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Skeptic? More like Skep-dick!
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30th-Sep-2008 08:07 pm - Election.....sigh....
Bible Fight!

Okay.  I was about to write about the election on my Skeptic blog, but I've determined to keep it apolitical, except in matter where politics intrudes on matters of science, so it goes here instead:

I have no idea what more it will take to prevent the Conservatives from a majority government.  I have no idea why people continue to support such a demonstrably crooked, hypocritical and cowardly party.  A party which, as we all remember, campaigned on stopping crooks, hypocrites and cowards from running our country. 

1) Disdain for the media:  The Conservatives have a) run secret cabinet meetings without telling the press where/when/what was being discussed b) Harper has a penchant for entering Parliament in the backdoor (that's a metaphor for two other things that I can think of), which often has the benefit of not having to answer pesky journalists questions c) In a caucus meeting in Charlottetown during the summer 07', Harper had used the RCMP to forcibly remove members of the press from going anywhere near the building.  No, I'm not suggesting the police kept the press away at gunpoint, but the idea of using the police force of the people for such a purpose is abhorrent to me. d) One of the earliest relationships that Harper had with the media as PM was to muzzle his members: no party official or party MP was allowed to talk with the press without first clearing it with party heads.

2) Chuck Cadman Affair: As a skeptic, I tend to be wary of conspiracy theories, but even I can only be pushed so far.  The allegation goes as follows: When the conservatives almost toppled the Liberal gov't in May '05, the Conservative Party paid then-independent Chuck Cadman (recently recovering from chemotherapy) $1 million life-insurance policy to fly to Ottawa and vote with the government.  The evidence of this bribe is mounting, most notably the sworn testimony of Cadman's wife, and an audiotape (which, I'll admit has yet to be verified).   Harper's lawyer suspiciously went on vacation to Europe a week before the election-call, and won't be back until after Canadians have voted...effectively suspending the investigation in the interim.  I'll repeat that: The Conservatives allegedly paid Chuck Cadman 1 million dollars to vote with the Conservative party, and when an investigation was launched, Harper's lawyer vanishes during the campaign.  Ho. Lee.  Shit.

3) Softwood Lumber: this 20-year old issue has been done to death, so I'll keep it brief.  According to NAFTA, the U.S. owed Canadian companies 5 billion dollars.  The liberals launched many lawsuits against the United States and won every time. The United States refused to pay, citing that the WTO ruled in favour of the U.S. (It should be noted, that under WTO rules, smaller trade treaties like NAFTA are still valid, so long as they don't override WTO regulations, which NAFTA doesn't....And the United States has a controlling veto in the WTO).  The Conservatives campaigned on 'fixing' the affair, and when they got into power, they lured floor-crossing David Emerson with the promise of a cabinet job, who then negotiated for Canada to not get the $5 billion owed, but a $4 billion settlement.  Now, $1 billion may not be a lot to my American friends, but that is a LOT of money up here...money that is still owed, and we'll likely never see.  Thanks, Conservatives.  You caved-in when your position was right.

4) Further support-buying: This is nothing terribly new to politics, but I read today that the conservatives offered up 148 low-level, but highly rewarding jobs to people in order to drum-up conservative support just before the election was launched.  Now, I'm not so naive to say that only the Conservatives do this kind of thing, but the sheer number of appointments, in tandem with the suspicious timing makes this stink like the inside of my refrigerator.

5) Plagiarizing: I don't honestly care too much about this.  It's funny and embarassing.  But there is one thing I'd like to point out: when Joe Biden was revealed to have plagarism way-back in his past, he had to cancel his Presidential bid.  When a university student plagarizes a 2nd time, they get kicked out of academia for ever.  When Harper plagarizes, they (the conservatives) treat it as a side-issue distraction, and in the next breath talk about how great a 'leader' Harper is.  Which leads into my next point...

