The wingnut Wurlitzer fires up on Obama’s prayer breakfast

Predictably, the religious right is shocked — shocked I say! — at Obama’s recitation of the many sins committed by Christianity over the centuries. And it has nothing to do with politics! It just happens that one of the more recent sins, slavery, was egged on precisely by the very confederacy that now makes up an inordinate amount of right-wing opposition to progressive policies and is whining about this. Can someone please assume the martyr position?

Crooks and Liars — Fox News host Tucker Carlson on Sunday declared that all slavery in the world had been eradicated thanks to the Christian faith.
At the National Prayer Breakfast last week, conservatives accused President Barack Obama of comparing Christianity to the Islamic terrorist group ISIS when he observed that many religions had been used to justify violence throughout history.

“So we’re responsible for the Crusades a thousand years ago?” Carlson complained. “Who’s ‘us’ anyway? And by the way, who ended slavery and Jim Crow? Christians. The Rev. Martin Luther King. Christians.” “Christianity is the reason we don’t have slavery in the world today,” he added. “I mean, talk about ahistorical.”

Yes, many abolitionists were motivated in part by their faith. Which is a perfectly fair point to make — and in fact that’s the whole point Obama was making. That there were and are powerful, moderate factions within Christianity, that one of these factions prevailed in the US over southern extremists and sympathizers — who went on to drag the entire nation into a bloody, horrible Civil War in their fruitless quest to preserve slavery, but that’s a story for another day. And that maybe, we can all hope, similar moderate factions will prevail in Islam, preferably with even less senseless slaughter and misery than the Inquisition and Crusades and the antebellum south and whatever else I’m missing. Although imo, hoping Islam will pull that off with even less bloodshed is quite a lot to hope for at this point. But I guess putting those comments in context would screw up a perfectly good chance to fan the flames of Obama hatred, and we can’t have that.

The fact is, slavery was an honorable trade in the ancient near east back when the Bible was written. There’s little in the Bible explicitly condoning slavery, but there’s plenty that seems to just assume it exists and nothing should be done about it beyond calling for a little humane treatment. The Old Testament sure sounds comfortable with the idea, and that fact didn’t escape the notice of some southern preachers back in the say who justified slavery right from the pulpit.


Vaccination isn’t a left vs right issue, yet

From time to time you may hear that anti-vaccination hysteria is a left-wing problem. But that’s simply not accurate. There are a number of groups resisting vaccination, those who have been misinformed about the safety and efficacy of vaccines may lean a little more to the left, those who refuse to vaccinate for ideological or religious reasons may lean a little more to the right. But for now at least what polling we have suggest it’s mostly a non-partisan problem and that’s probably a good thing: [Read more…]

Great answers to what atheists should say to God

Video speaks for itself and it’s dead on. There’s the credibility gap with the idea of God. For the Abrahamic version, that it’s unlikely in the extreme that loosely organized clans of bronze-aged farmers and herders found the one true answer to the meaning of the cosmos.

But then there’s the implications if they actually turned out to be right, which are nothing short of terrifying: that our collective fate one and all, rich and poor, good or evil, is in the hands of a super powerful crazed alien monster, an insecure bloodthirsty maniac that tortures little kids to death every day by the thousands. A creature who, so we are told, determined by way of a vastly superior intellect, that the universe just wouldn’t be quite complete without rabies or Alzheimer’s or a million other excruciating traumas it created and inflicted on its most “beloved children,” in part as punishment for a great to nth grandparent disobeying it, despite the fact that that that g-g-g-grandparent could not by its own intentional divine design distinguish the simplest right from wrong and, apparently, in part because it really couldn’t come up with a better way to run things.

And even that wasn’t enough human anguish to satisfy its ghoulish appetite! Any victim who didn’t regularly drop to their knees in abject worship, basking in and praising — get this! — its infinite mercy and benevolence and love would be further punished by a sentence of eternity in everlasting torment worse than any of those mere mortal afflictions thanks to a cosmic pissing contest with a rival maniacal deity said to be, if anything, even more evil. Although how anything could possibly be more evil than the one running a universe like that strains the most pathological imagination.




