Monthly Archives: March 2013

Tim Minchin Has Seen The Light…

…and renounced his heathen ways!


Or not.

You Thought YOUR Mail Delivery Was Bad, Try Being An Atheist!

This is amusing.  A company from Germany named Atheist noticed that products shipped to the United States were very often experiencing delays without any noticeable cause.  The only thing that they did differently than any other company is they had “Atheist” labelled on their packing tape.  Could that be the cause?  To find out, they did what any good scientist would do; they ran an experiment.

They sent two packages to 89 individuals in the U.S. on the same day.  One had the “Atheist” packing tape and the other had unlabeled packing tape.  The two boxes should arrive at the same time, yes?  The result?  The “Atheist” boxes took 3 days longer to arrive at their destination.  Of the 178 packages they sent out, 10 were lost.  Only one of the lost packages had the unlabeled packing tape.  This shows a significant bias against “Atheist” branded packaging.  No states were immune from the bias.

They also did similar experiments with other countries and found no such bias.  The United States, apparently, has a unique bias against Atheists.  And, for now, packages sent to the U.S. will no longer have the “Atheist” packing tape.

Slacktivists Unite!

Slactivism – The act of doing something for a cause that has zero impact for said cause and only serves to make the individual performing the action feel good about themselves.

Examples of slactivism include: politicians wearing a flag pin to show their patriotism, people putting yellow ribbon magnets on their car to show they support our troops, people putting flags on their car to show their patriotism, people putting ANYTHING on their car to show they support ANYTHING, and people changing their Facebook profile picture to a pink equal sign to show they support gay marriage.

I will admit, I was a little bit in awe of the sheer amount of people who changed their Facebook profile picture to the now ubiquitous pink equal sign on a red background and it’s various permutations (my favorite being a kissing Lady Liberty and Lady Justice superimposed on the image).  It was inspiring, on some level, to see so many friends and strangers announce that they believe gay marriage should be legal.  But back in the real world, gay marriage is still illegal in a vast majority of the country and your changing of your profile picture has changed none of that.  In the end, it’s just a big circle-jerk amongst a bunch of like-minded individuals.

It doesn’t have to be like that, though.  You can effect real change by spending very little of your time.  Call your U.S. Representative, call your U.S. Senators, call your State Representative, call your State Senator.  Tell them that you would like gay marriage to be legal.  You probably don’t believe it, but politicians listen very carefully to the phone calls that they receive.  It is the most effective method for an individual to enact change with their politicians and it is much more efficient than waiting for someone else to get elected.  Make it so.

We’ve Seen The Likes Of Sheriff Joe Arpaio Before

I’m currently reading “The Warmth of Other Suns” by Isabel Wilkerson.  It’s about the Great Migration of Blacks from the South to anywhere but the South.  It should be required reading for every American.  It is at the same time incredibly depressing and incredibly inspiring.  Read It.

In the book, there are anecdotes about sheriffs harassing Black folk under the guise of the law.  All in the name of keeping Blacks “in their place”.  All I could think about was how eerily familiar it all sounded.  Then I realized; It’s Sheriff Joe Arpaio!  For those of you that don’t know, Joe Arpaio is the sheriff of Maracopa County in Arizona.  He spends much of his time giving people who aren’t white (mostly Hispanics) a hard time.  So much so that he has been investigated by the Department of Justice.  When he’s not doing that, he’s busy treating inmates incredibly poorly and setting up concentration camps (his own words!).  He also has a really bad habit of ignoring sex crimes.  A good segment of the Right practically worship this man.  He is re-elected time and again.  He likes to claim that he’s America’s toughest sheriff, but he’s really only tough against a certain segment of society that has no power.  We normally call people like that bullies.

We’ve come a long way since the Jim Crow South.  We’ve also come not very far at all.  Joe Arpaio is just a symptom, though.  He’s a symptom of a disease that has festered in the American psyche since her birth.  That disease is fear of The Other.  The Other can change from generation to generation, but it has been omnipresent in our society.  First it’s the Irish and then the Jews then the Italians then the Blacks then the Hispanics then the Gays then the Muslims.  It goes on and on and on.

The Other is a weapon that the powerful use to keep The Ignorant on their side.  The Ignorant are often not stupid people.  Most often, they are just people that have a lot on their mind and plenty of injustices inflicted upon themselves.  The Others just provide an easy scapegoat for the problems of The Ignorant.  The Others have never been a group to fear.  They’re just a group trying to make life a little better for themselves than they had the day before.  That is their defining characteristic.  That makes them exactly like us.

There is a trivially easy solution to the plight of The Other.  We all know the Ignorant.  They are our family.  They are our friends.  They are our neighbors.  Too often, we ignore the illogical ramblings of The Ignorant because it is socially awkward to do so.  That has to stop.  Speak up.  Say something.  Do so politely, but firmly.  You will likely not change the mind of the person speaking.  But others are watching.  Others are listening.  Others will learn.  Teach them.  This plus time are our weapons.  Wield them wisely.

