News From Around The Blogosphere 3.19.10

March 19, 2010

1. Regenerating limbs may be simply a matter of switching off a single gene – I wouldn’t take this story too seriously just yet but the research certainly sounds like it’s worth following. I just hope it doesn’t turn us into The Lizard:

But new research suggests the ability to regenerate isn’t based on something newts and flatworms have that we don’t; rather, it’s something we do have that’s keeping us from regenerating tissues. Researchers think a gene called p21 may control regenerative healing, and that by switching it off, humans could perform our own regeneration.

2. Skeptics to storm Parliament on Tuesday – It’s exciting to see the skeptical movement building a potentially powerful lobby to effect changes in public policy towards a more science and reason-based position. On Tuesday, skeptics in the UK will test the power of this lobby by organizing at the House of Commons to demand libel reform. Of course this is an issue that is not only serious for residents of the UK but everyone who criticizes advocates of bad ideas on the internet because from what some have told me, they too are potential targets of libel suits.

3. Student challenges unconstitutional policy in Alexandria High School in Alabama – The school performs daily Christian prayers over the schools P.A. system. He left a voicemail with the superintendent and contacted the ACLU. . .and it worked. The school is no longer performing the prayers. A job well done.

4. Ellen gives Constance McMillen $30,000 scholarship – I love this story. It shows that those who stand up against adversity can benefit from having the courage of their convictions and standing up for their principles.

5. California Bar now investigating queen Birther Orly Taitz – Another happy story. Taitz, who refuses to budge on her irrational belief that Obama is not a natural born citizen despite undeniable evidence to the contrary, continues to fight the $20,000 fine issued on her for making frivolous filings. And now she runs the risk of actually being disbarred. We can hope right. Of course it’s pretty silly that she even gets to call herself a lawyer given her pathetic credentials. Of course her lawyer is pushing the conspiracy angle and calling this a “witch hunt” but really, if she was an actual threat to the evil president’s position and they’d gone this far to cover up his origins, don’t you think they’d find a far more efficient way of getting Taitz out of the way. And you just know that whatever the outcome, she’ll just insist that the Bar Association is in on the evil conspiracy. So since she’ll attack them no matter what they might as well throw the book at her and make sure she’s never allowed to practice law again.

Not really the BSA

6. Catholics not the only ones covering up abuse - The Mormon dominated Boy Scouts of America (BSA) are facing a lawsuit claiming they too covered up child abuse.

The Boy Scouts of America has long kept an extensive archive of secret documents that chronicle the sexual abuse of young boys by Scout leaders over the years.The “perversion files,” a nickname the Boy Scouts are said to have used for the documents, have rarely been seen by the public, but that could all change in the coming weeks in an Oregon courtroom.

The lawyer for a man who was molested in the 1980s by a Scout leader has obtained about 1,000 Boy Scouts sex files and is expected to release some of them at a trial that began Wednesday. The lawyer says the files show how the Boy Scouts have covered up abuse for decades.

Well what do you expect from a cult who once had a leader named “Brigham Young”? Still the BSA are lightweights compared to the Catholic Church, which is known for having raped at least over a half million kids. And keep in mind that that’s only that we know of and the Church has proven capable of keeping this stuff secret for decades.


News From Around The Blogosphere 3.17.10

March 17, 2010

1. Hawaii considering new law to ignore Obama Birthers - But isn’t that exactly what you’d expect them to do if Obama was really from Kenya/Canada/Mars? Kidding. Yeah, as silly as the Birthers seem they really do waste a lot of public officials’ time that could be better spent actually doing their jobs. And most of those wasting the time of Hawaiian officials aren’t even residents of the state:

But the state still gets between 10 and 20 e-mails seeking verification of Obama’s birth each week, most of them from outside Hawaii, Kim said Tuesday.

A few of these requesters continue to pepper the Health Department with the same letters seeking the same information, even after they’re told state law bars release of a certified birth certificate to anyone who does not have a tangible interest. Responding wastes time and money, Kim said.

Both Fukino and the state registrar of vital statistics have verified that the Health Department holds Obama’s original birth certificate.

So considering the public has already seen official legal documents proving Obama’s Hawaiian birth, these people still refuse to accept the overwhelming evidence, and this is a frivolous waste of time, money, and resources I support this bill. Now if only we could pass a bill to get the federal government to ignore creationists, antivaxxers, and 9/11 deniers.

2. Latinos fleeing Catholicism – And the number of Latinos who claim to be unaffiliated with any religion has increased from 6.4% to 12.4% between 1990 and 2008.

3. Atheist ad vandalized – Fortunately, it wasn’t vandalized all that well:

You can tell a real criminal mastermind was at work here.


Why is Fox “News” so scared of “5%” of Americans

February 28, 2010

I do wish Newdow had corrected her false statistics as there 15% of Americans state that they are not affiliated with any organized religion, not “5%.” That means there are more Americans unaffiliated with any religion than there are Jews and blacks combined.

