Alan Keyes wants Americans to embrace “synoptic thinking.” Synoptic means “seeing apparently distinct things or events as they relate to one another to form, on the whole, a coherent plan, pattern or design.” So he lists a bunch of points that he labels “data” and tries to draw a connection. I’m sure you’ll be shocked at the connections he draws.
Data: Obama issues orders to allow open homosexuality in the military.
Nope. False. Obama did not issue an order to do this, Congress passed a law that did this.
Data: An anti-Christian extremist, who decries Christian military personnel who share their faith as “enemies of the Constitution,” “virulently homophobic” and “human monsters,” meets Obama-appointed Pentagon officials. The Pentagon thereafter issues “a statement confirming that soldiers could be prosecuted for promoting their faith.”
Also false and debunked repeatedly.
Data: U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., says he believes open purchase orders from the Department of Homeland Security to buy over 1 billion rounds of ammunition are part of an “intentional” effort by the Obama administration to “dry up the market” for gun-owning citizens.
Data: Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin believes the federal government is “stockpiling bullets in case of civil unrest.”
Keyes looked up the definition of synoptic; he clearly needs to look up data too. These are not “data” they are idiotic conspiracy theories that have been disproved even by the NRA, for crying out loud.
South Carolina is legendary for dirty politics and push polling specifically. Now a mysterious group called SSI Polling is doing one of the most blatant push polls you’ll ever see in the race between Elizabeth Colbert-Busch and Mark Sanford. Here are some of the questions:
- “What would you think of Elizabeth Colbert Busch if I told you she had had an abortion?”
- “What would you think of Elizabeth Colbert Busch if I told you a judge held her in contempt of court at her divorce proceedings?
- “What would you think of Elizabeth Colbert Busch if she had done jail time?”
- “What would you think of Elizabeth Colbert Busch if I told you she was caught running up a charge account bill?”
Glenn Beck says his pal Michele Bachmann is only under investigation for allegedly misusing PAC funds to pay campaign staff and other campaign law violations because of a Muslim Brotherhood plot to destroy her. With no evidence, of course, because evidence is a communist plot.
In his latest Worldnutdaily column, Ray Comfort takes dead aim at evolution and, predictably, completely misses the mark. It’s a weak effort even from a creationist, really. It’s nothing more than a bunch of ignorant blather and an attempt to shift the burden of proof.
Nothing is observable without the believer having to exercise faith. When hearing such a thought, the devout devotee rushes to his evolution site to cut and paste what he believes to be facts. Then he presents them en masse with the zeal of a fundamentalist religious zealot. He has faith in what he believes is evidence - what he hears about old bones, ideas and dating processes.
Isn’t it interesting how a fundamentalist religious zealot uses that very term as a criticism, indeed an insult? And yes, there are certainly plenty of people who accept evolution without really understanding it well and who cut and paste when arguing with a creationist without really knowing the evidence behind what they’re using. But so what? The same is true of the overwhelming majority of creationists participating in such arguments and that is not an argument for or against either evolution or creationism.
And this is also a rather anachronistic use of the term “faith.” Faith, as his Bible tells us, is believing without evidence. But the evidence for evolution is available for all to look at, analyze and evaluate. There are tens of thousands of scientists working in fields for which evolution is the single unifying theory that explains the data, and they publish their research for both their colleagues and laypeople to read and examine. One does not need faith to accept that evidence, one merely has to look at it and logically evaluate it.
Creationism on the other hand is observable. The Book of Genesis tells us that male and female were created in all the “kinds,” and in nature we see that except for a few hermaphroditic lowlifes, everything has male and female. Horses, cows, dogs, cats, elephants, giraffes, fleas, fish, kangaroos, polar bears and people all have male and female. That’s what the Bible says, and that’s what we observe in nature and in the fossil record.
A few hermaphroditic lowlifes? He’s making a moral judgment about animals he has likely never even heard of? There are, in fact, lots of species that are hermaphroditic in very fascinating ways. There are sequential hermaphrodites, which are born one gender and change to another later in life (several species of teleost fish and gastropods). Some of them change from male to female (clownfish, for instance), some from female to male, and some in both directions (different species of reef fish do both of those last two).
* Music Trivia: Jo Allen, the singer in the video, never achieved great fame but besides penning this great song he also created “Jealous” which was later charted by Robert Palmer. Jo Allen (Alan Powell) is a drummer by trade, and the drummer filling in for this video later formed his own band and had a regional hit “Don’t Get Mad, Just get Even”
Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor has a new book out that tells very personal stories of her rise from an extremely poor family to becoming a top student at Princeton and Yale and then to the highest court in the land. The Daily Mail recounts some of those stories:
Supreme Court justice Sonia Sotomayor revealed the fact that her ex-husband brought a bag of Quaaludes to his new wife on their wedding night.
She also told other unusually personal stories about her upbringing in the Bronx, like how she unknowingly brought her cousin to a drug den where he shot up heroin…
Sotomayor says she was working as a prosecutor when she gave Nelson a lift to what he told her only after the fact was a drug den in the Hunts Point section of the Bronx and waited for him in her car while he shot up heroin inside.
The book also gives a look into her romantic life, detailing her marriage to her high school sweetheart, Kevin Noonan, soon after they graduated from college. They divorced during Sotomayor’s time as a prosecutor in Manhattan, but parted amicably.
