“Amazon announced plans for an amazing service called Amazon Prime Air. When you order something from Amazon that weighs five pounds or less, a robot will drop your package on your doorstep. It’s all part of Amazon’s pledge to drive your dog insane…
“You know in some countries seeing an unmanned drone means your village is about to be destroyed. In America it means you ordered Mad Men on Blu-ray.” –Jimmy Kimmel
Check out Sarah Palin at Liberty University lashing out against “angry atheists” who want to “abort Christ from Christmas.” She also said:
If you lose that foundation, John Adams was implicitly warning us, then we will not follow our constitution, there will be no reason to follow our constitution because it is a moral and religious people who understand that there is something greater than self, we are to live selflessly, and we are to be held accountable by our creator, so that is what our constitution is based on, so those revisionists, those in the lamestream media, especially, who would want to ignore what our founders actually thought, felt and wrote about in our charters of liberty – well, that’s why I call them the lamestream media.
Here’s an example of why Republicans have difficulty obtaining support from outside of their base. A shirt they recently sold (picture above via BuzzFeed) says “Happy Holidays” is what liberals say on the front and Merry Christmas on the back. The shirt is sold out, but they are now selling one saying Not Afraid to Say ‘Merry Christmas.’
Republicans apparently do not understand that not everyone celebrates Christmas, but there is no room for those of other religions in their extremely tiny tent. Even many Christians say Happy Holidays. This might be to be inclusive and include other religions, it might be to include New Year’s, or it might not mean anything at all to those who aren’t interested in claiming to be victims in an imaginary War on Christmas.
I would take the exact numbers in this NBC News-Equire Poll with a grain of salt but the overall trend is what we would have expected. The country is more liberal on social issues and conservatives are losing the culture wars. Results are more mixed in some other areas. From their summary of results:
The new American center has a socially progressive streak, supporting gay marriage (64 percent), the right to an abortion for any reason within the first trimester (63 percent), and legalized marijuana (52 percent). Women, workers and the marginal would also benefit if the center had its way, supporting paid sick leave (62 percent); paid maternity leave (70 percent); tax-subsidized childcare to help women return to work (57 percent); and a federal minimum wage hike to no less than $10 per hour (67 percent).
But the center leans rightward on the environment, capital punishment, and diversity programs. Majorities support offshore drilling (81 percent) and the death penalty (90 percent), and the end of affirmative action in hiring and education (57 percent). Most people in the center believe respect for minority rights has gone overboard, in general, harming the majority in the process (63 percent). And just one in four support immigration reforms that would provide a path to citizenship for those who came here illegally.
They found the following results regarding religion and guns:
Religion is not a major part of the Center’s life, and it firmly believes that religion has no place in the public sphere. Meanwhile: Even though about a third of those in the Center own guns, an overwhelming plurality have no problem with background checks…
The Center is less religious than the Right, and—surprise!—it’s less religious than the Left, too, and here’s why: Members of the Gospel Left (the ones who broke 99 to 1 for Obama in 2012) are second only to the Righteous Right for how important religion is to them. Unlike their fellow believers on the Right, though, more than half of the Gospel Left feels that religion should not play a role in public life.
For a long time it felt like the Republican Party and the Vatican represented a type of axis of evil, both pushing to impose antiquated religious teachings on everyone else. Pope Francis has taken a step back from the dark side in recent interviews, saying the Church should not be “obsessed” with abortion, gay marriage, and contraception. As Jon Stewart points out in the video above, the Pope is no longer on the same page as Republicans, who are obsessed with abortion, gay marriage, and contraception. Will Republicans change? More likely they will follow the lead of Bill O’Reilly in promoting their own alternate religious history to match their alternate history of the United States while promoting their own view of the Constitution.
It would be great if Republicans would take the lead of Pope Francis here. At very least, assuming they do not change their views, could everyone try to stop letting them get away with claiming to support small government and liberty?
If you check out street view on Google Maps at Earlham Green, Greater London Nr5 8DQ, United Kingdom you will see a blue police call box on the left side of the street. Place the mouse near it and then click on the double lines which will appear. This will allow you to enter the TARDIS. You will find that it is smaller on the outside than on the inside. Once inside you will be able to move around the control room. Unfortunately you cannot go further inside the TARDIS but I assume Google Maps will be working on extending their coverage of interior spaces.
