The Equation

Now, this is the kind of math I can really get behind:

The New Atheists + modern biblical scholarship = infidel.

That’s courtesy of a former evangelical and creationist.  Here’s how he discovered that equation:

I tried to rebuild my faith in the Bible by reading all the Christian apologetics I could get my hands on, by heavyweight evangelicals like Michael Licona, William Lane Craig, J.P. Moreland, and popular writers like Josh McDowell and Lee Strobel.
While I was doing this, I was also reading the New Atheists. Some friends and I had been discussing atheism, when one of them said to me, “You’re very intelligent, and you always want evidence for everything. Why aren’t you an atheist?” So I decided for the first time to let the atheists state their case. Dawkins was rather disappointing, but Harris’s End of Faith was devastating. I tried burying myself in apologetics as an antidote, but then I came across critical biblical scholar Bart Ehrman. I started reading about the Bible instead of just reading the Bible. I read scholars’ explanations for the contradictions and discrepancies filling the Bible. Soon my faith was all but destroyed. The New Atheists + modern biblical scholarship = infidel.

Welcome to the fold, my dear anonymous atheist!  When you’re ready for your coming-out party, please do consider the cantina.  Place hasn’t seen a good celebration in too long!

He’s got me thinking deconversion stories.  My equation was rather different, as there were no New Atheists rattling round at the time.  But the day a woman stood up in our church to testify that God healed her radio was the day I lost my faith.  I couldn’t comprehend an all-knowing, all-loving God choosing to fix some nitwit’s radio while war, famine, and other such horrors raged through the world.  Then I went on to study comparative religion, and realized none of them had a monopoly on the Truth, so I started calling myself agnostic.  I studied science, which showed me we don’t need gods to make the world go round, and everything makes perfect sense without them.  Then I took a quiz about my God Delusion Index, and had to admit I was an atheist.

So: (Crazy Radio Lady + Comparative Religion) x Science + GDI Quiz = Total Fucking Infidel.  And how.

No wonder so many religions don’t want you learning about the world, eh?

I Love My CongressCritter: PWNing Polluters Edition

No dose of health care reform stupidity today, my darlings.  I refuse to take my medicine.  I’d rather cheer on my Rep instead.

First, he delivered the spanking that Jon Stewart should have done:

During today’s forged letter investigation hearing in the House, Rep. Jay Inslee (D-WA) rebuked the authors of SuperFreakonomics for participating in a “continuing effort to deceive the American public” on the science of climate change. Inslee condemned the coal industry’s effort to “hoodwink, defraud, and deceive the American public now to cover up the toxicity to the world environment” of global warming pollution. Inslee then pivoted to authors Steven Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner, criticizing them for “absolute deception” in their work on global warming:

The second thing I want to note is this is not the only continuing effort to deceive the American public. I want to note a book called Freakonomics, or SuperFreakonomics, that some authors wrote, that basically said or asserted we don’t have to control CO2, we’ll just pump sulfur dioxide up into the atmosphere and that will solve the problem. They purported to quote a scientist named Ken Caldeira from Stanford who’s one of the predominant researchers in ocean acidification to suggest that Dr. Caldeira didn’t think we should control CO2. Which is an absolute deception. Dr. Caldeira I’ve spoken to personally. He’s told me we have to solve ocean acidification. You can’t solve ocean acidification without controlling CO2 and yet people are still trying to write books to deceive the American public. And we ought to blow the whistle on them, we’re blowing the whistle on one today, we’ll continue to do it, because ultimately science is going to triumph in this discussion.

Then he delivered a sound spanking to Bonner & Ass.:

Now Inslee is pressing Steve Miller of the ACCCE to admit that his group is responsible in part for the fraud perpetrated by Congress. Inslee reads the phone script that Bonner sued, on ACCCE’s behalf, to solicit support for the coal lobby’s campaign. (We posted the document here.) It suggests that electricity bills will double if global warming legislation passes.
Inslee is making clear how misleading the phone script was, calling it “wholly wrong and fraudulent.”
Bonner now points out that this was a training document for callers, rather than the script itself. Same difference, says Inslee.
Now Miller of the ACCCE is saying the doubling of rates issue came from Bonner, and ACCCe had no idea Bonner was sayig that. To which Inslee says that Miller reminds him of the guy who hires a hit-man and tells him, don’t tell me if you use a knife or a gun.

Beauty!

Of course, the shysters perjured themselves in front of him:

As the Wonk Room’s Brad Johnson has reported, ACCCE President and CEO Steve Miller lied under oath when he told the committee that his organization has never opposed clean energy legislation.
Later during the hearing, Rep. Jay Inslee (D-WA) asked Miller about the purpose of ACCCE. Miller replied that in addition to grassroots lobbying (astroturfing) and state-based lobbying, his front group has only began federal lobbying in “April of 2008″ in its “16 year history”:

INSLEE: Your entire goal of your organization is to influence Congress. Is that right?

MILLER: We do work at the state level, we do regulatory matters, we do general education to the public. So, the federal, direct federal lobbying has only been part of our portfolio since April of 2008 with a 16 year history of the organization.