6) Political ads that say nothing: Remember in '06 when the conservatives launched countless nauseating ads using the battle-cry of "Corruption!" to describe not just the Liberals, but government in general, and campaigned on bringing accountability to the state?  He said nothing specific, and used vague, mean-nothing words....and won.  Today, The Conservatives are using the same mean-nothing tactic of using words like "leadership" and "protection".  This is Fear-Mongering 101, folks.  For my money, Harper doesn't say anything specific because he knows that the devil is in the details: the specifics will tear at him like radiation-poisoning.  And also, can we please stop seeing those damn ads with Harper in a sweater-vest?  That man is not human, quit pretending.

7) Blatant-disregard for science/global-warming: I've written about this before in February, so I'll just hit the bullet points: 1) Canada used to have a world-class reputation for science standards and research...Harper has stripped funding so far that Canada is now an embarrassment to the international science-community. 2) Harper has made every effort to deny the anthropogenic nature of global warming, and has made every effort to muzzle and strip the scientists who report as much.

I know that my particular version of politics can be a bit obtrusive to some people.  I know that I occasionally offend people, as I'm often seen as trying to ram my politics down their throats.  Well, take it or don't.  It's my blog, my post, and I can write what I want.  But if you're remotely like me, chances are you have some of the same concerns about the terrible direction our country is headed.  We can pretend to play-nice and rise above the negative-politicking...but meanwhile, the other side doesn't, and the other-side wins.  If telling the truth about what Harper does is playing dirty, then maybe its time to fight a little dirty too.
Bible Fight!
 Dear Hillary Clinton supporters:

I can relate to you. There was a time not too long ago that I hoped she would come out on top to face whatever republican would run. A few minor ideological differences (such as her irrational, yet oddly pandering fear of experts)forced me to change my mind and hitch my wagon to Obama's star (I fully realize that it's an utterly meaningless gesture because I'm Canadian, so don't bother pointing that out).  But the way you people have been behaving is like a bunch of spoiled kids throwing a temper-tantrum when their younger brother got a nicer toy than you.  

Grow the fuck up.  Your candidate put up a fantastic, valliant, spirited and historic fight, but was beaten.  I thought you are all supposed to be democrats for fuck's sake!  The Liberal Party of Canada went through a similar internal division, when the Paul Martin Liberals felt like they've been ripped off by the Cretien Liberals and caused the party 15 years of internal stife, resulting in an impotent Paul Martin regime, followed up with an ideologically and politically suspect Conservative minority.

You people have suffered under 8 years of terrible Republican policies, and for the first time since Kennedy, your party stands a real, powerful chance to put your candidate into the White House: not because of weak opposition, but because of the candidate's own merits.  

Yet still you can't seem to stop acting like petulant little children stamping their feet as hard as they can trying to get some national attention.

Grow the fuck up, or you're going to lose.  And you know what else?  You will deserve to lose.  You, not Obama, are tearing the party up whilst acting like you're owed something.  You're an embarassment to Hillary Clinton, the presidency of Bill Clinton, and to the democratic party which you claim to love.

Fucking pathetic.
25th-Aug-2008 10:57 pm - So solly.
Bible Fight!
 Japan is within a hair's breadth right now.  All I have to do is follow up with my first great interview and wow the school board.  If I get the job, I could be living and working in one of the following places: Kanto region (Ibaraki, Tochigi, Chiba, Saitama, and Gunma prefectures, and the Tokyo area), Tohoku region (Yamagata and Iwate) and Hokkaido (Sapporo).  In all honesty and embarassment, I've heard of only three of these places.  

Have a couple of moons. 

23rd-Jul-2008 03:37 pm - Two certainties...
Bible Fight!
 I think a really good name for a store that sells tuxedos for funeral purposes, would be "Death and Tuxes"

Have a couple of moons.  The first one is full, taken on July 18.  the second one was taken the next night.

17th-Jul-2008 12:10 pm - On Pluto
Bible Fight!
Yesterday, I wrote about our new Solar System family member, Makemake. Then it got me thinking about how vociferously the general public opposed the demotion of Pluto in 2006. So here are some thoughts and facts about Pluto, and the history of our classification that you might like to know:

Pluto was discovered in 1930. Big deal, we all knew that. We probably all had a generation of teachers who said "when I was a kid, Pluto was a big question mark. We didn't know exactly WHAT it was". Well, now we know a LOT about what it is, and a planet, it ain't.

