Open Letter to Ralph Nader June 26, 2008Posted by Evil Bender in bigotry, News and politics.
Dear Mr. Nader,
Because of your very real and very important contributions to society, I have held my nose and looked the other way when repeatedly ran for President, vanished for a few years, and then ran for President again. I’ve refrained from chastising you for what increasingly seem like vanity candidacies in place of real efforts to reform our government. Whenever I’ve been displeased, I’ve reminded myself about all the things you’ve done that I still appreciate, and have let my disagreements with you slide.
But now you’ve decided to lower yourself to making bullshit racists attacks on the way Barack Obama speaks:
Nader earlier today told the Rocky Mountain News Obama is trying to “talk white”… He also said Obama wants to show he’s not “another politically threatening African-American politician. He wants to appeal to white guilt.”
On the basis of these comments, I have no choice but to ask you to please, for the love of everything you hold dear, shut the fuck up.
DaveScot: hilariously wrong, as always June 25, 2008Posted by Evil Bender in BPSDB, Religion, Science, wingnuts.
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Over at UD, DaveScot is upset about Lenski’s takedown of Conservapaedia’s head wackaloon, Andy Schlafly. (The link goes to The Panda’s Thumb. As usual, I won’t be linking to the pathologically dishonest folks at UD.)
So what has DaveScot upset? It’s almost too funny for words:
I started reading Lenski’s full paper myself to see what raw data was provided and I got no farther than the first paragraph beyond the abstract when I encountered a bias error that a chance worshipper would never notice. My emphasis:
At its core, evolution involves a profound tension between random and deterministic processes. Natural selection works systematically to adapt populations to their prevailing environments. However, selection requires heritable variation generated by random mutation, and even beneficial mutations may be lost by random drift. Moreover, random and deterministic processes become intertwined over time such that future alternatives may be contingent on the prior history of an evolving population.
The bold portion is patently wrong. Selection operates on any heritable variation whether random or not. That the authors would use the language they did (random variation) and the peer reviewers didn’t notice it is testimony to the chance worshipper bias that pervades evolution research.
That’s right: Lenski ignored the possibility that an invisible superbeing snuck into the laboratory and fucked with his experiments. He ignored the possibility that said being looked into the future, saw that E. coli would be in the experiment, and “frontloaded” exactly one of the populations to produce a mutation.
The “bias” DaveScot is objecting to is a bias against unscientific, unverifiable nonsense. Good catch on that, Dave! In related news, I heard that Lenski categorically ruled out the idea that the E. coli were secretly replaced with identical-but-for-some-mutations E. coli placed their by sexy unicorns.
Strictly speaking, of course, variation directly introduced by scientists can be incorporated into the evolutionary process. But that’s not what DaveScot is talking about. Neither is he suggesting that a designer may have started the evolutionary process–he’s opposed to those theistic evolututionists, don’t you know.
Remember, behind all his obfuscation is the idea that science is unfairly biased against the patently unscientific idea that A Magic Man Done It, even though we can’t detect which things are attributable to this magic man, nor demonstrate his existence, nor suggest how we could tell his work from natural processes, nor explain why we need the magic man at all, given that science keeps providing natural explanations for things once attributed to said magic man.
And it gets worse:
The Scripps researchers, in a nutshell, discovered that E. coli, when stressed (such as running out of food as in Lenski’s experiment or in the presence of antibiotics in the Scripps experiment) selectively increases the mutation rate on certain genes. Thus the mutations in this case are not random but rather directed at a certain area in an attempt to solve a certain problem.
Of course, each mutation is still random: only the rate is increased. In some environments, changing rates of mutation can provide a selective advantage. Shocking! Of course, such a definition of “directed” (essentially “combines what’s already present with random mutations to survive”) strongly implies that any form of selection is “directed.” Congratulations, DaveScot! You’ve just demonstrated that a combination of selection and random chance can lead to change. Well done! Someone should really come up with a theory to articulate that concept.
James Dobson, still pissed with John McCain and increasingly irrelevant even to his own base, is upset with Barack Obama for being far, far smarter than Dobson is:
Asbroadens his outreach to evangelical voters, one of the movement’s biggest names, , accuses the likely of distorting the Bible and pushing a “fruitcake interpretation” of the Constitution.
“Even if we did have only Christians in our midst, if we expelled every non-Christian from the United States of America, whose Christianity would we teach in the schools?” Obama said. “Would we go with James Dobson’s or civil rights leader.‘s?” referring to the
Dobson took aim at examples Obama cited in asking which Biblical passages should guide public policy — chapters like Leviticus, which Obama said suggests slavery is OK and eating shellfish is an abomination, or Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, “a passage that is so radical that it’s doubtful that our own Defense Department would survive its application.”
The problem here is really simple: Obama is appealing to the intelligent Christians, who realize that Christians differ on religious matters (shocking!) and that different people interpret the Bible in different ways. Dobson naturally hates this, since Dobson’s message is “do exactly what I say because I say God says so”:
George Carlin dead at 71 June 23, 2008Posted by Evil Bender in Blogging, Humor.
