rape it does not involve any pregnancy because of the trauma of the incident. That may be true with incest a little bit.”


Nielsen stood by his remarks after the hearing, saying pregnancy “doesn’t happen as often as it does with consensual sex, because of the trauma involved.”

Asked how he knew that, he said, “That’s information that I’ve had through the years. Whether it’s totally accurate or not, I don’t know.”

He added, “I read a lot of information. I have read it several times. … Being a father of five girls, I’ve explored this a lot.”

Why, may I ask, has this man “explored this a lot”?  Hopefully it is for work, and not an attempt to figure out how likely his daughters would be to get pregnant if he…….

Moving on….

The scientific consensus on the issue is that rape is as likely to result in pregnancy as consensual sex, and some studies suggest the rate of pregnancy is higher in rape. A 2003 study that appeared in the scientific journal “Human Nature,” for instance, found that the rate of pregnancy from rape exceeded the rate of pregnancy from consensual sex by a “sizable margin.”

Is it any wonder if a percentage of the anti-choice brigade decides to ignore scientific consensus?  Members of the GOP already freely ignore the scientific consensus when it comes to evolution and global warming, what would make this a bridge too far?  Of course, in those cases the only people being called “liars” are scientists and biology teachers.  I wonder if they stop and think that by holding on to the “legitimate rape doesn’t cause pregnancy” thing that they are directly calling every rape victim who got pregnant from her attack a liar?

Something tells me they just don’t care.

Two Quick Things.

First off, greetings m’lord, how’s the fog and  rain?  Not sure what caused the rather large influx of visitors from the U.K., but I’m not complaining.  Some of my fondest memories occurred on the British Isles.

Of course, that’s not enough to warrant a post, so….

Progressives, liberals, or whatever you prefer to call yourselves.  Can we please get off Ahmed Mohamed‘s underage dick?

He built a clock.  Yeah, the school’s response was idiotic, especially since they knew damn well it wasn’t a bomb (cause if they actually would have any doubts, you can bet the school would have been evacuated and the bomb squad called in to make sure), but it isn’t like this is the first time a school has responded idiotically to a zero threat situation.  Yeah, a lot of the stories the right’s outrage machine cranks out are false.  Kids don’t get suspended for reading the Bible, or praying silently at their desk.  But a girl did get strip searched over an Advil and a kid did get suspended for chewing his Pop Tart into a gun like shape.  I don’t remember either of them getting invitations to the White House, though the right did admittedly try to make the Pop Tart Bandit into a poster child for something or other.  (Which was every bit as ridiculous as the left making the Clock kid into a celebrity.)

Let’s be honest.

Photo provided by the Irvine, Texas, Police Department of the digital clock that 14-year-old Ahmed Mohammed made from a pencil case.
Photo provided by the Irvine, Texas, Police Department of the digital clock that 14-year-old Ahmed Mohammed made from a pencil case.

That is awesome.  When I was 14, if I would have built something like that I would have been proud as well, and I would have also wanted to show it off.  But in a post-9/11 America, where people are on edge and taught to report any unattended package, can you kinda understand how someone may look at that and get a bit freaked out?  Hell, first time I saw the picture, with no background information, I thought it was a fake bomb.  I would have still brought it in to show my science teacher, but I first would have explained to him/her what I was bringing in before hand.

Was the school’s response colored by a healthy dose of Islamophobia?  Yeah, probably.  Is it sad that we live in a country where I would urge any young person, no matter their race or religion, not to bring an awesome science project to school if anyone could possibly mistake it for a bomb?  Yep, definitely.  National paranoia doesn’t make us safer, just less free.  Depending on racial/religious profiling to prevent terrorism just increases the likelihood that the people behind the next attack don’t fit into those categories.  Protip: Not every Islamic terrorist looks like the stereotypical Islamic terrorist.  Do you think they can’t read or listen to the news?  That they are unaware that we pay special attention to those who “look terroristy?”That all, or even most terrorists are Islamic?  *cough*OklahomaCity*cough*

Ahmed Mohammed never should have been put in handcuffs.  The school’s reaction was insane.  But all “zero tolerance” policies are insane, just like mandatory minimum sentences are insane.  But he isn’t a “hero,” just another victim of the “zero tolerance” society we are creating.  I’m reluctant to do any victim blaming here, because I am far from convinced the school would have had the same reaction if he would have been Christian and white.

