Satire is not the problem

Joe Sacco has drawn a genuinely excellent, thoughtful cartoon about the Charlie Hebdo attacks. It made me stop and think, so I think it was a very effective use of the medium, and I recommend you all go look at it now.

But it has one problem: it did make me think, and think about the attacks, and the outrage of the people who committed them, and the cartoonist who was commenting on them. And I didn’t find myself entirely in agreement with Sacco.

[Read more…]

And here you were all panicky about mere Ebola…

If only we weren’t all so innumerate, we’d be able to respond appropriately to genuine threats to our lives. You’d never get into a car drunk, and even when sober, you’d do your best to drive cautiously, because car accidents are a major cause of death in the US. Oh, but wait…could it be there’s something even more dangerous than hurtling down the road at 60 miles per hour in a metal box? Why, yes there is.

According to data gathered by the Centres for Disease Control (CDC), deaths caused by cars in America are in long-term decline. Improved technology, tougher laws and less driving by young people have all led to safer streets and highways. Deaths by guns, though—the great majority suicides, accidents or domestic violence—have been trending slightly upwards. This year, if the trend continues, they will overtake deaths on the roads.

The Centre for American Progress first spotted last February that the lines would intersect. Now, on its reading, new data to the end of 2012 support the view that guns will surpass cars this year as the leading killer of under 25s. Bloomberg Government has gone further. Its compilation of the CDC data in December concluded that guns would be deadlier for all age groups.

[Read more…]

Obama does something right

I think this is exactly what the federal government ought to be doing: building the national infrastructure and setting priorities. So I’m completely behind Obama’s proposal to make community college free for everybody for the first two years, a project that will lead to an expansion of our educational system, more employment for educators, and more opportunities for young people. It’s estimated to cost $34 billion — scrap a few defense contracts, we can cover that.

[Read more…]

I get email: Comma writes back!

I guess he noticed my previous mention of the wacky Terry Dean, Nemmers.

freethoughtblogs Monitor:

Would you please explain to me why UMM Prof Paul “Logical Fallacy” Myers is inciting his less-than-intelligent cult following to harass me? I have received a harassing email and my youtube channel at ArrestAJudgeKit is being flooded with wild, outrageous and unsubstantiated assertions that I am supposedly a “Sovereign Citizen.” Myers is using his bully pulpit to call my sanity into question with wild, outrageous and unsubstantiated assertions. Has Myers deluded himself into thinking that his Ph.d. is somehow a state-issued license to diagnose? Maybe Myers should review the Mn laws on criminal defamation and harassment before taking such irresponsible actions?

My reasonable suspicion is that this is Myers’ retaliation for my lawful data request for public data related to Myers’ inciting UMM students to censor and criminally damage UMM sanctioned material, isn’t it? It shocks the conscience that Myers would incite UMM students to censor and criminally damage UMM sanctioned material, doesn’t it? Now shame-filled and guilt-ridden Myers feels the need to intimidate me, a UMM graduate, into silence? I will not be bullied by UMM Prof Paul “Logical Fallacy” Myers nor his less-than-intelligent cult of personality followers, will I?

Terry Dean, Nemmers

[Read more…]

I get email

You know who scares me? It’s not the trolls on the internet. It’s the local loons.

I got a weird demand from some guy named Terry Dean Nemmers (for some reason, he calls himself “Terry Dean, Nemmers” — I’ll refer to him as Comma from now on). This was sent to me and many other people at UMM, but it’s really irrelevant to me, since he’s going to have to go through campus police and the administration to get any of those things he is requesting. But he’s clearly been fed well on Fox News to direct his hatred at me.

Chancellor Johnson:

Chapter 13 data request – Email me the 13.82 Comprehensive Law Enforcement Data. Subd. 7. Criminal investigative data for the incident involving PZ Myers, associate professor at UMM. Email me the incident reports, handwriting samples, audio files and the referral to the prosecutor for prosecution. It shocks the conscience that UMM personnel would incite others to engage in censorship and criminal activity, isn’t it?

Oh, and in case you intentionally forgot, you are currently illegally withholding (censorship, right?) the following public data: 1. Names of all UMM personnel 2. Salaries of all UMM personnel (In dollars and cents – if coded provide key to code) 3. Incident reports for the 09-05-13 botched West Central SWAT raid (publicity stunt) at America’s Best Value Inn in Glenwood. You remember: The willful misuse of municipal, county, state and federal funds on a wild goose chase for Andrew Dikken.

Terry Dean, Nemmers

[Read more…]

If you don’t heed the warnings now, it’ll be worse later

That’s always the case. It seems a potential scandal is roiling the UK right now, with the revelation that Prince Andrew may have been led into unseemly behavior. Or, rather than “led”, ran eagerly into it. Tsk.

Buckingham Palace has resisted growing pressure to explain Prince Andrew’s association with convicted child sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, whom the royal is believed to have met on numerous occasions, including on his private jet, yacht and in stays at his New York and Florida mansions.

[Read more…]

Creationism was killed…by creationists

Since I bashed that absurd article on evolution on Salon, it’s only fair that I mention that they’ve also published a good one: The destruction of creationism: How the search for the beginning of time sparked a scientific revolution. It’s by Martin J.S. Rudwick, and I adore Rudwick’s books — he writes about 19th century geology, and how the scientists of the day struggled with the evidence to develop our modern understanding of geologic time. Gripping stuff, if you’re a nerd.

This article is all about old-time theologians grappling with the idea of a pre-Adamite history of the Earth, which is the beginning of what will eventually kill creationism as scientifically viable. Once you start asking questions of the book, and you start looking at other sources to, say, merely clarify ambiguities, you’re doomed — you’re going to have to start considering new evidence, and pretty soon the splendorously isolated purity of your source text is corrupted.

[Read more…]