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New Moon

Ok, I know next to nothing about the books or the movies except that they have sparkly vampires (which seems completely stupid to me), but I was listening to a discussion about it on the radio on the way in to work this morning.

It turns out that the “good” vampires don’t kill humans, they just suck the blood of forest creatures.

I can’t help but wondering if vampiric deer and rabbits are really an improvement over human vampires…

Facebook Status Updates

This is from a Facebook discussion I just finished. The names have been changed to keep the focus on the actual discussion, as well as some editing by removing timestamps and other formatting not relevant to the discussion.

Original Poster

I believe in Jesus Christ and proud to say it!! Let’s see how many people on fb aren’t afraid to show their love for our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ our Savior! Repost this as your status. Let’s get God back in this country like He should be!!! If you agree post this in your status update. Just copy and paste!

Pitabred
I don’t believe in Jesus, and I’m proud to say it. God is all over this country and people support it, as you have show… God has no place in the Government, though. Unless you don’t like the First Amendment that also allows you to post things like this.
Original Poster
Pitabred: As François-Marie Arouet would say: I do not agree with what you have to say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it.
The God in Government piece, you would need to take that up with our founding fathers to dispute. Good luck, your gonna need it for that debate.
Poster #1
Regardless of the interpretation of law and the ill concieved concept of sereration of Church and State, God will always be in Government as long as there are Christian Men and Woman who work for our great nation. I work for the government, But I serve the King of kings. Thank God for that.
Pitabred
Places with separation of church and state: USA, Australia, Germany, France, UK, Japan
Places without: Medieval England, Iran, Egypt, Somalia, Sudan,
Ill-conceived indeed.
If the founding fathers hadn’t wanted religion separate from the state, they wouldn’t have put “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof” as the very first words of the very First Amendment. There is no luck needed in that debate.
Poster #1
Check your history brother. Why did we come to this great piece of dirt to begin with? Our Country is founded as “One nation under God.” We are a nation who placed God at the center of our foundation, as the cornerstone of our Government. This is a historical fact that can not be ignored, regardless of your personal “feelings” on the subject. I do not support forcing people to believe a certain way, but you can not ignore the importance of God in our nation’s history.
Pitabred
One nation under God was added to the pledge in 1954. There is no mention of the word “God” in either the Constitution or any of the amendments. Go ahead, check.
I need to check my history? Are you really that ignorant? I mean, a 5 minute web search would have turned up these links:

Our country was formed because we had taxation without representation, and that pissed off the founding fathers. The Protestants came over before the US was a country because they were tired of the Church of England, but they had nothing to do with the revolution. They were happy being colonies. Your revisionist propaganda should be offensive to any real American.

Poster #1
I know where the quote came from, and when it was added, it is the concept that counts. The militant cry for seperation from God makes me very sad for you. God still loves you and has not forgotten you, even if you want to ignor him. I am sorry for getting under your skin with this, I can tell you are seeing this as a personal attack, it’s not, just friendly debate. You still should really “check your history.” You are seeing only what supports your position, not the entire picture.

We have staked the whole of all our political
institutions upon the capacity of mankind for
self-government, upon the capacity of each and
all of us to govern ourselves, to control
ourselves, to sustain ourselves according to
the Ten Commandments of God.’
- James Madison
Every session of Congress begins with a prayer
by a paid preacher, whose salary has been paid
by the taxpayer since 1777.

Fifty-two of the 55 founders of the
Constitution were members of the established
orthodox churches in the colonies.

There are Bible verses etched in stone all over the Federal Buildings and Monuments in Washington , D.C.

As you enter the Supreme Court courtroom, the Two huge oak doors have the Ten Commandments
Engraved on each lower portion of each door. As you sit inside the courtroom, you can see
The wall, right above where the Supreme Court
judges sit, a display of the Ten Commandments!

As you walk up the steps to the
building which houses the U.S Supreme Court
you can see near the top of the building a row
of the world’s law givers and each one is
facing one in the middle who is facing forward
with a full frontal view … it is Moses and he
is holding the Ten Commandments!

The founding Fathers never wanted Freedom From God- they were fearful of a state run church a la Church of England. Here are some additional facts for you to check, you tell me where our nation came from. God bless you in your search for truth.
Pitabred
And your continued devotion to an imaginary being makes me sad, that you waste your time praying instead of doing something. See how we can all be pompous and self-righteous?

And I’ll see your Madison quote with one from someone more famous and more influential in the forming of the nation:

“Question with boldness even the existence of a god; because if there be one he must approve of the homage of reason more than that of blindfolded fear.”
-Thomas Jefferson, letter to Peter Carr, August 10, 1787

And you claim that I don’t see the entire picture. The concept is that people are trying to force their religion on everyone in the country, rather than “Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s”. Religion has no place in government because it makes every single person who doesn’t follow the established religion into a second-class citizen. That you don’t recognize that scares me, and it scared the framers of the Constitution so much that they made it the first amendment. Feel free to believe whatever you want. Just keep it out of legislation.

