There is no hope…

April 29, 2009

…for the hopelessly stupid; the branding of the contagion has begun. There are three contenders so far:

Sigh. Doug is right – stupid should hurt, immediately and a fucking lot.


Another reason to not believe in God…

April 28, 2009

It’s killing the earth. Talk about self-fulfilling prophecies!


Volcanoes? Flu?

April 28, 2009

Weeks before the recent eruption in Alaska,  Bobby Jindal, one-time Necropublican leadership hopeful mocked the Democrats’ intention to put money in the budget for “something called volcano monitoring” and now it comes out that Maine “moderate” Necro Senator Susan Collins forced them to remove money for flu pandemic preparation for her support of their stimulous package. Is there no reality they can’t prepare for? (I bet every fucking one of them is ready to Rapture, though!)

That was back in the old days, when Obama was hoping to get Necropublican support for things. As we’ve seen since, the Necropublicans have turned into the political equivalent of a sulking fourteen-year-old, and are not capable of anything but self-pity. One presumes the Dems are less afraid of filibusters now.

I hope.


It’s all in your perspective

April 27, 2009

One person’s homophobia is another’s authentic demonstration of faith. You know those same followers of the invisible flying Jewish zombie are gonna love the new hate crime legislation coming as even America lurches into the modern age.

Can we lose the religion thing already? Between human rights abuses and science proving its claims wrong, one by one, the future of self-denial is looking shaky.


Where religions come from…

April 27, 2009

or What’s New in Christian Idolatry?

handofgod

If anyone has any doubt about where God/Thor/Allah come from, look no further than your own imagination. This poor, recently unemployed fellow has discovered a rock wall in his back yard has magically transmorgrified itself into the Hand of God, the rights to which are currently going for $1,211.11 on Ebay. Note, you don’t get to dig it out and take it with you, you just get the “rights” to it for that after-school special that you’ve been aching to make about a wall with “hand” with five fingers and a at least two more half-“fingers”.

I can’t wait until the Virgin Mary appears in a stain on the side of my coffee-maker so I can make some this morning. Mondays are always hard.


Affirmative Action… time to move to the next stage?

April 24, 2009

I realise I could be opening a casn of worms here, and laying myself open to a certain amount of cyber-abuse, but so be it. This article by Neil MacDonald has brought to mind a discussion I had not too long ago  with Kevin, the progenitor of this blog. 

The following quote:  ‘More than 30 years ago, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Harry Blackmun wrote a line that became the battle standard for affirmative action. “In order to treat some persons equally,” he said, “we must treat them differently.”It was an elegant, even poetic way of expressing an uncomfortable truth: that, sooner or later, promoting or admitting someone on the basis of race is going to involve shoving aside or passing over someone else for the same reason.’ describes what, I think, is the  endpoint to Affirmative Action if you blindly follow it to it’s logical conclusion.

Before I go too much further, I want to emphasize that I do NOT have a problem with equal rights for everyone regardless of race, religion, creed, gender, sexual orientation, or any other quality used as a basis of bias by some parts of society.  The movement(s) that brought about Affirmative Action were necessary, and have done society-at-large a great good; by starting to erase boundaries that were neither justified, nor conducive to good and civilized society.

Two things bother me most about Affirmative action:  The first is that it seems to come down to filling a quota. While it increases the numbers of minority of people in the workforce, and therefore exposure to equally qualified individuals of all races and creeds…  It really stops short of actually changing the attitudes that made Affirmative Action necessary in the first place. Those who were likely to dismiss qualified individuals from positions on the basis of irrelevent racial or gender-based criteria, now simply have changed their tune to “You’re just here to fill a quota.”  The second is that ultimately, some people are being hired/ promoted over equally qualified people based on race, gender or creed, the very thing that Affirmative Action is supposed to combat. This seems to me to be somewhat oxymoronic, circular and self-replicating. It can never be a permanent solution – because it’s implementation ultimately produces new categories of under-represented and discriminated against people.