Arrow show runner Mark Guggenheim discussed introducing The Flash on Arrow:
“I feel like I’m just following Bilson and DeMeo. Whatever they do, I seem to follow in their footsteps,” Guggenheim laughed. The writer told CBR that from comics to TV, the goal of the “Arrow” production team is to expand out the DC Universe while keeping the tone and feel of their show its own unique story platform.
“Honestly, I’m just excited to help be a part of expanding the DC Universe,” he said. “I think one of the big thing that appeals to me about comics in general is the idea of the shared universe. It’s a lot of fun to be able to do that in television, and growing up one of the things I enjoyed was the ‘Six Million Dollar Man’ and ‘The Bionic Woman’ and the way those two shows would interact with each other. We’re at least a season away from ‘Arrow’ interacting with ‘The Flash,” but the potential for that is really exciting for me.”
Kreisberg, who serves as Guggenheim’s show running partner on “Arrow,” will develop Barry Allen’s character in writing each of those three episodes this season on “Arrow,” and Guggenheim said that is all part of a masterplan that stretches back before their recent run of announcements. “Andrew is taking the lead on ‘The Flash.’ This has been in the works for a while and had been in the works since before Comic-Con. But we made the decision, as these things are announced in a rollout, to take a strategy where we’d announce Black Canary, Bronze Tiger and Brother Blood at Comic-Con. We felt like, ‘That’s a lot for Comic-Con. Let’s save something back for when T.C.A. comes around.’ I want to disabuse anyone of the notion that we decided to do Flash after Comic-Con. We’re just capable of keeping secrets every now and again.”
And overall, the writer wanted to stress that an additional superhero – and one with some more super powers – won’t change the core of what “Arrow” is. In fact, Guggenheim leaned on a comparison with DC’s main competitor to explain how each series will develop over time. “I think a lot of people are justified in asking ‘What does this mean for Arrow in terms of its tone?’ And my answer is that the trick that we have – and this is a challenge we’ve discusses a lot and have an awareness of how to face it head on – is the fact that ‘Arrow’ is like ‘Iron Man’ where ‘The Flash’ will be ‘The Hulk.’ And just as ‘The Hulk’ coming out did not change the tone of the Iron Man movies, ‘The Flash’ will not change the tone of ‘Arrow.’ We’re very cognizant of what ‘Arrow’ is all about, and I think the Marvel movies demonstrate that each piece of a universe can have its own feel. ‘Thor’ is consistent with the tone of Thor while ‘Captain America’ is consistent with the tone of Captain America’s character. ‘Arrow’s’ tone will remain consistent much in the same way, and we are looking forward to expanding our canvass a bit. And judging from the announcement, I think the fans are looking forward to it as well.”
While Barry Allen will be on Arrow for a few episodes, he will not have his superpowers, at least not at the start. Despite not having true superpowers, Arrow does feel like a superhero show, including having the common problem of the hero being just too powerful. I just watched the first season of the show over the past week and found it to be entertaining as long as you ignore the multiple implausible aspects. On Arrow, a person with bow and arrows can easily defeat multiple people with guns. This includes not only Oliver Queen, but two other characters who use the same weapon. Oliver Queen does have fighting skills beyond this weapon. He also has an amazing ability to disappear. Typically when he is surrounded inside a closed area and anyone else would be captured, he gets away with no difficulty or even on-screen explanation. Arrow is not up to the quality of the most impressive new genre shows of the season on regular cable and broadcast television ( such as The Americans, Orphan Black, and Hannibal) but still worth watching.
There were aspects of the writing style of Arrow which makes me confident they will do a good job of gradually introducing characters. Rather than quickly giving an origin and then moving on to the main story, Arrow had flashbacks over the entire season to the island where Oliver Queen was stranded for five years and learned his skills. Rather than immediately introduce the sidekick and those who knew his secret identity, characters were gradually brought into Oliver Queen’s inner circle.
There are also a couple of reasons for Doctor Who fans to watch. John Barrowman is a recurring character all season and Alex Kingston was on a few episodes. I was hoping for the two to interact but that did not occur. Incidentally, most Barrowman fans probably know that Torchwood is an anagram with the same letters as Doctor Who. By coincidence, the name of the television show he appeared in last season is also in Barrowman’s name.
More on crossover characters from other DC comics here.
The Mandarin appears in this deleted scene from Iron Man 3.
