Debbie Goddard is CFI’s new Director of Outreach

Holy hell, this is great. I am 100% behind this choice by CFI — if anyone knows outreach, it’s Debbie Goddard. The CFI press release:

The Center for Inquiry (CFI) is proud to announce that Debbie Goddard, formerly CFI’s campus outreach coordinator, has accepted the position of Director of Outreach. She replaces Lauren Becker in that role, who has shifted to her new position as Director of Marketing, as previously announced.

“Debbie has been a part of the heart of CFI for a long time now, embodying what it means to be a dedicated CFI employee. She has given a great deal of herself to this organization and its cause: bringing about a world that values science, reason, and compassion over dogma and superstition,” said Ron Lindsay, CFI’s President and CEO. “We are all proud to see Debbie take on this crucial leadership role in which we know she will excel.”

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Thoughts on Savita

Savita Halappanavar, an Indian woman living in Ireland, was refused an abortion during a complicated miscarriage at 17 weeks because the fetus — unviable though it was — still had a heartbeat. When abortion was the only recourse to save the mother’s life, the doctors refused, telling her and her husband “this is a Catholic country”. The abortion was finally performed after the baby died two whole days later, but it was too late for Savita. As a direct result of that delay, she died of septicemia. She would have survived if the pregnancy had been terminated at the first sign of complication. Hell, she could have been saved if doctors had simply prioritized the heartbeat of the viable human being over the unviable one.

People around these parts have vented their frustrations already. Brianne reinforces the fact that atheism intersects reproductive rights (and thus human rights — reproductive freedom is not only a feminist ideal, but a human rights one!). Ophelia lays the blame for the needless death squarely at the feet of Catholicism. Zinnia decries the theocratic dystopian nightmare the country has evidently become. Avicenna wonders why the country is so faithful despite the innumerable Catholic pedophilia and abuse scandals in the country. Dana points out that the Catholics ignored one entity with a heartbeat in favour of another, for no ready reason. But Stephanie nails that reason — the doctors, being good Catholics, let Savita die because she was failing at her one duty: making babies.

I barely have anything I can add to this collective howl of outrage except, maybe, a bitter and jaded sigh. And a request of adherents.

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Sun vomits forth giant prominence

Think about the scale of this particular flare, which was captured by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory yesterday. I know it’s hard to imagine, with it zoomed in like this, but this is absolutely immense. Eyeballing it against a “size of stars” image I have up on the wall, I’d say both ends of this flare are at least as wide as Wolf 359, a distant red dwarf star. And it’s probably dozens of times wider than Earth.

It’s a good damn thing this flare isn’t aimed anywhere toward us. Sure, our magnetosphere could probably shield us, but not without repercussions.

As Troythulu and I were discussing on Twitter when he linked this, it’s absolutely no wonder to me that people would worship the sun, a tangible, massive, and powerful entity, without which life couldn’t exist here. Compared to other religions, I totally get sun worship.

Gamers For Godlessness gameathon – Date (and name) set!

Ladies and gentlemen, JT Eberhard and I are finally set to do our long-planned 24-hour gameathon for charity!

We’ll be playing random NES, SNES and Genesis games over netplay, and broadcasting via Twitch.tv so you can watch JT kick my ever-loving ass at Street Fighter over and over again. And we’ve got a ton of guests lined up to chat about gaming, atheism, skepticism, or whatever the hell else seems like a good idea at the time, and if Random Number Generator willing, joining in on the gaming proper.

The whole point of the exercise — well, aside from hanging out and playing awesome video games — is raising funds to give half to Camp Quest and half to the Women In Secularism conference.

The gameathon will take place on December 1st, starting at 12 noon EST. This is the same weekend as Eschaton so we’ll be competing a little bit for Twitter traffic, but we’ll be sure to plan a bit better next year. And there will be a next year, oh yes.

