I’m Done With Hillary Clinton: Two Unavoidable Unacceptables for a Democratic 2008

March 31, 2008

I’m a Democrat. I give money. I’ve work campaigns, both as a volunteer and as paid staff. I’m realistic and critical of my party (and open to criticism in return) but when it comes to fellow Democrats, candidates and activists, loyalty still matters a great deal to me. The party doesn’t reflect everything I believe in the way I believe, but it is the direction I want the country to head, and that’s what it comes down to. I have no apologies.

No matter what, I will vote for a Democrat this November: Clinton, Obama, whatever. I began this political season almost irritated that I had to make a choice between two candidates that rated about even in my book in nearly every way. Both have unique strengths and correspondingly worrisome weaknesses. I could have staked a claim on either one of them.

But at this point, I’m simply done with the Clintons. Not just for this race, but period. No matter what happens from here on forward, I’ve just had enough. I have friends who are dedicated to her, and whose political careers are linked to her fate. And it’s been truly difficult to get to this point.

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Totally Made Up, Unilateral Blog Carnival! (And a Tiny Bit on Expelled!)

March 27, 2008

It’s time for another survey of stuff worth reading on the internet, so let’s pretend that I’m hosting some sort of esoteric Blog Carnival. Topic? ME! (And for those readers who are getting sick of Expelled musings, good news: I’ve exiled them to the end of this post)

Anyway, let’s get this thing started with a review of the home-birth-homage film “The Business of Being Born” from someone who might know a little about the subject: family practice doc Harriet Hall. Personally, I think she’s nuts to worry about all the hospital-hate in the film. Doctors are dangerous! That’s why I’m planning on going for an “all-natural” coronary artery bypass when my time comes.

Next, Ed Darrell over at Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub points us towards both Cracked list of 11 Movies Saved by Historical Inaccuracy (in which we learn that Mel Gibson’s Patriot hero was, in real life, a notorious slave rapist) and Yahoo’s own similar listing of Greatest Historical Goofups (in which we learn that Mel Gibson’s Braveheart hero would have had to have sex with a three year old to make any sense). Both lists need to apologize for the ridiculousness of calling 2001: A Space Odyssey “historically” inaccurate. It’s called Science-FICTION, guys.

Over at Exploring Our Matrix, religious religion prof James F. McGrath asks “Can (the story of) Noah’s Ark Be Saved?” I’m not sure if his answer is yes or no, exactly but I’m pretty sure that whatever it is, it’s the right answer. The stories of Noah and Job cannot be reconciled any better to modern morals than they can to modern science. That doesn’t mean that we cannot learn things from them (whether believers learning about God, or even non-believers learning about believers).

Then we have Hemant at Friendly Atheist who sees Jesus everywhere he looks. Fair warning though: be prepared to squint.

To pad out my fake Carnival, I’ll also note Bug Girl’s submission to the all-too-real 83rd Skeptic’s Circle/Carnival. The title is simply irresistible: Pubic Lice: “Sea monkeys in your pants” Speaks for itself, right?

Finally, if you want to know more about my sense of humor, here’s Exhibit A: new internet sensations FAIL blog and Stuff White People Like.

Oh, and in case you yourself had PHAILed to notice it, that big honking graphic over on the top right goes to Expelled Exposed, the soon-to-be official National Center for Science Education response to that expelled movie thingy everyone has been going on and on about. I highly recommend other bloggers doing something similarly prominent to get the word out: feel free to steal my graphic if you’re lazy.

It’s also worth noting that, for some unknown reason, this teensy blog is actually the or at least amongst the top results when you search for information on the film, which is pretty odd, because I almost never post about the darn thing. While I’m flattered, Internet, I can’t help but think that other science sites should be up there instead.

Finally, as I noted over at Skepchick, what is probably one of the most crucial Google search terms in this little PR war, “expelled movie,” didn’t have a single critical, pro-science site on the all-important first page of results. But then, lo and behold, the very day after I complain about it, Phil Plait and I break into the big time! Somehow, I have gained the power to move digital mountains.


It’s Ok to Slap a Woman as Long as its Over a Baptism Dispute

March 25, 2008

Meet footballer (that’s AMERICAN footballer) Cedric Wilson: former wide receiver for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Why former? Dude hit his girlfriend, apparently out at a bar. Fair enough. Not acceptable behavior on the Steelers.

Now meet linebacker James Harrison:

On March 8, Harrison was charged with assaulting his girlfriend, Beth Tibbot, in her Ohio Township home. According to a police affadavit, Harrison broke down a door, broke Tibbot’s cell phone in half as she attempted to call 911, then slapped her face with an open hand, knocking off her glasses. He was charged with simple assault and criminal mischief and faces an April 3 preliminary hearing before a magistrate in Bellevue.(emphasis added)

Sounds like some pretty messed up behavior, no? Well, according to the teams’ chairman, Harrison’s place on the team is secure, because he had a good reason. What reason? Here’s the chairman’s explanation:

“What Jimmy Harrison was doing and how the incident occurred, what he was trying to do was really well worth it,” Rooney said of Harrison’s initial intent with his son. “He was doing something that was good, wanted to take his son to get baptized where he lived and things like that. She said she didn’t want to do it.”

