Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Look, the Army just doesn' want Gays to fight for their country's interests, capiche?

Obama's been itching to remove that unconstitutional and morally obscene military rule, the infamous 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' discrimination that basically prevents gays from serving in the Army unless they pretend to be straight. Well, now some stupid old kooks and cranks are breathing down his neck not to do such a thing.

Obama is consulting with the Pentagon on the issue and says he supports eventual repeal of the "don't ask, don't tell" policy, which prohibits gays in the military from being open about their sexual orientation. A bill that would allow gays to serve openly has been introduced in Congress.

A statement issued by the retired officers Tuesday said passage of that bill "would undermine recruiting and retention, impact leadership at all levels, have adverse effects on the willingness of parents who lend their sons and daughters to military service, and eventually break the All-Volunteer Force."

Among the signatories were Gen. Carl E. Mundy, Jr., a former commandant of the Marine Corps; Adm. Leighton W. Smith, a former commander of U.S. Naval Forces Europe; Gen. Charles A. Horner, who commanded U.S. aerial forces during the 1990-91 Gulf War; and Adm. Jerome L. Johnson, a former vice chief of Naval Operations.

The retired officers said they strongly supported the principle that "homosexuality is incompatible with military service" and warned that repeal of current law could jeopardize morale and "unit cohesion."

Further proof that experience really isn't everything; apparently, all those long years of service haven't done much in terms of imparting these officers with any more shreds of intelligence or reason. Gays don't hit on other men any more than straight men don't hit on girls: on occasion, but not all the time. And in the military, they don't hit at all. Same for gays ... This is so stupid. Exactly how homosexuality is damaging to the military in any credible way is still beyond me.

Anyway, one can certainly hope President 'Perfect-Track-Record-So-Far' Obama will show these old cranks to the door (or window, either way) and repeal that stupid discriminatory rule. Not that I'm pro-military – I hate the military, and anything to do with wars, or anything that reflects human stupidity, arrogance and greed – but if people want to sign up, Hell, it's their choice and no-one should be allowed to stop them unless they have a good reason to, such as if the soldiers-to-be were mentally disturbed or something.

Sorry, stupid homophobes – gayness isn't a mental illness. It's in their genes, so if anything, it's a genetic disturbance. And I use the term 'disturbance' here as liberally and broadly as can be imagined.

Continued ...»

Vatican's solution for curbing priest sex scandals: screening for ... gayness

You read that right. The Holy See's new brilliant idea to try and stop their dear priests from molesting little boys left right and center is to test them to see if they're gay.

... What?

Melbourne's Catholic Church has embraced a Vatican suggestion to test potential priests for sexual orientation. Those who "appear" gay will be banned.

The head of the Vatican committee that made the recommendations has made it clear celibate gays should also be banned because homosexuality is ''a type of deviation''.

Ah, always so proud of flaunting their laughable ignorance of basic human psychology, the Vatican is. No, it's not gayness or any deviation at all that leads to priests molesting boys. It's trying to reduce or ignore your biological sexual impulses for your entire life until they grow too strong and overwhelm your inhibitions.

I'd be tempted to accuse them of just finding yet another way to discriminate against gays, but that would be forgetting two things: 1) gays wouldn't want to be priests anyways, considering how lovely they're treated by Christianity, and 2) I do believe these poor fools actually do believe in gayness being a cause and that they're doing the right thing. Depressing.

Continued ...»

China: Crackers or Not Crackers?

Sorry for the lame title, I'm at a serious lack of inspiration here. Anyway, you will probably recall the recent craze of reports over GhostNet, the Chinese computer cracking organization that took control of nearly 1,300 computers in 103 countries, from governmental institutions to even the exiled Dalai Llama's personal stuff. Now China's facing charges that it knew of, and even condoned, this spy network's activities, and of course is denying them. (You know how they're used to denying charges and accusations by now.)

"Some people in foreign countries are keen to make up rumors about so-called Chinese Internet spies," foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang said at a briefing Tuesday. "Their statements are entirely fabricated."

China opposes hacking and other attacks on computer networks, Qin said.

Attackers used GhostNet to steal documents from targets including international institutions and foreign ministries of other countries, according to the report. The attackers gained full access to affected computers, including control of attached microphones and Web cams that could have been used to monitor nearby activity.

It's not like China's got a clean record in this stuff. (Understatement of the millenium.) Human Rights violations, dictatorial leadership and international spying charges are piling up faster than their reputation is going down (wait, is that a non-sequitor?), and Lord knows that behind their rat-faced refutations and attempts at acting offended lies the fact that most of those charges are undeniably true.

I'm not saying GhostNet was allowed to function until it was discovered (it sure as Hell benefited the Chinese government, the ratty little ferrets they are). I'm saying it sure as Hell wouldn't surprise me if they had. I'd even bet my money on it. With all the Chinese spies being uncovered in Canada and America alone, let alone the rest of the world, it wouldn't be all that surprising that they've made the jump to computer-based prying into others' affairs for their own dirty deeds.

So, a brief recap, just for the fun of jogging my memory: in recent weeks alone, we've had Chinese officials jail innocent bloggers for speaking out against corrupt governments, attack US military ships, block much of the Internet to its populations, let abuse, torture and other atrocities go unpunished in jails, send spies around the world in organisations and companies, let lead-poisoned food and toys leave the country unrestrained, force respectable firms to close down for daring to defend the humane rights of outspoken activists against the disgusting excuse for a government, pretend to act all offended at these claims when irrefutible evidence keeps surfacing all over the place, and now, set a group of Internet crackers upon the world to gain sensitive and classified information from over a hundred countries, governments and organisations, including that oh-so-hated Dalai Llama ...

And they're being hailed as the next economic superpower.

God help us.

Continued ...»

Monday, March 30, 2009

Film Review: 'Monsters vs. Aliens'

DreamWorks remains unmoved by the massive amounts of criticism they've received regarding their often predictable humor that usually calls for celebrity voices, pop culture references and gags best left in a rest stop. Their largest offense by far appears to be the lack of 'Pixar' charm, because, animated movies MUST HAVE a heart-warming story, cute affable characters and a tone starved of personality. Despite roller coaster box office results that include many disappointments, DreamWorks chugs on. Their films are seemingly of a hardheaded teenager's mindset, yet they've improved, after teetering quickly after their first CGI success, Shrek. Their comedies, being less fruitful, aren't without their contributions to the animated medium. Their latest release, Monsters Vs. Aliens doesn't diverge much from the predictability line in terms of characterization or homage, yet many sequences are effective.

The animation company may overuse their cultural jabs, but in this accessible adventure, it is exercised playfully and classy because it does not exist in such amounts that wear out the viewer. The film does often lose the grasp of its subject matter's initial strength though, and settles for more insubstantial comedic matter. One thing that has changed, references have become more retro in an attempt for more of a timeless feel. But if the execution remains average, the effect is lost too. Like many American animated films today, the movie is lacking spirit, distinctiveness, and edge. With such a 50's element, a lot more can be expected, aside from just borrowing the mere premise of the classics. Films aimed toward children however have to remain along a hard-wired guideline as required by the American public.

While the 3D could be considered a large gimmick, it did add much depth to the movie, I felt. Its 50's-movie homage reflects the scope and period impact of some of the earlier flicks with the depth of the dimensions. It is here with this story element that I wish they had done more, aside from lacing the animation with impressive up to date visuals. The film needed to live up to it's artistic scale. It film flounders significantly toward the end, and is that much more disposable with it's finale. The stronger sections were certainly toward the beginning, where characterization, writing, and execution were on point and were writhing with potential for something more far-reaching. The film also engulfs points with me for having 2 bugs as the protagonists.

Continued ...»

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Film Review: 'The Astronaut Farmer' – 8.0/10

Film Review: Drama • Adventure (2006)
'The Astronaut Farmer'
Written by Joé McKen on Sunday, March 29, 2009

Will it work this time? Find out when you watch Warner Bros. Pictures' 2006 inspirational tale, The Astronaut Farmer.

The Astronaut Farmer is the simple story about a man who just wants to go to Space. It's his dream, it's what he's always wanted to do, and it's what his life has always been throwing obstacles at to try and prevent him from accomplishing his dream.

Charles Farmer (Billy Bob Thornton) used to be an astronaut-in-training at NASA, following a stellar career as a jet pilot, when the tragedy of his father's suicide got him discharged from the program before he was able to complete it. Now obsessed with fulfilling his dream, he decides to build his very own rocket (a replica of the historic Mercury-Atlas rocket), using his family as a team and sucking up all his and their assets into his project. However, soon the bank decides he's overdue enough and prepares to foreclosure on his home; as a result, Charles now brings his whole family in, even grabbing his children out of school for extra 'manpower', something his wife Audie (Virginia Madsen) is none too pleased about. Oh, and his 'ground control' support? His own 15-year-old son, Shepard (Max Thieriot).

Of course, eventually this will have to grab the attention of the undesirables. In this case, that's a combination of the FBI, attracted by his purchase of 10,000 pounds of rocket fuel (yeah, like that could ever have gone incognito), and the FAA, curious and threatened by this 'loon''s projects of building his own spacecraft.

Soon however, assets and support starts to run dry, right when the rocket is very nearly finished: they're out of money, he's about to lose his home and moral support, and enemies are taking shots at him from every direction from legal to governmental. Will Farmer's dream be able to survive such brutal onslaught? Or will he be forced to give up his primary motivation in his life?

