An Alaskan journalist's perspective on local and national issues

Archive for August, 2012

America and Creationism

There was a video that is getting a LOT of attention right now floating around YouTube.  In it, famous science celebrity, Bill Nye, has his opinion about a trend in America.

Denial of evolution is unique to the United States.

He’s got a very good point.  6 in 10 American do not believe in the Theory of Evolution.  For those who will come at us saying that it is just a theory, you need to understand the definition of a theory.  A lot of people confuse this with a hypothesis.  A hypothesis is when you have an idea about why something is, but have no proof for it, and you mean to test it.  A theory, on the other hand, is something that has been tested and has proof.  So why not call it a law?  Well, while there can be laws of physics, there cannot be laws of science.  We know so little about how the universe truly works that there is no way that we could say that evolution is a law.  We have a mountain of scientific evidence for it, so it is true, yet we cannot say that it is a law because there is always a chance that it could be proven wrong.

But, even with the mountains of evidence that exist for the theory of evolution, 6 out of 10 people in this country believe that it is not true.  So, what do they believe?  Well, in America, the bulk of them believe that a celestial being, either called God, Jehovah, or Yahweh created all the things in the universe.  It took seven days, and it wasn’t millions or billions of years ago, it was thousands of years ago.

They call this “creationism.”  Now, many will deny that, saying that the theory of creationism (which is there word for it.  There is NO proof of this) is that a being, an unnamed being, created the universe.  Or rather, could have.  But which being?  The Christian God?  Well, if that is the case, then your position becomes much, MUCH, more complicated.

For one thing – there is absolutely NO scientific evidence that suggests that the universe is only 10 or however many thousand years old.  The Theory of Evolution has a mountain of evidence, yet 6 out of 10 people believe in a story about the universe coming into being that has no evidence at all.

Another thing – if the “theory” goes that the universe was created, and we are going to say that this theory has proof, then which being?  Was it the Christian God?  Was it the Jewish God?  Was it Allah?  Was it Vishnu?  Was it Ra?  If they are going to try and prove that this universe was created by a heavenly being that left no evidence for its existence, how can you prove that it wasn’t another heavenly being that did it?  Through the course of human history, there have been countless religions and countless stories about the creation of life on Earth.  How can you prove one without proving another?

Bill Nye went on to say that if people wanted to believe that this world came to be from a heavenly being, and not through a process that has a mountain of evidence, that’s fine.  But the problem comes when people are trying to get that taught in classrooms.

Let’s be plain, here – this is not science.  Creationism is a theory in the same way that a tomato is a vegetable.  It simply isn’t.  There is no evidence for it.  But a very solid amount of people in this country want this “theory” to be taught in classrooms.  Well, that is just plain nuts.  Something that has absolutely zero basis in science doesn’t deserve to be in a scientific classroom, and anybody who thinks that they can argue that it does have a place there should see the previous problems.

There is no evidence of a holy being of any kind existing.  All secular evidence that exists about the universe shows that this universe is billions of years old, not thousands.  All secular evidence holds that life on this Earth did not get created at the same time, with humans playing on a swing hanging from a Brontosaurus.  It gradually evolved and changed over time.

Bill Nye is absolutely right.  Creationism has no place in schools.  And if we are teaching our kids that it is okay to ignore science, ignore evidence, and ignore facts, then what kind of future could they possibly have?  America is getting left behind by the rest of the industrialized world.

It amazes me that we don’t get it.

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The Republican Mask is Off?

You know, it is getting almost too amusing to watch the modern Republicans and conservatives who are running for office.  This is so ridiculous, yet at the same time, so horrible, that one must actually pause and legitimately think about what it all means for the future of this country, and that causes worry.

Take Frank Szabo, for instance.  He is a New Hampshire candidate running for sheriff.  When asked what his opinion was about abortion, he replied that he would go so far as to use deadly force to stop the abortion from happening.  Let me say that again, because it bears repeating – if he sees a doctor performing a procedure that is completely legal in this country, he would used deadly force against this person.  He would kill them.  A sheriff candidate of New Hampshire wants to murder doctors.  Straight-up, no BS, murder.  In other words, he wants to take what is legal, and make it illegal, at the threat of violence.  He is a protector of the law who wants to make the law.  Think about that for a few.

Next up, we’ve got Tennessee senator, Stacey Campfield.  This guy had some rather interesting thoughts on AIDS, and how it is spread –

Most people realize that AIDS came from the homosexual community. It was one guy screwing a monkey, if I recall correctly, and then having sex with men.  It was an airline pilot, if I recall.  My understanding is that it is virtually – not completely, but virtually – impossible to contract AIDS from heterosexual sex.

