Daily Archives: February 17, 2012

Romney Probably Won Maine Primary After All. No wait, probably not.

Apropos this, the Maine GOP seems to have released a spreadsheet with the updated Maine ‘primary’ without any explanation of what the spreadsheet is.

The spreadsheet still shows many precincts not reporting, but in Maine they are very small and nobody in Maine cares about this Republican primary anyway, so maybe nobody showed up. The thing is, many of the none-reporting areas are geographically adjoining, so there still may be simply missing results. The GOP in Maine has made a statement or two but mostly they are not bothering to clearly explain what is going on there. The entirety of Washington County is still blank, except one town.

Perhaps the election was rigged, they got caught, but Romney’s people are holding on to the data until after a couple of more contests are done so people will forget. I’m usually not a conspiracy theorist but in this case it may be wise to be suspicious.

Guns don’t shoot people; Stray bullets shoot people!

Since we last discussed this about 17 days ago, Bill Adams and Charles Lake shot themselves while handling their handguns. They weren’t shottin’ intruders or varmints or nuthin’. Just holding or loading. Some guy in florida was “putting his gun away” when the 9mm went off. But bullet passed into his neighbor’s apartment and shot her while she was sleeping. A dood down in Hatchez, Mississippi woke in the middle of the night to a sound he mistook for an intruder. He shot hisself in the damn pinkie toe.

Thoze-all might have been people who knew nohting about guns, hard to say, but Jack Haning of Lubbock has been messing with guns his whole life, but he still managed to shoot himself in the leg after showing off his new handgun to his coworkers. He did not live.

James Crawford of Virginia was playing with a 9mm at a party. He thought the gun was empty so he wuz pretenging like he was shooting himself in the head but then he shot himself in the head for real. He did not live.

Maybe James Crawford was a drunk dumbass teenager with no callin’ to have a handgun, but a security guard in St Petersburg Florida who is licensed to havea gun was hidden in a small closet with two young men in the church explaining to them the safety features of his Ruger 9mm when he pulled the trigger. The bullet went through the wall and hit Hanna Kelly, the 20 year old daughter of the pastor in the head. She is in critical condition and, well, is not really expected to live. Something tells me there is more to that story than meets the eye at this particular moment.

Most of those were in the south, which makes me wonder about the south. But up oi Ohio, Wellington Roemer shot himself through the thigh and gut when his weapon discharged as he exited his vehicle. Previous to that he had posted this on facebook: “I’ll keep my money, freedom & guns, you keep the change.” with a picture of Obama.

Back in the south, in South Carolina in fact, a woman carrying a valid permitted gun in her purse shot her friend in the foot when the gun went off by itself. Though she had a permit, she was in fact not allowed to carry the gun into the mall. No word on if there will be charges, or if anyone is looking into the safety of that particular weapon which appears to, well, not be safe.

While we are on the subject of malls, a woman was shot in Jacksonville, in the arm, by a stray bullet. That may be different from all these other cases because it could have been some sort of violent crime in which an innocent bystander was shot. But I include it here because we might want to have a discussion of the utility of carrying guns around in shopping malls. If only everyone in that mall was packing, that guy who shot the woman by accident would never had pulled that gun out out of fear.

In another case of a person who should know better, a former chief of police of Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, shot himself in the hand while cleaning his gun.

The State of the Republican Primaries

Let’s let the data speak for itself, as it were.

… starting out we had this …

Iowa: Romney Santorum
New Hampshire: Romney
South Carolina: Gingrich

Headlines: Romney winning
Reality: Three way horse race

… then we had this for a while …
Florida: Romney
Nevada: Romney
Colorado: Santorum
Minnesota: Santorum
Missouri: Santorum

Headlines: Romney Winning
Reality: Santorum has taken half the contests, Romney a close second

… right now this seems to be happening …
Maine: Romney Paul

Headlines: Romney may have a Santorum Problem
Reality: Uh huh.

… the near future …
Arizona: Romney ahead in polls, Santorum closing in fast, Gingrich becoming irrelevant
Michigan: Santorum maintains a firm lead over Romney

Headlines?: Ohio is where the real contest will be!
Reality?: Are we having fun yet?

… the distant future …

Ohio: Santorum leading
General Election: Santorum and Romney equally matched against Obama

Headlines?: Gingrich and Paul leave race, Bachmann reenters Presidential Contest?!!?
Reality?: Reality hardly applies, thought, does it?

Polling from RCP

Is the average Fox News fan a racist?

Could be.

