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youranonnews:

"This is militia culture in the United States." ~ Xeni​ | BoingBoing 

This is a great example of why the 2nd amendment needs to be rewritten.  Militias are terrorists.

youranonnews:

"This is militia culture in the United States." ~ Xeni​ | BoingBoing

This is a great example of why the 2nd amendment needs to be rewritten. Militias are terrorists.

Elizabeth Warren schools Paul Ryan on poverty in 80 seconds

Future president?

(Skip to 0:29 in the video if you can’t stand Al Sharpton’s voice)

WTF, religion?!

How can the good Christians of the world go on letting people like this speak for them?  You can claim “he doesn’t speak for me” but until you speak up against him, you are in silent agreement.

(via bookoisseur)

thedailyshow:

For America’s state legislatures, the arc of the moral universe bends not toward justice but backwards and up their own asses. http://on.cc.com/1jURL3Y

thedailyshow:

For America’s state legislatures, the arc of the moral universe bends not toward justice but backwards and up their own asses. http://on.cc.com/1jURL3Y

calvinanddune:


If you need something to worship, then worship life — all life, every last crawling bit of it! We’re all in this beauty together!

calvinanddune:

If you need something to worship, then worship life — all life, every last crawling bit of it! We’re all in this beauty together!

Tennessee Republican tells frightened child her father must be deported - Tea Party crowd cheers.

wilwheaton:

A very frightened, 11 year old little girl conjured up the courage to ask her Congressman, Republican Scott DesJarlais, a question at the Murfreesboro,TN town hall meeting he was hosting on Thursday evening. Josie Melina spoke into the microphone with a quivering voice. She introduced herself to the crowd and said, “œMr. DesJarlais, I have papers, but I have a dad who’™s undocumented. What can I do to have him stay with me?” She was so scared, her question was barely audible (despite the microphone), so she had to repeat the question. Only one or two people can be heard clapping in support of this brave girl. That, in and of itself is shocking — to think that grown-ups wouldn’t support a young child in such an intimidating situation by applauding her courage…but, no. The crowd, consisting mostly of Tea Party Republicans, didn’t applaud. At least, not until the Congressman gave his bully response.

After graciously thanking the young lady for her question, Congressman DesJarlais coldly replied, “The answer still kind of remains the same, that we have laws and we need to follow those laws and that’s where we’™re at.” The crowd erupted in cheers and applause.

This little girl is now undergoing therapy to deal with the anxiety created by her father’s impending deportation. I’m sure the cheering and celebrating from all the adults around her was really great for her, too.

The complete absence of basic human compassion and empathy in these Tea Party people freaks is just disgusting. I’d really love it for them to spend a month in the world they want to create, which is basically Somalia, and see how that turns out for them.

The NSA Will Replace Most of Their Potential Snowdens with Machines

As I continue to read about the fallout over the leaks of NSA information, I keep being drawn back to a singular point:  his actions taken in facilitating the leaks are criminal. So I set about examining all my questions and assumptions about the why/how of the situation, and here is what I came up with…

1) Why reveal your identity at all, if you didn’t want it to be “about you”?  Well, if you’re worried about a drone strike taking out your hiding place, you do whatever you can to keep as many cameras pointed at you 24/7 as you can.  Point cleared.

2) Why go to a hostile country—known to covet the exact information you have smuggled out—to reveal your identity?  See answer to #1, and consider what would happen if “aggressive action” were taken against such a person on foreign, hostile soil.  No other country on the planet could realistically stand up to US pressure over the long haul.  Point cleared.

3) Ok, so you’ve now taken state secrets—with potentially devastating impact—into the very places that are known to covet such information, and you have a reasonable expectation that those states won’t get a hold of it almost immediately?  Here we have a problem.  If the intelligence services of either country (China, Russia) are worth a tinker’s damn—and I happen to think they are—then you’d have to be a damn fool to believe they won’t swipe everything you have.  Here is where I see a big problem.  Criminal, treasonous act?  I’m leaning that way.

Without evidence of foreign coercion I won’t make a case for him being duped into stealing state secrets for a foreign power, but you have to wonder.  

4) You’ve distributed the information to several people around the world, as a fail-safe…and  you think that is secure?  Personally, I believe no level of encryption is truly safe from the big 3.  Very few better options are available as a personal safety “guarantee”, but here is another crime.  Distributing the secrets you’ve stolen, no matter how encrypted they might be makes each of the receivers complicit as receivers of stolen property.

5) You claim that the intentions were to “spark dialogue” and “end injustice,” but where is the justice for the people your actions have endangered around the world?  These leaks have real life-and-death implications for NSA agents operating around the world.  They have real financial implications for the companies outed, and the government employees who will lose their livelihood.  They have real implications for the entire US who now has one of its key intelligence services vivisected in front of the world.  People will die as a result of this.  Probably already have, but we’ll never hear about it out here in the public.  Billions of dollars will be lost in both the public and private sectors.  While his direct complicity in some of these things may prove to be dubious, the image of him as a “hero” fades a good amount once you really follow the implications.