So yeah, feel free to continue bitching about a “zero tolerance” system that routinely treats kids like criminals for nothing.  But get off this kid’s dick already.  He’s underage.

I’ll Take “Civic Ignorance” for $1000, Alex.

Like, I assume, countless local newspapers, my local fishwrap has a regular “Sunday Viewpoints” feature where they ask local citizens their opinion on a currently hot topic and print their answers along with their mugshot a nice, always flattering picture.  In addition, the Altoona Mirror also runs whatever question they happen to be asking this week as a web poll and use this opportunity to print those incredibly scientific results as well.  I am unsure if the Mirror posts the Sunday Viewpoint feature online, and if they do by some chance it will almost certainly be behind a paywall, so I took the liberty of snapping a museum worthy picture of this Sunday’s question so you know the feature isn’t the same as the “no-go zones” in Paris.

0727150909-00So in case you are reading this on your phone, or unable to tell just because of the incredible quality of my picture, this week’s question was “What do you think about the Iranian nuclear treaty?”  The results of the web poll are worthy of a massive face-palm, yet wholly unsurprising; this part of Pennsylvania isn’t called “Pennsyltucky” for its progressive political stances.  A full 49% of the respondents chose “The world will pay for this mistake,” a fact that is even more mind-blowing when you notice “It increases Iran’s power and destabilizes the Middle East ” was also available as an option.  (An option that apparently didn’t fully convey the sense of outrage so many people were being told to feel by Fox News and the GOP feeling.)  Anyway, here are the full results of this oh so scientific poll:

  • The world will pay for this mistake: 49%
  • It increases Iran’s…………Middle East: 15%
  • It won’t make any difference: 13%
  • It’s a fair deal for all involved: 13%
  • It delays Iran’s nuclear ambitions: 9%

“The world will pay for this mistake.”  Or, in the eloquent words of one Beth Sanders of Altoona:

“I think we made a deal with the devil, and I think Obama should be impeached over it.”

Holy shit, impeachment? You mean the Iranian deal has reached blowjob level?  Oh, never mind, that was back in the Clinton days when it took a blowjob to get impeached.  The current GOP would impeach Obama for breathing through his nose like a socialist\communist\ nazi\ satanist\ atheist\ muslim\french\elitist\professor\liberal in his ivory tower instead of through the mouth like good, God-fearing ‘Merikkkans if they could get away with it.  Taking Satanic deals and impeachment proceedings off the table, perhaps one Joe Falger, also of Altoona, sums up the feelings of my home area the best:

“I think we’re getting screwed in the deal.”

Thank you, Joe, and thank you as well, Beth, for sharing your opinions and thoughts on the pressing issues of the day.  In fact, thanks to all of you who took the time to answer the poll question on the Mirror’s web page.  It is enlightening to know what you all think.

Know what I think?

I think that not one of you, not Beth, not Joe, and not the 49% who insist that this is a mistake that the world will regret, have any concept of what is actually in the deal we signed with Iran.  I understand that this “man on the street” feature is not designed with this in mind, but if I was the journalist tasked with asking people this question I would not be able to resist a follow up.  “Oh, you think this is a deal with the devil?  And Obama should be impeached over it?  Well, can you tell me one, for lack of time and space, of your no doubt countless problems with the treaty?”  Oh, you think we are getting screwed in this deal?  Well, in your opinion then, what part of the treaty do you feel bends us over the table the most?”  I would bet a significant amount of cold, hard cash that any answers to the follow up would consist of blank stares, “ums,” and attempts to get out of admitting that they do not have one iota of factual information regarding the treaty.  They are against the treaty with Iran because Fox News, or whatever conservative media outlet they get their information from told them they are against the treaty, and that is good enough for them, just like “Obamacare” was perfectly fine when it was a Republican policy idea or when Mitt Romney was putting it in practice in Massachusetts, yet nothing but socialism, death panels, and the end of liberty and freedom when Obama elected to use this Republican policy to get some health reform passed.

Yes, I suppose that everyone has the right to their own opinion, but that doesn’t mean I (or anyone else for that matter) am required to respect your ignorant opinion, or even pay the slightest attention to it.  Your ignorant opinion on a subject you are ignorant on doesn’t deserve a soapbox or a megaphone to magnify it to the masses.  Informed opinions, even those I disagree with, deserve respect.  Ignorant opinions deserve to be ignored.