The Astronaut Farmer is a very sweet and inspirational story, that much cannot be denied. Who hasn't now and then entertained dreams of blasting off into Space and leaving the sorry world behind, if only for a moment? Naturally, dreaming about it and actually doing it are two entirely different universes, something this movie illustrates very well in my opinion as Farmer undergoes pressures that make one wonder how he didn't crack earlier under the strain. However, it's also a fairly dangerous idea at the same time; sucking his family's money and resources dry to entertain his relatively selfish dream, pulling his kids out of school, and even being declared a threat (what if that big unseen rocket is actually a WMD? 'If I were building a Weapon of Mass Destruction, you wouldn't be able to find it,' Farmer says once, none too wisely). Yes, it's empirical that one must follow their dreams in life, it's what keeps us going, but I do think one must find a balance between selfish and risky dreams, and the welfare of the people around them – particularly once they've founded a family. Perhaps Farmer should have waited until he completed his dream before building his rocket. Too bad.

The special effects are decent yet nothing extraordinary: the CGI, though apparent, does its job well. The score, from the sadly-underused Stuart Matthewman, is one of the prettiest and most inspirational scores I've heard in a long time; it has a dreamy, fantastical air to it that truly conveys the essence of the story with remarkable clarity and emotion. I still can't get it out of my head, even after three days since I watched the film, though this isn't a complaint.

The acting is very solid, with excellent performances from Billy Bob Thornton, Max Thieriot and Virginia Madsen; there's also a surprise visit by Bruce Willis as an old friend and 'mentor' to Farmer at NASA (three guesses which movie Willis was in inspired his being here in this movie?).

All I can say about the movie and its plot is that after catching only brief glimpses of that damned rocket for two-thirds of the movie, it's high time we got to see the baby in action – whether it ultimately ends in success or failure, or both, is up to the viewer to find out for him/herself. This is a very pretty story and deserves at least a rental. Some will love it, some will hate it. It all depends on how the movie's message and plot is interpreted, I suppose.

For giving us a tale of wonder and heartwarming despite some little problems here and there, I give Michael Polish's The Astronaut Farmer 8.0 astronaut helmets out of 10.

Charles Farmer: Billy Bob Thornton • Shepard Farmer: Max Thieriot • Audrey 'Audie' Farmer: Virginia Madsen
Crew & Credits Director(s): Michael Polish • Writer(s): Mark Polish, Michael Polish • Original Score: Stuart Matthewman
General Information
Distributed by: Warner Bros. Pictures • Released: February 23, 2007 • Running Time: 104 mins • Budget: US$13 million • Rated: PG

Continued ...»

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Florida falls behind in crazies race. ... Which is good.

Remember how Florida just tried to pass a bill that was unpleasantly reminiscent of the old Texan 'Strengths and Weaknesses' anti-Evolution crap? Good news: it's a FAIL.

Anti-Evolution Bill Still A Fruitless Exercise

TALLAHASSEE - A bill aimed at undercutting acceptance of evolution in Florida science classes, which kicked up a fuss but didn’t pass in the Florida Legislature last year, apparently is going nowhere this year.

A Senate version of the bill has yet to receive a committee hearing and has no companion bill in the House.

That means, said one proponent of the idea, that the bill has little chance of passage in this frantic session, heavily devoted to cutting and balancing the state budget.

“With no companion in the House, it doesn’t have much likelihood,” said Rep. Alan Hays, R-Umatilla.

Another small battle won in the great war against Creationism. Next!

Continued ...»

Random Funny Quote: misbehavin' soldiers

'Listen up, soldiers! We're going to kill their men, rape their women and steal their horses!

... and for God's sake, get it right this time!'

Continued ...»

Friday, March 27, 2009

Sneaky Florida again with creationism stupidity in school

While the Texas State Board of Education is getting all the press these days for their noted debating on how to teach Evolution in Texan schools (it was a near miss, though they're still chipping at science bit by bit as Dr. Myers explains), helmed by the ignoramus Don McLeroy, other creationist states have been left out lately. Apparently, Florida resented that, as Senator Steve Wise, a Jacksonville Republican (need I even point out his political affiliations if he's a creationist?), has just sneakily introduced a bill that pretty much mandates the exact thing that we were hoping to avoid from the Texas Education Board: an introduction of the fallacious 'Strengths & Weaknesses' rule targeting Evolution in favor of Creationism.

And though it has yet to have its first hearing, the bill has the science community is up in arms.

You may remember this hot-button issue from 2008, when Sen. Ronda Storms, R-Valrico, and Rep. Alan Hays, R-Umatilla, pushed similar legislation after the state Board of Education explicitly mandated the teaching of the scientific theories of biological and chemical evolution.

This language in this year's bill from Wise is pretty similar to the version pushed last year by Hays – not banning the teaching of evolution, but allowing teachers to question it in science class. Storms had focused her version more on job protections for teachers who criticized the theory.

Here's what Wise's bill would require: "A thorough presentation and critical analysis of the scientific theory of evolution."

The Florida Academy of Science says the bill "leaves the door open for the introduction in the public school curriculum of nonscientific and covertly religious doctrines."

Talk about sidestepping a pothole just to fall down a manhole. Not only was this done, but it was done silently – the defining measure used by creationists (when not honking madly about the evils of atheism and Evolution) to try and introduce their stupid theological beliefs in scientific classrooms. Cowards.

Continued ...»

There are other ways to euthanize an ailing animal, man

This is a sad story: a man from Escondido, California, is under investigation for suspected animal cruelty. When Lucy, a 2-year-old Weimaraner was hit my multiple cars (poor thing ...), the man told everyone to get back, grabbed a 'hammer-like object', and proceeded to repeatedly strike the poor injured animal. He claims he was trying to euthanize her to end her suffering, but something's off here ...

Lucy was hit after escaping from a Valley Center home. Witnesses say they were trying to help the injured dog when the man ordered everyone to back away.

"She was screaming and bouncing around, and he was beating, beating, beating on her," Mike Goss said.

Lucy was soon shot by an officer, her injuries just too grave.

If he was trying to end her misery, why did he actually hurt her even more, beating on her like that?

Disturbing, story this is, but I can't quite decide if he's a failed hero or just another fucking animal abuser. What do you think, folks?

Continued ...»

Film Review: 'Armageddon' – 7.0/10

Film Review: Disaster • Sci-Fi (1998)
Written by Joé McKen on Friday, March 27, 2009

Meteors cause some serious damage, a fact not overlooked in Touchstone Pictures’ 1998 Armageddon.

Armageddon is an ambitious blockbuster that has all the necessary parts for a good Action flick but in the end fails to bring it all together in a way that truly makes it worthwhile. It’s a thrilling premise combined with a good mastery of special effects and technical stuff, but it’s weighed down by sticky problems that cut its reach just sort of reaching true quality. A less ‘typically American’ (ie. less explosions and corny humor) and overall better alternative concerning Death from Space would be the same year’s Deep Impact, at least in my opinion.

The basic premise is one we’ve heard over and over again yet curiously can’t seem to get enough of: a gigantic asteroid from the far depths of Space is hurtling towards poor little Earth at a million miles an hour, posing just large enough a threat to let us know we’re all screwed yet still allow us to think straight enough to try and find a solution. The problem in Armageddon is that said Evil Space Rock is only discovered as it’s at 18 days from smashing into the Earth to begin with. And so, NASA’s best (and only) plan? Send up a ragtag crew of roughnecks onto the rock to drill a hole, in which they’ll drop a nuke to blast the Texas-sized bit of Space junk in half, hopefully sparing Earth from a bitter fate.

The crew in question is helmed by Harry Stamper (Bruce Willis), a ‘legend’ in the oil drilling industry as he’s never failed yet (and probably would do well not to break his streak with this particular job). However, Harry gets slightly sidetracked by the prospect of his beautiful young daughter, Grace (Liv Tyler), ending in the arms of fellow crewmember AJ Frost (Ben Affleck). He does what any regular father does: chases AJ around the rig, sending shotgun blasts ricocheting everywhere (apparently the rig is indestructible). That’s all fine and dandy – until a government chopper comes along unannounced and flies him and his daughter to NASA, where he’s filled in with the horrible details of the world’s impending doom.

Harry has been chosen to lead the space crew into drilling the hole with a drill of his own design (which apparently even NASA couldn’t assemble properly), yet the wet-behind-the-ears crew he’s supplied ain’t good enough: he needs his men.

Somehow they’re all able to be whipped into sufficient astronaut-esque shape in less than twelve days to land themselves in prototype space shuttles and blast off into the unknown above, with less than a day to find the specified landing site and drill eight hundred feet straight down into the rock-and-metal monster.

By far the biggest bunch of blows landed on the film’s broken jaw from critics of all sides have all been about its laudable amounts of scientific gaffes and inaccuracies, but in the spirit of lenience (and because this is a long review already) I’ll cut it some slack and instead focus on the bits I myself found less pleasant.

For me, the largest issue I had with the movie, by far, was with the editing. It’s absolutely chaotic and unrestrained – and that’s when there aren’t explosions and destruction all over the place. Shots get mixed with shots that seem to have little to do with each other, which confuse the viewer into wondering what the hell is going on in the first place – always a bad scratch against a movie. If any good, deep and powerful story can be ripped apart simply by overexcited editing, Armageddon is in mangled tatters.