Poster #1
Sure, I am not for a state run by the Church, just the recognition of the fact that this country does not exist in it’s current form seperate from God. You can try to keep God out, but people will always have their individual faith, and individuals are who make up our nation. Thank you for the discussion, well worth the while.
Pitabred
Yes, there are people with individual faiths that make up this nation, and the best thing to do is keep every single one out of the government. After all, the number one religion behind Christianity (which is excessively broad in the first place because it includes Mormons, Catholics, Baptists and others who very often disagree in most things) in America is no religion at all:
http://www.adherents.com/rel_USA.html#religions

Good without God

How can I be good without God? It really tries my patience sometimes…

I was just out at lunch with some coworkers and the conversation steered over toward religion after meandering through politics. And then it happened… “The world would be in a very different place if not for the morals of religion”

I couldn’t help myself. “Yeah… the dark ages were awesome!” And then it proceeded into explaining that that wasn’t religion, but what Christianity has now is real religion and proper morals. But not the parts of the Bible where you don’t like what it says. And so on. It’s just baffling to me. I don’t think I could live with the cognitive dissonance that comes with saying “I believe in the Bible” and ignoring massive parts of it at the exact same time.

On top of that, thinking that the Bible is the only source of morality. As a friend I was discussing this with said, “I don’t live under the assumption that a quick mental prayer can wipe away my deeds.” I am responsible to myself and others. I cannot just absolve myself of any bad choices by thinking to myself, or even going to a priest to confess my “sins”. I live with them, I try to fix them, and I try to do better in the future. Where is the motivation for that when you believe in an infinitely forgiving God?

Anti-vaccination idiocy cosequences

Parents in America are stupid. Listening to idiots like Jenny McCarthy instead of their doctors and scientists. Well guess what? It’s coming back to bite their kids on the ass. It’s really sad that the kids have to suffer for the idiocy of their parents.

H1N1, thousand miles an hour

A friend of mine just linked me to this bit of insanity about the H1N1 flu. I thought I’d spend some time here and respond to his “article” point by point.

1. This flu is simply another flu. It is not unusually deadly

Swine flu is deadly for healthy individuals at a rate that the normal flu isn’t

2. Health authorities tacitly admit prior flu vaccination programs were of worthless value.

Some cases are of marginal use does not mean that the entire process is useless. Is only having enough gas to fill the tank only 3/4 full mean that it’s useless to put any gas in?

3. In addition to failure to produce sufficient antibodies, this swine flu vaccine is brought to you by the same people who haven’t been able to adequately produce a seasonal flu vaccine that matches the flu strain in circulation.

This has happened some times. They try to predict which flus will be prevalent and build the vaccines for that. Sometime they guess wrong. They know that H1N1 is very virulent and spreading, there’s no guessing of what it is.

4. The vaccines will be produced by no less than four different manufacturers, possibly with different additives (called adjuvants) and manufacturing methods.

Read what the CDC (a bunch of very smart people, people I’d wager are smarter than you are) has to say about thimerosal. As for squalene… I can’t find any reliable research on it, only fearmongering that it’ll kill babies and is the reason for Gulf War Syndrome. Mercury hasn’t killed the baby boomers, and many of them played with it when they were kids. Why would a little bit in vaccines in a form that is proven to be able to be flushed from the body, with methyl mercury having half-life of only 50 days? Do I need to explain half-life to you, as well as the fact that there are only 180mcg or so in vaccines?
Edit: I just did some more reading. Thimerosal degrades into ethyl mercury, not methyl mercury. Not as well studied, but the studies out there show it is much less toxic. Guessing, I’d wager it’s similar to the difference between ethanol and methanol.

5. This is the first year mock vaccines have been used to gain FDA approval. [...] Children below the age of 2 years do not have a sufficient blood–brain barrier developed and are subject to chronic brain infections that emanate into symptoms that are called autism.

Emanate into Autism? Autism is a BRAIN INFECTION? Do you have ANY facts backing this up? It is complete bullshit. You want science? How about keeping your kids inside and slathered in sunscreen is a more likely cause of autism?

Vitamin D and Autism
More research on Vitamin D and Autism

I have research. You don’t.

6. Over-vaccination is a common practice now in America. American children are subjected to 29 vaccines by the age of two.

Over-vaccination? What is “over” vaccination? When does it become overvaccination and stop being just regular vaccination? FACTS. Not conjecture. I’m of the opinion that we’re vaccinating against the right amount of diseases. You go ahead and catch polio if you want, though.

