Monday, January 31, 2011

Have you stopped beating your wife?

Is it just me or are revelations regarding Stephen (bird shit) Green of the Christian Voice being a wife beater totally unsurprising? It's obvious to any rational person that the man is utterly deluded as are all his ilk, mentally it must only be a short hop from thinking you have privileged access to the mind of the mythical creator of the universe to believing all kinds of self serving psychopathic nonsense about your place in society and the universe generally.

In a long article in the Daily Mail there is a winding and sorry tale of public moral indignation partnered with long term mental and physical abuse of his family behind closed doors. From his well publicised obsession with homosexuality it must now surely be a forgone conclusion what will be revealed next.

When will our society learn that respecting (and affording privileged media access) to idiots like this is just because they believe in some Bronze age mythology or other is complete folly, they are at best harmless buffoons and at worse mentally ill;

To quote an appropriate phrase from Homer Simpson ... DOH!

Friday, January 28, 2011


Sarah Palin illustrates the state of education in Alaska with a another gaff for the ignorance party (aka tea baggers) In this little clip she denigrates a comment made by another politician regarding the view that America needs another "Sputnik moment". Of course as most moderately educated people know a "Sputnik moment" is a positive thing, i.e. in the 50's when the Russians launched Sputnik it so surprised and shocked the Americans that it galvanised them into a spurt of rapid technological and social progress leading to the space age, men on the moon, computers, the internet.

Palin of course sees a Russian sounding name and immediately thinks it must be a bad thing and concocts her own completely spurious definition of "Sputnik moment". I had lunch with an American friend at the weekend, he was saying how utterly flabbergasted moderate Americans of all political hues he knows are over Palin, the thought that she could gain power of any sort left him seriously considering emigration.

Interestingly BarbiePalin also used the term "WTF", unusual for an American politician, normally they avoid that kind of language, it makes you suspect whether she really knows what it stands for.... probably not.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Does god have a sense of humour?

I read an interesting article today it suggests that the media uproar about Ricky Gervais and his disrespectful (but funny) hosting of the Golden Globe film and television awards in Los Angeles last week wasn't really about poking fun at the fat-cats of Hollywood and their excesses, it was about God and his chosen people, you know, Americans.

This is a slightly different spin on the event in the closing moments of which Gervais says "And thank you, God, for making me an atheist.", cue lots of angry Americans from Bangor, Maine to Corpus Christi, Texas; how could the word "Atheist" be broadcast to the heartland like this without being bleeped, and on the Sabbath too!

An NBC executive is quoted as saying,

"You can roast any celebrity you like. Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp can take it. And Ricky can be rude about creationists on his HBO [cable channel] specials, because only the coastal elites can afford to watch HBO anyway, and it's pretty routine stuff for a New York or LA club. Lenny Bruce paved that way 40 years ago, although he suffered for it.

"But only a Brit would be naive enough . . . no, arrogant and stiff-necked enough, to flip off God in a family-oriented TV show that is going into the American heartland on the sabbath. We did not think we had to tell Ricky that."

Seems like God can't take a joke, or Americans, or maybe both?

Friday, January 21, 2011

Nailed it..

Following on from the batty Baroness Warsi ranting on about her precious religion of peace (smirk); here is something light hearted from Jesus and Mo. that nails the problem with her philosophy perfectly...


Thursday, January 20, 2011

Intolerance of intolerance

In a sterling example of content free double talk, Baroness Warsi has a piece on the BBC today claiming that prejudice against Muslims has become "normal" in the UK. She then goes on to explain that by prejudice she means the categorisation of Muslims into extremist or moderate and any form of dinner party conversation regarding Islam or it's implementation by Muslims, for example the rationale behind Muslim women wearing a burka. According to Warsi the blame for this is laid at the feet of "the patronising, superficial way faith is discussed in certain quarters, including the media", although like most followers of a "faith" she neglects to provide any concrete examples of why any such conversations are patronising or superficial, all I can see are straw men.

Rational people everywhere should ridicule this idiot; her comments are a joke, her motives sinister and any evidence that she desires a rational or reasonable debate non-existent, what she is demanding is censorship, plain and simple. Dislike of islam is a consequence of people's behaviour in implementing Islam (or their interpretation of it) - just as it is with the dislike of fascism and a "phobia" is an irrational emotion, there is nothing irrational about a dislike of Islam. I have a wholly rational fear about people who seem to want to kill me and run my country according to medieval theocratical laws which are completely at odds with hard won principals of tolerance and free speech. Ergo, I am not Islamophobic or even Christianophobic, I am reasonable.

