Folding, spindeling, and mutilating lauguage for fun since Aug, 2004
Monday, April 27, 2009

HWMNBN (Google Neil Simpson and "eternity matters" you will come to him, it upsets him when I do a link) currently has a "round up" where he spends a sentence crowing about how bad it is going to look for the Democrats to reveal the extent of torture done in our names under the Bush administration.

 

See, some Democrats knew about the torture, so Neil thinks that it is a stupid political move that will backfire on the Democrats.

 

What he doesn't get is; we don't care.  Revealing the extent of the torture is not about making the Republicans look bad.  Revealing and investigating the extent of the torture, who was tortured, why, and trying to find out who is innocent and guilty is about taking back control of the government and figuring out what was done wrong, fixing it, and doing it right here on out.  Making sure we get the right people, get the right information, and get it the right ways.

 

Period, end of story.

 

Will some Democrats end up looking bad?  You bet your boots.  Will they try to cover their asses?  Sure.  Will there be elements of party politics and trying to shift blame back and forth to salvage some moral highground?  I would not be surprised.  Those who will suffer from the truth SHOULD suffer from the truth.

 

Do I think Obama doesn't know this and accept it?  Not for a moment.  He's no dummy.  He'd probably rather not take the hit...but not doing the work is going to lead to much worse stuff than doing the work...

 

...and it's omlette/eggs time.

 

The fact that Neil doesn't understand that makes him slip even lower in my estimation.

 

Lower down in the "roundup" there's something else.  Neil quotes a UK journalist commenting on the Bush administration's reports (they were ordered by the Bush administration, and the investigations were carried out by Bush appointees) about domestic terrorism.  Neil blames the Obama administration for Bush's intelligence reports that imply that there are right-wing extremists that might want to do America harm...and says that Obama hates America and Americans.

 

So, apparently, Obama hates America and Americans so much that he went back in time and forced the Bush administration to prepare a report about right-wing extremists.

 

Yes, truly shocking that someone might think that the bombing of the Oklahoma Federal Building was a bad thing.  You would have to be truly un-American to not cheer on Timothy McVeigh, and to want to prevent actions like that in the future.  Apparently, Neil is on the side of those who would blow up government buildings with children in them.

 

Neil just makes me hold him in more and more contempt all the time.

Monday, April 27, 2009 7:34:16 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [0] | #
Saturday, April 25, 2009

Remember when Sarah Palin was prayed over by Bishop Muthee in her former church, and the church website had a story up bragging about how Bishop Muthee had caused a riot and whipped up an angry, murderous mob that ran an accused witch named Momma Jane out of town?  Remember the video where she stood on the stage of that church and praised his "boldness" in prayer?

Well, some Christians thought it was great, and some Christians thought it was weird but unimportant, and some Christians were with me in being appauled that a vice-presidential candidate for a major party had blood-stained hands laid on her head...by a contributer to one of the worst criminal trends against  vulnerable women and children across Africa, and even spreading into other coutnries.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mZVVbGEOoCM

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/africa/scandal-of-the-children-killed-for-witchcraft-1003968.html

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1507723/Pastor-is-arrested-after-inquiry-into-claims-of-cruelty-to-child-witches.html

Well, it turns out that Bishop Muthee did not run "Momma Jane" out of town in a violent mob action.  And it turns out that she is not actually a "witch", but a local pastor:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/uselection2008/sarahpalin/3204292/False-claims-exposed-of-Kenyan-pastor-who-protected-Sarah-Palin-from-witches.html

So Muthee is apparently not a witch-hunter, but a liar.  It will be interesting to see if any more information comes forward.  Still, I find it quite appauling that Sarah Palin's former church promoted his claimed activities.  After all, lying or not, the church seemed to think that the things he claimed to have done were good, when in fact they were quite evil.