I’m glad to see Under the Dome turn more to the mystery of the dome, not that I’m all that confident of a satisfactory resolution. Apparently when they say “the monarch will be crowned” they are speaking of an actual monarch within the small dome. I have read that one of the major differences between recent episodes and the book has been that Big Jim and Junior work together in the book. Last week’s episode may signal a reconciliation between the two.
Last week’s episode of True Blood contained the battle which we might have expected for the season finale. There are still questions. Will Sookie keep her promise to become Warlow’s vampire bride? (I bet she does not). Is the war between humans and vampires now over, or just beginning? Will those vampires who indirectly fed on ferry blood continue to be able to be out in daylight? Is Bill now returning to his normal self? Considering how poor recent seasons of the show had become, it is a good sign that, despite some ongoing problems, the show is now able to maintain interest in such questions.
Homeland writers revealed information on their plans during season two. I’ve been questioning since the end of season one how long they could plausibly continue to have Brody around. The writers may have been thinking the same thing:
Though the show’s creators already copped to plotting an untimely end for Lewis’ character way back in season one, that is until more merciful voices at Showtime prevailed, Gordon admitted that, going into season two, the writers intended to send Brody to the chopping block yet again, and were once more persuaded otherwise by the network. “We had sketched out this plan in the early parts of season two which called for Brody’s demise, which may have been premature, and they asked us to reconsider,” which Gordon credits as “the happy accident of having very good partners.”
If it seemed like a sudden reversal for Carrie to have decided not to leave the country with Brody, it was also a reversal of the writers’ plans:
According to Steihm, who has since left Homeland to run FX drama TheBridge, the writers all wanted Carrie (ClaireDanes) to go with Brody across the border in the season two finale instead of returning to the CIA. In fact, in the first draft, she did. After much debate, they ultimately decided it was more in character for Carrie to stay and carry out her mission with the Agency after helping Brody escape safely to an underground network.
Besides being a great show, Orange Is The New Black has supported science over religious fundamentalism, such as in the scene above with partial transcript below:
Piper: I can’t pretend to believe in something I don’t, and I don’t [believe in this]… I believe in science. I believe in evolution. I believe in Nate Silver, and Neil deGrasse Tyson, and Christopher Hitchens, although I do admit he could be kind of an asshole. I cannot get behind some Supreme Being who weighs in on the Tony awards while a million people get whacked by machetes. I don’t believe a billion Indians are going to hell. I don’t think that we get cancer to learn life lessons. And I don’t believe people die young because God needs another angel. I think it’s just bullshit. And on some level, I think we all know that.
There are a number of reports, along with a denial, that Laura Prepon will be leaving Orange is The New Black to work on a new show. If true, this would leave a major hole in the show. The reports claiming this do say that Prepon will still be present at the start of the season to tie up Alex’s storyline and she will be written out in a way which would allow her to return.
Two of the top television shows premiering in 2013, Orphan Black and Orange Is The New Black, have been combined in this mash-up giving us Orphan Is The New Black.
Fake Sherlock will be going to England in their opening episode. Maybe they will meet the “real” Holmes and Watson of Sherlock. (Ok, probably not). More news on the second season of Elementaryhere.
We expect The Newsroom to mix in major news stories with each episode. Last week they included plot elements reminiscent of other real events from The Today Show botching the editing on George Zimmerman’s 911 tape to the real life release of nude photos from Oliva Munn’s phone. The manner in which World Net Daily reported a rumor without any fact checking also is based on reality, along with being an excellent commentary on the unreliability of WND and the entire right wing noise machine.
William Shatner joins those arguing that Star Trek belongs on television in this interview:
Karl Urban, from the new Star Trek films said that “Star Trek, as envisioned, was about space exploration. And it would be really wonderful to harness the spirit of that and apply it to the next film”. Is that something that you would like to see? A greater focus on discovery in these films.
Shatner: I’m not goona second guess JJ Abrams, he’s a great director and he’s so talented. But I’ll tell you that I am going to the Lowell Observatory in a couple of weeks to deliver a speech that I wrote about Star Trek and its capacity to stir the imaginations of young people.
The idea is, that so many people’s lives have been touched by the imagination of Star Trek and children’s imaginations are so vital to the rest of their lives that… this is an aspect of Star Trek that I’m focused on.
Now let me ask you, trying to bring in new viewers, new younger viewers to expose that world to young kids and teenagers alike and really spur that imagination — is a TV show a more viable vehicle for that? Is it sad that we don’t have something like that right now, a Star Trek TV show that could really seize on the exploration part of the thing that the original series and Next Generation, that those things did?