Look, I understand.  It is a complicated world, and with so much going on everyday it is very hard to stay well informed.  It is so much easier to just tune into Fox News or open up The Daily Kos and have other people tell you what you think.  The problem is that we live in a democracy (okay, a representative democracy for the pedantic amongst us) and a democracy depends on an informed electorate.  It may be your right to vote, but it is your duty to educate yourself on the issues and candidates, and when we allow all our information to come from an obviously partisan source, we betray the nation so many of us claim to love with all of our hearts.

And I apologize if it seems like I am picking on you (if you happened to google up your name and found this post), but anyone who would say the treaty with Iran was “A deal with the devil” worthy of impeachment is obviously parroting back words they heard elsewhere.

Sigh.  Why did racists have to use literacy tests to discriminate against black voters in the past?  Because a full half of the ideas I come up with to help fix our dying democracy include some form of civics test in order to vote, and I completely understand why that would never fly.

Alright, I have carpets to scrub.  If I get done quickly, I may be back with a few more posts a bit later.  Oh, by the way.  I’m back.

Ending the Disease Model, or “It Isn’t My Fault I Keep Shooting All This Heroin. I Have a Disease!”

Salon has a good piece up today on the book “The Biology of Desire: Why Addiction is Not a Disease.”

Lewis’s argument is actually fairly simple: The disease theory, and the science sometimes used to support it, fail to take into account the plasticity of the human brain. Of course, “the brain changes with addiction,” he writes. “But the way it changes has to do with learning and development — not disease.” All significant and repeated experiences change the brain; adaptability and habit are the brain’s secret weapons. The changes wrought by addiction are not, however, permanent, and while they are dangerous, they’re not abnormal. Through a combination of a difficult emotional history, bad luck and the ordinary operations of the brain itself, an addict is someone whose brain has been transformed, but also someone who can be pushed further along the road toward healthy development. (Lewis doesn’t like the term “recovery” because it implies a return to the addict’s state before the addiction took hold.)

I could turn this into an epic rant against the Disease Model or against 12 Step programs, but I’d rather you just go and check out the post at Salon, or even better, just check out and read the book itself and cut Salon out of the deal completely. Of course, I can’t completely stop myself from bitching, so….

Without a doubt, AA and similar programs have helped a lot of people.

No article on addiction treatment can be complete, no matter how antithetical it may be to them, without sucking off the 12 Steps.

The Curious Response from the Right to Charleston

So a white 21 year old, whose since removed Facebook page featured a picture of him wearing a jacket with the flags of apartheid South Africa and white-ruled Rhodesia, whose car sported a Confederate flag commemorative plate, who had a reputation for making racist jokes and having real “Southern pride” and “Strong conservative views,” who had recently made a habit out of talking about black people “taking over the world,” drives two hours away from his home to an African American church with a strong history in the civil rights movement and kills 9 people and yet there is a segment of the population that insists the shooting had nothing to do with race.


When a black individual attacks a white person, it is obviously a case of “kill whitey” black on white racism.  If a person of Middle Eastern descent kills a white person, it is obviously either terrorism or anti-American racism.  But every time the perpetrator happens to be white, then it is always mental illness.

Rand Paul:

“There’s a sickness in our country, there’s something terribly wrong, but it isn’t going to be fixed by your government,” the libertarian-leaning Kentucky Senator Rand Paul told a group of religious conservatives in Washington. “It’s people not understanding where salvation comes from.”

Ted Cruz, from the same article:

“A sick and deranged person came and prayed with an historically black congregation for an hour and then murdered nine innocent souls,” Cruz said, without referring to the race of the shooter.

Lindsey Graham takes the “its not about race, its about religion” approach:

South Carolina Senator and presidential candidate Lindsey Graham pointed outthat it’s Christians who are the serial killer flavor of the month: “It’s 2015, there are people out there looking for Christians to kill them.”

Fox & Friends did the same, as only they can:

Fox & Friends couldn’t help dumbing down the debate by framing it simply as an “Attack on Faith,” while anchor Steve Doocy wondered aloud how people could “unbelievably” “call it a hate crime.”

Jeb Bush, like always, waited as long as possible before answering to judge which way the wind was blowing, and came up with this:

“I don’t know what was on the mind or the heart of the man who committed these atrocious crimes,” Bush told the crowd gathered for the annual Faith and Freedom Coalition Conference in Washington, DC. He called the crime an “evil act of aggression” and said that “this has had a big impact on me.” But he didn’t refer to the racial motivations of the 21-year-old Roof.

