Rebecca Watson video on terrified conservatives (Non-fiction)

Rebecca Watson from Skepchick just posted a video about a study into how people determine what kinds of protests are they consider “extreme:”

 

I don’t believe conservatives hide in fear all the time, but I agree there is an element of fear when I hear conservatives talk or read their writings.  Like how a new tax will ruin the economy, or how granting a “special right” will harm heterosexual whites, or how atheism will destroy society.  What they fear evolves over time, but there is always that element of fear in their beliefs.

Thoughts?

Say their names (Non-fiction)

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinal recently posted profiles of the victims of Kenosha, WI shooting, and, refreshingly, it wasn’t a hit piece.

Anthony Huber, 26, of Silver Lake

Friends described Huber as a happy and laid-back guy who loved to skateboard.

“He was always a really sweet person. Always had a smile on his face,” said Max Seebeck, who grew up skateboarding with Huber in Kenosha.

From what I saw in the video, I believe he saved at least one person’s life when he charged at the shooter, Kyle Rittenhouse.  It’s disgusting that the right-wing media has tried to portray Huber as the attacker.  Especially when some conservative writers call bystanders cowards for not charging at a shooter during a shooting spree.  There is a GoFundMe page for his partner.

Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, of Kenosha

According to social media posts from friends and family, Rosenbaum is a Texas native. He moved to Kenosha within the last year.

Rosenbaum was shot in the head, a friend said.

There is a GoFundMe page set up to raise money for burial expenses.

Gaige Grosskreutz, 26, of West Allis

Grosskreutz was shot in the arm and is expected to survive.

Grosskreutz was in Kenosha on Tuesday with the Milwaukee-based social justice group the People’s Revolution Movement, spokeswoman Bethany Crevensten said…Grosskreutz had volunteered as a medic at Black Lives Matter protests across Milwaukee this summer, according to WTMJ-TV.

There’s a GoFundMe page set up to help cover his medical expenses.  The last update on the page says he won’t lose his arm, but will need more surgeries.

All three of them peacefully protested that night for social justice.  Their lives were more valuable than a boarded up gas station Rittenhouse claimed he was defending.  We should be saying their names too.

From the Webmaster: It’s mitigation time again, Bolingbrook! (Mixed)

Bad news, Bolingbrook residents:  Due to the rising COVID-19 Positivity rate in Kankakee and Will Counties, IDPH imposed mitigation measures on Region 7, which includes Bolingbrook.  In addition to Clow UFO Base remaining sealed off from human visitors, the following measure will take effect on Wednesday:

Bars:

  • All bars close at 11:00pm
  • No indoor service
  • All bar patrons should be seated at tables outside
  • No ordering, seating, or congregating at the bar (bar stools should be removed)
  • Tables should be 6 feet apart
  • No standing or congregating indoors or outdoors while waiting for a table or exiting
  • No dancing or standing indoors
  • Reservations required for each party
  • No seating of multiple parties at one table

Restaurants:

  • All restaurants close at 11:00pm
  • No indoor dining or bar service
  • Tables should be 6 feet apart
  • No standing or congregating indoors or outdoors while waiting for a table or exiting
  • Reservations required for each party
  • No seating of multiple parties at one table

Meetings, Social Events, and Gatherings:

  • Limit to lesser of 25 guests or 25% of overall room capacity
  • No party buses
  • Gaming and Casinos close at 11:00pm, are limited to 25 percent capacity, and follow mitigations for bars and restaurants, if applicable

Should the village have resumed its Wednesday Night Concert Series?  It’s too late for second-guessing now.  Instead, let’s do our part by practicing physical distancing, wearing a mask in public when distancing isn’t an option, and wash our hands.  We’ve done this before, and we can do it again!

Palatine proposes haunted parking lot for early voting site (Fiction)

Update:  Since this article was published, the Village of Palatine announced that the early voting site will be at 150 W. Wilson Street:

Early voting will take place from 10/19/20 to 11/2/20, with hours of 9 AM – 7 PM Monday through Friday and 9 AM – 5 PM on weekends.

Our sources also tell us that the ghosts residing in the building agreed not to scare or spy on voters.