When we look at what people could discuss at dinner parties when it comes to Islam, its a scary list; for example, fatwa's, sharia law, misogyny, honour killings, forced marriages, homophobia, anti-Semitism, female genital mutilation, imperialistic aspirations etc. etc. oh and if you are a Muslim and decide to leave your religion then the penalty is death, would Baroness Warsi stand up in the house of Lords and deny that the penalty for apostasy in Islam is death?

I want to live in a society where any idea may be examined and criticised and those criticisms rise or fall based upon the quality of the arguments and evidence, religions, cultures, philosophies are just ideas like political ideas and should be treated as such, would Warsi be happy to belong to a Conservative party that mandated the death penalty for anyone leaving it and joining Labour, even if such a rule was seldom implemented?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Wait for it 3.. 2.. 1..

No prizes for the predictable round of Christian articles claiming religious persecution over the ruling today in a Bristol court regarding the discrimination shown to a gay couple last year by the owners of a Cornish hotel. The judge ruled that the patrons of the Chymorvah Hotel broke the law by directly discriminating against their guests over a matter of biology indistinguishable philosophically from say skin colour or physical handicap because of their religious beliefs regarding marriage and homosexuality.

My own view is that the owners of this hotel are perfectly entitled to their views on marriage but by discriminating in a public or community setting they were enforcing those views on others who don't necessarily share them; unfortunately in the case of organised religions this kind of insensitivity remains the norm. I'm left thinking that if this enforcement of equal treatment in society is what it means to "sideline Christianity" then I'm all for it!

Friday, January 14, 2011

What do you call a cat that looks like Hitler?

A Kitler of course!

*From the wonderful cats that look like Hitler web site - ah, so that's what the internet is for...

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Munchhausen syndrome

Having observed with interest the political furore surrounding the shootings in Arizona this week, yesterday I watched Sarah Palin's video on the subject, now I have a bruised lower jaw and a slightly puzzled look on my face.

In it she accuses the "left" of a "blood libel" against her, this is an interesting use of term and worthy of some analysis. Firstly, it seems somewhat self serving for her to position herself as a "victim" in all this, but she's a politician so I suppose we shouldn't expect any humility, however, the term "blood libel" refers to the false accusations made in medieval times against Jews along the lines that they stole Christian children and consumed their blood in satanic rituals. The primary reason for these accusations is generally accepted now to be that they facilitated and rationalised the persecution of Jews by Christians, additionally, it seems hard not to draw at least tentative historical linkages between the mythical status of Jews as killers of Christ, centuries of European persecution and blood libel and the subsequent attitudes of fascists like the Nazi's. Anyway, knowing this history and knowing that the actual victim of the shooting, i.e. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords is indeed a Jew, I can't help feeling that either this is monumental stupidity on the part of the speech writer or a more sinister hand is at work.

If we all had to suggest something this horrible mess needed right now, a healthy dose of medieval religious BS shouldn't be high on anyone's list! But was it deliberate and intended to incite or was it just stupidity? Some wit put out this tweet yesterday which became popular, it illustrates the point,

"pattonoswalt: Took video down. Sorry for offending Jews. My camp is concentrating on better one. Final solution soon. #palin"

No doubt there will be more on this in the coming days, and I thought Obama's speech yesterday was very good indeed; for me the intellectual contrast between him and Palin is stark.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Right pal..

Interesting conversation going on over at Cif belief, and somewhat unbelievable bearing in mind we live in the 21st century in a secular democracy, i.e. why is this even a question at all? Anyway the question in question is "should schools require Christian worship?"... you can probably guess my answer.

I particularly love the way that some of the Christians commenting over there try and weasel out of any meaningful defence by playing the name calling game, one commenter provides the perfect response to a typically evasive example, see below:

Comment from Christian: "While all religions have a lot to answer for in terms of dirty secrets, I do not see many attacks from the vast majority of religious people directed at atheism with the same vitriol."