UPDATE:  Religious conservatives have gone on record recently as being against the UN. convention on the Rights of the child:

http://www.unhchr.ch/html/menu3/b/k2crc.htm

They imagine that the convention, when supported and signed onto by a government, interferes with the practice of religion of the parents in regards to their children.  In the case of these children, I profoundly hope that they are right.  Killings,torture, abandonment, etc. should not be excused on religions grounds.  I would like to think that my country is a leader in the world for things that are good and right.  The fact that we stand with Somalia as the only country in the world who does not recognize the importance of a child's right to a safe and healthy environment is really regrettable, and the idea that people won't let the US lead on this subject because their paranoid imaginings are that the cause of this is that the rest of the world wants to stop them spanking their children is very sad.

Get over yourselves, people.  Children are hurting, and it would be good if we could step in and help some of these countries move forward rather than just sitting on our hands as some of our churches send them money and support to make it worse...and we come within a tremendously uncomfortable margin of electing a woman to high office who publicly praises and glorifies someone who benefits fromt he victimization of innocent women and children.

Finally, if you want to do something to help feed, cloth, educate and protect the innocent victims of the witch-hunters, you can donate to Stepping Stones. http://www.steppingstonesnigeria.org/

Saturday, April 25, 2009 9:59:16 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [0] | #

 

"Chrisitanity is the foundation of our morals"

Foundation. 

Yet it seems like a foundation that fails as often and as spectacularly as any other.

Everytime I hear about how religion makes people better, and how humanity would be so much worse without religion, and how all the world's ills are due to a lack of religion, or not enough religion, or whatever, I think of stories like this.

I get tired of hearing pompous and sanctimonious harping on how religion is a magic wand that makes us better people.  Obviously, it isn't.  If it helps some people, then it helps some people, but forcing children to pray in school, or taking taxpayer's money and giving it to churches, and having Godly symbols in our public places will clearly not help us improve society one bit.  There are good and bad religious people, there are good and bad non-religious people.  They happen at roughly the same rate and rank. 

So can we ditch the foundation argument already?  If it helps you, great.  I'm all for it.  Have at it.  But can I stop hearing about how I'm eroding the foundation of our society's morals by not believeing any number of magic fairy stories? 

Tell you what...

If you ever find me using a position of power and influence granted me as a privilaged member of a secular organization to murder a disabled person for insurance money...I'll be willing to re-open the discussion.  Until then, I'm not buying it.

(Hat Tip: Pharyngula)

Saturday, April 25, 2009 3:10:56 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [3] | #
Friday, April 24, 2009

Unbelieveable.  Give this guy a Minnesota accent, and a John Deer baseball cap instead of a cowboy hat, and I would swear to you that I rode the school bus with him and a half-dozen of his brothers and cousins when I was a kid.

They were the reason the back half of the bus was slick with chew-spit.

 

Classic.

Friday, April 24, 2009 7:10:23 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [8] | #
Tuesday, April 14, 2009

I just saw Neil Simpson's (Google search for "Eternity Matters"  and his name - it bother's him when I link to him) latest "Round up" where he talks about this great new thing called online schooling.  He's really pumped and hopes it goes somewhere!??!

Uh, Neil, it's been around for more than a decade...for someone who is supposed to be all up on all the latest in education issues, you sure let that one whiff past you.  :-)

His kids will now be doing it, with a combination of homeschooling.  No surprise.  I figured they were already doing it.

There's also the one further down where he implies that women who have abortions bring domestic violence upon themselves by being uppity and mouthy. Sigh. I think he's almost finished losin' it.

 

 

Before this post got lost in a change of servers...Alan wrote:

 

 

LOL. And here I was just getting used to that new-fangled papyrus.

Alan 


 

Tuesday, April 14, 2009 10:57:56 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [2] | #
Sunday, April 12, 2009

http://www.jacksonville.com/news/metro/2009-04-12/story/fbc_blogger_feels_privacy_was_violated

A mega-church pastor is unhappy because an anonymous blogger was critical of decisions he made and actions he took in his capacity as pastor.

So the pastor asked a Law-enforcement officer affiliated with the church to do an investigation.

