Saturday, October 31, 2009

New Digs, New Name, Same Subject

The web host excuse train has again reared it's ugly head forcing me to make changes that I was hoping not to have make.

You might have noticed the slowing of my posting history of late and if you are reading this locally and not via my RSS feed you also undoubtedly have also noticed my new digs. Both items are related and are a direct result of hosting issues related to my now former blog directory and my soon to be former web host Site5.

After almost 3 years, the aforementioned host decided that my blog directory was behind the slowdown of their server (of course the fact that it is severely oversold had nothing to do with it...) and should be shut down for abusing server resources as a result. Despite their taking my directory down several days ago, the other 2 sites I had hosted with them under the same account and on the same server continued to run slowly and at times become unavailable for extended periods. Noticing the irony of that fact, I made sure to let Site5 know of their server issues to the point where they are surely dreading reading their email.

So to make a long story short, I have decided to rid them of their obligation to host my sites and have shuddered the directory and have moved my blogs (SDHumanists and the archives of Politics and Hypocrisy and A SD Moderate) here to Blogger for what I hope is the final time. I will be tweaking things for a few more days so forgive the mess which unfortunately also includes the loss of many of the photos associated with the older content.

As far as feeds go, I have kept the feedburner feed active so if that is normally how you read my rantings no more changes are needed other than ignoring the sudden influx of posts that you might have come across that was a result of moving to the new domain.

Again I am sorry for all the changes lately but I am hopeful that this will be the final one.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

And The Winner Is...

I have been following the nomination process for the 2009 Crockoduck Award, which is given each year to the most ignorant of those who cherry pick science to fit their worldview, from the beginning.

Each year the competition is usually stiff with Kent Hovind winning last year but this year it was no contest.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Quick Thought - Fox News

President Obama's disdain for Fox News is well known but one would have to wonder if in fact they are "Fair and Balanced" as their tag line would suggest, would they really have to keep telling us so? One would think that if true it would be obvious and could go without saying over and over and over...

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Happy Birthday!?

Those of us that understand that the 60's television show The Flintstones was fiction might have missed a Fundie milestone that occurred yesterday though PZ Myers didn't.

According to 17th-century Archbishop James Ussher and still believed by many to this day, everything everywhere turned 6013 years old yesterday. Ussher used various biblical sources to calculate the exact date of god's creation of all things as happening on Sunday October 23, 4004 BC.

And I didn't even bake a cake...

Franken Discusses The Healthcare/Bankruptcy Claims

Diana Furchtgott-Roth from the Hudson Institute recently published an article that sought to debunk a study claiming that the share of bankruptcies attributable to health care costs rose by 50% between 2001 and 2007. Minnesota Senator Al Franken discusses this claim with Furchtgott-Roth and throws out a few numbers of his own.

UPDATE: Apparently I am behind the times, Cory over at the Madville Times beat me to posting this...

Friday, October 16, 2009

Health Insurance Companies' Bait And Switch Tactics Backfiring?

The health insurance industry initially vowed to help the Obama administration's efforts at reform but then pulled back on those efforts by coming out against the proposed legislation at the last minute. Now the Democrats seem to have taken that policy switch as further reason to try and put in place deep reforms aimed squarely at the insurance industry's heart as payback.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi warned insurance companies on Thursday that health-care reform could cost the industry dearly through new fees, fewer regulatory protections and fresh competition from the federal government.

The blunt admonition echoed a round of harsh statements Wednesday from senior Senate Democrats, and came in response to the insurance's lobby's aggressive campaign to block reform legislation from advancing. An internal industry study released earlier this week found that the Senate reform bill would cause premiums to rise sharply, but the report's findings have been widely disputed.

Pelosi said the House may adopt a Senate provision that would assess a flat fee on insurance companies that is expected to generate about $40 billion over 10 years, as a way to pay for its reform bill. She advocated House language that would require health-insurance companies to to spend 85 cents of every dollar they collect in premiums on benefits.

And she singled out the antitrust exemption that has protected the industry since 1945, the McCarran-Ferguson Act that allows states to regulate insurance without interference from the federal government.

Now we will see if the Democrats have the votes and more importantly the so far missing backbone to go through with this in the face of the huge lobbying machine backed by big insurance. If they actually do follow through,  it couldn't happened to a nicer industry (said as I am looking over the changes and fee increases to my 2010 health insurance policy)...

I'm Not A Racist Quote Of The Day

Louisiana justice of the peace Keith Bardwell on why he refused to issue a marriage license to an interracial couple.

"I'm not a racist. I just don't believe in mixing the races that way"

But at least he lets them use his bathroom.

I have piles and piles of black friends. They come to my home, I marry them, they use my bathroom.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Poor Orly

The queen birther Orly Taitz, who was recently warned to quit wasting the court's time with frivolous lawsuits regarding President Obama's citizenship, has been smackdown once again. This time it will hit her pocket book in the form of a $20,000 fine for continuing her crusade against Obama.
Counsel Orly Taitz is hereby ordered to pay $20,000.00 to the United States, through the Middle District of Georgia Clerk’s Office, within thirty days of the date of this Order as a sanction for her misconduct in violation of Rule 11 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.

