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Amused Muse

Inspiring dissent and debate and the love of dissonance

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Location: Surreality, Have Fun Will Travel, Past Midnight before a Workday

Master's Degree holder, telecommuting from the hot tub, proud Darwinian Dawkobot, and pirate librarian belly-dancer bohemian secret agent scribe on a mission to rescue bloggers from the wholesome clutches of the pious backstabbing girl fridays of the world.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

The 10 Worst Jobs in Science

Hell, I could be a semen washer.

Monday, October 30, 2006

I'm Riding to Battle Cthulhu

on my trusty seahorse.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Cthulhu at IKEA, or Sic Semper Tyrannis

Just in time for Halloween: it's the beginning of the end for spoiled little Tyrannis with IKEA toys and bedroom sets!

First came the warnings on Virginia's license plates, but no! You ignored PZ! You dismissed Pharyngula!

(That'll show you.)

Then came the catalog in the mail with this "endearing" little creature.

Note how it sneaks up on the unsuspecting little simpering Tyrannis.
At first, it seems just a friendly old toy, sitting on the toybox...

And then it's playing with the child, just like any clever predator...
(Oh ye of little faith! Will your child's funeral cost $69.99?)

And then it attacks! Sic'em! Sic Semper Tyrannis! AAAAaaahhhhhhh...

IKEA, the gate between the worlds.

(Didn't you know?)

Monday, October 23, 2006

The Blue Scare

UPDATED: Good golly, little trolly, did I scare you away?

Never mind the nonsequitors in the comments, friends, I’m just engaging in a teachable moment with a little IP who posted what it thought was a scary threat while thinking that it was anonymous.
Osama bin Laden and Ayman Al-Jawahiri are now official spokesmen for the Republican Party.

George W. Bush now claims that he never was a "stay the course in Iraq" president. (I guess he'll soon say that we were never at war in Iraq, too. After all, we were never there to search for Weapons of Mass Destruction.)

Garrison Keiller speaks at George W. Bush's church and, after being told not to talk politics, facetiously says, "I don't need to talk politics. I have no need even to be interested in politics--I'm a citizen, I have plenty of money and my grandsons are at least 12 years away from being eligible for military service." And the goody-goody Christians applaud! So much for "the least of these." What moral values.

Well, we all know what's wrong with our nation, right? What's wrong with our nation is...Bill Clinton!

So. How are these Republican incompetents going to defeat the terrorists when they've been in power for six years and they still haven't beaten Bill Clinton?

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Religion, Scams, and Heritage

I've worked with a lot of African-American women, single mothers struggling to do right, and Bible believers. (One thing that you learn about working with people of color is that, despite how they are portrayed in the media, they put up with a lot of discrimination and crap to this day, and don't raise enough hell about it!) While oftentimes I felt closer to these women than other white women because they've had to struggle, and because they tend to be more open with their thoughts and emotions than middle- and upper-class whites (and because there isn't the taboo about having a good appetite as that which exists among diet-conscious rich whites), one of the disagreements we've had is on the subject of religion.

This is a sore spot, because the church has been a locus for the Civil Rights movement, and for immigrants' rights and social justice movements. Definitely, I have felt more comfortable around activist pastors than the "suffering-is-good" pettifoggers, and I understand the sense of community that a church can give. I don't resent the church that I went to as a child; I had one of the kindest pastors in the world, and grew up surrounded by nice, kind people. What I do resent is the idea that, due to the sheer coincidence of having been raised a Christian, I have to be a Christian.

However, the encroachment of religion upon our secular democracy is giving rise to more and more corruption. This story in particular touched a nerve with me: an African-American minister and her daughter using religion and the language of race ("This is how the white man got ahead!") to draw in and scam other African-Americans out of their money. Unfortunately, with Bush's faith-based initiatives getting more and more funding, we are going to see more of this kind of thing.

A secular government is neutral to religion and exists to protect the rights of believers, too.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

The Selfish Gene, 30 Years On

The audio from Dawkins' presentation on The Selfish Gene: 30 Years On has been disconnected from my multimedia links, so I found the transcript online.

I really wish that I could have attended this talk, for Dawkins' afterword, like The Selfish Gene itself, opened up a new world of ideas for me.

