Archive for January, 2010


A Way to Dampen Roeder’s Martyrdom: Pro-Choice Holiday!

Yay! Roeder’s going to jail!

When I first heard the news, I figured I’d urge everyone to celebrate by donating to Planned Parenthood.

You know what? We should do this every year. We can call it Roeder Day, just to piss off the anti-choice terrorists itching for a new martyr. It would certainly stick in Roeder’s craw.

Or we could call it Tiller Day, and move the day to a more appropriate time. After all, Tiller is the only hero in this, so why not give him a holiday in remembrance?

What do you think? Any ideas?


Facts for the Attention Deficient- Paleogeography

I’ve prattled on about paleontology before. It’s a hobby that I encourage all children to never outgrow, and for all adults to get back into. There’s so many facets to learning about the world as once was, and so many of the endless puzzle pieces are discovered every day, that you never get bored. There’s much more to it than just the animals; anyone can find something interesting to gnaw on.

For example, are you one of those nerds that loves it when the fantasy novel you’re reading comes with a map? Then you’ll love paleogeography. It’s like poring over those same made up maps- only they all really existed. Go ahead and click on that link, and have fun!

Instead of outlining the concept in a coherent essay like one of those fancypants “professional writers,” I will assemble some bite-size factoids to lure you into the topic, or at the very least take away to impress someone at a party. It’ll also be littered with Wikipedia links, like a true unprofessional.

1. There are two paleogeographic places that most Americans are familiar with. The first is Pangaea, which as we all know was a “supercontinent” comprised of today’s landmasses.

Most people are under the impression that Pangaea is what any such supercontinent is called, and that Pangaea was the original Earthly landmass. Not true. The joining and rifting of the continents is a cycle (believed to be reapeated every 500 million years), and each super continent gets a different name. Pangaea is in fact the most recent supercontinent, forming around 350 million years ago. It was preceded by such supercontinents as Vaalbara, Kenorland, Columbia, and Rodinia, and probably even more than that.

Pangaea started in the Late Paleozoic and started breaking up in the Jurassic about 175 MYA . It broke into two smaller supercontinents- dubbed Laurasia (today’s northern hemisphere masses, including the US) and Gondwana (the southern hemisphere masses) . I like to say Gondwana. Gondwana Gondwana Gondwana. It used to be called Gondwanaland, which was even cooler.

2. There’s not only goofy landmasses, but there’s also seaways and oceans accompanying them. There’s Panthalassa, the ocean that went with Pangaea, the Tethys Ocean that separated Laurasia and Gondwana, and the very cooly named Sundance Sea of the western states.

There’s also the Western Interior Sea of the Mesozoic, which is of somewhat local interest and has an awesome book written about it. If you’re ever in a Kansas bookstore, check out the Local Interest section. Among the travel guides and the horrible self-published local authors, you might find a book called Oceans of Kansas. Buy it. It’s awesome. They also have a website if you can’t or won’t get the book. Imagine taking a vacation and heading some miles west to go fishing for mosasaurs.

3. The second most known paleogeographical artifact is Beringia, the famous land bridge between Alaska and Siberia. Land bridges are fun, because they totally mess with the local wildlife in the days before we invented ships filled with rats and domestic dogs. Beringia introduced many Old World creatures into North America, bringing mammoths, lions, and of course, humans. The reverse is also true- for example, camels originated in North America, and crossed over to the Old World across the land bridge.

There’s other land bridges that did similar things. For millions of years after the Age of Dinosaurs, South America was similar to Australia in that it was totally isolated from the rest of the world. Like Australia, marsupials flourished, as did giant flightless birds, edentates (sloths and armadillos), and entire families of placental mammals that have no descendants living today. Then came the Isthmus of Panama, and all hell broke loose.

Placental mammals flowed in, and the large marsupials couldn’t compete. Sloths, glyptodonts, giant birds and parrots headed north. Foxes, peccaries, mammoths, llamas and rabbits headed south. Dogs and cats living together, mass hysteria.

That’s not all the Panama land bridge did. It also messed up the world climate. The developing bridge cut off ocean currents that normally flowed through the gap. This created the Gulf Stream, and soon currents throughout the oceans were affected. This warmed up Europe, while simultaneously ushering in a new Ice Age with all that wet weather. All this without the help of invading European conquistadors and the Industrial Revolution. You’re off the hook this time, dead white dudes!

Thus concludes my jabbering about paleogeography. I hope you “dug” it. (Get it it’s a pun because in paleontology you dig up stuff eh eh do ya get it?). At the very least I hope this enhances your enjoyment the next time you crack open Tolkien.


More Science, Joplin Globe Style

I know that Joplin Globe letter writers usually have a unique (as in, wholly and utterly wrong) spin on science. Evolution, fluoridated water, climate change, are all par for the course.

But I still didn’t see this one coming.

But whenever anyone brought up the subject of “germs,” grandpa always declared there were no such things as germs. If there had been, everyone who fought in the Civil War would have died of germs instead of enemy bullets.

