after forty long hours in the desert and forty long hours on the mountaintop, indefatigable texas birther rudy davis descends unto youTube to deliver the gospel:
... i probably spent about eighty hours, maybe more, so far researching this, reading books, going to various websites, using the knowledge that i've gained in my physics class — lemmee share a little bit about my background and this isn't me like braggin' on my background, there's nothin' to brag about. y'know, when you ask me about my credentials are, i know how to use a shovel and, uh, i can clean a pretty good litter box, but i did go through four years of college and obtained a electrical engineering degree, with a minor in mechanical engineering, and, um, i passed my calculus classes. i loved calculus, i love math. i, uh, passed my trigonometry, geometry, analytical geometry, um, y'know, physics, uh, thermodynamics — i loved all that stuff. i love, y'know, mathematics and science since it was one of my favorite topics.
i'm not, um, completely ... uneducated. but i'm not the smartest guy in the world either. i'm not here saying i'm smarter than anybody — i think, for these things, the lord has to lead you into this, sort of, belief, uh, and you have to have a biblical perspective in order to understand what i'm about to say ...
and after a short digression into 9-11 trutherism:
... so i want you to think back, y'know, when somebody first told you that, t&mdash, your reaction. 'cause what i'm about to say, i'm not sayin' for shock value. i couldn't care less if you like me or you din't like me, i could care less about, uh, how many subscribers i have. what i'm about to say i'm telling you because i believe it's the truth and i know 99.99 percent of you are going to reject it. i rejected it when i first heard it, until i started lookin' into it more, 'til i started reading my bible, 'til i started, uh, understanding, uh, a little bit more about the things that we've been told, and, uh, i would just ask you to look into it before you jump to the conclusion that i'm an absolute nut. and, again i'm just telling you this because there are — there's gonna be point-zero-zero-zero-one percent of you that, uh, is gonna receive it, just like, just like i received it and just like, y'know, there, there's a few, there's a few that can weed through all the BS that we've been told in this world and see what's goin' on.
but i wanna declare, uh, that i am a geocentrist. and uh, what a geocentrist is, is someone who believes that the earth is the center of the universe and does not move. lemmee say that again. the earth does not move, it does not rotate, it does not revolve, it does not, uh, go around the sun and it does not wobble. the bible says the earth cannot be moved. and, uh, that's what i'm goin' with.
and, y'know, when it comes to copernicus, galileo, uh, kepler, uh, carl sagan and einstein, all of 'em are flim-fam— flam artists. i believe they're all con artists and they're basically in a satanic deception that put forth satan's very, very first blue-ribbon lie. y'know — well, uh, you could go all the way back to the garden of eden, so i wouldn't say it's his first, but, uh, satan's blue-ribbon lie, at least one of them, is that the, uh, earth moves around the sun. okay? that absolutely is not true and i believe it with all my heart.... now do i believe that carl sagan, einstein, kepler, uh ... uh ... copernicus and galileo were in some, y'know, plot where they communicated with each other? no, i don't believe they were communicatin' with each other through the centuries but what i do believe is, uh, that satan allows certain people to be puffed up with pride an' this world promotes, uh people and they get too smart for their, for their own good an' they just put out absolute BS. i mean we've just been lied to upon lied to.... some people say that y'know, uh "the bible does, does not say how the heavens go, but the bible tells us how to go to heaven." in other words, they're tryin' to say that the bible is not a sci— is not a science book. but i would say that the bible is better than a science book. the bible is better [chuckling] than any science book ever written. and if it says the earth doesn't move, then it doesn't freakin' move. and uh, that's one thing you need to know about me. and, and you may be a christian watching this thinkin' i'm an absolute kook, but know this: when i read that bible, the difference between me and other christians is when i read that bible i believe what it says. i don't try to fit into my little, uh, box of how i think god should be or how the universe should be. if the bible says it, that's the way that it is. and i don't believe the king james bible has any errors.
that's right, folks, a hardcore wingnut conspiracy theorist who never doubted a rumor found in his yahoo inbox is calling a satanic hoax on the last 500 years of scientific discovery. eighty hours of what passes as deep thought in rudy's mind and the bible (king james version only, accept no imitations!) is all any right-thinking patriot needs.