Firstly, it's small. Less than 1500 kms in diameter, roughly half the size of Mercury. That's a little frakkin small for a planet, and it's certainly too small to hold an atmosphere (in the interests of full disclosure, the ability to hold an atmophere is not a requisite of what it means to be a planet).

Secondly, from what we can tell, it is REALLY icy. So icy, in fact, that if it were closer to the sun, say around the orbits of Mercury or Venus, it would have a huge ice-tail, like a comet. After a few thousand years, the ice will have been blown off, and Pluto would be even smaller!

Thirdly, its orbit is really freaky-deaky. It's on a tilt against the plane of the rest of the system (which is consistant with comets and the kuiper belt objects), and it even interesects with Neptune's orbit. Planets don't have orbits like that. Freaks like comets do. I'm certainly not suggesting Pluto is a comet, merely that its as much a comet as it is a planet. So the definition of both are too vague.

Fourthly, one of the requisites of the planet designation is that a planet has a certain leve of gravitational impact on the surrounding space. Pluto's mass is so rinky-dink, that it's larget moon, Charon doesn't orbit it the way other moons orbit their host planets. Since Charon is roughly half the size and mass of Pluto, the two bodies almost orbit each other, constantly dancing around each other in their unsual orbit around the sun. So much do they dance around each other that for a while, astronomers considered that Pluto was a binary planet system. Freaky.

One more point on this issue of school children now having to learn something wholly different from what we were taught. It's a bit of a silly issue, and I don't think that its a serious argument, but the next time someone says that to you, tell that this very process has happened before. In 1801, Ceres was discovered. It was thought to be a new, tiny planet between Mars and Jupiter. Then, they found another one, Pallas. Then another one, Juno. And again, Vesta. Astronomers realized they weren't looking at new planets, but a peculiar system that is chocked-full of rocky bodies. After nearly a half-century of teaching that Ceres et. all were planets, they were demoted, and the classification of the Asteroid Belt was born. Today, our situation is VERY similar: We find Pluto, and we think is a planet. We keep looking around in the area, and we find similar bodies: Eris, Makemake, Sedna, Orcus, Varuna....and eventually, we realized that we had something very different going on. We effectively had another asteroid belt in our system. Like the belt in between Mars and Jupiter, the Kuiper Belt contains huge amounts of bodies, some as large as Pluto, most as small as a pea.

H'okai, so, there were two options: 1) expand the definition of a planet to include Pluto, but would aslo force us to include Ceres, Iris and Makemake (then-named 2005Fy9), or 2) limit the defintion of a planet that would cut Pluto out, and effectively make a new designation for Pluto-like objects; after all, under the old way, calling Ceres an asteroid was also a bit ridiculous because of its spherical shape and its sheer size and mass.

They went with option 2, and we're all the better for it. As astronomers learned more about how the solar system works, they learned that our older ways of defining and classification were outdated and simplistic.

So Pluto gets demoted slightly, while Eris, Ceres and Makemake get a boost. If space had an ego, this would be a net-gain for our solar system. And now, our system seems richer to the average person: we now have THREE types of planetary bodies now: rocky planets, gas giants, and dwarf planets. Personally, I think Pluto can take one for the team. It's been coasting for too long on its affectionate position.
Bible Fight!

Last night, I took this picture:


While I'm not really an amateur astronomer by a long shot, this hobby is turning out to be really rewarding.

15th-Jul-2008 08:54 am - Dearest one of god...moi?
Bible Fight!
Oh, email scams.  You come to me about 1 a day now, and you always make me laugh.  It would be selfish of me to keep your joy all to myself.  I feel like I should share you for everyone, like this one, that came this morning:

Sent:July 15, 2008 1:28:26 AM
Reply-to:sus_morgan1@yahoo.co.jp
To:su.morgan75@yahoo.co.th
From Mrs Susan Morgan
 
N�[38 Rue Des Martyrs Cocody
Abidjan,Cote d'Ivoire
 
ATTN
DEAREST ONE OF GOD
 
I am the above named person from Kuwait. I am married to Mr.Abram Morgan, who worked with Kuwait embassy in Ivory Coast for nine years before he died in the year 2004. We were married for eleven years without a child. He died after a brief illness that lasted for only four days.
 
