Saturday, June 29, 2013

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Marriage Equality Alive, DOMA & Prop 8 Dead! (Photos)

What a difference a day makes. Yesterday the supreme court caused some consternation by striking down part of the Voting Rights Act but made a wonderful decision today in doing away with the scourge and bigotry of DOMA and California's Prop 8.
  • The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was a United States federal law that allows states to refuse to recognize same-sex marriages performed under the laws of other states.
  • Prop 8 was a measure that added a new provision, Section 7.5 of the Declaration of Rights, to the California Constitution, which provides that only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.
In a 5-4 vote on DOMA the Supreme Court ruled today that the federal definition of marriage in the Defense of Marriage Act was unconstitutional. The decision is without a doubt major victory for gay rights and marriage equality. Married same-sex couples will now be federally recognized in 13 states, plus D.C.

The DOMA vote count was as follows: Justices Kennedy, Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor and Kagan voted to strike down DOMA while Justices Roberts, Scalia, Thomas and Alito filed dissenting opinions.

Justice Kennedy wrote in the majority opinion which he also read aloud…"The federal statute is invalid, for no legitimate purpose overcomes the purpose and effect to disparage and to injure those whom the State, by its marriage laws, sought to protect in personhood and dignity. By seeking to displace this protection and treating those persons as living in marriages less respected than others, the federal statute is in violation of the Fifth Amendment…. DOMA singles out a class of persons deemed by a State entitled to recognition and protection to enhance their own libertyDOMA writes inequality into the entire United States Code".

That wasn't the end of the good news though! In another 5-4 vote the Court also dismissed the Prop 8 appeal on standing, which clears the way for same-sex couples to marry in California. They stated that private parties do not have "standing" to defend California's voter-approved ballot measure barring gay and lesbian couples from state-sanctioned wedlock. The ruling clears the way for same-sex marriages in California to resume. Once again a huge victory for gay rights and marriage equality.

The Prop 8 vote count was as follows: Justices Roberts, Scalia, Ginsburg, Breyer, Kagan voted to strike down Prop 8 and Kennedy, Thomas, Alito, Sotomayor filed dissenting opinions.

Within hours of Prop 8 being voted down, California's Gov. Jerry Brown said, "I have directed the California Department of Public Health to advise the state's counties that they must begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples in California as soon as the Ninth Circuit confirms the stay is lifted."

Yesterday President Obama said before the ruling: “When all Americans are treated as equal, no matter who they are or whom they love, we are all more free,”. Today after the ruling had been reached he wrote "This was discrimination enshrined in law. It treated loving, committed gay and lesbian couples as a separate and lesser class of people. The Supreme Court has righted that wrong, and our country is better off for it,"

Damn straight! ... Bad pun totally intended.

Here are some pictures of people celebrating today's decisions…

Today was a good day.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Gun Protest Heckler Daniel Musso Arrested... House Then Burns Down... I'm Serious!

Here's some feel good news...

The red shirted imbecile in the "Father Of Gun Violence Victim Heckled At Anti Gun Rally" (posted below) video has been identified as Daniel Musso of New Hampshire. What is not shown in the video is that moments after Musso left the stage he was subdued with a stun gun and arrested by police.

Apparently karma wasn't done with Musso yet because later in the week he found that his house had caught on fire causing $150,000 in damage.

Police told the local paper that the events of Musso's difficult week are seemingly coincidental and the fire was ruled an accident.

Sometimes life just makes you smile.

Here is the video of Musso's arrest. In it you can hear him before the police arrive laughing and asking someone "Am I going to be on the news"... All class Danny. The video starts after Musso heckles gun violence victim John Cantin, whose daughter Mellisa was murdered, and then leaves the stage to gloat...

Here is the incident from another angle... CLICK HERE!

Thank you fascist jack booted thugs... Very few things have made me happier.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Father Of Gun Violence Victim Heckled At Anti Gun Rally

In Concord, New Hampshire gun enthusiast and supporters of Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte (AKA moronic heartless lunatics) interrupted and heckled anti-gun demonstrator John Cantin who's daughter Melissa was murdered by her estranged husband. Cantin was also shot in the attack as he witnessed his daughter's death.

This YouTube video from the event you can see one mouth breathing gun rights whacko repeatedly interrupt and browbeat Cantin while imbeciles in the crowd also heckle him. When Cantin refuses to be intimidated the crowd tries to drown out his words out by chanting “Ayotte! Ayotte!”.

