Monday, December 31, 2012

2013 LadyAtheist Awards

Why?  Because I can. 

First, the good awards:
Woman of the Year:  Candy Crowley for smacking down Mitt Romney in the debates.

Girl of the Year:  Malala Yusafsai

Man of the Year:  Last-minute winner is Joe Biden, for knocking heads in Congress today

Boy of the Year:  Sorry, can't think of one.  Any ideas?

Religion of the Year:  Mormonism, because it became "mainstream" this year

Event of the Year:  Indian public bus rape-murder

Puppet of the year:  Big Bird.  Geoff Peterson was a shoo-in until Big Bird got a mention in the presidential debates.  Keep working at it, Geoff!  You've come a long way, dude!  Just lay off the booze and you'll be fine.

Song of the year:  Gangnam Style, of course!

Video of the year:  The 47% video.  It may have changed history

Shoe of the year:  Yves Saint Laurent's red shoe with the red sole.  Suck it, Christian Louboutin.  Maybe you can start worrying about women who get shot in the face for going to school or raped and killed for riding a bus instead of whether someone else puts a red sole on a pump now.

Meme of the year:  Fresco Jesus

Now the other awards:

Douche of the year:  NRA's Wayne Lapierre

Fool of the year: Mitt Romney

Dumbass of the year:  How to choose?  how to choose?  It has to be Todd Akin, but Mourdock is a close runner-up.  Oh wait, Karl Rove.  No, every member of Westboro Baptist Church.  *sigh*  Let's just call 2012 the Year of the Dumbass.

Ignorant harpie of the year:  Michele Bachmann

Loser of the year:  Honey Boo-Boo, who will look back on her show years later and cry

Disaster of the year:  The Mayan Apocalypse.  It was off by 500 years or so.  They failed to see Cortez coming & got the date wrong!

Thugs of the year:  the creeps who raped a woman on a city bus in India. 

Sports team of the year:  m'eh who cares?  It's just a game.  Which game?  They're all just games!  Why do people care about sports????  It's not like it matters who wins, unlike Project Runway.

Facebook meme of the year: ecards.  They're getting old.  I still like some of them but they're getting old.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Holiday Links wheeeee

Frankenfish?  Genetically engineered salmon won't get into the food chain because it will only be sold to people who can be trusted not to let it escape?  I'm not a foe of GMOs but this one is a little creepy.

Letters to the L.A. Times after the Newtown shooting.

And whose fault was it?  Atheists' of course.

"I was Adam Lanza," essay by a formerly troubled teen who identifies with Adam Lanza.  "We can be stopped.  We can be saved."   I hope his words have an effect.

Single women, and single men to a point, trend overwhelmingly Democrat.  

Mormon Senator (R-ID) Crapo arrested on DUI charges.  I wonder if he accepted an offer of coffee at the pokey to help him sober up.

The New York Post is duped by a fake Facebook account for the surviving Lanza brother.  Really?  They didn't know FB accounts could be hoaxes?

Oates bites Hall on the face

Non-Christians celebrate the holidays, sometimes.

A Catholic artist works out her ambivalence & issues in some creepy looking works.

Sister Wendy looks at Christianity through the eyes of better artists.

Vulnerability is power.  That is, when Christmas coincides with the mass murder of children.

I love Judaism sometimes.  A reader asks the rabbi, is it acceptable for Jewish workers to go on strike?  In case anyone wonders why there are so many Jewish lawyers (assuming that's really true), the answer is in stuff like this.  A long history of applying the Torah to modern problems and issues has honed the legal methodology you'd need to interpret other laws.

The woman who was gang-raped in India on December 16 has died.  Her attack sparked demonstrations.  I hope her death will inspire reform of India's laws and culture.

The New York subway push captured on video turns out to be a religious hate crime of the most ignorant variety:  the woman who did this pushed this Indian Hindu because of 9/11.  I have always considered bigotry a mental illness.  This proves it.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Links to Brighten your Solstice... if you haven't been abducted by Mayans

A lot of these links are related to last week's school shooting.  I grouped them at the top so you can scroll down if you're past the saturation point on this incident:

Indiana man threatens to kill his wife then wipe out elementary school kids... the night before the Newtown shooting!   The police chief didn't take the threat seriously (though the guy was jailed).  I wonder if he'd feel the same way if had happened on Saturday.  (Some news sources are reporting this as a copycat plan)

Scientific American Mind made a 2007 article free online after the Newtown shooting:  Deadly Dreams: What Motivates School Shootings?

A law enforcement site offers its analysis of schools as targets from the perspective of terrorism.  That's basically what mass shooters are, but with personal agendas instead of group goals.  They offer this chilling analysis:
when seeking to cause the greatest psychological, emotional and lifestyle impact on an entire nation, through the deaths of large numbers of the most innocent, no target offers terrorists as much impact as the killing of children

Journalist's Resource has a link round-up for research on mass shootings (some are pay-per-view articles, though)

Mother Jones has a guide to mass shootings. 103 semi-automatic handguns or assault rifles vs. 39 revolvers or shotguns.  (I found this while arguing with someone on FB who said changes in gun control wouldn't have prevented Newtown)

But you don't have to trust them.  The FBI puts homicide data online.