Before his death we were both born again Christian. Since his death I decided not to remarry or get a child outside my matrimonial home which the Bible is against. When my late husband was alive he deposited the sum of $2. 5 Million (Two Million Five Hundred U.S. Dollars) in the bank here in Abidjan in suspense account.
 
Presently, the fund is still with the bank. Recently, my Doctor told me that i have serious sickness which is cancer problem. The one that disturbs me most is my stroke sickness. Having known my condition I decided to donate this fund to a church or individual that will utilize this money the way I am going to instruct herein. I want a church that will use this fund for orphanages, widows, propagating the word of God and to endeavour that the house of God is maintained.
 
The Bible made us to understand that blessed is the hand that giveth. I took this decision because I don’t have any child that will inherit this money and my husband relatives are not Christians and I don’t want my husband’s efforts to be used by unbelievers. I don’t want a situation where this money will be used in an ungodly way. This is why I am taking this decision. I am not afraid of death hence i know where I am going. I know that I am going to be in the bosom of the Lord. Exodus 14 VS 14 says that the Lord will fight my case and I shall hold my peace.
 
I don’t need any telephone communication in this regard because of my health hence the presence of my husband’s relatives is around me always I don't want them to know about this development. With God all things are possible. As soon as I receive your reply I shall give you the contact of the bank here in Abidjan. I want you and the church to always pray for me because the Lord is my shepherd. My happiness is that I lived a life of a worthy Christian. Whoever that wants to serve the Lord must serve him in spirit and Truth. Please always be prayerful all through your life.
 
Contact me on the above e-mail address for more information’s, any delay in your reply will give me room in sourcing another church or individual for this same purpose. Please assure me that you will act accordingly as I Stated herein. Hoping to receive your
reply.
 
Remain blessed in the Lord.
Yours in Christ,
Mrs susan morgan

So touching.  I hope those bastards at The Scam Batier don't harass you.  After all, no doubt you are just good, god-fearing christians who want nothing but to spread the gospel.  I'm sure your motives are as pure as your grammar is poor.

 
14th-Jul-2008 07:55 am - This week, on Donahue
Bible Fight!
At the risk of alienation,  I need to clarify/expand/explain some points...

Bill Donahue, president of the Catholic League. It's been suggested that I went too far in a previous posting by saying, "fuck you" to him. Let's be clear, I wasn't saying it to him simply for the recent PZ Myers affair, but in the end of a long string of hatefull, tribal nonesense. Here's just a brief outline of some of this shit that this hate/fear monger has pulled in recent years:

1) Senator Charles Schumer opposed the appointment of William Pryor Jr. to the Supreme Court, drawing attention to the overtly religous manner in which he has behaved in the past. Donahue admonished the senator for this, claiming that if Pryor were Jewish, there would have been no objection.

2) In 1996 Donahue took exception to the John Osborne song, 'One of Us'. The song explores the ideas about what it would be like if God were a human being. Donahue exclaimed, "It is no wonder that Joan Osborne instructs her fans to donate their time and money to Planned Parenthood. It is of a piece with her politics and her prejudices. Her songs and videos offer a curious mix of both, the effect of which is to dance awfully close to the line of Catholic baiting."

3) Donahue took excpetion to the 1999 Kevin Smith film, Dogma. Donahue organized national and virulent protests against the film (even before it was released!), complaining that the main character was a descendant of Mary, and also worked in an abortion clinic. Smith later recalled that Donahue, "...actually invited me out to have a beer after making my life hell for six months."