Well I think one respect in which I am philosophical is this: although I'm very interested in the way life is, I'm also fascinated by the question "Are there aspects of life that just had to be so?" For example, it's a matter of fact that the genetics that we know is digital, both at the Mendelian level of the independent assortment of genes in pedigrees, and also at the Watson and Crick level of the digital information within each gene. That's a fact. But is the digitalness of genetics just a fact, or is it something that had to be so, for life to work at all?

And this statement, given in response to a despairing review written of The Selfish Gene at (in which the author said he wished he could un-read the book because it made him so depressed), especially touched me:

If something is true, no amount of wishful thinking can undo it. That's the first thing to say. But the second thing to say is almost as important. Which is that there really never was any reason for these despairing reactions at all. It is a complete misunderstanding of what science can tell us about ourselves if we conclude from it that we are somehow diminished by it, by the truth. Our life is what we make of it. No new facts about our nature can change that.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Arms Races and Manipulation, Part I

(I'm ahead in my homework, so I've resumed reading The Extended Phenotype.)

Dawkins' purpose in his book The Extended Phenotype is to dash the concept that the individual is the unit of selection, that is, the idea that, among other things, individuals act in a manner as to increase copies of itself. (Ann Coulter, for example, in her crap book Godless asks why, if evolution is true, she doesn't want to have children. Once again, she has mistaken evolutionary theory for a naive "for the good of the species" caricature of evolution. I should think that organisms (i.e., Dembski) manipulating other organisms (i.e., Coulter) into believing in creationism would be a prime example of said manipulation.)

Organisms may consistently work against their own interests (inclusive fitness) through being manipulated by another organism. Examples of manipulators are angler fish and cuckoos.

Although it's easy to assume that one animal manipulating another is only a temporary phenomenon until the other animal evolves some method of fighting back (that is, that the manipulation is a "time-lag" phenomenon--see my post on constraints on perfection), in reality the manipulator can in fact succeed continuously under certain conditions. An example of this is intraspecific manipulation (manipulation within the species, particularly kin-manipulation). Examples are parents manipulating their offspring, and offspring manipulating their parents.

Altruism is defined here, in a biological sense, as a behavior that favors other individuals (their inclusive fitness) at the expense of the actor.

Dawkins believes that parents who manipulate their children have an advantage over parents who do not, but states that parents do not have any built-in advantage over their children by the mere fact of their being parents.


Charles Darwin's Works Online

The complete works of Charles Darwin have been digitized. Check it out.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

To a Scientist

Richard Dawkins appeared on the Colbert Report tonight.

Aside from the fact that Colbert was grandstanding as usual (irritating me as always), and didn't let Professor Dawkins get a lot of words in edgewise (let him talk, he's your guest!), it was a pretty good exchange and Professor Dawkins looked very relaxed and charming and dashing, even more than usual. And he got in a few zingers.

Colbert: See, if I think that God just "did it," that I can understand.
Dawkins: And who just "did" God then?
Audience: Whoooo! [Laughter]

Here is my geeky intellectual take:

Don't forget that it's kiss-a-scientist week! MWAH! MWAH!! MWAH!!!

And a kiss for Lalla, too.

It wasn't long enough, Colbert. I guess you'll just have to invite him on again.

(Mwah! to Rev. BigDumbChimp)

Via RedStateRabble--Dawkins made somebody cry in Kansas and there's mean Kristine, with her hanky, to return the favor. (A lot of kissing and crying lately, what gives? Well read this and weep: atheism sells. Via Washington Post.)

RIP: habeas corpus 1215-2006

UPDATED: First casualty--under pressure from U.S. military officials claiming to "speak for the Romanian government," an Iraqi judge has sentenced a U.S. citizen to death for "kidnapping."
I just want to have a moment of not-silence for the death of habeas corpus, which, in being gutted by the vampiric Bush Administration, also guarantees the death of the United States Constitution to progressive blood loss.

The silence in this nation is deafening. Does most Americans even care?

I just want to be able to say (should they come to take me away) that on this historic day, on which that Jesus-muncher lunatic George W. Bush virtually seized despotic power to determine who is and is not an "enemy combatant," and thus who is and is not an American citizen (we are now all potential "enemy combatants" to him), I was among those who at least said something in protest.

Keith Olbermann's "special comment" was given last night on the death of democracy in America. Don't miss it.

