News From Around The Blogosphere 3.4.11

March 5, 2011

1. John Connor, it is time.

Whenever the military rolls out a new robot program, folks like to joke about SkyNet or the Rise of the Machines. But this time, the military really is starting to venture into robot-apocalypse territory: swarms of little semi-autonomous machines that can team up to manufacture complex objects (including, presumably, more robots).

That’s right, the only thing scarier than a swarm of intelligent military mini robots is a swarm of intelligent military mini robots in control of the means of production. And your Navy is hard at work on making it a reality.

2. Supreme Court rules in favor of Westboro Baptist Church – As detestable as the WBC is, I think the Supreme Court made the right call, which I’ve argued previously over at the Gotham Skeptic. Alito was the only Justice who sided with the Snyder family against the WBC. Between this decision and the vaccine court decision last week, the Supreme Court has been batting a 1000 lately.

3. Anti-abortion billboard goes down in NYC – The billboard tried playing the race card, a gambit anti-abortionists have been using for some time now. And while I don’t condone censorship, this wasn’t government censorship:

Councilwoman Letitia James and her legislative aide Aja Worthy-Davis that yesterday they launched a petition targeting Life Always and billboard owner Lamar Advertising, asking them to remove it. Later in the day, Lamar Advertising announced that it would take the billboard down.

Of course this notion that Margaret Sanger was a racist eugenicist, and that Planned Parenthood’s true agenda is to exterminate black people is complete bullshit.

4. Third-grader allegedly heals friends with magic – Okay, let’s settle this once and for all by seeing him heal Christopher Hitchens.I understand why a kid could buy into this fantasy but adults who report the news have no excuse.

5. Age of Autism cries misogyny – The same blog that suggested journalist Amy Wallace was blowing Dr. Paul Offit is accusing Doonesbury of misogyny over a cartoon that suggested Jenny McCarthy makes Playboy bunnies look bad. That is too funny. If anyone can explain to me why, feminist crusader that she is, Katie Wright had no objection to her own blog’s attack on Wallace, let me know. Also, if you can explain how the content of the cartoon is criticizing all women instead of just criticizing Jenny McCarthy alone for speaking out of school, I’d love to know that too. Oh, and one more thing. If you can explain to me how a website that accuses its critics of being a “loyal Pharma-funded wife” without even the slightest bit of evidence of any conflict of interest can maintain any moral high gound, let me know that too. Sullivan writes about it here.

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Supreme Court rules to maintain National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act, 6-2

February 22, 2011
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The Supreme Court just ruled to maintain the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act (NCVIA), 6-2. This is the Act that protects vaccine manufacturers from frivolous tort litigation, so of course the anti-vaxxers hate the decision because this means they’ve more or less lost their battle in the U.S. courts for good. Sure, another controversial case favorable to their position could end up in the Supreme Court in the future, but it’s not likely. So with their embarrassing defeat in the Autism Omnibus cases and now the Supreme Court standing behind the NCVIA, they’ve really got no place left to go.

And of course they’re bitching about this defeat over at Age of Autism, and as always, preferring to invent a conspiracy rather than acknowledge the actual facts. For instance, they still refuse to acknowledge regulatory compliance policies and other measures to reign in the vaccine manufacturers in favor of presenting a woefully naive version of reality where these companies are given total freedom to do whatever they want and show callous disregard for public safety when nothing can be further from the truth, as the Court decision makes clear. That’s where the Court of Federal Claims comes in. It compensates people by letting them petition the government directly. And if a vaccine is not prepared properly or doesn’t have proper directions and warnings, that is grounds for a legitimate lawsuit against the manufacturers. The only thing vaccine manufacturers are being protected from are unavoidably unsafe products.

So who dissented? Shockingly, Justices Sotomayor and Ginsberg with Kagan abstaining. Which only makes me want to scream, WHAT THE FUCK?! It is truly a dark day when I’m forced to side with guys like Justices Scalia and Thomas over the more liberal Justices. Sullivan summarizes what this ruling means over at Left Brain/Right Brain here and at the Vaccine Times here.

The anti-vaxxers have been utterly defeated in the court of science and the court of law. And it seems even the media is mostly through pretending they’re not loons. I’d say we’re definitely beginning to finally turn the tide against this preposterous pseudoscience.

[UPDATE: Orac also covered this story here.]

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News From Around The Blogosphere 3.2.10

March 3, 2010

1. Homeschooling Christian family gets asylum in the U.S. – They fled Germany because they didn’t like the schools there and Germany was smart enough to outlaw home-schooling. Sadly, the U.S. hasn’t gotten there yet.

“It’s our fundamental right to decide how we want to teach our children,” says Uwe Romeike, an Evangelical Christian and a concert pianist who sold his treasured Steinway to help pay for the move.

It’s your fundamental nothing. Children have a fundamental right to a REAL education. I have no objection to carefully regulated home-schooling conducted by people who are properly qualified to teach but if all you’re going to do is brainwash your kids, that should not be tolerated in modern society. I say send The Romeikes packing. They don’t got to go home but they can’t stay here and brainwash their kids into morons. We’ve got too much undereducated morons in this country already.

2. Supreme Court rules that D.C. can issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples – Congratulations to the District of Columbia for standing up for Marriage Equality!