Yeah, that’s why there are massive amounts of cases of it in Africa, right?  Take another moment, and take this in.  This is a United States senator, saying something so stupid, and even admitting that they don’t know any better, and saying this on the record.  How stupid can you possibly get?

I mean, for one thing, it is incredibly unlikely that AIDS made the jump from chimps to humans.  That story has been debunked over and over again.  And the fact that this disease is a global pandemic, which has been helped along in Africa thanks to the zealotry of Catholics who refuse to supply condoms to villages where this disease is so bad that 1 in 4 people have it, obviously means nothing to you.

Next up, there is Rep. Steve King.  He has decided to add another point to the laundry-list of stupidity that has come from his mouth.  In a recent interview, he said that he hasn’t heard of a case where a girl got pregnant from statutory rape or incest.  This was in solidarity with the completely idiotic nonsense coming from Todd Akin, and his belief that if a woman gets raped, her body will be able to shut it down.  A statement that he has apologized for, yet hasn’t said is wrong.  Remember that.

This is the same guy who has said in the past that gays should just stay in the closet if they want their jobs, and not be open at all.  Basically saying that all the hate and bigotry of society shouldn’t be something that they get protection from.  They should just hide, and not be honest about who they are.

What interests me about all of these people is this – why are they being so openly evil?  I mean, we all knew that the Republicans were bought and paid for by the banks and Wall Street.  The Democrats are no better in that regard.  But the Democrats are still able to actually convince people that they are the good guys!  That they are on your side.  Heck, they have a huge cabal of liberals who are cheering for Health Care Reform, which, without a public option, is a huge birthday present to the private insurance companies.

I mean, look at Obama.  He has lied, time and time again, and he has massive support all over this country.  He has continued, and even grown the Bush doctrine, both foreign and domestic.  He promised that we wouldn’t be doing the same things with Wall Street and the financial institutions, yet he is taking his cues from the same people who destroyed our economy.  He said that he would go easy on people growing their own pot, yet he has expanded the drug war.  He promised tough reforms on Wall Street, yet he has given us beyond toothless garbage.  He said that he would push for tough health care reform, yet he dropped single-payer and the public option almost in the first day.  He has continued, and even grown ALL of the Bush Tax Cuts.  He swore that he wouldn’t give in to Republican demands on the debt ceiling, yet in the end, he gives them everything they want, and then some.

But all over this country, he has liberals coming out and chanting for him.  For some, it is the reasoning that Mitt Romney would be worse.  The evil they know over the evil they don’t.  For others, they actually seem to think that he is going to come back in the second term and really play hardball (cough*bullshit*cough).  And there are some who think that he has actually done some really good stuff, even though the evidence is massively stacked against him, and Mitt Romney, if he was actually a smart politician, could be beating the stuffing out of him right now with his own policies.  That is grade-A manipulation and lying.

Yet these Republicans are so evil, and wear it so much on their sleeves that I almost expect to see them do the pose that Dr. Evil did in Austin Powers.  I mean, they aren’t even hiding it!

So I guess the question is – how do we satire this?  For real, I am almost feeling bad for the people who write for The Onion.  Their job must be getting so difficult.  This nation and it’s electoral politics is becoming such an entertainment experience that part of me wonders if there are actual issues being talked about anymore.

So, is the Republican mask off?  Hey, when you’ve got Ann Coulter, a prostitute for the conservative line, saying that Todd Akin has crossed the line, part of me has to think that, yeah, they have.

Legitimate Rape? Oh damn…

You know, every time I see something floating around the internet, I think to myself – this has to be the stupidest thing ever.  It just doesn’t get any stupider.  But bless America’s beyond-stupid heart, because every time one thinks this, I am proven dead wrong.  There is a quote that is from an actual congressman serving in the House of Representatives.  This man has said something that, I have to believe, can’t be topped.  This is the stupidest thing said in the history of humanity.  If it gets any dumber than this, I give up.

Here is the quote –

From what I understand from doctors, pregnancy from rape is really rare.  If it’s a legitimate rape (pay attention to this), the female body has ways to try and shut that whole thing down.  -Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO)

Just take a moment.  Take a moment of the stupidity of that quote to sink in to your subconscious.  Take a moment to really try and understand how incredibly stupid this actually is.  And this came from a person who is a member of Congress.  Think about all the education opportunities that this person should have had.  Think about all the chances that this person had to be a little, ever so slightly, bit smarter, and then he says something this stupid.

