Feb 062016
 

The United States is probably unique, or close to it, in having a government where no matter how religious the people in it are, they’re not allowed to impose their religious views on the masses… and yet the masses generally demand that the political leaders be (or at least pretend to be) quite religious.

One talk show personality I listen to on occasion is Michael Medved. When he’s talking about politics, I generally find him to be reasonable… but he loses his damn mind when he starts going off about religion. A day or two back I heard him discussing the idea of electing an atheist President. He opposes the idea because, in his view, without some Unchangeable Universal Truth upon which to anchor your decision making on… why, an atheist could suddenly decide tomorrow that murder is awesome! Rape is neato! He has taken this position numerous times, and I’ve been hearing it from others for decades.

I take issue with this line of reasoning on two grounds:

  1. Name me a religion that’s more than a century old that really, truly has unshaken, unbending moral positions. Not so fast, Christianity. Sit your ass back down and ponder the 1800 years when you thought slavery was cool, and suddenly changed your mind when the industrial revolution made slavery non-competitive in the marketplace. Or why you *now* think that democracy is a good idea, but back when Korah wanted a bit of it, God smote tens of thousands of people for the sin of being geographically nearby.
  2. If atheists, who are not anchored by faith in some specific set of codes brought down from On High, are so likely to wander to and fro ethically… why are there so few of them in prison? Attend:

Are Prisoners Less Likely To Be Atheists?

Where we find that in 2013, the US Federal prison system found:

RELIGION PRISON POP. GENERAL POP.
Protestant 28.7% 44.0%
Catholic 24.0 25.1
Muslim 8.4 0.6
Native American 3.1 0.1
Pagan 2.0 0.1
Jewish 1.7 1.2
Churches of Christ 1.5 0.8
Buddhist 1.0 0.5
Jehovah’s Witness 0.7 0.8
Seventh Day Adventist 0.3 0.4
Mormon 0.3 1.4
Eastern Orthodox 0.2 0.4
Apostolic 0.2 0.4
Hindu 0.1 0.3
Atheist 0.1 0.7
Pentecostal 0.1 2.4
Sikh <0.1 <0.1

From this, we can see that atheists are *under* represented in the prison population by a factor of seven to one. Pentecostals, however, are under represented by a factor of 24 to one, Mormons by about four to one, Protestants by about three to two. Note one group is *over* represented by a factor of about 14 to one. With the exception of the pentacostals, the data doesn’t really argue in favor of the notion that religion imparts law abiding. And since we’re repeatedly told that the basis of law is pronouncements from On High… if *atheists* are better at obeying them than the people who claim to believe in that On High source, doesn’t this destroy the idea that a lack of some specific Truth makes one an uncertain candidate for President?

Seems to me a better approach than trying to elect someone based on what god they express belief in would be to elect people based on their track record of upholding the Constitution or arguing in favor of changing it. Because unless you’re an atheist or a Pentecostal, the prisons are filled with people who believe in the same sky wizard you do, and who like taking a dump on both their religions by-laws *and* the laws of society.

Note: I ain’t an atheist.

 Posted by at 3:05 pm
Feb 052016
 

And now you know:

Effects of Nuclear Explosions on Canned Foods

Spoiler alert: if your canned food was burst open by the blast, you’re probably not going to want to eat it. However, if the can wasn’t burst or split open… even if the can itself is roaringly radioactive, the food will be just fine to eat. Trust us! We’re the government! Everything is awesome!

Pages from Effects of Nuclear Explosions on Canned Foods

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And because why not, here are some photos of Buttons, Raedthinn and Speedbump.

WP_20160102_022 WP_20160102_020

 Posted by at 11:52 pm
Feb 052016
 

Assange feels vindicated by U.N. panel ruling he’s being ‘arbitrarily detained’

In short: Julian Assange is wanted by Swedish authorities on charges that he raped a woman. Rather than face the charges, he has been hiding out in the Ecuadorian embassy in London for several years now. He is not being prevented from leaving; he can leave whenever he likes. But he is subject to immediate arrest by the British police, since they have an extradition treaty with the Swedes. So he has voluntarily stayed in the Ecuadorian embassy.

And now the UN has come down with a ruling that the Swedes and the Brits have “arbitrarily detained” him. Does this make *any* sense? The Brits didn’t catch him and toss him over the embassy walls, and barred his exit. The Swedes certainly didn’t.

So… WTF???

 Posted by at 10:57 pm
Feb 052016
 

Sometimes stereotypes exist for a good reason. Take, for example, this video of a very large crane falling in Manhattan yesterday. Listen to the commentary by the witnesses, and see if you can detect the subtle hints that might let you know that this happened in New York. If you are in a business, make sure to crank up the volume to 11; if management complains, simply say that you are spreading a message of tolerance of all cultures, including terminology and modes of speech, and if they have a problem then they are a racist.

 Posted by at 9:13 pm
Feb 042016
 

Turns out that small explosion on the Somali Airbus that blew a hole in the fuselage and sucked one passenger out to his doom was probably caused by a bomb. A bomb carried by the one passenger who got ejected from the plane.

So, huzzah, I guess. Best of all possible outcomes to a suicide bombing… the bomber was the only one to die.

Probe of Somali Jet Blast Points to Suicide Bomber

 Posted by at 5:40 pm
Feb 032016
 

Venezuela on the brink of complete economic collapse

Color me stunned: a nation that went so socialist that they nationalized just about everything is facing some economic issues. Their new “economic czar” believes that simply printing more money *doesn’t* result in inflation. Just… shocking.

What’s especially entertaining is that when the socialists took over the economy, Venezuelas oil reserves were a massive source of national income. Essentially free money. And what did the Chavez socialists do with this? Did they build up the national infrastructure and invite foreign investment? Did they make Venezuela an inviting place to do business? No… they did the bread and circuses thing with welfare spending. And while Venezuela had a whole bunch of the sort of poor people that American poor people only *think* they’re as poor as, the Venezuelan welfare state did squat to raise the poor out of poverty. By embracing the nationalization of foreign businesses, the socialists made sure that nobody would want to do business there.

Probably some lessons worth learning here.

bernie-sanders 1

 Posted by at 10:46 pm
Feb 022016
 

Secretary of Defense Announces How He’ll Waste $582 Billion

… which basically boils down to the author of the piece attempting to make fun of the SecDef because the author believes that all DoD weapon system spending from here on out should be directed solely at fighting ISIS, because obviously the US will never face any other geopolitical threats.

 Posted by at 6:19 pm
Feb 012016
 

There I was, driving through the dreary interior of California on a 200-mile trip to go out on a date, when I turned on the radio to hear that the Space Shuttle Columbia had exploded on re-entry. There followed at least an hour  of the dusty nothingness that is the road to Sacramento, and then the date, which involved meeting the young ladies mother. Neither of them gave a rats ass about the Shuttle, while I was kinda desperate to see the news on the TV. Yeah, not what you’d call a great social success story. Oh well.

Anyway, there has long been debate on whether if, with enough knowledge and effort, the crew could have been saved. I’m of the opinion that the moment the foam smacked the wing, the crew was pretty much doomed. But maybe…

The audacious rescue plan that might have saved space shuttle Columbia

 Posted by at 9:24 pm