I can’t help but feeling like being Senator Jim Inhofe is good work if you could get it. He brought a snowball to a science-fight. He is impervious to how dumb that is. I can’t imagine having a job anywhere on this planet where handling a snowball is supposed to invalidate all the points regarding global warming. Only in the legislative branch of these United States, I guess. Yay (um, no) us (no, we are not worthy)!
So for a quick and meaningful primer—yes, seasons still exist with global warming, and winters will still be the coldest of the seasons. It is possible that global warming has fuxxored the gulf stream in such a way that cold and stormy is the new normal for the East Coast, which includes Washington DC and Philadelphia, so fuck you, global warming!
The following questions I’d like to posit for Senator Inhofe are:
Do you think anyone ever implied that global warming meant there wouldn’t be winter anymore?
Is the freezing point of water supposed to change in any way? (Show your work.)
What do you think of heat waves, like the ones Australia generally has while we US East Coast folks are wrapped up in snow?
Might I suggest that Senator Inhofe should go and investigate the Australian heat, perhaps locate a forest fire, and figure out whether he’d survive longer than a snowball therein? Or is my general disdain for his lack of knowledge transparent enough?
Of course, the sort of people who burn people would also burn books. A group like ISIS that depends on the most narrow interpretation of religion is threatened by learning and the mere existence of anything that counters their cramped worldview. But no matter how many books are burned, more are always being written. It still angers me to see people try to blot out history and culture in this way, though.
I feel a little like a heel picking on poor ole Pat, but I can’t help recording a dis on yoga that is remarkably, um. Hm.
I like yoga and meditation myself. I am in theory an atheist and in practice a Buddhist. I sit in half or full lotus most of the time, because it is very comfortable for my back, you understand (arthritis problems). I meditate because I am insomnia-and-anxiety-prone and finding my center keeps me on an even rational keel. I am familiar with some Buddhist mantras derived from Sanskrit but filtered through the Tibetan practices that I learned my little bit of yoga from. I am going to state something that is probably obvious to you, that is not obvious to Pat or Pat-like persons.
I read things. And if I read about a mantra—I also study it, because why would it mean anything if I didn’t? People educated in critical thinking want to understand why they say or do things. At least, they should. Robertson is taking for granted that people on a spiritual journey are unqualified to understand why they are making that journey, and how they will relate to what they find. But yoga derives from the same root idea as “religion” does—unification. There isn’t anything spiritually less-than in “hindu” or “Sanskrit” coming out of a yoga-inclined mouth. This beef seems really weird. But the idea that yoga makes people “speak in tongues” is funny. There are other people who spoke in tongues…
Technically, there really ought not be a religious “litmus test” when it comes to achieving any elected office. It honestly should not matter whether our current president, Barack Hussein Obama, is a Christian, as he actually professed publically many times over and witnessed to as a member of Trinity United Church for 20 years, is a practitioner of Islam, having some incidental relationship with that faith having a father and stepfather who were in some respects Muslim, or even as I am, an intellectually inquisitive militant agnostic. The First Amendment technically means that everyone is free to worship as they will, and does not deny anyone their rights because of some heterodoxy. This needs to be understood as part of a long tradition within US history, where Islam was considered among many religions as part of the experiment in allowing such a freedom of thought.
(Contra David Barton, who is an idiot, and is about as much an historian as I am an Olympic Decathlete. Even setting aside Thomas Jefferson’s Koran, or his Iftar Dinner with representatives from Tunis, the reality is that the Islamic nation of Morocco first recognized the US as an independent nation and that the Treaty of Tripoli declared us as “by no means a Christian nation”. Islam was definitely a part of the Founders’ consideration of what religious freedom might mean. For that matter, the willingness to cast the US as having no part in Islam because the Islamists were the people who sold slaves to “us”—quite elides the actual fact that many of those slaves were also of the Muslim faith, and that supposedly “good” Christians willingly bought and held those human beings for generations. In other words, there were many Muslims here denied the right to practice their faith, as they were in every respects also denied their other freedoms, and it was because Christians did not mind any bit of that for a very long time, as their book never gave them a solid reason to. A very bad word I might say to David Barton for trying to erase that very real history. You can not remedy the enormity of slavery by disappearing the history of the people who were actually held in bondage, and you can not defend our founders by denying the shit they actually did. I’m sorry real history is inconvenient to paste-eaters like Barton, but whoop, there it is.)
The reason “liberal” or “mainstream media” ask a drowsy-eyed Koch-whore like Scott Walker a truly philosophical question like whether evolution is real or whether Obama is a Christian, is sort of a litmus test in whether he tracks to reality. Is he so completely a puppet that he can’t answer simple questions without being backstopped by a PR team?
