Bread and Circuses – Gay Marriage

Why do they fight against gay marriage?

Gay Marriage is the modern Bread and Circus. It’s used to distract from the real issues in the USA. In this case?The cynic in me says this… It was election year and Obama is rather competent. Republicans have nothing else (and to be fair, Obama is guilty of this to some extent himself but it seems reactionary rather than something he starts) to go on apart from attempting to play the “Won’t Someone Think of the Children” card. There are big issues in the world. We are running out of fuel. We are in the economic doldrums. AIDS… And yet we see pandering to people who think the BIGGEST problem being faced is two people of the same gender getting married. It’s bread and circuses. It distracts from these very real issues which is precisely why it’s being contested. Republicans don’t lose anything by gay people getting married. They do however gain a lot from opposing it. It gets them votes from the kind of people who don’t think beyond the hype from a few nutters. And nutters do scream the loudest (mainly because normal, sensible and logical people have better things to do than scream about how gay sex summons hurricanes).

It’s a pointless piece of oppression done solely to distract people. It polarises the fears of people wh fear and hate the gays into a civil rights issue which forces anyone sensible to argue over this issue rather than say “Fiscal Policy”. The American Right benefit from this because if you are too busy fighting over this then you won’t pay attention to other things. How many people vote for Republicans as the “moral” choice based on things like this when in reality the other republican platforms are straight terrible for some people. The argument in the UK used for this is “Makes You Wan’t To Vote BNP, Don’t It?”. Where you indicate a willingness to vote for Neo-Nazis because they have a tough stance on whatever it is you hate today. I fear the sole reason the USA debates things like basic healthcare for women or the right of two people to sign a register that gives them some benefits is solely to create issues where there are none because honestly there is no choice between the two parties. You are basically torn between red or blue. Far Right and Centre-Right. It’s a lovely piece of legerdemaine where you can distract people from seriously major issues over what two people chose to do in the privacy of their own homes by portraying it as the downfall of society rather than say “Non-Ethical Banking” and “Unregulated Industrial Pollution”.

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Immunity? Easy Peasy…. Lemon Squeezie

Kylie over at the Token Skeptic is poking fun at the Anti-Vax. Her literature is cool but I know something that is lacking in skeptic land.

One of the major problems with the vaccination movement is that most people cannot understand how vaccines are meant to work. Many anti-vaccine advocates simply think that injecting someone with a disease is a good way to make someone sick rather than make someone immune to a disease.

There is an absolute hand grenade of question that I have found turns the vaccination debate into an utter rout. How does the Immune System Function?

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Home birth Anecdotes

The following material pertains to this thread.

I wasn’t expecting the kind of backlash against a genuine problem that women face. Not just the denunciation of women who utilise real medicine but the spread of anti-obstetrician rumours. The idea that somehow a woman entering the hospital enters a hell hole of IV lines, things that go “BING” and doctors who claim they know more than women about the physiology…

Jokes aside. The link has stories and photos of babies and families who have suffered through home births. These are the casualties of this hidden quackery. A trigger warning therefore applies. As is a not safe for children without adults warning.
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Let them Eat Rice and Beans

I understand Americans have a festival dedicated to eating food tomorrow. But spare a thought for those on food stamps.

Fox News Certainly hasn’t. Apparently, Andrea Tantaros thinks the food stamps would make a great diet for people to go on. In that vein, I should sell untreated water as a great way to lose weight through amoebiasis.

That being said? At least she isn’t Sean Hannity whose “Poor People Should Eat Rice and Beans” stance has a rather unfortunate “Antoinettey” feel to it (Sean Hanntoinette?).

Qu’ils mangent de la brioche… That ended rather well.


It’s not Feminism Just Because it Claims to Empower Women

I know of a specific form of quackery aimed solely at women, by women.

