Friday, January 30, 2015

E.O. Wilson: "What's dragging us down is religious faith."

Courtesy of International Business Times:

Renowned biologist E. O. Wilson has said we should eliminate religions for the sake of human progress, as they are "dragging us down". 

In an interview with New Scientist, Wilson was speaking about his latest book The Meaning of Human Existence, in which he questions religion, how humanity looks for common cause, our behaviour and our impact on the environment. 

He said his next book, in which he plans to deal with where we are going as a species, looks at how we have been destroying Earth in a way that people have not fully realised "like the death of a thousand cuts". Wilson said we ignore cues from science about the damage we are doing because of our "tribal structure". 

"All the ideologies and religions have their own answers for the big questions, but these are usually bound as a dogma to some kind of tribe. Religions in particular feature supernatural elements that other tribes – other faiths – cannot accept ... And every tribe, no matter how generous, benign, loving and charitable, nonetheless looks down on all other tribes. What's dragging us down is religious faith." 

He said that he is not an atheist or agnostic, instead explains "I'm a scientist".

I would suggest that tribalism played a very important, and possibly necessary role in mankind's rise from prey to predator, and ultimately to becoming the dominant species on the planet.

However I would also argue that what served as a benefit during more primitive times has now become an impediment to our progress toward becoming more enlightened beings.

Today it is not so much our gender, or ethnicity, that builds walls between us but rather our religious faith. Or lack thereof.

Just the other day my daughter and I were musing on the fact that thousands of years ago Italy, Spain, and France, which are geographically only a handful of miles apart, could develop different languages and cultures, while today we are closer to becoming a global community then ever before.

In fact these very words will be read by visitors from as far away as Hong Kong, Belgium, and Germany, and they will both be able to understand what I say, as well as respond to what is written without ever having to leave their house, much less their continent.

In other words thanks to technology we now know more, and understand more, about each other than at any other time in the history of mankind.

The final hurdle to overcome, the wall that still stands in our way, is religion.

Eradicating it, and the antiquated ideas it promotes, should be priority one for all of us.

Well at least I cannot be accused of not doing my part.

Bloomberg has created Sarah Palin's first campaign ad for her. I don't think she's going to use this.

The funniest part of this is that apparently folks at the Sea O'Pea thought it was serious and got a little excited.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s upcoming trip to Washington to shame our President might just cost him his reelection. Couldn't happen to a more deserving asshole.

Courtesy of Addicting Info: 

Benjamin Netanyahu’s planned speech before the US Congress may cost him his position as Prime Minister, it turns out. For the opposition Labor-Hatnuah alliance, called the “Zionist Camp,” the speech could not have been better timed. The coalition, running in opposition to Netanyahu’s Likud Party, has jumped on the plan as another example of the embattled Israeli leader being, as some now call him, “the Republican Senator from the great State of Israel.” 

In the latest polls, we find Netanyahu’s Lukid party coming in solidly behind Zionist Camp, with the other parties all gathering small pieces of the seats left over for Israel’s parliament, the Knesset. Of note, the Yisrael Beiteinu party, Lukid’s current partner in the ruling coalition, has lost so many seats in polling that it only barely qualified to even run a ticket, meaning that even if Lukid holds on to each seat it currently has, it still will lose power in the next Knesset. It is a major uphill battle for Netanyahu at this point. 

The perception that the Prime Minister would cause diplomatic tensions in order to pander to a base in politics is not bolstering his position as hoped. Instead, Netanyahu is finding support waning, and he is now under strong pressure to postpone, or even cancel his speech entirely. But at this point, the damage may have already become impossible for him to repair. 

Add to this situation, Mr. Netanyahu parading himself before a foreign government in order to incite another war? The Israeli people have simply had enough, according to the polls. A Zionist Camp coalition with the Arab List, Meretz, Kulanu and Yesh Atid, based on current polling, would be incredibly close to controlling the Knesset. The next few weeks are critical now, to see if they can indeed remove Prime Minister Netanyahu from office.

I have to tell you that it this Republican plan to embarrass the President costs Netanyahu the election, and a more reasonable, less war mongering, Prime Minister is elected who is willing to work with Obama, it will literally take me days to stop laughing about it.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

During Rachel Maddow's recent visit to The Late Show she is asked her opinion about the 2016 election. Her response to Sarah Palin is worth the price of admission.