(Via Rev. BigDumbChimp)

Monday, October 16, 2006


Okay, I admit that I "google" Dembski a lot. But does anyone care to comment on this? Because it's news to me (and I thought I knew everything there was to know about him!).

Dr. Dembski has taught at Northwestern University, the University of Notre Dame, and the University of Dallas. He has done postdoctoral work in mathematics at MIT [okay, I knew this], in physics at the University of Chicago, and in computer science at Princeton University. A graduate of the University of Illinois at Chicago where he earned a B.A. in psychology, an M.S. in statistics, and a Ph.D. in philosophy, he also received a doctorate in mathematics from the University of Chicago in 1988 and a master of divinity degree from Princeton Theological Seminary in 1996. He has held National Science Foundation graduate and postdoctoral fellowships.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

From a Scientist

Newsweek lets a scientist speak about science for a change.

Sure, people would sometimes ask about my work in the same way they say "How are you?" when you pass them in the hall, but no one, other than the occasional fellow scientist, would actually want to know. No one wanted to hear about a boring old scientist doing boring old science....

I find it odd that a society so dependent on science is so uninterested in it. Our military dominance, our economic strength and our high quality of life are all outgrowths of our scientific achievements....

Keep in mind that many of these technologies are based on scientific ideas that had little or no practical use when they were discovered. And the next time you meet a scientist at a party, remember: he or she may be working on something really, really boring, but 20 years from now, you'll be glad he or she did. So say thanks, after all, they make your world a better place.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Friday the 13th is Over, Whew!

Yeah, that empirically demonstrated unlucky day is over. Everyone breathe a sigh of relief--except me! It's mid-term day for me! Whoo-hoo!

Yeah, good thing it's not Friday the 13th, when I was eating free sandwiches (left over from a stomach-churningly stressful reception that I had to set up on the 12th) and joking with my co-workers. Yeah, go Saturday the 14th! I love exams. ;-)

Don't feel sorry for me, I'm going to ace this thing.

Did anyone come up with an answer to the Princess Di question?

Friday, October 13, 2006

Comment Moderation Sucks

I'm turning it off.

This does not mean, however, that people who have been told to go away (well, one person) and stay away should come back. No "sinning" of one's wheels with futile attempts at religious conversion. I've had enough "heretic!" yells. I'm learning to get mean, heh, heh, heh.

In other words, this little Dutchgirl is not pulling her finger from the dyke. (Make of that what you will.) ;-)

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Complexity is Easy!

The more I learn about the world of library cataloging, the more I see parallels between it and the larger world (particularly in biology and engineering). And one statement that can definitely be made about the world is that there seems to be such a thing as a Law of Unintended Consequences.

Unintended consequences of design, that is (which is naturally implied by the statement).

One would think that cataloging a book (or any other medium of expression such as a videotape, DVD, audiotape, map, rare document, etc.) would be the easiest process in the world. One would also think that formulating rules for the consistent and logical cataloging of library materials would also yield only a few, simple rules.


For example, here are some of the issues that we have covered in class:

What if a book has an author and an illustrator of arguably equal importance? What if the illustrator is actually more important than the author (as in the case of many children's books)?

What if the book is the personal memoir of a former pro wrestler who also happens to be the former governor of Minnesota? What if the document is a state proclamation by the same given while he was governor?

What if there is more than one author of the book? What if the book was originally written by one author, but then revised and expanded by another or others after the original author’s death? What if the author publishes under a pseudonym? What if the pseudonym is a fictional character known from other literature (such as Dr. Watson or Superman)?

And my personal favorite (I am not making this up): What if this is a book posthumously “dictated” to a medium by a dead person, such as JonBenet Ramsey or Princess Diana?

Welcome to my grad school cataloging world.

The Anglo-American Cataloging Rules 2 is the result of decades-long collaboration between America and Europe to formulate clear, consistent rules for librarians, and this has been achieved. The rules are for the most part clear, and they are internally consistent, as well as being absolutely necessary. And yet the AACR2 is a 5-inch thick volume of bureaucratic speak that, in planning for every possible contingency, makes it one dull, complicated read—surely never the writers’ intentions.

Welcome to “design”!