to supply the perfect counterpoint to rudy's admitted defiant anti-intellectualism, enter working physicist sean carroll, someone who's certainly spent more than eighty hours on the subject. sean casually explains what real scientists and real mathematicians already know — the "known knowns" so to speak, wherein neither god nor satan nor any other strange supernatural, metaphysical or paranormal beings, forces or powers are anywhere to be found:
so the laws of physics underlying everyday life are completely understood. the reason why i emphasize this is because scientists, and skeptics for that matter, love to go right to the unknown things. there are many, many things that are unknown, from dark matter to quantum gravity to finance, okay? but there are also things that are known. and among the things that are known are how the matter around us in our everyday life actually works. and it's not just "we have a theory that works." it's better than that. we know that there are no new parts of nature that we haven't found yet that could exert a substantial influence over our everyday lives. there are no new particles or forces that could be relevant to your everyday life that science hasn't found yet.... so we've looked. there could be plenty of new particles of nature, but they must be either weakly interacting, too heavy to create or too short-lived to detect. what that means is that they can't possibly be very relevant to your everyday life. they cannot affect your consciousness, you cannot blame them for being in a bad mood. you and everyone you know is made up of the standard model of particle physics and nothing else.... we've ruled out every possible force that is both long range and strong enough to notice.... the conclusion is that as far as the immediate world of experience is concerned, as far as what you see and touch and taste and feel as you go through your everyday life, we have the theory. we're done. that does not mean that we understand everything, but the underlying laws that describe what baseballs are made out of, or tables or living beings, we understand that. it's electrons and quarks with masses from the higgs field interacting via those forces. that's the everyday world.... when it comes to the everyday world, we have figured out what the pieces are and what direction the can move in. that does not make us good world players or chess players. it does constrain the kind of games you can play. if someone has come up with a new chess strategy that involves the rook moving diagonally, you know that you can rule that out without listening to their elaborate presentation on it. likewise, if someone has a great new theory of living their lives that involves homeopathy or astrology, you can tune them out without listening to the details. because just knowing the fact that the standard model of particle physics is the right theory of the matter that makes up the everyday world is immediately enough to rule out a whole host of possible phenomena. anything you can't do with electrons, protons, neutrons, gravity and electromagnetism, you can't do in your basement.... you cannot bend spoons with your mind — unless your mind tells your other arm to go out and bend the spoon. but you can't just do it with a new force emanating from your cortex because there are no such forces. you cannot predict the future, see around corners, the position of saturn when you were born sadly irrelevant to the rest of your life, blah-blah-blah ...
and in fact we known there is no life after death. sometimes even atheists and skeptics like to be open-minded about this because we haven't done all the right double-blind experiments, blah-blah-blah ... forget it! if you believe in life after death, tell me what particles contain the information that moves your soul from place to place. is it electrons? 'cause those would be easy to notice cause electrons are electrically charged and it's actually quite a lot of charge. is it atoms? but the atoms don't move very much when you die. if you believe that there's some way that you have an immortal soul that travels from place to place, then you're not just saying we don't know how it works, you are saying that our current knowledge of the laws of physics is wrong. which means you better give me a good reason to believe that our current knowledge of the laws of physics is wrong, because it's not, and i'm going to move on to more interesting things.
most of science's work, certainly that part which concerns everday human experience, has been done. science can explain through natural causes everything we do and everything that effects us between waking and sleeping, including waking and sleeping. whatever important unknowns remain lie beyond john q. public's quotidian concerns.
sean argues that even gravity, one of the universe's most ubiquitous, constant and far-reaching forces, can be ignored as "utterly, utterly irrelevant" to our lives since it is also one of the weakest. air travelers might quibble, but his point is that the activity of any purported forces or beings that supposedly affect or manipulate human lives on any regular and significant level would have to be stronger than gravity — and therefore, like gravity, noticable and provable. so we would have already noticed by now if any undiscovered entities were regularly intervening in the world by stopping bullets from hitting people or picking sides at sporting events. and we certainly know enough to ignore out-of-hand rudy's entreaties for us to "educate ourselves" by following up on his so-called research since it defies everything real scientists have discovered.
to justify itself, every religion claims to be not just relevant but inseparable and indispensible to the human experience — all while hiding just beyond reach in the supernatural. but science has yet to find any human activity that can't be explained by some combination of the natural forces we've thus far discovered. despite or because of the worst abuses of religion, the history of science has been the inexorable balkanization of gods and ghosts onto smaller and smaller islands of possibility. sorry rudy, but as of today, atlantis is sunk — even the king james version.
there is a cult of ignorance in the united states, and there has always been. the strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge".