Well, maybe grandpa knew something about germs that no one else knew. He outlived his wife and three of his daughters and died at the ripe old age of 84.

Anti-germ theory? For realz dawg?

Speaking of Globe-style science, Donald Corder is squeaking for intelligent design again. I already spanked him the last time he tried that.


I Don’t Want Any Blue Savages Playing on My Team


Here’s a new rule for life: if someone says “I’m not a racist, but–“, they are racist.

Case example.

Basketball league for white Americans targets Augusta

The All-American Basketball Alliance announced in a news release Sunday evening that it intends to start its inaugural season in June and hopes Augusta will be one of 12 cities with a team.[…]

“Only players that are natural born United States citizens with both parents of Caucasian race are eligible to play in the league,” the statement said.[…]

Don “Moose” Lewis, the commissioner of the AABA, said the reasoning behind the league’s roster restrictions is not racism.

“There’s nothing hatred about what we’re doing,” he said. “I don’t hate anyone of color. But people of white, American-born citizens are in the minority now. Here’s a league for white players to play fundamental basketball, which they like.”

Seriously? I’m having difficulty construing how this can be construed as anything but racist. It’s almost indistinguishable from parody. If this occurred in a movie and Mr. “Moose” Lewis was the antagonist, the movie would be criticized because the villain was way too cartoonish. The freaking Colonel in Avatar is more nuanced then this guy. Yet here he is, in real life’s splendid 3D.

I wonder if ABBA will sue him over the acronym.


Without Choice, Your Choice of Life Means Nothing

See also: The character of Serena Joy from this book.

If you’re a woman, and wish to gain prominence in the eyes of a woman-hating audience, one of the most effective ways is to claim that you “chose life” after a difficult pregnancy. It’s obviously not as quick and easy as just being pretty while mindlessly parroting conservative rhetoric (à la Michelle Malkin), but it works wonders, and you can still tote it about after your looks fade. It can bag you a cover on In Touch magazine, or a Superbowl commercial, or any of the  lifelong parade of gigs peddling the anti-choice line.

But let’s pretend. Say your masters finally get their way, and abortion, contraception and comprehensive sex-ed are all criminalized. Do you think you’re going to get a cookie now, when you suffer a placental abruption and carry on with the pregnancy anyway? Yeah right. We don’t expect bitches to do anything else. Choice? What choice? You’re not going to get accolades for “choosing life,” the decision was out of your hands.

Women conservative figureheads owe their very existence both to uppity women, and the backlash uppity women brew up. Without Roe v. Wade, we wouldn’t even know Sarah Palin. Oh sure, she could maybe squeak by with a governorship, but McCain’s team wouldn’t have looked twice at her. A woman veep? The base would riot, and not in a good way! They’d probably be more like this lady.

But I think that the acceptance of abortion can trace its foundations more to Rosie the Riveter than to Roe v. Wade, which was only the culmination of independent roots that finally blossomed into wholesale slaughter of innocent children. Governor Palin leaving her home to become governor of Alaska, and “choosing” to run for second-in-command of the most powerful nation on earth, is not a coup for the prolife cause, despite her personal convictions, but it is the death knell of the the biblical family as an American institution, and will only bring grief to those who are trying to hold together the shreds of that family vision in the midst of a perverse society.

Cognitive dissonance, thy name is anti-feminist women. I wonder what all these colluders think they’re doing. If their foes are defeated, they’re not going to magically sprout a wang as due reward for all their hard work. They’re going right back to the kitchen with the rest of us.

Well, maybe they think that their cause is unwinnable, so the gravy train will keep on chugging along? Think again. Behold the inevitable results when you declare that the government must make choices for women.

When Laura Pemberton chose to give birth at home in Florida, a Sheriff came to her house. Doctors believed that she was posing a risk to the life of her unborn child by having a vaginal birth after having had a previous c-section. The doctors were in the process of getting a court — order to force her to have a c-section. The sheriff took Ms. Pemberton into custody during active labor, strapped her legs together and forced her to go to a hospital where an emergency hearing was taking place to determine the rights of her fetus.  She was “allowed” to represent herself. A lawyer was appointed for the fetus. This woman, who vehemently opposes abortion, nevertheless believed in her right to evaluate medical risks and benefits to herself and her unborn child. She was forced to have the unnecessary surgery and when she later sued for violations of her civil rights, was told fetal rights outweighed hers.

This is happening here, right now, in this country where harlots supposedly have aborted baby barbecues and beat up a Jesus piñata afterward to get at his delicious tears.

When Pamela Rae Stewart, allegedly, didn’t get to the hospital quickly enough on the day of her delivery, she was arrested in California on the theory that she had violated the rights of her fetus.

Let’s take the case of Samantha Burton,who was ordered on bedrest and wanted to check out after her pregnancy had stabilized.