The movie follows a strictly American Action Film formula: tough guys that seem to sweat pure bravado with every move they make and unironic, uninspired joke they spin off; explosions and unrestrained chaos and pandemonium that occurs at a regular interval of roughly 5 minutes, from ‘warning’ meteors hitting the Earth and obliterating Paris or some riverside Asian town, to fights, to a Very Evil Asteroid bent on wiping the crew off its surface before they can detonate the nuke; and etc. The whole film seems to be built on a foundation of endless clichés and predictable outcomes to events: when you see a space station, you’re guaranteed to see it blow up in the next half-hour, and when the characters try a stunt that even they don’t think would normally succeed, of course they’ll all be alive and asking for more moments after.

On the positive side, the film does boast some excellent special effects for its time, and overall has a good mastery of most technical aspects, including great photography and interesting sets and locations, though I personally wasn’t much impressed with Trevor Rabin’s underwhelmingly generic score. Much effort was brought into bringing the asteroid itself ‘alive’, breathing and throwing obstacles at the would-be heroes from all sides, and while I generally discourage making a rock into more than it actually is, it does add a good sense of horror when things go catastrophically wrong.

Overall, Armageddon is a decent popcorn film to watch with some friends on a late Saturday evening on the bigscreen (it’s what it seems to be made for), and it doesn’t seem to aspire to any more than that – if it did, it failed, hard. A good rental, but that’s all the regular movie-lover will likely get out of it.

Good special effects and a thrilling premise aren’t enough to save the movie from its inaccuracy woes and editing horrors, so Michael Bay's Armageddon only gets 7.0 death-rocks from Space out of 10.

Harry S. Stamper: Bruce Willis • AJ Frost: Ben Affleck • NASA Admin. Dan Truman: Billy Bob Thornton • Grace Stamper: Liv Tyler
Crew & Credits
Director(s): Michael Bay • Writer(s): Jonathan Hensleigh, JJ Abrams, Robert Roy Pool • Original Score: Trevor Rabin
General Information
Distributed by: Touchstone Pictures • Released: July 01, 1998 • Running Time: 150 mins • Budget: US$140 million • Rated: PG-13

Continued ...»

Small smack to creationists: stupid 'Strengths and Weaknesses' rule is defeated in Texas

Recently the Texas State Board of Education held meetings and debates to determine the next decade of schooling curriculum – not to mention how Evolution was to be taught in Science classrooms. One of the creationist advances against Evolution was the attempted implementation of the stupid 'Strengths and Weaknesses rule', which would oblige teachers to give a 'fallacy' in the Theory of Evolution for every strength it had in explaining biological development over space and time.

Thankfully, the measure has been defeated – though by an exceedingly narrow margin: 7:7. Imagine – one more ignoramus on the Board and schoolchildren would've been spoon-fed lies and disinformation for a whole fucking decade. True Texas.

AUSTIN – In a decision watched by science educators across the nation, the State Board of Education on Thursday narrowly turned aside a last-ditch effort by social conservatives to require that "weaknesses" in the theory of evolution be taught in science classes in Texas.

Board members deadlocked 7-7 on a motion to restore a longtime curriculum rule that "strengths and weaknesses" of all scientific theories – notably Charles Darwin's theory of evolution – be covered in science classes and textbooks for those subjects.

At least the battle's over – for now. The war sure as Hell ain't, though. Not as long as Religion is the dominating voice over reason and intelligence in Idiot America.

Continued ...»

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Death-by-Laughter joke I found a while back ...

How to Give a Cat a Pill (followed by How to Give a Dog a Pill)

(Slightly rewritten by me)

1. Pick up the cat and cradle it in the crook of your left arm as if holding a baby. Position right forefinger and thumb on either side of cat's mouth and gently apply pressure to cheeks while holding pill in right hand. As cat opens mouth, pop pill into mouth. Allow cat to close mouth and swallow.

2. Retrieve pill from floor and cat from under the chair. Cradle cat in left arm and repeat process.

3. Retrieve cat from bedroom and throw soggy pill away.

4. Take a new pill from foil wrap. Cradle cat in left arm holding rear paws tightly with left hand. Force jaws open and push pill to back of mouth with right forefinger. Hold mouth shut for a count of ten.

5. Retrieve pill from goldfish bowl, and cat from top of wardrobe. Call spouse in from garden.

6. Kneel on floor with cat wedged firmly between the knees. Holding front and rear paws, ignore low growls emitted from cat. Get spouse to hold cat's head firmly with one hand while forcing wooden ruler into mouth. Drop pill down ruler and rub cat's throat vigorously.

7. Retrieve cat from curtain rail, get another pill from foil wrap. Make a note to buy a new ruler and repair curtains. Carefully sweep shattered figurines from hearth and set aside fro gluing later.

8. Wrap cat in large towel and get spouse to lie on cat with its head just visible from beneath spouse's armpit. Put pill in end of drinking straw, force cat's mouth open with pencil and blow down straw.

9. Check label to make sure that pill is not harmful to humans. Drink one beer to take the taste away. Apply band-aid to spouse's forearm and remove blood from carpet with cold water and soap.

10. Retrieve cat from neighbor's shed. Get another pill. Open another beer. Place cat in cupboard and close door onto neck to leave head showing. Force open mouth with spoon, flick pill down throat with elastic band.

11. Fetch screwdriver from garage to put door back on hinges. Drink beer. Fetch bottle of scotch. Pour shot and drink. Apply whiskey compress to cheek and check records for last tetanus shot. Toss back another shot. Throw t-shirt away and fetch new one from bedroom.

12. Call the fire department to retrieve fucking cat from tree across the road. Apologize to neighbor who crashed into fence while swerving to avoid cat. Take last pill from foil wrap.

13. Tie the little bastard's front paws to rear paws with garden twine and bind tightly to leg of dining room table. Find heavy-duty pruning gloves from garage. Force cat's mouth open with small trowel. Push pill into mouth followed by large piece of fillet steak. Be rough about it. Hold head vertically and pour two pints of water down throat to wash pill down.

14. Consume remainder of scotch. Get spouse to drive you to emergency room. Sit quietly while doctor stitches finger and forearm and removes pill remnants from right eye. Stop by furniture store on the way home to order a new table.

15. Have the pound come fetch mutant cat from Hell and phone local pet shot to see if they have any bunnies.

* * * * *
How to Give a Dog a Pill

1. Wrap pill in bacon, toss into the air.

Original joke taken from Kefalonia Animal Trust.

Continued ...»

Remind me why religiots are not biologists?

A little while ago, there was a surprising and exciting discovery in Lebanon: cephalopods from the Cretaceous! These 95 million-years-old fossils are exquisitely detailed and offer tons of data and information about ancient cephalopods, as chronicled here on Pharyngula. (Dr. Myers must've had an orgasm, being the squiddie fanatic he is. :P)

95 million-years-old octopus fossils discovered in Lebanon

There is much to read about the fossils themselves, which of course if highly interesting to paleontological biologists, but that's not the point of this post. In his entry, Dr. Myers also predicted, drawing from his years and years of experience in dealing with the minds and habits of religiots and creationists, that these fossils would be called 'proof' by creationists as to Evolution being false:

Accustomed as I am to the workings of the minds of creationists, though, I'm sad to say that I also immediately saw how this find will be abused. I guarantee you that Harun Yahya is grabbing these images and planning to stuff them into his next bloated and repetitive tome, with a caption that announces that there has been no change in octopi over 95 million years, therefore evolution is false.

Well, needless to say his predictions were quickly confirmed – by none other than Canada's beacon of shame, Denyse O'Leary, a pseudo-journalist with an ID agenda and less credibility than a drug addict talking about astrophysics.

And now, an even dumber ignoramus (always pushing the stretches of possibility, these creationists are) has come forth with even more shockingly stupid and fundamentally ignorant claims. Joseph Farah, a Christian American Evangelical (yes, already he's very apt to talk about biological discoveries, isn't he?), put forth these hilariously wrong claims as his opening lines in his article on World NutNet Daily:

Scientists are baffled by the latest fossil find.[1]

It's an octopus they claim is 95 million years old.[2]

And, guess what? It looks just like a modern-day octopus – complete with eight legs, rows of suckers and even traces of ink.[3]

In all that time, it seems, the octopus hasn't evolved – not one tiny bit.[4]

If stupid was deadly, this alone would've sent most of NYC to the grave. Dear God, how can anyone even be so profoundly ignorant of the most basic of biological facts and basic Science, and still be considered fit to write articles? Even on WingNut Daily?

Let's see:

[1] No, they are not baffled. 'Surprised' and 'excited' are not the same as 'baffled' (as in 'confused' or 'perplexed' by the find). Already, a baseless claim.

[2] Yes, it is 95 million years old, as confirmed by extremely accurate and precise dating tools and methods. No 'claims' about it.

[3] This would have any layman smirking and sneering – and would send any biologist hurtling to the ground in laughter. 'Eight legs, rows of suckers and even traces of ink'? That's how a kindergartener with crayons in his mouth would describe cephalopods. It's the equivalent of saying mammals never changed because they all have skin, four limbs and two eyes. It's hilariously dumb. There are nearly two hundred different species of cephalopods last I checked, each with defining traits and differences from each other.