— issac asimov
Tuesday, May 14, 2013
Wednesday, April 03, 2013
turning to world domination, 9% think fluoride is added to drinking water for sinister reasons, and 28% believe a shadowy elite are conspiring to form world government.("sleeper" #4, story by ed brubaker, art by sean phillips, 2002)
Thursday, March 21, 2013
- religion and the supernatural
- gods and deities
- angels, demons and the semi-devine
- heaven, hell and the afterlife
- ghosts and poltergeists
- reincarnation and past lives
- prophecy and fortune-telling
- witchcraft, magic and talismans
- monsters and weird creatures
- fairies and elves
- big foot, yetis and sasquatch
- pseudoscience and superstition
- deepak chopra
- the paranormal
- psychic powers
- astral projection
- science fantasy
- ufos and alien visitations
- time travel
- faster-than-light travel
- conspiracy theory
- too numerous to list
or in other words, just about anything left on the history channel.
while i enjoy speculation as well as anyone, ultimately i believe only in reason, the power of logic and the empirical method of acquiring facts and knowledge through the gathering and testing of evidence. if you come to me professing a belief in ghosts or ufos, don't expect me to take you seriously and do expect me to be skeptical of everything else you say.
Sunday, March 17, 2013
ain't i just the devilish thang?CRUZ: Would [Senator Feinstein] deem it consistent with the Bill of Rights for Congress to engage in the same endeavor that we are contemplating doing to the Second Amendment, in the context of the First or Fourth Amendment? Namely, would she consider it constitutional for Congress to specify that the First Amendment shall apply only to the following books and shall not apply to the books that Congress has deemed outside the protection of the Bill of Rights? Likewise, would she think that the Fourth Amendment’s protection against searches and seizures, could properly apply only to the following specified individuals, and not to the individuals that Congress has deemed outside the protection of the law?
FEINSTEIN: Let me just make a couple of points in response. One, I'm not a sixth grader. Senator, I've been on this committee for twenty years. I was a mayor for nine years, I walked in, I saw people shot. I've looked at bodies that have been shot by these weapons. I've seen the bullets that implode. In Sandy Hook, youngsters were dismembered.
Look, there are other weapons. I'm not a lawyer, but after twenty years, I've been up close and personal to the Constitution. I have great respect for it. This doesn't mean that weapons of war, and the Heller decision clearly points out three exceptions, two of which are pertinent here. And so I, you know, it's fine you want to lecture me on the Constitution. I appreciate it. Just know I've been here a long time, I've passed on a number of bills. I've studied the Constitution myself, I'm reasonably well educated and I ... [unintelligible] ... for the lecture.
Incidentally, this does not prohibit. You used the word prohibit. It exempts 2271 weapons. Isn’t that enough for the people of the United States? Do they need a bazooka? Do they need other high powered weapons military people use to kill in close combat? I don’t think so — so I come from a different place than you do. I respect your views. I ask you to respect my views.
Wednesday, February 13, 2013
talk of 2016 so soon after november is really just election porn addiction but since the opposition's response to state of the union address is seen as a proving ground for presidential hopefuls (with two on deck this time as continued evidence of GOP disarray), i'm going to have to indulge in a little dirty talk ...
now granted, rubio was under enormous pressure between a party desperate to fill the vacuum ripped opened by internecine squabbling around him ...
... and an acknowledged parade of failure behind him:
at wingnut watering hole free republic rubio could count on at least a few sympathetic ears ... before less appreciative (and more access-privileged) ones pulled the plug:
made him look like a human being. i think he hit a home run. (DManA)
also too, bawling like a child can make one appear human. apparently, merely maintaining the facade of membership in our species is quite a hurdle for many in the GOP — just ask unskewed president mitt romney.
however, we ask a little more of our leaders and nervousness under pressure at once visible, loud and vicariously painful is not a quality that inspires followers and movements, especially when the enemy is known and even mocked for his vulcan cool even while in the lion's den.
still, as i said, 2016 is two entire election cycles away, so rubio at the very least could use this opportunity to take a refresher course in public water management policy. couldn't hurt, if it's not already too late for him.
Sunday, February 10, 2013
rotting away in jail for fraud? well, this could be your lucky day! birthers are once again fishing for clients and anyone convicted under any laws enacted under an illegal president can apply for a get-out-of-jail-free card — at least according to their latest sure-fire usurper-slaying scheme, passed along by birther debunker blog obama conspiracy theories:
dcist.com reports the story that sibley has created a motion template for people convicted under the 2009 fraud enforcement and recovery act (the act makes it easier to prosecute cases of mortgage fraud and predatory lending). they can petition the court to have their convictions overturned because obama isn’t really president, forcing, sibley believes, the courts to adjudicate the president’s eligibility.
wherein i made the following offhand remark:
finding plaintiffs should be rather straightforward since, as with tax protestors and sovereign citizens, one cannot toss a birfer across a citizen grand jury without hitting a convicted fraudster.
which prompted the reply:
someone should make a birther/lowlife venn diagram.
which got me thinking ...
this first one requires a bit of nuance since one can argue that many if not most birthers fall into all three categories.
in the wingnuttosphere, even those that reject birthers (breitbart, beck) still feed into their mania.
odd duck birther martyr and former army surgeon terry lakin doesn't fit into my standard model but i came up with this just for him and his fellow high stakes losers.