7. Health officials want to vaccinate women during pregnancy, subjecting the fetal brain to an intentional biological assault.

Fetal brain? Do you know nothing about pregnancy? There is no direct blood sharing between mother and fetus. They do not get exposed to the antibodies. They are however affected if their mother gets sick and is unable to provide sustenance for them. Again with the bullshit autism link too, no facts. Really… your ignorance is astounding. Perhaps this post on being Unskilled and Unaware of it would be informative to you. You seem to know nothing, but you know it very loudly.

8. Modern medicine has no explanation for autism, despite its continued rise in prevalence. Yet autism is not reported among Amish children who go unvaccinated. Beware the falsehoods of modern medicine.

Autism is also unreported in pygmy tribes in South America, too. Or maybe the Amish don’t report autism because they don’t see it the same way mainstream society does? Or perhaps the Amish just get out in the sun a lot more than the rest of us and the vitamin D connection is the reason, not that they go unvaccinated. Correlation is not causation. Besides, my correlation has a hell of a lot more evidence going for it than yours does.

9. School kids are likely to receive nasally-administered vaccines (Flu-Mist) that require no needle injection. But this form of live vaccine produces viral shedding which will surely be transmitted to family members. What a way to start an epidemic!

Really? You have no clue how a vaccine actually works, do you? It’s a virus that has the same external characteristics as the virulent strain so that your immune system can recognize it, but it doesn’t have the same reproduction capabilities. Having that as a mist is not going to start an epidemic. It would actually accomplish much the same thing as regular vaccination.

10. This triple reassortment virus appears to be man made. [...] On April 24, 2009 Dr. John Carlo, Dallas County Medical Director, alludes that the H1N1 strain of the Swine flu as possibly being engineered in a laboratory. He says: “This strain of swine influenza that’s been cultured in a laboratory is something that’s not been seen anywhere actually in the United States and the world, so this is actually a new strain of influenza that’s been identified.”

Man-made? Are you that paranoid and irrational? Your quote is completely misinterpreted… they cultured it to reproduce it and examine it and identify it. Not to make it. No wonder you believe the shit you write… you’re almost illiterate and unable to properly parse the English language.

11. Recall the swine flu scare of 1976. [...] But the vaccine was worse than the disease, causing hundreds of cases of Guillain Barre syndrome and a few deaths.

GBS is only tenuously related to the vaccinations in 1976. Perhaps you should also look at the hundreds of thousands that died in the Spanish Flu epidemic and compare that to post-vaccination death rates? Not to mention that vaccine creation technology has increased significantly in the last 33 years.

12. Researchers are warning that over-use of the flu vaccine and anti-flu drugs like Tamiflu and Relenza can apply genetic pressure on flu viruses and then they are more likely to mutate into a more deadly strain.

Yes. Tamiflu and Relenza, if they don’t kill the flu completely, can pressure it to evolve and be unrecognized by the immune system. Vaccinations cause a sudden and complete immune system response to the flu virus, versus allowing it a foothold as Tamiflu would do, and not vaccinating. Really… learn some science. It only takes reading.

13. Most seasonal influenza A (H1N1) virus strains tested from the United States and other countries are now resistant to Tamiflu (oseltamivir). Tamiflu has become a nearly worthless drug against seasonal flu.

Tamiflu is not a vaccine. It has nothing whatsoever to do with vaccination. Why is this point in an article on why you shouldn’t vaccinate? Hell, if anything it’s a reason TO vaccinate. If you get sick, Tamiflu won’t help, so you should get vaccinated so you don’t get sick.

14. As the flu season progresses the federal government may coerce or mandate Americans to undergo vaccination. [...] This sounds like the Biblical account of Pharaoh attempting to eradicate all the young Israelite baby boys. Must we hide our babies now?

Are you really comparing public health concern with the story in the Bible about killing children? Are you fucking stupid? If you don’t want you or your kid vaccinated, I don’t want you outside and with the rest of society. Seems like a fair trade. Not quite a death sentence like you think it is.

15. Public health authorities have cried wolf every flu season to get the public to line up for flu shots.

Cried wolf? Has it ever occurred to you that perhaps the vaccinations are actually working, and that is why the flu hasn’t been deadlier? Having 1/3rd of the population unable to be carriers of a virus really puts a cramp on the spread of it. Seriously… try out some of the epidemic math yourself. But if you had, you wouldn’t be spouting this bullshit.

16. The news media is irresponsible in stirring up unfounded fear over this coming flu season.

No argument here. The news is fearmongering for ratings. But that doesn’t mean that vaccines are worthless. Besides… this fear might make people as stupid as you are go get vaccinated, and that’s a good thing. Besides, the fears of H1N1 are not mostly about children… it’s like the Spanish Influenza epidemic. It’s killing otherwise healthy people, which is why it’s so dangerous.

