News From Around The Blogosphere 12.22.10

December 22, 2010

1. Catholic Church tells hospital they should have let patient die – A pregnant woman who was almost certainly going to die came into St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center. The doctors knew that in order to save the woman’s life, they’d have to abort the fetus. And it worked. But the Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix didn’t like that decision and so they essentially excommunicated the hospital from any Catholic affiliation. They actually punished a hospital for putting patient life first. Though I guess it’s not really a punishment since now the hospital administration can continue to act ethically without having to give the misguided and ignorant opinions of Catholic officials another thought.

And speaking of the Catholic Church…

2. WikiLeaks uncovers another possible Vatican scandal – The Vatican originally agreed in writing to take up observer status with the International Task Force on Holocaust Education, Remembrance, and Research, referred to as the ITF. Then, according to a U.S. diplomatic cable from WikiLeaks, they reneged on the agreement amid controversy over the role of the war-time pope.

She added that the deal “had fallen apart completely … due to Vatican back-pedaling,” according to the cable, which was published by the newspaper.

The message says this decision “may have been taken by the Vatican’s relatively inexperienced new deputy foreign minister (Ettore Balestrero), and if so, would not be the first time he has complicated Vatican foreign relations.”

However, it added: “The Vatican may also be pulling back due to concerns about ITF pressure to declassify records from the WWII-era pontificate of Pope Pius XII.

Yup, you can always count on the Vatican…for a good scandal.

3. Gallop poll suggests America is gradually moving towards accepting evolution – When it comes to accepting evolution, America is somewhat of an embarrassment to the rest of the world. In recent years, polls have shown that up to 47% of Americans are Young Earth Creationists. But a new poll suggests that number is now only 40%. Still not anything remotely to be proud of but it suggests that maybe our efforts to take on the creationists may be yielding positive results.

4. Sanjay Gupta embarrassingly uncritical of John of God – Unfortunately, CNN hasn’t put up the video yet of this segment, but I’ve linked to their blog about it. For those who don’t know, John of God is a Brazilian con artist posing as a faith healer. He does nothing we haven’t seen other “faith healers” who have been exposed as frauds have done, and yet Sanjay Gupta and his guests still found him to be “mysterious.” In fact, given how many times they reminded the audience during this segment that the universe is mysterious and there are still things we don’t know, Gupta made it clear that journalistic and scientific integrity was not very high on his list of priorities. I intend to write to CNN to express my outrage over the segment and demand that they fire Sanjay Gupta for his anti-intellectual nonsense. I hope others will join me in this campaign.

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News From Around The Blogosphere 6.3.10

June 3, 2010

1. Al-Jazeera’s female anchors fleeing over ‘immodest’ dress

Five female anchors at Al-Jazeera, the Arabic news network, have quit after being pressured by executives to wear more modest clothing. Lest you think Al-Jazeera is anything like Naked News, you should know that these anchors usually don’t wear anything sexier than a blouse under a suit jacket.

I guess these women should just be grateful Al-Jazeera allows them to speak at all, right? It sounds like we need another boobquake.

2. Australian officials investigating $cientology’s slave wages – I look forward to hearing Spokesman Tommy Davis reversing the accusations of these ungrateful asshole former members who felt they were above making a few thousand dollars a year and that it was really the accusers who criminally underpaid $cientology.

Janette Lang, who worked for the church for seven years, says the most she was paid in a year was $3,114 in 2001.

Yeah, but that was back in 2001. I mean wasn’t that like equivalent to a bajillion dollars today?

3. Are our airports being protected with pseudoscience? – Airport security has begun using a program called Screening Passengers by Observation Technique (SPOT) where TSA employees supposedly learn how to identify suspicious travelers:

SPOT is supposed to help pick out people who are trying to hide their cruel intentions. The pushy, cranky guy behind you in line who’s yelling at his kid = no. Sneaky terrorists trying to look innocent = yes.The problem, of course, is that there’s no evidence this system works any better than a lie detector. Which, just to be perfectly clear, means it doesn’t work.

While we’re at it maybe we should start using dowsing rods to detect bombs.

4. Crazy Christian bringing Jesus to high schools – Bradlee Dean of “You Can Run But You Cannot Hide Ministries” convinces schools to let him “perform” for the kids with a rock concert with an anti-drug and anti-sex message only to then turn around and proselytize to them. Oh, and did I mention that Dean believes in killing gay people:

5. Ellie Wiesel calls for censorship – I share Orac’s disappointment over Wiesel’s call for the censorship of Holocaust denialist rhetoric. Not only do idiots have the fundamental right to voice their idiocy but even if this could be morally justified, it’d only help spread Holocaust denial as then scumbags like David Irving would have an excuse to argue that their views are being censored. Irving and his cohorts would shout, if we’ve got truth on our side, what do we have to hide? And he wouldn’t be wrong. We don’t have anything to hide.