Fox’s other amusing swipe at Newdow and “the atheists” comes from Sean “I never met I fact I couldn’t deny” Hannity:

Of course it wasn’t “the atheists” who met with White House officials but those who promote secular government, some of whom are in fact religious. And I fail to see how agreeing to be “fair and balanced” makes the Obama Administration hostile to religion.

Also of course, it’s also a mystery why Newdow’s name even came up at all in this story as he was not in attendance at this meeting with the Secular Coalition.

But of course Hannity already knew that because as everyone knows, “the most trusted name in news” has the best fact checkers around.

And I’m sure they had good reason to not actually report the story at all but instead merely use it as just a launching pad to criticize the Obamas, who also did not attend the meeting.

Another stellar reporting job by “America’s most trusted name in news.”


Secular Coalition meeting w/ White House goes well

February 27, 2010

Yesterday I blogged that today a meeting would take place between the Secular Coalition and officials in the Obama Administration. And it seems as though the Secular Coalition did a good job of presenting their case and that White House officials were receptive to their message.

But the clearest sign that we’re moving in the right direction is the completely hilarious, over-the-top, doom-saying rhetoric of Bill Donohue, who either doesn’t know anything about the people he’s criticizing or just doesn’t care:

People of faith, especially Christians, have good reason to wonder exactly where their interests lie with the Obama administration. Now we have the definitive answer. In an unprecedented move, leaders of a presidential administration are hosting some of the biggest anti-religious zealots in the nation.

If President Obama does not want to go to church, that is his business. But it is the business of the American people, most all of whom are believers, to know where the president and his administration stand with regards to their concerns. It is not likely that this outreach to anti-religious activists — many of whom would crush Christianity if they could — will do anything to calm the fears of people of faith. Indeed, it will only alienate them even further.

It is important that the public learn of the contents of this meeting. We will do what we can to find out what happened.

This was followed up by In God We Trust’s Chairman Bishop Council Nedd basically just repeating the same talking points about the Secular Coalition being a bigoted hate group.

Of course these accusations have no basis in fact, which should be obvious considering that some of the organizations associated with the Secular Coalition are religious. Funny how there’s a direct inverse correlation between godliness and honesty. But who needs honesty when you can get far more media attention from just saying a bunch of crazy lies? Plus Donohue is in love with his own outrage.

Stay classy, guys!


Secular Coalition to meet with Obama Administration

February 26, 2010

Can atheists ever get their concerns listened to by the federal government? The Obama Administration has now answered this question with a resounding, “Yes We Can!”

Tomorrow may mark a new chapter in American history, one where the White House officially takes an interest in atheists. Although they don’t just represent atheist organizations, the Secular Coalition for America is fighting to protect the wall separating church and state. And now the Secular Coalition is meeting with White House officials to discuss those issues of particular importance to the secular community. This has never happened before and hopefully it’ll set a precedent for all future presidents.

Particularly, they plan to discuss religious exemptions for parents who mistreat their children (i.e. kids with medical issues), military proselytization, and fixing Faith-Based Initiatives.

Dr. Ed Buckner, President of American Atheists, said “We are delighted that we will get the chance to speak to and to hear from the Obama administration at the briefing with the Secular Coalition for America tomorrow. We will not be seeking support for Atheism from the federal administration, because we know they must be neutral and because we are confident that our conclusions can compete and win in the marketplace of ideas, unaided by government. We seek an end to special rights for religious ideas and beliefs–in all regulations, laws, procedures, and pronouncements. The privileging of religiosity violates the First Amendment and good sense.”

Here’s the official press release (PDF).


Obama answers H1N1 vaccine conspiracists

December 22, 2009

Obama receiving his novel H1N1 vaccination

Of course the real true believer conspiracists will still find some excuse to remain unconvinced that Obama isn’t part of the evil government eugenics plot to wipe out most of the population with poisonous vaccines that have managed to not kill or seriously harm anyone for months. If this is all we have, then they’ll say he didn’t really get the vaccine and this is just a photo opt. If there is video footage, they’ll say that wasn’t the vaccine with the poison or that it was a slight of hand trick that only appeared to penetrate the skin, etc, etc. It’s always something. But I’m glad to see Obama making a point to acknowledge his confidence in the vaccine program.


News From Around The Blogosphere 12.10.09

December 10, 2009

1. The Human Ambassador Project to greet alien Visitors: no longer science fiction? – No, it’s still pretty much science fiction. But in case intelligent extraterrestrial life should ever come to Earth, they want to have volunteer ambassadors ready. I’m not sure yet whether to laugh at this project or commend it for its forward-thinking.

