New at Rosetta Stones: Links to the Geology Behind the Oso Mudslide Disaster

I’m still researching for a post on the slide that destroyed Oso, Washington and killed so many of its residents. In the meantime, I’ve collected links from the experts, who are doing an excellent job exploring the geology behind the catastrophe. I hope a lot of future town planners and other sorts who determine where and what to build are in the audience, and click, and think.

Aerial photo of Oso debris flow. There used to be a town down there. Image shows lumpy debris blocking the river. Courtesy Gov. Jay Inslee via Flickr. (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Aerial photo of Oso debris flow. There used to be a town down there. Courtesy Gov. Jay Inslee via Flickr. (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Taking Liberties: A Book We Need Right Now

So you may have noticed lately that the right-wing ratfuckers in state governments are busy trying to roll us back to the Dark Ages. Women aren’t people, they’re “hosts” to those precious babies that will be cherished so long as they’re in the womb; once they’re out, both host and infant will be despised as social parasites if they have the audacity to be unmarried and/or poor. Some jackass is trying to slip prayer into schools by forcing teachers to read congressional prayers. In my former home state of Arizona, the frothing fundies boiled over, and decided to give religious people the right to discriminate against gays, because apparently, refusing to let them patronize your business is an act of worship. Other states have jumped on that horrible bandwagon. And let’s not forget the Russia-envy they’ve got going on. They’ve got a stiffy for totalitarian shitlords who hate on the same groups they do.

Outraged? Good. Here’s a book that will help you channel that rage more productively: [Read more…]

Keeping Up With the Creationists Vol. I Issue 5: Freedom to Impose Your Religion on Everyone Else

My, the religious right frothers have been busy lately. It’s not enough for them to reduce women to the status of walking incubators: now they’re trying to define religious freedom as the freedom to impose their bigotry on anyone they suspect might not use their genitals in the Fundamentalist-Approved Way™.

My old home state of Arizona certainly made a ginormous jackass of itself, passing a right-to-discriminate bill that would basically turn anyone they suspect of being homosexual, queer, transgender, or any other type of person they hate into an outcast. Businesses would have been allowed to turn anyone they wished away. This would have been a nightmare for everyone, but especially those poor folks living in one of Arizona’s middle-of-nowhere communities, where finding someone willing to serve you might require several hours’ worth of driving. Even some of the fuckwads pushing that bill realized after the fact that it might be a horrific mistake – one suspects they figured out their language was so broad that Good Christians™ like themselves would’ve found themselves targeted, too. Not to mention the impact it was having on business and tourism in the state. So Jan Brewer vetoed it. We won’t see its like again for, oh, I’d imagine at least a whole week. And Arizona’s just one of the worst offenders – there are plenty of states trying to turn the LGBTQ community into untouchables.

Image is a drawing of a waiter talking to a diner. Caption says, "Congratulations to gay Arizonans on still being allowed to eat where people hate you."

Let’s see what other ridiculous nonsense Christianists in government are trying to foist upon us. [Read more…]

Oh, Sochi, No!

Good job, Russia. Arresting the first openly trans* legislator in Europe for waving a “Gay is OK” flag is fantastic PR. I’m sure all the people in the world who love to persecute LGBTQ people are salivating over you right now. Those of us who are actually decent human beings, on the other hand, aren’t at all impressed.

But, actually, thank you for showing your true colors. [Read more…]

Keeping Up With the Creationists Issue I, Vol. 4: College Sexual Assault Scandal Edition

I think we like to think that what happens inside of fundamentalist subcultures doesn’t really matter to the wider world. But there are people trapped, suffering, inside, and they need folks to pay attention, raise a fuss, shine a light so that they can achieve some measure of justice, and so that other people never become victims at all.

Bob Jones University needs a lot of public condemnation right now. They started out trying to appear they were doing the right thing, and hired an independent group to investigate the way they handle sexual assault reports on their campus. But when it became clear they wouldn’t be able to keep on keeping on as they have been, and whitewash the problems, they fired GRACE. Our own Libby Anne, who will always be ours although Patheos stole her, reports on their nefarious assholery, and there’s a scorching open letter to BJU you really shouldn’t miss. As for BJU trying to play the “Other people fired GRACE, too!” card, keep in mind the other fundie fuckwads who fired GRACE like to have tween girls who’ve been repeatedly sexually assaulted by 60 year-old men confess to adultery. For being assaulted. Yep. [Read more…]

Keeping Up With the Creationists Vol. I Issue 2: Busy, Busy

My, but these creationist buggers are prolific. There’s a second let’s-fuck-up-science-education worming its way through the Missouri legislature right now. This one likes to make its intentions known by intentionally singling out evolution as “controversial.” That’s a mighty thin fig leaf you’ve got there, Mr. HB 1587.

Our own Ed Brayton has a nice synopsis of the silliness that is HB 1472, HB 1587’s elder sibling. Poor creationists, wanting to pull their kiddies out of school so they don’t hear about that awful evolution. Actually, I think this may end up being a good idea. Educational contraband, man. You know many of those kids will be curious about this Forbidden Knowledge. It’s kinda like when your parents don’t want to know about certain magazines…

South Dakota, engaged in a game of mine’s-bigger-than-yours, has introduced SB 112, which gives a giant fuck-you finger to the Supreme Court and Kitzmiller by stating, sans fig leaf, “[n]o school board or school administrator may prohibit a teacher in public or nonpublic school from providing instruction on intelligent design or other related topics.” I do hope they love throwing away millions of dollars in legal fees, because that’s precisely what they’ll do if this nonsense passes.