Home Births. We aren’t discussing “Natural Birth” which often takes place in a hospital which is also a very quacktastic woo laden field of idiocy masquerading as feminism but at least occurs in a hospital setting so if anything goes wrong help is available. We are talking about home birth which is a more extreme form of that. This is a serious group of people who think your Ob/Gyn is a plot to take away your freedom and that the only option is the ancient methods of birthing as practiced by our ancestors. Which is like suggesting that your dentists is earning money from pulling your teeth and the only way to deny him that is to pull your own teeth out with a door and some string.

Straight up before anyone starts jumping up and down saying “But it’s a woman’s choice”, you have to realise this important thing. Just because you have a stomach doesn’t mean you can make medical decisions about a stomach ulcer. Just because you have a uterus doesn’t make your opinions on childbirth valid. You can have some frankly insane opinions. Home Birth without the support of trained medical professionals (Even Nurse Practitioners operate under the umbrella of a Obstetrician, Paediatrician and an Anaesthesiologist so if things go wrong they can save the baby.) is dangerous. And it shows. You are between three to four times more likely to lose a child in birth with a home delivery.

A lot of people I know defend them. A famous natural birther midwife was Mayer Eisenstein. A lot of antivax love him. The average malpractice suits faced by an Obs/Gynae over their lifetime in the USA is between 2 to 3. Obs/Gynae has a high rate of malpractice suits due to the nature of the event. A lot of it is on the fly and sometimes the child is hurt during the birth. Mayer had 15. Including two cases that I know of where the direct responsibility for mortality and morbidity was his actions. He refused to test for Rh incompatibility which resulted in one dead baby and another suffering from cerebral palsy and mental retardation. This man is treated as a hero. Other midwives proudly tell of “difficult” deliveries they have managed which often ended in the deaths of the child. Mothers who lost kids treat it as an experience akin to fighting a war rather than a serious error in judgement that cost the life of their child.

A lot of people straight up don’t believe me when I say this. I have been accused of misogyny for actually pointing out how mad this is as a practice because I impinge on a woman’s sovereign right to make decisions regarding her genitals. I have even been accused of “rape” because I don’t think these midwives should be allowed to carry on their quackery. It’s a lovely group for classy arguments. But I know you won’t believe me. This is a skeptical place, skeptics demand proof. You want to see the bullshit for yourselves.

Footling Breech Birth has a 10 to 15% mortality rate if done vaginally. Here are people actively defending breech delivery by vagina, mentioning that there are midwives who do it (and therefore encourage it) and actively telling people that they can do it too. In addition breech has a high rate of complication resulting in permanent sequelae for the child.

I can go into the umpteen moronic things these women believe, but I think “Breech Birth is perfectly Safe” is enough for now. Not just breech birth, breech birth done by a bunch of quack midwives with little to no medical equipment at home…

If you want to read more about this. Check out the Skeptical Ob and Skeptoid.

(Fixed bad grammar and Linked to the Skeptical Ob)
(Added link to Skeptoid)

If you vote for ignorance you just breed more…

Apparently the Republican Party is planning to run with Rubio for 2016.

Really? Rubio? I won’t mock his love of rap music as a positive message (Some of it is positive, but mainstream rap is extremely entrenched in overt misogyny and violence and the glorification of such.) The Republicans need some cool and honestly if the best they can get is trying to attempt to look streetwise through listening to rap then fine.

However what really gets me is this.

In specific?

GQ: How old do you think the Earth is? 
Marco Rubio: I’m not a scientist, man. I can tell you what recorded history says, I can tell you what the Bible says, but I think that’s a dispute amongst theologians and I think it has nothing to do with the gross domestic product or economic growth of the United States. I think the age of the universe has zero to do with how our economy is going to grow. I’m not a scientist. I don’t think I’m qualified to answer a question like that. At the end of the day, I think there are multiple theories out there on how the universe was created and I think this is a country where people should have the opportunity to teach them all. I think parents should be able to teach their kids what their faith says, what science says. Whether the Earth was created in 7 days, or 7 actual eras, I’m not sure we’ll ever be able to answer that. It’s one of the great mysteries.