Shatner: You know, I think you’re right. Because, JJ Abrams has found the key to getting a large audience into the movie theater, and that’s the ride. So you get a lot of the CGI effects, which is the epic movie making aspect of today, whereas in Cecile B. Demille’s time, you had to use real people. Now you don’t need to use real people and you can have infinity for God’s sake.
That’s in order to get you into the theater, because the majesty of the movie is shown by the large screen. But when you get into the small screen, you need stories… entertaining, interesting, vital stories that have a philosophy and also have an excitement about them, so that the viewer stays with it, but recieves the philosophy as a byproduct. Those were the best of Star Trek, those kinds of stories. And that kind of thing, there is always room for that. That kind of imaginative approach that stirs young people into wanting to be connected with science.
Nick Gillespie of Reason had an op-ed in The Washington Post yesterday on Five Myths About Libertarians. Here’s my take on these alleged myths, which generally have some degree of truth but are not necessarily completely true:
1. Libertarians are a fringe band of “hippies of the right.”
The classic description that libertarians who have smoked marijuana is true (even if simplistic) about many but certainly not all. There are libertarians on the left and right, but this doesn’t have as much electoral significance as Gillespie suggests when writing:
Libertarians are found across the political spectrum and in both major parties. In September 2012, the Reason-Rupe Poll found that about one-quarter of Americans fall into the roughly libertarian category of wanting to reduce the government’s roles in economic and social affairs. That’s in the same ballpark as what other surveys have found and more than enough to swing an election.
Looking beyond the likelihood that a Reason poll might tilt the questions and definitions towards such a finding, there are vast differences between right-libertarians and left-libertarians. Sure, if there was a Democratic candidate who is terrible (as very many are) on civil liberties and social issues it is conceivable I might vote for a libertarian Republican for the Senate who might provide a strong voice for some issues I support. Of course this would not include someone like Rand Paul. Left-libertarians see the issues which impact individual liberty far differently from right-libertarians, many of whom don’t even support abortion rights. Left-libertarians disagree with right-libertarians as to the importance of some regulation of the economy, realizing that markets are human inventions which require regulation to function. Many of the left-libertarians who are not thrilled with ObamaCare prefer a single payer system which directly conflicts with the core values of right libertarians. There is simply a huge gap between different people who might be lumped together as libertarians in such a poll.
Left-libertarians and right-libertarians are unlikely to join together to swing an election, but there is hope that the two could exert pressure on both Republicans and Democrats to change some of their policies in areas where the two groups agree.
2. Libertarians don’t care about minorities or the poor.
Few outside the libertarian movement really buy their claims that libertarianism helps the poor. Democratic economic policies may not be libertarian (nor are they socialist) but the historical fact remains that the economy does better under Democrats. As opposed to the right wing view of trickle-down economics, a rising tide under Democrats is more likely to raise all ships. Where this doesn’t work, the social safety-net which libertarians oppose remains necessary. On the other hand I do agree with Gillespie to a degree that there are areas where it would be beneficial to reduce regulations on small business. That said, I run a small business and do manage to survive with all the regulations in place.
Gillespie is right about the drug war, which is largely a war on poor minorities. What other result is possible after you imprison minorities for drug possession, and then release them from prison with a criminal record which makes it very difficult to ever get a job?
3. Libertarianism is a boys’ club.
He is right here. There have been prominent libertarians among libertarian intellectual leaders. I have known female libertarians. They do exist.
4. Libertarians are pro-drug, pro-abortion and anti-religion.
As I mentioned above, it is a favorable characteristic that libertarians oppose the drug war (which is not the same as supporting drug use). Having thirty percent of libertarians opposing abortion rights is a negative.
Saying any political group is anti-religion is likely to be fallacious. Republicans have often claimed Democrats are anti-religion but the percentage of atheists among Democrats is fairly low (even if higher than among Republicans). The difference is that liberals who are religious see religion far differently than conservatives, and do not have the desire to use government to impose their religious views upon others.
Some libertarians are quite hostile to religion. Ayn Rand (who didn’t actually consider herself part of the libertarian movement) has writings as hostile towards religion as to socialism (which in her mind would include the views of Democrats). On the other hand, there are some called libertarians such as Ron Paul and Rand Paul who support many of the views of the religious right, and whose philosophy is not one I would consider to be pro-freedom. I have discussed Ron Paul’s anti-freedom views at length here. People of the old right such as Ron Paul also carry much of their baggage including racism, creating further problems when considering libertarians and minorities.