In case Wiesel hasn’t noticed, Holocaust denial was been successfully relegated to the fringe and shows no signs of that changing. I fear Wiesel is far too emotionally attached to this one issue and is just guilty of applying special pleading here.

6. The Little Black Book of Scams available for free – If you follow the link, it will take you to a .pdf file containing a 46-page e-book exposing all kinds of common scams. Because we’re all capable of being fooled by con artists, I highly recommend everyone check this out.


News From Around The Blogosphere 5.25.10

May 26, 2010

1. Florida teacher attacked by co-workers with holy water – This caused the atheist teacher to instantly renounce her heathen ways, get down on her knees, and suck Jesus’ cock. Okay, actually it had no effect on her whatsoever other than making her all wet. Praise Jesus!

2. Everybody Draw Mohammed Day cause Muslim radicals to retaliate…against the Jews…and against history – Radical Muslims already hated the Jews and already hated history. But now they’re so outraged about EDMD that they’ve decided to conflate atheism with Judaism and respond by denying the Holocaust:

Much of the injustice that takes place in our world stems from ignorance. We reject being emotionally blackmailed by Hollywood tales and holocaust museums which legitimize the war crimes and crimes against humanity of the extremist Atheist regime of Tel-Aviv.

Good job, guys. That’ll show us.

3. Acupuncturist pricks hole in rape conviction – Okay, this is one of the craziest stories I’ve ever heard. Three men who spent a decade in jail on a rape conviction were freed because an acupuncturist claimed to know they were virgins. How you might ask?

She said examination of a pressure point beneath the convict’s ear showed a small capillary was unbroken, which Vietnamese traditional medicine holds to mean that he was a virgin. Hong then examined the other two men.

“I recognised these three men had never had sex with women,” Hong said.

Ohhhhh! That makes sense [rolling eyes] But this managed to be enough to reopen the case, which in turn led to the discovery that the initial investigators had made some mistakes. Wow, so maybe acupuncture has finally succeeded in doing something after thousands of years of doing absolutely nothing.

4. Now it’s Copernicus’ turn – The Catholic Church has pardoned Galileo. It’s pardoned Darwin. And now, after only 450 years, Nicolaus Copernicus was given a hero’s burial. So I guess it’ll be at least that long before the Catholic Church embraces the iPad and Steve Jobs…unless he goes out and starts raping kids. Then they’re likely to make him a saint or something.

Speaking of which:

Child rape you can believe in

5. Obama Administration supports child rapists. Wish he’d mentioned that in the campaign

In a strongly worded brief for the United States Supreme Court, the Obama administration has sided with the Vatican in an Oregon lawsuit that names the Holy See as a defendant for its role in the sexual abuse crisis.

In effect, the brief asserts that the standards for an exception to the immunity that foreign governments enjoy under American law have not been met in the Oregon case.

This is completely unacceptable and I urge everyone to contact the White House to express outrage over this decision.

6. Don’t Ask Don’t Tell on the verge of repeal:


Pat Buchanan defends Hitler

September 3, 2009

No, seriously. He actually defended Hitler. He explained that Hitler didn’t want to even get into a war and simply was pushed into it by the Allies because they had the audacity to not give into his commands. And what perfect timing to make such absurd claims given that September 1, was the seventieth anniversary of the German army under Hitler crossing into Poland. A few days later, some of my own family made it out on the last train out of Poland.

But I’m sure Hitler didn’t mean to invade Poland. It’s just one of those things that happens like when you ask a bank teller to give you all their money and when they refuse, you’re forced into pulling out a gun.

Buchanan goes even further and I really don’t have the patience for it, so I’ll just link to Orac’s excellent response and provide a great video of The Young Turks responding to this nonsense:


Sept. 1 1939, Holocaust Denial & Inglorious Basterds

September 1, 2009

Today is the seventieth anniversery of the official start of World War II, when the armies of the Third Reich crossed the Polish border. W.H. Auden famously wrote about that day, September 1, 1939. By then the Holocaust had already begun.

Sadly however, there are still many people who refuse to accept that the Holocaust happened, or at the very least think the number of victims have been greatly exaggerated by the Jews and Zionists in order to get what they want. So it was very appropriate that Orac addressed the blog of one such individual that he stumbled upon. The blogger wrote about his disbelief in the Holocaust while reviewing the film Inglorious Basterds, and what blogger Larry Fafarman says is a whole lotta stupid.