And the other Sandy Hook, the Sandy Hook Gateway National Recreational Area in New Jersey was heavily damaged by Hurricane Sandy:

Two sea turtles with hypothermia were rescued in Oregon.  It is doubtful whether one of them prayed as she was missing a front flipper, so couldn't do the prayer pose.

The video of a golden eagle attempting to kidnap a toddler was a hoax, but it was fun while it lasted.  Popular Science had to one-up the golden eagle story by writing about a huge extinct eagle of New Zealand.

An evangelical preacher bemoans his faith's decline in America.  ... without mentioning creationism.  The guy lives in New York so maybe he's not as familiar with teh crazee branches here in the Midwest.

Pakistan wanted to name a college for Malala.  She asks them not to.  Because of humility?  NO, because it would threaten the lives of other girls.   grrrr

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Neil DeGrasse Tyson on the Islamic Dark Ages

A very passionate talk about the dangers of allowing religion to suppress scholarship:

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Weep for the Aryan Girl-Children

My sweet-natured Facebook friends have been sharing a bunch of stupid graphics about the Connecticut shootings, and if it makes them feel better, good for them.

But... I have to note that the graphics tend to favor 1) girls, 2) blond-haired girls, and 3) blue-eyed blond-haired girls.

The kids were all white except one that looks like she was mixed race, but they had every variety of coloring and both varieties of sex.

Am I the only one to note the pattern?

...and then three-arm Jesus shows up in school:

and an atheist site offers up this:

Saturday, December 15, 2012

God, Guns, and Mental Illness

TV, the blogosphere, and Facebook all agree:  the Connecticut shooting happened because of guns, mental illness and taking God out of schools.  Or just one of those things, depending on your point of view.

So yet another rohrshach test in the news reveals the pet peeves of us all.  We hate and mistrust someone because of something that they do wrong.

Two of my previous blog posts are getting a lot of hits this weekend:
(about stupid statements of "faith" after tragedy)
(review of some of the research on rampage killing)

People came to my bit about stupid expressions of faith after a tragedy via keywords such as "angel taking children to heaven" or "child angels in heaven."  The latter is due to shameless self-promotion in blog comments at Pharyngula and sharing with some atheist facebook friends.

Rampage murders are not the result of any one thing, much like car wrecks and plane crashes.  They are the result of a toxic soup brewing in the mind of someone who can't or won't put the brakes on their destructive plans.  There have been very few rampage murderers, just as there have been very few airplane crashes.  But because of their shocking nature, we pay more attention to these events than to the uneventful daily events that make up the numbers in the more-likely side of the odds equation.

The Connecticut killings are probably more of a "workplace" killing than "school killing," because the killer wasn't a student, and if he was a former student, he had left the school ten earlier.  The Dunblane massacre comes to mind.

And then there's the problem of fame:  we make these people famous by having nonstop television coverage and ummm blogging about them.  Once that toxic soup of rage, guns, disappointment, resentment and possibly also mental illness starts brewing, the hope of fame through one final grandiose act is the remaining ingredient to cook up a plot like the Connecticut shooter's.  Already his name is a household name, known to us well before the names of any of his victims.  He got what he wanted.

Would belief in God stop someone who's got that toxic soup brewing in their brain?  Maybe, but I doubt it.  More likely, the same forces that make self-annihilation attractive could make belief in God untenable.  Or in the case of Andrea Yates, belief in God would be an ingredient in the toxic soup.

It's easy to understand how primitive people could believe in "demons" that would turn an ordinary person into a killer.  Someone in the right frame of wrong frame of mind might even respond to voodoo designed to cast out those demons, but sometimes the human mind and brain just isn't right and those of us with functioning minds and brains can probably never comprehend their actions completely.  They are alien to us, and so whatever is alien to our self-image would naturally be part of our assumptions.  Atheists are aliens to religious people, so *thwap* there's one assumption slapped onto the story.  Those of us who are sane find crazy people alien so *splat!* there's another one.  The result is a rorschah blot that may resemble the story on the surface but only if we saw that pattern to begin with.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Prayer Memes Erupt on Facebook after School Shooting

20 children and 6 adults dead, non-stop coverage by television all day long, Facebook friends find out by checking Facebook, then they feel silly for all their pointless posting, sharing and liking.  The Christians feel guilty for their selfishness, then they feel they must atone by praying.  But just praying isn't enough to atone for such a wasted life.  They must announce it and make sure that all the people who saw their Facebook posts earlier in the day can see that they're now praying.

Because, you know, prayer is unselfish.

And because, you know, prayer isn't a waste of time like Facebook is.

Cue the meme war.  I only collected two today because apparently the first couple of meme generators got it "right," (added the prayer chain abomination too because it's just so tacky!) and then I saw the atheist response: 

Response from The Atheist Bible Commentary Page

Yeah, pretty much sums it up!