Got all that?  Now, let’s look between the lines at what has actually been said here.  First, this person either has no understanding of female anatomy, crime, and what things are, or he is straight-up evil.  For one thing, there are countless number of rapes all over the world, not just in America, that end up in the woman getting pregnant.  The female reproductive system doesn’t discriminate based on how the sperm got in there.  It functions all the same.  Whoever these “doctors” are who told this man these facts, they obviously got their education from their parents who probably speak southern-English.

A part of me has to believe that this person is just stupid.  So stupid that they can’t possibly understand how dumb what they said actually is.  Otherwise, what is being said here is evil.  Think about it – is Akin arguing that if the body doesn’t destroy the fetus, it wasn’t legitimate rape?

Is the argument really that the thousands of women in this country who get raped every year and get pregnant from that rape not legitimately raped?  Wow, this person is one of the worst people on Earth!  For real, that’s like saying that when a kid’s puppy died, it’s the kid’s fault because he didn’t love the puppy enough.  That’s how evil this is.

It is becoming increasingly clear that the Republican Party stands for nothing.  Absolutely nothing.  I mean, you have politicians who are making arguments like this, obviously trying to make this an argument for getting rid of abortion in the case of rape.  This person actually arguing that a woman who gets pregnant wasn’t “legitimately” raped.  In theory.  The other option is that this person is too stupid for words.

Yet there is a massive, massive part of this country who follows these morons.  They actually think that what these idiots have to say is worth their time.  They actually think that these people are the kind of people we need in public office.

If anyone asks why I am ashamed, humiliated, and disgusted with my own country, I show them stuff like this.  Seriously, The Onion made a story in response to this, and it was that a woman who was so relieved that her rape wasn’t legitimate.  That’s what it has come to in America.

But you wanna know the truly scary part?  Todd Akin has said that his opinion is wrong, but hasn’t backed down from it.  He has been refuted, time and time again, yet he doesn’t say that he’s wrong.  And half of this country wants that.  Half of this country (or not, depending on who you talk to), wants to hear that this is true.

And if we allow that.  If we let people like this have that opinion, then here is the worst price of all – that the truth is whatever this country wants it to be.  And that should terrify you, America.

It does me.

Paul Ryan: What Needs to be Said?

Well, Mitt Romney has come out with his pick for Vice President.  This pick has turned more than a couple of heads.  Many are confused, some are amused, others actually wonder what this will mean for Mitt Romney.  I am one of the second and third category.  Actually, wait, just second.  I already know what it will do for Mitt Romney’s campaign.

For those who don’t know, Paul Ryan is a Representative with a lot of REALLY stupid ideas.  The first is that the poor need to pay more taxes than the rich.  For real, he has tried to argue that position to his own constituents.  Of course, since people in this country are that stupid, they booed him off like the idiot that he is.

He also believes that Medicare should be completely sacked, replaced instead with a vouchers system.  Man, what kind of idiot is Mitt Romney?  The only, and I do mean only strategy that he can have for this election is to play to the elderly vote.  You think the elderly are going to want to get rid of Medicare?

He also says that Social Security is a ponzi scheme, and he wants to get rid of it.  Again, what was Romney thinking?  The elderly people of this country, who benefit more than any other group from social security, you think that they are just going to jump on board and totally be behind getting rid of something that they benefit from and paid into?  Oh, and he says this while defending Wall Street and the TBTF banks who orchestrated actual ponzi schemes.  Gotta love the consistency there.

He also has called out the military.  When Obama proposed cutting defense spending, and several military generals came out and said that it wouldn’t harm our nation’s military at all, and we could still have a very successful military force.  Ryan said that they are liars.  In doing so, he also hinted that they are cowards.  Simply towing the White House line.  Wow, he is calling our nation’s military leaders cowards.  What conservative will get on board with that?  Well, since facts don’t seem to matter much to them, who knows.

Ryan has also voted against LGBT couples being able to adopt children in D.C.  He has basically said that it is better for a child to be a ward of the state and live in the hell that is our foster system, than it is for a child to have a loving home with loving parents.  That is evil.  That’s like strangling a puppy after killing a kitten evil.

This is the person that Mitt Romney has picked to run with him.  This socially backwards, morally bankrupt, intellectual broke character who cares only about getting his agenda for Wall Street done.  Granted, Obama isn’t much better in being a slave for Wall Street, but still, he isn’t this bad.

So, what effect will this have on Romney’s presidential bid?  Well, it is going to sink it.  More and more, it looks like Romney is deliberately trying to lose.  It’s like he knows that he has no chance, so he just wants to see how much damage he can do to the Republican image before he does.  This is just another nail in the coffin.