In America, an attitude persists that simple rules yield simple results, and that complexity needs some kind of supernaturalist boost in order to develop. It’s simply not true. Government deregulation, the “simplification” of the tax code, the cutting of budgets, and the belief in a 6-day, thousands-year-old earth have yielded

*convoluted bureaucracy in business and worse-than-Russia labyrinthine run-around in health care;
*incomprehensible “Press seven for zippity-doo-dah” recorded customer service menus;
*longer and more complicated tax forms;
*tax preparation “specialists” who obligingly devise complicated ways to rip you off;
*multiple job descriptions of government workers, who were already never at their desks when you called before they were short-staffed (was forcing bureaucrats to perform three jobs instead of one supposed to make them more efficient? I've been there!); and

*the Babel of contradictory doctrines, themselves alternately called (and they change with the wind) “creationism,” “intelligent design,” “old earth creationism,” “young earth creationism,” “catastrophism,” and most laughably, “scientific creationism.”

And creationists wonder how speciation happens. Hello. It happens all by itself.

Complexity is easy. Complexity is the natural order of things. It only takes a few simple rules to arrive at complexity.

Take Paley’s watch, for example. Paley’s rhetorical watch is not the result of one designer being efficient. That is not, after all, how the watch developed. The watch developed over centuries, through trial-and-error. The watch had many “designers,” all of them fallible, and hardly an analogy to an infallible Designer-deity.

The watch went through many incarnations: as a stick in the sand, then a sundial, then a marked candle, then a water-clock, then a timepiece, etc., until it finally could keep time accurately enough for Paley to naively posit the mechanism as a model of supernatural design. But even though the watch was indeed “designed” by human beings, the story of the watch is actually the story of evolution, after all!

Most evolution is co-evolution, and humans and their tools co-evolved. “Design” doesn’t subvert Darwin’s theory, any more than artificial selection subverts evolution, or any more than my intention to drop an apple, as opposed to seeing one drop, subverts gravity.

It is simplicity that is difficult. I know this especially from dance. I could never stand Tai Chi because it required one to perform one movement at a time, with the aim of forcing one to think one thought at a time, whereas belly dance incorporates “layering,” the art of performing distinct physical isolations on top of one another (such as performing a hip shimmy, snake arms, and a head slide all at once. No, I cannot do all three). This is complicated, but the aim of the dance is to make it look easy. One must find and interpret simplicity in this complexity—which is why I call belly dance my an-Tai Chi, because when done correctly, after much practice, it stops looking like an absurd mess and resolves into one movement after all.

IDiots like William Dembski, Michael Behe, etc., only use the word “complexity” to impress their fans anyway—it’s a “big word,” it has multiple syllables, it sounds “technical,” which wows the “simple rules, simple results” crowd.

Simplicity is difficult, because simplicity entails elegance—and elegance, not sensational “complexity,” is the scientific ideal.

And you’re not going to believe the answer to the posthumous “as told to” question! Okay, POP QUIZ: According to the AACR2, who is to be listed in the catalog as the author of Princess Diana's posthumous "autobiography," Diana, or the huckster medium who is the real author?

"Unqualified to Teach"

As virtually everyone in the audience knew, Mr. Huyck would be leaving Pacific Collegiate, a charter school, after commencement. Despite his doctorate in classics from Harvard, despite his 22 years teaching in high school and college, despite the classroom successes he had so demonstrably achieved with his Latin students in Santa Cruz, he was not considered “highly qualified” by California education officials under their interpretation of the federal No Child Left Behind law.

Rather than submit to what he considered an expensive, time-consuming indignity, a teacher-certification program geared to beginners that would last two years and cost about $15,000, Mr. Huyck decided to resign and move across town to teach in a private school. And in his exasperation, he was not alone.

Via New York Times

Monday, October 09, 2006

Something That Just Happened...

I stopped to give money to this homeless couple that I see nearly every day downtown. (I'm seeing more couples, families, more women, more men who are obviously not your traditional hobos.) This time, unlike other times, they said "God bless" to me.

It caught me off guard. I just smiled and bade them goodbye. Despite my online persona I'm not a rabble-rouser in person who feels a need to "correct" people, but the truth is, I also don't have as quick a reaction time as other people and usually do nothing in the situation. I let it go, and what's the big deal, anyway--for pity's sake, out of habit I still say "bless you" to people who sneeze--but I do sometimes wonder if people truly believe what they say, or if they feel that they have to say things like that to people who are helping them out? I don't know what this couple has to thank God for.