Now, I know believers have every reason to think that baptisms are good and important things to do to their children. But I hope everyone, believer or non, would still agree that baptisms are not exactly the sort of immediate emergency situation that would make it “really well worth it” to break through a door, destroy a cell phone being used by a frightened woman to dial the police, and slap that woman in the face.

HT: Feministing and Skepchick.

Do We Need a “War On Easter” Memorial Now? Charlotte Allen’s Back for More Misunderstanding

March 23, 2008

For some reason, many movement conservatives have decided that Christian celebrations are no longer complete without bizarre paeans to their own religious vanity. With more than 6 months until the War on Christmas hysteria can be drummed up again, the National Review seems to have decided that Easter is a worthy target as well, and the infamous Charlotte Allen should do the honors.

The gist of the her complaint goes something like this: “It’s just awful that cooking magazines don’t take time out to bemoan the crucifixion, am I right, ladies?” Oy. Veh.

What’s always so baffling in these sorts of articles is how these writers manage to turn the choice of people or businesses to be more ecumenical in their holiday celebrations into, as Allen calls it, a “campaign to force everyone to say, “Happy Holiday!” The very idea that there is such a sinister campaign is, of course, absurd, but the paranoia and simple incapacity to distinguish between a voluntary lack of partisan religiosity and some sort of totalitarian thought campaign its what’s troubling. And, amongst religious conservatives, all too common.

Statements like the following never fail to stun me with their sheer obliviousness:

Still, it is sad and disconcerting that the oldest and holiest of Christian festivals is simply ignored by the media (and almost everyone else), and that Christians have acquiesced to the near-disappearance of their highest feast day from public consciousness.

But of course, the only reason “Christians” have “acquiesced” is that they apparently, voluntarily, aren’t as interested in promoting their religious observances as if it were a QVC product. And so what? If, on the other hand, lots of Christians decide that they don’t like the state of affairs that so troubles Allen, they are perfectly free to make a big fuss out of the fact that they are Christians celebrating Easter. The point is, it’s a choice, as it should be, not the unfolding of a conspiracy.

Allen concludes by quoting St. Augustine of Hippo: “We are an Easter people.” Who is such a person, though? In our society: whoever wants to be. But if someone isn’t an Easter person, who is Allen, exactly, to tell them that they must be?

Of course, head-slappers are something of an Allen specialty. She’s the same writer who concluded that, jumping off the idea that women were stupid enough to love Obama, that women are in general “kind of dim” and maybe should just get back to what they do best: birth babies and clean houses. She denied that women were a historically oppressed minority (though to be fair, she’s right about the “minority” part being wong). She declared in 2005 that writer Michael Lewis was correct that “Katrina was the best thing to happen to New Orleans.”

This latest article is a worthy addition to that record: a profoundly foolish ode to self-obsession. Her religious practices, her observance are what she looks for everywhere she goes… and society be damned if it is not made in her image.

HT: Dispatches from the Culture Wars

Today’s Wit and Wisdom from Vox Day: “Women Ruin Everything” Edition

March 11, 2008

If you aren’t reading WorldNetDaily’s own Vox Day (Theodore Beale), then apparently you didn’t know that invisible angels and demons are constantly fighting it out all around us, and Vox is leading the charge for the forces of good. Satan’s latest tool to ruin America? Infecting important professions like science with women in order to destroy them:

Women love education; it’s the actual application they don’t particularly like. Whereas the first thought of a woman who enjoys the idea of painting is to take an art appreciation class, a similarly interested man is more likely to just pick up a paintbrush and paint something – usually a naked woman.

Of course, this will sound to equalitarians and their sympathizers like nothing more than male whining, but it’s nothing of the sort. Because they are the intellectual driving force of humanity, men will be fine. They will simply continue to do what they have always done and pursue the same challenges they have always pursued, focused on the realities of success rather than its superficial attributes. It is the institutions they are exiting, voluntarily and involuntarily, that will be destroyed instead. It is written that “women ruin everything”; having destroyed the liberal arts, the classics and the pseudo-sciences, it is now abundantly clear that the more rigorous sciences are next on the equalitarians’ destructive agenda. And so, in the not-too-distant future, two plus two will finally be determined to equal five if a women feels that it should, or at least it will as long as she happens to feel that way. (emphasis added)

Thus ends today’s lesson.

And please, ladies. If you question the wisdom, remember: Vox drives a turbo Porsche sportscar. So, secretly, you admire and adore him anyway.

Bonus: Orac, in his own 100% laudatory celebration of Vox, points out another of Vox’s notable insights: suggesting that we could use the Holocaust as a model for peacefully rounding up illegal immigrants.