During the converstaion with Kevin, he argued, quite eloquently, that the current legislation(s) surrounding affirmative action does more than enough to provide avenues for individuals to compete on merit, and not on the basis of any other criteria. But does it really? If one person can be moved ahead by ticking the visible minority box, how  is that equal? Is opting? demanding? to be treated specially, and/or given special consideration not voluntary segregation (albeit priviledged segregation)?

 The example Kevin used was the hiring practices and workplace policies of the federal government of Canada. I couldn’t argue against that case, effectively, because they do sound reasonable, and it appears, ostensibly as if anyone can challenge them if they feel they’ve been dealt unfairly. Ok, perhaps he’s right in that specific case. Given ponderous governmental bureaucracy, I’m really not sure how effectively the issue is managed one way or the other. But, how about the private sector? Charges of discrimination are infinitely more difficult to prove there, as any number of trumped up deficiencies may be invented to cover why some was discriminated against, passed over for promotion, or unfairly dismissed.

I have to admit, that when pressed, I could come up with no better a solution than MORE legislation. I suggested legal culpability be spread from the organization to the offending individual personally, and also to the person responsible for supervising that individual personally, and so on up the ‘chain of command’. And I DO mean personally culpable, not professionally; as in the individuals themselves can be charged directly, as well as the organization as a whole. I’m not sure this would work either, as it punishes the problem of personal bias, but doesn’t do anything to alter it.

Bigots top my list of people who should be given a swift boot to the head, just to see if anything rattles around inside. Ideally, I’d like to see hiring procedures that are absolutely anonymous, and discrimination go by the wayside. Individual merit should not include/ or exclude anyone on the basis of gender, race or creed.

However, humans, by nature, seem to be overly ‘clanny’. Almost xenophobic in their attitudes towards those outside ‘the group’, those that are different.  Will there ever be a time when we don’t look at those we deem to be ‘others’ differently? When ones qualifications, social skill and work ethics are the only criteria for hiring/ promotion? I’ve heard it suggested many times that it is largely a generational thing, that once the bigotted dinosaurs have died out and/ or retired from positions of authority, things will be better. Then we will be able to relegate Affirmative Action to the legislative backroom, no longer needed. But I worry that this will never be the case, as intolerance can be taught as easily as tolerance, perhaps even easier.

So what do we do to completely erase bigotry?  I confess I really don’t know.

Graven


CNBC – not the network for “us”

April 24, 2009

Dennis Kneale of CNBC has weighed in on Congressional oversight of TARP funds to banks, and you’d never guess this, but he doesn’t like it.  Kneale’s point in a nutshell is, the banks misbehaved and fucked themselves, but it’s insulting and meddling for those that finance the banks (the taxpayer now) to have any say in fixing all the shit. That said, thanks for the ca$h.

I know we shouldn’t have expected big change in the network after Jon Stewart smashed around one of their corporate cheerleaders, but still, a guy can hope, right?


A legend retires…

April 23, 2009

Anyone who has visited the fair city that I call home shares a loss today with the retirement of  Bud and Nancy True, together known as Bud the Spud.  Spring Garden Road is a better place for you having been here. Take care and have a long, well-deserved retirement.