Oh, the name, you ask? Well, Gamers For Godlessness is of course just the short version. The full name is:

The Gamers For Godlessness 24 Hour Gameathonapalooza Starring JT (Eberhard) and J(ason)T(hibeault), With Special Guests!

Tell me that’s not fried gold.

I don’t want to tip our hand too much with regard to what games we’re playing, or what guests we have lined up, but I can tell you that filling up 24 hours with content will not be any kind of problem whatsoever. In fact, I’m sort of having problems fitting everyone in who wants to join.

And the best part is, the entire broadcast will be available after the fact, if you missed it live.

More details soon. Mark your damn calendars! Saturday, December 1st, 12 noon to 12 noon EST!

Mock The Movie: The Yesterday Machine transcript

Last night’s Mock The Movie, surprisingly, delivered Nazis and a time machine, and a number of snappy tunes. It did not, however, deliver on murders, the intricacies of time travel (every major character was apparently fully aware of and unaffected by the timeline manipulation), or anything resembling science, despite a twenty minute dissertation by Nazi Scientist Antagonist. Nor did it place any of the snappy tunes appropriately to the action.

Oh well. All the better to mock!

Subtitle file is here. As always, save as moviename.srt in the same folder as the movie, and VLC will use it automatically. Thanks CompulsoryAccount7746!
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United Nations: “Access to contraception is a human right”

Via Think Progress and CBS, the UN has explicitly called family planning a human right for the first time.

“Family planning has a positive multiplier effect on development,” Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin, executive director of the fund, said in a written statement. “Not only does the ability for a couple to choose when and how many children to have help lift nations out of poverty, but it is also one of the most effective means of empowering women. Women who use contraception are generally healthier, better educated, more empowered in their households and communities and more economically productive. Women’s increased labor-force participation boosts nations’ economies.”

The report effectively declares that legal, cultural and financial barriers to accessing contraception and other family planning measures are an infringement of women’s rights.

This comes hot on the heels of a scientific study of the affects of denying abortion. As it turns out, the longitudinal study found that women who are denied abortions are three times more likely to end up in poverty two years later, and that there are no mental health consequences associated with having an abortion as compared to carrying a baby to term.
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More Republicans believe in demonic possession than global warming

Yeah.

Alternet reports on a Public Policy Polling Hallowe’en poll (pdf) and cross-references this poll on global warming:

A staggering 68 percent of registered Republican voters stated that they believe demonic possession is real. Meanwhile, only 48 percent of self-identified Republicans believe in another equally if not more scary natural phenomenon: climate change.

I would say it’s more scary, because it’s real. And the evidence provided by actual scientists is ironclad.

The scientists are unanimous, as long as you include actual climate scientists and not geologists or meteorologists or other pretenders at authority on the complex subject of climate. And yet, only 45% of all people agree that scientists generally agree about global warming. The misinformation efforts by liars like “Lord” Christopher Monckton are working.

To make matters even worse, 49% of Democrats also believe in demonic possession, even while 85% of Democrats say there’s solid evidence for global warming. It’s not that they’re smarter, it’s that they’re only marginally less prone to superstitious belief and more prone to trusting scientific evidence.

I’d say “let the mouth-breathers secede”, but it’s not like they’re all Republican secessionists.

Write your local MP: No more Canadian aid for Uganda while they’re murdering gays

Update: Please read Melanie Nathan’s caution on what should and shouldn’t be done to fight this initiative — she strongly urges that countries not withdraw aid because of this bill, because the LGBTI community will be scapegoated and targeted as a result.

I leave the rest of this post intact because I am concerned that they are already in trouble — every activist in Uganda risks being arrested as it stands, with or without economic sanctions from countries opposed to Uganda’s declared murderous intentions. Her advice is excellent for outsiders like us looking in, though.