5. Libertarians are destroying the Republican Party.
On the one hand Republicans do need a reboot in their ideas. It is a good sign when some Republicans join some Democrats on issues such as opposing violations of privacy rights from NSA surveillance programs. On the other hand, opposing all government activity regardless of importance just pulls Republicans further from mainstream views.
The religious version of the Get Out Of Jail Free card is indulgences to reduce one’s time spent in purgatory. In the middle ages some from the church would sell this for large sums of money. The Vatican is now trying to be more modern:
In its latest attempt to keep up with the times the Vatican has married one of its oldest traditions to the world of social media by offering “indulgences” to followers of Pope Francis’ tweets.
The church’s granted indulgences reduce the time Catholics believe they will have to spend in purgatory after they have confessed and been absolved of their sins.
The Vatican isn’t stopping with Twitter. They plan to use other social media such as having a Facebook page and using Pinterest. How much time off from purgatory does one get for being Pope Francis’ Facebook friend? Are their rewards for posting pictures of the Pope on Pinterest?
If you believe some people, God takes as great an interest in the Republican Party as he does in Notre Dame football. The Washington Post described how John Boehner managed to remain in power despite opposition in his own party:
Barely 36 hours after the caustic New Year’s Day vote, Boehner faced a coup attempt from a clutch of renegade conservatives. The cabal quickly fell apart when several Republicans, after a night of prayer, said God told them to spare the speaker.
Boehner’s opponents might have remembered that God’s support for Boehner as Speaker does not necessarily preclude his support for additional people to move on to be Speaker. Before the last election, God wanted Herman Cain, Rick Santorum, Michele Bachmann, and Rick Perry to run for president.
I actually find this more disturbing than a politician telling the public that God wants them to run. Perhaps they might pick up some votes, but we hope that the candidate doesn’t really believe this. In the case of the Republican revolt against Boehner, it appears we actually had members of Congress change how they voted for Speaker because either they believed God told them to spare Boehner or because they believed others when told that this is God’s will.
So this is what conservatives mean by family values?
Responding to a question from a viewer, Robertson said that married men “have a tendency to wander” and it is the spurned wife’s job to focus on the positive and make sure the home is so enticing, he doesn’t want to stray.
“I’ve been trying to forgive my husband for cheating on me,” the viewer writes. “We have gone to counseling, but I just can’t seem to forgive, nor can I trust. How do you let go of the anger? How do you trust again?”
While Robertson’s co-host hedged on the question, calling forgiveness “difficult” and spousal infidelity “one of the ultimate betrayals,” Robertson got right to the point.
“Here’s the secret,” the famous evangelical said. “Stop talking the cheating. He cheated on you, well, he’s a man.”
The wife needs to focus on the reasons she married her spouse, he continued.
“Does he provide a home for you to live in,” Robertson said. ‘Does he provide food for you to eat? Does he provide clothes for you to wear? Is he nice to the children… Is he handsome?”
And some people were surprised that Mark Sanford was reelected in a Republican district.
In related news, The Hill reports that John Edwards is hitting the speaking circuit, although they only mention one event. He will address PMP Marketing’s annual client retreat in Orlando. I doubt liberals will have much interest in hearing more form him, but perhaps he can start speaking to evangelicals. The religious right probably would have no problem forgiving Edwards for cheating on his wife, but they would have difficulty forgiving him for running with John Kerry.
It may be a new year, but we have the same old right wing paranoia, as is seen in several stories today. First there is the warning in an email from the American Family Association (via Think Progress) that within 50 years Christians will be treated like African Americans during the Jim Crow era:
What will religion look like in the year 2060?
Conservative Christians will be treated as second class citizens, much like African Americans were prior to civil rights legislation in the 1960s.
Family as we know it will be drastically changed with the state taking charge of the children beginning at birth.
Marriage will include two, three, four or any number of participants. Marriage will not be important, with individuals moving in and out of a “family” group at will.
Churchbuildings will be little used, with many sold to secular buyers and the money received going to the government.
Churches will not be allowed to discuss any political issues, even if it affects the church directly.
Tax credit given to churches and non-profit organizations will cease.
