Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Texas Death Penalty

PZ Myers looks at a chilling tale of just how Texas uses the authority to end lives.
The story of Cameron Todd Willingham (via Digby) ought to be read by everyone.

He was an unpleasant guy accused of killing his kids by burning his house down.

Pretty bleak. He was executed for the murders.

Trouble is...he was innocent. Now that is a statement in itself about how unfair executions are.

But worse was the actions of the prosecutor in the case.
...You have to watch these videos of Judge John Jackson (he was prosecutor in the case, and is now a judge). He openly admits that the evidence for arson was weak, and that he looked at the circumstances to determine Willingham's guilt. Those circumstances? Willingham was a low-class ruffian with tattoos of skulls who like heavy metal music. Therefore, he was probably a satanist. Therefore, he probably killed his children.

And this seems to be how just part of the Texas approach to the law. When people try to appeal the hostility to overturning is overwhelming. Texas, what's wrong with some justice?

Let's talk about the media

What is the trend? For more than a decade now study numbers have shown a disproportionate number of conservatives and their positions being showcased in the news.

When Clinton was president, there was a push to give the minority a voice. When the Reps took Congress, there was a voice that needed to be heard there. When Bush came in, he and his were given preeminence. When Dems took Congress back, it didn't change to reflect this. And now that Obama is in the White House and Dems hold congress, what is next?

Crooks and Liars looks at the Posts postion:
I always knew that the media would find a way to turn back to right-wing ideology after America voted out the conservatives who almost destroyed the country and the financial global economy. But I didn't know they would use a minor story like ACORN as their catalyst.

You know how the WaPost feels about
liberals who complain, don't you? This is very troubling indeed. Apparently the Washington Post thinks it should be paying more attention to the crazed rantings of Glenn Beck and incorporate it into their news coverage. ...


Post Executive Editor Marcus Brauchli said he worries "that we are not well-enough informed about conservative issues. It's particularly a problem in a town so dominated by Democrats and the Democratic point of view."

To guard against it, he said, "I challenge our reporters and editors with great frequency to look at what is going on across the political spectrum ... at the extremes, among the rabble-rousers, as well as among policymakers." He said he pressed the National desk this week to provide more ACORN coverage.


Vaccine hype

You may have heard about a death that occurred following a 14 year old being vaccinated for HPV. Novella talked on it. What is known now is that initial results suggest a underlying condition is the likely cause of death. It doesn't remove the treatment as a cause, in whole or part, but it points away. The trouble is the reaction of many in the media. A vaccine death! As one commenter I saw noted, you never see the front page stories about the woman who dies of the cervical cancer that could have been prevented. Too true.

Here are the numbers and reality.


Joe Albietz at SBM gives us the recent skinny of Gardasil safety, based upon recently published data. Here are the vital stats from the FDA:

“Every year, about 12,000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer and almost 4,000 die from this disease in the United States.”

After distributing 23 million doses of Gardasil, there have been 772 serious adverse events reported, included 32 deaths. These are no greater than the background rate of reported events for a population this size.

In other words, safety monitoring of Gardasil has not revealed any pattern of excess deaths or serious outcome associated with the vaccine.

One more guy

I would have added this on the end of the last post...but this one is going to run for president again and needs to be noted.

You see at the meeting of conservatives noted in the last post, Schlafly also spoke, and warned about the nasty attacks on marriage. One part the gays and another, larger part, feminists. Those homosexuals are always trouble, and those, ewwww, women wanting equality...BOOO!

But that is the crude this woman has peddled for years. Yet there to applaud her as she was awarded American Hero of the Century (this one or last?) was one Mike Huckabee.

The trouble with Mike is that he for a long while, going into the last election, played himself as the affable and friendly conservative. He wasn't a bad guy, or out to get you...

Crooks and Liars list his recent interesting positions including using Kennedy's death to sell death panels and ignoring of state supreme court rulings.

Hopefully people can see him more clearly now.