Rachel Maddow on Palin's presidential aspirations:

"She says she's very interested in running again."

Which was then immediately followed by this expression.

I think that pretty much tells you all you need to know about Rachel's opinion of her candidacy.

New article in the Hollywood reporter might make conservatives dislike Julianne Moore even more. If such a thing is possible.

It is quite a wide ranging article that covers much of Moore's history, points of view, and introduction to acting. I found it pretty interesting and suggest that you read it in its entirety.

However for the purposes of this post I thought I would focus on the revelations that are sure to irritate the crap out of the conservatives.

First there is this portion about Moore's feelings about God:  

She says she doesn't believe in God and has a strong sense that meaning is imposed on a chaotic world. "I learned when my mother died five years ago that there is no 'there' there," she reflects. 

"Structure, it's all imposed. We impose order and narrative on everything in order to understand it. Otherwise, there's nothing but chaos."

I could not agree more.

Then as if that were not enough there are also Moore's feelings on Planned Parenthood and gun control:

Despite her ease, she doesn't want for strong opinions and has drawn angry responses to her tweets in favor of Planned Parenthood and gun control. "I get more reactions on Twitter about gun safety than anything else," she says. "I don't understand how we're threatening the Second Amendment because we're talking about gun safety rules. That, to me, is really shocking."

You know for some reason hearing this just makes this role all the more satisfying to me.

 (P.S. The photo above was recently included in a Facebook post where Palin expressed irritation that a magazine mocking her teasing about a presidential bid used it instead of an actual picture of her and McCain.)

To be fair the article does include this paragraph:

Liberal politically, Moore developed a degree of human sympathy for Sarah Palin, whom she played in HBO's 2012 adaptation of the real-life political thriller Game Change, a role that won her an Emmy. 

See conservatives, she's not such a bad egg.

Of course the article then follows that up with this:

As to Palin's response, "She was very scornful of it; she claims she never saw it, but we're virtually certain she did," says John Heilemann, co-author of "Game Change."

Oh yeah, she definitely saw it. 

Well this article may inspire more conservatives to avoid Julianne Moore movies in the future, but that is their loss because I understand that this new movie, "Still Alice," is quite incredible.

Of course I have always been a fan of Julianne Moore, and this interview has done nothing but increase my admiration.

John McCain STILL pretends to support the idea of a Sarah Palin presidential campaign. Unbelievable! Update!

Courtesy of the Washington Post:  

How would Sarah Palin do if she decides to run for president? According to her former top-of-the-ticket running mate, quite well. 

"She's very interesting. And I'm sure she'd do great," Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) told The Washington Post Wednesday in a brief interview. 

After the 2008 presidential election, McCain has consistently praised Palin, despite her clash with his campaign team. Palin has also defended McCain. The former Alaska governor campaigned for the senator in his 2010 reelection bid.

"She's very interesting." WTF does that mean? Is that just another word for batshit crazy?

Personally I don't know how John McCain can show his face in public considering what he inflicted on this country.

And having him continue to publicly support Palin after the Iowa debacle lends credence to the idea that she has some serious dirt on him.

Either that or, much like Palin herself, he is simply incapable of admitting a mistake.

Which brings us to what happened just today.

Courtesy of AOL:  

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain has kicked protesters out of a budget hearing, calling them "low-life scum." 

The upheaval came Thursday on Capitol Hill after members of an anti-war group calling itself Code Pink approached a witness table where former secretaries of state Henry Kissinger, Madeleine Albright and George P. Shultz were testifying. The protesters carried signs calling the 91-year-old Kissinger a war criminal. 

McCain blurted out, "Get out of here, you low-life scum."

Oh yeah, he's a peach.

Update: Well it looks like McCain may have his allegiances tested as his OTHER girlfriend is also teasing about a potential run:

South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham on Thursday formed a political organization to explore a potential run for his party's presidential nomination, the latest high-profile politician to test the 2016 waters.

McCain has already gone on record in urging Graham to run, so if there were a contest between endorsing Palin or Lindsey-Lou I am pretty sure I know who really owns the key to his heart..