The scene is ugly and repulsive and I think very representative of the majority of the people on the right who cling to their guns like a petulant uneducated man child crying for his deadly poisonous pacifier.

Very few things I have seen have made me this mad.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Now Republicans Oppose Abortion Because 15 Week Old Male Fetuses Masturbate. Ummm Yeah

Here is Rep. Michael Burges and his amazing masturbating fetus!
Over the last several years I have heard some really out there things from the new wave of hyper extreme, far right, industrial strength wing-nut Republicans... I have heard some really crazy stuff… I have heard some really disturbing stuff… I have heard things that make no sense at all… But this one takes the cake.

I can't think of a single comment I want to make about this at this juncture so I will just lay it out for you.

This Monday at a House Rules Committee hearing on a GOP bill that would ban abortions starting at 20 weeks after conception Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Texas) said that abortion should be banned as early as 15 weeks after conception because he has witnessed male fetuses masturbate at that stage.

His exact words were:

"This is a subject that I do know something aboutThere is no question in my mind that a baby at 20 weeks after conception can feel pain. The fact of the matter is, I argue with the chairman because I thought the date was far too late. We should be setting this at 15 weeks, 16 weeks. Watch a sonogram of a 15-week baby, and they have movements that are purposeful. They stroke their face. If they’re a male baby, they may have their hand between their legs. If they feel pleasure, why is it so hard to think that they could feel pain?"

The only problem with Burgess's argument isn't based in science.

Jeanne Conry, president of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists said: "We certainly can see a movement of a fetus during that time, but in terms of any knowledge about pleasure or pain - there are no data to assess,. We don't know enough about the biology and the science."

Any media reports on masturbation by fetuses can almost exclusively be traced back to a single letter written by two OB/GYNs in Italy in 1996 and published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. The letter related an anecdote in which the two doctors had "recently observed a female fetus at 32 weeks gestation touching the vulva with the fingers of the right hand" before the female fetus experienced prolonged spasms, and "finally...relaxed and rested."

The 32 weeks gestation period is more than double of what Burgess proposed. I guess he must have a couple of bootleg videos of 15 week old male fetuses jacking it in his own personal stash.

Burgess, whose office did not respond to request for comment, serves on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, where he is the vice chair of the Subcommittee on Health.

Here's a question... What if the male fetus is thinking about other same sex male fetus'? Would it destroy "traditional pregnancy" as we know it and would it be ok to abort them then?

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Hannity's Hypocrisy On NSA Surveillance

This week Fox News host Sean Hannity lashed out at the Obama administration over recent revelations of Internet and phone surveillance carried out by the National Security Agency. After squealing about it for a good long time Hannity then promised his viewers that "anarchy and tyranny will follow."

But as we all remember back in 2006 a similar NSA spying scandal was unearthed during President George W. Bush's administration. The problem here is that Hannity wasn't in the slightest bit concerned with the Bush administrations Internet and phone surveillance program. As a matter of fact he came out as a staunch defender of the Bush and NSA saying it was "staggering to me we are even debating the use of these techniques in this country even at this time."

Hannity a hypocrite... Shocking I know!

Now thanks to Media Matters who have put together a mashup of Hannity's comments, we can plainly compare his ever shifting position according to who is controlling the White House.

Trolled By Our Senators

Here's a bit of information for those of you who have watched and listened to various politicians rant and rail against the evils of our government spying program "scandal" and are actually convinced of their outrage. This Thursday (6/13/13) Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and head of the National Security Agency Keith Alexander spoke at the briefing about classified government programs to monitor phone records and Internet activity. Not even half cared enough to put in an appearance. 53 Senators decided to skip it and start their weekend early.

The briefing was held at 2:30 p.m. but it appears that lawmakers decided to leave early for a long weekend following the vote. No details have been provided about which Senators were present at the meeting.

I think it's time to put the NSA "scandal" to bed.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Republicans Claim Atheist Chaplains Would Tell Dead Soldiers Parents Their Child Is "Worm Food"

Last Wednesday New Jersey Democratic Rep. Rob Andrews offered an amendment to the 2014 National Defense Authorization Act. The purposed amendment would allow humanists or members of ethical culture groups such as Atheists and Secular Humanists to join the chaplain corps. Rep. Andrews reasoning was that if certain members of our military wanted to talk someone whom they related to about problems they were experiencing they could do so without having to seek a medical professional.