Well, regarding evolution, he punted. When faced with the question regarding the current president’s allegiance, he also sort of punted. He “does not know” because he never read anything regarding the controversy—how Palinesque! I have exactly zero faith in anyone who can claim they do not know why they are being asked either question, and have no response. He doesn’t know if he is required to pander to the tea party assholes or has to be at least somewhat real. He hesitated because of alliances. That is so chickenshit. I neither know nor care what Walker believes, because he doesn’t hisownself. I just don’t think he ever should be president.
Jeanine Pirro, whose presence on the FOX network utterly obviates the entire concept of “sober as a judge”, devolved into a rant upon the killing of Muslims because they apparently freak her out by existing. To hear old Jeanine blow it, the 1% of Muslims in the United States have led to the likelihood that the First Amendment will be altered (without congressional ratification?) to somehow not be mean to Muslims, and praying with them is weird and she doesn’t like it. And also—“We need to kill them”. Nope—listen to it in all its sick glory. She really is hot about genocide.
Now, Steve Emerson is sorry about his comments, and realizes his credibility is in a bit of jeopardy. Would Jeanine Pirro feel anything like the same thing over her genocidal and ill-informed rant, I wonder? Or even feel that her utter journalistic failure and immoral bigotry against an entire religion sort of disqualifies her from being a judge or you know—a reliable journalist?
The cartoons that were likely the justification the perpetrators will use for their murder spree were often quite shocking, crude, and yes, offensive. This is hardly the point, though. Even crude and offensive speech should be protected—which is not to say it cannot be protested or criticized! But the standard that we have for freedom of speech, that enables the KKK or Westboro Baptist to have their say in public is the same standard that protects people of other, less noxious, but possibly threatened minority positions from being persecuted. It is never acceptable that ideas, words, and images, be responded to with violence. To attempt to silence people in this brutal way is an affront to civilization itself.
The 1990’s were weird times to develop ones political persona. I was left-leaning since becoming thoroughly disillusioned when the Iran-Contra clusterfuck came to light, which was only driven home by a 1988 election that turned into a referendum on whether ACLU-card-carrying l-words could ever quite love Mom, the flag, and apple pie, enough for the estimation of real he-man Uncle Sam types who supported an “out of the loop” “wimp”.
But I think my opinion got hardened by my understanding of the existence of right-wing militias and my ever-lowering opinion of the Christian right. See, I started noticing that the right-wing religious freaks like Falwell and Swaggart and Robertson always supported Republicans. But the PTL scandals that erupted in 1987 made it pretty clear to me that these types of people were basically carnies making a dime off of people’s thirst for gnosis. So why wouldn’t they superciliously shill on behalf of the team of law and order and no fun with your fun parts? I watched the OKC bombing by Christian Identity white supremacist Timothy McVeigh. I noticed that Ruby Ridge and Waco had a strong religious/anti-government paranoia aspect. I tracked with interest the long story of the capture of Olympic Park bomber Eric Rudolph, who had more than a little help from his friends.
These people were out where the buses don’t run. That wacky militia-tinged disinfo game is why I don’t actually find the nonsense, unreality-based burblings of Steve Stockman or Louie Gohmert as hilarious as some people do—I get that there are real people for whom the possibility of being secretly micro-chipped with the number of the beast by the government is a real thing. And I mostly just think it’s sort of like ignorance on steroids, you know? The reality for people raised in movements that tell them that everyone outside of the movement is a liar, is that it produces brains exceptionally good at finding lies in all the things regular people, schools, universities, scientists, government figures, mainstream news reporters, and so on, say. It would be exhausting for me to counter that much countervailing evidence. But they can deny it outright and feel really satisfied that they did. You can’t hardly argue with people like that. They have to step on the rake and slap their selves upside the head on their own to come around.
I saw the story of Larry McQuilliams originally as just kind of a sad case of someone simply losing their shit in a pretty flagrant way—firing more than a hundred rounds at various buildings and so very fortunately, not harming actual people (other than giving them one hell of a scare). Understanding now that he might have viewed himself as a kind of soldier/martyr—not unlike a al-Qaeda shahid, genuinely unsettles me. Somehow, even if such terrorists were active in the 90’s, I never came across that term—Phineas Priesthood—before. But I think I might want to pay attention to that current, now, especially as racial tensions and distrust in government seem to be on the rise.
Well, it’s been quite a week for Anthony P Culler. Culler, a Republican, is challenging Rep Jim Clyburn (D-SC) for South Carolina’s District 6 seat . . .
Clyburn, a popular Democrat in a deep blue district has been serving in Congress since 1993, and as the Assistant Democratic Leader since 2011. He was previously House Majority Whip, serving in that post from 2007 to 2011.