Huffington Post reporter Laura Bassett later asked the former Florida governor if the attacks were racially motivated. Bush replied, “I don’t know.” He then clarified that it “looks to me like it was,” but reiterated that he didn’t know.

Now remember, this isn’t like the majority of mass shootings……..  Okay, hold on one second.  How fucking sad is it that I am typing that sentence in 2015 America?  “The majority of mass shootings.”  I know, mass shootings happen in other countries.  I just watched a documentary on the Hungerford Massacre, and I am aware of incidents such as the Port Arthur massacre and the 2011 Norway attacks.  I get it, mass shootings are not a strictly American pastime, but seriously, it seems like it is every fucking week here in the United States.  Sorry….

Now remember, this isn’t like the majority of mass shootings.  This time, the fucking murdering scum didn’t kill himself.  (I’m sure he thinks he’ll have a great life in the Aryan Brotherhood in prison or something.)  We don’t have to guess why he did it because we know in his own fucking words.

When he committed the murders, he reportedly told the victims, “I have to do it. You rape our women and you’re taking over our country and you have to go.” And after he was arrested, he confessed to authorities that he committed the crime to start a “race war.

If it is obviously about race, why do they insist on trying to pretend its not about race?  Hint: It has something to do with having to appeal to the “base,” who is really the lunatic fringe who vote in large numbers during the primary season, and hence control the GOP and the right.

At least, that’s the only idea I have.

Me: Wow, the sky sure is blue today.

GOP Presidential Candidate #1: Looks yellow to me.  What do you say, Joe?

GOP Presidential Candidate #2: Yeah, definitely yellow.  How about you, John?

GOP Presidential Candidate #3 : Yellow with a touch of mauve.  How about it, Frank?

GOP Presidential Candidate #4: Well, I can see why a liberal may think it is blue, it is definitely yellow.  Where’s Waldo, anyways?

Fox & Friends Host: People must literally have ripped their own eyes out of the socket and flushed them down the sewer if they think that sky is blue.  It is the most yellow sky in the 6000 year history of the earth.

Brietbart Exclusive: Sarah Palin says people who think the sky is blue hate America!

Press release from the AFA: First the homosexual agenda came for your marriage, and now they have come for your sky color.  Once the courts rule the sky is blue, the Gay Mafia will turn it pink just like that!

Fox News: Special Alert 24 hour coverage of Blueghazi

Alex Jones: Its going to be FEMA concentration camps for those people who deny the “blueness” of the sky.  Just part of Obama’s plan.

The 700 Club: Suggests that those people who think the sky is blue may be possessed by a demon.

Much, much later, GOP Presidential Candidate Waldo: “Actually, the sky is kinda black tonight.”



I guess it could be worse.  They could all be giving the answer a certain NRA Board Member gave.  Take it away, Charles Cotton:

“Eight of his church members who might be alive if he had expressly allowed members to carry handguns in church are dead. Innocent people died because of his position on a political issue.”

No comment needed.

A Creative Definition of Being “Cursed Out”

I have a confession to make.  I feel that some “liberal” causes are, quite honestly, a bridge too far.  I put liberal in quotes in that confession because while these ideas almost invariably come from liberals or progressives, I consider them fringe ideas that are not held by the majority of “liberals.”  You know, like if I said that banning contraceptives was a conservative cause, I’d put “conservative” in quotes because I realize that it a very extreme belief not held by the majority of con….Okay, bad example.  I’ll try again.  You know, like if I said that open carry was a conservative cause, I’d put…goddammit.  Third try.  You know, like if I said that starting a new crusade and wiping Islam off the map was a conservativ…..  You know, with the way the GOP politicians rush to give the most conservative members of their base totally not gay rim jobs out of fear of being primaried, I have no fucking clue what is an actual conservative cause, and what is just the lunatic fringe with a megaphone.  Deep down my faith in humanity has me convinced that all three of the above beliefs are on the extreme fringe, that the Republican party has a large silent majority that leans more moderate, but every time a moderate member of the GOP gets pasted like Jojen* by a far right wack-a-loon in the primary, this core belief of mine gets shaken just a little bit more.  One last try.  If I said that wearing a white sheet while singing the praises of Hitler was a conservative cause, I would put “conservative” in quotes, because for once, I am actually sure that is a very extreme belief not held by the majority of conservatives.  Finally.

