The rot goes all the way to the top


It’s dismaying to see law enforcement in this country exposed as a gang of thugs abusing the rights of citizens — we have a militarized police force that basically executes people they don’t like. Now we learn that even if they survive arrest, suspects will get railroaded straight into a conviction by biased crime labs. The latest culprit: the FBI has been jiggering hair analysis results for decades.

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What do you call an amazon?


Other than just what she tells you to, that is. Now we have some evidence of the names of the women warriors of the Scythians — Greek pottery illustrating Amazons seems to have had some phonetically translated Scythian words attached to the images.

To do so, they translated the inscriptions into their phonetic sounds, and then submitted the phonetic transcriptions to linguist John Colarusso of Canada’s McMaster University in Hamilton, who is an expert on rare languages of the Caucasus.  Colarusso, who was not provided with any information regarding the source of the transcriptions, matched the phonetics to Scythian words and names, which mean ‘Princess’, ‘Don’t Fail’, and ‘Hot Flanks’. There was also an archer named ‘Battle-Cry’ and a horsewoman named ‘Worthy of Armour’. On one vase, a scene of two Amazons hunting with a dog appears with a Greek transliteration for the Abkhazian word meaning "set the dog loose."

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What is wrong with Missouri?


It’s always one step forward, one step back. A town in Missouri voted in their first black woman mayor.

Voters in Parma, Missouri voted in their first African-American female mayor.

Tyrus Byrd will be sworn in as mayor on Tuesday evening, April 14 at the Parma Community Building.

Great! Democracy works at last! Only it turns out that Parma has been a fiefdom of Mayor Quimby for 37 years, and Officer Wiggum just doesn’t like change.

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Traitors in our midst


I tend to be suspicious of theories that explain everything all at once, but this discussion of the Civil War really flicked on a light bulb for me. Once this model is in your head, it puts a lot of things into a new configuration that makes sense: modern racial oppression, the Tea Party, the Birther movement, and why I’ve never been able to sit through Gone With The Wind without stomping out in a rage. We lost the Civil War. The Confederacy is still pulling strings.

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Amy Goodman hosted a discussion between four progressives on the Hillary Clinton candidacy. It’s interesting reading, and I think is actually somewhat representative of the conversations I hear. Two of the four were lukewarm about Clinton — two detested her. I’d put myself in the cool to lukewarm camp myself, but the the other side rather discredited itself with all the enthusiastically goony praise for Rand Paul, highlighted by Charles Pierce. I’m sorry? Really? You want a more progressive candidate than Hillary Clinton, so you’re raving about a bizarrely theocratic racist Libertarian? That makes no sense.

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Searching for love in all the wrong places


Greta Christina does a marvelous job of rebuking American Atheists for their presence at CPAC. I agree completely with it. Go read it.

Nick Fish of American Atheists does a very good job of replying. In particular, he tries to put their efforts in a different light.

I want to clarify one thing right out of the gates: American Atheists did not attend CPAC with the purpose of “recruiting” conservatives into the broader atheist community. This is a misconception that I have seen repeated on Twitter, in the blogs, and in person. That this needed be clarified is likely a failure to clearly articulate it on our side. So, we’ll take our licks there.

It is much more accurate to say that we were there to empower atheists who already exist within the conservative community to be more vocal about their opposition to the theocratic elements of Republican Party orthodoxy.

Good try. Falls apart with a moment’s thought.

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I figured I might as well comply with Radford’s lawyers’ demands, since there wasn’t much effort required. I throw out a lot of my redundant correspondence, so when I went looking for bits of any conversations with Karen Stollznow, I only have one left, and it’s a doozy. It included several files documenting her claims. Here’s her letter, and you’ll immediately see a major problem.

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I’ve been served!


I just got handed a subpoena from Ben Radford’s lawyers, and I am ordered to produce:

  1. All communications, including email and voicemail communications, letters or memoranda, to or from Karen Stollznow from January 1, 2013 through the present including, without limitation, communications relating to Ben Radford by name or by implication.

  2. All email and voicemail communications to or from any person, persons, groups or organizations relating to Ben Radford or Karen Stollznow or both of them.

  3. Copies of all blog posts or comments authored by you that relate to Karen Stollznow and/or Ben Radford.

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