As I’m sure you’ve heard by now, we’ve lost a truly great one: George Carlin, one of the funniest, most insightful and smartest comedians ever to grace a stage. He’ll be missed.
I was quite sad when I heard the news, but then I realized Carlin would probably want to smack me for that. So I’ll celebrate his life instead. The next time someone in power spews some bullshit, I’ll do my very best to call them on it. That was Carlin’s great gift to us–not just to be funny, but to do it in service to reminding us that nothing is sacred, and that we shouldn’t rely on conventional wisdom and what the powerful try to sell us.
And because I can, I’ll be raising a glass of Scotch in Carlin’s honor tonight; I don’t know how he felt about Scotch, but it’s how I’d like people to honor my memory.
Quote of the Day June 21, 2008Posted by Evil Bender in Uncategorized.
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“With the exception of the cross-burning episode. … I believe John Freshwater is teaching the values of the parents in the Mount Vernon school district.”
–Dave Daubenmire, defending teacher John Freshwater, who who was fired for burning crosses onto his students arms, teaching Creationism in science class, and other offenses.
Best Meme Evar June 18, 2008Posted by Evil Bender in Blogging, Humor.
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Pharmacists for Life Responds to Feministing…sort of. June 18, 2008Posted by Evil Bender in constiutional issues, reproductive rights, sex, wingnuts.
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When Jessica accessed the Pharmacists for Life website, it referred to Feministing as a “radical feminazi website,” which is absolutely awesome in conveying what they really believe in. But maybe someone over there decided that Nazi comparisons weren’t the best bet, or just didn’t think the language was strong enough, because they’re now referring to Feministing as a “radical abortoholic website.”
Which raises the question: are these people really stupid enough to believe that abortion is something women go through for fun? “I could use birth control, but instead I’ll get an abortion–I’m just addicted to those!”
And, of course, the irony is made all the more spectacular by the fact that, by refusing to sell contraceptives, “Pharmacists for Life” is certainly increasing the chances of unwanted pregancies and abortions.
You can absolutely count on it, folks: the most rabid “pro-life” people are dead set on making sure woman who have sex get pregnant to punish them for their slutty ways. If they were actually “pro-life,” they’d be doing everything they could to reduce unwanted pregnancies–you know, like us “abortaholics” advocate.
The Phyllis Schlafly Wouldn’t Pass My Composition Class Awardfor complete ineptness in argument goes to Edward Bernard Glick, for his essay entitled “How Our Marxist Faculties Got This Way.” In it, Glick displays all the hallmarks of the Schlafy Award: logical fallacies, lack of evidence, lack of proper attribution, and (to seal the award) a burning desire to pin all of societies ills on the academy.* He writes,
It’s August 1968. Anti-Vietnam War demonstrators have just wrecked the Democratic national convention in Chicago and ruined Hubert Humphrey’s chances to become President. So what did these Marxist demonstrators and their cohorts elsewhere do next?
We’re only a single paragraph in, and while I give credit to Glick for capturing his readers’ attention, he also manages to conflate the entirety of the anti-war protest movement with Marxism on no basis but his say-so. This sort of massive over-generalization is not a good sign for well-reasoned argument, but is a hallmark of the Schlafly Award.
Pharmacies to Women:F_ck you. June 16, 2008Posted by Evil Bender in bigotry, Religion, reproductive rights, wingnuts, Woo.
Via Feministing, I learn that some pharmacies, under the banner of Pharmacies for lying against women for Life International have taken it upon themselves to decide what women should be allowed to do with their bodies:
When DMC Pharmacy opens this summer on Route 50 in Chantilly, the shelves will be stocked with allergy remedies, pain relievers, antiseptic ointments and almost everything else sold in any drugstore. But anyone who wants condoms, birth control pills or the Plan B emergency contraceptive will be turned away.
That’s because the drugstore, located in a typical shopping plaza featuring a Ruby Tuesday, a Papa John’s and a Kmart, will be a “pro-life pharmacy” — meaning, among other things, that it will eschew all contraceptives.
The pharmacy is one of a small but growing number of drugstores around the country that have become the latest front in a conflict pitting patients’ rights against those of health-care workers who assert a “right of conscience” to refuse to provide care or products that they find objectionable.
“The United States was founded on the idea that people act on their conscience — that they have a sense of right and wrong and do what they think is right and moral,” said Tom Brejcha, president and chief counsel at the Thomas More Society, a Chicago public-interest law firm that is defending a pharmacist who was fined and reprimanded for refusing to fill prescriptions for birth control pills. “Every pharmacist has the right to do the same thing,” Brejcha said.
I do have some sympathy for the idea that people shouldn’t be made to do things that are against their conscience, but let’s be clear what’s being argued here: a woman comes in with a prescription from her doctor or a request for something over-the-counter, like, say, condoms, and the pharmacist has the right to tell her to fuck off. The woman, apparently, has the right to be told to fuck off.