For real, liberals across America are going to run as fast as they can to the polls, because these two are so bat-shit crazy that the idea of having them in office is going to scare the crap out of them.  As it should.  These two are horrible people, in every sense of the word.

So, what needs to be said about Paul Ryan?  Well, he’s the gaping hole that is going to sink Mitt Romney’s campaign.

Can we Stop the Corporations Needing to Have Opinions?

It all started when Oreo came out with that ad where they had a cookie with all sorts of rainbow layers.  And I’m against that ad, though not because of the pro-gay message.  I love that.  I am against that ad because I want the cookie, and they aren’t going to let me have it.  That’s not cool.

Then, after Oreo came out with that, Chick-fil-A made headlines because they came out against gay marriage.  And of course, there was a category-5 PR meltdown.  Jim Henson’s company took their toys away, because they are pro-gay.  The public went nuts and started boycotting, not realizing that their boycott is totally useless, because for every customer they lost to their bigotry, they gain a bigot customer.  The most it will hurt their wallets is incidental.  For real, this will be just a bad run.  And since the cycle of how people remember things in the online world is even shorter than in the regular media world, people will forget about the boycott after a while, and business will resume.

An outright lie

Now, Papa John’s, the pizza company, has come out against Health Care Reform, or as the conservatives call it, Obamacare.  Never mind that Obamacare is a dumbed-down version of Romneycare.  The truth is inconsequential to conservatives.  But, after coming out against this, there are liberals across America who are saying that we have to boycott them.  Another useless and completely symbolic act, because it won’t go anywhere past symbolism.  Conservatives will come and eat there, just to give the figurative finger to the liberals.  It isn’t going to hurt Papa John’s bottom line in any significant way.

Man, what is with this?  Why are the corporations choosing to get involved in this now?  What’s next?  Is Target going to come out and say that they are against pre-marital sex?  Is Coke going to say that they are against the use of dildos?

This should really get people’s attention, because here’s a neat reality – the corporations aren’t stupid.  They see the writing on the wall as well as everyone else.  The writing here is that when a corporation comes out and takes a position against or for something, they get business.  When Oreo did it, people who are pro-gay bought Oreos.  When Chick-fil-A did it, they got an entire day to celebrate their bigotry and get the bigots of America to stuff their faces with as much of their food as they could take.  It was documented to be their best day of sales ever.  Now, Papa John’s is going to get a huge influx of business from people who solely went to give their opinion about Health Care Reform as well.

There is a belief that conservative America has.  It is the belief that corporations are people.  And you know what, more and more, they are able to conduct themselves like people.  Corporations are voicing opinions, and they have a pedestal to talk from.  The corporate media is happy to feed this, because it helps their bottom line.  The corporations get brand recognition because of it, which if you think about it, that’s the really nefarious part of this.  People are going to be for these corporations.  They are going to stand with them, and after a while, they aren’t even going to remember why.  They just will, because it is what they remember that they were for.  They will support people who are bigots, and they won’t even know why.

The other worst part about this is that this is, once again, our fault.  Americans, we did this.  We lost our minds over this, and they got brand recognition.  They got loyalty.  They got followers.  They got everything that they wanted.  They are getting huge sales, and all because we had to make this a big issue.  We tried to lash out against them.  Appeal to decency and empathy.  But once-again, that didn’t work.

Just as appealing to decency and compassion hasn’t work with Wall Street, as the Occupy movement has found out.  Just as appealing to decency has done nothing to change the conservative tune in this country.  Something the liberals need to figure out is that there are a LOT of scummy people out there.  And these people don’t get dissuaded by information, by facts, by goodness and by kindness.  They are tied to their bigotry, and that doesn’t change.  Liberals, and socialists like me care about kindness, and doing the best thing for everybody.  These people, on the other hand, only care about themselves, only care about their own opinions, and getting more for themselves.  They don’t want to have to sacrifice.  They don’t want to have to be without, or to include the unfavorable.  That is against their views.  It is all about greed.  That’s the name of the game.

Corporations have gotten a new status as people – opinions.  They have now realized that opinion gives them power over the consumer, and they are going to use that power.  That power will come from everybody.  Especially here in America, where being an evil person gets you far.  Chick-fil-A comes out against gay marriage, they get their best sales EVER.  What does that say?  What does that say about America?  Nothing good.