Christian broadcasting will be declared illegal based on the separation of church and state. The airwaves belong to the government, therefore they cannot be used for any religious purpose.
We will have, or have had, a Muslim president.
Cities with a name from the Bible such as St. Petersburg, Bethlehem, etc. will be forced to change their name due to separation of church and state.
Groups connected to any religious affiliation will be forced out of health care. Health centers get tax money from the state, making it a violation of church and state.
Get involved! Sign THE STATEMENT.
Donald E. Wildmon
Think Progress pointed out that such extremism has been common among the AFA:
As absurd as they may be, these 2060 predictions may not even rank among the AFA’s most extreme ideas. The group’s spokesman has called for kidnapping the children of same-sex couples through a modern-day “Underground Railroad” system. When one man heeded this advice and aided a woman in kidnapping the daughter of a lesbian woman, the group advised him to flout American laws and flee the country. AFA also organizes against any individual or company that shows the slightest tolerance for LGBT people, including Office Depot, Urban Outfitters, Home Depot, JC Penney, and Google.
Some additional examples of right wing paranoia in the news and blogs:
Wisconsin state Senator Glenn Grothman has issued a press release waging a War on Kwanzaa, which he describes as a fake holiday aimed at dividing blacks and whites. He also says
“Of course, almost no black people today care about Kwanzaa — just white left-wingers who try to shove this down black people’s throats in an effort to divide Americans,” Grothman said. “Irresponsible public school districts such as Green Bay and Madison … try to tell a new generation that blacks have a separate holiday than Christians.”
Grothman adds Karenga “didn’t like the idea that Christ died for all of our sins, so he felt blacks should have their own holiday — hence, Kwanzaa.”
In the National Review, Kevin Williamson argues that nearly everyone calling for gun control either doesn’t understand or refuses to address the actual purpose of the 2nd Amendment. They talk, he says, as if there’s no legitimate reason for an American to have military grade weapons, as if the 2nd Amendment protects mere hunting and home security. “The purpose of having citizens armed with paramilitary weapons is to allow them to engage in paramilitary actions,” Williamson writes. “There is no legitimate exception to the Second Amendment for military-style weapons, because military-style weapons are precisely what the Second Amendment guarantees our right to keep and bear. The purpose of the Second Amendment is to secure our ability to oppose enemies foreign and domestic, a guarantee against disorder and tyranny.”
Walter E. Williams makes a similar argument in a Townhall column. “There have been people who’ve ridiculed the protections afforded by the Second Amendment, asking what chance would citizens have against the military might of the U.S. government,” he writes. “Military might isn’t always the deciding factor. Our 1776 War of Independence was against the mightiest nation on the face of the earth — Great Britain. In Syria, the rebels are making life uncomfortable for the much-better-equipped Syrian regime. Today’s Americans are vastly better-armed than our founders, Warsaw Ghetto Jews and Syrian rebels. There are about 300 million privately held firearms owned by Americans. That’s nothing to sneeze at. And notice that the people who support gun control are the very people who want to control and dictate our lives.”
Beyond the absurdity of thinking they can, or should, take on the United States militarily, Conor pointed out the conservative inconsistency in backing Second Amendment solutions while they “actively oppose so many other important attempts to safeguard liberty.”
Finally (for the purposes of this post–conservative paranoia extends much further), Amanda Marcotte links the belief of many conservatives that Hillary Clinton faked her concussion to avoiding testimony with other forms of wingnuttery and conspiracy theories:
It’s worth noting that most conspiracy theorists identify as “skeptics”, but of course they’re doing the opposite of skepticism, which requires evidence to support extraordinary and implausible claims, such as the claim that hundreds of people could come together to help Secretary Clinton fake a series of illnesses without a single person blowing the whistle. Remember: Bill Clinton couldn’t even keep the lid on an affair that had only two witnesses to the actual acts of it. Althouse may feel entitled to full information on demand of any Clinton body part she desires, but that doesn’t actually mean doctors have to violate federal law to give it to her.
Of course, wingnuttery nowadays is entirely dependent on the asinine belief that widespread conspiracies are a daily occurrence. These folks believe that thousands of scientists worldwide have been in cahoots for decades to perpetuate the false claim that global warming is real for no other reason than a vague hatred of capitalism, and that not one has ever thought to blow the whistle on this evil scheme. Marshaling the State Department and the staff of a major hospital into a conspiracy theory seems like tiddlywinks compared to that.