[4] Ah, here we go – just because it's highly similar to modern octopi (which admittedly, it is), it hasn't changed 'one tiny bit'? Did this Farah twit even read about the frickin' discovery? It gives us tons of evidence, in high amounts of detail and clarity, about the process of evolution and how it differs from modern octopi. Might as well say a Husky is the same as the wolf because it 'hasn't changed one tiny bit', or that all humans look the same. It's fundamentally retarded.

And the best part is that then creationists wonder why no-one takes them seriously. Perhaps if they did some slight bit of scientific reading and learning now and then – you know, actually learning about the drivel and garbage they spout – people would be more apt to listen to what they had to say. (But then, it's a paradox, as scientific reading would make them realize how Creationism is stupid to begin with, so they wouldn't be creationists any more ... but whatever.)

Later in the article Farah even starts praising Ben Stein's Expelled, sinking his credibility well into the negatives by then. But, just for fun, or in case you weren't already fundamentally convinced of his stupidity and ignorance:

"It's funny to me that many of the same scientists who discount the Flood are believers in man-made global warming. While there's plenty of evidence for a worldwide Flood, there's no scientific evidence for man-made global warming. It is a pipedream. It is a hoax to enslave mankind to global authorities."

*Falls off chair laughing, makes scene before whole school computers classroom*

My, oh my, oh my ... How is it physically possible to pack so much stupid and retarded into such a small space?

Creationists never cease to entertain.

Continued ...»

You think YOUR life sucks right now?

I don't think anyone'd be willing to exchange places with this guy ...

A 25-year-old singer, who estimates that he’s hiccuped almost 10 million times in the last 15 months, may finally be cured.

Christopher Sands had surgery Wednesday to repair a damaged stomach valve. Doctors at Queen Medical Center in England, where the surgery was performed, said the damaged valve was causing a condition leading to heartburn and chronic hiccups, the U.K.’s Daily Telegraph reported Thursday.

Sands has tried everything since 2007 to cure his nonstop hiccups, from eating honey while upside down to sitting in a compression chamber.

"I'm pinning all my hopes on this operation,” Sands told the Telegraph. “I want my life back.”

Hmm ... Reminds me of this somehow ...

(Sorry ... couldn't resist.)

Continued ...»

Finally, a Godbot with a shred of sense ...

Every now and then we do hear from high-ranking Godbots who say something that amounts to less than abject stupidity or insipidity. In this case, it's Dr. Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, who warned that God will not save our sorry hides if we keep destroying the planet, ecologically.

Speaking on Wednesday he said just as God gave humans free will to do "immeasurable damage" to themselves as individuals it seemed "clear" they had the same "terrible freedom" as a human race.

"I think that to suggest that God might intervene to protect us from the corporate folly of our practices is as unchristian and unbiblical as to suggest that he protects us from the results of our individual folly or sin," he said.

"God's faithfulness stands, assuring us that even in the most appalling disaster love will not let us go - but it will not be a safety net that guarantees a happy ending in this world."

Without a change of heart, Dr Williams warned, the world faced a number of "doomsday scenarios" including the "ultimate tragedy" of humanity gradually "choked, drowned, or starved by its own stupidity."

An Archbishop with a strain of misanthropy – who knew? Not to mention he's fuckin' right of course. (And how often do I say that of religious officials?)

Greenpeace also chirped in:

A Greenpeace spokesman welcomed the speech: "Hundreds of thousands of people are dying every year because we haven't taken the necessary steps to stop climate change.

"Whilst there's nothing wrong in hoping for a miracle, relying on one does seem to be more than a bit reckless."

I just wish Greenpeace would stick to sensible actions and tactics that actually garner support and actually acheive their ends instead of their absurd and irritating (and stupid) ploys they're known for using over the years. Instead of tying yourselves to trees and oil rigs, why not do something that won't make people look on you like they would upon an annoying rat that just ate their last slice of cheese? That's the key point activists always seem to miss, whether they be Greenpeace of that horrible PETA or whatever: the point of activism is public support, not public support alienation. Get them on your side, not against you. The only way change is ever achieved in this world is when you've got the voice and will of the poeple to back you up, so really, they need to stop doing the sort of things that result only in pissing people off.

Continued ...»

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Raging on his ex-girlfriend ... through her dog

Another cringe-inducingly disgusting case of animal cruelty. A 21-year-old West Valley City brute, who's name isn't disclosed (probably good – for him), chose to take out his frustrations against his ex-girlfriend ... on her puppy.

A 21-year-old West Valley City man was charged Wednesday with torture of an animal for allegedly beating, stomping on and throwing his ex-girlfriend's puppy against a wall.

The alleged abuse occurred March 21 at a home near 6200 West Highgate Avenue (3600 South), charging documents state.

A relative of the man told police she could hear the sounds of banging in the basement and the dog yelping before the man came upstairs carrying the unconscious puppy. The man then swung the puppy around by the legs and threw it against a wall before jumping on it and beating it with a skateboard and a tennis racket, charging documents state.

The man also threatened to return the dog to his ex-girlfriend when it was dead and left several voice messages on her cell phone while he was allegedly hurting the dog.

The ex-girlfriend later took the puppy to a veterinarian who said the animal's eye was severely damaged and it suffered from an inflamed brain. It also had marks on its eyes and nose that looked like it had been hit several times, court documents state.

The man was charged with torture of a companion animal, a third-degree felony. He was booked into the Salt Lake County jail Sunday and is being held on a $10,000 cash-only bond.

Disgusting fuck. May a Rottweiler rip his face of. (How poetically just would it be if it were the same dog he'd nearly killed.)

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Texas gun nuts, rejoice!

For all you Texans with your pickups and your shotguns and your slutty white trash girls (stereotypes are fun), you've all now got yet another reason to buy all the guns and tools of death you want: the Texas Senate just gave their unanimous approval to a bill that allows Texans to keep their guns and arms in their cars at work.

But the bill, a top priority of the National Rifle Association, would no longer let employers ban guns in company parking facilities — as long as they remain locked up inside an employee's vehicle.

"Here in Texas, people like their firearms," said Sen. Glenn Hegar, R-Katy, author of the legislation. State law already allows Texans to carry concealed handguns in their vehicles, with some restrictions.

Yes, they do. Hence them always blowing their brains out over the news – but of course, that has nothing to do with the fact you can buy your Levi's and your Glock 9mm at the same store ...

At least firearms are still vehemently and strictly prohibited from coming anywhere near schools or federal property.

Even in Texas, as Hegar noted, "we can't trump federal law."

Now them's fightin' words.

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Update in the outrageous Christian amorality story

Gingi Edmonds, a religious nut and world-class asshole, recently wrote a horribly amoral and disgusting article on Christian Newswire that placed the blame for a recent Montana plane crash, which resulted in fourteen deaths (including seven children), on abortion (long story). Long story short, this has understandably garnered a large amount of attention (not aided by the fact it was front-page Pharyngula material), and so far Gingi Edmonds has been wholly flooded with outraged eMails, and so have Christian Newswire, questioning their ethics in allowing such a disgraceful, amoral article to appear on their site.

Now, Gary McCullough, the director of Christian Newswire, has responded to the complaints. It's just as you'd expect from the source that published the original article: sanctimonious, self-righteous, fundamentally stupid and profoundly amoral.

As director of this newswire, I do not believe I need to defend our choice of what we distribute from attacks by those who trumpet the phrase "pro-choice." I am not concerned about the intolerance expressed by those who scream for tolerance. Nor do I intend to defend Ms. Edmonds' freedom to express herself from those who cry "censorship" to justify the publication of anything vile, offensive or disgusting.

Hypocrisy is just too easy of a target.

What I do find of interest is the common misunderstanding of God's judgment and what Edmonds expressed. Imagine if you will, a father telling his toddler son not to touch a hot stove. Over and over the father warns that the stove will burn him if he touches it. Yet the toddler does, and cries out in pain. The infant mind might blame the father for the burn he just experienced -- thinking he was being punished. "Why did you burn me daddy?"

I do not know the extent of the pain we will experience for failing to heed our Heavenly Father's admonition not to murder. Child-on-child and child-on-adult murderers are becoming less rare. An overall lack of respect for human life is undoubtedly having an impact. The highest concentration of child-on-child murders occur within the segment of our society with the highest concentration of abortion clinics. And we cry out, "Why is this happening -- is God punishing us?"

This time I'm thoroughly immolated, not just by the fetid flames of hypocrisy and disgusting callousness, but also by the sheer bucketload of stupid the dingus just threw at us. He equates a child burning himself on a stove despite being warned not to do so, with a plane crash which still has no confirmed cause as of yet.

It's a telltale sign of religiots: using faulty analogies that don't make the slightest shred of sense. Everything from motives to causation, he gets it all wrong. A child burns itself because it's curious and isn't aware of the danger. How did this moron manage to equate that to a man who owns a bunch of clinics that allow abortions, who loses his kids in a plane crash? A plane doesn't crash by having anything to do with abortion; it's a ridiculously non-sequitor.

So, the only cause left in his view (and Gingi's as well), is divine retribution. God did it, to punish the man, by crashing the plane and killing two of his children and five of his grandchildren (along with seven others).

Anyway; don't bother reading the rest of his holier-than-thou response; it's nothing new or worth your time, saying we're paying back for killing the unborn, that abortion is 'child-murder for hire', and equally ridiculous and frankly disturbing statements that make one wonder if McCullough has all of his brain cells functioning normally. Even if he is categorically insane.

