Sunday, May 29, 2005

Securing The Homeland Against The Sith

Apparently, there are no more terrorists to be tracked down, because this week Homeland Security agents decided to redirect their efforts away from things like "Homeland Security," and towards busting people for illegally downloading copies of "Star Wars: Episode 3-Revenge of the Sith."

Seriously.

I'm so glad the war on terror has been won...I only fear that begun the clone wars have.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Schwarzenegger Actually Had Product Placement in Political Ad

I don't really need to add anything to this story about a political ad by Governor Schwarzenegger:

The TV ad, released in May, features Schwarzenegger talking to people in a lunchroom, and places Pepsi and Arrowhead Water in prominent spots next to the governor for one-third of the ad.

Donors connected to Pepsi Co. and Arrowhead Water's parent company, Nestle, gave the governor a total of $279,800 in campaign contributions. Also recognizable on-screen are Ruffles, Sun Chips, Cheetos and a SoBe Beverage, all brands owned by Pepsi.

French Fries Renamed With No Justification.

Walter Jones, the Republican congressman from North Carolina who became a hero when he stood up to the terrorists by demanding that "french fries" be renamed "freedom fries" (take that, bin Laden!) is now admitting that we went to war "with no justification." This is interesing not merely because someone in government is actually making a statement that is demonstrably true, but because Mr. Jones, in focussing on things like U.S. policy in regard to rationales for war, instead of things like the renaming of french fries, is actually doing the job he was elected to do.

Science Now Permitted In Science Textbooks

Cobb County, Georgia, should expect to be destroyed by floods and plagues of locusts and meteors now that they've been forced to remove stickers from the front of high school textbooks that said "We are stupid and proud of it." I mean "This textbook contains material on evolution. Evolution is a theory, not a fact, regarding the origin of living things. This material should be approached with an open mind, studied carefully, and critically considered."

The sticker removal began on Tuesday in delayed response to the ruling by a federal appeals judge who took the word "judge" seriously. He ruled in January that the stickers violated the principle of the separation of church and state. See, that's because the idea that "evolution" is somehow less factual than any other thing taught in school is founded not on scientific evidence (which would have evolution as one of the most assuredly factual things taught in school) but on a load of crap inspired by the collected mythology of a bunch of semi-literate desert nomads from 1000 B.C.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Rapist Opposed To Birth Control, Enjoying Bush Appointment

It looks like Dr. David Hager, the right-wing Christian misogynist who made some news in the past when Bush nominated him to sit on an FDA committee on reproductive drugs, might not get reappointed.

A little backrgound on Dr. Hager: he doesn't believe women should take any sort of contraceptive. Further, he's written anti-scientific screeds that say a woman should deal with PMS by means of prayer and that the best approach to restoring a woman's health is to restore women to the role of "home economists," which will bring back their "natural rhythms."

More recently, Hager made the news when the FDA overruled the 23-4 vote of its advisory panel in favor of making Plan B, an emergency contraceptive, more easily available. It seems that Dr. Hager, champion of women's rights, had written a memo to the FDA which they chose to follow over the advice of real doctors.

But it's not like Hager didn't have good backing on his position:

"I argued from a scientific perspective, and God took that information, and he used it through this minority report to influence the decision," Hager said. "Once again, what Satan meant for evil, God turned into good."
O, ok, as long as your scientific perspective references God and Satan, I'm sure it's rigorously researched.

Strangely, while Hager slavishly follows God's unwritten and unspoken edict against abortion and contraception, he's not so keen on following the rules against anal rape (to be fair, God comes out in favor of rape a few times as well), an act he committed repeatedly on his drugged wife. This Nation article details the years of abuse he heaped upon his lawful, Christian spouse.

At times, Hager would pretend that he hadn't meant to have forcible anal sex with his wife:

"He would say, 'Oh, I didn't mean to have anal sex with you; I can't feel the difference,'"
The fact that Hager is a gynecologist makes this statement, well, somewhat interesting.

But mostly, he would wait until his wife was unconscious due to the drugs she was taking, and then he'd just show her God's awesome power, prison style.