Tuesday, January 15, 2013
over the weekend my sister stopped over for a visit and my niece, as is her wont, asked to watch some cartoons on my laptop. data corruption in the video stream and/or disruption of the player app resulted in some not too unsightly imagery, which i captured from the screen:
whatever the cause, i have been unable to replicate the anomaly, so these mini-murals are definitely three-of-a-kind.
Monday, January 14, 2013
overhead today at our favorite wingnut watering hole free republic:i live in what is considered a safe neighborhood and stay in "safe" areas, never had a problem YET.
not familiar with guns although my husband used to have quite a collection and i had a baretta shotgun. i'm not so much afraid of home invasions or robberies at this point — but times are changing. what i'm more afraid of is our government setting off a stampede of marauding hoards[sic].
i have NO clue what might be useful for me — need advice.
when crime rates are falling and even hardcore wingnuts admit to feeling safe in their homes, how does one get already convinced gun owners to buy still even more guns?
easy — sell them an apocalyptic delusion.
'cause you can never have too many guns when that happens.
Monday, December 24, 2012
Friday, December 21, 2012
Sunday, December 16, 2012
let me tell you a story. the day after columbine, i was interviewed for the tom brokaw news program. the reporter had been assigned a theory and was seeking sound bites to support it. "wouldn't you say," she asked, "that killings like this are influenced by violent movies?" no, i said, i wouldn't say that. "but what about 'basketball diaries'?" she asked. "doesn't that have a scene of a boy walking into a school with a machine gun?" the obscure 1995 leonardo di caprio movie did indeed have a brief fantasy scene of that nature, i said, but the movie failed at the box office (it grossed only $2.5 million), and it's unlikely the columbine killers saw it.
the reporter looked disappointed, so i offered her my theory. "events like this," i said, "if they are influenced by anything, are influenced by news programs like your own. when an unbalanced kid walks into a school and starts shooting, it becomes a major media event. cable news drops ordinary programming and goes around the clock with it. the story is assigned a logo and a theme song; these two kids were packaged as the trench coat mafia. the message is clear to other disturbed kids around the country: if i shoot up my school, i can be famous. the tv will talk about nothing else but me. experts will try to figure out what i was thinking. the kids and teachers at school will see they shouldn't have messed with me. i'll go out in a blaze of glory."
in short, i said, events like columbine are influenced far less by violent movies than by cnn, the nbc nightly news and all the other news media, who glorify the killers in the guise of "explaining" them. i commended the policy at the sun-times, where our editor said the paper would no longer feature school killings on page 1. the reporter thanked me and turned off the camera. of course the interview was never used. they found plenty of talking heads to condemn violent movies, and everybody was happy.
Friday, December 07, 2012
overheard election evening: "i'm sorry to have to ask you again, governor, but could you repeat that just one more time? and even louder? the folks over here are just a little bit excited tonight."
nov. 6, 2012: president obama talks on the phone with former massachusetts gov. mitt romney in the presidential suite at the fairmont chicago millennium park in chicago, ill. (via tpm)
Saturday, December 01, 2012
Thursday, November 29, 2012
even as the benghazi gasbags crumple under their own morbidly obese weight, from the outset it was never possible to take republicans seriously on it. first, the point man just wants to throw his weight around in front of the cameras one last time before the next senate takes it away from him. second, four years ago the GOP proudly and loudly proclaimed that their number one priority was to make obama a one-term president. to win 2012 obama needed to fail. at everything. thus began a nonstop and ultimately futile campaign of single-minded obstruction, condemnation and sabotage of every act, nomination and proposal obama has attempted to make. that is now historical fact. the GOP came to raze him, then to bury him. in all of four years obama wrested from them but a single moment of respite — after disclosing the death of bin laden, where even the most rabid partisans could find no safe purchase from which to continue their attacks.
when a party adopts a nakedly self-serving program of categorical obstruction, they also loudly announce that the merits of any particular issue do. not. matter. one. whit. quite foolishly they surrendered all credibility on anything and everything they object to, since they were planning to object anyway. everything becomes a "crisis" and the critics become the old men that cried wolf. so despite their loud moral opprobrium at the deaths of four americans, does anyone believe, had benghazi never happened, that the GOP would not now be organizing some kind of "crucial" hearings about some other administration "scandal"? does anyone believe, had rice's name never been floated, that the GOP would not now be obstructing this nomination, as they have every other?