4) In a discussion of the then-upcoming Mel Gibson parade of anti-semitism/film, The Passion of the Christ, Donahue claimed that "Hollywood is controlled by secular Jews who hate Christianity in general and Catholicism in particular. It's not a secret, OK? And I'm not afraid to say it. That's why they hate this movie. It's about Jesus Christ, and it's about truth. It's about the Messiah." On CNN's Paula Zahn Now, Donahue exclaimed, "And the people who are clamoring this -- this rhetoric, this cacophony against Mel Gibson, boy, are they going to have to pay for it when it's all over!" The next day on Scarborough Country, Donahue continued, "After all, 15-year-olds, they go to abortionists. They get their babies killed without parental consent. The new Puritans [those criticizing The Passion of the Christ] don't seem to worry about that. They like gay sex. They like [the film] The Dreamers, a brother and sister who bathe together and stuff like that. The same people in The New York Times who say this movie, I don't think it's not really right for kids, they have no problems when it comes to sodomy. It's smoking they don't like and Catholicism." After the release of the film, Donahue was mocking the film's detractors who claimed that it was "fascisitic queer-bashing", and replied, " I don't know what about -- the queer-bashing is all about. I'm pretty good about picking out who queers are and I didn't see any in the movie. I'm usually pretty good at that."

5) In 2007, Donahue called for a boycott of the film, "The Golden Compass", claiming that the film "denigrates Christianity" and promotes "atheism for kids". As a result of this cry, an Ontario school board pulled the book from its library shelves.

6) In 2005, following yet another catholic priest molestation scandal, Donahue asserted that it was a homosexual scandal, not a pedophilia scandal".

7) Similarly, Donahue opposed a bill proposed by the New York State Legislature that would add clergymen to the list of professionals who were mandated reporters of suspected child abuse under existing statutes. Instead, Donahue and the Catholic League supported a bill that would have expanded the definition of child abuse to include consensual sex between teenagers.

8) Following a South Park episode which refused to portray Mohammed (as per a decision by Comedy Central, not Matt Stone and Trey Parker), and showed Jesus (along with President Bush) deficating on an American flag (done satirically, of course), Donahue exclaimed, T"he ultimate hypocrite is not Comedy Central — that's their decision not to show the image of Muhammad or not — it's Parker and Stone. Like little whores, they'll sit there and grab the bucks. They'll sit there and they'll whine and they'll take their shot at Jesus. That's their stock in trade."

9) Donahue demanded that John Edwards fire two of his campaign staffers citing some personal blog entries writen which negatively portray the catholic church in its efforts to fight the pro-choice community, as well as the idea that women are merely vessels for procreation. Donahue: "It is not enough that one foul-mouthed anti-Christian bigot, Amanda Marcotte, has quit. Melissa McEwan must go as well. Either Edwards shows her the door or she bolts on her own. There is no third choice—the Catholic League will see to it that this issue won't go away. McEwan resigned in Feb/07, citing the hostility of the Catholic League, and emails threatening her with rape and murder.

10) In 1994, Donahue and the Catholic League sponsored bus advertisments discouraging condom use.

11) During a 2001 appearance on Hardball, Donohue articulated his opposition to stem cell research as follows: "You can't take the egg of the bald eagle and kill it or move it, and yet we're talking about human embryos as if they were a piece of putty, and if that were the case, we might as well serve them as appetizers at a human embryonic cocktail to people."

12) In 2003, Donohue defended a controversial remark made by Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) equating homosexuality with bigamy, polygamy, incest, and adultery, saying: ''To defend the institution of marriage is pro-civil society. This traditional institution cannot be defended if all alternative lifestyles are treated as its equal."

13) In 2004, Donahue referred to the "gay death style," remarked, "God forbid we'd run out of little gay kids," claimed that Senator John Kerry "never found an abortion he couldn't justify," and claimed that "Hollywood is controlled by secular Jews who hate Christianity in general and Catholicism in particular ... Hollywood likes anal sex."

Now, some of the instances listed above may seem like the bitchy little ramblings of a hate-filled prick who gets easily offended (or at least pretends to be offended). Some other instances are staggering examples of the sheer reach and power of Donahue and the Catholic League. The League has over 300,000 members in the United States (a 2006 figure), and the crucial difference between him and me, is that people listen to him. People will cast their votes based on what he says...and as we can see, what he says is always hatefull, bigotted, racist, homophobic and downright evil. Donahue's voice is one that not only shapes minds, but changes policies as well.