So no, I was not tweeting with the “CancelColbert” hashtag.  While I am aware of my white, male, middle class privilege and do what I can to promote equality and call people out for bigotry, I am not going to remove the words “crazy,” “insane,” “insanity,” or “batshit” from my vocabulary because someone suffering from a mental illness thinks the usage of those words is discriminatory.  Maybe I’m wrong.  Maybe I’m a hypocrite.  Perhaps I just haven’t faced a compelling argument.  All I know is as a person who has been diagnosed as major depressive with social anxiety disorder and ADHD, I am not insulting people suffering with mental illness when I say that Ted Cruz is full of batshit insanity.  Language is fluid, and I see major differences between those words and gender/racial/sexuality specific derogatory words.  I’m not being “ableist.”  Those words have well known and widely accepted definitions separate from referring to people with mental illness.  As I said, maybe I’m wrong, but I have yet to hear a convincing argument.

These are the types of “liberal” causes I am talking about.  I have to believe that the majority of progressives don’t consider the word “insane” to be off limits, and while many may not think that individual Colbert Report tweet was funny, especially out of context, I haven’t seen many recent liberal boycotts of Stephen.

Was there a point to any of that?  Probably not.  But it was the best way I could come up with to introduce this story, which you can consider today’s “Wait….What?!?” if you’d like.  If you’ve spent any time here at FD, you more than likely have realized that I read Salon quite a bit.  To be honest, it is one of my favorite stops on the web, hence the frequent stories that link back to Salon.  One story today made me question that, and actually start poking around for a few new progressive sites to call my home.  And while I know that is quite an extreme reaction for one story, well….. that’s what a bad taste it left in my mouth.

The story in question?  Jon Stewart cursed me out: I dared question a “Daily Show” warm-up comic’s racist jokes. Feel free to go and read the article for yourself, and form your own opinion.  I’ll wait.

For those of you who didn’t feel like clicking the link, or clicked then said “I’m not reading all of that,” I will attempt to summarize.  In April of 2008, six years ago, the author attended a taping of The Daily Show, looking forward to seeing John Stewart and the show live and in person.  Before the show began, a comic came out to warm up the crowd, telling what the author describes as racist and misogynist jokes.  I see no reason not to take the author on her word on this; unfortunately racism and misogyny are part of many comics routine, and to be honest, it doesn’t really matter to the story whether the author is accurately describing the content of the jokes.

After the warm-up acts set, Jon Stewart came out on stage to answer a few questions.  (Note:  The article does not say that he was watching the warm-up act.  If I had to guess, I’d wager that Jon was busy prepping prior to the show rather than seeing how the crowd warmer was doing.)  The author gets to ask a question, and I will quote her question so no one accuses me of misrepresenting it.

So I raised my hand and asked, “Why does your warm-up comedian use ethnic humor?”

To be fair, the author immediately concedes that she should have phrased the question differently.  Believe me, I’ve been there.  I’ve had a microphone shoved in my face and then spent the entire drive home thinking of the things I should have said.  Unfortunately, we can’t travel back in time and re do those bone headed moves, so what comes out of our mouths is what comes out of our mouths.  Now here comes the big Jon Stewart explosion, where he is going to curse out this poor audience member who was just asking a question:

Stewart’s face creased with annoyance. He said, shortly, loudly, glaring at me, “BECAUSE. IT’S. FUCKING. FUNNY.”  The audience erupted into wild applause.

Meanwhile, he stared at me with palpable hostility. Once the applause had died down, he added, “Don’t you even watch the show?”

The article goes on.  As I said, feel free to click the above link and read it all for yourself.  I’m not going any deeper into it.

Look.  I have no doubt that the author found the warm up comic’s jokes to be offensive.  Judging from the pool of working warm up acts, there’s a good chance the jokes were offensive.  But answering her vague question with “because it’s fucking funny” is not cursing someone out.  Sorry, it’s not.  This whole article is outrage click bait, and I can’t believe Salon posted it.  As much as I disagreed with Suey Park over the whole #CancelColbert thing, I have no right to tell her what she is allowed to be offended over.  The people who responded to her campaign with misogynist rants, racist ravings, and death threats are the lowest type of subhuman scum.  Alison Kinney, the author of the article, has interesting things to say about using comedy as social criticism, but she chose to bury those things under a six year old story of her memories of attending a taping of The Daily Show, which the folks at The Daily Show have no recollection of at all.