The day religiots and fundies stop equating abortion to child-murder is the day I eat my socks.

Continued ...»

Another stupid "religious discrimination" story ...

One of the problems with religion is that it holds many customs that have to be upheld, no matter how pointless, tiring or even uncomfortable/dangerous they may be. And of course, anyone who points out that pious sheep look or act like twits, deserves to be whipped a few times across the nuts, shot in the head, then stabbed in the eye. It's funny; if someone wore a tutu to work, laughing at the twit would be perfectly acceptable, yet if the tutu was based in religion, suddenly it's a no-go zone. So hypocritical.

This is the point of the story of Niklaus Leuenberger, the manager of one of NYC's fanciest hotels, who happened to make one slip in judgment (if you may call it that; I'd call it 'telling it as it is'), and immediately lost his job. His transgression? He told a Catholic employee to clean off the stupid ashen crucifix plastered on his forehead for Ash Wednesday (you know, another pointless religious custom ...).

"Wipe that f-----g s--t off your face," managing director Niklaus Leuenberger told a bell captain at the New York Palace Hotel on Feb. 25, sources said.

The unholy ultimatum ended up costing Leuenberger his job at the Palace, a swanky 55-story tower on Madison Ave. across the street from St. Patrick's Cathedral.

"As of Monday, March 23, Leuenberger is no longer employed by the New York Palace," hotel spokeswoman Teresa Delaney told the Daily News Tuesday.

The incident was deemed so severe, Christopher Cowdray, head of the London-based Dorchester Collection, which owns the Palace, flew here to hand Leuenberger the pink slip.

Wow, the big boss himself had to fly over to personally fire Leuenberger! Admittedly he hadn't exactly been graceful – even I would just have said 'wipe that dumb thing off, will ya?' instead of calling it 'fucking shit' (assuming that's what the censorship is meant to cover up) – but this was nothing to lose his job over, especially such a prestigious spot in the societal echelon.

So, because he told a religious worker to clean himself up and make himself look more presentable to the public and clientèle (which would also negate any potential accusations of 'advertising' his Catholicism), the poor man was kicked out for telling an idiot he looked like an idiot.

Sometimes, fools just need to be told they look like fools. Leuenberger should've perhaps been reprimanded for his language, but that's really it. Anything else is just excessive overreacting – you know, just what Christians do when they see a supposed threat that's revealed to be a cockroach in importance.

Continued ...»

What else did we expect?

Fuck ... it was so close. So very, very close.

Then of course a self-righteous bastard had to step in and screw everyone over.

Not that one didn't see it coming.

MONTPELIER, Vt. — Gov. Jim Douglas said today that he will veto a gay-marriage proposal if it passes the Legislature, the first time he has signaled such an intent before final legislative action on a bill.

Speaking at an afternoon news conference, the Republican governor said that he thought Vermont's first-in-the-nation civil unions law, passed in 2000, provided sufficient rights to same-sex couples and that he believed "marriage should remain between a man and woman."

I'm sorry, but we don't give a stinking shit what you believe! NO-ONE does! I so fucking HATE IT when assholes like this primitive asshat decide to screw everyone and their hopes & goals just because THEY don't think it's right. You may be the governor, but that does not make you the center of the world, you asshole. It's your OBLIGATION to do what's right for the people, not for you. Or is that a concept that's alien to the entirety of the fucking Republican Party?

There should truly be a law against this sort of stuff – something that says like 'once enough people of a majority vote in one direction, no vetoes are allowed' or something.

So because the great Jim Douglas is a retarded fascist imbecile, Vermont will not legalize same-sex marriage after all.

What a truly horrible letdown. And here I was beginning to get my hopes up that another US state was about to elevate itself from the stinking cesspit that holds the others and allow people to marry regardless of their sexuality.

Continued ...»

So this Catholic bishop says he'll boycott Obama ...

And ... we should care why, exactly?

South Bend » A Roman Catholic bishop says he will boycott President Barack Obama's May 17 commencement speech at the University of Notre Dame because Obama's policies supporting abortion rights and stem cell research conflict with Catholic teaching.

Bishop John D'Arcy of the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend said Tuesday that Obama's recent decision to federally fund embryonic stem cell research brought the U.S. government for the first time "into supporting direct destruction of innocent human life."

His use of the usual, boring and faulty equating of embryos to "human life" proves his absence probably won't be that big of a loss.

Actually, I wonder if anyone'll notice ... or care?

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Teens will be teens ...

And they will have penile fascinations like all teens do.

Is this all Google Earth's good for enticing in young'uns? =(

I think a certain young'un is gonna have a little bit of a discussion with his father (and mother) ...

Continued ...»

New York Senator Schumer: now pro-Gay Marriage!

A fine event has recently happened in Manhattan: New York Democratic Senator Charles Schumer has just changed his views on Gay Marriage. After many years of being fervently against same-sex marriages, he's now a proponent, and he convened a meeting in a fancy Manhattan restaurant to announce just that. The reaction? 'The room applauded', according to an attendant.

The reversal marked a significant shift for the Democratic senator and gave further momentum to gay marriage in New York, where every other statewide Democratic official supports such unions.


"At this point we have a fair amount of knowledge that supporting gay marriage in the Northeast is not the kiss of death politically" that it could be as recently as a decade ago, said Lee Badgett, director of the Center for Public Policy and Administration at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and research director at the Williams Institute on Sexual Orientation Law and Public Policy at UCLA.

If anything, Schumer's support for gay marriage is likely to bolster momentum for legalizing gay marriage in New York, where a gay marriage bill passed the Assembly in 2007.

Again, fantastic news for New York, now that much closer to eventually – some distant day – passing a same-sex marriage bill like Vermont just did. Aah, the joys of when Democrats stick to liberal ideals ... so refreshing.

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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Jindal tells Republicans to defy Obama's policies

Bobby Jindal, largely considered as the 'head' of the Republican Party, is about as big a caricature of Republicans as they get. He's scientifically ignorant and illiterate, blindly parrots ideals and values from his cohorts no matter how stupid or baseless they are, is a fervent creationist (oh, right – a believer of Intelligent Design, which is of course nothing like Creationism ...), doesn't think volcanoes are a credible threat (seen his previous response to Obama's first press conference?), is a Pro-Lifer, votes for banning crucial medical and scientific research that could save unfathomable numbers of lives, and is against Gay Marriage. That's probably not all of it, but this list is harsh enough as it is – more would just seem petty of me.

Christ on a stick, you could draw him in lineart and title him 'Jindal without Bindle' and he wouldn't be a bigger farce.

And now, Jindal is saying that Republicans need to stand up to Obama and defy his policies. How truly patriotic.

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal again found himself carrying the Republican mantle opposite a prime-time appearance from President Obama on Tuesday, saying Republicans must be ready to defy the president when they disagree with his policies.

He also joked about his widely panned response to Obama's address to Congress last month.

"We are now in the position of being the loyal opposition," Jindal said at a Republican congressional fundraising dinner that only by coincidence fell on the same night as Obama's news conference. "The right question to ask is not if we want the president to fail or succeed, but whether we want America to succeed."

Don't bother reading the rest, go goes on about how it's all the Democrats' fault of course, somehow allowing his hilariously small mind to forget the notion that the decisions that lead to this whole fucking debacle were almost exclusively Republican to begin with. But no, can't have Republicans shoulder responsibility, can you now?

Anywhere else in any sane country this idiot would've been kicked out of office a long time ago. (Hell, that's an oxymoron; he never would've made it in office to begin with.) But in Idiot America, where religion overthrows Science and reason/sanity are crimes against nature, he's rapidly becoming a 'star' in the GOP.

How that worries me – he's even being rumored as a possible electoral candidate for the 2012 Presidential Elections. Let's hope Obama keeps on truckin' as he has been for the past three months; Jindal won't be fit to rub his feet. (Hell, he ain't even fit to lick them at the current moment.)

Continued ...»

Public service announcement ...

"Children are strictly prohibited from entering this site" ... If only ... if only ...

(I take it the "FAIL" is towards the church's failure in being labeled as "dangerous".)

Continued ...»

HMS Texas Education is sinking into sea of anti-Science stupidity

The Texas State Board of Education has a mile-long track record of stupidity when it comes to deciding schooling curriculum in Texas insitutions of education, especially when it comes to Science classrooms and the teaching of Evolution. They are arguably a pillar in the world of the Evolution vs. Creationism debate, a living testament to the infernal retardation of the Southern US, which is only supported by the hilarity of them electing, as their leader, Don McLeroy ... a creationist, an incompetent copycat, and a dentist.

Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against dentists. It's a fine career for those who somehow like playing around in people's mouths all day, and they do fine work (most of the time anyway). I just don't think dentistry has any credibility when it comes to deciding how to govern Science education in public schools, particularly the teaching of Evolution, no more than paleontology has credibility in psychology. It's just not their field. So, already, that's strike one against McLeroy's credibility as Leader of the Texas schooling board. Why didn't they choose to elect someone in the domain of, say, education, for starters?