Conservative Discourse 101

Hey, how does Conservative media view the world around it? Through Obama-colored glasses of course.

Bad joke? Yeah. But all too true as well.

You see! Obama = Chicago = Corruptions = Gangs = Evil = Olympics = Destroys America! It all fits!

From Crooks and Liars:
The right has been seizing on the brutal murder of a teen, Derrion
Albert, in Chicago by feuding gang members. Reports are that Albert just
happened to walk into the fight and became a fatality of it.


All the conservative hacks always line up, Drudge, Malkin, and on down the line.

Then you have the likes of John L. Perry. He wrote on Newsmax's site that the nation needs a military coup again the president (A bloodless one, so I guess that would make it okay, huh?). How is this in anyway okay? Newsmax tried to disavow the guy. But he has been with them a long time, and was a senior editor. How about the loathsome Facebook poll?

Then you have the Phyllis Schlafly crowd. One speaker, Werthmann, apparently from around here, did the continuing comparison of Obama and Hitler. Apparently supporting universal health care, women's rights, and taxes increases (I guess when Republicans raise taxes it doesn't count.) are signs of the antichr...I mean fascism (Those shows from earlier are still in my head.). This leads into her main point, if only we had enough is any of this not creepy and chilling. How is this not revolting to hear?!


Americablog has a good question: Is it more important to pass a good bill, or a popular one?

I have heard this in a few spots. It is a valid point. Why does this bill need 60 votes, or else? Or as Grassley says 70-80 votes.

Why does everyone need to be on board, and why right now and not by the time of voting? What about righting the best bill to meet American needs?

The best quote I have heard around is. "Bipartisanship is a means not an end."

Hell yes. We can work together to craft a bill, it can be great to draw together disparate ideas. But Republicans are pretty clear in action that the only option they like in inaction and delay. If one side is attempting to derail work what is the sum total gained by bipartisanship as an ends? Diddlysquat.

Climate Claims

Crooks and Liars point to Paul Krugman's warnings about the surging attacks by conservatives over climate change legislation.

Seems trying to sell it as a threat to the economy is going to be the main tact. No doubt they will also explain it is also about the president's evil plot and will lead to indoctrination and camps! OOOwwww!

Krugman sees this economic ruin idea as suspect:
So where do the apocalyptic warnings about the cost of climate-change policy come from?

He explains more, but after a summer of screaming and freak outs, don't we know the corners it all will be crawling out from?

I also wanted to add what I was seeing on CNBC. They were talking to Jim Kramer. And he was "telling it like it is." Meaning that to deal with being greener means letting waste be dispersed without restriction... But the better part was his concern over health care reform, namely the fate of insurance companies. If the public option draws people in...what about the insurance industry! Now that's being focused on the wrong victim.

Ah, sweet history

What is it with the History Channel?

Oh sure they are the Hitler and Conspiracy network in all the jokes.

But these shows just seem to be getting worse.

For example, right now they are on their third of a trifecta of crappy conspiracy/doomsday shows. You should check them out to believe them.

First was the Da Vinci Apocalypse show. It seems, you see, that hidden in his works are...Jesus? Secret Societies? ...not just that, also his prophecies about the doom of the world. Haven't you seen the tousled hair in the many works, like some one submerged in water! Also he wrote a lot of dark riddles (no renamed prophecies) that were dark and about tragic ends...because he foresaw what was to come...TODAY! Yeah, all about the here and now, you would of thought it? They do slightly point to him being worried about history and human nature, and things he saw in his youth, but in the end it is all about what did he foresee?

Next was the Three Antichrist. That's right three, tres, three strikes. Now, I have NEVER heard of that. Sure there have been claims that the antichrist is coming, or had come, but now the people peddling the Nostradamus drek have a new spin. When people thought Napoleon was it, he was. And when they thought Hitler was, they were right to. Cause there are THREE. I don;t recall them pointing to a three count in the quatrains...but hey! Of course all the information is clear and concise on the first two...but the last one is shrouded...hmmm, wonder why? What triple tripe.

