“An audio recording from five years ago has been released of Michele Bachmann predicting the end of the world. Her exact words were, ‘I’m going to run for president in 2012.’” –Conan O’Brien
Bachmann’s prediction can be seen here.
“We always talk about demographic change helping Democrats with the rise of the Hispanic vote, but if the Rapture occurs it would be an even more immediate boost to Democratic electoral prospects.” –Public Policy Polling
Public Policy Polling found that if the Rapture occurs, this will provide a 2-5 point boost to Obama’s reelection prospects as a larger percentage of those who believe the Rapture will occur are Republicans. (For the sake of discussion I’ll go along with their assumption that those who believe in the Rapture are more likely to actually be affected if the Rapture occurs, but there are certainly counter-arguments to this imaginable.) Here is how the match-up changes with different candidates:
Obama’s lead over Romney is 7 points with all voters, but if you take out the ones who think the Rapture will occur in their lifetime his advantage increases to 9 points. That’s because the Rapture voters support Romney by a 49-35 margin. Against Gingrich Obama’s 14 point lead overall becomes a 17 point one if you take out take the ‘Rapturers’ because they support Gingrich 50-37. And Obama’s 17 point lead over Palin becomes a 22 point spread without those voters because they support Palin 54-37.
Sarah Palin is the most popular potential candidate among those who believe the Rapture is going to occur but, unfortunately for her, her approval rating is quite low with everybody else.
One other bit of trivia from the poll: Only two percent believed the Rapture was going to occur last week, as compared to ten percent who believe Barack Obama is the Anti-Christ.
David Letterman: Top Ten Harold Camping Excuses
10. “Rapture got rained out”
9. “Forgot to carry the 1″
8. “Dates got screwed up because of the Jewish holidays”
6. “Hold on, God’s texting me . . . Yeah, it’s been postponed”
5. “Don’t blame me! I voted for Kucinich”
4. “To prevent bear attack, be sure to suspend all food and trash in a tree. I’m sorry, that’s from ‘Top Ten Wilderness Camping Tips’”
3. “At 89, I can’t remember how to operate the toaster”
2. “Didn’t everybody’s world end when ‘Oprah’ was canceled?”
1. “I’m crazy”
“The pastor who incorrectly predicted the Rapture said it was a very tough weekend. To make it worse, his friends keep calling him saying, “Hey, it’s not the end of the world!” –Conan O’Brien
“A lot of people are very nervous about this whole Rapture thing, though a lot of people didn’t understand it. For instance, Sarah Palin said, ‘The raptures were the scariest part of ‘Jurassic Park.’” –Jay Leno
After Harold Camping was wrong about the apocalypse occurring in 1994 he attributed his mistake to a mathematical error. This time he is sticking by his prediction by making some changes in the details.
Camping’s predictions can be divided into three phases for the end of the world. First, he predicted that the Rapture would occur on May 21. He has revised this to mean that a spiritual Rapture actually did occur rather than anyone physically rising up. He believes that God did “bring judgment on the world.” Next, Camping had repeated more common Christian prophesies of a period of great suffering for those left behind for five months. This was revised to speculate that a merciful God had decided to spare us this period of suffering. Perhaps having to watch the endless announcements by Republicans as to whether or not they are running for president is sufficient suffering for us.
The final part of the prediction is that the earth will come to an end at the conclusion of this five month period on October 21. Camping is sticking to this saying, “It wont be spiritual on October 21st. The world is going to be destroyed all together, but it will be very quick.”
Only a small minority of Evangelical Christians accept Camping’s prediction with regards to the exact date, however far more share the same basic beliefs while saying the date of the Rapture cannot be predicted. A Pew Research Center found that, “By the year 2050, 41% of Americans believe that Jesus Christ definitely (23%) or probably (18%) will have returned to earth.” Evangelical Christians are most likely to hold this belief: “Fully 58% of white evangelical Christians say Christ will return to earth in this period, by far the highest percentage in any religious group.” This belief is also most commonly held in the south, and those with less eduction are more likely to believe that Jesus will be returning by 2050.