In other words if a soldier was having trouble with symptoms of let's say PTSD a Christian soldier could talk to a Christian, a Muslim soldier could talk to a Muslim, an Atheist soldier could talk to a Atheist and so on.

This sounded altogether reasonable and innocuous to me. Republicans on the House Armed Services Committee on the other hand saw the proposal as out right blasphemous.

Their reasoning was that atheists can't offer spiritual counseling and would in all likelihood offend dying soldiers and their families.

Republican Rep. Mike Conaway (R-Texas) said of atheists: "They don't believe anything… I can't imagine an atheist accompanying a notification team as they go into some family's home to let them have the worst news of their life and this guy says, 'You know, that's it -- your son's just worms, I mean, worm food.'"

I am at a loss here. Who in their right mind thinks any person of any faith would say to a grieving family that their loved one was "worm food"? What kind of warped mind set would lead someone to conceive such a thought. Of course I ask this rhetorically.

It didn't end there….

Republican Rep. John Fleming (R-La.) claimed that "This I think would make a mockery of the chaplaincyThe last thing in the world we would want to see was a young soldier who may be dying and they're at a field hospital and the chaplain is standing over that person saying to them, 'If you die here, there is no hope for you in the future.'"

After reading this I could not help but laugh. The mere statement "If you die here, there is no hope for you in the future" is so hysterically inane I actually got the giggles until I remembered how pissed off and offended I was.

Rep. Adam Smith (Wash.), the top Democrat on the committee, responded that atheists and humanists do in fact have strong belief systems that they value just as much as Christians value theirs. In addition Smith pointed out that there are many atheists in our military, including the late NFL star Pat Tillman, who died in Afghanistan.

Smith offed this rebuttal to the Republicans previous statements: "To say that an atheist or a humanist doesn't believe anything is just ignorant. The response to the gentleman's amendment makes me feel all the more the necessity of it."

While I applaud Rep. Smith's courage in standing up against such bigotry I feel that, while correct, he didn't address the central stupidity and hypocrisy of the anti amendment argument. My wife on the other hand hit the nail on the head. As I shared the above with her she stunned me with her singular clarity on where the Republicans argument against the proposed amendment was wrong when she said to me "what do the Christian chaplains say to the parents of a fallen Jewish, Muslim, or Atheist child… 'sorry your son or daughter will burn in hell for eternity"…."

How perfectly summed up.

The amendment as of now appears to lack the votes needed to pass on the GOP-majority committee.

Monday, June 10, 2013

The NSA "Scandal" Is Nothing But Partisan Republican Hypocrisy, Posturing And Hyperbole

I only have two things to say regarding this whole NSA "scandal". If the people squealing about this NSA program now didn't make a peep 12 years ago when George W. Bush started his "warrantless wiretapping" (a.k.a. The PRISM surveillance program) then they should shut ignorant mouths about it now. In addition if you simply loved the program back in the day (i.e. Fox News, Limbaugh, Beck ect.) then keep your hypocritical lying mouth shut now!

I'll leave it to those who held to their original convictions (pro or con) about the NSA program and still continue to stand by them today to argue it out.

By the way President Bush's warrantless surveillance program was ruled unconstitutional in 2006 because it authorizes illegal searches.

2 years later Congress passed the FISA Amendments Act of 2008, which Obama now operates under… Legally!

In fact according to data provided by a senior administration official the Obama administration officials held 22 separate briefings or meetings for members of Congress as well as multiple briefings in the senate on the law which gives the attorney general and director of national intelligence the authority to gather intelligence through a telephone and email dragnet starting back in October 2011.

In other words all those in the Senate and Congress who are writhing and convulsing about our countries freedoms and liberties already knew all about it.

To top it off the chairman of the House Intelligence committee Republican Rep. Mike Rogers defended the telephone records collection saying the information culled from the records enabled U.S. authorities to stop a significant "terrorist attack in the United States" in the last few years.

*Update:  Since posting on 6/10/13 the director of national intelligence has declassified details that credits the PRISM program with intercepting a key email that stopped the 2009 terrorist plot to blow up subways in New York.