And if that trifecta wasn't enough on its own. They now have on their new show the Nostradamus Effect. This show will be looking at prophecies and how they match current events, and that means...the Nostradamus Effect (no doubt already trademarked by the History Channel). So now the channel is making up new terms to drum up fear and support woo...

Thanks guys, you are all a real credit. Is UFO Hunters on tonight?

I wanted to point to something I also noticed in watching the History Channel. When this trifecta was first on I was struck by a look at the build up of Hitler. This was due to all the ways people support the contention that Obama is a Hitler type. What is notable was the use of fear, hate, and paranoia to drive support and action. Now, I can't say it is altogether comparable, but of the sides arguing in the public square today one is clearly tapping into these sensibilities, while the other doesn't seem to be.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Midnight fun rises from the grave...

Hmm, so there are still midnight monster movies still available on TV?

There seems to be one around here, Midnight Monster Hop. I may have taken note of it before, but I finally, saw it on the schedule and checked out just what it was. It is just like the shows of old. B-Movie horror. Hosts in costume. Comedy Skits. Tonight the one they did was a favorite, Horror Express...ah, Lee and Cushing as rival scientist teaming up against the terror.

I have long lamented the change in how are media on the US operates. Where once there were plenty of independent channels, and what's more NBC, CBS, and ABC stations that were not full of national shows, infomercials, and reality TV, it was possible to have a stock of quirky shows. There were the Babylon 5's, Tales From the Darkside's, and Kung Fu: The Legend Continues, for example. And also there was a spot for the late night monster show (the predecessors of the beloved MST3K). It seemed we were doomed to see no more Elviras or Sir Graves Ghastlys.

But I am proven wrong here (and it can be noted online that their are a number of opportunities to see different shows around the country). This show looks to come out of PA. Apparently the people doing the show run a haunted house in Uniontown and decided to produce some shows. What they have so far produced are now widely available and used by the RTV (Retro TV)network, which seems to show reruns, and at least here, runs most all day, though some say it is just at night for them. But looks to offer every Saturday late night (here at 10PM) 2 hours of horror and humor, which is appreciated.

Here is the shows intro.

And, just like its antecedents, it realizes on a heavy dose of corny humor (Anyone watch Elvira?).

I am glad to see this around and readily available. It is nice to see that things in this vein are not trapped to the weeks leading to Halloween. Much like pumpkin ice cream and shakes, this type of entertainment should be around all year long.

So if you are missing out on these shows, check and see if you can catch it, or if there is another in your area.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

What is in there minds? Or, the composite creation of conservatism.

I am at a lost.

When we look at these groups today assailing the president and the various work to try and help people across the country...I have to ask myself...what is in there minds?

Is it as simple as what Pres. Carter suggests, so much racism and bigotry?

In truth it seems complex. There are many pieces on the board at play and moving. There is some simple ideology at work, moving ever forward on the board. There's the party loyalty zigzagging away. And there is a nastiness, hoping forward proudly and certainly landing unexpectedly and calamitously.

In truth the nuttiness is not conservative-centric. It can be liberal in bent. But that part is always so small. There are 9-11 types, but they are there grand conspiracies are in the minority. But the damage that Republicans and conservatives have done to themselves shows quite painfully.

So might say this goes back to the start of the 00's and the call to fear after 9-11. Others will say it goes to the new attacks through media and groups in the 90's You could go to the time of power in the 80's, and so on. But this goes back to a key moment in this nation's history. The moment that the Democrats and the Republicans chose sides and allies in regard to civil rights.

Let us build up a bit first. Republicans love to hearken back to Lincoln all the time (though it seems much less since the election). They led the fight then. They gave blacks power. They pushed Constitutional amendments. It is a good record.

But through the dark days of Jim Crow things were rough and this country dealt with much via it's social conscious. You were we? Did we have laws that declared equality, but inaction we knew the way things ought to be? Or did we really want to live by are principals?