Was Stewart’s face really “creased with annoyance?”  Did he glare a hole into the author while answering her question?  Did he truly stare at her with “palpable hostility?”  Who the fuck knows?  No, I am not accusing Allison Kinney of lying, not at all.  But take a few minutes to research how memory works.  After studying the subject a bit, I’m not 100% confident in my memories of last week, let alone an event from six years ago.  And at this point, it is impossible to get confirmation or a denial from The Daily Show, because they’ve show six years of shows since then, with six years of questions, and six years of warm up acts.

Let’s see what Salon has to….Sorry, force of habit.  Turning to The Daily Banter:

I keep bringing this kind of thing up because, believe it or not, it really does bug me. It bugs me that a website that was once a dependable resource for high-quality debate and analysis from the left now traffics almost exclusively — with very few exceptions — in silly opinion columns aimed at getting readers to make fun of them in the comment section. Seriously, try reading through the feedback Salon gets to some of this stuff sometime. 97-percent of it is outright mockery — and Salon doesn’t care because it means people are clicking. Whereas Buzzfeed aims for the lowest common Millennial denominator by running crap like “25 Signs You’re in a Romantic Relationship with Your Sandwich,” Salon pretends that it’s above that kind of pabulum and that it actually has something meaningful to say. The reality, though, is that Buzzfeed and Salon are exactly the same; they’re two sides of the same coin. Buzzfeed just puts its lowbrow click-bait in the form of harmless lists while Salon turns it into pseudo-intellectual self-importance.

It just published a column about this one person who was offended by this one thing once and who got even more offended that her initial offense wasn’t shown the proper deference. It made this its top story and slapped a headline on it that wasn’t just a lie, it kind of libeled somebody. Salon is now nothing more than Thought Catalog for angry liberals. It’s Thought Catalog for people don’t have any thoughts, just knee-jerk reactions.

If Allison Kinney wants to write another article, this time focusing on her points about social justice, social criticism, and comedy, I will gladly read it.  Hell, I will link to it and discuss it here, though I can’t promise I will agree with her every point.  But for now, I won’t even pay attention to the second part of her article, because I refuse to reward Salon (and the author if they pay by click) for using a six year old unverifiable memory to get people to click, click, click.


*1 point if you know who or what Jojen is.  3 points if you think that was an amusing reference to what happened on the show.  5 points if you can explain the “Jojen paste” theory from the books off the top of you head.

Part of me just wants to ignore this and enjoy the afterglow of protest.

Luckily for me, it was the part of me that is easily ignored.

You know, when I first decided I wanted to write a blog, I thought that I would devote most of my time and effort to atheism and the atheist community.  After all, the blogs that inspired me all dealt with non-belief, chief amongst them PZ Myers’ Pharyngula.  Don’t get me wrong, I was also influenced by Ed Brayton’s Dispatches from the Culture Wars, as any of my readers can tell you, so there was always also going to be a bit of politics and social issue stuff, but I honestly thought the majority of my posts would be about atheism and the atheist movement, with a healthy dose of skepticism thrown in.  I mean, look at my book shelf.

Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Michael Shermer, Benjamin Radford….

And yet, the more I posted, the more I strayed from posting about atheism.  I never stopped posting about fringe religious elements and the Christian conservative control of the GOP, but that was much more due to the social issue ramifications than anything to do with an atheist, or skeptical movement.  And as much as I didn’t want to be just another liberal, progressive political blog, the more I posted, the more that is what I became.

Why?  Look at my book shelf.

Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Michael Shermer, Benjamin Radford….

Why People Believe Weird Things was my baptism in skepticism. The God Delusion my intro into the “New” atheism.  I loved The End of Faith so much that Harris became my second favorite author with a last name beginning with “H.”  And not only did I love Radford’s team up with Joe Nickell for Lake Monster Mysteries, but Monstertalk was my favorite podcast.  Two of my favorite magazines are heavily involved with Radford and Shermer.  From what I could tell, organized skepticism and atheism was entwined with these men.

And yet I found myself drifting away from skepticism and atheism as movements.  Why?

Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Michael Shermer, Benjamin Radford…..