*Update #2:  Top U.S. intelligence officials on 6/15/13 released proof that information recovered from two National Security Agency data-collection programs thwarted terrorist plots in the U.S. and more than 20 other countries.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Neuroscientist Says Religious Fundamentalism Could Be Treated As A Mental Illness

Religion As Mind Control
Oxford University researcher and author specializing in neuroscience, Kathleen Taylor,  has suggested that one day religious fundamentalism may be treated as a curable mental illness.

Taylor, who describes herself as a "science writer affiliated to the Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics," made the suggestion this week at a presentation on brain research at the Hay Literary Festival in Wales.

At the festival Taylor said in response to a question about the future of neuroscience, "One of the surprises may be to see people with certain beliefs as people who can be treatedSomeone who has for example become radicalised to a cult ideology -- we might stop seeing that as a personal choice that they have chosen as a result of pure free will and may start treating it as some kind of mental disturbance. In many ways it could be a very positive thing because there are no doubt beliefs in our society that do a heck of a lot of damage."

The author went on to say she wasn't just referring to the "obvious candidates like radical Islam," but also meant such beliefs as the idea that beating children is acceptable.

You can listen to Turner's entire presentation at the Hay Literary Festival: HERE

In 2006 Taylor wrote a book about mind control called Brainwashing: The Science of Thought Control, which explored the science behind the persuasive tactics of such groups as religious cults.

In discussing the book Taylor says: "We all change our beliefs of course. We all persuade each other to do things; we all watch advertising; we all get educated and experience [religions.] Brainwashing, if you like, is the extreme end of that; it's the coercive, forceful, psychological torture type." Taylor also noted that brainwashing "is only extreme of a much more widespread phenomenon which is persuasion. How we make people think things that might not be good for them, that they might not otherwise have chosen to think."

Here is a clip of Kathleen Taylor expounding on why she wrote her book which looks brainwashing through the lens of neuroscience and psychology combined…

While agreeing with her hypothesis I feel that Taylor cloaks her findings in a more politically correct  fashion (she needs to sell books) than I would. She claims that potential subjects would be people involved in unnamed cults and terrorist organizations but I believe the "mental illness" Taylor references transcends the groups in her limited list. My belief is that her theory holds true for all religious beliefs, all cults and all organizations with hardline radical unbending beliefs when they become too pervasive in an individuals life to the point where individuality, tolerance and reasoned rational though is lost. With hyper religious and ideological zealots there seems to be a line that they cross where their belief becomes a cudgel to beat, as well as shield themselves from, all perceived opponents/enemies as opposed to being a helpful guideline to live life by. In addition I believe Taylor's theory can be extended to hate groups such as the Ku Klux Klan and neo-nazis all the way down the line to the Tea Party "patriots". The sense of self is lost to the people who adhere to the philosophies of these groups as they enter into the realm of group think or hive mind. Surely this must be looked at as a form of mental instability if not the right out aforementioned diagnosis of mental illness.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Evangelical Christian Minister David Barton Claims Starbucks Coffee Is The Beverage Of Satan!!!!

David Barton and what I pray is a cup of Dunkin' Donuts coffee!
Recently evangelical Christian minister, conservative activist, and author David Barton delivered a fiery sermon at Whitesburg Baptist Church in Huntsville, Alabama. In addition to his usual false claims that the Supreme Court banned the practice of requiring Bible reading in public school because it could give students brain damage, as well as falsely claiming that the Constitution contains dozens of direct quotations from the Bible he added in a new zany bit to his usual schpeel.

The new wacky and delightful lunacy Barton added was to pronounce that Christians cannot drink Starbucks coffee because the company supports marriage equality. Therefor every grande latte, skinny, half caf (I have no clue what that is) you swill down leads to the end of traditional marriage which in turn results in the end of the world and satan's eternal rule over all he surveys.

Here are Barton's exact claims…

"Biblically, there is no way a Christian can help support what is attacking GodI'm sorry, you've got to find some other coffee to drink.  You can't drink Starbucks and be biblically right on this thingIt's just a real simple principle".

Here is the video of the java based outrage courtesy of Right Wing Watch

In case you were curious... Barton holds no formal credentials in history or law, and scholars dispute the accuracy and integrity of his assertions about history, accusing him of practicing misleading historical revisionism, "pseudoscholarship" and spreading "outright falsehoods" In addition Barton's 2012 book The Jefferson Lies was voted "the least credible history book in print" by the users of the History News Network website.