Monday, August 12, 2013

The Planet - September 12, 2013

Nice blog by Jeff Schweitzer talks about one of our favorite lines, "Science Is Not Religion." The rebuttal centers on a recent thought by social psychologist Christine Ma-Kellams' thought that "in many ways, science seems like a 21st century religion."
Yeah, I've heard that somewhere before. In fact, over and over the thought rises to become king of the manure mountain for a couple of days. Please, let it go. 
The U.S. Pledge of Allegiance "one nation, under that figment of your imagination" line is being litigated once again. The litigation focuses on the thought that under god discriminates against those who've decided they never liked fruit cakes anyway. Basically, reciting the pledge is religious indoctrination. 
When I was growing up, I'd always be looking around to see who was saying that "under god" thing. The percentage of my peers saying those words by rote always amazed; I think some years I was the only one in the class making up words. 
I really enjoyed mythology while in school, so always said zeus, thor, janus, etc., when reciting the damn pledge every morning. It's all about control, control of our minds. If only I'd known about the flying spaghetti monster and his noodly appendages then; ah, what fun.
Of course, the right doesn't like any of you. The above litigation story was discussed on Fox, where Dana Perino basically stated that if you don't like god, you don't have to live here. Dana should heed her good book and not talk in public, it's a sin.

Zack Kopplin, the young man in Louisiana who started a campaign to get rid of their Science Education Act, is still campaigning for real science in schools. For those who aren't up to date on that act, it allows teachers to bring supplemental materials that refute evolution and global warming into the classroom. I don't know how many caught him on Maher last April, but it shows how education, regardless of age, is a powerful tool. He slams conservative economist Stephen Moore with reality, it is a joy to watch.
This type of activism seems to be starting to gain ground. In Britain, Esha Marwaha started an online petition to stop the education secretary, Michael Gove, from removing references to climate change for those under 14.
Then there's Texas, which always seems to find its way into the news. The Texas State Board of Education was infiltrated by creationists. The Texas Freedom Network requested records of the reviewers, and the agenda they are promoting is inexcusable.
“I understand the National Academy of Science's [sic] strong support of the theory of evolution,” one reviewer wrote. “At the same time, this is a theory. As an educator, parent, and grandparent, I feel very firmly that ‘creation science’ based on Biblical principles should be incorporated into every Biology book that is up for adoption.”
Another wrote that, “While I understand the theory of evolution and its wide acceptance, there should be inclusion of the ‘creation model’ based on the Biblical view of history.”
Are we talking about biology or Bible study? Reviewers seem to have confused one for the other.
Dr. Raymond Bohlin, a reviewer affiliated with the creationist Discovery Institute, repeatedly plugged the Institute’s own work in his objections to the textbooks.
“There is no discussion of the origin of information bearing molecules which is absolutely essential in any origin of life scenario. Meyer’s Signature in the Cell easily dismisses any RNA first scenario. The authors need to get caught up,” he wrote.
Yes, we need more of them, because we haven't put one in the arms of every psychopath in the country yet. Last Sunday, a 46 year old gentleman shot an 8 year old boy who was playing outside, celebrating his 8th birthday. 
It took three years for the first national park death. The tea party congress has decided that guns are needed everywhere, a three year old girl shot herself because her parents are dumb fucks who think they are safer with weapons always handy.
Happens everyday, and we ignore it every day.
And George is back. Threatens wife and father-in-law and destroys the video evidence of his insanity. Another great tea party hero. Poor guy just can't seem to get a break.
First, a fine quote from Bertrand Russell:
"Killing an enemy in a modern war is a very expensive operation. We should now be much richer if war did not occur. If men were actuated by self-interest, which they are not — except in the case of a few saints — the whole human race would cooperate.
There would be no more wars, no more armies, no more navies, no more atom bombs.
There would not be armies of propagandists employed in poisoning the minds of Nation A against Nation B, and reciprocally of Nation B against Nation A.
There would not be armies of officials at frontiers to prevent the entry of foreign books and foreign ideas, however excellent in themselves.
There would not be customs barriers to ensure the existence of many small enterprises where one big enterprise would be more economic.
All this would happen very quickly if men desired their own happiness as ardently as they desired the misery of their neighbors. But, you will tell me, what is the use of these utopian dreams?"
Utopian indeed, but sorry, humans have not evolved to that state yet.
Senator McCain got an earful from a supporter about any military action against Syria. I do not think we will get involved in this; how many wars can we afford? And that's how it has to be framed, since killing civilians doesn't seem to ring a bell with so many Americans.
Happily it appears that we will give Syria a chance to comply with mandates to destroy their chemical weapons.
Whenever you hear about chemical weapons, and the need for war, remind them that President Reagan closed his eyes to Iraq's Sadaam using chemical weapons against Iran. That won't quell the blood lust of the incompetent, but will at least give them pause.
Texan republicans still wish to secede. Smitherman, another crazed, rightwing, low-hanging fruit, had this to say in an interview:
“We are uniquely situated because we have energy resources, fossil and otherwise, and our own independent electrical grid. Generally speaking, we have made great progress in becoming an independent nation, an ‘island nation’ if you will, and I think we want to continue down that path so that if the rest of the country falls apart, Texas can operate as a stand-alone entity with energy, food, water and roads as if we were a closed-loop system.”
Smitherman said he feels Texas officials must do what they can to prepare the state.
“This was one of my goals at the Utility Commission and it is one my goals currently as chairman of the Railroad Commission. That’s why I stress so vehemently oil and gas production, permitting turnaround times, and everything that enables the industry to produce as much as it can, as quickly as it can,” he said.
Oh please oh please oh please.
Florida, with the second highest rate of uninsured, (second to Texas, imagine that), has decided not to expand medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. Hey, half a million kids without insurance is not such a bad thing, another war should clean up that mess.
Finally some good news. Indiana's "right to work" law has been ruled unconstitutional. Michigan jumped on that bandwagon right after Indiana passed their law, hopefully all states inflicted with these wage destroying laws will have them declared the same. 
With income inequality at an all time high and union membership at its lowest point since the depression, we need some legislative relief.

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