Judge Clay Land wasn't impressed with Taitz
The Court finds that counsel’s conduct was willful and not merely negligent. It demonstrates bad faith on her part. As an attorney, she is deemed to have known better. She owed a duty to follow the rules and to respect the Court. Counsel’s pattern of conduct conclusively establishes that she did not mistakenly violate a provision of law. She knowingly violated Rule 11. Her response to the Court’s show cause order is breathtaking in its arrogance and borders on delusional. She expresses no contrition or regret regarding her misconduct. To the contrary, she continues her baseless attacks on the Court.


Creationism Vs Evolution From The Simpsons

The Simpson's take on creationism as only they can.

(h/t - Unreasonable Faith)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Fact Checking

More Jon Stewart.

This time Stewart takes on CNN and wonders why the "news network" spends time fact checking a Saturday Night Live skit but on real news, not so much...
The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
CNN Leaves It There

Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorRon Paul Interview

"Radical Gay Agenda"

Some in our local blogosphere like to scare the uninformed in regards to the so-called "radical gay agenda".  Not that it will change the minds of the aforementioned homophobes, Jon Stewart shows us just how "radical" these folks and their "agenda" really are.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Queer and Loathing in D.C. - Radical Gay Agenda
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorRon Paul Interview

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Our Healthcare System Is Just Peachy

Unless you are a 4 month old with a healthy appetite.

Alex Lange is a chubby, dimpled, healthy and happy 4-month-old.

But in the cold, calculating numbered charts of insurance companies, he is fat. That's why he is being turned down for health insurance. And that's why he is a weighty symbol of a problem in the health care reform debate.

Insurance companies can turn down people with pre-existing conditions who aren't covered in a group health care plan.

Alex's pre-existing condition — "obesity" — makes him a financial risk. Health insurance reform measures are trying to do away with such denials that come from a process called "underwriting."

"If health care reform occurs, underwriting will go away. We do it because everybody else in the industry does it," said Dr. Doug Speedie, medical director at Rocky Mountain Health Plans, the company that turned down Alex.

By the numbers, Alex is in the 99th percentile for height and weight for babies his age. Insurers don't take babies above the 95th percentile, no matter how healthy they are otherwise.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Friday, October 9, 2009

Guns Don't Kill People...

Let's give everyone carry permits as there is never too many guns out there.

Even more remarkable, no one was hurt.

Obama Wins Peace Prize, Wingnut Heads Explode

Feel free to debate the merits of the Nobel Foundation's choice of Barack Obama for a Nobel Peace Prize but I cheer the choice just so I can watch the Obama hater's heads explode in disbelief.
Two weeks, and he was nominated? Good gosh, you’d think that someone thought he was the messiah.  (Oops, I forgot. Some people do.)

If we’re basing awards on ideas and possibilities now, Obama had better quickly come up with an idea for a screenplay.   It’s almost Oscar nomination time.


Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Re-Writing The Bible...Again

Apparently for some, the Bible like the media, has taken on a Liberal bias distorted over the years by obviously slanted errors in translation. Andy Schlafly, founder of the conservative clone of Wikipedia, aims to fix that with his new project that will make the bible fit his vision of intolerance Conservatism simply by re-translating it into modern English.
Liberal bias has become the single biggest distortion in modern Bible translations. There are three sources of errors in conveying biblical meaning:

  • lack of precision in the original language, such as terms underdeveloped to convey new concepts of Christianity

  • * lack of precision in modern language

  • * translation bias in converting the original language to the modern one.

Of these three sources of errors, the last introduces the largest error, and the biggest component of that error is liberal bias. Large reductions in this error can be attained simply by retranslating the KJV into modern English.

As of 2009, there is no fully conservative translation of the Bible which satisfies the following ten guidelines:

1. Framework against Liberal Bias: providing a strong framework that enables a thought-for-thought translation without corruption by liberal bias

2. Not Emasculated: avoiding unisex, "gender inclusive" language, and other modern emasculation of Christianity

3. Not Dumbed Down: not dumbing down the reading level, or diluting the intellectual force and logic of Christianity; the NIV is written at only the 7th grade level[3]

4. Utilize Powerful Conservative Terms: using powerful new conservative terms as they develop;[4] defective translations use the word "comrade" three times as often as "volunteer"; similarly, updating words which have a change in meaning, such as "word", "peace", and "miracle".

5. Combat Harmful Addiction: combating addiction by using modern terms for it, such as "gamble" rather than "cast lots";[5] using modern political terms, such as "register" rather than "enroll" for the census

6. Accept the Logic of Hell: applying logic with its full force and effect, as in not denying or downplaying the very real existence of Hell or the Devil.