Response: "Right pal. Put yourself in my boots for a second. I happen to find Christianity ridiculous and morally repugnant in almost equal measure, but being a live-and-let-live sort of guy I really don't have a problem with Christians believing whatever they like so long as they afford me the same courtesy.

Then my son goes to (state, non-faith) school, and he's made to pray to the Christian God every day and sing songs about Jesus, and my only possible recourse is to either let some prat fill his head with nonsense or else have the school make him sit on his own for fifteen minutes at a time. Not much a choice, hence my frustration.

Get it straight. It ain't me who is being divisive here. It's not me who is ramming my disbelief down anyone's throat. It's your co-religionists. I am merely defending myself. Rest assured my antagonism will disappear the very second your lot finally stop sticking your imbecilic nonsense in my face at every opportunity.

Until that happens I will continue to be as vitriolic as I can manage."

Well said sir!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Floods mean you know who at work...

I suppose it was only a matter of time before some religious dude put two and two together and came up with a googolplex; apparently according to this particular fruit bun the reason Queensland is being hosed down by a strong La Nina this Winter (their Summer) is because Kevin Rudd the ex-Prime Minister of Australia bad mouthed his invisible friend's friends by (wait for it) urging Israel to opt into the anti-nuclear proliferation treaty.

You would of thought that a super-being like Yahweh could act out his petty vengeances for being dis'd or not being sucked up to enough with a little more accuracy, a plumbing incident at the Rudd household perhaps or an inexplicable loss of coolant from his lawnmower? No, just like the good book says; the Christian God likes his revenge served very, very wet, and utterly arbitrarily.

Maybe these random, and yet suspiciously explicable natural disasters are simply conjured up to fool us rational folk into being completely assured that he doesn't exist at all, yes, that must be it..

Monday, January 10, 2011

(tea) bag yourself an innocent bystander today..

There's a lot of soul searching going on in the USA currently, with the shooting of Democratic politician Gabrielle Giffords and others, including this innocent 9 year old girl Christina Taylor Green, who was 2 days older than my own son and died of her wounds. In Arizona and elsewhere a lot of people on both left and right seem to be advocating that the situation not be politicised.

I think that's the wrong approach.

If I had to take sides I would broadly align myself with the democrats, regardless, I'm regularly appalled at the seeming insularity, primitive superstition, rhetoric and plain ignorance of the tea-baggers and their public faces, particularly from pundits like Bill O'Reilly, Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh et al. I would suggest that this is precisely the time to politicise this, as much as possible, throw it in the faces of the Sarah Palin's of the world at every possible opportunity from now on, let everyone in the civilised world know what these imbeciles actually promote, shout at them, ridicule their beliefs, do not respect their ideas and most importantly win all of those millions of moderate and rational Americans to your side.

Left wing cartoon "The Far Left Side" has a nice round up of comments, it's hard to disagree with any of them, the cartoon is spot on too.

Here they are:

- If a Detroit Muslim put a map on the web with crosshairs on 20 pols, then 1 of them got shot, where would he be sitting right now? Just asking. - Michael Moore

- A physician cannot treat an illness s/he willfully refuses to diagnose. Violent political rhetoric is not fault of "both sides." - Tom Tomorrow

- Inspiring that our media pundits are so quick to reach for "everyone's to blame" when no conservative events have been terrorized by gunmen. - Jeffrey Feldman

- Weird: rightwingers say movies, video games affect behavior -- but real world violent rhetoric from leaders & radio talkers have NO impact! - Tom Tomorrow

- Jared Lougnner: drug arrests, too crazy for Army or for college or anything else, but getting a legal gun? No problem. - Tom Tomorrow

- I find it abhorrent that Sarah Palin would stoke the coals of extremism with dangerous messaging, then delete it when something bad happens. - Jason Pollock

- Sure, Sarah Palin didn't pull the trigger. But then, neither did Charles Manson. - auntbeast

- Christina Taylor Green was Born on September 11, 2001, and killed today by terrorist fuckheads in Arizona. Irony much? - geeksofdoom

- Sarah Palin rummages online frantically erasing her rabble-rousing Tweets like a Stalinist trimming non-persons out of photos. - Roger Ebert

- I'll say this, if your first instinct after hearing about a tragedy is to scrub yr websites, you have a problem as a political movement. - digby56