The city has said Wednesday probably will be the first day same-sex couples can apply for marriage licenses. Couples still will have to wait three full business days for their licenses before exchanging vows.

Sounds great. I think they can handle waiting the three days.

3. Humanists in India arrested for distributing book critical of Islam – The Center for Inquiry’s New Delhi President Innaiah Narisetti and two other individuals, Subba Rao and author Macha Laxmaiah, were arrested for distributing a book:

The book, Crescent over the World , is a compilation of articles including submissions by Salman Rushdie and Tasleema Nasreen, along with one of the “blasphemous” cartoons published in the Danish press in 2005 (some of which were republished in Free Inquiry magazine)

From a Feb. 26 Thaindian News report:

“The arrests followed massive protests by Muslims in Khammam, around 250 km from Hyderabad. They took out a rally, demanding action against the author and those who helped him.

“Police said they seized 380 books of the first volume and 410 books of the second volume of the publication in different parts of Khammam district.”

This Week In God 10.4.09

October 4, 2009

1. Supreme Court Justices attending ‘Red Mass’ – Six of the U.S. Supreme Court Justices, John Roberts, Sonia Sotomayor, Antonin Scalia, Anthony Kennedy, Stephen Breyer, and Samuel Alito all attended Red Mass — a special service for law professionals that has been held since 1953. Stephen Breye, who is Jewish, has attended this service before and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, also a Jew, attended once but will never attend again:

… Ginsberg said she grew tired of being lectured to by Catholic officials.

“I went one year, and I will never go again, because this sermon was outrageously anti-abortion,” Ginsburg said in the book “Stars of David: Prominent Jews talk About Being Jewish” by author Abigail Pogrebin.

Clarence Thomas, the sixth Roman Catholic on the court, also didn’t attend.

2. Missouri high school’s banned band t-shirts now on sale on the internet – A little over a month ago, I blogged about Smith-Cotton High School’s banned band shirts because of the use of the famous Ascent of Man image on it. Take that, uptight, uneducated parents of Sedalia, Missouri! To purchase the shirt, contact the store here and let them know! You can also support them on Facebook.

3. Faith-healing is a WMD in Oregon City, Oregon

“Mothers and their newborns in an Oregon City church that practices faith healing routinely died during or shortly after birth because medical help was not sought…”

4. And speaking of “faith-healing”, Benny Hinn is banned from the UK

Benny Hinn, from Texas, who draws large crowds to his Pentecostal revival rallies, was turned back at Stansted airport under new rules on visiting ministers of religion.

Many thousands of Pentecostal Christians travelled from across Britain and Europe and booked long weekend breaks in the capital’s hotels for his mission at the ExCeL exhibition centre in Docklands, East London, which had been due to begin on Thursday night.

They were left disappointed after Border Agency officials turned him back when he landed with his private jet because he had failed to obtain a “letter of sponsorship” from a church.

Instead, Mr Hinn flew on to Paris and tried to enter Britain at Luton airport but was again turned back. He was on his way back to France last night.

Maybe now would be the appropriate time for the U.S. to adopt the same policy to keep him out of our country too.

The Cult of Hovind tries to take his case to Supreme Court

March 17, 2009

Creationist Kent Hovind continues to rot in jail for tax evasion. He’ll be there for awhile. And it probably didn’t help that he was caught trying to get his own daughter to remove evidence in a criminal case:

But now his legion of followers who continue to believe his unbelievable story that he did no wrong are pushing to get his case to be heard by the Supreme Court.  So they’re sending out a letter to people promoting this cause. And for some odd reason, they stupidly sent the letter to PZ Myers, who has now reprinted it in all its glor–whatever:

Greetings from Adrienne Gilbert in Kentucky…

An alarming situation with Dr. Kent Hovind of Creation Science Evangelism is putting every American’s first amendment rights in jeopardy. I have been following this case since its beginning, so I wanted to share with you briefly what needs to be done and why.

Summary of situation: Dr. Kent Hovind is in prison for practicing his first amendment right of free religion, and his case needs to go to the Supreme Court. We need everyone united together to overcome the oppression we’re facing.

Summary of needs:
$25,000-$35,000 in the next 2-3 weeks
specific prayer
lots of publicity about the problems with this case

Summary of action:
listen to conference call
send money
spread the word

First, visit Dr. Hovind’s website,, for an explanation of the situation.
This explains the ministry, what has happened, and what the plans are so far. It also gives the conference call schedule, which will give you the opportunity to really dig deep into the issue and understand why Dr. Hovind is innocent and his case is full of lies. The most shocking to me is at the end of the trial when the judge changed the law saying “more than $10,000” to read “less than $10,000.” Multiple horrors like that stack up to a case that needs to be heard and overturned by the Supreme Court.

Second, make the conference call. (Next call is Monday, March 16, 7:00 p.m. CST, check for updates.)
Besides just learning this case and what we need to do, it will be an amazing time of digging into our government and our Constitution beyond anything you ever imagined.

Third, follow the Lord’s leading.
We are up against spiritual oppression, so there is no textbook-format to follow to make this situation work out. God knows it and can tell each of us what to do.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me any time. I am a super-busy person already, but this project has to take priority because it is a 90-day window to save our freedom. So please pass this along to anyone else who can help as well!

Blessings, Peace, Freedom,
Adrienne Gilbert