Observations and inanities by a second-shift assistant supervisor in the Puppy-Grinding division of the Evil Atheist Conspiracy® (our motto: "Sure it's cruel, but think of the jobs!"), your host, Brent Rasmussen.
Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman is nothing, nothing, I tell you, if not an honest man.
[link] After reading to the class, one student asked Mayor Goodman if he could take one thing with him on a deserted island, what would it be. The Mayor replied that it would be a bottle of gin. And when a student later asked Mayor Goodman what one of his hobbies was, the Mayor said "drinking."
I could really feel good about voting for a guy who I could hang out with in the bar of the Luxor playing video poker and drinking Bombay Sapphire.
You can now setup notifications of new posts, comments, and images. Login, then click "My Account" in your personal menu. You will see a new tab called "My Notify Settings". Click it to enable and setup your notifications for UTI content and comments.
I was watching the end of Terminator 2 last night. You know the part where the once seemingly invincible cop-bot gets knocked into a vat of molten steel? The heartless mechanical monster shrieks and flails madly about in every direction, cycling through all the previous facades to no avail, ends up sporting a hydra head displaying all the prior deceptions at once, and finally fades out still feebly thrashing and dies with it's mouth fixed in a permanent scream ... And metaphorically it reminded me very much of the GOP defenders on the news and the blogosphere the last couple of days discussing Rovegate.
I have installed a couple of new modules. They are the "Image" and the "Image Assist" modules. They work together, basically.
First of all, you need to understand a couple of things about Drupal. Each blog post, each story, each page, each image, is what is called a "node". Think of nodes as discreet little units of content that can be accessed, referred to, linked, and combined in various ways. This is actually a very smart way of programming something. So, Drupal doesn't see any difference at all between an image and a blog post. They are both just nodes to Drupal.
Now, when you click "Create Content" you will be presented with a new content type called "image". Click it to create an image "node" by uploading an image and then submitting it to UTI, just like you would a post.
Then, when you go to write a new blog post, you will see a new little icon at the left-hand lower corner of the "body" textblock. Click it, and a popup window appears and displays all of the images (the image "nodes") that have been previously uploaded. Select one, then scroll to the bottom of the popup window and click the "insert image" button. The code for the thumbnail will be inserted into your new blog post. Write your post and submit it. The new post will contain the thumbnail, and your post text. When a reader clicks the thumbnail, the larger version of the image appears. A reader may also view the original version.
Cross-posted with Tales to Astonish!
I HATE THE "BECAUSE I CAN FEEL HIM" ARGUMENT
by The Retropolitan
INT. Courthouse -- Day
It's the exciting and tense culmination of a several month-long trial. The defendant, one VINCENT Q. FRANCO, sits with his defense team, beads of sweat slowly running down his forehead in the dry, aggressive heat. Across from him is the prosecution's table, seated with three old white men, yellow legal pads on their laps. Their briefcases in front of them, closed, they look like they're ready to make a getaway as soon as the verdict is announced. Behind the players in the trial, the pews of the courtroom are filled to capacity, women fanning themselves and clutching their husbands' arms, old people looking stern and angry, and reporters in the back of the room ready to leap upon everyone the second court is adjourned. The cast assembled, the JUDGE enters with the BAILIFF, who walks over to a side door and lets the jury in. They sit down in their box.
JUDGE (getting right down to business):
This court is now back in session. Mr. Foreman of the jury, have you reached a decision in the case of Mr. Vincent Q. Franco Vs. the State of New York?
The foreman, JUDE A. SMITH, stands reverently.
We have, your honor.
The silence in the room is close to deafening.
Weather concerns and a faulty fuel sensor have scrubbed the Return to Space Mission. I'll live Blog the next launch window and update schedule shortly.
A routine trip to the grocery store a mile away ... and there are one-hundred thousand people clogging my tiny coastal town.
They line the streets, they stand in the parking lots of every business and shop, vehicles are at a virtual standstill on the highways. For a ten mile stretch on US 1 there are tents, RVs, vans, children playing and frolicking, adults sitting in camp chairs talking and playing cards, sipping lemonade.