Mr Culler has admitted that this is a David and Goliath match-up. He is a white male Republican running in a district that was—
defined, in the early 1990s, in a deal between state Republicans (mostly white) and Democrats (mostly black) in the South Carolina General Assembly to ensure a majority-black population, known as a majority-minority district. The rural counties of the historical black belt in South Carolina make up much of the district, but it sweeps south to include most of the black precincts in Charleston, and west to include most of the black precincts in Columbia.
Despite the odds, though, Mr Culler has figured out an attention-getting angle to try to juice his chances when the district goes to the polls:
“This is our minority majority district,” Culler said. “It’s the black district. That’s what some people call it. … I’ve got another description for this district, it’s a Christian district.”
“We believe in the way that it’s always been,” Culler continued.
Culler urged voters to turn out on election day and vote for him.
“No matter how many Gremlins there are across this country, we here in the sixth district will stand against it,” Culler said.
My how time flies! it seems like just yesterday that Values Voter Summit 2013 was underway. For the uninitiated, the Values Voter Summit is a festival of political oratory aimed at Values Voters—aka Social Conservatives—who distinguish themselves from the majority of voters who have no values. Or the wrong values. Or something . . .
VVS is an annual shindig, hosted by the Family Research Council, that started in 2006 around about the time that social conservatives decided that America was “going to hell in a handbasket.” It takes place over a weekend in September-October, in Washington, DC, and is a decidedly hyper-partisan affair featuring far-right pundits and Republican politicians competitively blazing new trails to the rightmost extremities of the political spectrum.
VVS also happens to be Blogger’s Gold for, sane people targeting other sane people, for sheer entertainment value, it never, ever disappoints. I’ve always intended to go and see it for myself but something always comes up. This year, it was cleaning out the garage, so, once again, I’m relying on embedded reporters who, so far, indicate that a blessed time was had by all.
Back in May of this year the US Supreme Court ruled on a gnarly little problem that causes no end of mischief in America: the separation of church and state.
This was not the first time SCOTUS addressed the issue and it’s very unlikely that it will be the last. Nevertheless, this time around the court settled the question [at least for now] of whether or not the Constitution allows for prayer during government meetings. Long story short—the court ruled, in a 5-4 decision, to give brief, ceremonial prayers in civic meetings their juridical blessing.
Hosannas were heard throughout the land because American Christians construed the high court ruling as a victory and, apparently, felt much less persecuted because of it. All things being theoretically equal, a few other spiritual brands felt empowered by the decision as well. One such was the Central Florida Freethought Community which resides in Florida’s Brevard County.
It just so happens that the Brevard County commissioners have a long proud history of indulging in the quaint but questionable practice of invoking supernatural guidance before their meetings. To keep things democratic, commissioners take turns inviting local spiritual leaders to make up those invocations.
The deadly outbreak of Ebola virus in west Africa has the world’s attention. The American Center for Disease Control recently declared that the current crisis is “unprecedented,” and, yesterday the World Health Organization (WHO), held an emergency meeting and declared that the Ebola epidemic in West Africa is “an international public health emergency.”
Not too many people on the planet are celebrating the Ebola outbreak . . . but then Reverend Rick Wiles is not like everyone else . . .
From his roost at “Trunews” radio, Wiles foretold:
This Ebola epidemic could become a global pandemic and that’s another name for plague. It may be the great attitude adjustment that I believe is coming. Ebola could solve America’s problems with atheism, homosexuality, sexual promiscuity, pornography, and abortion.
An interesting take, to say the least, on how politically selective viruses can be but then Rev. Wiles tells us just how to protect ourselves and our loved ones:
If Ebola becomes a global plague, you better make sure the blood of Jesus is upon you, you better make sure you have been marked by the angels so that you are protected by God. If not, you may be a candidate to meet the Grim Reaper.
Admittedly, some less extreme variations on that pitch can be found in churches throughout the land, but, Rev. Wiles is a multi-faceted prophet and, like others of his generation of doomsayers, has discovered the utility of enhancing his prophecy with a liberal dollop of partisan politics.
For example, the previous day, he shared these divinely-inspired insights on how President Obama could exploit the Ebola epidemic to grow the government and force Americans to be inoculated with a vaccine:
Obama would claim executive powers to mandate that every human being in the United States be vaccinated. They could use the panic to stampede hundreds of millions of people in this country to be vaccinated, in fact billions worldwide, they could stampede the world to receive to (sic) a vaccine against a deadly virus and nobody knows what is in the vaccine.
Which strikes me as peculiarly similar to the way in which Rev. Wiles “uses the panic” to “mandate that every human being in the United States” “make sure the blood of Jesus is upon you.”
Wiles would be easy to dismiss as just another self-educated End Times prophet with his own media operation. But a look at his guest book is pretty chilling. Evidently, quite a few Republican members, and former members, of Congress find it expedient to visit with Rev. Wiles, from time to time, for a convo on his latest conspiracy theory.