I wish I was braver in real life, but I do remember things like a relative telling me that I was going to hell and a woman flinging herself across the room to get away from me, when I was honest with people. (Other people "don't believe" that I'm an atheist, and they "know" that I'm coming back to the church any second now.)

Maybe next time I'll grin and tell them that I'm an atheist, and that I wish I had a dollar to give them for every "concerned" troll or whoever who told me that I was going to hell. Because that's the truth.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Alan Fine's Allegedly Violent Past

UPDATED: Speaking of blowing his stack and abuse against women--Concerned Engineer's been banned. So it's going to take everyone's comments some time before they appear, because the moderation is on. This is the first ever time that I have ever had to ban anyone, but I will not be called (or allow JanieBelle to be called) "evil in a cute body." My boyfriend reads this blog. Out of bounds. What Christian morality! I never called him names, evil, ignorant, "depraved," or anything else.

And I'll bet that he never cried at anything I said.
Scrape the burnt spots off of Alan Fine's campaign--it's toast.

What kind of monster beats his wife while she's pregnant?

Now Alan "It's About Character" Fine wants the Star Tribune to yank the story. After calling everyone under the sun a liar (after initially saying in the police report that he didn't remember the incident--sound familiar?), he's worried that the story will hurt his campai--uh, his relationship to his son.

Wow. The guy really doesn't have a clue. If he wants to convince us that he was wrongly arrested, then acting like an angry divorced wife-beater by beating up on his ex-wife's reputation ("liar"), the motives of his former father-in-law (who himself is a judge!), and on reporters for doing their job isn't the way to go about it.

Alan Fine could have come out with this himself, and then explained it calmly. Alan Fine could have owned up to this long ago in a rational fashion before he even ran for office. Alan Fine could identify this mysterious unnamed person who supposedly can corroborate his version of things. But Alan Fine is doing an excellent job of convincing me that he can remain neither calm nor rational when confronted with the simplest of questions, but only blow his stack and spout off about some specious "witness" of his. (Who is it, Karl Rove?) Which doesn't exactly make me feel comfortable giving him any political power.

If he indeed acted as the Star Tribune article alleges, Alan Fine should be happy that he has a son who's still alive! If he's worried about explaining to his kid why he beat his ex-wife while his son was in the womb, I suggest that that's his problem, and not the Star Tribune's.

As a survivor of an abusive relationship myself, no way would I feel safe calling his office for a damned thing if this nutjob were to be elected (which, fortunately, is all but guaranteed not to happen now). I can just imagine how livid he would get at the slightest request (his wife asked him to help her change a diaper, can you imagine, what a ball-breaker), considering the anger management issues that he obviously has. Sorry, Alan. The story rings a little too true for me. Especially after your racist, violent diatribe against Keith Ellison. That scared a lot of people.

A Cartoon Universe

That's where the creationist dwells.

(Hat tip to Confusion of Ideas)

Friday, October 06, 2006

George W. Bush Has Impeached Himself

George W. Bush has violated his oath of office to uphold the Constitution of the United States.

George W. Bush has turned his political office into a gutter wallow. (And his Repubes are down there with him.) He has shamed himself before our country, and has shamed our country before the world.

George W. Bush has repeatedly lied to the American people, and he now accuses the American people themselves, if they be Democrats, of high treason!

Whether Christian or atheist, Muslim or Jew, Hindu or Buddhist, those who know their Declaration of Independence know that George W. Bush’s damned Jesus Christ bears no resemblance at all to Thomas Jefferson’s Creator, to Providence, or to Nature’s God, who was never conceived by Jefferson to be a person to be used, by opportunists like George W. Bush, against the lives and liberties of the American people. (And those who know their Constitution, soon to be banned reading in this country, know that it deliberately leaves out any mention of God, and that for a very good reason!)

The people are the government of the United States, and I accuse George W. Bush of being a traitor!

“To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.”

Mr. Bush has “refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.”

“He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.”

“He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.”

“He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.”

“He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

“…For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:

“For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

“For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies

“For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

“… He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

“In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.”

George W. Bush derives his power only from the consent of the governed. George W. Bush is unfit to be the ruler of a free people!