6) What is your end-game here? You’re now labeled a state criminal by one of the most powerful nations in the history of the world.  You’ve had to seek asylum status in a country with terrible human rights and a very poor record on privacy.  Oh, and that state’s current leader is an NSA equivalent…the very organization you’ve sought to destroy.  You wouldn’t think Russia is doing something similar, now would you?  You can never return home except in chains, nor will you ever be able to stop looking over your shoulder.  His prior history—insomuch as it has/can be revealed—doesn’t point to him being a true altruist.  So is the value of fame/infamy that high?

7) In the end, was what he did really a crime, and should he have to answer for the crime regardless of the intentions and/or outcomes?  And here is where the real debate lies, though I’m not sure how long of a debate it will be.  The facts are that he intentionally misrepresented himself to place himself in a position of access to the data (lesser crime).  He then collected the data over time, using methods clearly against the terms of his employment, and removed said data from the premises of his employment (probably a crime in itself).  He openly violated the terms of his security clearance (definitely a crime).  He distributed stolen property to others (crime).  He distributed those classified materials to foreign nationals (big crime).  He did not follow whistle-blower procedure by taking the information to congress, thus invalidating his legal whistle-blower status and foregoing the protections offered therein (making all of the above items into crimes, if they weren’t already).

Given the above, I cannot help but think of him as a traitor.

If he followed procedure and brought it to Congress, there is a non-zero chance that it would have been covered up, and he would have disappeared from the face of the Earth.  But the way he allowed all of this to unfold brings into question his true motives.  If he knew what he was doing was the right thing to do, and still respected the US and the rule of law, he would have stayed here in the US to face the consequences of his actions (while live-streaming his whereabouts 24/7 and surrounding his home with journalists from around the world).  By running the way he did, he acknowledged that his actions were criminal and that he was not willing to truly stand trial for his belief in making the system more open and transparent.  Instead, he took the road of fame-and-infamy which allows his very character to be called into question.

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`Six Types of Atheists' study wakes a sleeping giant

While the article itself opens a world of interesting reading, the photo slideshow at the top of the article is what I find most interesting.  Some of the quotes from various famous people are priceless.  The Douglas Adams quote is so truly “Adams” in both style and content, while the Hepburn quote is pure win.  I particularly like the Dennett quote:  “You don’t get to advertise all the good your religion does without first scrupulously subtracting all the harm and considering seriously the question of whether some other religion, or no religion at all, does better.”

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ccindecision:

Presented in honor of Jenny McCarthy being hired by The View. There ought to be a vaccine for that.

Yep.  Specifically if she decides to bring her kids to the Midwest.  We prefer our kids not be exposed to diseases easily conquered by safe, effective vaccines.

ccindecision:

Presented in honor of Jenny McCarthy being hired by The View. There ought to be a vaccine for that.

Yep.  Specifically if she decides to bring her kids to the Midwest.  We prefer our kids not be exposed to diseases easily conquered by safe, effective vaccines.

Scott Walker Signs Mandatory Ultrasound Bill Into Law—In Private

wilwheaton:

Wisconsin governor Scott Walker stealthily signed a bill into law on Friday requiring doctors to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals in order to perform abortions, and women to first have an ultrasound to “bond” with the fetus. The law, which brings the number of abortion clinics in the state down to two, goes into effect on Monday.

Signed in a private ceremony and announced in a press release proclaiming, “This bill improves a woman’s ability to make an informed choice that will protect her physical and mental health now and in the future,” the new law was immediately met with a lawsuit and restraining order filed in federal court by Planned Parenthood and Affiliated Medical Services, which is being represented by the ACLU.

Go fuck yourself, Scott Walker.

Well said. Every woman denied the right to control her own body should sue the Repugnican party for child support.

At my core, I’m a baseball fan.  I’ve enjoyed games at many minor and major league stadiums across the country.  Since they opened up locally, I’ve gone to several Kane County Cougars games a year.  After going twice this year, I can honestly say that I’m done with them.  The Cubs ownership has ruined the experience.
Since the beginning, the Cougars have been a family-friendly place to go for a game.  The stadium is accessible, the prices were good, and parking was free.  The team has stood on its own as a local product, without beating you over the head with who the parent team is.  Of those things, only the accessibility has remained.  They now charge for parking.  The food prices are higher, the lines slower, and the quality is down.  But even worse, the team seems to have changed its entire identity into the “Suburban Cubs”.
In the park you see the Cubs logo everywhere.  When the team was owned by Kansas City, Baltimore, Florida and Oakland, they never beat you over the head with the logo of the parent team.  Granted that none of those teams are local, but even with the Cubs being local the eye abuse is shocking for long time fans.
The food company has changed for the worse, with the quality and service declining, while the prices have been rising.  Couple that with the fact that they’ve done nothing to improve the experience for the fans since they took over, and it’s pretty hard to swallow.  Gone are the kid-friendly giveaway nights where kids could get a bag of themed items pertaining to the theme of the night.  My kids loved those, even though most of the contents were “junk” (temporary tattoos, rubber wristbands, coloring pages, etc).  And while I absolutely appreciate the Jesse White Tumblers—there are very talented and can be fun to watch—the ownership needs to realize that they aren’t a draw in the suburbs.  Their performances on field look amateurish and awkward simply because they are so out of place.  No fault to them, and I heartily applaud whenever I see them, but they just look out of place.
It’s very clear that the Cubs look at the KC Cougars as a revenue source first, whereas previous owners have realized that it was more of a local family tradition, and served it up as such.