After she expressed a desire to leave, the hospital lawyers went to the Circuit Court of Leon County, which ordered Burton to be confined indefinitely to the Tallahassee Memorial Hospital and to submit, against her will, to any and all medical treatments, including bed rest and cesarean section delivery, that the “the unborn child’s attending physician,” deemed necessary to “preserve the life and health of Samantha Burton’s unborn child.” The Circuit Court even denied Burton the right to transfer to a different hospital.

Abrams said the court order was so broad, that even after an emergency cesarean section several days later showed the child to be stillborn – fundamentally making the ordered bed rest moot — they had to get an order to allow Burton to be legally released from the hospital. “The original court order had almost no limits,” Abrams said. “So we felt we had to go back to the circuit court to lift the order just to make sure she could be released.

I understand that you, the Sarah Palins and Pam Tebows of the world, did what you wanted to do and had your babies against the odds, and I understand how you could be proud.

But with all due respect, go jump off a balcony.

You are idiots to believe that your situation applies to all women, you are evil to want to force your choice onto other women regardless of their situation, and you are evil idiots to not see the damage you are causing. You are accomplices in the oppression, and eventual enslavement, of women. You deluded clowns think you’ll still live such a cushy life when every woman goes back to being a mere broodmare?

You get commercials and VP nominations. Most women get restraints and heartbreak. If you get your way, all women will have the latter. Including you.


The Best Reality Show Ever?

I was zoning out in front of the boob tube when I saw a commercial for what may be one of the best reality shows ever made. Ladies and gentlemen, I present Pit Boss.

Speaking of reality shows, I think I’ll take this opportunity to pitch some of my show ideas to you, the readers:

Jon and Kate Plus Nobody: I’m sick of all these Octomoms and Quiverfulls getting on the human litter gravy train. How about a dedicated child-free couple instead? Thrill as they are confronted by complete strangers and family over their decision to not have kids! Fret when Kate encounters pharmacists that refuse to do their jobs and fill her birth control prescription! Feel their pain when their mothers go over the deep end and buy some of those creepy-looking “Reborn” dolls!

Fat-Fetishist Motorcycle Runaway Rescuers: If there’s one thing these dreadlocked guys love more than Harleys and hefties, it’s rescuing teenage runaways from the streets. Now in HD!

Toys in Babeland: The Series: I bet the folks who run Babeland would make an awesome reality show as they host workshops, attend events, confront weird customers, and wrestle with city ordinances. What is Babeland? If you’re over 18 and not at work, google it. Any other high-end shop of that nature can fill in if Babeland can’t do it.

Naked Idealism: Follows the daily lives of nude protesters. Why not?

Holey Man: Lance McHewge is a youth minister, bounty hunter and a modern day Renaissance Man; and he won’t let the fact that he’s covered head to toe in disgusting open sores stop him! You may be able to fit your fist into his abdominal cavity, but you can’t fit him in a square hole!

Society Mythbusters: Breaks down basic sociology for the masses. Every week they take on one of society’s mores: the Beauty Myth, privilege, human psychology, etc. At the end of every episode they blow up cement trucks.

22 Pound Teen: Does Discovery Health ever do shows about deathly ill anorexic and bulimic people like they do morbidly obese ones? If not, then they should, just to be fair. You can have 22 Pound Teen, 22 Pound Woman, 22 Pound Man, 22 Pound Man and Woman Plus Eight, 22 Pound Man and Woman Who Rescue Pit Bulls…

Bipartisan Health Care Reform: Turns out the Dems kept on compromising with Blue Dogs and Republicans until the final bill plays out like this: If you get sick, you and twenty other lazy good-for-nothings are released into a forested arena and given an hour head start before the hunters show up. What follows is a televised Most Dangerous Game Scenario. If you survive, congratulations! Your health costs will be covered by the arena organizers. If you were culled, well, you were probably a leech on the system anyway. You should have been more responsible and not gotten leukemia.

Steven Seagal: Lawman: Watch as an oblivious aging former action star makes a joke of himself as he plays cop for real– wait, they already made that? Nevermind.

Man, you remember when these channels had old National Geographic documentaries and stuff? What fools we were!


Hold On To Your Pants, I’m Defending a Teabagger

Dear Globe,

I understand you folks have to make up titles for letters to the editor, and are under pressure to capture the essence of the letter in a three word blurb.

However, titling someone’s letter “Rape of America,” especially when the word “rape” or anything like it doesn’t appear in the text, isn’t cool. If Mr. Coalson wants to compare Obama to sexual assault, or Hitler, or black sitcom characters, then he’ll do so himself in his letter. You shouldn’t do it for him.

This is assuming he didn’t request that title; and even in that case couldn’t you have politely refused and tried to steer him toward something else?



EDIT: Scott’s informed me that, indeed, it was Mr. Coalson who requested the title “Rape of America.” In that case, the Globe is forgiven and we can once again feel safe laughing at this teabagger’s typical lack of proportion and class.

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