Oh my my my I was far too premature in posting graphics for the infidels.  Here are some more to make you shake your head:

Saturday, December 8, 2012

The Week in Links

Older people's brains are more gullible.  Does this explain Mitt Romney's fanbase?

Atheism on the rise in Texas.  The Houston Press interviews vlogger Aron Ra and others at the Texas Freethought Convention, and give a little history of Texas atheism, including the Freidankers, German free-thinkers who settled in the Hill Country (which Austin is part of) in the 19th Century.  (I always wondered about the German names for towns!  Boerne, Kerrville, New Braunfels and Gruene among them)

The National Audubon Society holds an annual Christmas Bird Count.  It's an annual count of bird populations at about Christmastime, not a count of Christmas birds.   The Great Backyard Bird Count is in February.

Hemant Mehta (a.k.a. The Friendly Atheist) writes in the Washington Post about the experiences of non-theistic high school students.

California moron calls atheist attempts to insist on compliance with the First Amendment "unconstitutional."  She doesn't seem to have read the Constitution, though.  Typical.

Atheists Anonymous, support group for oldsters in California.  No, they're not giving up atheism, just being treated like dirt.

Election post-mortem from Pew:  White evangelicals weren't turned off by Romney

Evangelicals want to abolish electoral college.  Gore would have been the winner over their idiot Dubya, so I can't see why.  Maybe they want attention if they live outside of a swing state.  Who wouldn't want nonstop robocalls and endless TV and radio commercials for months on end?

Notre Dame has decided to be more gay-friendly.  And in Germany, gay pedophile priests have been shown to be psychologically "normal," at least according to a study put out by one church.

Hindu schools in Nepal borrow from the Catholic practice of making students classless with uniforms, in the mass prayer day.  (That was what my Catholic friends always said justified having uniforms, though everyone seemed to know who the rich kids were)

A West Point senior leaves the school because of religiosity on campus.  He wrote “I do not wish to be in any way associated with an institution which willfully disregards the Constitution of the United States of America by enforcing policies which run counter to the same,” Mr. Page wrote in his letter of resignation.

Meanwhile, in India, the courts have decided not to force religion on children, or at least one.  

Tonight is the beginning of Hanukkah, or Chanukkah, or Channukkahhh...

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Charity Link Round-up page

Check out my new list of charities that I feel confident don't include prosletyzing in their work.

I didn't list secular charities like Freedom From Religion Foundation, because there are lots of lists like that on the web.  There's so much begging for charity money this time of year I decided to look into which ones I would want to donate to... assuming I had disposable income.

Feedback & suggestions welcome, though if you have a boatload of criticisms or ideas of how I could do it better if I had another thirty or so hours to spend, then do it yourself and send me the link.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Sad News for Eagle Watchers

This year I became enthralled by the nest-cam in Decorah, Iowa, that watched a clutch of American Bald Eagles from egg-laying to fledging.  I learned that last year the Raptor Resource Center that runs this project had put a transmitter on one of the babies and I checked periodically to see her progress on their map.

This year, the first baby eagle (D12) died from electrocution on a power pole near the nest soon after fledging.  It was shocking because of the suddenness, but also because it was a bird that I "knew."  The team posted about electrical poles' danger to birds, especially large raptors.  With their large wingspan, there's more chance of a bald eagle being electrocuted.  A group inspired by D12's passing worked to make poles in the area safer for the fledglings.

Last week another of the clutch was found dead from electrocution:  D14 had been equipped with a transmitter and was being tracked like his older sister.  He was found in Iowa at the foot of an electrical pole.

The sad blog post is here:

The previous year an eagle (D1) was fitted with a transmitter, and she has returned to her natal home after summering in Canada.  Her survival seems even more miraculous fortuitous after seeing what happened to two of the three eaglets from this year's nest.

A raptor-safe power pole is amazingly simple to make.  I hope more people will be inspired by this new tragedy to make their area poles safe:

Saturday, December 1, 2012


Wasn't going to do a link round-up this week but a few things caught my eye:

The Religion Clause blog has a list of the religious mentions in the proposed Egyptian constitution.

Leesburg, Virginia is Ground Zero in the War on Christmas again.  I can't say I support the atheists on this one.  One Leesburg official (who was apparently in a coma on 9/11/2001) called atheists "fanatical terrorists."

Can Islam be a force for good in climate change?

Can Islam be gay-friendly?

Robert Schuller & his family have to survive on less than a million dollars after the bankruptcy of their Crystal Cathedral ministry.  Oh boo hoo  Maybe they should pray to win the lottery.

A priest named Schueller pisses off the pope by wanting women to be ordained & questioning celibacy.  It's too bad he isn't also a pedophile.  The pope would have ignored him.

Former Episcopal priests are turning Catholic, and for these guys it's okay to be married priests.  (similar to the rule in Eastern orthodox churches).   How does the vatican wrap its head around its head?

Presbyterian parishes are leaving the denomination to join a more conservative version.   Would Calvin be proud?

Religion gives me a headache.  It's no wonder fundies look so glassy-eyed.