We are the 99%

October 25, 2014

Oklahoman Ten Commandments In The News

From KFOR in Oklahoma:
A man has been taken in for mental evaluation after allegedly vandalizing the Ten Commandments monument at the Oklahoma State Capitol.

U.S. Secret Service Agents say it all started after a man walked into the Federal Building in downtown Oklahoma City Friday morning making strange threats against the President and Federal Government.

Agents say he then admitted to them that he crashed his car into the Ten Commandments monument at the Capitol, then left his damaged car and walked to the Federal Building.

The Secret Service says the man told them that Satan made him crash his car into the statue.

He also told agents that Satan told him to urinate on the statue.
As much as I am against the placement of the Ten Commandments on public property (any public property), a private citizen taking it upon him or herself to demolish the monument is quite simply the absolutely wrong way to go.  A very bad idea.  The legal process must be respected and it must be allowed to play itself out to its inevitable end: the removal of all religious monuments from all public properties.

Turns out the urinating Decalogue deconstructionist has some larger issues:
According to investigators, the man says he is bipolar and had been off his medication for quite some time.
But this incident does raise some interesting theological questions.  Setting aside all of the details regarding the accused's bipolar state and so on, what if he was a Satan worshiper and held the sincere religious belief that he was working under Satan's instructions?  That demolishing the monument was simply, for him, an act of faith?  On the flipside, what if there were a Satanic monument somewhere and someone else, acting under a similar set of divine instructions, were to destroy that one, would they get away with it?

I mean, if we indeed live in a post-Hobby Lobby America, where corporations can "refuse to obey laws they don't like" as long as it's based on a conflict with it's "sincerely held religious belief", why couldn't an individual do the same?  If demolishing a Ten Commandments monument was an act of sincere faith (and I am not saying that it was in Oklahoma, we're still talking hypotheticals here), wouldn't any law pre-emptively banning such an act be a violation of the First Amendment?

Back to reality.  If the guy who ran over the monument is bipolar, it's absolutely necessary for him to get all the help he needs to get as healthy as possible.

And demolishing the monument is still a very wrong act, regardless of its inevitable unconstitutionality.

October 23, 2014

Tracking Teh Crazie - WND

More data to consider when we're considering the source - World Net Daily's Joseph Farah.

At birther-central, head birther Farah published this on biblical creation day:
Was the world created 6,028 years ago today?

That’s a question that will drive fans of Richard Dawkins and Stephen Hawking up the wall.

I don’t know that it was. I don’t think anyone but God knows the actual day of creation.
Yea, but still it probably wasn't.

Here's Farah's evidence for a Young Earth:
But one of the greatest biblical and historical scholars of the 17th century, Archbishop James Ussher, meticulously calculated all the data he could find about the day of creation, and that’s what he came up with in his famous “Annals of the World,” a great companion to your reading of the Bible.
That's it.  That's Farah's evidence.  And the evidence for a very Old Earth?

All of physics - in this instance, radiometric dating:
Spontaneous breakdown or decay of atomic nuclei, termed radioactive decay, is the basis for all radiometric dating methods. Radioactivity was discovered in 1896 by French physicist Henri Becquerel. By 1907 study of the decay products of uranium (lead and intermediate radioactive elements that decay to lead) demonstrated to B. B. Boltwood that the lead/uranium ratio in uranium minerals increased with geologic age and might provide a geological dating tool.

As radioactive Parent atoms decay to stable daughter atoms (as uranium decays to lead) each disintegration results in one more atom of the daughter than was initially present and one less atom of the parent. The probability of a parent atom decaying in a fixed period of time is always the same for all atoms of that type regardless of temperature, pressure, or chemical conditions. This probability of decay is the decay constant. The time required for one-half of any original number of parent atoms to decay is the half-life, which is related to the decay constant by a simple mathematical formula.
If it's wrong, where is it wrong?  The rate of radioactive decay?  Where's Farah's evidence that it's wrong?  To that question, Farah has the Bible and that's all he needs:
I take the Bible literally – and seriously. And the Bible strongly affirms a date in the neighborhood of 6,000 years, at least for the age of man, who was created on the sixth day, according to Genesis. If that’s not true, it calls into question the rest of the Bible’s accuracy.
Well, yea.

It also calls into question the rationality of someone who takes it so seriously and literally that he's willing to abandon all of science.  Look, if you want to believe the literal Bible, that's fine.  We live in a free society and you're free to believe what you want to believe,  But simply believing it doesn't make it science.  Nor does it make anything you believe to be true, to be, in fact, true.

Birther Central is now just a little more infected with teh crazie.

October 20, 2014

And Now...A Message From The Pentagon

A few days ago the Post-Gazette editorial board published this:
Conservative members of Congress may not be ready to acknowledge the reality of climate change, but the Pentagon sees it for what it is — a threat to national security.

On Monday, the Pentagon issued a report assessing the immediate dangers of climate change.
And here's the report itself.

And this is from Secretary Hagel's forward:
The responsibility of the Department of Defense is the security of our country. That requires thinking ahead and planning for a wide range of contingencies.

Among the future trends that will impact our national security is climate change. Rising global temperatures, changing precipitation patterns, climbing sea levels, and more extreme weather events will intensify the challenges of global instability, hunger, poverty, and conflict. They will likely lead to food and water shortages, pandemic disease, disputes over refugees and resources, and destruction by natural disasters in regions across the globe.
And so on.