There’s a real sickness running rampant in the right wing; the Fox News comment thread on Whitney Houston’s death is yet another disgusting deluge of outright racism…There are almost 5000 comments posted in the thread … Notice that the racist bastards deliberately misspell their slurs or insert random spaces, so they aren’t caught by word filters. And many of the worst comments have numerous “likes” from other commenters.

Check it out.

Hat tip Ed

Darwin's Islands

If you know only a little bit about Charles Darwin, you know that he figured out Evolution via his study of the finches (and other birds) of the Galapagos. If you know a bit more than that about Darwin, you know that he totally messed up his collection of birds from the Galapagos Islands, and didn’t really think up Evolution until much later in time. If you know more than that about Darwin, then you know that neither of these characterizations of the great man’s work is accurate.

Read More

Virginia Legislature Passes Abusive Anti-Abortion Law

From Slate:

This week, the Virginia state Legislature passed a bill that would require women to have an ultrasound before they may have an abortion.

Since the vast majority of abortions happen early in pregnancy, the procedure will usually require vaginal penetration with a machine, as opposed to the nice non-invasive goop-on-the-stomach method of ultrasound.

What’s more, a provision of the law that has received almost no media attention would ensure that a certification by the doctor that the patient either did or didn’t “avail herself of the opportunity” to view the ultrasound or listen to the fetal heartbeat will go into the woman’s medical record. Whether she wants it there or not. I guess they were all out of scarlet letters in Richmond.

Continue reading Virginia Legislature Passes Abusive Anti-Abortion Law

The Poisoner's Handbook

We’re taking a break from live recording this week. On the podcast, we’re talking science and storytelling. Guest host Marie-Claire Shanahan speaks to science journalist and author Deborah Blum about her national bestseller The Poisoner’s Handbook: Murder and the Birth of Forensic Medicine in Jazz Age New York. The book tells the fascinating story of the way that chemical detectives started a revolution in the investigation of crime. And Desiree Schell talks to Bora Zivkovic, blog editor at Scientific American, about a new event that teaches science through personal stories.

The podcast will be available to download at 9 pm MT on Friday, February 24.

This will be cool. CLICK HERE FOR LINKS

More news on the Pledge of Allegience

First of all, don’t forget to Demand that the Pledge of Allegiance Not Be Recited in Your Local School.

Ed Brayton has a write-up of the latest news on the Massachusetts lawsuit regarding daily recitation of The Pledge. The key question here is what kinds of pressures exist for students who decide to sit out the Pledge (and this applies to any sort of “not really required” activity).

Deconstructing Mormonism

“Deconstructing Mormonism” Thomas Riskas on Atheists Talk #155, Sunday, February 18, 2012.

If you think you’ve learned all you need to know about Mormonism from South Park episodes and the broadway musical, Book of Mormon, you must join us this Sunday! Atheists Talk will be interviewing author, lecturer, and secular humanist, Thomas Riskas about his book Deconstructing Mormonism: An Analysis and Assessment of the Mormon Faith, which is introduced in the forward by philosopher and professor Kai Nelson.

Thomas Riskas converted to Mormonism as a young man and spent 20 years in the Church. He rose up through the ranks of leadership, acting an Elder, Seventy and High Priest. He was a missionary, a mission leader and mission president for seven years. He had a family and raised his children in the Church. Years later he came to believe that the claims made by Mormonism – and by all religions with similar belief systems – are not only untrue, but an empty nonreality. In Deconstructing Mormonism, Mr. Riskas examines in detail the Mormon concepts of God, the “Plan of Salvation”, and faith in God and Christ, and then breaks down these ideas by illuminating the contradictions in Mormon faith and examining the psychosocial effects of the faith on its believers.

Details, links

Cranston votes not to appeal prayer banner case

Just in: (Hat tip Ed)

A Rhode Island public school committee on Thursday voted not to appeal a federal court decision ordering the removal of a prayer banner displayed in a high school.

The Cranston School Committee cast the 5-2 vote at a public hearing to discuss a lawsuit that had been brought on behalf of 16-year-old atheist Jessica Ahlquist, a junior at Cranston High School West.

“I’m thrilled,” Ahlquist said after the vote.

The banner, put up in 1963, has been covered since a federal judge last month ruled it was unconstitutional and ordered it removed. The Class of 1963, which was the first to graduate from the school, gave the prayer banner and school creed as gifts.

The full story is here.

Shall we now place bets on the kind of retaliation, and if it will be primarily anti-freethinking or simply blatant misogyny given that a female did this?

It is said that among those at the meeting, some were wearing “Evil Little Thing” tee shirts. This refers to a state rep’s comments about Jessica. Get your Evil Little Thing tee shirt here.

Anyway, thank you Jessica Ahlquist.