Cop makes a complete ass out of himself on youtube

Not exactly a shocking headline, we see it all the time now. Short version, in the clip above a cop is asking to take a pic of someone who was at the courthouse on an unrelated charge to whatever the cop was investigating. A public defender who was handling that person’s case comes out and starts advising the guy, and that’s where it goes off the rails. She gets arrested, obviously a phony arrest, and let go within an hour with no charges. [Read more…]

New exo-planet may have rings that dwarf Saturn

Artist’s conception of the extrasolar ring system circling the young giant planet or brown dwarf J1407b. The rings are shown eclipsing the young sun-like star J1407, as they would have appeared in early 2007. Credit: Ron Miller

Artist’s conception of the extrasolar ring system circling the young giant planet or brown dwarf J1407b. The rings are shown eclipsing the young sun-like star J1407, as they would have appeared in early 2007. Credit: Ron Miller

There are many beautiful sights to be seen in our solar system and more coming into view everyday. But when it comes to superstars, every child knows the answer: Saturn! It is hands down our most famous planetary celebrity and for good reason. Easily seen in a small telescope, the disk hangs in space like a gilded jewel cradled by spectacular rings of gold. With greater resolution the rings only improve, taking on features of a finely machined phonograph, first hundreds and then thousands of individual strands appear, each carefully etched into space over eons by Newton’s best legal work, some twisted by tiny, growing shepard moons into intricate braids of yellow and orange. You could spend a lifetime exploring the intricacies of those rings, and some scientists do! [Read more…]

2014: still the warmest year despite winter snowstorm in Northeast


Don’t be fooled by a winter blizzard this week! The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) rated 2014 as the hottest year in the global temperature record and NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) promptly chimed in with the same finding. But there’s wiggle room for the dedicated energy shill to wiggle around in, because both organizations also give an error margin when they rate a year. Chris Mooney walks us through it: [Read more…]

Poor women taking painkillers? Sound the alarm!

Nothing helps fan the war on drugs like poor people getting high. It doesn’t matter if the high is authorized or not either; the poor are evil, they’re takers, they are despicable for being poor, and the idea that the despicable poor might be getting some relief from pain and suffering is not a feature, it’s a bug! If only hatred of the poor could be combined with hatred of women, better yet, hatred for affordable healthcare, better yet, in fact ideally, if only it could be linked to some good ole fashioned slut shaming and something to do with babies … hey, is there a new study we can use for that? [Read more…]

Palin offers up confusing word salad at Freedom Summit

I don’t say this lightly. This is the strangest speech I’ve ever seen Sarah Palin deliver.

My apologies for not posting much in the last few days. In the new writing job, I have to maintain a window of time between anything I offer up there and anything I post elsewhere. On FTB, the only thing standing between me and the public facing page is a button on my edit screen that says “publish.” On other sites it has to pass exec editor muster, then go through a copy editor and scheduler, all of which takes time. I’m still trying to get into the flow and work out the mechanics on that.

In the meantime, it’s congressman Steve King to the rescue, now with 100% more value voters tea-party anger! King thew himself a little jamboree over the weekend, in Iowa of course. Where DC city slickers and urban cowboys-in-costume auditioned to win the part of craziest wackjob to a carefully selected crowd of judges composed of legit whack jobs. There was the usual pandering, some did better than others — don’t under estimate governors Scott Walker (R-WI) or Chris Christie (R-NJ). These shysters are well versed in threading the crazy needle and subtly blowing the dog whistle while sounding halfway sane and reasonable to the average uninformed, undecided voter.

Sarah Palin, on the other hand was just flat out painful to watch. I actually found myself rooting for her out of something akin to pity:

[Read more…]