Now look, my last post railed about this, and a reaction I got was that I didn’t care.  I do care.  It quite frankly pisses me off that an entire corporation can represent the worst of what this country has to offer.  It is the worst thing that these companies have realized what is a fantastic marketing strategy is to play to our bigotry.  But here’s the thing – what people need to keep in mind most is that this is all a trick.  Just like in the 2004 Presidential Election.  A big reason John Kerry lost in that election was that Karl Rove brought gay marriage to the front in states that it was never going to pass, just to get conservatives to the polls.  Just like the constant battle against women’s reproductive rights in this country.  These rights aren’t going anywhere.  The Tea Party was created to do this.  It’s a smokescreen for what they are actually trying to accomplish.

The worst part is that it works.  The conservatives in this country have realized that the liberals will fight tooth and claw against something totally pointless, and will not even notice another rug being torn out from under them.  This has got to change!  And fast, too, because the most stuff like this works, the more that corporate America will truly have control over us.

And that is the worst thing of all.

America and Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day

Three days ago, there was an interesting event that took place in this country.  All over this country, people gathered in lines that sometimes went around a block, in order to celebrate a fast food restaurant.  That alone is stupid enough, but when you hear the reason, it is beyond laughable.

It was called “Chick-fil-A Appreciate Day.”  Like fast food America needs a day to appreciate it.  The ever-growing levels of obesity in this country are a testament enough to how much we love their food (I’m not saying that all people who eat fast food are fat, but come on, that food is about as healthy as sucking down corn syrup).  But you know what is the most interesting and laughably stupid part of this – what it signifies.

The sentiments of the people who partook in this day can be boiled down to this –

I ate some fried chicken because I hate gays.

That’s it.  It really is that simple.  You know it’s America when there is a nation holiday celebrating something this stupid.  This is beyond just pathetic.  This is so dumb that it’s laughable.  This is the stupidest national event that this country has ever made.  We literally are not only celebrating our bigotry, which is pathetic enough, but we are going out and buying fried chicken to celebrate our bigotry.  How do you not see the irony?

Only in America is the celebration of bigotry a national event.  Only in this country are people able to come together and hate and have it be like a big party.  If there are any liberals out there who don’t get why the rest of the industrialized world laughs at us, this should it into perspective.

If that doesn’t do it for you, perhaps this will help –

See that?  That’s the political butt of a joke and the quitter governor of my home state, Sarah Palin.  She refuses to let herself go into the night, so what does she do?  She decides that she is going to whore herself and her image out to Chick-fil-A, just so that she can believe that she is somehow culturally relevant, even though her most recent book has gotten to languish in the limelight of a bargain bin.  Poetic justice to whoever had to ghost-write her book for her.

But this is why the rest of the world is laughing, and you know what, we should be laughing too.

When President Obama came out, several months after being put in office, when the Stock Market had leveled out and we weren’t free-falling into disaster, and said that “America is back,” nobody bought it.  And they were right.  We weren’t back.  We were stalled.  Stalled out and going nowhere.  Now, four years later, we’re still stalled and going nowhere.

For those of you who are too young and too culturally ignorant to know, there was a great boxer.  He went by the name Muhammad Ali.  He was a king when he was in his prime.  He would best any opponent and make it look like art.  But that was in his prime.  As he aged, his skills got lesser.  He was still a fantastic boxer, for a long time.  But towards the end, he wasn’t much.  His last fight, against Trevor Berbick.  He was beaten so badly, but even up until the end, he thought that he was “Ali.”  But the problem was, he wasn’t.

The comparison between Muhammad Ali and America is very fitting.  America and the people in it still seem to think that we are a great fighter, that we are the best.  Only problem is, we aren’t.  The American Society of Civil Engineers gives this country D’s and F’s across the board, looking at our infrastructure.  Our health care is a joke in comparison to all of the other industrialized countries.  Our education is among the worst of the industrialized world.  The only things that we are at the top in, aside from our military strength, is things that we shouldn’t be bragging about, such as our prison populations, the amount of crime that we have, the amount of guns in the general population, and the worst part – we have the most amount of debt than any other country in the entire world.

But America still thinks that we are, metaphorically, Ali.  We still think that we are at the top of our game.  That we are #1.  Only problem is, we aren’t.  We still stand tall, but we are standing on a pile of sinking sand.  We have no reason to brag, at this point.  But the people don’t seem to get there.

Here’s the real truth – this whole pathetic affair with Chick-fil-A should have just been chalked up to a stupid decision that a stupid company stupidly made.  They should never have gotten involved in this whole issue with gay marriage, but apparently, they didn’t get the memo.  Instead, we have decided to make this a giant mountain, with conflicting sides, and the bigots come out in droves to get their food, and show their support.

If you want to know what is wrong with America, and you have had a very outspoken opinion about all of this, here’s a thought – look in the mirror.

You might just learn something.

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