Coverage of the uneventful Rapture dominated social media yesterday. Here is a recap of my posts, primarily from Facebook and Twitter. Coverage did begin on the blog with this post. Further coverage was on Facebook and Twitter, beginning with a comment on a true event occurring Friday evening, and some opinions on the whole subject:
I was listening to the BBC News and suddenly the signal was lost. If it was already 6:00 pm in London I might be a little nervous.
The worst thing about the world coming to an end tomorrow at 6:00 pm is that the Rapture will be occurring just before Doctor Who airs.
Rushing to get through more episodes of Downton Abbey before the Rapture at 6. It really sucks when the world is going to end and you don’t get to see the full season.
As it became 6 p.m. around the world, coverage intensified:
It is 6 pm at Aukland. Any sign of the Rapture?
All my Australian Facebook friends are still here. They must be godless heathens.
Just got response to question from Verizon. If the world does end today I am still responsible for the remaining months on my phone contract.
6 pm in London & my Facebook friends are still there; must be sinners like my Australian friends. Also means Doctor Who will still be on.
Next year we will find out if the ancient Mayan calendar is more credible than the fundamentalist view of the Christian Bible.
We now have video of people rising up during the Rapture.
What was Steven Moffatt thinking, airing the first of a two-part Doctor Who story on the day the world was scheduled to come to an end?
It is almost 6:00 local time. Personally I find the threat of assimilation by the Borg, destruction of the earth by a Vogon construction fleet building an intergalactic highway, or Skynet becoming self-aware and wiping out humanity to all be more plausible scenarios than Biblical prophesy.
6 pm and the Apocalypse is rather uneventful. Regrettably the religious fundamentalists remain here to continue messing up the earth.
“Knock, knock.” “Who’s there?” “Nobody.” (post-rapture humor)
Meanwhile, while we had a lot of fun with this yesterday, Harold Camping, who predicted the date of the Rapture, has not had anything to say. I do not fear for his future. After he was wrong in 1994 he just picked a new date. He can do that again, and those who believed him before will probably believe him again.
Just last month we managed to avoid Judgment Day as predicted for April 21, 2011 in Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. Now we are informed that the Rapture will be occurring at 6:00 pm in our local time zone. This means that the first signs of Judgment Day, an earthquake to throw the dead out of their graves, will be starting around the international date line late this evening or early tomorrow depending upon your time zone.
In case of the Rapture, expect delays in blog posts. We will resume normal posting as soon as possible, depending upon the state of the earth. I anticipate that with all the religious fundamentalists gone to heaven I will also have less material for the blog. We might then also predict a wave election in 2012 to sweep out the Republicans who have been pandering to the religious right, assuming the earth survives long enough to hold new elections. Of course there’s also that Anti-Christ stuff to consider.
While waiting the Rapture, you can find a weather report to assist with deciding what to wear on Judgment Day here. There are many events scheduled, such as a plan to freak out fundamentalists by leaving shoes lying around (with dry ice to give the illusion of a body having been taken).
Reportedly Harold Camping, who made the prediction of the end of the world occurring tomorrow (as well as a previous prediction in 1994), does have a pamphlet ready for distribution in case he is wrong. We will therefore update plans for Judgment Day if such updated information is made available. We also have the end of the world according to the Mayan calendar to look forward to next year.
I imagine that lots of warnings from the CDC about being prepared for disasters winds up being ignored. They are hoping more people will pay attention with a tongue-in-cheek campaign to prepare for the Zombie Apocalypse (via Fox):
That’s the question posed by the Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention in a Monday blog posting gruesomely titled, “Preparedness 101: Zombie Apocalypse.” And while it’s no joke, CDC officials say it’s all about emergency preparation.
“There are all kinds of emergencies out there that we can prepare for,” the posting reads. “Take a zombie apocalypse for example. That’s right, I said z-o-m-b-i-e a-p-o-c-a-l-y-p-s-e. You may laugh now, but when it happens you’ll be happy you read this, and hey, maybe you’ll even learn a thing or two about how to prepare for a real emergency.”