And of course, him being a creationist (strike two!) is just par for the course when it comes to southern conservative officials. It is deplorable that he's allowed to lead the entire State Education Board, though. Normally, it would be funny, in an ironic way, that someone who allows his stupid and patently wrong and thoroughly scientifically-disproven beliefs to blind him to all the evidence there is for Evolution ... if it wasn't so terrifying that he's directly at the helm of one of the largest school boards in America.

And lastly, he's also a plagiarist (strike three)! He tried to cast doubt on Darwin and his theories by reading aloud several quotes that, turns out, weren't his, but were cherry-picked and quote-mined from a variety of other sources, notably a creationist blog. He's tried to negate this like a coward, but of course, the evidence is there for him to wallow in it, the stupid twit. How stupid does he think we are?

Anyway, enough about this tool. The real point of this post is to warn folks: the Texas Education Board is now holding a week of debates that will conclude by deciding how Evolution will be taught in Texan school classrooms. They are once again attempting to reiterate the flawed and cowardly 'strengths and weaknesses' approach to trying to discredit Evolution, where they pretend to analyze Evolution's weaknesses, despite the fact it has none (everything is explained, everything fits, and those who deny this are simply ignorant). It's an attempt that's already been defeated a while back, and now is resurfacing, rearing its ugly head in hopes that we can jab its eyes out again.

So, what can you do to influence the Light of Reason to shining down on these idiots and leading the way? You can either follow a live-blogging session that will cover the event, or you can show up and testify for yourself. This probably will be rather ineffective, but it certainly is better than standing by while your kids' futures (and your own, if you're still in school) are being decided by incompetent deluded morons with an agenda to peddle through.

Lord help Texas.

Continued ...»

Parrot wins award for saving choking baby's life

You gotta love those animals:

DENVER — A parrot that alerted his owner about a baby who was choking was recognized as a hero by the Red Cross.

Willie the parrot was given the Animal Lifesaver Award during the "Breakfast of Champions" event attended by Gov. Bill Ritter and Mayor John Hickenlooper.

Willie received the award Friday for his actions in November, when he and owner Megan Howard were baby-sitting a toddler. Willie repeatedly yelled "Mama, baby" when Howard went to the bathroom and the toddler started to choke on her breakfast.

Howard saved the baby by performing the Heimlich maneuver but she said Willie "is the real hero."

From FOXNews.com.

Continued ...»

Even the courts agree: praying is NOT what to do in an emergency!

The causes behind air crashes are more numerous than stars in the skies, but in any problem that causes an aircraft to go plunging towards the ground faster than one would wish, when computerized systems and failbacks have all failed and are useless, the only line of defence left between a saved plane and a burning crater of rubble and debris in the ground, are the pilots. Well, the pilot, specifically (the co-pilot usually only being a navigator or assistant instead of actually 'flying' the plane). What pilots need to rely on, as air crashes have made all-too-clear, are their their innate aviator talents, their skills, their training, their abilities with the plane they're trying to control – NOT in the help and mercy of an omnipotent flying fairy with less power than a sick injured swamp-fly.

You will, of course, remember the 'miraculous' Hudson plane crash a little while ago now, where pilot Chesley Sullenberger's outstanding skills and quick-thinking allowed him to save the plane and everyone on board without any or fatalities or serious injuries. Now, whom/what did the crew thank and accredit their survival to? Simple: their training and skills, and keeping their heads on straight and thinking their way out of the disaster-to-be.

Not all pilots are this competent or honorable. Back in 2005, a Tunisian pilot, facing an emergency (something about a malfunctioning fuel-guage), decided the better course of action, rather than thinking straight, following standard procedure and even trying to find a frickin' airport to land at, was giving in to panick and – most ironic of all – praying out loud.

The plane crashed at sea off Sicily and shattered upon impact. 16 poor souls died.

There is a good facet to this story: a court has now condemned the incompetent pilot's praying as earning him a full decade in jail, along with his co-pilot.

There is some justice in this world after all. When your pilot is directly responsible for your death by being a grade-a idiot who chooses to hail his almighty Gawd instead of actually flying the goddamned plane, he deserves to rot behind bars a little. (The article is silent as to his pilot's license; one does hope it's been burned by now.)

I'm starting to think, in addition to State, religion should be banished from public services, such as air transportation.

Continued ...»

'Titanic' wreck's ownership finally in good hands

The debate over who 'owns' the wreck of the RMS 'Titanic' has been raging ever since its discovery by Dr. Ballard in 1985; with the ship's original owners now long-gone and the wreck sinking and residing in international waters outside of any country or organisation's jurisdiction, many companies and crews have tried to claim ownership of the wreck and its artifacts that have been hauled to the surface over the years.

Well, this stupid debate is finally about to be settled once and for all: a federal judge is on the verge of ruling that the ship and its artifacts must be united, and accessible to the public.

U.S. District Judge Rebecca Beach Smith, a maritime jurist who considers the wreck an "international treasure," is expected to rule within weeks that the salvaged items must remain together and accessible to the public. That would ensure the 5,900 pieces of china, ship fittings and personal belongings won't end up in a collector's hands or in a London auction house, where some Titanic artifacts have landed.

The judgment could also end the legal tussle that began when a team of deep-sea explorers found the world's most famous shipwreck in 1985.

Truly excellent news. No-one should be the sole proprietor of the shipwreck or its artifacts; the 'Titanic' is a human tragedy, an event to be remembered, far more than it is an actual object or structure to be owned by anyone with the money to ascertain their greediness.

Plus, this is the court ruling that keeps on giving:

At the same time, a cadre of government lawyers is helping Smith shape covenants to strictly monitor future activity at the Titanic wreck beneath the surface of the Atlantic. Amid evidence of the ship's deterioration, experts and government lawyers say the sanctity of the Titanic must be properly protected as a memorial to the 1,522 people who died when it went down.

I couldn't applaud this more. Human activity has already much progressed the deterioration of the wreck, from crushed roofs to torn railings and many smaller (but no less significant) damages to the wreck here and there, including knocking the iconic Crow's Nest off the foremast. This is no more respectful than pissing on someone's tombstone IMO, for that's just what the 'Titanic' wreck is: a grave to the 1,500 poor bastards who lost their lives that night.

Anyway, as those following this debate as I have can come to expect, the wretchedly greedy RMS Titanic Inc. isn't about to let it go so easily.

The salvage company, RMS Titanic Inc., wants the court to grant it limited ownership of the artifacts.

That may be all this source article says, but it's been a long fight that RMST has waged in trying to be granted ownership of both the artifacts, and the wreck itself. Greedy bastards. I couldn't be more opposed to this. Hopefully, Judge Smith's ruling of 'Titanic's sanctity should squash these buggers once and for all.

After all, as Dr. Jones would have doubtlessly said: 'They belong in a museum!'.

Continued ...»

Film Review: 'Knowing' – 7.0/10

Film Review: Disaster • Sci-Fi • Drama (2009)
Written by Joé McKen on Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Nicolas Cage sees some pretty disturbing stuff go down as Dr. John Koestler in Alex Proyas' 2009 disaster-thriller Knowing.

What if you could know what was to happen? What if you knew a terrible event was about to unfurl, one that no-one else knew about? Would you do anything you could to try and prevent it, minimize the damage? Or … would you stay out of the way and let inevitability and fate run their course?

These are the sorts of questions raised in Alex Proyas' hair-raising production, Knowing. In this case, they're part of the moral anguish that resides in the head of Dr. John Koestler, an MIT professor of astrophysics who's been having a tough run as of late. His wife died in a freak fire about a year ago, and he's been trying to raise his pained son all alone, eschewing his family and devoting his life to his work, and late-night alcohol benders. (How he manages to pull himself together enough to get to work in the mornings without wanting to kill himself is beyond me.)

In his class, he tells his students that there are two main governing theories about the functioning of the Universe: it's either deterministic, or random. Deterministic (which is what I would personally put my money on) would mean that if someone knew everything about physics and such, they could theoretically predict every single event in past and future, as any event or happening would only be a reaction to a preceding event in a predictable fashion. A random Universe would mean the precise opposite – it's all random, nothing makes sense, events appear out of nowhere and trigger unexpected consequences. When asked by a student as to what he believes in, he says what most would arguably say – 'shit happens'.

Now, his son's school is digging up a time capsule that had been buried at the school's inauguration, containing pictures of what kids back in 1959 imagined the world in 2009 would look like. We get the tons of rockets and space colonies, but when Dr. Koestler's son, Caleb, receives his own picture, he's surprised, perhaps disappointed, to instead receive a paper sheet with rows and rows of seemingly random numbers, from top to bottom. We remember, from the prologue, the strange young girl who had frantically written these numbers out, as though they had been whispered to her by an invisible voice.

But when Dr. Koestler looks at it, a mere glance in a lucky spot on the page leads him to finding a curious coincidence – the exact date, numerically, of 9/11, along with the exact number of deaths. Intrigued, he quickly starts to find other hidden dates in the numbers – and after a few hours, finds himself staring at a 50-year-old prediction of every single major disaster in the last five decades, without a single error. Numbers that didn't seem to 'fit' are soon revealed to be exact geographical coordinates. But that's not even the most troubling part. The worst, is that there are still three 'incomplete' sequences of numbers – disasters that have yet to happen. And now, Koestler knows where, when, and how many would die … unless he could manage to prevent them, somehow.