The law-enforcement officer got a judge to issue a subpoena to Google, who was compelled to reveal the name of the blogger...despite the fact that there was zero evidence of any crime connected with the blogger.

then, the law-enforcement officer provided the mega-church pastor with the name of the blogger, and the pastor used that information to discipline the church member.

Don’t you just love it when your tax dollars go to stifle dissent and support a particular religious view, and enforce it's rules against private citizens acting on their conscience?

 

Sunday, April 12, 2009 10:15:50 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [5] | #
Thursday, April 09, 2009

Good class tonight.  My students tested last night, and all of them passed.  Nobody had to repeat any part of their test.  I rewarded them tonight by picking up the pace and making them work harder.  They were wiped out when they left.  I'm a little tired myself. 

Thursday, April 09, 2009 10:30:18 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [0] | #

 

Rocky: I'm not going to get everything done that I wanted to before my conference call, but like you said; I should have got up earlier.

Me: I don't believe I "said" that. I believe that I snarkily implied it through an oblique but very arch comment.

Rocky: If you want to be technical, I suppose you're right.

Me: Well, we must be precise.

 

BTW, thanks, Karen for grabbing all of my flair from Facebook so I can use it in my blog!

Thursday, April 09, 2009 8:55:11 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [1] | #
Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Over at Pharyngula, I saw a link to this story.

It made me laugh.  A religious nut is all upset that a statue of a pirate wench shows too generous a portion of cleavage.

So he cursed the statue.

OK.

And then he goes on to pledge to visit the statue every day and pray for its removal. Hmmm...

He will go and gaze upon the unwholsome thing every day, subjecting himself to the horror of it's huge exposed bosoms...and pray.  Pray for it to be removed.

Uh huh.

OK Mr. nutcase, I understand falling in love with fictional characters.  Been there.  Done that.  However, I think that you would be happier if you fell in love with a fake person who could move, and talk, and express themselves.  Or maybe not.  What do I know?  I just think it's weird, and frankly, that alone should give you pause.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009 9:11:02 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [1] | #
Monday, April 06, 2009

Apparently Michele Bachmann's constituants are getting exactly what they voted for.  Michele Bachmann is one of those rootin'-tootin' conservatives who vows not to molly-coddle those irresponsible leeches who can't pay their bills.  Smaller government, and let the unfortunate swing!  Yee-haw!!

That's just what the voters of the sixth district wanted.  Nevermind that the sixth district has the highest number of forclosures, and the higest rate of forclosures of any district in the state.

 

LOL!  The voters of the sixth district have seen the irresponsible leeches, and they are them!

No worries, though, Michele Bachmann has consistantly voted against their interests.  So I'm sure they are happy.

She'll probably get a third term.

Monday, April 06, 2009 8:16:31 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [0] | #
Saturday, April 04, 2009

OK, so let’s look at just one example of why it is that Hitler had Darwin’s works banned, rejected Darwin, and why it is that Hitler’s philosophy was NOT based on Darwin’s works…and how it is a lie for the creators of Expelled to say so.

Take this little quote from Chapter Nine of the “Voyage of the Beagle”:

I was surprised to find, on counting the eggs of a large white Doris (this sea-slug was three and a half inches long), how extraordinarily numerous they were. From two to five eggs (each three-thousandths of an inch in diameter) were contained in spherical little case. These were arranged two deep in transverse rows forming a ribbon. The ribbon adhered by its edge to the rock in an oval spire. One which I found, measured nearly twenty inches in length and half in breadth. By counting how many balls were contained in a tenth of an inch in the row, and how many rows in an equal length of the ribbon, on the most moderate computation there were six hundred thousand eggs. Yet this Doris was certainly not very common; although I was often searching under the stones, I saw only seven individuals. No fallacy is more common with naturalists, than that the numbers of an individual species depend on its powers of propagation. (emphasis mine)

 

So, we see here that Darwin rejected any thought that the powers of propagation of a species or population was the determining factor of its power to survive and thrive.

