Saturday, February 28, 2009

Friday, February 27, 2009

Revulsed, but not surprised

You'll recall my recent entry about Republicans being petty and stupid, which I think was a very tame assessment of them. I think the stupidity of Buttars and Jindal especially, is so maladaptive and lacking of basic human empathy (opposition to science that prevents national disasters and extreme bigotry to normal people) as to be considered evil.

Yet, the Republicans never cease to raise the bar for harrowing amounts of doltish lunacy. Meet Dave Schultheis, Republican senator from Colorado. He thinks providing HIV testing to pregnant women, rather than being a necessary step towards the suppression of the disease, is a bad idea because it would promote promiscuity. However, the fun doesn't stop there...

“What I’m hoping is that, yes, that person may have AIDS, have it seriously as a baby and when they grow up, but the mother will begin to feel guilt as a result of that,” he said. “The family will see the negative consequences of that promiscuity and it may make a number of people over the coming years begin to realize that there are negative consequences and maybe they should adjust their behavior.”

Yes, he just said that bringing a child with AIDS into the world would be a suitable punishment for sleeping around. No real concern for the poor kid, but boy wouldn't it be a suitable punishment for the mother? Ah, family values.

This is reminiscent of when we released a vaccine for HPV, a disease that is responsible for 1 out of ever 4 cases of cervical cancer. Hard-lining religious kooks and their Republican mouthpieces opposed that one as well, also on the grounds that it would supposedly encourage promiscuity. That's right, they wanted to keep cancer as a detterrent for sex.

These people are batshit crazy.

We live in a world where you can have responsible sex with many different partners with almost certain safety, if you're employing all the protections available. Do it. If you're uncomfortable with even the amazingly small chance that something could go wrong in that case, work on your oral skills. There's no reason not to aside from paranoia brought on by silly notions about men in the sky, angels, and the evils a-dancin'. Sex is not a bad thing (in fact, it can be quite enjoyable). Educate yourself. Educate your kids.

There are, of course, other excellent ways to reduce your chance of pregnancy or contracting an std...

This cultish obsession that our various religions have with virginity was stupid enough to begin with, but if it's going to extend into an arena where we utilize children as pawns fodder in our culture wars to punish a mother for making mistakes (as if a disease that slowly kills her isn't punishment enough) it is unarguably time to send this rancid bit of ancient morality back to where it came from; it has separated us from our humanity at this point. Hell, it separated us from our humanity when we cast the first stone for paltry, imaginary crimes thousands of years ago...and here we are in the 21st century, dredging the ignorance of our ancestors into the present and voting for people who promise to continue doing so.

Really...I just can't even fathom this. Who but the devil himself could think that bringing a child into this world with a life-threatening disease, a child that will almost surely be orphaned in short order after the death of its mother from the same disease, is a fitting punishment for a single mistake? These people are monsters. Sadly, they're also your leaders.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Republicans are being petty and stupid

But mostly stupid. It's no secret that the Republican party is the party of fundamentalist Christianity in all its fetid forms, so this should come as no surprise.

I didn't get to see Bobby Jindal's appeal to emotion following Obama's speech, but the youtube videos would have made me roll on the floor busting a gut if this guy didn't represent at least half the votes in a state. Jindal bypassed any argument of substance (if such an argument existed) and went straight to trying to tie Obama to the ineptitude of FEMA's response to Katrina.

On top of that, he stuck with the most maladaptive consistency amongst the Republican party: that of being anti-science. In talking about the pittance in the stimulus for monitoring volcanoes, Jindal said "Instead of monitoring volcanoes, what Congress should be monitoring is the eruption of spending in Washington, D.C.".

A few things here. Number one, and I want to put this as delicately as possible...