So I ask you to consider, is my telling him "fuck you" really that inapropriate? Am I the one who is truly vitriolic? Or am I simply responding in kind (at least, as close to that as I can...I'm not demanding he be fired from his position in the League, nor am I advocating that media outlets issue a boycott from him speaking on their airwaves)....He is an absolute scumbag of the worst kind: a racist hate-monger one that hides behind his particular interpretation of religion...and is powerfull and influential. Me? I'm just a dipshit little skeptic whose impotent voice occasionally tells people (who deserve it), to fuck off.

And one final note, perhaps the most important point. Lest it be (yet again) misconstrued that I am anti-catholic. I'm not anti-catholic, anti-christian, or anti-religious. My particular brand of agnosticism/atheism works for me, and I fully recognize that some religions work for others. I have been to many different relgious services: I have taken communion and I have genuflected; I have worn a kippah in synagogue, and taken my feet off in temple; I have even followed the name of Mohammed with "Blessings and peace be upon his name" out of respect for a muslim friend. I only ask that I am afforded the same curteousy that I extend.

What I am against, however, is bigotry and bullying done in the name of religion. This includes (but not limited to) anti-semitism, institutionalized homophobia, the anti-abortion movement, and whenever a church tries to influence a secular state. I am against the Catholic League, not Catholics, or Catholocism. (Indeed, as far as Christian denominations are concerned, I've always respected the far more scholarly methodology of the Catholic church). Telling them to fuck off is too good for them...but if I played by their rules and tactics, I would be advocating violence against its members. I honestly couldn't care less which religion a person does or does not adhere to....where I draw the line is when its devotees try to impose their beliefs and practices on everyone outside their organization. You can be as bigoted and racist as you want, so long as you 'keep it in the pants'.

We are a secular society now. Yes, I recognize the deep religious tradition we share, and that's partially why our laws do not discriminate for/against a religion, and do not prohibit one from practicing their faith the way they wish. But that time has passed, and diversification is the order of the day: religious/non-religious, gay/strait, pro-choice/pro-life....we all live together now, and no one church gets to dicate terms over another group.

So yes, Bill Donahue, fuck you. You're not a Catholic. You're an embarassment to Catholicism, Christianity, and the United States. Nothing about you and your group is good or viturous. Most of the Catholics that I know are good, honest, and above all, respectful people. For some, their goodness is informed by their Catholicism, for others, its simply a reflection of their inherent goodness. Catholics the world over have largely learned to get along in the world. When will you catch up and realize you don't run the show? You're not the pope. In fact, I agree with PZ's description of you and your League as "demented fuckwits.

As for everyone else, I sincerely offer my apologies if you were offended. It was not my intention, and hopefully you know me for the paper-tiger that I am. This is one of those cases where "Steve the Skeptic" may be at odds with "Steve just some guy". Skepticism/Humanism can, at times, be an inherently combative enterprise, and occasionally steps on the toes of good, well meaning people. I make a better skeptic than a humanist, and this is a humanist issue. I've had a year full of powers-that-be bringing down their collective thunder down upon me, so when I hear a story about it happening somewhere else, I can be a bit sensitive. I still meant everything I said in the original post, even more so since PZ and the douchy kid are having their university careers threatened, as well as their very lives. I'll side with those that recieve the death threats, not the ones giving them. "Why bother picking a side at all? Why not let this inane bullshit go?" Good question, but then I would be a pretty piss-poor skeptic if I didn't chime in, and stand in solidarity, meagre though my voice is. I could have simply left this post on my skeptic blog (where it was originally posted), and not bother copy and paste it to the personal blog...or if I did, I could have cleaned up the language a little bit. Perhaps, and that's something to consider for the future. The main reason I posted it on the personal blog is simply to keep livejournal from closing the rarely-used account....sorta like how wolverine needs to keep sticking out his claws to keep the wounds from closing over.