Recorded History is more than 10,000 years if you count Cave Paintings. This is basic high school science. Your economy also grows through scientific discovery and if you don’t believe in a particular science then you fail to see it’s value. The Amish may not appreciate the Large Hadron Collider or an MRI machine or a good honest calculus. You really shouldn’t make them in charge of anything that involves this.

Neither should Marco Rubio be in charge of a country if he thinks that the world was created in 7 days or 7 eras when science has clearly answered that question.

If you want more evidence for his ignorance?

GQ: You talk a lot to young Republicans. Recently I met a Republican who said, my kids are in high school and there’s a prom. There’s straight kids, gay kids. It’s no big deal to them. And he says, my party, the Republican party, has to stop putting these social issues out there and talking more about stuff that effects people.
Marco Rubio: I think that’s unfair. A significant percentage of Americans feel very strongly about this issue. What I’m hearing is that it’s ok for one side to express their view and the other side needs to be quiet. There are a very significant number of Americans that feel very strongly about the issue of life, about the issue of marriage and are we saying that they should be silenced or not allowed to speak or voice their opinion? There’s a way to do that that is respectful and productive. There are things we’ll always disagree on, but it doesn’t mean we go to war over them or divide our country over them. We agree to disagree, but we continue to work together on the things we all know that we have to do.

There are also a significant amount of americans who think black people should go back to being treated as animals and slavery was a good thing. Does this mean that we should give them a platform?

The issue of “Abortion”, not life. Is clear cut. Even if you removed the legal restriction between normal and late abortion, then you probably won’t get a massive boom in abortions becoming late term. Most women will still get them early rather than leaving them till the 24th week… It’s probably one of those stupid things like Cigarette Advertising where they were advertising the crap out of products that were already household names and had already reached maximum saturation in the population. Kids smoked because it was rebellious. Adults smoked because they got the habit as kids. None of them ever saw an advert. When they banned the adverts most companies realised they were burning money on advertisements. If we removed the legislation controlling abortion we would probably save money through reduction of bureaucracy and improve service to women.

Gay Marriage does not Affect Straight Marriage. The fact that people need to be told this is insane.

You can voice your opinion, but as long as you do we are perfectly within our rights to call you stupid.

You don’t have any choice in the USA because your choices are Right Wingers and Crazy people. You cannot logically vote for the republicans because the stuff they want is racist, sexist and straight up homophobic… Even if they made sense economically they have no platform because people will vote on these non issues. That’s right. These things aren’t issues that the state should be handling. Abortion is a medical procedure and is between a woman and her doctor. Gay marriage is what happens between two gay people. We waste so much time and effort discussing these non-issues that it’s like deciding whether you should buy a red tie with blue stripes or a blue tie with red stripes while you are being mauled by a tiger.

And for the love of god! This man doesn’t know basic history or hasn’t learnt anything outside a bible. Vote for him and you got yourself a second GW Bush Jr. Only with a nicer tan.


I was supposed to write about Bal Thackeray but in light of the arrests of those who have spoke out against this odious man who has harmed countless lives in the name of Hindutva and whose antics have made Hindus look like a bunch of intolerant toss weasels… In light of the backlash against those who have questioned this alleged epitome of hinduism, I shall plan a larger post.

In the meantime a reader from Wisconsin (You know who you are…) told me about this.

Apparently a few christians are getting their knickers in a twist. What is it now? War on Christmas? Sharia Law? Secret Kenyan Muslim Presidents born to Subjects of the British Empire with a Jewish name?

Nope. It’s Free thought and Humanism. The University of Wisconsin has approved of their first Atheists, Humanists and Agnostic Society. With a total funding of a WHOPPING 70,000 dollars. Wait what? 70… Grand? Why is this a big deal? That doesn’t seem like a lot of money to operate what appears to be a large society wanting to set infrastructure that aids an entire university. It is apparently the largest amount set aside by any university for a AHA society.