Friday, November 23, 2012
enjoy your retirement, sam.audio: detective calls comments about obama's death 'political hyperbole'
veteran JSO officer retires after confronted with perceived threat to president
the jacksonville sheriff's office has released audio of an internal affairs interview with a veteran detective accused of threatening the president and members of the democratic party the week of the election earlier this month.
that detective, sam koivisto, later retired from JSO.
in the interview, koivisto was asked if he knew why he was being questioned.
"my understanding is that, and all i can say, all there is to say, is any statements made are political hyperbole," he said. "such as when on tv, they go, 'hey, you know, the republicans want to, you know, take — put people on death lists and, you know, push them off the cliff or something.' i mean, that's all it is. it's just political hyperbole. i have not said it. i've not made any threats against anybody. i've not said anything other than to express a desire, not happy with the fact obama got elected. that's it."
an internal affairs investigator continued to prompt koivisto about the statements he made.
"the statement i made in the office was something of the nature — i think ms. field at some point said, 'you know, the poor people up north just got hit by one storm and now they're hit by another,'" koivisto said. "and i made the statement, 'well, you know, the whole northeast just generally has voted democratic, voted heavily obama, got him elected. and so i said something to the point, 'well, if a nuclear bomb exploded and killed them all, it wouldn't hurt my feelings any.' that's what i said. didn't make any statement about hurting anybody or anything of that nature."
the investigator, however, said the statement he wanted koivisto to speak on was one he made about a threat to kill the president.
"no. no. the only statement ever made about the president was, i said, 'you know, just like when they killed osama bin laden,' i said, 'if someone says, 'hey, he is the enemy of the state or whatever,' and they had to take him out, then i could be the guy to do it,'" koivisto said. "that's not, that's not a, that's not me saying i would kill the guy or anything of that nature. that's just to say that if the guy went away, it wouldn't hurt my feelings."
koivisto said he never told anybody he wanted to kill the president.
"it was a bad choice of words, perhaps," he said. "no intention with it whatsoever."
in koivisto's retirement letter, he requested to keep his badge and glock 27, and was allowed to.
sheriff john rutherford said his department learned the friday after the election of "threatening statements allegedly made by one of our detectives."
rutherford said in a preliminary interview with koivisto, he acknowledged making the statements, which "we found his comments to be unacceptable workplace conduct, as opposed to legitimate threats."
"it was never made, never a threat, never any, you know, ever going to ever take any action on it or anything of that nature," koivisto said. "it was just saying that, you know, i'm not real fond of the guy, and if he goes away it wouldn't hurt my feelings."
during the interrogation, he insisted it was all just talk.
"simply just saying that i'm not pleased with that whole situation of, of the country is in. period. that's it," koivisto said. "political hyperbole, nothing more, nothing less."
given the nature of the comments, JSO notified the united states secret service of koivisto's statements. the secret service said a decision on any possible charges would be up to the U.S. attorney's office.
rutherford said koivisto, who had 24 years with the department, elected to retire early.
the interviewer makes a keen observation the erstwhile detective so far is unwilling to acknowledge: "perception is reality. if they perceive that: hey you said that and you got the means to carry it out, you ARE a police officer ..."
koivisto wants to pretend otherwise but, unlike most random nutjobs off the street, the feds have no choice but to take his case seriously.
the interviewer's trying to tell him: someone believed you.
Saturday, November 10, 2012
atrios @ eschaton asks:who the hell would want that job
not going to waste too much of my beautiful mind on it, but I do wonder why romney wanted to be preznit. i wonder the same about anyone, of course, but the reasons do differ.
let me count the ways:
- to prove Himself better than His Father, who, though being the better man, failed to become President
to see His Name writ upon the Pages of History, as a member of the Most Exclusive Club in the World
to walk in the Company of World Leaders, and not as a donor or favor-seeker or hanger-on
to bask in the Glow of His lessers, and have Senators, CEOs and Rock Stars seek His Attention and Kiss His Ring
to receive Presidential Awards, Prizes and Medals
to hear everyone speak His Name every day for eight continuous years
to place a Capstone on His Worldly Achievements
to culminate a life-long Quest for Validation
Thursday, November 08, 2012
via tumbler, scenes from the night republicans discovered that reality really does have a liberal bias:
four more years ...