Aside from killing people, they do tons of damage. The last eruption of Mt. St. Helens cost us 2.74 billion dollars. And the US has the third most volcanic eruptions per year (behind Indonesia and Japan). The amazing irony here is that we actually have the capability of determining almost precisely when a volcano will erupt. It requires the installation of a relatively inexpensive GPS system to monitor movement in the ground. The lion's share of the cost of these systems is for their installation and maintenance, which creates/saves jobs. Consider that Mt. Redoubt in Alaska has been threatening to erupt again since January, and we have been unable to determine the time of eruption because, wait for it, we lack one of these relatively inexpensive GPS systems there due to, you're never going to believe this, lack of funding. Thanks Bush administration that gutted science and education funding.

Second, we should be monitoring the eruption of spending in Washington? Where were our Republican saviors the last eight years?

Third, does anybody else find it a little ironic that the governor of Louisiana thinks it's wasteful to support funding for the prevention of national disasters? That's like a general saying it's wasteful to spend money on kevlar and guns. Let's face it, right now the Republican party is contaminated with people who are completely oblivious to reality - and yet they affect laws that should be based entirely in reality. They chose Jindal, one of their shining lights, to attempt to rebut Obama - and this is what one of their best and brightest brought to the table. Ug.

Moving on, how about Senator Chris Buttars out of Utah, that festering pile of religious quackery that wants to dictate the lives of others (but not have them lash back)? He has some opinions about gay people that are about as far removed from reality as you can get:

"What is the morals of a gay person? You can't answer that because anything goes."

Or how about this one?

"They're probably the greatest threat to America going down I know of."

Well, I know a lot of homosexuals, and I think that sentence is true...but not in the context Buttars was going for. Innuendo ftw!

Thankfully, Buttars was stripped of his committee appointments, but then we got to hear some measly, wormy defense of Buttars:

"I want the citizens of Utah to know that the Utah Senate stands behind Senator Buttars' right to speak, we stand behind him as one of our colleagues and his right to serve this state," Waddoups said. "He is a senator who represents the point of view of many of his constituents and many of ours. We agree with many of the things he said. ...We stand four square behind his right [to say what he wants]."

And then there's the woman they thought was the best choice to be a heartbeat away from leadership of the free world who, when asked at a bipartisan conference by her fellow Republicans if she'd like to share some of her plans and proposals for the upcoming legislation, responded:

"I feel like you guys are always trying to put me on the spot."

Yeah...those Republicans and their "gotcha" questions.

Forgive the alliteration, but right now the Republican party is run by a cultish collection of clowns. It is hindering forward progress and obstructing important legislation with paltry concerns like the demands of their faith and the obstruction of human rights. It's also introducing rank idiocy like everything above into our governmental discourse when it should be laughed at and jettisoned immediately.

These are your leaders, and faith prompts people not only to vote for them, but to defend them, even when they are the most compassionless and nonsensical - in fact, it prompts religious people to defend them because they are compassionless and nonsensical.

Is there any greater force for the enshrinement of stupidity?

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Lauren's "Why I'm an atheist and stuff" rant:

I've promised a certain someone that I would write this (*ahem*, JT), so here I am, doin' it. I would like to preface my rant with a disclaimer: I like to use profanity, sarcasm, and cynicism whenever possible. Feel free to stop reading here if a well placed 'fuck' or 'bitch' is going to disturb.

Alright, down to business, first of all, I am, in fact, an atheist. No, I don't hate you. Or eat babies. Or have five STDs. Or eat babies with STDs. I just simply do not see a logical reason to believe that some being is living in the air/space/brainz of everything and everyone around us on top of dictating our silly little lives.

Overall, I see religion as a rather stupid part of society that needs to be outed along with sexism and racism (two things that the Bible advocates if you religious types would actually read the damned thing).

I'm just such a big fan of reason and logic. More evidence exists in support of there being no god, therefore I do not believe in it/she/he/turtle. I realize that society has not reached an exact conclusion scientifically, but I would wager that if certain types (BUSH) would let science frolic and run free we would be a lot closer to answering such a question.

The bible is also an overwhelming piece of shit. That's right, SHIT. Have you ever actually read the bible? There's more incest, violence, and prejudice in that thing than every rap video and video game combined. I prefer to just live a moral life because it makes me happy and feel good. I don't need a magical book telling me how to live. I get the feeling that if I did, I would never be truly happy because I'd always have to compare myself to some really fucked up standards. But, I suppose that is going to have to wait for a different post another day.