These are not the premium seats, but the show from here is spectacular nonetheless. These working families, many who dedicated their paltry two weeks of vacation to witness the crucible of discovery, will soon rise to their feet, put down the cards, sandwiches, and glasses. They will wait quietly, at times nervously, with fingers crossed; many heads will be bowed in prayer. With binoculars in hand the adults motion to the kids, even the smallest children sense something is going on. From the aged to the toddler, they strain both ears and eyes at the sliver of green painted on the horizon across the tranquil deep-blue bay ... it is time.
Here's how to vote for a blog post:
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5. Scroll to the bottom of the post, then cast your vote with the "Moderate Post" drop-down box. Vote a post up or down.
When a personal blog post receives 2 votes, it will be promoted to the front page of UTI. This number will probably go up in the next few days, depending on traffic and the volume of posts, but right now is your chance to get on the front page before we make it a little more difficult.
Thanks for being a UTI user, and I really look forward to reading your stuff!
Pharynguloids, Dispatchers, High Ranking Politburo Members, Kossacks, Redstaters, Aliens from across the Cosmos, Pundits of all flavors, Godless Atheists, Self-aware Intelligent Machines and sentient energy or exotic matter constructs, inter-dimensional travelers, religious lunatics, and rational or irrational humans of every stripe ...
WELCOME!!!! We're not angry, we just don't agree with you ...
Unscrewing the Inscrutable is your Free Thought Forum and includes lots of scientists, science students, skeptics, theists, deists, and atheists/agnostics ... Not only do we encourage you to share your opinions (And hopefully your reasoning backed with extensive references and plausible lines of thought) whether you agree or disagree with us or anyone else, we consider ourselves fortunate to have members who do exactly that. Just as anyone is free to write what they fancy (Within liberal limits outlined further below), anyone is free to criticize that content.
If you have a Blog and you like what you see here, consider linking this Introduction to help us launch the new site. Our official rollout date is Wed morning, July 13.
More below the flip
[link] It was unclear who fired the shot that hit the girl, but officers were struggling with the thought that they killed a baby, McDonnell said.
"The officers are taking it very hard," he said. "Anytime you have a baby killed, it takes its toll."
I wouldn't presume to second-guess the officers involved in this, but again I say, "woah." How could you live with something like that, no matter how "justified" it was?
I think this makes a visceral case for non-lethal police weapons, myself. Are they practical at this time? I dunno, but I'll bet that the cops in this incident wish they were.
My guess is that we'll hear nothing out of Rove at all until his lawyers let him say something.
[link] But politically, this is a bombshell. Rove, who has insisted he did not leak Plame's name, had something to do with this effort, even if he didn't "name" her. ( The defense: It all depends on the meaning of the word "leak?") He was attempting to undercut Wilson when he told Cooper that wifey had helped set up Wilson's fact-finding trip to Niger (where Wilson didn't find the facts the administration wanted on Saddam seeking uranium) and that the uranium business could still be true (it wasn't). And didn't the White House promise to fire anyone involved in the leak?
For the time being I have turned off the requirement to register before commenting. However, if you register, you can use the avatar feature and you will be set up with a blog of your own. Our vote threshold is set very low right now, two votes, so if you can get two votes for your personal blog post it'll be automatically promoted to the front page.
What the heck have you got to lose? Heh.
DS and I will be rolling out the new UTI in the next couple of days in a public announcement. We are also creating some FAQ pages to guide new UTI users through the registration, personal blog posting procedures, etc.
To explain what happened - UTI's domain host went down, hard, about 10 or 11 days ago. After valiantly trying to recover the files on the hard drive that UTI was hosted on, our domain host sent us an email telling us that the files were irretrievably gone and could not be recovered.
So, I went out and got another domain host and started from scratch. In many ways it's good to have massive change - it forces an evolution (if you will - hehe) and makes us stronger and better than we were. The old UTI was becoming stagnant and I was looking to change it anyway before the disaster. As a result I was able to create a new community here using a stronger, more stable platform - both in my new host and the Drupal CMS software. It hurt like hell to lose all of that history (since January of 2001!), but now that the hurt is fading, I'm looking towards the future.