But riddle me this, wingnuts: If Secretary Clinton is such an evil mastermind that she can repeatedly bend so many people to her will with full confidence that not a one will ever blow the whistle, why couldn’t she just get up and say whatever the hell she wants under oath if she did testify? Seems like a conspiracy of one would be easier to pull off than repeated faked hospitalizations. Why do you believe someone who would supposedly create one elaborate scheme after another to avoid testifying would suddenly start spilling truths only she knows under oath? Do you believe that taking an oath is like a magic spell that causes the person who did it to be incapable of lying? (Not that I think she has anything to lie about, honestly, just curious what the fuck they think is going on here.) If that’s so, why did you demand that Bill Clinton be impeached for perjury?
While the American right wing and Fox are whining about nonsense in the United State (appealing to the need of conservatives to feel like a victim) it turns out there really is a war on Christmas–in Saudi Arabia:
Saudi religious police stormed a house in the Saudi Arabian province of al-Jouf, detaining more than 41 guests for “plotting to celebrate Christmas,” a statement from the police branch released Wednesday night said.
The raid is the latest in a string of religious crackdowns against residents perceived to threaten the country’s strict religious code.
The host of the alleged Christmas gathering is reported to be an Asian diplomat whose guests included 41 Christians, as well as two Saudi Arabian and Egyptian Muslims. The host and the two Muslims were said to be “severely intoxicated.”
The guests were said to have been referred to the “respective authorities.” It is unclear whether or not they have been released since.
The kingdom, which only recognizes Islamic faith and practice, has in the past banned public Christmas celebrations, but is ambiguous about festivities staged in private quarters.
Saudi religious police are known to detain residents of the kingdom at whim, citing loose interpretations of Sharia and public statements by hardline religious leaders to justify crackdowns.
Saudi Arabia’s head mufti Sheikh Abdel Aziz bin Abdullah had previously condemned “invitations to Christmas or wedding celebrations.”
A two party system will often leave voters with no choice but to support a party which they fundamentally disagree with in some areas. Gay Republicans have been a common topic of discussion. Hopefully this election year will lead to more questions as to how a middle class person could vote Republican. Today Friendly Atheist looked at atheists who vote Republican, supporting a party which hates them. While the post is generally right in questioning how any atheist could vote Republican, the post began with a false premise:
Mind you, I’m not saying there’s anything strange about being an atheist conservative, or at least an atheist fiscal conservative. Belief in limited government, low taxes, strong defense, a hard line on immigration, and any number of other conservative beliefs are 100% compatible with atheism. It’s normal that such atheists wouldn’t dream of voting Democratic.
Lower taxes–only for the ultra-wealthy. Most people will pay lower taxes under the Democrats than Republicans.
Limited government–a party which supports increased government intrusion in the lives of individuals is hardly the supporter of limited government. Besides, the biggest growth in government in recent years has occurred under the Republicans.
Strong defense–compare Obama’s successes against al Qaeda versus Bush’s failure. Going to war against the wrong country does not provide a strong defense.
Hard line on immigration–ok that one goes to the Republicans. Nobody surpasses them in promoting fear and hatred of others.
There are many strong reasons why atheists would not vote for Republicans. These same arguments also would apply to secular religious individuals who respect separation of church and state. While not all Republicans hold all these views, they are common in the party. These include opposition to abortion rights, support for teaching evolution in the schools, opposition to contraception, opposition to gay rights, support for school prayer, support tax breaks for religious institutions, and the belief held by many Republicans that atheists should not hold public office.
There are essentially two things which Republicans really do support in office (as opposed to their rhetoric): 1) Reducing taxes on the ultra-wealthy (while being perfectly willing to increase taxes on the middle class and increase the deficit), and 2) Allowing the religious right to impose their views on the country as a means of buying their votes. This hardly leaves any good reason for an atheist to vote Republican, but a tremendous number of people (most not being atheists) do vote Republican based upon their rhetoric as opposed to what they actually do in office.
Open access to knowledge — the ability to fact check your pastors and imams and rabbis — is a death knell for religion as we know it, and the Internet is only hastening the process. (I focus on Christianity in this piece because it has the largest Web presence in the United States.)