Uganda’s apparently delivered an early “Christmas gift” — their words, not mine– to all the homophobic Christians in their theocratic regime. Thanks to GOP members, Catholic pastors, and other outside interference by various and sundry religious bigots, Uganda’s finally built enough momentum and passed the two-year-old proposed bill that will require the death penalty for the high crime of “aggravated homosexuality”. Update: Apparently Kadaga declaring that it will become law doesn’t make it set in stone. There’s a chance this won’t be passed despite her sabre-rattling.

Speaker Rebecca Kadaga said the anti-gay bill will become law by December since most Ugandans ‘are demanding it’.

Referring to the law as a ‘Christmas gift’ to the population, she spoke of ‘the serious threat’ posed by homosexuals.

The law will broaden the criminalization of same-sex relationships by dividing homosexuality into two categories; aggravated homosexuality and the offense of homosexuality.

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World Nut Daily founder, election fraudster, files complaint of election fraud

Via Joe.My.God, Joseph Farah, the braintrust behind World Net Daily and its infinite improbability engine powering every right-wing nutter conspiracy since its creation, has apparently filed a complaint with the Federal Elections Commission over the Obama win.

Am I suggesting that the recent presidential election was stolen through voter fraud and manipulation? Without a doubt. Do I have evidence? Yes, I have plenty of anecdotal evidence to show that it was committed by one side in the election in various ways. And I am convinced that at least 5 percent of the Democratic vote can be attributed to fraud – illegal voters, illegal campaign contributions, rigged balloting, intimidation at the polls, you name it. I’m challenging the Obama campaign on the acceptance of those illegal donations. I’ve filed a Federal Elections Commission complaint at considerable cost. I have no illusions that it will be easy to challenge a sitting president within his own bureaucracy. But I’m doing it. Meanwhile, some in the press would prefer that I be charged with voter fraud for efforts to expose the system. I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if the Democrat machine tries something like that. That’s why we need your help. We’re fighting to preserve America’s freedom here – nothing less.

( http://www.wnd.com/2012/11/did-voter-fraud-swing-election/ )

No, I’m not going to link that. You can damn well copy and paste.

The Head Nutter is, as he implied in his last few sentences, apparently already being charged with election fraud for having built a Pakistani account through which he placed two donations to the Obama campaign — under the name Osama Bin Laden. So he’s doing this, I’d expect, to throw up chaff; to provide his nuttier fans with a “plausible” reason (to varying definitions of the word, naturally) why he’s actually being charged with the very thing he’s complaining about.

The worst part is, the wingnuts and conspiracy theorists will likely eat it right up, and will surely never notice that evidence of Farah’s own wrongdoing came to light eight days prior to this article. Meanwhile, all of Republicans’ failed voter suppression efforts and other failed attempts at tilting the playing field in their favour go completely unnoticed by these crusaders against liberalism. What is wrong with America that this kind of immunity to reality has gained such a foothold?

Raising Boys Feminists Will Hate: The Book (The Trailer)

Not sure if I’ll be able to write a post I’ve got brewing in my head immediately, with all the various things that need doing this weekend, so I’ll put this up for now. Actually, I have two posts in mind, but both of them will take some doing to set to e-paper.

I’m sure this is a book you’ll all rush out to buy immediately. Doug Giles has apparently written a book on how to raise boys who are Manly Men cut from the Manly Mold without any of that pussification that comes from caring about other human beings’ autonomy or self-direction. But what I like best about this video is Giles’ amazing oral skills.

This guy is just grand. “A rouged and giddy American Idol hopeful”? “Feministas” (paging Paula Kirby, someone’s an inch away from biting your style!)? “Leading this country back to God and greatness”? And all the gratuitous Clint Eastwood and Sean Penn movie clips of yesteryear are icing.

But wait, you can download a Kindle? Interesting! Maybe it’s a 3D printer file so you can home-fabricate your own Kindle? Or maybe the guy doesn’t have the first sweet clue about technology, public speaking, or really anything but raising kids exactly the same way that our modern society has always raised kids — with rigid gender roles and a disdain for difference.