And that moment came to decide. Leading democrats chose to break with less illustrious position of the last century and embraced the fight for civil rights. Meaning action, schools forced open, children protected, and murders and scum brought to justice. Republicans saw this, and in spite of heroic stands of another century turned away, they took in the defecting Dixiecrats as there own. They took the South as a new base of support, at least white support. They made a pact that they have long since built upon.

It gave them many victories and to this day allows them many safe seats in Congress. It means may electoral votes every four years. It is power. But at what cost?

Because this tact continues to haunt there steps. When demographics began to sweep them at of power. They turned to the "quiet" religious right. And they roared. Offering moral superiority, for the sake of attacking science, medicines, and certain minority rights. It was deal they could live with. They took on the cloak of righteous Southern indignity, and now the scepter of moral certitude. They fed off a powerful sources of aid, and in the years that followed from the middle of the last century, they were changed.

They had numbers, causes, and also constraints. The old cause was now theirs (one they once led an army against -- ironic). And with the needs at the start of the 80's they know were expected to lead always for the righteous ends of Christ (they may say Judeo-Christian all the time, but even as judeo sits at the start of the term we all know where judeo ends up in the end with them). And with the changing technology of the 90's and the Clinton years, the conservatives embraced more and more the baser parts of its outliers, the fringers. Where a once a few Congressmen would would meet in a rural setting and mutter wild claims, it was now growing more acceptable, more public, and easier to get around via the Net. And Republicans fed off of it, and fed the fear (that murderous cocaine king in the White House - not Bush, Clinton!). And they took up a sword of wingnuttery for a fine trifecta of power, paranoia, and poor thinking. Leading to today. Where they carry an old white fear at there core, religious turpitude towards outside ideas, and a paranoia about the other.

Now this is not to say there are not people of conscious in the party, in power. But they do keep there heads down, they keep silent, they vote "with the party." Early on this year as Limbaugh said some stupid and clearly disruptive things about where governance should go for Obama's first term, some people among the Republicans stood up and said no to him.

Do you remember how many apologized afterwards and shut up? Since then they seem to have embraced his position and live up to it, haven't they? They have a facade to maintain and a beast to sustain, to keep their power, to increase it, so they can in turn feed the beast more.

Historical snark

There does not seem to be an end to the things that make one want to pull there hair out and scream. So let us all relax with some laughs.

Popcorn and Chain mail is back after a long hiatus. They are a group of historians that take pains to humorously rip into historical films for the ridiculous portrayals of people, places, and events. They give a good laugh as they rip into peoples attempts to remake history to there own ends.

There latest feast is The Other Boleyn Girl - a story that takes one sister that slept around and makes her a virgin heroine and the other a social climber and makes her the nasty villain, all the while botching history all the more.


Birth of Anne's child.

Anne: What is it?

cutecoati: Cate Blanchett.

Anne: Wah!

Thomas Boleyn: Uhh, Your Majesty, not quite the son you expected… but she named the girl Elizabeth, after your mother!

fourth_rose: The Queen names the King's child without even consulting him?

King: If we can have a healthy daughter, we can have a healthy son.

cloudlessnights: As proven during his first marriage, I guess.


Anne: *freaks out*

Mary: I'd so roll my eyes at you if that weren't way too dynamic and lively for me.

Norfolk: Okay, if her second pregnancy goes wrong too, I'd better prepare the next candidate. Miss Seymour, a word, please?


Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Kicking it, the story of a Jewish state.

I like this which I mean it is too often so easy to see religious craziness and just make note of Islam, and then Christians. But Jews can get in there with the crazy.

Freethinker has one such story, one of all so many nutty stories of Jewish extremism.

‘Kick democracy in the balls – give it back to the Greeks’, says Jewish fanatic

He sees Israel as a gift from his god. Apparently all the powers post-WWII had nothing to do with helping, or those U.S. weapons.