2. Friends with benefits relationships are psychologically sound -

Having surveyed 1,311 Minnesotan youngsters whose average age was 20.5 during 2003-04, they found no evidence that the odd fling leads to psychological problems whatsoever.”Young adults engaging in casual sexual encounters do not appear to be at increased risk for harmful psychological outcomes compared to those in more committed relationships,” says Eisenberg.

The study did appear to refer to so-called “friends with benefits” cheery consequence-free shagging among likeminded sorts who already know each other socially, as opposed to more risky practices such as simply picking up sailors on the docks.

3. Hipsters, 1, Hasidic Jews, 0 – The two groups were fighting over a bike lane in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The Hasidic Jews got rid of the bike lane, so in the dark of night, the bicyclists just painted it back. But it’s not over. The Hasids are citing traffic problems, the danger it poses to their children getting off the school bus and the lack of “appropriate” clothing on female cyclists. And the bicyclists are launching their own attacks. And I’m sure hilarity will ensue.

4. Private letters reveal science is a sham – The latest response to ClimateGate.

5. Rick Warren finally condemns the Uganda anti-gay bill…kinda – Actually only about 20% of his response is a direct condemnation of the bill. He kind of sandwiched it in there between self-promotion and a Christmas message.

Here’s also still pretending he’s never been involved in promoting anti-gay legislation of any kind:

6. Nineteen House Republicans with horrible senses of priority – In the mists of a major recession, two wars, two turtle doves, and rising unemployment, these guys have decided that the most pressing concern is to force Christmas down everyone’s throats EVEN MORE THAN IT ALREADY IS! Oh, did I mention that six of the nineteen are from South Carolina?

7. Keith Olbermann mocks Arlington, TN Mayor Russell Wiseman, who actually thinks Obama is not only just a secret Muslim but also thinks Obama announced he was sending 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan in order to stop the airing of “The Charlie Brown Christmas Special.” Seriously, people voted this psycho into office.


News From Around The Blogosphere 10.28.09

October 29, 2009

1. Obama Administration slams U.N. anti-blasphemy position -

The Obama administration on Monday came out strongly against efforts by Islamic nations to bar the defamation of religions, saying the moves would restrict free speech.

“Some claim that the best way to protect the freedom of religion is to implement so-called anti-defamation policies that would restrict freedom of expression and the freedom of religion,” Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton told reporters. “I strongly disagree.”

2. Did the anti-vaccinationists convert Star Trek’s Data? – Oh, please tell me it isn’t true. Apparently, actor Brent Spiner tweeted that he was a fan of Jay Gordon and when asked if he was an anti-vaccinationist, here was his tweeted response:

RT @SusietheGeek @BrentSpiner Are you an antivaxxer–Not completely. But it’s worth investigating before letting drug cos. bamboozle us.

No, don’t do it, Data!! Don’t be assimilated! Resistence is not futile!

3. Help the Center For Inquiry educate our legislators – CFI is fighting to keep religion and quackery out of health care reform and they need your help.


News From Around The Blogosphere 10.18.09

October 18, 2009

1. Child witch-killings continue in Africa -

Nwanaokwo Edet was one of an increasing number of children in Africa accused of witchcraft by pastors and then tortured or killed, often by family members. Pastors were involved in half of 200 cases of “witch children” reviewed by the AP, and 13 churches were named in the case files.

2. New online game for radical right-wingnuts – The game takes place in 2011 after “Obama’s coup fails.” The game invokes the “New World Order” conspiracy and rewrites history, establishing Lou Dobbs as the “one brave newscaster” who first sounded the alarm bells of the evil Obama/NWO conspiracy and defining the Obama administration as engaging in “Marxist experiments.” Really, guys?  On the plus side though, in this hypothetical future history, all the really annoying right-wingnut propagandists like Glenn Beck, Neil Boortz, Rush Limbaugh, Michelle Malkin, Bill O’Reilly, and Sean Hannity have all either been killed or have disappeared. So the future is looking brighter. . .

. . .or is it?!

3. Remember that website I blogged about last month that predicted the end of the world would happen on September 21, 2009 and then immediately afterwards changed the end of the world to September 23, 2009. . .or September 23, 2015?

Well this time they’re totally serious! It turns out I guess that they didn’t carry the one or something because now the world’s going to end on October 21, 2009. And you know this time they’ve got it right because they’ve got such a great track record for predicting these apocalypes.

Like before, I recommend screen capturing this page again, so that you can compare it to what it says on October 22, 2009.

4. My less skeptical cousin chupacabra found and is on display at Creation “Museum” -

5. Dad performs son’s circumcision. . .and botches it - Man, and you thought your father embarrassed you? He probably should have known better since he’d already botched his own circumcision.


Birthers and Teabaggers never quit

September 17, 2009

I am seriously disappointed in my home state. New Jersey may be a blue state but we have no shortage of idiotic conservatives who continue to believe the most insane lies about our president:

And the good news is that the Birther case has been thrown out:


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