So, if you are looking for some of DS' old science and evolution articles here, you won't find them. Sorry. DS crossposted quite a few of them on Kos, though, so you may have some luck there. We're still scouring the internet for any cached copies as well. We'll post them as archives as soon as I can find a Movable Type > Drupal converter.
Please let us know what you think of the new blog, the new community, the new UTI!
(NIGHT. TWO MEN, ON THEIR WAY HOME FROM A BAR. WALKING UNDER A LINE OF STREETLAMPS)
MAN #1: "Say Joe - that shadow, from the streetlight, it looks like, like, Roger Rabbit!"
MAN #2: "What? No way! It looks like Eddie Van Halen, totally, dude."
M1: "Hmnn. Now that I think about it, it does kinda look like Eddie Van Halen. Or Jesus."
M2: "Hehehehe... All praise the shadow of Eddie Van Halen!" (LAUGHING AND BOWING TOWARDS SHADOW)
(CROWD OF CHRISTIAN ZOMBIES SHAMBLE OUT OF THE SHADOWS)
ZOMBIES: "Mrawr! Jesus Shadow! Brains!"
M1: "Jesus Christ!"
M2: (NOT NOTICING ZOMBIES) "Don't you mean Eddie Van Halen, the "Jesus Christ" of rock?"
ZOMBIES: (EAT M1 & M2'S BRAINS)
M1: "Say, now that my brain is gone, that shadow looks exactly like Jesus."
M2: "Praise God!"
[link] EAST CHICAGO | The streetlight casting a shadow that many people say resembles Jesus will no longer shine in the 1400 block of Drummond Street.
East Chicago Police Chief Angelo Machuca called an emergency meeting Sunday morning to recommend the light be turned off in the interest of public safety. Mayor George Pabey agreed.
People have flocked to the site since Wednesday, when a woman first claimed to see the image on the side of a tree. The image is only visible at night when the streetlight near the tree is illuminated.
Oh, tis a black and stormy night here at DarkSyde Manor! A Tropical Gothic Eve courtesy of Atlantic Winds and Coriolis forces befitting the virtual name I give my home. And while I'm tired and my eyes grow heavy, there will be little sleep for me tonight. Forgive me then, and hopefully no one will mind if I do a little reminiscing off topic. As I'm stuck inside here in Florida and can think of nothing significant to write while listening anxiously to the outer winds and rains of far off Dennis as they intermittently howl and blast against the storm shutters.
Let's see ... Ahh the summer of '77. What a glorious time it was for my friends and I. We still roamed the suburban streets on bikes, cars were a year or two in our future. Most of us had been laid and all of us had gotten pretty close but it had only happened once or twice. Innocent still, yet knowledgeable in a way; just on the verge of that first delicious taste of independence without responsibility. How could I have ever known at the start of the summer break that both my savior and matchmaker extraordinaire would be ... Bible Camp?
Lee Ellis is a retired journalist and a former vice president of both CBS and Gannet. He is also seriously ignorant about what's in our country's Constitution.
[link] A few days ago, the majority of the Supreme Court ruled as if it were using the Constitution of France instead of the Constitution of the USA. The French Constitution states that its nation is a secular one, while our Constitution states that we are a nation under God. One would not know this if the majority of the Supreme Court today is to be believed.
No, sorry, Lee old bean, but our Constitution states no such thing. In fact, the only religious reference in our entire Constitution is a prohibition on religious tests for public office. Surprise, surprise, our Constitution is a secular one as well.
This seems like an extremely powerful tool to run a dang blog. Heh.
Test test test test.