17. Public health officials are irresponsible in their omission of any ways to strengthen immunity against the flu.

You can strengthen your body for immunity against ALL disease with things like Vitamin C and selenium, but if it doesn’t recognize the flu as a threat, it will take a long time for your body to react, and it is a possibly deadly gamble. A vaccine exposes your immune system to the virus “signature” so that it responds instantly to the threat, and stops it before it can get started.

18. Will we ever learn if the flu vaccine this year is deadly in itself?

Find some actual information, rather than an article from a crackpot that can’t even spell “opinion” Show some research, rather than bullshit. Oh, wait… everything you said is bullshit. There is no research. It’s just conspiracy theories. Much better believing something is in control and malevolent than just admitting the truth, that we don’t have absolute control of the natural world, eh?

I’m tired of this vaccine paranoia bullshit. Do we really want to go back to a world where polio and smallpox killed a number of children?

Gun control works, I promise!

I just came across this little gem of violence out of Germany, where it seems some sociopath decided to try to kill a bunch of his classmates. Doesn’t look like Germany’s strict gun control laws did much to prevent this violence. Guns don’t create violent people… they will always find a way to hurt someone else if they want to, even mass numbers of people. Gun laws are counterproductive… they only affect the people who would follow the law, and deprive them of the ability to protect themselves when someone does lose it. We can’t legislate people sane.

New Cubicle Art

I just made a new image to hang in my cubeGet your answers here!

Posthumous Profit

I was listening to the radio this morning and heard Lewis and Floorwax conjecturing that Michael Jackson was on track to make more money after his death than even Elvis Presley. Stores are already reporting that the run on MJ’s music is surpassing that of both Lennon and Elvis upon their deaths.


Am I the only person that thinks that this kind of profit after the death of the person responsible for it is completely asinine? Really… in the United States Constitution, Article I, Section 8, Clause 8, also known as the Copyright Clause, the United States Congress is given the ability “To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.”


Now, I don’t have a degree in law, and from what I can tell, “common sense” has no place in law, only previous case precedent. But this seems like a very specifically worded section of our primary legal document that seems completely at odds with people and heirs profiting after the death of the performer, because I can’t figure ANY way in which that promotes “the Progress of Science and useful Arts”.


Screw Sonny Bono and the rest of Congress. They enact(ed) laws covering principles they are too stupid to comprehend, yet they think they’re able to because of lobbyist pandering. It’s the worst kind of incompetence… being Unskilled and Unaware of It. Beware, that’s a PDF link… an HTML overview of the PDF is here.

RIP MJ

Not a whole lot to say directly about Michael Jackson. The news is all over the ‘net, and the jokes are already starting. On one hand it’s a little sad, but it’s also indicative of how our culture has changed, even in just a few years. Stars are starting to have less and less appeal to the common person simply for being famous.

I think that this is a side effect of our connected society, because of the Internet. Michael Jackson has been a recluse and a joke for the last 15 or so years and as such doesn’t have many strong fans. That, coupled with the child abuse allegations leave many people not terribly sorry about his passing, and making jokes about melting him down because he’s mostly plastic to give kids a chance to play with him, instead of the other way around.

He was a great artist who had a profound effect on pop culture that will last for a long time to come. It’s sad to see him treated this way, but it’s also a lesson to other people in the public eye… you have to be accessible to your audience and engage them. People no longer will love you simply because you’re famous, you have to give them a good reason to be a fan. Unless of course you want people to make jokes about you days after your death.

Drug Wars

We created it. The “War on Drugs” is a creation of the USA, our hardline stance against any kinds of narcotics creates the violent black market which is tearing apart Juarez, Mexico, as well as Columbia and many other South American countries.

We made this man through our drug policies. Mexico’s most wanted man is a billionaire due to our policies.

Drugs are a social problem, not a legal one. If we treated drugs as a health issue and simply controlled their distribution, the country would have millions more in tax money to work with as well as much lower incidence of violence. Very few people get killed over cigarettes or alcohol any more. There is absolutely no reason the same thing can’t be true for “harder” drugs.

We kill our livers with painkillers like Acetaminophen, Ibuprofen and Aspirin, and we keep effective opiates out of use because of how supposedly bad they are. People abuse opiates the same way they abuse alcohol… some do it too much, but for most, it’s simply a nice escape, and a simple painkiller. Hospitals don’t have to detox everyone that they put on morphine. There’s a reason for that.

America needs to rethink our drug policy. We’re perpetuating violence, and the War on Drugs has directly and indirectly killed more innocents than terrorists have.

Edit: I just found an article via Fark.com about how the FBI director’s head is still in the sand.