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.
Stupid Human Tricks
You've undoubtedly heard of this before:
"It's just so funny," she said. "All the desperation out there."
Hicks was chuckling to hear that the measure she recently took to help sell her house -- burying a statue of St. Joseph upside down in the front yard -- is a growing trend as sellers try to offset hopelessness invading housing markets across the nation.
Seen by many as the patron saint of home and family, St. Joseph's popularity is growing at religious goods stores and on the Internet -- among Catholics and non-Catholics alike.
Hilarious! Man, I don't know when I have laughed harder than upon hearing that people caught in financial difficulties turn in desperation to religious mumbo-jumbo for help. Good times, good times.
I'd hoped we were beyond this: government-sponsored mass incantations to appease the weather gods.
Via the Bad Astronomer, word that Gov. Sonny Perdue of Georgia will hold a prayer service next Tuesday at the State Capitol. From the news article:
Heather Teilhet, his spokeswoman, said the governor began talking about wanting to host a service to pray for rain on his way back from Washington D.C. last week.
* * *
"Georgia needs rain. The issue at the heart of our drought problems is a lack of rain," Teilhet said. "And there is nothing the government can do to make that happen."
You're right, Heather. There is nothing the government can do to make that happen. And indulging your superstitions won't make one whit of difference.
Betty Dowdell is a Christian apologist who lives out here in my neck of the woods. She's the author of "How to be a Christian Without Being Annoying", and is touted as a home-spun apologist who speaks in plain words for the average Christian. She claims that most Christians don't even know what the word "apologist" means, so, basically, she dumbs it down for them into easily-digested chunks.
This doesn't make her any less annoying, regardless of what her book is titled. She repeats so many of the same, old, tired arguments that it make me tired to think about even starting to address them all. Again. However, one article she wrote stood so far out there with the astonishing assertion below that I couldn't let it go - I had to address it. It's just, well, a bald-faced lie. I mean, most of the time apologists leave themselves some sort of "out" so that they can later claim that they didn't really mean what they said, and that us nasty church-state separation supporters are obviously quoting them out of context, or some such.
Please, I strongly encourage you to read her whole article. You'll agree that her statement below definitely means what it says, even in context with the rest of the article. Here, just check it out for yourself:
[Betty Dowdell] ...the Constitution specifically provides for a Christian chaplain for each branch of Congress.
Well then Betty, I guess you won't have any trouble pointing out the specific part of the Constitution that actually says this.
More below the fold...
Ah, so a has-been pop musician from the 60's is going to open up a new "meditation-based college" and solve all his country's problems. From the AP story:
EDINBURGH, Scotland (AP) — Donovan, famous for '60s pop hits such as "Hurdy Gurdy Man" and "Mellow Yellow," has announced plans to open the Invincible Donovan University, where students will adhere to the principles of transcendental meditation.
"I know it sounds like an airy-fairy hippie dream to go on about '60s peace and love," said the 61-year-old singer, who was born Donovan Leitch in the Maryhill area of Glasgow. "But the world is ready for this now, it is clear this is the time."
According to the news report, he's hooked up with David Lynch to build this school. Why?
I just lost my temper. I just had a full-fledged screaming fit, eyes bulging, veins throbbing, face beet red. At a 90 year old woman who knows no better, who is confused by the world around her due to Alzheimer's, who is likely dying.
Why did I just do this reprehensible thing, and why on earth am I admitting to it in a public forum?
The first part of that question is the more difficult one to answer. I did it out of frustration, exhaustion, and fear. Frustration because she (my MIL) has been exhibiting compulsive behaviours all morning which drive me nuts (tearing things out of magazines, wanting to write on the back of photos in the little album she has, 'cleaning' up some lunch mess with a kleenex and in the process smearing stuff all over the table top and making more work for me.) This sort of thing rapidly gets under my skin - it's like some small kid pestering you with a behaviour that they know will drive you nuts. Except, of course, that in this case she doesn't really know what the hell she is doing.
Ah, yes. Via Pandagon, word that the horrendous fires in southern California which have displaced more than half a million people (and killed several) is due to the city of San Diego allowing gay marriage in spite of God's Law.
No, I'm not kidding. Here's the rant from one of the lovely, loving Christians, James Hartline:
They shook their fists at God and said, "We don't care what God says, we will issue our legal brief to support gay marriage in San Diego!" Then Mayor Jerry Sanders mocked the Christian vote and signed off on this rebellious legal document to support same-sex marriage.
And then the streets of La Jolla under the Mt. Soledad Cross began to cave in.
Why is it that I want to tag every religion-related post with "Stupid Human Tricks"?
The really sad part? 43% of your fellow Americans (assuming you're here - the rest of the world already knows how crazy we are) basically agreed, saying the following statement was true: That God created human beings pretty much in their present form at one time within the last 10,000 years or so.
So, when do we get cake? I need something to buffer the bottle of vodka I just got to help me forget this...
Via Bruce Schneier (who has a great blog on *real* security issues), word of TSA testing how well their airport security screeners were doing in detecting fake bombs. Overall, the tests show improvement in detection, with more tests in a given location keeping the screeners on their toes. This is a good thing. But one bit that Schneier points out in the article:
At San Diego International Airport, tests are run by passengers whom local TSA managers ask to carry a fake bomb, said screener Cris Soulia, an official in a screeners union.