Fafarman insists that the Nazis had no viable way to identify Jews from the rest of the population except to say that somebody simply looks Jewish and thus, according to him, no mass hunting down and extermination of Jews could take place. Now even if that were true (just for the sake of argument), is the alleged inability to definitively identify Jews really a deal-breaker when one considers similar behaviors in human history like the Salem Witch Hunts or the witch hunts that continue today in Africa? No. But as the science and skeptical blogger Orac explains, the Nazis did indeed have more efficient ways of identifying Jews:

Apparently, Larry hasn’t heard of the mobile killing units, the Einsatzgruppen, mobile killing units who rounded up Jews and shot them by the hundreds and even thousands. Or how Jews like Ann Frank did indeed hide in the houses of gentiles willing to protect them from the Germans and were indeed found.

. . .

He clearly does not know that the Nazis expended an enormous amount of thought, resources, and effort on disinguishing Jews from non-Jews. In fact, the Nazis did not decide who was and was not a Jew by whether or not they “looked Jewish,” although it is true that Nazi racial hygienists did try to come up with measurements that would allow them to distinguish Jew from non-Jew. Rather, the Nazis enacted the Nuremberg Laws in 1935 in the first place. The first purpose of these laws was to strip Jews of virtually all rights. However, the second purpose was to define who was a Jew and who was Mischling (having Jewish ancestry but not enough to be considered Jewish under Nazi law).In effect the Nuremberg laws systematized the identification of Jews and tried to make it as objective as the Nazis could. Under these laws, a Jew was defined as (1) anyone having three or more Jewish grandparents regardless of whether he self-identified as a Jew or practiced the Jewish religion or (2) anyone having two Jewish grandparents who either:

  • Practiced the Jewish religion
  • Were married to a Jew
  • Had a Jewish parent, even if illegitimate

This latter category of Jews were known as Geltungsjude (“Jews by legal validity”). People who didn’t fall under any of the above conditions but had two Jewish grandparents were Mischling of the first degree, while anyone with only one Jewish grandparent was Mischling of the second degree, “Mischling” meaning “crossbreed” or “mixed.” In any case, the point is that the Nazis had a fairly straightforward definition of who was and was not a Jew based on their defining Jews as a race rather than a religion. In essence, they tried to define Jews by genetics rather than than self-identification or practicing the Jewish religion. True, there may have been gray areas, and there were even legal cases in Nazi Germany over who would and would not be considered a Jew, but it was very, very systematic, and, yes, about as “objective” as such a process could be made. It is also true that the basis of the systematized and objective standards of the Nuremberg Laws were based on a dubious conception of Jews as a race, but they were very systematic.

That’s a pretty solid refutation that’s far better than I could have given, but what puzzles me most of all is Fafarman’s comment regarding two of the film’s characters:

It was very sad about Shosanna and Frederick (pictured) — in different circumstances, they could have had a very good relationship.

Really? Now for those who haven’t seen the movie, this will be pretty meaningless to you. But I very strongly feel that the two characters refered to above could never have  had “a very good relationship” under virtually any other circumstances unless history unfolded dramatically different from how it did. Shosanna and Frederick legitimately together? I don’t see it.

Now perhaps for dramatic purposes, Orac treats this Holocaust denier’s blog as particularly delusional compared to much of the other nonsense he regularly encounters. And I have to disagree. Sadly, this blogger strikes me as no more delusional than the typical evolution denier, anti-vaccinationist, moon landing denier, or any other denialist crank. It shows the same unwillingness to do proper research and accept findings that might disconfirm one’s own beliefs.


Happy Digital Changeover Day and Happy 80th, Anne Frank!

June 12, 2009

David Irving wishes Hitler a happy 120th birthday

April 20, 2009

4/20 is known for many things:  Hitlers birthday, the day annoying hippies come out and if they don’t see their shadows, start smoking up, the anniversary of the Columbine tragedy–a trifecta of evil.

Well one man has taken today to publicly announce that Hitler’s birthday is in actuality a cause for celebration:

“Just briefly remember: today is the 120th anniversary of the birth of the man whose mighty armies ultimately saved Western Europe – and the world – from Bolshevism. Let us never forget.”

Who would have the cajones to make such a statement? Why that would be none other than Holocaust Denie–err, I mean “Holocaust Revisionist” David Irving, a man who has been imprisoned in Germany for “revisionist” views of the Holocaust and who has flat-out denied accusations that he admired Hitler.