Catching up with our old friend Virgina HB 207: our own Callan Bentley has torn it to shreds. I’m going to unrepentantly filch the picture he made because it sums everything up nicely: [Read more…]

Keeping Up With the Creationists, Vol. I, Issue 1: Ain’t Just Private Schools, Kids

Hello and welcome to what I hope will be a weekly feature, Keeping Up With the Creationists, in which we peruse some creationist news and remind ourselves that, no, alas, creationism isn’t dead. It’s not even sleeping. It’s wide-awake and kicking in not only Christian private and home schools, but in our very own public school systems.

Yes, public. [Read more…]

Republicons Determined to Protect America From Menace of Health Care

Ah, yes, because the last government shutdown went sooo well for the GOP, it appears they want to try, try again. In case you didn’t care about science or kids with cancer or needy families or the economy or any of that rot, consider this: no Prelude to a Catastrophe until this is over. Nope. On account of the USGS being less important than the Cons’ determination to shut down the government over more people being able to buy health insurance. Which means photos of the Mount St. Helens eruption are unavailable.

Oh, and do keep in mind: Obamacare is up and thriving. So the Cons are basically trying to prevent something from happening that’s already happened.

They’re terrified, of course. Because once people get a taste of being able to visit a doctor AND afford to eat all at once, it will become clear to the vast majority of folks that this health care thing is sweet indeed, and that Cons have been lying to them about how horrible it all is, and they’ll remember how determined the Cons were to prevent them from getting affordable care, and suddenly the GOP’s voter pool will dry up faster than a shallow puddle in the Arizona desert in July. During a historic heatwave. Which we will also be seeing more of, courtesy of the Cons. Fantastic.

Anyway, should you happen to not believe that the Cons are this bloody evil, just incredibly stupid, keep in mind that even Michele Bachmann, who makes many of the most reality-challenged of the Cons look positively coherent in comparison, knows what the reality here is. What they’re selling to the ignorant masses is pure bullshit. They’re perfectly aware that their party is pooped if the hoodwinked manage to get a peek outside the blinders.

This, my darlings, is why people who opt to let Cons win in order to punish Democrats for not being Democrat enough infuriate me. Granted, it would be nice to push the Dems toward being actually progressive, rather than Republican Lite. However, comma, with an opposition party that, were it a person, would have been diagnosed as a psychopath and bundled off to prison for crimes against humanity long before now, there’s no fucking way I will play that sort of chicken. Don’t like it? Stop letting Cons win.

I do hope this shutdown gets the attention of all the fuckheads who’ve gone round thinking the Cons aren’t actively evil. It’s time to cut the tumor out of the body politic.Vote these douchenozzles out.

Those of you who would rather vote Republican have many fine choices. Don’t be deceived by the Ds after their names. Where the fuck did you think all the reasonable Republicans went? It sure as shit wasn’t the Bahamas.

Being Visible

Agents of change make status quo folks rather squirmy. Folks who were previously absent or invisible either join up or speak up, and next thing you know, colored people want to drink out of lily-white fountains, and red people want their land back and treaties honored, and homosexuals want to get married, and women want to be treated as more than sex objects…. It’s hard. It’s very hard for those who’d been used to the Way Things Were. There the world was, ticking over nicely in their estimation, and suddenly a horde of uppity upstarts are there harshing their mellow. [Read more…]

Los Links: I Laughed, I Cried, They Became a Part of Me

Some of you will remember Los Links from back in the day when I could spend two days out of every week reading blogs, and then share the linky goodness with you. Life’s been too busy for a while for that, unfortunately. It should have been too busy tonight, but my brain said, “You know what? Fuck you. I’ve been thinking all day.” War at work, y’see: fighting to make things the best they can possibly be at an American megacorporation. It’s fun, and fulfilling, but taxing.

Thankfully, I had posts written (longhand) in advance, but my wrists said, “You know what? Fuck you. We’ve been typing most of the day.” So today ended with me lying about catching up on some freethought reading. If this continues tomorrow, I can bring you a roundup of recent geology posts. I suppose that won’t be so bad, now, will it? And then, on Wednesday, you will be guaranteed an original post of near-epic proportions, because we’re going to talk about why Mount St. Helens melted some bits but not all the bits on the cars. If we’re very fortunate, we’ll end up on Boing Boing again (thank you, Maggie Koerth-Baker!). I say we, because I wouldn’t have written up cars if it hadn’t been for you lot liking things like that, and as it turns out, you’re not the only ones. So, thank you, my darlings!

It’s not all happy fun times, alas. The thing with frequenting the freethought and skeptic blogs that I do is that Things That Are Not Happy get discussed, and if it weren’t for the bloggers and commenters restoring my hope for humanity, I’d have crawled off to a cave and become an official misanthrope by now. Between all of you, though, I am not willing to declare the vast majority of human kind irredeemable arseholes. Only a subset of it. Sigh.

There will be a humorous intermission, and loving comfort at the end. Stay with me. [Read more…]