In fact, Darwin’s assessment of the Fuegians of Tierra Del Fuego was just that.  They were, in his view, the victims of an under-productive, and harsh land, and thus their ability to fulfill their human potential was limited by deprivation.  Was that a bigoted judgment?  Sure.  Darwin’s views and impressions of Feugian culture and life lack his characteristic charitable instincts.  One of the instances of Darwin being wrong (in his uncharitably harsh characterization of the Fuegians)…but it is telling of the fact that, right or wrong, Darwin’s assessments were in direct opposition to the ideology Hitler found essential to his policies.  He did not attribute their state to an inherited inferiority…but instead to the unproductive and harsh nature of the environment, which he viewed as resistant to any sort of cultivation or civilization.

Tellingly, a robust power of propagation and the idea that deprivation was beneficial to humanity were fundamental to Hitler’s plan for Aryan domination.  Darwin’s work stood in opposition to these foundational concepts, which were completely indispensible to Hitler’s propaganda, his plan, his public policy, and his actions as the leader of Nazi Germany.  Take this excerpt from Mein Kampf, Volume 1 Chapter 4:

 

 (1) It was possible to adopt the French example and artificially restrict the number of births, thus avoiding an excess of population.

Under certain circumstances, in periods of distress or under bad climatic condition, or if the soil yields too poor a return, Nature herself tends to check the increase of population in some countries and among some races, but by a method which is quite as ruthless as it is wise. It does not impede the procreative faculty as such; but it does impede the further existence of the offspring by submitting it to such tests and privations that everything which is less strong or less healthy is forced to retreat into the bosom of tile unknown. Whatever survives these hardships of existence has been tested and tried a thousandfold, hardened and renders fit to continue the process of procreation; so that the same thorough selection will begin all over again. By thus dealing brutally with the individual and recalling him the very moment he shows that he is not fitted for the trials of life, Nature preserves the strength of the race and the species and raises it to the highest degree of efficiency.

The decrease in numbers therefore implies an increase of strength, as far as the individual is concerned, and this finally means the invigoration of the species.

But the case is different when man himself starts the process of numerical restriction. Man is not carved from Nature’s wood. He is made of ‘human’ material. He knows more than the ruthless Queen of Wisdom. He does not impede the preservation of the individual but prevents procreation itself. To the individual, who always sees only himself and not the race, this line of action seems more humane and just than the opposite way. But, unfortunately, the consequences are also the opposite.

By leaving the process of procreation unchecked and by submitting the individual to the hardest preparatory tests in life, Nature selects the best from an abundance of single elements and stamps them as fit to live and carry on the conservation of the species. But man restricts the procreative faculty and strives obstinately to keep alive at any cost whatever has once been born. This correction of the Divine Will seems to him to be wise and humane, and he rejoices at having trumped Nature’s card in one game at least and thus proved that she is not entirely reliable. The dear little ape of an all-mighty father is delighted to see and hear that he has succeeded in effecting a numerical restriction; but he would be very displeased if told that this, his system, brings about a degeneration in personal quality.

For as soon as the procreative faculty is thwarted and the number of births diminished, the natural struggle for existence which allows only healthy and strong individuals to survive is replaced by a sheer craze to ‘save’ feeble and even diseased creatures at any cost. And thus the seeds are sown for a human progeny which will become more and more miserable from one generation to another, as long as Nature’s will is scorned.

But if that policy be carried out the final results must be that such a nation will eventually terminate its own existence on this earth; for though man may defy the eternal laws of procreation during a certain period, vengeance will follow sooner or later. A stronger race will oust that which has grown weak; for the vital urge, in its ultimate form, will burst asunder all the absurd chains of this so-called humane consideration for the individual and will replace it with the humanity of Nature, which wipes out what is weak in order to give place to the strong.

Any policy which aims at securing the existence of a nation by restricting the birth-rate robs that nation of its future.

 

Don’t miss the snide little swipe at the “Darwinists” that was embedded in the reference to the “Dear little ape of an all-mighty father”.  Darwin’s views that depriving circumstances result in people who do not reach their full human potential were rejected by Hitler.  Hitler opposed the saving of “inferior” people, and viewed the desire to save unfortunates as a human weakness that would eventually be harshly corrected by a God-ordained law of nature...which put a moral value on "fitness" and made a moral deficiency of "unfitness"; and further, made misfortune a judgement of God with which man had no right to interfere.