At my core, I’m a baseball fan.  I’ve enjoyed games at many minor and major league stadiums across the country.  Since they opened up locally, I’ve gone to several Kane County Cougars games a year.  After going twice this year, I can honestly say that I’m done with them.  The Cubs ownership has ruined the experience.

Since the beginning, the Cougars have been a family-friendly place to go for a game.  The stadium is accessible, the prices were good, and parking was free.  The team has stood on its own as a local product, without beating you over the head with who the parent team is.  Of those things, only the accessibility has remained.  They now charge for parking.  The food prices are higher, the lines slower, and the quality is down.  But even worse, the team seems to have changed its entire identity into the “Suburban Cubs”.

In the park you see the Cubs logo everywhere.  When the team was owned by Kansas City, Baltimore, Florida and Oakland, they never beat you over the head with the logo of the parent team.  Granted that none of those teams are local, but even with the Cubs being local the eye abuse is shocking for long time fans.

The food company has changed for the worse, with the quality and service declining, while the prices have been rising.  Couple that with the fact that they’ve done nothing to improve the experience for the fans since they took over, and it’s pretty hard to swallow.  Gone are the kid-friendly giveaway nights where kids could get a bag of themed items pertaining to the theme of the night.  My kids loved those, even though most of the contents were “junk” (temporary tattoos, rubber wristbands, coloring pages, etc).  And while I absolutely appreciate the Jesse White Tumblers—there are very talented and can be fun to watch—the ownership needs to realize that they aren’t a draw in the suburbs.  Their performances on field look amateurish and awkward simply because they are so out of place.  No fault to them, and I heartily applaud whenever I see them, but they just look out of place.

It’s very clear that the Cubs look at the KC Cougars as a revenue source first, whereas previous owners have realized that it was more of a local family tradition, and served it up as such.

Why My Son Still Won't Join the Boy Scouts

Children often know when something is unfair, or unjust.  It takes an adult to (ir)rationalize away what we knew as 7 year olds. 

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BSA: Boy Scouts of America, or Bull Shit Amendment?

I thought that expanding the rights of all boys to belong as part of the Boy Scouts was going to be a good thing.  It is a positive step in the right direction, but it’s also two steps backward for equality.  The way it was done—without accepting gay leaders as well—indirectly says two things:  it’s only okay to be gay up until you become an adult, and gay adults simply cannot be trusted around kids.  Further, the religious aspect of scouting has been re-emphasized, making them even less inclusive.

WTF is that?!

"Youth are still developing, learning about themselves and who they are, developing their sense of right and wrong, and understanding their duty to God to live a moral life."

They’re treating sexual orientation like it is a “phase” that you can grow out of when you hit 18.  They’re treating it like a condition that you live with, instead of something that defines part of who you are.  They’re wrong on both counts, and they’ve proven yet again that they just don’t get it.

"The organization will maintain its current membership policy for all adult leaders."

As mad as that makes me, the second implicit statement above makes me livid.  What the Boy Scouts of America has done is to further allude to the idea that homosexuality is related to pedophilia and/or the idea that homosexuality can be “taught” by exposure to role models who happen to be gay.  They try to distance themselves from the pedophilia angle, as shown here:

"To be clear, the BSA makes no connection between the sexual abuse or victimization of a child and homosexuality. The BSA takes strong exception to this assertion."

Really?  No assertion at all?  Then why not grant the same rights to adults that you do to members?  While they make “no assertion” and take “strong exception” they don’t denounce the idea either.  What is their justification for not changing the rules for all associated with scouting, instead of just kids?  They’re either saying that homosexuality can be taught, or that it is destructive to kids, and either position is reprehensible.

And then there is the “Declaration of Religious Principle” which the BSA uses to exclude atheist, non-theist and agnostic members.  Implicit here is the idea that non-theists cannot live moral lives because they have no religious compass to guide them.  In their zeal to appease the religious organizations that support them, the BSA has moved this oath to prominence.  Partly to undermine their own new “openness” about gay scouts.  After all, if your duty to “God” is first and foremost, and your “God” denounces LGBT oriented people, then there will obviously not be a problem with gay scouts, right?

My eldest son is two years away from finishing Cub Scouts.  The Pack he belongs to hasn’t shown any signs of taking a stand either way on this issue, which I can somewhat respect.  As generally positive as his experiences have been, I will not recommend he continue into Boy Scouts, because of their social and religious stances.

My kids are still young enough that they haven’t faced these questions yet.  They don’t know in which direction their orientation will lead them.  My policy has always been to allow them to discover for themselves.  Notice I say “discover” and not “become”, because they already are people…they just need to discover what kind as they mature.  I will not let some petty, anachronistic organization define my kids to themselves.