Thursday, October 05, 2006

My Reply to CBS's Choice to Air Rohrbough's Comments

UPDATED: It turns out that the gunman who killed the Amish schoolgirls in Pennsylvania was a home-schooled Christian:

At a news conference this afternoon, Mr Miller said that rambling suicide notes left for Roberts's wife, Marie, and his three children, suggested that the gunman, a home-schooled Christian, acted out of grief for a daughter who died nine years ago and as a furious reaction to his alleged attack on two relatives as young as 3 when he was just 12 years old.

So tell us more about how it's all "evolution's fault"!
They're limiting the length of replies, so so much for their "free speech" segment.

Here is my reply in full:

People who are complaining about the “intolerance of the left” are missing the point. Yes, we have freedom of speech in this country, but no one has the right to claim that his/her opinion is indeed fact. That leads to madness. In addition, the media have a responsibility and a duty to place such “strong ideas” in the context of cognitive authority. That means that the media must be more informed than the public that it is informing, and that it must not portray any supposed “controversy” in a manner that is deliberately misleading and/or agenda-driven (e.g., the “evolution versus creationism” debate as if creationism has equal legitimacy in terms of scientific evidence, when it certainly does not).

Third, I think that it is a shameful display to parade obviously distraught victims who have highly subjective views before the nation as if they are “experts.” I realize that it is popular to denigrate those with true expertise as being “elitist” and to champion the average television viewer as somehow more educated than educated people, but everyone needs to realize that there is no institution more hierarchical and elitist than the few who sit at the top of the mass media pyramid. In the context of this, “free speech” segments become mere circus tricks. It is revolting and exploitative.

No American is called upon, in a Jeffersonian democracy (in which citizens are truly educated, not just knee-jerk reactors), to “tolerate” mass-marketed crackpottery in the name of “free speech.” Antics such as this are contributing to less free speech, not more, by appealing to hyperbole and sensation, in the form of emotional button-pushing “sound bites.” That is not speech. Those are grunts.

And grunts, I might add, hardly refute evolution! But we won't mention the herd mentality of creationists (or their animalistic screaming, sobbing, and gibbering in what is called "tongues" at that concentration Jesus Camp of theirs).

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Maybe I Can Attend a Dawkins Lecture After All

Okay, PiGuy, you're going to get asked about this, I bet...

Teleportation breakthrough.

Surviving Jesus Camp

Unhappy little campers.

The adults running this show should all be arrested and put in the same cell with Foley.

Another reason why we need Richard Dawkins to speak out.

Dancing on Our Graves

Last week the Repubes budgeted 20 million dollars for the Iraq War victory party. Can you believe it? 20 million dollars. For the Iraq War victory party.

Coffee, tea, or a cute Congressional page-ee?

Will they invite the people of Darfur to this shindig? Yeah, maybe the refugees of Darfur could be “human statues” on the White House lawn. How quaint. That would amuse the rich and comfortable fundie Jesus wackos. (And we can't have anything bothering them, now can we?)

Will there be plenty of jobs for the rest of us? Because the majority of Americans will work for shit.

Oh, and by the way, remember the Congressional misconduct with pages scandal of 1982 and how that was handled (when Tip O’Neill was Speaker of the House)?

My, times have changed. Back then, Republicans would have sat on a scandal like Foley's too, but not out of some supposed fear of "being called homophobic" by the very Democrats that they call "Al Qaeda candidate" girlie-men.

Come to think of it, Republicans are talking about "girlie-men" a little too much; in the light of the Foley case, in which a grown man sexually propositioned a teen-aged boy, it takes on a new meaning!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Angry at Evolution

UPDATED: Hastert's office was notified two years ago about Rep. Foley's conduct. Reports are going back as far as 1995!
UPDATED: Arrest this man--he replaced a glow-in-the-dark Jesus nighlight with a Nobel Prize! For shame!
UPDATED: Attention Jesus freaks: city schools are often safer than suburban ones.

Also: "It is rare for mass school shootings to occur in cities, Newman says. Despite their safe image, rural communities can be an especially fertile breeding ground for revenge."

This from the Christian Science Monitor.

Oh, and we "need God in our schools," but not the Goddess! (Like Harry Potter is an accurate portrayal of Wicca, you twit!)
Oh, please. Here it comes: a father who lost a son at Columbine blames the Amish school shootings on evolution.