Original article:

According to sources, the Village of Palatine will use a haunted parking lot for their early voting location.

Located on the corner of N. Smith Street and W. Colfax Street, the parking lot is allegedly home to at least one ghost.  According to the Palatine Patch, sometime during World War II, a factory worker was killed by a car near this intersection.  Some residents, like Phil, claim that the intersection is haunted by that worker:

“Every evening, I see a man with a lunch box crossing the street.  I know it’s that ghost.  Sometimes he changes his face and disguises the lunch bucket as a briefcase or cell phone, but he can’t fool me!”

Despite the presence of the infamous ghost, the village will offer the adjacent parking lot to the Cook County Clerk as an early voting location.  The village will offer an open tent, but the county will be expected to staff the site and devise a way to ensure each voter’s privacy.

According to a member of the Village Manager’s staff, the parking lot is the only acceptable location left in Palatine: “The room we used to use in Village Hall is too cramped.  Using the Police Department is apparently too intimidating for some residents.  So we’re using a parking lot and that’s it.  If you’re afraid of ghosts, that’s too bad!  What’s there to be afraid of?  They’re dead, and you can walk through them.”

Joyce, a long time Palatine resident, believes that ghosts are a threat to some residents:  “If you have a heart condition, being startled by a ghost can kill you.  Ghosts also remind people of their own mortality.  Knowing that a polling place is haunted might discourage some voters, and that would be bad.  We need a safe and secure early voting site in Palatine.  I don’t want to spend election day stuck in a long line to enter a crowded room, only to have my ballot tossed because some inexperienced election judge forgot to initial my ballot.”

Stephanie, another long time resident of Palatine, isn’t concerned about voting in a haunted parking lot:  “I’m pretty sure that the Cook County Clerk’s office has ways of dealing with ghosts.  After all, it’s likely that every building in Chicago is haunted.”

A receptionist for Village Hall said that Village Manager Reid Ottesen was busy and could not be disturbed.  

In the background, a person who sounded like Ottesen, said: “What are you reading?”

A man who sounded like Mayor Jim Schwantz said: “My producers sent these pre-written obituaries for every member of the Chicago Bears.  All my years in the NFL taught me that you can never be too prepared!”

Also in the Babbler:

Wererats to perform at Bolingbrook’s Wednesday Concert Series
Hidden Lakes Monster rescues toddler from drowning
Full Contact Gospel Church to hold ‘Sparing for Jesus’ demonstration
God to smite Bolingbrook on 8/26/20

Note:  This is a work of fiction. All opinions expressed are my own. They do not reflect the views of any organization I work for or of my employer.  Feel free to leave a comment here or in the Bolingbrook Babbler Readers Group. 

Video: Rebecca Watson on the so-called ‘Neck Gaiter’ study (Non-fiction)

Rebecca Watson recently released a video detailing the study behind the news reports claiming that neck gaiters are worse than not wearing a mask.  Basically, the study wasn’t about the effectiveness of various kinds of mask, but about a possible method to test the effectiveness of masks:

As this article from ScienceNews points out, the type of material, thickness, and the environment are the most important factors to the effectiveness of any face covering.  Droplets don’t tell the whole story, and hopefully, more studies will be conducted to determine which face coverings, aside from N95 masks, are the most effective.

I think I’ll stick with the cloth and coffee filter masks my wife makes for personal use.

Trustee Watts survives confrontation with sentient tree bartenders (Fiction)

The Bolingbrook Board of Trustees approved a liquor license for The Sacred Succulent plant bar, despite its sentient trees attacking Trustee Sheldon Watts. 

“That was just a little misunderstanding,” said an employee who asked not to be identified.  “We made some changes and the Board created a special liquor license for us.  Sure, it means ordering drinks from a human server, but our plant bar will sell the only pots you can legally buy in Bolingbrook.”

According to sources within Village Hall, village inspectors contacted Watts after they were told The Sacred Succulent planned on employing “exotic tree bartenders.”

“I thought they were just trees with silly names,” said one of the inspectors.  “But they were moving trees!  They used their roots to crawl across the floor, and used their branches like hands and arms!  We figured we should ask for Sheldon’s help because he’s the president of the Bolingbrook STEM Association.  He would know if they were safe or dangerous, like Triffids.”