And there’s still no attempt by these people to explain why, if they’re so goddamn opposed to abortion, why they deny contraceptives to women, and thus drastically increase the likelihood of unwanted pregancies.
And it gets worse:
Some pro-life pharmacies are identical to typical drugstores except that they do not stock some or all forms of contraception. Others also refuse to sell tobacco, rolling papers or pornography. Many offer “alternative” products, including individually compounded prescription drugs, as well as vitamins and homeopathic and herbal remedies.
That’s right, folks: they’ll keep you from getting contraceptives, but they’ll be happy to sell you homeopathic products. If your really lucky, maybe your fucking water will “remember” that you don’t want to be pregnant.* And it goes on:
“We try to practice pharmacy in a way that we feel is best to help our community and promote healthy lifestyles,” said Lloyd Duplantis, who owns Lloyd’s Remedies in Gray, La., and is a deacon in his Catholic church. “After researching the science behind steroidal contraceptives, I decided they could hurt the woman and possibly hurt her unborn child. I decided to opt out.”
As Jessica notes, “It’s a good thing that we have random dudes to tell us what medication to take - otherwise women would be left discussing important medical and life decisions with their families and doctors.”
I imagine it’s only a matter of time before pharmacies start refusing to provide help for people who like vaccinations or for gay and unmarried couples. After all, once you start substituting yourself for women and their doctors, why not force your ideas down people’s throats in other areas?
Some critics question how such pharmacies justify carrying drugs, such as Viagra, for male reproductive issues, but not those for women.
“Why do you care about the sexual health of men but not women?” asked Anita L. Nelson, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. “If he gets his Viagra, why can’t she get her contraception?”
Well, it’s obvious, isn’t it? Sex is supposed to be a punishment for women, but we must not interfere with the Mighty Phallus. Somehow I doubt they ask men if they’ve had a vasectomy before they fill a prescription for Viagra.
“Being a faith-based workplace, it’s a logical thing to do,” Semler said.
I honestly don’t know how to respond to the claim that refusing medical care based on one’s religious beliefs is “logical.” Oh, wait, I think I’ve got it: aside from being a classic misuse of the word “logical,” this is just batshit crazy. If you don’t want to fill prescriptions, don’t be a fucking pharmacist. Or, to put it in a more restrained way:
“If you are a health-care professional, you are bound by professional obligations,” said Nancy Berlinger, deputy director of the Hastings Center, a bioethics think tank in Garrison, N.Y. “You can’t say you won’t do part of that profession.”
Critics also worry that women might unsuspectingly seek contraceptives at such a store and be humiliated, or that women needing the morning-after pill, which is most effective when used quickly, may waste precious time.
“Rape victims could end up in a pharmacy not understanding this pharmacy will not meet their needs,” Greenberger said. “We’ve seen an alarming development of pharmacists over the last several years refusing to fill prescriptions, and sometimes even taking the prescription from the woman and refusing to give it back to her so she can fill it in another pharmacy.”
Recently I was without my car unexpectedly for one day–just one. I live in suburbia, and getting to any food or a supermarket was a half-hour walk. I’m fortunate, in that there is a pharmacist closer than the supermarket, so if I was ever without a car for a length of time, it would only be a mile round-trip to get a prescription. But if I was seeking emergency contraception or condoms and the pharmacy refused to sell it to me, that would require another long walk. For me, these things are a minor inconvenience: I do have a car, and a decent job, and the pharmacies fill my prescriptions and my partner’s.
But the poorer one is, the fewer options one has, and the more likely it is that someone else’s self-righteous “moral objections” will really fuck you over.
“If I don’t believe something is right, the last thing I want to do is refer to someone else,” said Michael G. Koelzer, who owns Kay Pharmacy in Grand Rapids, Mich. “It’s up to that person to be able to find it.”
In case there was any question this is about making life hard for women, rather than doing what one feels is right, this should answer it: these people don’t want to just be answerable to their conscience; they want to actively make it difficult to women to get access to legal medication.
*Yes, I realize that lots of mainstream pharmacies sell Woo to gullible patrons, as any trip to a Walgreen’s will indicate. That doesn’t make this group of idiots any less odious, however: they’re refusing to provide real medical care and instead providing useless crap designed to separate fools from their money.
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Via Joe.My.God, I find out that the FRC is busy spreading the most despicable, hate-filled lies in California. No surprise that they’re desperate to maintain bigotry: the tide is turning, and the American people are realizing that making LGBT people second-class citizens is unacceptable. So what’s the FRC saying?
The hypocrisy of this is staggering. A group that systematically works to deny gay people their rights–including the right to be recognized as the legal guardians of their children–is now claiming so-called activist judges and gay marriage will keep men from being known as fathers.
They’re just hoping no one notices that they flip the fuck out any time it is suggested a child might be able to have two fathers.
Thanks, Family Research Council: I’m sure that Jesus (who, the Bible relates, repeatedly criticized hypocrisy and who never mentioned homosexuality) is thrilled that you’re lying on his behalf.