The post, written by Assistant Surgeon General Ali Khan, instructs readers how to prepare for “flesh-eating zombies” much like how they appeared in Hollywood hits like “Night of the Living Dead” and video games like Resident Evil. Perhaps surprisingly, the same steps you’d take in preparation for an onslaught of ravenous monsters are similar to those suggested in advance of a hurricane or pandemic.
The idea behind the campaign stemmed from concerns of radiation fears following the earthquake and tsunami that rocked Japan in March. CDC spokesman Dave Daigle told FoxNews.com that someone had asked CDC officials if zombies would be a concern due to radiation fears in Japan and traffic spiked following that mention.
“It’s kind of a tongue-in-cheek campaign,” Daigle said Wednesday. “We were talking about hurricane preparedness and someone bemoaned that we kept putting out the same messages.”
While metrics for the post are not yet available, Daigle said it has become the most popular CDC blog entry in just two days.
I’ve pointed out several times that Glenn Beck has basically been recycling old Bircher conspiracy theories. I stand corrected. Christopher Hitchens writes that Beck does far worse in recycling the most extreme ideas from the far right that even Birchers rejected in the past:
Right up to the defeat of Barry Goldwater in 1964, and despite the efforts of such conservatives as William F. Buckley Jr. to dislodge them, the Birchers were a feature of conservative politics well beyond the crackpot fringe.
Now, here is the difference. Glenn Beck has not even been encouraging his audiences to reread Robert Welch. No, he has been inciting them to read the work of W. Cleon Skousen, a man more insane and nasty than Welch and a figure so extreme that ultimately even the Birch-supporting leadership of the Mormon Church had to distance itself from him. It’s from Skousen’s demented screed The Five Thousand Year Leap (to a new edition of which Beck wrote a foreword, and which he shoved to the position of No. 1 on Amazon) that he takes all his fantasies about a divinely written Constitution, a conspiratorial secret government, and a future apocalypse. To give you a further idea of the man: Skousen’s posthumously published book on the “end times” and the coming day of rapture was charmingly called The Cleansing of America. A book of his with a less repulsive title, The Making of America, turned out to justify slavery and to refer to slave children as “pickaninnies.” And, writing at a time when the Mormon Church was under attack for denying full membership to black people, Skousen defended it from what he described as this “Communist” assault.
So, Beck’s “9/12 Project” is canalizing old racist and clerical toxic-waste material that a healthy society had mostly flushed out of its system more than a generation ago, and injecting it right back in again. Things that had hidden under stones are being dug up and re-released. And why? So as to teach us anew about the dangers of “spending and deficits”? It’s enough to make a cat laugh. No, a whole new audience has been created, including many impressionable young people, for ideas that are viciously anti-democratic and ahistorical. The full effect of this will be felt farther down the road, where we will need it even less.
Ed Brayton has more on this, but the best comment on the Tea Party movement comes from one of his commenters:
Once you throw out all the birthers, and the people who think we’re going to balance the budget by lowering taxes, and the people who want the gubmint to keep its hands off their medicare, and the people who mutter about saving the constitution but don’t know what’s in it – who’s left?
As I’ve often said, they support of version of the Constitution which exists only in their heads and is certainly not what the Founding Fathers had in mind.
Yesterday I looked at reasons why Republicans are not likely to pick up Jewish voters, concluding by writing that Jewish voters are not going to support a fundamentalist Christian theocratic political party. Discussion of Biblical prophesies of Armageddon on Fox, including by two possible candidates for the 2012 nomination, add to the reasons why Republicans cannot be taken seriously. From Media Matters, via Steve Benen:
Yesterday, during a conversation with the conservative publication Newsmax, Sarah Palin engaged in the favorite conservative pastime of pushing for war with Middle Eastern countries and warned that allowing Iran to acquire nuclear weapons “is not just Israel’s problem or America’s problem, it is the world’s problem. It could lead to an Armageddon. It could lead to that World War III that could decimate so much of this planet.”