7. Express Free Market Parables; explaining the numerous economic parables with their full free-market meaning

8. Exclude Later-Inserted Liberal Passages: excluding the later-inserted liberal passages that are not authentic, such as the adulteress story

9. Credit Open-Mindedness of Disciples: crediting open-mindedness, often found in youngsters like the eyewitnesses Mark and John, the authors of two of the Gospels

10. Prefer Conciseness over Liberal Wordiness: preferring conciseness to the liberal style of high word-to-substance ratio; avoid compound negatives and unnecessary ambiguities; prefer concise, consistent use of the word "Lord" rather than "Jehovah" or "Yahweh" or "Lord God."

Thus, a project has begun among members of Conservapedia to translate the Bible in accordance with these principles.

After all, if you don't get it right the first 10 times or so, try, try, again.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Quotes Of The Day - Brain Power And The Flintstones

Richard Dawkins was on "Real Time With Bill Maher" last Friday which resulted in several great quotes from Dawkins on religion plus a debate on what drives terrorism.

On Evolution and Natural selection:
"One of the main principals of Darwinian Theory is plenty of variations for natural selection to work on. And there’s sure enough, there are plenty of variations in brain power. All the way from Einstein on the one hand, to Sarah Palin on the other."

And on how Britain seems to be dumbing down to America's level on creationism:
"Eighteen percent of the British people think it takes one month for the earth to orbit the sun … And twenty-eight percent of the British people think humans walked with the dinosaurs. Twenty-eight percent of the British people get their science from “The Flintstones.”


Too bad Dawkins whose namesake award from the Atheist Alliance International was given to Maher the day after this was filmed didn't ask Maher about his views on medicine as that would have surely been an interesting conversation...

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Atheist Propaganda?

I'll admit, the premise of Ricky Gervais' new movie at first glance sounds pretty much like a Jim Carrey type comedy minus Jim Carrey. After all a movie that revolves around a world in which the concept of lying doesn't yet exist until one man invents it has sophomoric (nothing wrong with that if that's what you enjoy) written all over it.

And of course the TV marketing campaign doesn't disappoint with the standard plain looking guy (Gervais) lying to a beautiful woman about how the world will end if they don't have sex. Of course in a world without lies, she must oblige right? Well what the marketing campaign doesn't tell you and what I am sure has Gervais, whose comedy act often involves humor at religion's expense, smiling is what the first lie ever told was according to the movie.
The film is set in a world where there is no lying, until the character played by Ricky Gervais tells his dying mother that she will go to heaven and be with the angels, thereby inventing religion. Before that, because everyone told the total truth, religion could not exist.

So it's not only a comedy but also a work of non-fiction as well? Might be worth a look just to see the reaction when that plot line is revealed.

UPDATE: Some are now calling it the most blatantly, one-sidedly atheist movie ever released by a major studio. Sounds like a must see now.

The Obama Olympic Legacy?

Conventional GOP political wisdom seems to be that the chosen one, otherwise known as Barack Obama isn't the messiah that all of us left of center are perceived to think he is. (can an Atheist have a messiah?) The latest example being used is his unsuccessful trip to Copenhagen, Denmark to try to bring the 2016 Olympics to his adopted home town of Mombasa Chicago. Of course his trip couldn't get Chicago more than last place finish and will likely provide political fodder for the Glenn Beck crowd for months.

While some are quick to jump on the blame Obama bandwagon, a couple other reasons for Chicago's losing bid seems to be a bit more plausible for those of us not laying awake at night suffering from Obama paranoia.

First on the list could be the rightwing's own campaign to politicize the recent murder of a 17 year old Chicago teen. You know the one that Michelle Malkin recently used as another backhanded attempt at ripping Obama while tying it to Chicago's Olympic bid at the same time.
Community organizing has not stopped Chicago’s teen violence epidemic. The Olympics will not solve this long-festering problem, either.

This type of rhetoric does nothing to downplay Chicago's already less than stellar reputation of a being a rough town and these kind of reminders certainly didn't help their cause.

Even more damning I would suspect would have made it hard for any US city to win an Olympic bid as things stand now. Have you tried flying into the US from foreign countries lately? Well some I.O.C. members have and it wasn't a pleasant experience.
Among the toughest questions posed to the Chicago bid team this week in Copenhagen was one that raised the issue of what kind of welcome foreigners would get from airport officials when they arrived in this country to attend the Games. Syed Shahid Ali, an I.O.C. member from Pakistan, in the question-and-answer session following Chicago’s official presentation, pointed out that entering the United States can be “a rather harrowing experience.”

Of course, when most of these I.O.C. members' countries begin living under the constant threat of attack from religious extremists, maybe they can then talk of the trials of airport security. But I can say with certainty that the TSA experience is probably not used in any tourism literature found in foreign travel agencies and was likely another negative factor in the final decision.

So short of Obama actually being the messiah which would have allowed to him to just impose his will, Chicago probably never had a real shot with or without his help but feel free to blame him anyway. Everything else is his fault so what is one more thing.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Overpaid Celebrities

I always wondered why folks give credence to Hollywood celebrities' opinions when making decisions on major issues (or anything for that matter). Recent case in point is the Will Ferrell video on health care reform.

Someone else apparently felt the same way and came up with this.

Oh and Whoopi, sex with a 13 year old is rape no matter how many hit movies he directs...