 

Conversely, this is how Darwin spoke of such things;  after addressing the question of whether or not natural selection was applicable to human improvement, and if it were better to allow the “unfit” to die out to improve the species:

 

The surgeon may harden himself whilst performing an operation, for he knows that he is acting for the good of his patient; but if we were intentionally to neglect the weak and helpless, it could only be for a contingent benefit, with an overwhelming present evil. We must therefore bear the undoubtedly bad effects of the weak surviving and propagating their kind; ... (Origin of Species)

The more efficient causes of progress seem to consist of a good education during youth whilst the brain is impressible, and of a high standard of excellence, inculcated by the ablest and best men, embodied in the laws, customs and traditions of the nation, and enforced by public opinion. It should, however, be borne in mind, that the enforcement of public opinion depends on our appreciation of the approbation and disapprobation of others; and this appreciation is founded on our sympathy, which it can hardly be doubted was originally developed through natural selection as one of the most important elements of the social instincts.

 

Taking his works as a whole, it becomes clear  1) that he was resistant to deciding that particular traits constituted “weakness” or “strength”…he records numerous instances where traits possessed by “weaker” members of a herd or society in fact become advantages that benefit the whole group  in times of hardship or transition. 2) He felt that any  “weaknesses” (if they could be called such)of a number of individuals was only one factor in determining the strength and survivability of a population, and that it was, in fact, one of the least important factors in what he called “civilized” societies.  3) He viewed moral, ethical and spiritual values as being of much higher value for the improvement of humanity, and specifically expressed his belief numerous times that they held far more power for good than any attempts to manipulate heredity.  In otherwords, Darwin's view was that it was in the nature of man to interfere with misfortune and to sustain members of society who needed it, and that such behavior was in accordance with both morality and the long-term health of humanity...though there might be short term inconveniences.

 

This is in direct opposition to the claims of creationists. 

 

It’s really, really, important, when reading creationist comments on Darwin, that they quote-mine and chop up the things that he wrote to make it appear that he originated the idea of eugenics.  This is easily disproven, as the ideas behind eugenics existed, and were recorded and explored by people before the birth of Charles Darwin. 

 

Where Darwin discusses these ideas, there are several things to bear in mind.  Sometimes, he is describing the arguments of others, sometimes, he is describing the relationships that eugenicists are trying to make to tie it in to his observations, and discussing the extent to which they are correct before he reveals their errors.  He spends a great deal of time trying to untangle the muddled mess that ideological opportunists make in their attempt to entangle his observations and theories with their agenda. 

 

Creationists like to take advantage of this by putting in ellipses , or just outright cut the point at which Darwin turns his comments to the errors of the Eugenicists.

The good news is, you don’t have to even read all of Darwin to expose the Creationist lies.  It is usually sufficient to do a Google search for a sentence in the quote, select one of the many of the free online publications of Darwin’s works, do a “Find” search for the sentence, and then simply read the preceding and subsequent five or six paragraphs.  The deception will become clear.

 

You would think that the creationists could work up a simple blush of embarrassment…but they can’t even do that.  They are bold liars, who disrespect the intelligence of their audience so completely that they don’t expect to be fact-checked even at the most basic level.

Saturday, April 04, 2009 11:22:27 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [0] | #
Wednesday, April 01, 2009
 
 
Some conservatives are in a tizzy that Feinstein supposedly "leaked" classified information that she read in the Washington Post.
 
So...if we want to officially deny that the strikes are being made from Pakistan with the approval of the Pakistani government, can't we just issue a statement that Feinstien was mislead by the Post article?  Somehow, I think that getting all worked up in a lather about it and freaking out that she "leaked" information in a hearing by stateing something that is under common reportage in the mainstream press is the opposite of what you would want to do...
 
 
 
Wednesday, April 01, 2009 8:44:15 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [0] | #
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