Thursday News Roundup

April 23, 2009
  1. Doctor Assailed for Leaving Dead Man in Waiting Room: A 77-year-old man in respiratory distress arrived at a private clinic in Montreal, only to be told to ‘wait his turn’. His turn came, but not quite in the way everyone was counting on. After his heart stopped, and his dentures fell on the floor, someone apparently thought, “Hmm. Perhaps something wrong.” The clinic’s doctor came out, gave the man a cursory examination (AFTER he was dead, mind), and did nothing. In a shocking yet completely not shocking turn of events, the doctor’s name is Jaques Chaoulli, famous for crusading in favor of privatized medicine. I guess in this instance, evidence suggests private care can fall a little short there, doc.
  2. Apple Pulls Plug on ‘Baby Shaker’ iPhone Program: Apple has removed from its’ website a 99 cent application that urged users to silence a crying infant through a vigorous shaking of the device. Once the user finished, the silenced infant would appear with little red ‘X’s over its’ eyes. Also removed: Jew Cooker and Child Molester.
  3. Jim Carrey Speaks out on Vaccine Safety: I’m sorry – what? You expect us to take you seriously after you talk out your ass? With this mix of alarmist rhetoric mixed with conspiracy theory, I’d say you still are.
  4. Pentagon: Iraqi Insurgent Attacks Will Increase as U.S. Troops Leave: On a related note, the Pentagon predicts the sun will in all likelihood fall below the horizon some time this evening, but will return several hours later at the opposite side of the sky. But only if they sacrifice another 150 American soldiers.
  5. Composite Image Released of Possible Abductor of Tori Stafford: Tori Stafford, presumably the only child in Canada to go missing over the past few weeks, or at least the only white, blond one, stays in the headlines through the release of a composite sketch of her alleged abductor:

0422woodstock188I think it’s sad that Odo couldn’t find work after Deep Space Nine ended.

I don’t say this very often, but man, am I in Completely Offensive mode this morning? In particular, I think it may be necessary to clarify my point on the last item: I am saddened by the fact that Tori Stafford has been abducted, and I can’t imagine what the family must be going through, but how many other children, who deserve an equal amount of worry and concern, and whose parents deserve an equal amount of sympathy, have gone missing during this time? The sheer number of child abductions in Canada (Over 60,000/yr.) leads me to suspect that there are at least a few.  How many of these are from low-income neighborhoods? How many of them are Aboriginal, or Black, or Indian, or… well, you get the picture. And, how many of them are on the news every night?

Exactly none. Sorry to end on a downer, but reality, and the media, sucks.


More creationist aggravation

April 23, 2009

Oh those pesky creationists. Not only do they prefer to have their heads comfortably ensconced inside their own asses, they would like to have a graduate degree to show for it, too. The Institute for Creation “Research” is suing the Texas State Higher Education Coordinating Board for not granting it the right to issue Master’s degrees in “Science” “Education”. 

I have no problem with this – any person or organization has the right to claim mistreatment when they feel they have been treated unfairly, however one of the moves by a legislator in Texas has me concerned. State Representative Leo Berman has proposed bill HB 2800, which would exempt private organizations and “schools” that do not accept state or federal money from the board’s authority.  Berman sees this as a fairness issue – he is a Creationist and sees the issuance of science degrees in “evolution” as unfair provided creationist “scientists” and “educators” don’t get them, too. (Wither the poor, downtrodden Pastafarian?) 

Can someone explain to me how this could possibly be a positive step? Setting aside the issue that creationism is neither scientific nor even an educated stance in a coffee-break discussion, I mean just from the standpoint of standards of education. If *anyone* can create their own degrees with no authorizing agency, doesn’t it follow that the actual value of a degree vanishes? I can see it now – even more quacks blowing steam about creationism with a “Masters of Science in Education” on their business card, and no indication that it’s a crock of shit.

I will conclude with an example of what I can only assume is a result of the Texas education system, State Representative Berman himself:

“I don’t believe I came from a salamander that crawled out of a swamp millions of years ago,” Berman told FOXNews.com. “I do believe in creationism. I do believe there are gaps in evolution.

What can you do with idiots like that. Do you think he might be a chiropractor in real life? Pick up your torches and pitchforks, ye of reason, there are still creationist trolls that need slaying north and south of the border.

By the way, I should throw out a h/t to The Teapot Atheist, from whom I’ve developed the daily habit of surfing The Christian Post. Both the TA blog and CP are great reads – the first for a fun (for an atheist) read on things religious in the news and the second to make you feel smug in that “I can’t believe people take this shit seriously” kind of way.

Oh, they do.


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