Clearly, Palin’s invocation of “Armageddon” did not bother Fox News — quite the opposite, in fact. They promoted her interview with Newsmax on Fox Nation, using her comment as the headline:
‘Palin Warns of Armageddon’
If you are unfamiliar with Iran and Israel’s role in the (always) impending Armageddon, Pastor John Hagee can help explain. Back in June, Glenn Beck hosted Hagee on his Fox News show and labeled him one of the “brave preachers” that “need to start standing up.” During that show, Beck plugged Hagee’s “excellent” new book, Can America Survive? 10 Prophetic Signs That We Are The Terminal Generation, saying that he “just started to read last night.”
Palin and Beck aren’t the only ones at Fox who are talking about Armageddon:
Fox News’ Mike Huckabee hosted Tim LaHaye — author of the Left Behind book series about the Rapture — on his Fox News program twice in July. In both appearances, Huckabee and LaHaye reportedly discussed Armageddon. During one of the appearances, Huckabee asked LaHaye, “Are we now living in the end times, from your perspective?” LaHaye responded, “Very definitely, governor.”
Of course, this is nothing new. For centuries, religious hucksters have trafficked in fearmongering about impending Armageddon. But when three of the most prominent conservative media figures in the country — two of whom are reportedly considering 2012 presidential runs — are lending credence to theories about the End of the World, it should be news.
While these conservatives are concerned about Biblical prophecies of Armageddon, they ignore very real scientific evidence of impending harm to our planet due to climate change. Glenn Beck is trying to convince the religious right to ignore the scientific consensus on global warming. He brought on a representative of the “Cornwall Alliance — a corporate front designed to deceive evangelicals into doubting the science underpinning climate change.”
The Time of Angels brings the return of characters from two different Steven Moffat stories from past seasons, River Song and the Weeping Angels. The Angels are significantly different from how they were in Blink, but I imagine that when we are dealing with creatures in different parts of the universe at a different point in time seeing such differences is plausible. It would be best to wait for the conclusion of the two part episode of Doctor Who airing on BBC America to say more and this week’s BBC episode, Vampires of Venice, is unfortunately not worth writing much about.
Pictures of a very pregnant Amy Pond have been floating around the internet. We’ve been told, “Viewers will have to wait and see how the pregnancy came about, but as always with Doctor Who, things are not always as they appear.” The previews at the end of this week’s BBC episode also leave a question as to how real this is.
Thursday had two excellent episodes of genre shows. This week’s episode of FlashForward was written by Robert Sawyer, who wrote the book which the series was based upon. We are getting close to the day which everyone jumped forward to and learned more about Simon. Unfortunately ratings were down, making it even less likely the show will survive.
Ever since we saw Walter take Peter from the alternate universe on Fringe I’ve been expecting the alternate Walter to show up here. Finally this happened, with the alternate Walter appearing not to have suffered the psychological problems of the Walter of this universe. The previews show we will also be seeing much more of the alternative universe, including their Olivia.
We know that Leonard Nimoy will be returning as William Bell, but this will be the last time as Nimoy says he is retiring. This also means no more appearances by Spock Prime in future Star Trek movies. While I wish Nimoy would be continuing in his occasional role on Fringe, it is better that the original Spock of our time line will not be appearing again. Now that they have established a separate time line they should develop with only one Spock around as ours did.
There was also a killer episode of Lost this week–literally. Meanwhile in the alternate time line Jack has figured out that there is a strange connection between the passengers of Oceanic Flight 815.
In other stories, IO9 asks How Will Facebook Look After The Zombie Apocalypse? Steven Hawking explains how to build a time machine. Sequencing of the Neanderthal genome has demonstrated evidence of interbreeding with humans. So far there’s been no evidence of mixture with Cylon genes as suggested in the series finale of Battlestar Galactica.