When Watts arrived, he asked Alice, the manager, why the trees were serving alcohol without a license.  Alice replied that they were merely demonstrating how the trees would serve the public and that the inspectors didn’t have to accept the drinks.  Alice claimed the trees were from an exotic location and would be the first tree bartenders in Illinois.

Watts then examined the trees and asked them to mix common alcoholic drinks.  The trees silently complied.  The manager argued that state and local liquor laws only applied to humans, not trees.  Watts then typed on his smartphone and showed it to the manager.

“You taught the trees how to mix drinks?”

“Yes,” replied Alice.

“Are you familiar with these drinks?”

“No.”

Watts then asked the trees to serve him a Giggling Yoda, an Aurora Jungle Juice, and a Buzzed Aldrin with a Winterfell chaser.  The trees didn’t move.  About fifteen minutes later, an Instacart driver arrived with the ingredients for the drinks.  The trees then served the drinks to Watts.

“Perfect,” Watts said.  “However, that means you had to look these drinks up on the Internet.  There’s only one kind of sentient tree that can do that.  So that means both of you are members of the Lisle Treeocracy!”

The trees turned towards each other.

“You’re not bartenders,” continued Watts.  “You’re abominations before God!”

The trees replied by attacking Watts.  Seconds later, Men in Blue arrived and freed Watts from the trees.  Mayor Mary Alexander-Basta ran into the building.  

After she asked if Watts was okay, he replied, “How did you know I was here?”

Alexander-Basta looked around:  “Odd.  A little girl in a green dress said you were in trouble.  She was beside me a moment ago, but now she’s gone.”

Alexander-Basta introduced herself to the trees and said: “I am honored to greet members of the Lisle Treeocarcy.  I apologize for my fellow trustee’s judgmental temperament.  At the same time, I can’t have you attacking members of my community.  So let’s make a deal.  The backroom has a skylight and plenty of room.  That will be your embassy, which we will treat as sovereign Treeocracy territory.  As long as you don’t try to expand your territory, we’ll be fine.  I’ll make sure to send dignitaries to discuss any issues that may exist between Bolingbrook and the Treeocarcy.  Deal?”

The trees nodded and moved to the backroom.  Basta told the manager that in exchange for a liquor license, the trees were not allowed to serve the general public.  She added that The Sacred Succulent could turn the backroom into a private club and the trees could serve the club members.

Watts was not pleased.  “You may have averted war with Lisle, but Trustee Mayors are still an abomination!”

“Stay positive, Sheldon.”

A receptionist from Lisle Village Hall denied the existence of sentient trees:  “What a silly thing to say.  We love our trees.  The trees love us.  They’re normal trees.  They won’t hurt us as long as we do as they say—I mean they can’t hurt us.  They’re trees.  We love trees.  If they could talk we would do exactly what they said because they’re smart.  And strong.  Yes!  Smart and strong!”

A receptionist for Alexander-Basta said she was busy and didn’t know when she would have time for an interview:

“You know…Even though there’s a pandemic raging across the country, and residents are marching in the street, I’m not worried. I know there’s a higher power watching over our great village.”

In the background, a man screamed:  “Village Hall is haunted!”

A man who sounded like former Mayor Roger Claar replied:  “I’m not a ghost.  I’m the Mayor Emeritus of Bolingbrook!”

Also in the Babbler:

Alexander-Basta signs first permit for UFOs to display political ads
Palatine UFO Base refuses refunds to aliens visiting for the Democratic Convention
Mayor Lightfoot threatens to deploy giant robots to protect the Loop
God to smite Bolingbrook on 8/20/20

 Note:  This is a work of fiction. All opinions expressed are my own. They do not reflect the views of any organization I work for or of my employer.  Feel free to leave a comment here or in the Bolingbrook Babbler Readers Group. 

Ed Brayton’s last blog post (Non-fiction)

 

Ed Brayton

Ed Brayton, a co-founder of Freethought Blogs and a blogger at Patheos, died last night. I never met him, but I did appreciate both his blog and Facebook posts.  He understood that disbelief in God wasn’t enough.  His answer to the question of “So what?” was to work for social justice.  Which why he helped create this network, and he continued that work on his blog, as well as through various humanist organizations.