This is where the plot of Knowing truly takes off at a breathtaking pace into the mysterious realms of the paranormal and the disastrous, with Koestler desperately trying to prevent disasters when he has no idea what will happen or how – only where and when (and how many potential fatalities). The questions raised by the movie – would you stop horrendous events from taking place, or would you let them unfurl unimpeded as to not disturb the intended sequence of fate – are hard-hitting and resonating in those who understand their full power and complexity. They are basically the greatest questions ever asked (other than perhaps 'why are we here?').

There is certainly a lot to be said about this film, but for spoilers' sake I'll have to restrain myself. I can say, however, that this film soon starts to stray from the path of disaster film and science-fiction and plunges into a strange, somewhat uncomfortable world of fantasy that somehow doesn't seem to fit with the previous two-thirds of the story. It's a transition that I suspect is the main cause for the film's sharp distaste from most critics; one that we neither saw coming, nor were quite willing to see happen.

Technically, the film is very decent, with solid special effects (though nothing groundbreaking; I personally found some of the CGI to be a little dated) and very vivid and moving photography that perfectly captures mood and feel. The score, from Marco Beltrami, does its job well without drawing attention to itself, though never quite rising to magnificence.

People seem to either fall in love with his movie (as did Roger Ebert, judging from his glorifying 4/4-star review) or despise it, with little grey area in between. What I found was a great potential that somehow didn't quite fall flat – it was lead in a direction I wasn’t satisfied with. Though I suspect that's just my personal taste at this point.

Being a complex and oftentimes confusing but nonetheless thrilling and intriguing epic awards Alex Proyas' Knowing with 7.0 shiny black rocks out of 10.

Dr. John Koestler: Nicolas Cage • Caleb Koestler: Chandler Canterbury • Diana Wayland: Rose Byrne
Crew & Credits
Director(s): Alex Proyas • Writer(s): Alex Proyas, Stuart Hazeldine, Juliet Snowden • Original Score: Marco Beltrami
General Information
Distributed by: Summit Entertainment • Released: March 20, 2009 • Running Time: 121 mins • Budget: US$50 million • Rated: PG-13

Continued ...»

Monday, March 23, 2009

YES! Vermont passes same-sex marriage bill!

With a little luck, we can soon include the great state of Vermont as the third American state to allow Gay Marriage: Democratic state Senator John Campbell's same-sex marriage bill just got passed by an overwhelming majority (26-4!) and is now headed for state House.

The state Senate voted 26-4 in favor of the measure introduced by Democratic state Sen. John Campbell. The bill now goes to the state House, where Speaker Shap Smith, also a Democrat, predicted a majority would vote in favor of the "marriage equality" act. The House Judiciary Committee is expected to begin debating the bill Tuesday. A second vote in the state Senate also is expected Tuesday.

If put into law, this bill would make Vermont the first state in the US to legalize Gay Marriage from the result of a Legislature voting instead of court cases like the others.

One tiny last little problem (though perhaps not-so-tiny): the Governor of Vermont, Republican (gasp!) Jim Douglas.

Vermont Gov. Jim Douglas, a Republican, has refused to answer questions about whether he would sign the measure, veto it or allow it to become law without his signature. He has said that he believes marriage should be between one man and one woman.

Let's hope Gov. Douglas is able to cast aside his retarded principals and allow people to wed whoever the fuck they want without discriminating based on one's sexuality, eh? We can only hope and cross our fingers at this point. It's right within reach!

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Speak of the devil: Colbert goes astronomical!

Odd coincidence the last story I commented on was about Stephen Colbert, but get this: the son-of-a-bitch just got his name elected for a new room at the ISS (International Space Station) following a 'messed-up' naming contest by Nasa.

NASA's mistake was allowing write-ins. Colbert urged viewers of his Comedy Central show, "The Colbert Report" to write in his name. And they complied, with 230,539 votes. That clobbered Serenity, one of the NASA choices, by more than 40,000 votes. Nearly 1.2 million votes were cast by the time the contest ended Friday.

Lol. How randomly silly – my favorite sort of comedic story. :P

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Sunday, March 22, 2009

For all those who've heard of the 'Snuggie' ...

Now presenting, the WTF? Blanket.

True. So very true. RAmen.

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Women are teh evil of this world, peoplz

They have to be, considering Saudi Arabian clerics are pressing the kingdom's new information minister – who was implemented as part of an ongoing effort to specifically weed out hardliners and conservative islamics – to categorically ban all women from ever appearing on TV, on the radio and in the newspapers. They're also pressing to remove any and all music and music videos from TV and radio.


"No Saudi women should appear on TV, no matter what the reason," the statement said. "No images of women should appear in Saudi newspapers and magazines."

Why aren't they rounding up women and chaining them to posts or housing them in farms to sleep in hay and eat, well, hay? They are cattle after all ... no?

Women also appear on Saudi television with their faces showing, though most in public totally cover themselves.

Newspapers publish pictures of Saudi women, but almost always with their heads covered, while pictures of Western entertainers are shown but bare arms and cleavage are painted over.

Yes, of course. Lord knows those poor unsuspecting men in the streets will be so very ashamed when they suddenly get a stiffie from seeing bare arms or an uncovered nose or mouth. Gee, you'd think with all that killing and terrorism and general retarded stupidity, that they'd be a little toughened by now ... guess not.

In a statement, the 35 hardline clergymen also called on Abdel Aziz Khoja, who was appointed by King Abdullah on Feb. 14, to prohibit the playing of music and music shows on television.

"We have great hope that this media reform will be accomplished by you," said the statement. "We have noticed how well-rooted perversity is in the Ministry of Information and Culture, in television, radio, press, culture clubs and the book fair."

So playing music on TV and radio is a perversion? ... Wow. Just ... wow.

French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, in town for meetings with Saudi officials, told a news conference that during lunch he sat between a female Saudi surgeon and a female journalist. He said while one woman is allowed to perform surgery and another is allowed to teach, neither is permitted to drive.

"I find that bizarre," he said.

No, you don't. You find it utterly, flabbergastingly, unbelievably retarded. As you should. As anyone not a retarded islamofascist should.

... Wow.

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Saturday, March 21, 2009

Sorcery is bad – become a Christian instead

Such were the words of Pope Benedict in Angola as tens of thousands of Catholics lined the streets in Luanda, capital and largest city of the country. Caution: idiocy inside.

"In today's Angola," he said at Mass in Luanda, "Catholics should offer the message of Christ to the many who live in the fear of spirits, of evil powers by whom they feel threatened."

... What? So he wants to convert those who are said to practice sorcery into Christians, followers of a cult that's governed by their fear of God and Hell? Very clever. Sorta.

Well, not really.

In Africa, some churchgoing Catholics also follow traditional animist religions and consult medicine men and diviners who are denounced by the church. People accused of sorcery or of being possessed by evil powers sometimes are killed by fearful mobs.

From one retarded mindset into another ... Fits, I suppose.

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Vox Day gets creamed (again) by Orac – and it's a beautiful thing

Surely many people have heard of Theodore Beale, the misogynist, arrogant and fundamentally scientifically-ignorant game designer and author who parades around as "Vox Day" and poses as some sort of authority on the economy and such? He's the kind that thinks possessing a high IQ somehow makes him correct in whatever he says as though he were a divinity of sorts or something. Which curiously contradict his rather spotty track record, but let's not go there. (Hint: he denies Evolution. QED.)

Anyway, recently he posted a blog entry attacking science and vaccination (yes, he's one of those bloody antivaccinationist retards) and posted all sorts of hilariously faulty claims, and once again mentioned his high IQ as somehow making his claims arguments from authority. Apparently, genius here fails to realize intelligence is no guarantee of logic, knowledge, or even basic understanding and comprehension, as his post so laudably exposes. Vox demands respect yet apparently doesn't get the notion that one isn't respected because they've got an advantage in the bell curve of IQ test scores. People are respected when they earn it. Being a diehard blowhard and a presumptuous asshole isn't good enough grounds. Sorry, Vox.

Anyway, enough about him (sorta). The point is I spent most of last night reading a fantastic entry from Orac over at Respectful Insolence, a post with arguably one of the best titles of all time, where he dissected Vox Day's post with such relentless and merciless vigor, intellect and reason there really isn't much to be said about it following his writing. It's always fun to see what happens when a pretentious know-nothing know-it-all like Vox Day is truly and wholly decimated and utterly crushed in his claims – this is the sort of stuff that makes blogs worth reading. I'd blockquote the interesting bits, but frankly, the whole thing is a must-read for anyone who has even a marginal interest in science, medicine, or just seeing pompous pricks get skewered by plain ol' facts and reason. Such a lovely thing to come across.

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Revelations of the nasty kind

More and more priests are being uncovered as being no more than child-raping pedophile scumbags, according to this recent report.

A report issued last week by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops showed 803 allegations were filed by 706 victims last year against 518 clergy members. The church also spent more than $436 million in legal settlements, attorneys' fees and counseling costs.

Just 13 of the 803 cases involved alleged abuse of a minor that occurred during 2008. Nearly all of the cases involved accusations of molestation that occurred decades ago. The church said 83 percent of those accused were dead, defrocked or missing.

But these are men that spread the good word and will of God around for all to witness and believe in!