It's nice to see that this is the man the Bush put in charge of women's reproductive health. Until the Nation article came out, it was generally expected that Hager would be reappointed when his term ran out on June 30th. Surprisingly, now that he's been revealed as a rapist, he won't be back on the panel. You'd think the fact that he prescribes prayer for PMS would be enough to get him kicked off a panel that's supposed to be composed of scientists, but I guess it's all good to believe in magic, as long as you're not raping anyone.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Attack of the People Who Are Afraid of Clones

Apparently basing legislation on the fearsome view of the future provided by "Star Wars Episode 2: Some Shit About Clones," both Massachussetts Governor Mitt Romney and President of the Former United States George W Bush are threatening to kill bills that provide for the possibility of doing fundamental medical research.

In Mass., a bill designed to foster stem cell research is being blocked by the governor, who doesn't understand that an undifferentiated cell mass with no neural tissue can in no way be said to be a person. Similarly, in what was once the White House, semi-president Bush said he would veto any bill that "destroys life in order to save life." Since, again, his definition of life is "undifferentiated cell mass lacking even basic neurons," it's a little hard to imagine what would be allowed under his principles. I guess combat deaths don't count, since, while they do destroy life, they don't actually save life. Also, executions would be fine, since, again, it's destroying life without saving life. But don't you dare try to destroy "life" (herein defined as microscopic blob of protoplasm) in order to save life! The destruction of life must be wanton and senseless if it is to pass the president's high moral standards!

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Bush Maybe Not Quite As Christlike As He Likes To Think

Strangely, while visiting a small Christian college, President Bush received some criticism. And it wasn't about how he hadn't been hard enough on the gays and the Muslims. Rather, a letter from one third of the college's faculty said:

"We believe your administration has launched an unjust and unjustified war in Iraq. As Christians, we are called to be peacemakers and to initiate war only as a last resort,"

Further, and perhaps even stranger,

The letter criticized economic policies that it said favored the wealthy over the poor, and faulted Bush for mixing religion and politics and exhibiting and "intolerance" for others' views.

What makes this so odd is that concern for the poor, and an aversion to violence, are actually parts of Jesus's teachings. While most Christians will not acknowledge this, Jesus is widely considered to be the central figure in Christianity. He's lost a lot of support amongst the faithful lately because he never lobbied against gay-marriage, nor did he say that we should lower taxes on the rich. Thus, he has largely been replaced in American Christianity by the more holy figure of Jerry Falwell.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Religious Fundies' Anti-Science/Anti-Woman Stance Now Joined As One!

Cervical cancer could be virtually eliminated by the use of a new vaccine. However, for reasons which defy reason and would be accessible only to those who believe that a dead carpenter will be stopping by shortly to kill all the gays, religious right elements are trying to stop the use of this vaccine. This is almost too appalling to comment on. I understand that these people think that scientists are out to destroy their way of life by, I don't know, curing diseases and helping the blind to see and lots of other stuff that Jesus used to have a monopoly on, but going out of your way to stop the use of a life saving treatment is just, well, that's why they invented the word "evil."

This Is Not A Religious War, Unless By "Religious War" You Mean "Christian Vs Muslim." Then, Yes, It Is A Religious War.

It turns out that raping women isn't the only thing taught at the Air Force Academy! Now they're also teaching religious intolerance, anti-semitism, and fundemantalist Christianity, according to this AP report, which notes that a special task force is being set up to investigate charges that the school has been taken over by Christian Fundamentalists who preach Jesus's love through the medium of hating jews and gays. With their school-taught anti-semitism and reports of nasty anti-Arab/anti-Muslim behavior by troops in Iraq, I can only imagine what they'd think of these people.

Sorry, Wrong Satanic Number

A recently deciphered stash of ancient papyri indicates that the number of the beast was not 666, but rather 616. Terrible news for all the goth/metal kids who just got big, bloody "666" tattoos, but perhaps good news for the religious right, in that 616 is the area code for Flint, Michigan...home of Michael Moore! Clearly, God kept the real number hidden until such time as the evil Moore appeared, and then revealed it just in time to stop his nefarious plans for Democratic government.

(Special thanks to Dr. Samuel B. Slote for alerting me to the Michael Moore connection!)