It's being reported that the shooter was "angry at God."

It seems to me that this dude couldn hardly have been angry at God if he had "replaced God with evolution." I mean, duh! This makes no sense at all.

What is truly sickening is that anyone would put Mr. Rorbough in front of a camera to bather about something he has no clue about. He is an unfortunate victim who, like so many Americans today, want an easy scapegoat. And like so many Americans today who become instant media personalities, he is being exploited and allowing himself to be exploited for a political agenda hatched in a smoky room.

Too many Americans are forming what they think are personal relationships with those who appear on television. Television is replacing reality for too many people that I know. On the subject of television itself: I can’t tell you how painful it is to be constantly asked, “Do you watch this show?” or “Don’t you just love this commercial?” by people whom I have told, over and over and over, that I do not watch T.V.

(Certainly I have watched a lot of cable network news, but not shows—and that’s out of the picture right now, anyway).

And I’m sick of the peer pressure to watch television so that I have something to talk about with my relatives. Television, particularly shows aimed at women, gives me a fucking migraine!

Incidentally, I am a writer, actively seeking major publication. At this point I don’t know who takes that seriously besides me. Excuse me, but it’s bad enough that the people who should be supporting me in my endeavors are, by the fact of their not reading, contributing to the diminishment of a literate audience that writers in America desperately need. Do I have to contribute to my own demise, too? Someone asked me, when I said that I was studying cataloging in the College of St. Catherine’s Library and Information Science program, if I was going to learn “how to do the Sears catalog.” Holy shit.

Mr. Rorbough is not an expert. Neither is Mark Klaas. Frankly, it’s time for Mr. Klaas to hang up his hat, as he is losing all objectivity about the JonBenet Ramsey murder case, and frankly, he's not a profiler, just because he lost his daughter. I'm sorry that he lost Polly, but enough already. As for me, I think it’s time that the news focus on facts and stop trying to electronically introduce me to people that I don’t want to meet (like Dr. Phil) for a big smooch and a hug. Blech. I simply don't understand how anyone can dislike Richard Dawkins but love "Dr." Phil. And Oprah Winfrey doesn’t know good literature from her own ass.

There, I finally said it.

(Thanks to Pharyngula, which gets me through the day)

They Cancelled My Soap Opera!

UPDATED: False alarm, false alarm, false alarm. The drivel flows, their toilet bowl runneth over, and MorphoDyke is still the enchantress who can change water into brine. Still, the reruns are best.

Will Wild Bill escape from the clutching witticisms of the conniving belly dancer? Stay tuned!
I can’t get Uncommon Descent on any channel.

Now what am I going to do?

I guess it’s just the previous season’s shows and Godzilla/King Kong reruns for me from now on. But yay, it was a guilty pleasure anyway, and we all know what that whole loveable gang (oh don’t ask, I can’t help it, like is strange) from Prude Central thinks of guilty pleasures, don’t we?

Gotta get myself straight. Gotta clean up, quit hangin’ with the creationists. That only leads to heartache (and, at my age, heartburn). Rick, Lou, Corporal Kate, and JanieBelle, as soon as my mid-terms are over (fourth session of class! Friggin’ fourth session! I've barely had time to scribble in my notebook!) I’ll come and play at AtBC, I promise.

(Station Identification: Rev. BigDumbChimp)

Monday, October 02, 2006

Test Your Civics

"Unschooling" is the new homeschooling. I see value in homeschooling, but I'm not sure about this. Interest is not just a feeling; it is cultivated despite, and yes, sometime through boredom. It takes effort and discipline to remain interested. For example, my cataloging class is five hours long on a Saturday, and it's a real ordeal, but through effort I can remain interested despite being bored. Got it? ;-)

Are we letting students down or are they letting themselves down? A majority of college undergrad lack basic knowledge in civics and history.

Take the quiz.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Ding, Dong, My Paper's Done!

Yep. I got the darned thing written, and I now know more than I ever wanted to about APA citation style. Now, back to work tomorrow, and onto the other gazillion things I have to do before my next class. (BTW, how is it coming, JAD?)

Rev. BigDumbChimp, the Twins are in the playoffs--against Oakland! Hahahah.

Vikings lost. Gee, what a surprise.