While the other, smaller, and far more ideological (in this case rightwing) paper in town, the Tribune-Review did reprint this AP piece that said:
The report — described as a Pentagon road map — identifies four things that it says will affect the military: rising global temperatures, changing precipitation patterns, more extreme weather and rising sea levels. It calls on the department and the military services to identify more specific concerns, including possible effects on the more than 7,000 bases and facilities, and to start putting plans in place to deal with them.

More broadly, the report warns that as temperatures rise and severe weather increases, food, water and electricity shortages could cause instability in many countries, spreading disease, causing mass migration and opening the door for extremists to take advantage of fractures in unstable countries.
However, our friends on the Trib's editorial board are still looking to disprove the science with this:
Wattsupwiththat.com , which bills itself as “the world's most viewed site on global warming and climate change,” says the water temperature of the Great Lakes is more than 6 degrees colder than last year at this time and 3 degrees colder than normal. Experts say should the trend continue, the lakes could freeze over earlier. And that could impair Great Lakes shipping. This global warming stuff is getting ridiculous.
So, I guess, because a rightwing science denying website says the Great Lakes are warmer this year than last year the Pentagon has to be wrong,

Hmm...ponder that for a bit because that's what the braintrust wants you to believe.

October 19, 2014

Corbett Replaces Photoshopped Web Site Image with New Reality-based Image

As you've surely all heard by now, PA Governor Tom Corbett was caught with a Photoshopped stock image of a smiling black woman standing next to him as the footer on his campaign web site:



 After the ensuing brouhaha, the image was replaced with one that better reflects the reality of the support for his campaign:



Well it has in my head anyway.

Here's the real replacement in case you're interested:

October 18, 2014

More On Corbett's Desperation And Deceit

Yesterday, I posted this.

This morning I discovered that factcheck.org had already taken a look at the TV ad.  And what did they find?  Take a look:
We’ve noticed that the most deceitful attack ads often come from candidates who are most desperate. For example, consider the claim by Pennsylvania’s unpopular Republican Gov. Tom Corbett that his opponent “is promising to raise middle-class taxes,” when in fact Democratic nominee Tom Wolf promises to cut them. [Emphasis added.]
Yea. It doesn't get much better for the Corbett Tom.
Wolf has proposed increasing the state’s income tax — but only for those making more than roughly $70,000 to $90,000 per year for individuals, or more than $140,000 to $180,000 for married couples. For the large majority of Pennsylvanians, whose incomes fall below those levels, Wolf proposes to reduce or eliminate the income tax. [Emphasis added.]
After pointing out that the Corbett Campaign is claiming that Wolf is being dishonest, Factcheck corrects:
But it is Corbett who’s being dishonest here. He knows exactly what Wolf is proposing, because he was standing only a few feet away from him during an Oct. 8 debate in which Wolf sketched out his plan.

Wolf said (starting at about 23 minutes into the recording): “If you are in the seventy to ninety thousand dollar range as an individual — and you can double that if you are married — you should not pay any more in taxes. And people making below that will get a break. That’s my goal.”
So whenever you see the TV ad you can know for sure that it's a lie.  The Corbett Campaign is lying to you whenever they show it to you.

Tom Corbett: Desperate and Dishonest.

October 17, 2014

The Desperate Corbett Campaign

How else can you explain such a fleeting connection with the truth?

I've seen this ad on my TV a few times (as I am sure you all have):


But did you know that it's all based on a smeary lie?

Look at the image.  It reads, "Wolf calls for income tax increase" and references that to PoliticsPA.

But when you actually go to PoliticsPA looking for a mention of Wolf increasing the income tax, you'll find this piece.  In it, it reads:
The Democratic nominee’s proposed budget would also adjust the state’s 43 year old income tax. If elected, he plans to shift more of the financial burden onto citizens in the higher income brackets. He also plans to relieve more low-income households of their tax burden through a “universal exemption.”

Wolf sees his plan as fair, and he hopes that it will lessen the burden on those who he deems as the middle class; households with annual incomes between $70,000 and $90,000. [Emphasis added.]
And yet the first line of the ad claims that "Tom Wolf is going to raise the income tax on middle class families." You can't get much more dishonest than that.

The interesting part about all this is that while the (at best) misleading Corbett ad references PoliticsPA on the tax increase, all the information above is actually found at (now wait for it), PoliticsPA.

If Corbett had better ideas than Wolf, he'd be spending his money telling us all about them.  Instead he's using his money to mislead the electorate, the people he hopes will vote for him.  Can't get much more desperate than that.

And then there's the photoshopping.  (PoliticsPA led me to Buzzfeed on this):
A black woman smiling in the background of a group picture that appears at the bottom of every page of Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett’s campaign website is actually a stock image, photshopped in.
What, they can't find an actual picture of the Governor speaking with actual African-Americans to use on the campaign website?

October 16, 2014

Dear Russell Brand, If not voting is the answer, why is it exactly what the GOP wants?

I have, on occasion, enjoyed Russell Brand's humor, but I've had it up to here with his appearing on every talk show urging people not to vote. I'll take Rotten over Brand on this one.

(via Facebook)