Listen, I can understand the need for comfort. It would be nice to think that out there somewhere is a big superman-type character who's got a plan for us all and is watching out for us. But that's such a weak way to live, it's like a metaphysical cop-out. Life is weird and crazy and unpredictable and you just gotta roll with the punches. Sometimes, life really fucking sucks. Other times, it rules. That's just how it goes. Admitting that you're alone is hard, but extremely freeing. You realize just how strong you are, I know I did. I'm ten tons of awesome.

So, if you got this far in my note you're either 1) Really pissed at me and planning on waging a comment attack below before de-friending me, 2) Amused but unsure that it's such a good idea to take such a strong stance or this issue, or 3) Right along with me.

To those in category one, well...fuck you. I just thought I would get that out of the way. See, every time I argue with a Christian, they say that they are more than willing to accept other points of view and keep an open mind during conversation, but always seem to go back on their word. So, if you planned on writing a large expose on why I should accept Jesus Christ as my savior please kindly fuck the hell off. I have made a solid decision based on lots of introspection and thought. Can you say the same about your choice in religion?

Now, that isn't to say my mind can't be changed. I say that if you are absolutely sure that you have certifiable evidence of a higher power, by all means, present it to me and send my atheist ass back to the congregation. I think here you will find the glaring difference between atheists and religious-types. I am more than willing to change my mind if given the evidence. Right now, as it stands, there's more on the 'no god, sorry, try again' side that the 'do this or god will surely smite thee' side.

Category two, it would do you well to grow a set of balls. I urge you to think through the arguments, do the research, and come up with a solution that works well for you and defend it. I think I can confidently say that I already know which side you are going to end up on. Mine! So do me a favor and convert yourself so I don't have to come over there and beat some sense into you.

Category three, right on! *High five*

So, there you have it, some rather basic arguments as to why I don't believe in god and consider myself to be an atheist. Have a lovely day!

Hawt Juggernaut Looooove

I realized that we never threw up some pics of our epic journey to California last summer, so here's a small taste:

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Don't let them gut science

Wherever the Democrats in power have proposed increased funding for science, the Republicans have demanded that funding for science be cut ten-fold. This is worrisome.

Thankfully, Aron McCart has composed a positively beautiful letter (must have facebook to read) to Claire McCaskill (whose contact information can be found here) about the subject. I encourage everybody to read Aron's letter - it is well-informed and not only hits the nail on the head, it brings down the ten-ton hammer and crushes it to smithereens.

Here is my letter, which reaches nowhere near as far as Aron's.

Dear Senator McCaskill,

I am writing you to encourage you to support the funding in Obama's stimulus plan for scientific research.

The only consistent method of revealing the nature of the universe, a knowledge from which we derive every modern technology, has been through our scientific research. The answer to quite literally every problem we face today is not to continue throwing the same amount of money at tackling it using merely our current understanding, but to forge new discoveries that make our investments more efficient - at times to the point of removing the need for them.

This is what must be done to ensure the future of our dreams, and to solve the problems of the present. The acquisition of new knowledge has been the driving force of human development, and it continues to be.

Here are the proposed cuts that have the scientific community and the scientifically informed portion of our populace worried:

NSF 100% cut ($1,402,000,000)
NASA exploration 50% cut ($750,000,000)
NOAA 34.94% cut ($427,000,000)
NIST 37.91% cut ($218,000,000)
DOE energy efficiency & renewable energy 38% cut ($1,000,000,000)
DOE office of science 100% cut ($100,000,000)

Thank for your time.

JT Eberhard

Friday, February 6, 2009

Awe, thanks News-Loser

They printed my response to some anti-gay rights fuckstick and, would you believe it, some bible-thumpers don't think medical experts know what they're talking about and they think I'm an agent of Lucifer himself.

Tsk, tsk. Go voice your support for gay rights. Don't have to debate, just say gays are alright.