[snip]
Miller’s claim is another example of the coal industry’s perjury under oath. In a six month period of 2007 alone, ACCCE, under its previous name of Americans for Balanced Energy Choices, spent $2,660,000 lobbying the federal government. Senate disclosures show that the organization has spent millions more lobbying since 2001.

This may be why Jay decided a little poetic justice might be in order:

Rep. Inslee is now telling Steve Miller of ACCCE that as “penance” for the forged letter fiasco, his group should tell Sen. James Inhofe that we need to take serious efforts to limit global warming legislation.
And that they should run an ad that says at the top: “We need CO2 regulation in America and we need it fast.”
Miller, unsurprisingly, is unwiling [sic] to do this.

Love that little dig at Inhofe.  Love love love.  But I love the fire he lit under Steve Miller’s arse even more.

Yup.  Still proud to be represented by Rep. Inslee.  Especially when he’s on the warpath.

Happy Hour Discurso

Today’s opining on the public discourse.

You know, Cons have been throwing a sustained tantrum since January 20th, 2009 (they started screaming and pounding their fists before that, but let’s just simplify a bit).  Sometimes, they raise the volume, maybe start throwing things and creating more of a ruckus because the screaming and fist-pounding just isn’t getting them the negative attention they crave.  They’re behaving like spoiled rotten brats, which is why they get 0 respect here in the cantina.

The respect meter just dropped into the negative numbers:

Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chair Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) intends to move on its climate change bill on Tuesday. The legislation, championed by Boxer and Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), has drawn some support from Republicans, and would clear the committee easily — Dems enjoy a 12-7 majority on the panel.
So, to scuttle the legislation, committee Republicans have decided not to show up on Tuesday.

Republicans on the Senate Environment and Public Works committee will boycott the mark-up of the Kerry-Boxer climate bill if Chairwoman Barbara Boxer tries to take it up next week.
The seven Republican members on the committee met on the Senate floor last night and unanimously agreed to a boycott, according to Republican aides.

Boxer doesn’t need their votes, but she does need at least two of the seven to actually be in the room and establish a quorum. The boycott will make that impossible, at least for now.
The Politico report added that the boycott is “being led by the two most moderate Republican members on the committee: Sens. George Voinovich of Ohio, and Lamar Alexander of Tennessee.” That seems a little hard to believe — Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), the ranking Republican on the committee, began orchestrating the boycott a week ago.

You know, there is a very simple solution to all this yelling, screaming, fist-pounding, breath-holding bullshit from these raging infants: quit.  Just quit.  If you Cons don’t want to do your fucking jobs, fucking quit.  Go hike the Appalachian Trail (if you’re not already doing so).  Get the fuck out of D.C.  Let the adults take care of business, because you fuckwits are obviously incapable of it.  If you’re an attention whore, do what Tom Delay did and get yourselves on a reality show.  Perform stunts.  Play pretend grassroots protesters with the Teabaggers.  Whatever you want.  Just get the fuck out of government so that this country can get on with its business.

Moving on, then.  I’d say we need a jolly good laugh, and lo and behold, here comes Pat Robinson raring to provide one:

Yesterday on the Christian Broadcasting Network, televangelist Pat Robertson aired a segment slamming President Obama for signing the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act into law. Extending hate crimes protection to the gay and transgendered community, Robertson argued, was a targeted attack on homophobic Christians like himself. Robertson said the new law is the latest example of a “noose” tightening around “the necks of Christians.” Later in the segment, he implied Democrats in Congress were “opposed to many of the fundamental Christian beliefs”:

PAT ROBERTSON: The noose has tightened around the necks of Christians to keep them from speaking out on certain moral issues. And it all was embodied in something called the Hate crimes bill that President Obama said was a major victory for America. I’m not sure if America was the beneficiary. […] We have voted into office a group of people who are opposed to many of the fundamental Christian beliefs of our nation.

Nononono, Pat.  They’re opposed to the fundamentalist Christian beliefs of our nation’s frothing fucktards.  There’s an important difference, there, which you’re a little too frothing fundie to appreciate.  And, my dear dumbshit, the only way “the noose has tightened around the necks of Christians” with this legislation is if, instead of merely speaking out about your abhorrent viewpoints, you decide to back that up with murder, assault, or some other act that’s not merely speech, but violence.  You can continue spewing all the poison you want, noose-free.

And no, Pat, allowing saner people to tell you what a disgusting piece of shit you are is not a noose, either.  That’s free speech, that is.  You really must see a therapist about this noose fetish of yours.

Aren’t they precious when they’re being all paranoid and hyperbolic over nothing?

Speaking of getting all het up over nothing, check out Liz Cheney foaming at the mouth:

President Obama paid his respects to fallen U.S. soldiers yesterday at Dover Air Force, as flag-draped coffins returned home from Afghanistan. Even some of the president’s conservative detractors were willing to show some decencyNational Review‘s Peter Hegseth, for example, called it “a classy move.” A blog called Right Wing Nut House added, “[T]he emotion that animated [Obama’s] face during this solemn, heart rending ceremony showed that he understands his responsibilities.”
Some right-wing voices were far less gracious.