Now I’ve blogged about Irving before here and here, when I discussed how I actually supported Christopher Hitchens’ criticisms of the publishers who backed out after initially agreeing to publish Irving’s nonsense. Just because I defend the man’s right to spout out his utter nonsense, it doesn’t mean he’s not a repulsive embarrassment to the entire human race.



PETA goes from being offensive to mammals to “an offense against human dignity” Ouch.

March 30, 2009

Ugh! Here we go again. The masters of sensational, over the top hyperbole are at it again. Unfortunately, this time they made the mistake of invoking the very sensitive subject of the Holocaust in Germany, a country that doesn’t much care for free speech when it comes to provocative statements relating to the Holocaust:

Germany’s supreme court has ruled that a series of PETA ads comparing factory farming to the Holocaust are “an offense against human dignity” and not protected speech. The ads show pictures of concentration camps next to pictures of animal farms and bear the slogan “The Holocaust on your plate”.

As a passionate defender of free speech, I’ve never supported Germany in these cases, even when they usually involve those whose messages I too find distasteful. So unfortunately I got to stand with PETA on this one, despite the overall idiocy of their message and their foolishness in thinking they could get away with this kind of crap in Germany. Though maybe this is exactly what they wanted to have happen and this was just a less transparent version of the tactic they pulled with their recent Superbowl commercial.


Pope Joey Ratz’ new best friend

January 24, 2009

Here is what The New York Times says about this.

Does this kind of rationalizing sound familiar?


News From Around The Blogosphere 11.12.08

November 13, 2008

Farewell to the Phoenix Mars Lander

Terry Schiavo 2: Electric Boogaloo? – Everyone’s talking about Motl Brody, a 12-year-old boy who’s been dead since last week even though his body continues to function. I personally agree with the medical consensus that brain dead equals dead, but a whole bunch of science bloggers have gone into depth on this story, and those blogs are well worth the read: Orac, P.Z. Myers, and of course Neurologist Steve Novella.

But speaking of brain dead (Best segue EVER!)

Chuck Norris writes an open-letter to Barack Obama – The crux of the letter (no pun intended) is calling for Obama to compromise with the political Right, on the whole not terrible advice, except that of course he made no such demand to our King George at any time during the last 7 years when they made it abundantly clear that they had no interest in compromising with the Democrats. While I hope Obama does find some ways to reach across the aisle and reunite this nation, given the appalling uncooperative behavior of the ruling Republicans for the past 7 years and the rather decisive call for radical change that occurred this past November 4, I think Walker over here should try being less hypocritical and just less of a douche all around.

Al Gore on whether we’ll ever see an openly atheist president:

He probably could have phrased his answer better but it wasn’t god-awful. He at least knew his facts.

Rally in Support of Gay Marriage this Saturday – This Saturday, all over the country, there will be rallies held in support of gay marriage. There’s a great parody video addressing this issue here. Also Keith Olbermann knocks it out of the park:

On a related note, Arkansas HATES kids:

Prayer booths in NYC? – It’ll be a miracle if they survive a week.

Another reason to hate the Mormons (as if you needed another) – Mormons having to performing posthumous baptisms to Jewish Holocaust victims, who they feel need need to be saved due to their sinning, Jewy ways. To quote Amateur Scientist:

To that end, the AGHS has not only called for an end to the practice, but also an undoing of the posthumous baptisms that have already occurred. I’m all for people of varying religions telling each other what to do, but itsn’t this like asking a kindergartener to remove the kootie serum from the circle, circle, dot, and dot he just drew on your arm?

More atheist bus ads, this time in Washington – Coming on the heels of the bus ads in the U.K. that read: “There’s probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life”, these new U.S. ads read: “Why believe in a god? Just be good for goodness’ sake.” Personally, I’m not a fan of either slogan and wish they’d opted for the far superior slogans used on billboards making their rounds across the nation: “Don’t believe in God? You are not alone.”

atheist-billboard

But in general, I don’t feel the need as an atheist to compete with Christmas. Obviously the American Fascist–err, I mean the American Family Association is not happy about this. But here’s how the story was covered on Faux–err, I mean Fox News:

MYTHS:

the-more-you-knowMisconceptions, “Magical” Foods, And The Merits Of Fish – 10 Nutrition Facts. Also, more information on that first item on the list is elaborated on further here.

FUN ACTIVITY:

Match the name with the picture: George Hrab, Moby, Phil Plait, Richard Wiseman

HUMOR:

Beware of Porn Public Service Announcement:

Finally another excuse to boost the ratings of my blog by using the word “porn.”