I never meet him, but if I had, I would have thanked him for his work, and for creating the platform that I’m currently on.  I did say that his memory would be a blessing, but I don’t know if he ever read it.

He wrote in his last post:

Don’t be sad about this, be hopeful. I got to make the decision myself and spare others from that awful task. I did it while still of sound mind, if not body. That means the world to me. I maintained my self-determination until the end.

In closing, let me just say thank you again. You made my life better, richer and more fulfilled and who could ask for more? Goodbye, one and all. I will miss you as I hope you will miss me. Be good to each other along this incredible journey.

Many of us will miss him, and, in a universe without a God or higher cause, being missed is one of the signs that you lived a good life.  My condolences to those who knew him better than I did.

(Link) How the Trump Administration is trying to link political opposition to foreign terrorist groups (Non-fiction)

Abe Drayton over at Oceanoxia posts about the Trump administration’s attempts to tie “Antifa” to international terrorist organizations.

There are various legal frameworks in place that prevent domestic terrorist groups like the KKK from being treated as terrorists, at least in the ways we have come to expect. While protecting the Klan is not good, the same laws that protect them also protect left-wing groups from being targeted by the Department of Homeland Security. Rather than risk someone going after right-wing extremists in the United States, the Republican administration is, instead, trying to tie their left-wing opposition to foreign actors, to get around the law, and allow them to treat anyone labeled “antifa” in the U.S., in the words of a DHS source, “Like Al Qaeda”. 

I doubt that we’ll see drone strikes in the US, but I do more crackdowns like this if Trump successfully gets another term in office.

Web Exclusive: Interstellar court arrests conservative lawyers for attempted genocide (Fiction)

File photo of Judge Kilos Surgon.

By Reporter X

Conservative lawyers who attempted to reopen Bolingbrook’s Clow UFO Base and embarrass Illinois Governor JB Pritzker lost their case and were arrested for attempted genocide.

“No law or procedure can override the Interstellar Commonwealth’s ban on genocide,” said Judge Kilos Surgon of the Clow UFO Base Court of Extraterrestrial Affairs in the 109,298,291 Circuit.

The lawyers, who work for the Illinois Interstellar Policy Institute, argued that Pritzker cannot extend his emergency orders regarding food service workers at Illinois’s UFO Bases.  Therefore, Clow UFO Base should be reopened, and Pritzker should pay restitution to the Weathertech Restaurant.

“Weathertech is running out of space to store its plastic scraps,” argued David X. Smith, Esq. “We have to reopen Clow so Weathertech can spend its money on executives bonuses instead of storage rentals.”

“What about the health and safety of the residents of Bolingbrook?” asked Surgon.

“What about it?” asked Smith.  “We’d never profit if we worried about people’s health.  That’s socialism!”

“And?”

“It’s socialism!”

“So?  Socialism does not automatically mean authoritarianism.”

While the Village did not send a lawyer on its behalf, the Union of Clow UFO Base Culinary Workers argued against reopening.  Pat Z. Leonard, Esq. argued that Pritzker had nothing to do with the lockdown of Clow UFO Base.  Former Mayor Roger Claar ordered to close Clow, she argued, and it was granted by the Illuminati, the secret pages in the Illinois Constitution, and Article VIII of the US Constitution.  Article VIII is also known as the “Secret Society Article” and has never been released to the public.  Leonard concluded by stating even the preamble of the US Constitution gives both Pritzker and current Mayor Mary Alexander-Basta the authorization to lockdown Clow UFO Base.

“There’s no tranquility during a pandemic.  A viral invasion of this magnitude requires a common defense.  There is no general welfare when everyone is sick.  Citizens are deprived of liberty when they are hospitalized or dead.  There is no prosperity when citizens are afraid to work or shop.  Both the governor and the mayor swore to uphold the US Constitution.  With hospitalizations rising in Illinois, it would be unconstitutional for either of them to reopen Clow UFO Base!”

Leonard concluded that even with Clow’s anti-viral technology, the use of masks, and social distancing, there was still a risk of the virus infecting crew and aliens.  Some aliens could even spread the virus throughout the galaxy.