Rabid homophobic spokesman for the American Family Association has been fired ahead of RNC trip to Israel that the AFA paid for. Things that make you go "Hmmm." Update!

Courtesy of The New Civil Rights Movement:

 Tonight Rachel Maddow broke a huge story: Bryan Fischer, the director of issue analysis, for the American Family Association has been fired. 

The reasons are unclear, as is his future with the organization. Tim Wildmon, American Family Association president, told MSNBC that Fischer is "just a talk show host." 

Fischer has been the main spokesperson for the certified anti-gay hate group for years, daily spinning lies about the LGBT community, including his infamous claims that the Nazis were gay, the Nazi Party was “formed in a gay bar” by “homosexual thugs,” and that "Hitler himself was a homosexual." 

So why today? 

Because on Saturday dozens – close to 100 – members of the Republican National Committee will fly to Israel on a trip sponsored by and paid for by the American Family Association. The same American Family Association that had as its public face and top spokesperson a man who says that the Jewish religion is counterfeit and Jews don't have First Amendment rights.

So the AFA was perfectly fine with Fischer making incredibly outlandish and insane remarks tying homosexuality and Nazis together, and calling the Jewish religion "counterfeit," right up until the press, actually Rachel Maddow mostly, started publicizing the fact that they were paying for an RNC trip to Israel.

Gee I wonder who put pressure on them to fire Fischer? Wait, don't tell me.

By the way if you want to get an idea of just how incredibly insane with his Bryan Fischer truly is, then just take a stroll over to Right Wing Watch. But be warned a few minutes of that crap will make your head explode.

Oh and if you have not seen Rachel's brilliant report last night, do yourself a favor and watch it here.


Courtesy of The New Civil Rights Movement:

And that appears to be true – Bryan Fischer may have lost his meaningless title of director of issue analysis, and his more prominent but still useless title of spokesperson – but he has retained the most important and, more importantly, his most dangerous ability: radio host spewing lies and garbage daily on the American Family Radio network that broadcasts from over 160 radio stations across 40 states, plus online and is archived on Vimeo. 

In other words, Bryan Fischer still has a platform to broadcast hate speech, and is still being paid by the American Family Association to do so. 

So to be clear instead of recognizing that they have a serious public relations problem with Fischer on staff, the AFA just decides to make a few cosmetic changes while continuing to maintain their association with him.

Well that should solve everything don't you think?

Bill O'Reilly responds to Sarah Palin's irritation at his tease about reality show politicians.

"Ms. Palin an Donald Trump are very high profile folks. And both have starred in reality TV shows. Thus my tease was perfectly in context and harmless. So here's the tip of the day. If no offense is intended, don't take offense. Your life will be happier."

I have to admit that I was hoping that O'Reilly would really cut lose on her, but it seems he was really made an effort to deal with the matter without completely alienating Palin.

Which signals to me that Fox is not yet entirely done using Palin to drum up controversy and attract ratings from the paint chip eaters.

The Mormon church offers the LGBT community a compromise. If they will support the rights of their lunatic cult, then the Mormons will support their human rights.

Courtesy of CNN:

In at least one big and bruising culture-war battle, the Mormon church wants to call a partial truce. 

Convening a rare press conference on Tuesday at church headquarters in Salt Lake City, Mormon leaders pledged to support anti-discrimination laws for gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender people, as long the laws also protect the rights of religious groups. 

In exchange, the Mormon church wants gay rights advocates -- and the government -- to back off. 

"When religious people are publicly intimidated, retaliated against, forced from employment or made to suffer personal loss because they have raised their voice in the public square, donated to a cause or participated in an election, our democracy is the loser," said Elder Dallin Oaks, a member of the church's Quorum of Twelve Apostles. 

"Such tactics are every bit as wrong as denying access to employment, housing or public services because of race or gender."

So in other words the church will not spend millions of dollars to fight laws allowing marriage equality so long as they retain the right to discriminate against them, and preach that their lifestyle is deviant and an affront to God.

Oh yeah, seems so fair. 

And remember there are NO gay Mormons. Only Mormons who want to have sex with members of the same gender but repress the hell out of it for the sake of their church. 

A graphic from one of our faithful readers.

Notice how completely sensible it sounds before Sarah Palin steals it and poops all over it.