It wasn’t long ago when statements made in a pulpit were simply assumed to be true. Now, a child with an iPhone in the pew can find ample evidence contradicting whatever the men of God are saying. That “true story” your pastor is telling? Snopes.com debunked it long ago. Gay marriage is destructive, he says? Thousands of YouTube videos made by gays and lesbians in love — as well as other Christians — can attest otherwise. Evolution is a liberal conspiracy? TalkOrigins.org will show you how to respond to every argument on the Creationist side. Abstinence-only sex education is working? Not according to the new scientific study you just read.
The web might not be totally killing off religion, but it certainly is dangerous to fundamentalism. It comes as no surprise that there is a strong connection between religious fundamentalism and conservatism. Both groups based their views on religion and ideology and ignore facts which contradict their views.
Last night’s primaries, occurring after Rick Santorum left the race, turned out to give pretty much the same picture as when there was more of a contest: Mitt Romney will be the nominee, but many Republicans would prefer to vote for someone else. Smart Politics points out the weakness of Romney’s victories:
Over the last 40 years there have been nearly 80 contests in which the presumptive Republican nominees played out the string after their last credible challenger exited the race.
In every one of these contests, the GOP frontrunner won at least 60 percent of the vote, even when ex- and long-shot candidates remained on the ballot.
But on Tuesday, Romney won only 56 percent of the vote in Delaware and 58 percent in Pennsylvania, home to Rick Santorum who dropped out on April 10th.
While Romney avoided the embarrassment of winning with a mere plurality, never has a presumptive nominee won a primary contest with such a low level of support at this stage of the race with his chief challenger no longer actively campaigning.
Clearly the author doesn’t consider either Newt Gingrich or Ron Paul to be a credible challenger, and the assumption looks valid. Even Newt Gingrich has realized this, dropping out of the race. While Ron Paul’s chances at winning are still the same as at any other point in time, zero, it will be interesting to see if he manages to receive more primary votes as the last candidate standing, allowing him to take a larger block of delegates to the convention than would otherwise occur.
Jimmy Carter says that, while he would prefer Obama, he would feel comfortable with Romney:
“I’d rather have a Democrat but I would be comfortable — I think Romney has shown in the past, in his previous years as a moderate or progressive… that he was fairly competent as a governor and also running the Olympics as you know. He’s a good solid family man and so forth, he’s gone to the extreme right wing positions on some very important issues in order to get the nomination. What he’ll do in the general election, what he’ll do as president I think is different.”
I would refer Carter to yesterday’s post on this subject. There is certainly a reasonable chance that Romney is more moderate than he now claims to be. It is really impossible to tell what opinions Romney has, or if he even has any, considering the way he can sound sincere while taking either side of any issue. Unfortunately Romney has painted himself into a “severely conservative” corner and will have difficulty moving out. Even should he prefer more moderate positions, it is hard to see him resisting the wishes of a far right wing Congress, which is the most likely result should conditions in the fall favor a Romney victory.
It is clearly far too early to predict who will win. Polls now favor Obama, but they can change by November. I am encouraged by Obama’s strength in most of the battleground states, although he is likely to lose some states he won in 2008. Republicans who were encouraged by a narrow Romney lead in Gallup’s daily tracking poll will not want to see that Obama has jumped to a seven point lead. I suspect that this is more a measure of the uncertainty among many voters as opposed to a major change in positions, but does emphasize the weakness of Romney as a candidate.
Gallup has also found that the usual partisan breakdown along religious lines still holds in a race between Obama and Romney:
Mitt Romney leads Barack Obama by 17 percentage points, 54% to 37%, among very religious voters in Gallup’s latest five-day presidential election tracking average. Obama leads by 14 points, 54% to 40%, among the moderately religious, and by 31 points, 61% to 30%, among those who are nonreligious.
If this is viewed purely based upon religion, the results might not make any sense considering Obama’s religious views. There are two additional factors in play. Many Republicans are still fooled by the attacks from the right wing noise machine, with a meaningful number still believing Obama is a Muslim. The other factor is that the concern among many on the religious right is not whether a candidate is religious but whether they will use government to impose their religious views upon others. In this case, perhaps the religious right has a better understanding of the outcome of a Romney presidency than Jimmy Carter shows.
This would make more sense than the current motto.
Trusting in science, as a method, has the advantage that if wrong it is self-correcting and accepts change as new information is discovered or if it doesn’t hold up to testing. Scientists might not always be right, but the alternative is going with people who just pull “facts” out of their ass, like creationists, global warming deniers, theologians, and Republicans. (I realize there is redundancy in that list).