So to the probably none of you that have read this, my longest blog entry EVER, all the way up to this point, thanks alot, and hopefully you weren't offended, and hopefully I have my position a little more clearly.

Peace.
12th-Jul-2008 07:05 am - But sir, it's only wafer-thin!
Bible Fight!
 I've put off long enough talking about this issue, and its high time I chimed in.

Here is the very brief primer of what happened so far:
1) Some university kid rabble-rouses at a Catholic mass and steals the eucharist, holding it "hostage" (kinda reminds me of the 'don't taze me, bro' kid).
2) Parishoners violently try to get it back from him. He escapes.
3) Kid recieves threats on his life, as Catholic activitsts the world-over liken this to a hate-crime, and a kidnapping.
4) Fearing for his life, the kid returns the cracker.
5) Not enough, Catholics cried. He should be expelled from university, and Catholic League president, and hate-filled prick-of-ages Bill Donahue launches a campaign to lobby the president of the kid's university to expell him...over a cracker. The spineless University, like all universities do, sided not with their student, but instead issued a statement about how important the catholic community is to the school.
6) Meanwhile, the death threats continued.
7)  PZ Myers, skeptical and humanist science blogger chimmed in, saying that if people were to send HIM a consecrated eucharist, that HE will defile it for all the world to see.
8) Bill Donahue called for him to be fired (nevermind that his university has nothing to do with his blog), and PZ had death threats from Catholics who don't like to be mocked.

This whole situation reminds me of the mohamed cartoons a while back.

Growing up catholic, I know FULL WELL the concept of transubstantiation, and that for catholics, the cracker isn't simply a symbol of jesus, but jesus himself.

But similar to how the depiction of mohammed is forbidden for muslims and not the rest of us, so too does the concept of transubstantiation. The cracker becomes jesus for catholics, not the rest of us. This kid was probably just some smarmy-little-shit who excercised poor and tasteless judgement. But guess what, catholics? He's allowed to! You don't get impose your tribal, superstitious voodoo onto a public instiution and call for his expulsion. Insult him all you want (I would actually join you, but for the fact that I can't stand you, and a life-time of catholic education is about all I can take), but his education is not your business.

I won't even bother commenting on the laughable hypocrisy of those issuing death threats to the student and to PZ. You freaks are what is causing this new wave of what you like to call "new atheism' in the first place.

Also, you can stop likening this to a hate-crime, and a kidnapping. Talk about a gross insult to the people that actually do lose loved ones to hate-crimes and kidnappings....you misanthropes just likened them to a tasteless cracker.

And as for the Catholic League, the best thing I can say is 'fuck you'. American catholics should be embarassed by your particular brand of homophobic, anti-intellectual hate-speech. There is a good reason the Vatican typically distances itself from you freaks. Bill Donahue, I've met a pope once in my life. And you, sir, are no pope.

I can't wait to see what will happen if/when PZ gets his hands on a communion wafer. Whatever happens, I'll stand (or write) in solidarity.
Bible Fight!
 Big Brown, some horse who apparently was pretty famous....as far as horses go, I suppose, was recently slated to win the Triple Crown.  And recently, didn't even qualify for the third, and final race.   Now, the mega-fast multi-million-dollar horse's fate is in question.  You see, when race horses no longer race, they're usually sold for slaughter (often for Japanese meat-markets), except for the lucky few who are saved by the small number of animal welfare groups that buy them and let them graze around for the remainder of their lives.

But something confuses me:

If these horses are of such mega-awesome-running stock, it would make more sense to me that once they stop running, they could still make LOADS of money being put out to stud.  Lotsa horses do that, why do retired racehorses get sent to the slaughterhouse?  I don't get it!  I may not know the intricacies of the meat-industry, nor horse-biology, but I would think that a former, MEGA-successful race horse would have semen worth tons of money.....Why is it more profitable to sell the horse for food, than to sell the horse to enjoy the rest of his life fucking and making lots of little race-horses?

Does anyone know?  Seriously!
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