- CNN's Dana Bash says "this could be a wake-up call." THIS ... ? The whole Tea Party, carrying guns to rallies WASN'T?? - hololio2

- Teaparty asses have been asking for this to happen, and how they're pissed off that we're calling them out on it. - TLW3

- STOP SAYING"BOTH PARTIES"!! The Left has not been advocating Violence. @CNN assholes. - YatPundit

(don't) Drink and be damned

Having posted the story about the New York Christians who may have contracted Hepatitis A from a fellow communion drinker I came across another story today, this one is about an Indian shaman who prepared a herbal brew for local Women to drink in order that they prove themselves not to be witches, unfortunately for them it was poison and several are now seriously ill.
I was struck by how similar these stories are, we might almost derive a consistent narrative around what happens when reality intersects with superstition?

Microbes - 1, Yahweh - 0

Hundreds of Church goers in Long Island, New York have been advised by medical authorities to seek checks and potentially treatment following the discovery that one of their flock had an infectious dose of hepatitis A and shared a communion with them all.

You'd think the Church would have figured out by now that the communal swapping of bodily fluids like this isn't a great idea in this day and age, it's ironic that they are so vocal in disapproval when it comes to swapping fluids during more "normal" human activities, I guess the irony of that passes them by.The bottom line is that evolution hones viruses and bacteria to exploit behavioural habits of hosts (particularly the stupid ones) H1N1 cares not a jot that you sincerely believe in talking snakes and tortured Bronze age philosophers, its going to infect you and follow it's life-cycle through to some conclusion without prejudice.

One can only fantasise about what must be going through the mind of the believer in such circumstances, presumably they sincerely believe that the wine they drink is the actual blood of a mythical super-being, although evidently a being that is unable to combat even the simplest of his own creations? Either that or they must now think all the people in that particular congregation are somehow special and on Santa's very naughty girls and boys list, it must be so frustrating that the simplest and most compelling answer is (by their own making) unavailable to them.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Pearls before swine

Just been watching the last instalment of a new three part mini-series on BBC2 about stargazing with Professor Brian Cox and Dara O Briain and I'm loving it! It's such a novelty to have a serious (reality based) program of any kind on TV before 9pm (that's not about DIY, ego-crazed chefs or talentless wannabe's) and one focused on science to boot!

The only sun-spot on this otherwise twinkling effort was Jonathan Ross who appeared briefly yesterday to explain how his wife bought him a computerised telescope (£££) and how he hasn't been able to figure out how to use it, Wossy then went on to be shown how trivial it is to stargaze by one of the professional astronomers in the program. Today he answered a few questions (or attempted too) about what he had learned and engaged in a bit of banter with the presenters, at the end of his segment he couldn't resist a little dig about how underwhelmed he was at what he'd seen through his telescope. My take away was that he's as thick as two short planks (to an embarrassing degree), then again, that's probably not any revelation to anyone it's just a shame the BBC couldn't have gotten someone more interesting and enthusiastic to be the token newbe, maybe someone with an O-Level or two?

*the picture shows the International space station (ISS) passing across the sky, a spaceship the size of a five story house 250 miles above our heads, simply awesome. It goes to show what can be achieved when people are inspired to discard their crippling solipsism from time to time.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Reassuringly familiar

Start the new year as you mean to go on I suppose, here are a bunch of wacky Christians in America claiming to know things they don't nothing new for Christians I hear you say, but apparently the "rapture" will happen on May 21st this year and all those clever clogs fundies who mumbled the right incantations and praised the correct Bronze age deity will be whisked up to paradise from where they have a perfect vantage point to gloat at the rest of us whilst we burn in eternal torment, I'm sure that will make them very happy, such nice people.

This is a tad inconvenient, doesn't God know that you have to book early to get good deals on Summer holidays? Mind you if it's true then there may be a few empty seats on the plane!

Saturday, January 01, 2011

New year

We passed a very pleasant new year's eve with some friends last night (thanks guys) I cooked a meal for everyone and to celebrate we opened a youthful 10 year old magnum of Pomerol (Vieux Ch√Ęteau Certan) which was a fantastic accompaniment (it could easily handle another decade and improve all the way)

Feeling quite sprightly this morning considering the consumption last night, so we're planning a walk around Virginia Water and home for bacon sandwiches and cups of tea - diet of kings..