One detail Sotomayor notes is that on their wedding night, Noonan produced a bag of Quaaludes- the hynotic-sedative that was popular in the 1970s- that was a gift from his friends. She insisted he flush the pills down the toilet.
A decent and reasonable person would be impressed at her ability to overcome such a disadvantaged childhood to take her place at the highest levels of the legal profession. Even a reasonable conservative would laud this as an example of that “pulling yourself up by your bootstraps” idea they love so much. But the assholes at the Free Republic, being neither decent nor reasonable, spew hatred and bigotry instead:
Nothing like a former drug addict scarred psychotic to make life/death decisions.
America is back to normal. After the hard fought 2012 election, there is something almost reassuring about the news that two powerful boy-toys, CIA Director David Petraeus and Lockheed Martin’s incoming CEO, Chris Kubasik, were forced to resign due to extramarital sexual affairs.
There’s something about men with power: they just can’t keep their zippers zipped. Over the last couple of decades, the U.S. has been witness to wave after wave of infidelity scandals with considerable social power and position.
The 2012 election was a major rejection of the Christian right’s culture wars against the rights of woman to choose an abortion and use birth control and homosexual couples to marry. It may also prove to be a pivotal event in the long war against public shaming of married people who commit infidelity, who violate the “sacrament” of monogamous marriage.
According to current estimates, more than half (53%) of first marriages end in divorce and more than half of men (57%) and women (54%) admit to committing infidelity in a relationship.
Clearly, far more is at stake in the Petraeus and Kubasik affairs. While both incidents seem to have been voluntary and non-coercive, other concerns are at issue. With the former, national security might have been violated; with the latter, corporate employment policies were breached. Both are firing offenses for the male honchos involved.
In compiling a list of those wingnuts — Christian, Jewish and Muslim varieties — who immediately blamed Hurricane Sandy on gay rights, abortion or whatever else they hate, I missed Rabbi Noson Leiter, Executive Director of Torah Jews for Decency. But New York Governor Andrew Cuomo didn’t. He put out a press release hammering the guy:
‘The comments made by Rabbi Noson Leiter that sought to link the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy to our state’s embrace of marriage equality are as offensive as they are ignorant. This catastrophic storm claimed the lives of more than forty New Yorkers. This kind of hateful rhetoric has no place in our public discourse, and is particularly distasteful in times of tragedy. Our state is proud to offer equal rights to all our citizens, and we will never tolerate the use of a tragedy like Hurricane Sandy to promote a divisive and bigoted agenda. I call on Rabbi Leiter to apologize immediately for his hurtful comments.’
The church’s hierarchy is in no way more progressive now than it was then, yet the bishops returned to this theme in their 1998 pastoral message Always Our Children:
The teachings of the Church make it clear that the fundamental human rights of homosexual persons must be defended and that all of us must strive to eliminate any forms of injustice, oppression, or violence against them (cf. The Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons, 1986, no. 10). It is not sufficient only to avoid unjust discrimination. Homosexual persons “must be accepted with respect, compassion and sensitivity” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 2358).
Twenty-five years on, a re-read of Allan Bloom’s The Closing of the American Mind reveals just how wrong liberals were to hate it, and how wrong conservatives were to claim it as their ideological bible.
‘The first shot in the culture wars’ was fired 25 years ago, with the publication of Allan Bloom’s landmark book, The Closing of the American Mind. That was Camille Paglia’s apt description, and the reverberations of Bloom’s shot can still be felt today. The ‘war’ over culture has seen flare-ups and ceasefires since the 1980s, but the basic idea behind it - that liberals and conservatives are defined by deeply opposed values, not just different political ideas - remains an important way in which American politics is understood.
Bloom’s book rose to prominence in large part thanks to those culture wars, as conservatives embraced his views as their own, and liberals interpreted his argument as an attack on them. Bloom charged universities with abandoning their mission to provide a liberal arts education. Higher education had not just declined, it had - as the subtitle of the book put it - ‘failed democracy and impoverished the souls of today’s students’. He argued that the problems on college campuses reflected a broader social and intellectual crisis in the country.
Mention The Closing of the American Mind, and there’s a very good chance someone will dredge up Bloom’s attack on students and rock music. Here is Bloom in full flow:
‘Picture a 13-year-old boy sitting in the living room of his family home during his math assignment while wearing his Walkman headphones or watching MTV. He enjoys the liberties hard won over centuries by the alliance of philosophic genius and political heroism, consecrated by the blood of martyrs; he is provided with comfort and leisure by the most productive economy ever known to mankind; science has penetrated the secrets of nature in order to provide him with the marvelous, life-like electronic sound and image reproduction he is enjoying. And in what does progress culminate? A pubescent child whose body throbs with orgasmic rhythms; whose feelings are made articulate in hymns to the joys of onanism or the killing of parents; whose ambition is to win fame and wealth in imitating the drag queen who makes the music. In short, life is made into a non-stop, commercially pre-packaged masturbational fantasy.’
Conservatives lapped it up, and saw a like-minded fellow who wanted to restore traditional morality. Liberals were repelled, and saw a fuddy-duddy who wanted to turn back the clock. A set-piece culture clash…