First there was “Elevatorgate” and Dawkins showed his privilege.  Oh, but if only that was the only bit of sexism to make itself known in the community.  For those of you not involved in atheism or skepticism as a community or movement, I will spare you the details.  Those of you involved know exactly what I am talking about.  As time moved on, the list grew longer and longer.  DJ Grothe inserted foot firmly in mouth.  Sam Harris let us all know that he isn’t the sexist pig we’re looking for.  Go ahead and Google Radford and Shermer.  All I’ll say is Karen Stollznow was the best host of MonsterTalk.

PZ has a interesting post up today, it is worth reading the whole thing.

You won’t get your philosophical atheist utopia at all if that utopia considers the dignity of all human beings to be a secondary matter. You will effectively kneecap the whole movement if you don’t care about social justice, and worse, are more afraid of driving out the hateful and intolerant who are already inside our ranks than of embracing the needs of the many millions outside of them.

It’s already happening, though. The disenchantment with the movement is growing.

Libby Anne wonders, Do They Care about Women, or Simply Bashing Religion?.

Frankly, I feel used. These atheist activists are the sort of people who want to use my story as proof that religion is horrible to women but aren’t willing to listen to what I have to say about sexism in our culture at large. They are the sort of people who are eager to use the shooting of young education activist Malala Yousafzai by the Taliban to prove how horrible religion is for women but somehow fail to mention that Malala is a Muslim who speaks of drawing her inspiration to fight for gender equality from the Koran. This is not standing up for women. This is exploiting women as merely a tool in a fight against religion.

I’m done. I’m so, so done.

Katha Pollitt thinks that Atheists Show Their Sexist Side, and are currently having a “sexist tantrum”.

Alas, the ability to take such instruction is in good part something Sam Harris thinks women sadly lack. “There’s something about that critical posture that is to some degree intrinsically male and more attractive to guys than to women,” said the bestselling author of The End of Faith. “The atheist variable just has this—it doesn’t obviously have this nurturing, coherence-building extra estrogen vibe that you would want by default if you wanted to attract as many women as men.” It seems to me, judging from recent events, that atheist men are the fragile flowers here—they, not women, are the ones wilting under criticism. Perhaps they can’t stand it that women are withholding that “extra estrogen vibe” that used to make conferences so much fun. (Amanda Marcotte, of the steel-trap mind, has a fine time slapping Harris around at Pandagon. Remind me never to get into a fight with her.)

Why would women join a movement led by sexists and populated by trolls? If this is atheism, I’m becoming a Catholic.

Tauriq Moosa says the reason he became an active atheist is now why he’s not one.

I won’t be part of a movement resolutely more focused on shielding rich, white dudes than by being inclusive of marginalised, non-male, non-white people. Count me out. Call me back when we give a shit about women and you can admit those of us writing in a small corner of the internet actually care about moral action, not money, for what we do.

The only people who can survive off atheist clickbait are people who write books called The God Delusion. It’s not fucking bloggers.

I will make a prediction, right here and now. The number of people identifying as “nones” will grow in this country in coming years, because we’re on the right side of history, and because organized religion is happily in the process of destroying itself with regressive social attitudes, scandals, and their bizarre focus on other-worldly issues that don’t help people. The number of people identifying as atheists will stagnate or even shrink, because organized atheism is happily in the process of destroying itself with regressive social attitudes, scandals, and their bizarre focus on irrelevant metaphysical differences that don’t help people.

I can’t say that’s a bad thing. The name of atheism has been burdened with unfair and inaccurate stigma for a great many years, and we’re now drifting into an era in which atheism will be burdened with a totally fair and accurate stigma.

Unless we change.

I don’t know that we can.

I’m pissed.

I took part in a nice little bit of atheist activism today.  There were men, women and children in attendance, working together, because atheism isn’t a men’s issue, or a women’s issue, it is a human issue.

I don’t want to be a political blogger.  I want to be part of an atheism/skepticism movement, a community that I can be proud of.

I’m so sick of watching my heroes prove themselves pigs.

(And yes, I am going to do something besides bitch about it.)

Now go enjoy your weekend.  I’ll be back on Monday.

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.

