Saturday, February 19, 2011

Science > Religion

This comic from SMBC sums up exactly why 93% of the top scientists who are members of the United States National Academy of the Sciences are atheist or agnostic:

Friday, February 18, 2011

You Can't Explain That!

Many of you might know that conservative commentator Bill O'Reilly made a fool of himself when interviewing president of the American Atheists, David Silverman, by trying to explain the existence of god by saying, "Tide comes in, tide goes out.  No miscommunication.  You can't explain that".  Justifiably, Bill'O has become a laughing stock of the internet.  Again.

Now there's a fun meme going round that puts similarly stupid phrases above a picture of Bill O'Reilly as arguments that you just can't explain, so it must be true!  Joel shared this via Google reader.  So in the spirit of lampooning foolish TV figures that use terrible reasoning skills, I've made one of my own with the meme generator:

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Help Balance the NC Budget!

I love transparency in government!  While we'll probably never be at a level that I totally approve of, any attempt to actually use the internet to engage the public with government decisions and processes is really a positive attribute in my book.  Check out this new website by Governor Beverly Perdue of North Carolina (my home state!).

You can actually go through all of the different options to decide what funding gets cut and what revenues get raised to balance the NC deficit.  Give it a try!  I cut 1.265 billion dollars of spending and raised 1.5 billion dollars in new revenue to give NC a surplus of 0.340 billion dollars.  Of course, realistically, these decisions are much more complicated, but it's nice to see the options and have an idea of what sorts of financial cuts and gains are plausible.  What can you do to fix the deficit?

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Prop 8 is Delayed. Again.

The Advocate reported today that the supreme court case concerning Proposition 8, the bill passed in the California 2008 election making same-sex marriage illegal, is now delayed because of an appeal to 'standing'.  Ironically, this delay is actually being caused by gay rights advocates.  Prop 8 had been overturned earlier in the year (thankfully) by Justice Vaughn R. Walker.  The decision was appealed, but not by the state of California, the governor, or the attorney general.  Now the legal battle will be fought to determine whether general voters of California (supporters of Prop 8) actually have the right to appeal.

History says that voters do not have the right to appeal.  According to the Advocate:
Last month a three-judge panel for the ninth circuit asked the California Supreme Court whether Prop. 8 supporters who have defended the ballot initiative in the federal case Perry v. Schwarzenegger "possess either a particularized interest in the initiative's validity or the authority to assert the State's interest in the initiative's validity ... when the public officials charged with that duty refuse to do so."
Fortunately the process is being expedited, but don't expect a decision on this matter any time soon.  It seems that there is light on the horizon for the Prop 8 opponents - with a little more time, gay and lesbian couples will no longer be formally discriminating against by the government.  Better late than never.

In other news, the Hawai'i legislature approved civil unions today for same-sex couples, and the Governor plans to sign the bill.  This brings the tally up to 10 states that offer domestic partnership and 5 states plus Washington DC that allow same-sex marriage.  It's a long road, but we'll get there eventually. 

Empty the Clip

Tea Party Jesus is keeping politician comments in perspective.  Alabama Senator Scott Beason recently said this about the topic of illegal immigration:

Really?  Empty the clip?  A gun reference that suggests firing all ammunition at immigrants until the weapon is empty?  How can this person be serious? Such bigoted comments should be exposed, and voters in Alabama should vote for "the other guy" in the next election.

If you're not familiar with the work over at TPJ, the author takes quotes from religious conservatives (usually Christian) and puts them in the mouth of Jesus - because conservatives think they're following Jesus' way of life, TPJ switches the character speaking the words and let's the reader decide if it's something Jesus would do.  It doesn't take twelve years of Sunday school to know that Jesus would never say "Empty the clip, and do what has to be done."