Twinkle Andress Cavanaugh is one of those very special people in our midst who is a God-mind-reader. Such people are obviously invaluable to the rest of us, who are not similarly gifted, because they are in the unique position of being able to tell us what God wants us to do. God wisely planted Twinkle on the Alabama Public Services Commission so He could guide Alabama’s energy choices.
And, so it is that the president of Alabama’s utility-regulation commission advised citizens to pray for the failure of a proposed EPA crackdown on coal pollution in order to preserve Alabama’s “way of life.”
I will not back down. We will not stand for what they’re trying to do to our way of life. I hope all the citizens of Alabama will be in prayer that the right thing will be done.
Clearly God hates the EPA and love’s Alabama’s coal-burning lifestyle. And, I guess that we should be grateful that Twinkle appears to have gotten over opening PSC meetings with “pray away the gay” sessions.
If you think you have it hard, consider what a bad couple of years Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) has had. After that one great day in 2011 when she won the Ames, IA straw poll, poor Michele hasn’t been able to buy a break . . . not that she didn’t try.
If it’s not the FBI, DoJ and Office of Congressional Ethics poking their noses into her business and saying mean things about her leadership skills, it’s the danged homos making the bottom fall out of the Gay Reparative market. Now Marcus is out of a scam job and it’s all down to Michele, who—Criminy—just retired from the House. Book sales aren’t nearly covering the legal fees so it’s no time to be out of work.
But when the going gets tough, the tough get going . . . so Rep. Michele Bachmann, looking to her strengths, has decided that another run at the Oval Office might be just the thing!
The only thing that the media has speculated on is that it’s going to be various men that are running. They haven’t speculated, for instance, that I’m going to run. What if I decide to run? And there’s a chance I could run.
Like with anything else, practice makes perfect. “And I think if a person has gone through the process—for instance, I had gone through 15 presidential debates—it’s easy to see a person’s improvement going through that.
I haven’t made a decision one way or another if I’m going to run again, but I think the organization is probably the key. To have an organization and people who surround you who are loyal, who are highly competent, who know how to be able to run the ball down the field in state after state—because now I think the primary process will be very different this time. It will tighten up; it will be a much shorter run than it was before.
Translation: that last group of F*k ups threw me under the bus when they weren’t smart enough to cover their tracks.
Something truly hinky happened in The Heartland yesterday. Not that we weren’t forewarned . . . there was that little media dust-devil that arose, back in April, when Gov. Terry Branstad (R) released an official gubernatorial proclamation entreating Iowans to pray, fast and repent for the good of Iowa and the nation . . .
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Terry E Branstad, as Governor of the State of Iowa, do hereby invite all Iowans who choose to join in the thoughtful prayer and humble repentance according to II Chronicles 7:14 in favor of our state and nation to come together on July 14, 2014.
[read the whole freaking thing, which sounds David Barton-ish, here].
Well, July 14th arrived and, suddenly, the separation between church and state on the Capitol grounds of the Hawkeye State was only the thickness of a revival tent-flap where hundreds of Children of the Corn gathered for 11 hours of “non-denominational” prayer and repentance of a King James nature—from 7:14 am to 7:14 pm.
You see this was never meant to be your garden-variety non-denominational feel-good praying—it’s specifically prescribed to be according to II Chronicles 7:14, a favorite bible verse of Bob Vander Plaats, who has written a book entitled If 7:14. If the name Vander Plaats sounds vaguely familiar that might be because when Vd-P isn’t writing religious manifestos, he likes to run for governor of Iowa. At least in the Republican primaries for governor, he’s never quite made it beyond there in 2002, 2006 or 2010.
Today, Rep. Todd Rokita (R-IN) submitted a post to RealClearPolitics.com entitled “Why the War on Poverty Failed & How We Can Win It.” Let me spare you any undue excitement—he never really got around to detailing either.
Evidently. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) has stepped away from his somewhat embarrassing stint as front-man for the GOP’s “50 Years of Fail” concern trolling over the fact that, despite the War On Poverty program there are still poor people. That leaves the position open for some newbie back-benchers to cut their teeth on.
Whatever . . . Rokita has picked up the torch but appears to be having a little trouble keeping it lit. As we know from past encounters, Rep. Rokita is a bit of a wag—you might remember him as the chauvinist swashbuckler who reprimanded CNN journalist Carol Costello about her barbed questions during last Fall’s government shutdown, saying “Carol, you’re beautiful, but you have to be honest as well.”
Or that time, in 2007, when, while encouraging Republicans to appeal to more African-American voters, Rokita cited the statistic that 90% of African-Americans vote Democratic then asked:
How can that be? Ninety to ten. Who’s the master and who’s the slave in that relationship? How can that be healthy?
You get the picture . . . so Todd starts out waggish:
Fine, I admit it, you caught us red-handed—the Republican Party is the party of the “rich.”