The Abortion Rate Falls Again, No Thanks to the Anti-Choice Movement

In what is good news for all, excepting those who make up the so-called “pro-life” movement, the nations abortion rate dropped significantly between 2008 and 2013, according to a new report the Guttmacher Institute released.  Let’s turn to our favorite advocate for women’s rights to health care, Amanda Marcotte over at RH Reality Check for the details:

Last Monday, the Guttmacher Institute released a new report showing the abortion rate dropped 13 percent between 2008 and 2011. This news was no big surprise to pro-choice activists and journalists, who have long argued that increasing social acceptance of contraception and generally relaxed attitudes about sex generally make it easier to prevent unintended pregnancy. But anti-choicers are unhappy about the abortion rate drop. (Which is again no surprise to pro-choicers, who know antis depend on the sense of a world in decline to fundraise, but may surprise most people who mistakenly believe anti-choicers care about fetal life.) In particular, they don’t like the researcher’s inference that better contraception use is the likely cause, because, say it with me now, the anti-choice movement is about punishing sex, not saving life. So the strategy is to deny that contraception has anything to do with it and instead take credit for shaming women out of abortion.

“Punishing sex, not saving life…”  Where have I heard that before?  No matter.

Charmaine Yoest of Americans United for Life, in particular, was all over the news media, trying to get credit for it, grumpily claiming that the Guttmacher report “fails to acknowledge the impact of pro-life legislation.” (She also insinuated elsewhere that abortion providers are just straight up lying and performing more abortions than they say.) Since the numbers can’t be attributable to the massive uptick in abortion restrictions—most of these went into effect after the end of the study period—the narrative has emerged that the increased lobbying by anti-choicers somehow alerted women previously unaware that some people disapprove of abortion to instead carry otherwise unwanted pregnancies to term. Catholic News Agency gathered a bunch of anti-choicers together to take credit for changing the “culture.” They quote Michael New attributing the shift to “changes in public opinion” on abortion. SBA List’s Marjorie Dannenfelser also tried to credit the rise in lobbying on the issue with, “our nation is indeed growing weary of the destruction wrought by legalized abortion on demand.”

Oh, fucking please.

Bluntly put, this is all just hand-waving nonsense. Public opinion on abortion has remained relatively stable since it was first legalized and the small bits of up-and-down movement don’t really correlate with actual abortion rates. More importantly, the argument only works if you ignore the fact that not having an abortion means you will have a baby. It’s not uncommon for anti-choicers to gloss over this fact, as bizarre as this is, but this case is particularly egregious. This is simple enough for a kindergartner to figure out: If the abortion rate was falling because women were choosing to have babies instead, the birth rate would go up right as the abortion rate went down. But the writer Adelaide Mena admits in the piece that the birth rate is going down too. What do they think is happening here? Women who want abortions but refuse them are thanked by God by making their pregnancies go away? Do they think we’re undergoing a sudden downturn in fertility? It’s kind of hard to parse, since they outright refuse to accept that contraceptive use is as universal as it really is.  Honestly, I think they just hope gullible readers overlook the discrepancy.

But no amount of hand-waving can fix this for the anti-choice movement. There is no real evidence that stigmatizing and shaming abortion stops women from having abortions. The most that it does is makes them feel really bad about it—which I have to imagine is a consolation prize for antis—and to drive it underground. Shame doesn’t stop women from having abortions, however. Women have abortions for financial and personal reasons, and these reasons are usually profound enough to overwhelm any pre-existing distaste for abortion pounded into your head by religious authorities and misogynist political movements. Abortion is a deeply personal decision. What politicians think about it, therefore, just doesn’t even register for most women who are faced with it.

Women do not decide not to have an abortion because you think abortion is a sin.  Sorry, they just don’t.

I would love to just continue quoting the whole article, but then you would have no reason to click over to RH Reality Check, give them some traffic, and perhaps seeing a few more articles you are interested.  Amanda’s closing however, I have to end with as well, although the bolding is mine:

The whole premise of the anti-choice movement is that getting pregnant should be the price you pay for having sex. It’s an entire ideological movement that mourns, as conservative New York Times columnist Ross Douthat grossly puts it, a society where “sex has been decoupled from marriage.” The abortion debate is really a stand-in for the unintended pregnancy debate. Anti-choicers see unintended pregnancy largely as a social good that forces some people to get married and punishes other people for the “sin” of having unsanctioned sex. It’s a form of social control, and conservatives love themselves some social control. Pro-choicers, on the other hand, view it through a human rights lens. We think women should be in control of pregnancy, not that pregnancy should be used to control women. Once you understand that, how it can be that anti-abortion people are discombobulated by a lower abortion rate and pro-choice people are excited about it makes perfect sense.