Smith countered: “My Constitution says it is important to own a gun and have the libs!  That’s why this court must rule in our favor and find ways to humiliate the governor if he refuses to obey.”

“Even if people get sick?”

“Freedom is important!  Besides, the greater crime is that the JB removed a bathroom so he could reduce his property taxes.  That’s what we should really be focusing on.”

“Do you have me confused with that Clay County judge?”

Surgon asked if the IIPI planned on bringing its executives back to its offices.  The judges laughed and said they weren’t essential workers, but “important thought leaders.”

Surgon then ruled against the IIPI and ordered the arrest of the lawyers on genocide charges.

“My clients are innocent,” said Joe V. Zimmerman.  “We plan on arguing that any form of punishment or accountability violates our clients’ religious liberties.”

Leonard praised the ruling:  “The coronavirus is a serious threat to the wellbeing of our state and our galaxy.  My clients and my firm will do anything do defend our UFO Base and our residents from the virus and its COVIDots allies!”

Note:  This is a work of fiction. All opinions expressed are my own. They do not reflect the views of any organization I work for or of my employer.  Feel free to leave a comment here or in the Bolingbrook Babbler Readers Group. 

Miraculous image of Ed Brayton appears in front of the Church of Christopher Hitchens (Fiction)

Did anti-psychic energy create this image of blogger Ed Brayton?

Bolingbrook atheists claim that an image of atheist blogger Ed Brayton miraculously appeared in a parking spot in front of the Church of Christopher Hitchens.

“This image is a testament to the power of disbelief and social justice,” said Lynda Z. Ackman, a long time member of the church.  “First, Bolingbrook hosted two Black Lives Matter events.  Second, Mayor Roger Claar stepped down, and was replaced by a woman!  This is the third sign.  It means a new age of social justice is coming to Bolingbrook.  One-party rule will end, and Bolingbrook will be united at last!”

File photo of Ed Brayton.

Brayton, who co-founded the Freethought Blogs network with PZ Myers, recently announced that he will be entering hospice care due to various health issues.  He built his blogging career chronicling the religious right’s attempts to undermine the separation of church and state, as well as speaking out against conservatism.  He also claims to be the only person to have made fun of Chuck Norris on CSPAN and survive.

David X. Silverton, leader of the CCH, denies the image is a fake:  “All I’m saying is I didn’t paint that image after hearing about Ed’s situation.  I will say that the image was not painted to draw more people to our outdoor services, and we are enforcing social distancing.  We don’t want to endanger Bolingbrook’s economic recovery with reckless gatherings, unlike certain other religious institutions in our great village.”

Silverton added that the image appearance has inspired the church to place a display featuring atheist writers, like Brayton and Hitchens, next to the village’s annual nativity scene.

“Bolingbrook is a diverse community, and what better way to honor its approximately 19,000 atheists than to have a display honoring Ed?  If they refuse, we’ll sue them.  I’m sure Ed would approve of that.”

One anonymous member of the church had her doubts: “I think a well-meaning person painted this.  Extraordinary claims do require extraordinary evidence after all.”

Brayton said he wasn’t dead yet, and hung up on this reporter.

A receptionist for Mayor Mary Alexander-Basta said she was out of the office:

“I never thought (Former Mayor Roger Claar) would retire.  I thought he would die at this desk and haunt Village Hall.  Well, maybe his political action committee will allow his presence to still be felt here.”

In the background, a man who sounded like Trustee Sheldon Watts said: “A trustee-mayor is an unholy abomination!  Will you step out of your office and let me show you the light?”

A woman who sounded like covert social media operative Charlene Spencer said: “Cut!  Great job!  This is going to be a big hit in Bolingbrook Politics!”

Also in the Babbler:

Village approves UFO displaying pro-Biden ads
Weredeer to field candidate for Bolingbrook Mayor
Trump signs executive order to move the Bolingbrook Golf Club to Rosemont
God to smite Bolingbrook on 8/12/20

Note:  This is a work of fiction. All opinions expressed are my own. They do not reflect the views of any organization I work for or of my employer.  Feel free to leave a comment here or in the Bolingbrook Babbler Readers Group.