Large Corporations Are Evil

If there is one thing that the current financial crisis should have taught us it’s that large corporations are evil.  They become entities that care about one thing and one thing only; profit.  Many times, just short term profit.  The banking crisis was all about short term profit.  Don’t believe for a moment that no one could have seen it coming.  The big banks ALL saw it coming.  They saw an opportunity to rake money in hand over fist and distribute huge bonuses to a select few and they took it.  All with the realization that they would very likely not be held responsible for their grossly immoral actions.

Here is another ploy that large corporations often pull.  Peabody Coal spun off a company called Patriot Coal.  When they did so, they filled Patriot Coal with as much of their debt burden as possible.  They threw as many retiree pension obligations as possible in with Patriot.  Why would they do this, you ask?  Well, because that way Patriot can go bankrupt and remove the pension and healthcare obligations that Peabody once agreed to give their employees.

20,000 people are going to have their pensions stripped and their healthcare taken away.  Just like that.  Peabody could have afforded these benefits if they kept everyone in the parent company, but they chose not to.  Why?  All for the almighty dollar.

And there’s nothing the workers can do about it.  Now that the National Labor Relations Board has been rendered toothless by the courts, companies have free reign to do whatever they want with their employees and retirees.  They are safe in the knowledge that they have at least a decade before anything will be able to be done against their actions today.

Notice that the new company that was spun off and designed to fail is called Patriot Coal.  That’s how sick these people are.  This, to them, is patriotism.  They take the best years of thousands of people and work them hard in one of the most dangerous jobs which is known to cause a myriad of health problems.  For this, they promise them retirement benefits and healthcare.  Then, at the first political opportunity, they throw all the retirees into a spinoff company they never worked for with the obvious intention of letting that company fail.  Never a thought made to the individuals affected by it.

Patriot Coal.  It makes the blood boil.  This is evil on an epic scale.  Yet no one will hear of it.  And it happens every day.

Barack Obama Is The Devil

You know that Bible mini-series that they’re playing on the “History” channel?  Well, guess who they got to star as Satan.  None other than Barack Obama!


Now, I don’t want to criticize the President, but shouldn’t he be doing more important things than starring as himself in a TV mini-series?  Civilization isn’t going to collapse on its own!  There are so many more socialistic programs to enact, so massacres to fake so he can take our guns away.  The UN isn’t going to take over America by itself, Mr. President.  They need you to pave the way.  So you’ve had your fun.  Get back to work!

We Need Unions

Why?  Because of things like this.  Chrysler fired Alex Wassell,  a man with 20 years of experience, because he was “engaging in, participating in, aiding or approving conduct constituting or appearing to constitute a conflict with the interests of the Company.”  a.k.a. fighting for better conditions for employees.

Talk about Orwellian language.  Anything a worker does could constitute a conflict with the interests of the Company.  Heck, they could fire you for asking for a raise with that language.  The National Labor Relations Board has found such language discriminatory in the past, but the NLRB doesn’t really exist right now because a court found Obama’s recess appointments to the Board to be unconstitutional.

This creates a lovely dynamic.  Republicans block NLRB appointments.  Obama makes recess appointments which allows the NLRB to do their job.  Republican judge rules appointments unconstitutional.  NLRB ceases to function and all NLRB cases that had been decided have to be reheard once the appointments are approved by the Senate.  Alex Wassell is looking at a year before his case is heard.  It’s a win-win situation.  Companies win and Republicans win.  Workers lose.  This is how Republicans want the government to work.

Companies have all of the power over an individual employee.  Unions do what they can to level that balance of power.  Yes, there are abuses.  They pale in comparison to the history of abuses that companies have inflicted on their employees.

Come Into My Parlor Said The Spider To The…Bat?

Holy crap!  Spiders catch and eat bats!  I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised.  They do, after all, eat dwarfs and hobbitses.

Jesus Fan Fiction Is WAY Cooler Than The Bible

Want to bring people back to the church?  Release more things like this.  It’s a 1200 year old document that claims that Jesus could shapeshift.  That’s why Judas had to kiss Jesus.  Jesus could take any form he wanted.  If you think about it, this actually makes complete sense.  There weren’t wanted posters spread far and wide to catch criminals so identification would have to be done by witness.  There were also likely plenty of people claiming to be Jesus at the time, possibly with Jesus’ permission.  The best way to speak FOR someone is to speak AS someone.

This bit of fan fiction also claims that Jesus ate his last meal with Pilate and Pilate offered to crucify his son in Jesus’ place and that Jesus could turn invisible.  The invisibility along with the shapeshifting makes me almost convinced that Jesus played Dungeons and Dragons.

There are volumes of Jesus fan fiction out there.  Most are locked up in church vaults and will never see the light of day because a bunch of old white men got together in a room and put together a bunch of the many stories together and called it canon and named the stories the Bible and hid the rest from the world.  If they really want to make Jesus cool again, though, they’ll release more of the fan fiction stories.

Wonders In Architecture

You all have seen videos of large buildings being destroyed.  They go boom and collapse in on themselves creating a lot of noise and dust and leaving a pile of debris.  What do you do when there are other buildings directly next to your skyscraper?  Leave it to Japan to come up with an answer.  You take it apart one floor at a time: