Archive for April, 2010


You Don’t Need To Know If Your Baby is Sick

Imagine: you are in the delivery room, about to become a parent for the first time. You and your partner have done everything right. You’ve got your funds in order, you’ve been abstaining from ciggys, booze and really fun carnival rides, and you comforted each other in the face of this monumental chapter in your lives. And of course, you’ve checked off all the prenatal care with the aid of your trusted obstetrician.

Look at you now! After months of anticipation, you’re moments away from becoming a mother (or father)! The sound in the room swells and swells and climaxes with a scream! And now, the baby cries! You both strain to see your new baby. But you catch the looks on the delivery team’s faces. Something’s wrong.

Your child has harlequin-type ichthyosis. (No link, google it when you’re at home alone and you haven’t just eaten)

Shouldn’t this have been seen on the ultrasound, or through amniocentesis? But you had both procedures done, with the aid of your trusted obstetrician, and s/he never reported anything. Did s/he just read it wrong?

What if you found out that your trusted obstetrician knew about it the whole time?

Would you be angry? Would you like to sue your trusted obstetrician’s trusted knickers off? Any sane person would.

Unfortunately, Oklahoma is not known for its sanity.

The Oklahoma Legislature voted Tuesday to override the governor’s vetoes of two abortion measures, one of which requires women to undergo an ultrasound and listen to a detailed description of the fetus before getting an abortion[…]
A second measure passed into law on Tuesday prevents women who have had a disabled baby from suing a doctor for withholding information about birth defects while the child was in the womb.

Just a reminder that pro-lifers looooooooove life and are morally superior to everyone. Thanks, guys! Who needs trust in a doctor? Who needs to know if I’m going to have a sick baby?


Joplin Globe Madness: I Agree With Everything Before The Second Paragraph

We haven’t had a Joplin Globe Madness post in a while, since nothing’s really grabbed me and besides, this other guy does it better.

However, today we had a post from Dave Spiering, which grabbed me from the first paragraph:

Recently (Globe, April 8), a guest column, “Theology has ominous message,” argued that biblical prophecy has no place in our modern world.

He then demonstrates exactly how irrelevant to the modern world it is, by diving headfirst into untruths and blatant paranoid idiocy. This is all after a No True Scotsman disclaimer, natch. Don’t listen to those crazy Christians that run around in the woods playing Red Dawn, or cover up child abuse! Listen to the sane ones that practice obsessive-compulsive history revision and and believe environmental regulations are bad things!

Back when the Big Silly Jesus Circus was going down, I was going to submit my first proper guest column to the Globe. Alas, it takes me forever to whittle down a rough draft until it’s presentable, so it never got done. I am presenting the horribly written rough draft here, since I think it’s relevant to this letter:

“Truth About Dinosaurs” Fosters Inquiry, Atheism

I was delighted to hear that after a nine-year absence, the Creation Truth Foundation would finally return to southwest Missouri. I first attended their Truth About Dinosaurs seminar, which presented a Biblical view of life on Earth, way back when I was an 8th grader. Underneath the shadow of colossal replica skeletons, presenter Dr. Thomas Sharp passionately informed the audience about Biblical behemoths and flood stories from cultures around the world. It was mindblowing and awe-inspiring, especially for a dinosaur enthusiast such as myself. That seminar settled the issue for me: not only was creationism pure malarky, but any mythology that required the reassurance of such folks had to be malarky as well.

The sheer charlatanism on display was blinding. This dinosaur-loving teenager watched dumbfounded as this man proposed that duck-billed dinosaurs spat acid out of their head crests, that T-Rex used a mouth full of enameled steak knives to eat coconuts, that all of the world’s “kinds” of land animals (99.9% of which are now extinct) fit on a good-sized gopher wood boat, and that the world was created about 5,000 years after the domestication of dogs. Feathered dinosaurs and carbon dating dumb, magical fruits and talking snakes smart.

What would possess any person to carry out this blitzkrieg of baloney? Dr. Sharp tells us: “Either Adam sinned and death came into the world, or else death was in the world before Adam got here. If that is right, then the Bible is a fairy tale and the Gospel is a joke.” Well, if you say so, boss. From that day forward, I became a full-fledged atheist activist.

Dr. Sharp isn’t the only one that realizes this. The Abrahamic God is the God of the gaps, and more gaps are closed every day. Believers know it, and have to do all that it takes to preserve those gaps for God to frolic in and graze undisturbed. It’s either that, or redefine God until He’s unrecognizable from the original character. Non-believers and fundamentalists have the same criticism for the latter; it’s obvious that they’re making it up. Give fundamentalists credit for that; it’s pretty much the only thing they have that’s close to consistency. Otherwise they have to eschew consistency and other values of honest people in order to keep the charade going.

It may work in the short run, but you can’t fool all the people all the time. Creation Truth Ministries drove me away. All these years later, I’m an active participant in one of several local freethinker groups, and we get more and more members every meeting. In fact, nonbelief is rising around the country. People stumble across the information that Sunday school and PTA busybodies tried to shield them from, they read our science scores compared to the rest of the world, they saw what happened when fundamentalists and their cronies ran the country for eight years, they simply think about what they’ve been told. Most of all, they see the lack of evidence believers have and what they do to try and cover that up.

Dr. Sharp has his finger on it, but he hasn’t gotten the hint that his worst fear is pretty much confirmed. The fact that you have to defend the Bible with misinformation should be telling you something. Some people in the audience, however, do get the hint. The malicious lies, rhetorical gymnastics and embarrassing ignorance peddled by fundamentalists confirm Christianity’s irrelevance to those who value truth. That is why I’m excited that he’s coming back. We atheists always appreciate new members.


Now That’s What I Call “Overkill”

I know the Globe has to consider its audience when it comes to ads. Three “ObamaCare” ads on one page, though? That’s a wee bit much.

It’s probably out of their control, but still, man. Wee bit much.

By the way, does anyone know how to do screencaps on an iPhone? I am ruing the one that got away. It’s still funny that I managed to get one that had two on it, in only five page refreshes.

Edited to add: Ah-HA!

I call this piece, "ObamaCare Ads Descending a Staircase".

This sh- is legit!


I Apologize In Advance for the TV Tropes Link

C/o the Erstwhile Conservative, we hear that Glenn Beck is double-dog-daring Obama to find a gay, handicapped black woman for the Supreme Court.

Whenever hyperventilating conservatives stack up a hypothetical person’s non-privileged identities, the unspoken implication is that such a person being considered for a job in authority is the height of liberal idiocy. “Appointing a black lesbian to be a judge? How silly, Mr. President! That’s the exact opposite of a straight white guy! And oh, she’s handicapped too? How precious! You’re treating her like she’s a little person!”

Reading Duane’s footnote, I was struck by a similarity to something in my post on political correctness. I recalled some cable stop motion cartoon (which was apparently too unremarkable for me to remember the name of) that also cast a gay black handicapped woman as political correctness made flesh. Are two examples enough to infer a pattern? I smell a new entry on TVTropes– “Handicapped Black Lesbians Are PC Fever Dreams”. Whoever submits that entry gets a free lunch from me.

I wonder if any actual black lesbians with disabilities mind that they are rumored to dwell underneath the beds* of paranoid white men. They’re not white, nor male, nor sexually compliant, nor able bodied…they are what shouldn’t be! They are the Elder Gods of the Republican planet.

I’m pretty sure they do mind.

It also made me realize, hey! I have a really old comic book idea that incidentally starred a black lesbian with a handicap! I have to find my sketchbooks and scan that all in. Maybe actually finish and publish it. Get a little break the universal (yet, somehow “edgy”) stories of Joe Everyman.

*Too many senators and religious figures already called dibs on the  closet.

Some Schadenfreude for Ya


If you’re like most people with a conscience, you were probably rendered speechless by the actions of Constance McMillen’s classmates and school.

If you haven’t heard, a quick recap: Constance, a lesbian student in Fulton, Mississippi, wanted to attend prom in an out fashion like all straight people are entitled to. The school canceled the entire prom rather then have her attend. After legal action, a prom at a country club was arranged. So Constance went to the prom on Friday, and found only seven people (including two mentally disabled students) in attendance.

Turns out most of her classmates, with help from their parents, held the “real” prom somewhere else.

Even if you are familiar with the ridiculous lengths Southern schools go to to avoid dancing with undesirables, it’s still not a story to read in the wee hours of the morning. I saw red. No way was I sleeping now. Relief was necessary.

Luckily, I found a slight bit of schadenfreude for your reading pleasure. At comment number 8 in the top article, “begleg10” stands up for the much maligned school (bolding mine):

I am a senior at IAHS, and I’ve known Constance for the last 6 years. Please hear our side of the story before you decide on our fate.

The party we had in Evergreen (the county neighborhood I live in) is 30 mins away from the school. we rented out the community center, hired vendors, decorated, and our parents ran the security/chaperone staff- but it wasn’t prom. Prom was at the country club where constance and 7 other students were. The reason the senior class boycotted the actual prom was not because we hate gays. We wanted a drama-free gathering to celebrate 3 great years and 1 lousy one together, and we wanted to lay low. We also wanted to do it without the main cause of the lousy. What people are failing to realize is that much of the fault of this whole stink lies with Constance, not her mistreatment by the school district, but her crazy-reckless need for attention. It sounds mean and horrible and like we planned it all specifically to embarrass Constance, but we didn’t. We let her have her prom with her girlfriend and her tuxedo and we went to party it up in the “boondocks” not because we wanted her rights violated, but so we could salvage what has turned into a total fiasco. As a whole we didn’t support her decision to throw the district under the bus, or her insinuations that we’re all just a bunch ‘a hicks driving around in beater pick up trucks spitting tobacco and burning crosses. IAHS is one of the top schools in the state and I’m proud of that, and I’m proud that we took a stand and just said you know what? forget it, we have just as much right as you do to have a party for ourselves. So we did, and now we’re getting flack because poor Connie’s ego got a bit of bruising. She’s playing the lesbian card to prove she ALWAYS gets what she wants. This time, we didn’t just let her.

Take it as you will, because I’m sure it sounds like we faked her out, but understand this- the decision NOT to attend prom had nothing to do with the school or with Constance’s sexual preferences; it had everything to do with proving we weren’t going to let her and the ACLU steamroll us into doing what Constance wanted. We flexed the muscle of the majority and we’ll suffer the consequences.

Thank you for sharing that tale of bravery and integrity. Laying low to avoid drama. You’re a regular Nelson Mandela.

She was so driven to stand up for the strong and uptrodden* that she forgot a few critical rules of thumb. The big one, of course, is “if you try to excuse your glad participation in a cruel, cowardly and much-publicized stunt, don’t use a username that points to your Facebook page. Especially if you plan on a career in journalism. You breathtakingly atrocious idiot.”

Now begleg10, AKA Lindsey Begley, will forever be linked with this event, for the Internet never forgets. Perhaps her journalism dreams can still be salvaged; maybe Fox News will give her a show, if she plays her cards right. Cash in on the wingnut welfare girlfriend!

She’s not the only brilliant bird either. Many other promgoers also have Facebook profiles and other Internet droppings, complete with captions of mocking laughter, brave statements of defiance to the gay hoard of one and her mentally disabled cronies, and photos of hideous prom dresses. They’ve even set up a whole group called Constance, Quit Yer Cryin’, which has apparently already backfired.

Welcome to the 21st century, Itawamba High! Have you been acquainted with the Internet Archive? Believe you me, I would love to pretend that I never made a Gilbert Gottfried fansite on Tripod’s free website service when I was in middle school. But I can’t, because the Internet never forgets. Luckily, Gilbert Gottfried appreciation isn’t likely to result in rejected college applications or being passed over for jobs.

I’d love for mindless status quotians** like Lindsey to put down their arms and live in mutual respect with us undesirables. But if that’s not feasible, I’ll be happy to aid in their fall and ostracism if they set themselves up for it. Maybe you need to stop playing the entitled victim-blaming twit card to get what you want.

* I am 99 percent certain this is not a word.
* This may not be a word, but if it’s good enough for Shakesville it’s good enough for me.

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