Someone please tell me this doesn't actually happen. "Hi Mr. Passenger. I'm a TSA manager. You know I'm not lying to you because of this official-looking laminated badge I have. We need you to help us test airport security. Here's a 'fake' bomb that we'd like you to carry through security in your luggage. Another TSA manager will, um, meet you at your destination. Give the fake bomb to him when you land. And, by the way, what's your mother's maiden name?"
It'd be hilarious if it wasn't so amazingly, frightening, stupid. What bureaucratic twit thinks that this would be a good idea?
You think you get frustrated when your computer acts up? How do you think the guys who were on the receiving end of 500 rounds of 35mm explosive anti-aircraft fire feel? From Wired's Danger Room blog:
We're not used to thinking of them this way. But many advanced military weapons are essentially robotic -- picking targets out automatically, slewing into position, and waiting only for a human to pull the trigger. Most of the time. Once in a while, though, these machines start firing mysteriously on their own. The South African National Defence Force "is probing whether a software glitch led to an antiaircraft cannon malfunction that killed nine soldiers and seriously injured 14 others during a shooting exercise on Friday."
Maybe you're like me. You go to a hotel while on business or vacation and you find another one of those damn Gideon's Bibles. What to do with it?? Well, as a newly minted member of the Abimelech Society, I replace it with a nice novel (usually classical literature) from my local paper back exchange store.
I learned about the Society from this link:
The article reads in part -
The Abimelechs are an association of Atheist commercial, business, and professional men and women who have as one of their objects: The removal from circulation of the so-called Word of God or Holy Bible, from hotels, motels, hospitals, school classrooms, university dormitories, penal institutions, and many other places, and by the confiscation of New Testaments from school children, service personnel, and nurses.
So, what would you call me if I said that I was going to try and spend one year living my life entirely by the 285 rules set forth in the Ferengi "Rules of Acquisition"? More than a little obsessed with the Star Trek fictional universe? Maybe cashing in on the Star Trek franchise in a somewhat cynical way? Perhaps a touch insane?
Then why is it that when A. J. Jacobs decides to spend a year trying to live by the 700-some 'rules' found in the Bible, he gets a book contract and lots of press? Oh, that's right, because the Bible is considered by most people to not be a work of fiction.
So, three weeks ago I wrote about the initial reports that the Air Force had managed to lose track of some of its nukes, and accidentally transported them across the country.
Well, the story just keeps getting better. From the Washington Post this past Sunday:
Three weeks after word of the incident leaked to the public, new details obtained by The Washington Post point to security failures at multiple levels in North Dakota and Louisiana, according to interviews with current and former U.S. officials briefed on the initial results of an Air Force investigation of the incident.
The warheads were attached to the plane in Minot without special guard for more than 15 hours, and they remained on the plane in Louisiana for nearly nine hours more before being discovered. In total, the warheads slipped from the Air Force's nuclear safety net for more than a day without anyone's knowledge.
So, Arecibo needs money. Not a lot of money. More than I have. But not a lot of money, as such things go.
Yes, the National Science Foundation has told the folks who run the Arecibo Observatory that they need to come up with outside funding to the tune of half their annual budget, or they will be shut down. How much is this? $4 million. From the news report:
But among astronomers, Arecibo is an icon of hard science. Its instruments have netted a decades-long string of discoveries about the structure and evolution of the universe. Its high-powered radar has mapped in exquisite detail the surfaces and interiors of neighboring planets.
And it is the only facility on the planet able to track asteroids with enough precision to tell which ones might plow into Earth -- a disaster that could cause as many as a billion deaths and that experts say is preventable with enough warning.
Former British spy David Shayler has cleared up the confusion for Christians all over the world. That's right, you Christian folks can stop worrying about that whole "second coming" deal because, well, David Shayler is the Messiah.
How do I know it's true, you say? Well, because David says that it's true - and the Messiah can't lie. Duh.
[David aka the Christ conciousness] "I am the last incarnation of the Holy Ghost (aka the Holy Spirit) or the Yeshua or Jesus Spirit (aka the Christ consciousness).
As the Holy Spirit is God incarnate as essence, I am God incarnated as spirit and man.
It is absolutely clear to me that the world is going to hell in a handcart. Few would dispute that humanity needs a Messiah to get it through these difficult times.
This is all rather embarrassing for someone who was an atheist technocrat three years ago. And I am painfully aware how mad all this sounds."
No, no, David, I don't think that you are aware at how completely and utterly insane you sound. Otherwise you wouldn't be calling news conferences to spotlight your lunacy.
David's mother was not available for comment.
We need a category for "Stupid Human Tricks":
BISMARCK, N.D. - A B-52 bomber was mistakenly loaded with five nuclear warheads during a flight from North Dakota to Louisiana, a newspaper reported Wednesday.
The bomber carried advanced cruise missiles as part of a Defense Department program to retire 400 of the missiles, the Military Times said, quoting three officers who spoke on condition they remain anonymous because they were not authorized to discuss the incident.
The officers said the nuclear warheads should have been removed before the missiles were mounted onto pylons under the bomber's wings for the Aug. 30 flight from Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota to Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana, the newspaper said Wednesday.
Oops. But here's the hilarious part:
"Air Force standards are very exacting when it comes to munitions handling," Thomas said. "The weapons were always in our custody and there was never a danger to the American public."