Liz Cheney called out President Obama for his early-morning trip to honor fallen soldiers arriving at Dover Air Force Base yesterday, suggesting President Bush honored America’s heroes with a bit more class than his successor.

Cheney, on Fox News Radio’s John Gibson Show yesterday: “I think that what President Bush used to do is do it without the cameras. And I don’t understand sort of showing up with the White House Press Pool with photographers and asking family members if you can take pictures. That’s really hard for me to get my head around…. It was a surprising way for the president to choose to do this.”

Actually, what’s surprising is how pathetic Liz Cheney’s sense of decency has become.
President Bush didn’t used to “do it without the cameras”; President Bush didn’t used to do it at all. After seven years of the war in Afghanistan, Bush didn’t greet returning caskets once. He didn’t even want journalists to take photographs of the events, fearing that the images may turn public opinion against the war.
What’s more, President Obama didn’t “show up with the White House Press Pool.” The trip was not announced in advance — the White House wasn’t seeking publicity — and only a “small contingent” of journalists were allowed to attend. In fact, “most of the event was closed to media.”

I guess when you’ve been lying so much for so long, it just becomes a habit.

I’d take her to the woodshed further, but our own dear Thinking Brain Dog has performed that task admirably.

We began with an outrage, and we shall end with an outrage.  It is past bloody time to kick Joe Lieberman right the fuck out of the Dem caucus:

After joining with Republicans this week in a promise to filibuster health reform if a public option is included, Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) tells ABC News that he plans on campaigning for some GOP candidates in the 2010 elections:

I probably will support some Republican candidates for Congress or Senate in the elections in 2010. I’m going to call them as I see them.
There’s a hard core of partisan, passionate, hardcore Republicans. There’s a hard core of partisan Democrats on the other side. And in between is the larger group, which is people who really want to see the right thing done, or want something good done for this country and them — and that means, sometimes, the better choice is somebody who’s not a Democrat.

Lieberman also said it remains an “open question” whether he will seek the Democratic nomination when he runs for re-election in 2012.

I don’t care what pheromones he’s spraying himself with.  I don’t care how powerful his man-musk is.  I could give two shits how lovestruck Reid et al are over him.  He wants to go play with Cons, he can go play with Cons – but he can’t stay in the Dem caucus while he does it.

Looks like the only one who appreciates that fact is Sen. Tom Harkin:

Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) doesn’t have a whole lot to gain from siding with Republicans against health care reform. Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), however, offered some subtle speculation this week about something Lieberman still has to lose.

“[Lieberman] still wants to be a part of the Democratic Party although he is a registered independent,” Harkin said. “He wants to caucus with us and, of course, he enjoys his chairmanship of the [Homeland Security] committee because of the indulgence of the Democratic Caucus. So, I’m sure all of those things will cross his mind before the final vote.”

To be sure, this is hardly an explicit threat. But it is an instance in which a powerful Democratic senator raised the specter of connecting Lieberman’s vote on reform and his role as a committee chairman and caucus member.

A little something for Lieberman to have “cross his mind.”

They need to see if Harkin has some sort of Lieberman antibody, and develop a vaccine.

Attention Readers Who Know Greece

If you’re from Greece, have been to Greece, or know someone who knows about Greece and will babble about it to an author, I need you desperately.

I’m looking for information on the geology of Chios.  Even if you’re not a geology buff, you can help.  I need to know which bits have high cliffs, which bits slope more gently down to the sea, and which bits are sort of flat.  What kind of rocks are there?  What’s it like?  Pictures, travel memories, knowledge of the actual geology – anything’s welcome at this point.

If you’ve been to Santorini and can tell me about that, that would be a bonus.

Get in touch with me in the comments or email me at dhunterauthor at yahoo dot com.  There could be a dinner for thee if we ever meet IRL.  Definitely will get your name in the credits to my magnum opus even if not.  And you will be my hero/heroine.

Thankee kindly, my darlings!

Damn Cat

As all of you know by now, I’ve been attempting to devote between 4-5 hours a night to fiction writing.

The cat’s had other ideas:

I have a laptop.  Do you know how hard it is to fit a feline and a laptop in one small lap?  And she’s an immovable force.  NP asked how something so cute could be so homicidal.  There’s only one answer: “She bites.  She’s a biter.”

Thank you, Austin Powers.

When she’s not monopolizing my lap, she’s distracting me with terminal cute or bizarre activities.  This is the sight that greeted my eyes when I looked up from the computer screen the other night:

Grate.  All I have is the arse-end of a cat.  And just what the hell is she doing?  There’s nothing interesting on the porch.

A few seconds later, the drapes began wriggling, and all became clear:

She thinks I put up drapes specifically for her own entertainment.  She dives into them, starts batting them, then takes off for a mad gallop down the hallway, as if all the window treatments in Hades were after her.

Right now, she’s playing Peaceful Little Angel Kitty on the sofa, so I guess I’d best take advantage of the quiet to get some work done…