Actually the total amount turns out to be less than 70,000 dollars and considering it’s the first year and they wish to set up services that would eat through half their budget? That’s not a bad sum. But there has been a fair few complaints about the money being given to “Those pesky Atheists”. Checking around I find out that it’s around 67,000 dollars.

So I did a little poking about.

There are 50 religious societies and organisations in the University of Wisconsin-Madison directory receiving money (I assume) from the University to run their stuff. There are multiple christian societies including evangelical ones. The only religion I have not seen represented in this list is Hinduism and Jainism. Even the Sikhs have a society here.

There is one atheist, humanist and agnostic one. Just one.

The people who are irritated are from the Faithful School of Wisconsin who are led by Jason Storms. They do routine evangelical tours to the University of Wisconsin, ostensibly to waste everyone’s time by trying to flog his version of Jesus to people who he thinks are confused by the liberal nature of education. Rather than people who question their fairy tales because they finally start learning away from the social norm that includes faith. A few choice quotes (Do not quote me for veracity, these were in the rant I got. I have looked around. IF anyone can confirm them, I shall give you a e-cookie or an i-cookie)…

“It’s an extremely liberal school. Very left-wing, any Christian that goes to that school, their faith is under heavy attack.”

I don’t think christians going there are under heavy attack. Not when the majority of religious groups are actually for christians.

“It’s going to morally confuse young people in understanding their place in the universe,”

Unlike the religion that claims that the entire universe with it’s billions of galaxies each with their billions of stars all exist solely for the sake of a bunch of mainly white christians who believe in a magic carpenter who died by his own art. (Am I the only person who see the irony of a carpenter dying by a piece of joinery?).

“We’ve seen the rise of the secular state in the last century, and I don’t think it’s helpful to contribute to a worldview that is based on humanism.”

Then clearly the last 100 years of History are lost. Perhaps a lesson in History is in order. If only there were some sort of institution that taught history to people. Like a place where a bunch of people can sit around and either listen to someone more educated tell them about history or give them access to books about history. Some sort of Universal Education City.

“How has believing that there is no God contributed to our society?”

Lightning Rods. Eradication of Smallpox. Syphilis? Leprosy? I mean of the top of my head the number of diseases alleged to be sent by god to kill humans but we have kerb stomped with science is a rather large one. I wonder where you could learn the things that humans have achieved without praying to any gods.

So I wanted to talk about funding. I asked my email buddy to do me a favour. I wanted to know what the funding for any of the other religious groups is.

So far? Badger Catholic are the only one whose funding he could get. $116,000.

So yes, Christians are not complaining that Atheists are getting more money than they are they are complaining that this is the largest atheist fund in the country. And it is still lower than the Christian groups. It is estimated (Again… ROUGH!) that the Christian groups are 16 in number and roughly get $1,600,000 between them. Roughly a $100,000 a piece.

So it’s not only a rather modest amount, but it’s also rather modest spending for an unrepresented group.

So all I can say to the Faithful School of Wisconsin and Jason Storms?

It is my honest medical opinion that you just got burned. I have to call you a Waahmbulance.

Thank you for hovering your mouse over the image. Your Satanic Hail has been sent. For more options, press the hash key and listen to Dio.

Hello Whine Whine Whine? I need a Waaahmbulance.

And all I can say to FTB and readers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison is congrats on getting a society where you can hang out and summon satan… Remember, if you circle your mouse three times counterclockwise over the above image then leave it in place you can place your vote for our dark master. Go out there and show the Wisconsinites (Is that a thing?) some love.

Hags of Lag – Gamers for Godlessness… No I Am Not Saying the Whole Thing!

Well yes, it’s on like it’s donkey konga.

Yes, it’s the first FTB vs. JT Eberhard (or JT vs JT) event. And it’s for a good cause! All proceeds go to Camp Quest and Women in Skepticism… Which is why I figure any of the Hags of Lag people should support it (Edit: Duh… Avi Stupid… He forgot the other charity)

And it’s not just JT vs JT we have “special guests”.