And take a look at the picture of the rabbi in the story, with his bodyguard. Looks like a sad ass rapper cliche.

Mali madness and the need to fight loudly for women's rights.

Mali makes a great example of the problems we all face. The country had started to take steps to improve matters for women in the nation.

But as BBC tells us, they have taken back those steps.

After pressure from religious groups, in Mali this means Islam, the president has returned the bill to improve the rights of those in families. While a supporter of the changes, he had been driven back by the rancor.


President Amadou Toumani Toure said he was sending the law back for the sake of national unity.


What kind of rights? Like women not needing to obey husbands, but both need to be loyal to the other. Women get better rights to inherit. And instead of marrying girls off younger, the family must wait to 18. How horrible.

In relation to business here in the U.S., the story from BBC notes that the president of Mali believes that a lot of misinformation was spread about the law...Not like we have experience with that here in the states.

But I find the comments in that the end instructive. Some old school sort get on to proclaim their women. I really love the one that equates women's right to destroying a nation's constitution. And the one who says giving women reasonable rights is too far and too fast just reminds me of so much we deal with today here as well.

I think the president is in the right position to put this law under serious review. Its true women need the right but not to this extent, this right has to be checked. They still remain a man's responsibility and despite all efforts there is something about their position in the society that cannot be changed.


I think these whole thing about 'women's right' is just an attempt to turn the order things upside down. if they say that a woman does not need have to obey her husband, then it is like saying the citizens of a country do not need to obey the constitution of the country as symbolised by their leader. in a place when there is no need for someone to obey the other, chaos is the result. Islam does not oppress women so they don't need freedom!


I'm very please for the refusal of the President, because it is not allow in Islam, woman shouldn't equal to a man rather as her husband, in Islam religion a woman is always behind a man.


I think this law is so controversial that it must be abandoned because you can not jump so high with very traditional and almost uneducated society with very high illiteracy especially among women the supposed stake holders. By trying to adopt such law the parliamentarians and the human rights activists are provoking the sentiment of Muslim and playing in the hands of the fundamentalist groups. I am afraid this law to back fire and results in creating more conservative groups on the edge like (boko haram) of Nigeria. Changing society is not an easy thing and can not be done through jurisdiction only and the very positive thing in Mali that it is a democratic country and change can come by time when these values of human dignity and equity regardless of the gender are deep rooted in the society and when more enlightened interpretations of Islam are given chance.NO easy walk to society change.


This law really needs to be amended. Women were created to be a support of the man hence they need to accord them with the maximum respect no matter who they are. It is very wrong for women to be given the right to disobey their husbands. Any woman who thinks she cannot obey her husband should remain unmarried.

Protecting schools from arts and sciences.

In one Missouri school a bit of a kerfuffle occurred over some band shirts produced. This happens. What was it that started the turmoil? Nudity? Profanity? Something that fall sin some shady area where there might be so offense? ...Yeah...kind of...

A play on that old, and inaccurate, line of evolutionary steps. With a some word play about the evolution of brass. It's cute. It's a joke. And what is so offensive? Of right...EVOLUTION. That darned word. That darned "theory". Ewwwwwww.

So some parents started the bitching and moaning over nothing (I mean really, have you seen some of the shirts high school kids come up with...this is fucking tasteful and rue.). So the parents have to pay now.

But what was really great was one parent cried out, as a parent and teacher, that their school should in no way be associated with wow.

A choice quote that Freethinker notes:

I made the decision to have the band members turn the shirts in after several concerned parents brought the shirts to my attention. If the shirts had said ‘Brass Resurrections’ and had a picture of Jesus on the cross, we would have done the same thing.
Yeah evolution...Jesus, their on par, right? This is from a school official...really!

Of course PZ Myers jumped on and made a good point about worrying about offending some slight religious sensitivity. Like the Krishna folk and there disbelief we have or can go to the moon. How mean to ever use an image of the moon in a way other than their religious text. All contrary images must be banded immediately.