[link] Oh, tis a black and stormy night here at DarkSyde Manor! A Tropical Gothic Eve courtesy of Atlantic Winds and Coriolis forces befitting the virtual name I give my home. And while I'm tired and my eyes grow heavy, there will be little sleep for me tonight. Forgive me then, and hopefully no one will mind if I do a little reminiscing off topic, inspired by Brent's 'Lock-in" narrative. As I'm stuck inside here in Florida and can think of nothing significant to write; while listening anxiously to the outer winds and rains of far off Dennis howl and blast against the storm shutters protecting the windows.
It's always a great thing when fellow atheist and critically thinking columnist Robyn E. Blumner has another column out. This time she is taking on the Cobb County, GA School Board and the "evolution is just a theory, not a fact" crowd.
[link] To see what this side is thinking, I recently spent a day watching Christian broadcasting. What struck me most was the emphasis the preachers and talk show hosts placed on the need to get religion into government. They were positively obsessed with it.
These Christian leaders were far less interested in discussing Jesus' teachings than how to get prayer back in public schools. It wasn't good enough that granite statues of the 10 Commandments could occupy every inch of Christian-owned private property; they wanted hulking renderings in courthouses and other government buildings. These shows were not about building better Christians. They were about building a Christian nation.
How right you are, Robyn. I've commented on this very subject myself (here, here, and here) and I find myself in agreement with Robyn. We are most definitely in the midst of a Christian right-wing movement with one foot firmly entrenched in Dominion Theology, the other in historical revisionism ("The Founding Father's meant for this to be a "Christian Nation, you dirty, lying atheists!") heading towards an American Theocracy that will ostensibly prepare us for the second-coming of their god-thing.
The "Magic Man In The Sky Made It All With Magic" theory, sometimes referred to as "Intelligent Design", is simply a wedge issue to further this dominionist theocratic agenda.
The sticker on biology texts in the Cobb County School District was not placed there to make students into better scientists. It was placed there to sneak Christian theology into a public school. A wedge. You know it, I know it, and I'd wager that the Cobb County school board knows it. Why all the dissembling bullshit? If they were open about it and unabashedly said, "Yes. We are indeed trying to get our theology into the public school system because we believe that we can run this country better than anyone else," then at least you'd have to respect the courage of their convictions. However, instead of admitting it, they try and sneak it in under the disguise of "Intelligent Design".
What are they hiding for? Newsflash, IDiots: You're not fooling anyone. Be honest about it, or give up.
UPDATE: I just wanted to publicly thank Andrew Olmsted for his kind comments on his blog. Keep up the great writing Andrew!
I was talking to a good friend of mine earlier this week about magic and mystery. The conversation started because she overheard me explaining how a rainbow works to my six year old son. I explained about prisms, refraction and dispersion. I went on to say that water droplets in the air can act like millions of tiny prisms, refracting and dispersing sunlight to create these wonderful and beautiful displays for us to look at.
She was quite shocked. She told me that explaining things like rainbows "ruins the magic".
I replied that I thought that knowing how things like rainbows work only makes them more "magical", not less.
A lot of folks live in a very superficial plane of existence - where everything can be reduced to a symptom and only happens on the surface. They don't know, nor do they want to find out, how the magic happens.
That's very sad.
I'll take millions of tiny prisms over an unexplained rainbow any day.
My brother my wife, myself, and my brother's new girlfriend went out last night and flat-out tore up Karoake at Roman's Oasis in Goodyear. Heheh. . .
[Drunken Wednesday Night Patron] "Wow! you guys should start a band!"
[Brother, eyes wide] "That's a great idea, buddy! Hey Brent! We should start a band!"
[Me] "We could call ourselves "Bananna Hammock!" That'd be a great name! Maybe we could play here at Roman's!"
[Wife] *rolling eyes*
[Bro's New Girlfriend] *rolling eyes/hair-flip combo*
[Brother] *breaks into an awful rendition of Niel Diamond's "America"* ". . . TODAY! . . . TODAY! . . . TODAY . . . "
Ah, yes, there's nothing quite as satisfying as scaring the crap out of the Wednesday-night Karoake guy. Good times, good times.
There's nothing quite like hearing a karaoke version of Sonny and Cher's I Got You Babe sung by two big guys in a little bar in Arizona.
That was us.