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Friday, March 20, 2009

Pope: "Promoting abortion as a form of 'maternal health care' = ironic"

Pope Sidious – er, Lord Benedict – DAMMIT, Pope Sinedict (okay, I give up) is in Africa, discoursing for the first time to the worryingly ever-growing numbers of Catholics in the continent. Already he's attracted much ire and reprehension for his comments on condoms aggravating AIDS rather than reducing the risk, a contemptible thing to say as it will only end in many more gullible fools dying from the goddamned virus. What a horrible old quack the Pope is. I don't remember the late John Paul II being so outright insane and dangerous.

Anyway, he recently allured to an African Union agreement signed in Angola and 44 other countries that stipulated that abortion should be legalized in certain extreme cases, such as rape, incest or when the mother's life is in imminent danger. His comments were about the 'irony of those who promote abortion as a form of 'maternal' health care'.

Yep, that's Benedict for you – allowing a woman to end a pregnancy, even when it's the result of a traumatic rape or incest sequence, or even if it poses a critical threat to the mother's own life, is bad. And this is the guy strutting around as the 'moral conscience' of the world. Disgusting.

"How disconcerting the claim that the termination of life is a matter of reproductive health," Benedict said.

Unfortunately, he's already amassed many blind followers in the area.

Igor Rivas, a 25-year-old student studying economics, was in the crowd of thousands out to welcome the Catholic leader.

"I want the benediction of the pope. I know I am a sinner. I fight to abstain from sex," Rivas said. "I think condoms are not the good way for us. Though they may be useful, they are not the right choice for Catholics, so I need his blessing."

Hearing this sort of stuff from young people like this Mr. Rivas doesn't make me angry. It saddens me horribly. So young, and already atrociously corrupted into not using a readily-available and extremely effective and reliable (not to mention simple) contraceptive method such as condoms, which both virtually assures the prevention of both AIDS and unwanted pregnancies. He and other blind sheep only parrot the Pope's horrid views without an ounce of personal or critical thought in their miserably twisted minds. It's heartbreaking, really.

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Proposition 8 in hot waters (again)

Yes on Equality, a Gay Rights group that sponsors a second ballot measure intending to get rid of California's infamous Proposition 8, which bans all same-sex marriage throughout the state, have just been cleared by the secretary of state today to try and collect the nearly 700,000 signatures needed to qualify its initiative before August 17.

Gay rights advocates are urging the court to overturn the ban on the grounds it was put before voters improperly, or at least prematurely. Under state law, the Legislature must approve significant constitutional changes before they can go on the ballot.

Proposition 8's sponsors, represented in court by former Pepperdine law school dean and Whitewater prosecutor Kenneth Starr, argue that the ballot initiative was approved correctly. They argued it would be a miscarriage of justice for the court to overturn the results of a fair election.

No, Dean, it would not be a miscarriage of justice. It's actually your creed that's against the law at the moment, as last I heard, the 2008 American Supreme Court had ruled that banning same-sex marriage was a fundamentally unconstitutional civil rights violation. I wasn't aware states had the right to go directly against federal legislation. How that blasted Prop 8 even was allowed into ballot is beyond me. But then, so are most legal shenanigans like these.

Remind me again how allowing some people to marry or not is ANYONE'S fucking business other than their own?

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Seriously, get over yourselves – it was a JOKE

Last night on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, President Obama briefly referred to his dismal bowling skills as slowly but surely improving, saying his average is now at about 129 at the White House. Amidst the laughter and one-liners, he commented, probably without thinking, that it was 'like the Special Olympics or something'. No boos from the audience.

Ever since, he's suddenly been drawing surprisingly large amounts of ire, boos and disapproval from all over the place, as much from supporters as opponents, for his one single little comment. Here's just one of the many news reports about poor little physically or mentally handicapped 'heroes' of the stupid Special Olympics 'giving him pointers' (seriously, I've read like half a dozen such articles today.)

I've only got one thing to say to all those who are pissed at Obama's remark: GROW UP. Get over yourselves. It was a JOKE, a harmless joke, and most of the time, jokes are actually MEANT to be derogatory or demeaning to a person or party. Saying his bowling skills were like "the Special Olympics or something" has absolutely nothing that's so horribly offensive or insulting in it, so really, people need to just shut up and take it with a smirk.

Seriously, when no-one can take a joke anymore, you know the world's getting far to bleeding easy and soft on people. Cater to everyone's desires and wishes! Who cares if it turns them into spineless cowards who can't take a joke, it makes them comfortable! This is one of the reasons for my contempt for inane crap like the Special Olympics; any other time people making jokes about disabled folks is irrelevant and boring, but suddenly when they can run real fast or lift real heavy weights or throw a bowl into some pins, any jokes against them is criminally offensive.

Babies, those whiners are. (Now go ahead, yell at me for being so mean and/or insensitive.)

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How to tell when something ain't quite right

A few hints to help you notice something's going on that's not quite normal:

1 – You're being approached by a 14-year-old recently escaped from a behavioral facility.

2 – He's walking a large white poodle.

3 – He's completely naked.

Don't believe me? Look for yourself.

A 14-year-old Saginaw boy has been charged with strong-arm robbery and assault in juvenile court after he pushed a woman and broke her cell phone while taking a walk naked with a large white poodle in Hart Township Monday, police say.

Lt. Craig Mast of the Oceana County Sheriff’s Office said a 14-year-old youth walked away from a youth behavioral treatment facility Monday morning, stripped down, and was with a “giant” white poodle when he approached a woman working in her yard just after 11:30 a.m. Monday in the area of Oceana Drive and Lake Road.

I don't agree with the 'strong-armed robbery' charge, though – he just took the phone, not like he fought her to blood for it – but other than that ... (you see it coming ...)

That boy ain't right.

(Told you).

Thanks to Melissa for the story.

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Horses are not people, folks ...

But sometimes it can get pretty damn funny. XD

Not everything we hear about from the South is related to stupidity, after all. :P

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Battle it out like gladiators, kids

Here's yet another shining example of stuff that truly only happens in America (particularly down south): a Dallas school is under intense suspicion and surveillance following numerous reports of forcing its students to solve their problems 'like men' – ie. throwing them in a metal cage and forcing them to fight it out bare-knuckled.

The report, first obtained by The Dallas Morning News, describes two instances of fighting in an equipment cage in a boys' locker room between 2003 and 2005. It was not clear from the report whether there were other fights.

Superintendent Michael Hinojosa told the newspaper that there were "some things that happened inside of a cage" and called the fights "unacceptable."

No criminal charges were ever filed, and there was no mention in the report of whether anyone required medical attention or whether any employees were disciplined. A district spokesman would not comment.

I wonder why, whenever accused or barbaric stupidity like this, those being accused of it never seem to be inclined to comment ... hmm.

Certainly a disturbing story like many others that seem to be flooding out from the place, but then, one's gotta remember: it is Dallas, Texas, Retarded Hick American Land, after all.

Thanks to Melissa for sending me this story.

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Friday Canine: Now *that* is cute

A Mexican Wolf cub playing in grass.

Original source: National Geographic

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Clash of the Titans

President Obama just appeared on 'The Tonight Show' with Jay Leno. It was a thrilling and enlightening experience, witnessing the clash of the two titans in their respective fields – Leno at posing all the toughest questions very pointedly, Obama at answering just such questions in his usual honest and intelligent manner. Leno certainly didn't hold back, and overall it was a very enticing spectacle for one and all I sure hope no-one reading this missed.

Naturally, it wasn't as light-hearted and comedic as most of Leno's guest segments usually are, what with it being about Obama's actions and policies regarding the recession and all, but there were still some laugh-out-loud moments amidst the sober remindings of how screwed up the world is until further notice. Obama seemed to have a knack for giving off the sort of answers that ended in massive applause or even standing ovations – I might very well've been one of them, had I been there.

For those who still haven't seen it, keep scouring the Web, namely YouTube – it'll pop on there on only a matter of minutes, I imagine (if it hasn't already). It deserves a viewing at least.

In case you can't find the video, the White House just released the official transcript of the show. Enjoy!

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Thursday, March 19, 2009

Okay, maybe this is going too far ...

I'm all for parenting parents in many cases – face it, parents' jobs are getting to easy these days any moron can do it (and unfortunately, they do) – but I do think this is going a bit too far.

In North Dakota, the legislature has voted to allow a fine of up to $500 against parents when their children skip school. If it happens repeatedly, parents face 30 days in jail and a fine of $1,000.

... Okay, I dunno about any other clauses or 'what ifs' this may have, but if parents pay up to 500 bucks every time their stupid little delinquent decides to skip school ... now that's just stupid. Why don't they fine the stupid kid instead?

In Minnesota, legislation is moving through the state senate that would make it illegal to smoke in your car if a child is present. But it would only be a “secondary offense,” meaning a police officer could pull you over only if you were also breaking another law.

So now you can't smoke in a car if there's a kid there, too. Even if (as any parent on Earth not deserving to be shot for excessive stupidity would do) the windows are lowered and the cabin is ventilated.

I'm all for eliminating cigarettes, but this is again just going too far.

In Colorado, a law under consideration would fine employers who did not allow employees to take time off from work for “parent-teacher conferences, special education services, response to interventions, dropout prevention, attendance, truancy and disciplinary issues.” It would apply only to companies with 50 workers or more, and the worker could not take more than three hours at a time or a total of 18 hours in a year.

... Okay, this is really none of the government's freakin' business.

When does 'protecting and helping the children' stop and 'becoming totalitarian and delirious' begin? This is just a case of the gov't overstepping its bounds yet again.

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