Monday, April 26, 2010

The United States of America - a Christian nation

Tell that to Hugo Alfredo Tale-Yax.

The irony of the title the BBC chose for the article really makes you wonder if it was intentional or not. I guess if you aren't middle class or American that New York spirit they talked about after the 9/11 attacks doesn't apply.

But hey, at least someone stopped long enough to take a picture.

Now, I appreciate that people might not want to get directly involved in a rough neighbourhood - but at least call the police and give the correct address - the final call of three was the only one that got the police to the correct area, and by then an hour and a half had passed since Tale-Yax had been stabbed.

The USA - truly a nation based on the teachings of Jesus.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

The 'right' wing, big government and hypocrisy

It will come as no surprise to you that I find many instances of hypocrisy or stupidity in the 'right' wing positions on a great many things, but whilst sinking a couple of beers with a few friends last night something occurred to me that I hadn't considered in any great detail before. We got on to politics, as you inevitably do when shooting the shit with friends, and the subject of gay marriage came up. And it occurred to me that this is perhaps one of the best examples of just how hypocritical the 'right' wing can be.

The traditional conservative or 'right' wing political position is the less government the better. Government should stay out of people's lives as much as it possibly can, there should be minimal interference - there should be no "Big government." Another position that is taken for granted by political conservatives or the 'right' wing is a ban on gay marriage.

If you can't see the problem here then you are probably a 'right' wing nut.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Mike Adams and like minded woos - Liars or ignorant fools?

So, via Orac over at Respectful Insolence, I saw that Mike Adams is still a clueless buffoon when it comes to discussing medicine and health care. I don't have much to add to what Orac has said or what has been said about Mike Adams and his need to lie about skeptics and health care.

But I do want to mention something that I find repeatedly when woos start to talk about science based medicine - it seems they have never experienced it. One of the most common lies that woos like to spread about science based medicine is that doctors ignore things like exercise and nutrition and just want to pump pills down your throat because they are, after all, just tools of Big Pharma. Adams is a good example of this, as you'll see if you read Orac's takedown.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Jimmy's Rants: woos, at least try to say something new

OK I lied, there is one blog post I wanted to do.

Why is it that woos (and here I include almost all, if not absolutely all, religious believers in the definition of 'woos') never seem to have a new argument when defending whatever it is they are trying to defend?

After all, it is the constant repetitions of the same arguments over and over again that means Bronze Dog is still going with the Doggerel Index, there are so many arguments that we hear again and again from woos that they make the index. It isn't that they are new and so must be added, it is that they meet a critical mass of repetition that prompts people to tag them as doggerel and beseech Bronze Dog for their inclusion.

Feeling lazy, so go read Yakaru instead

Alright, I have a week to myself thanks to erupting volcanoes pushing back my parents travel plans so I'm stuck with youngest mini-Jimmy Blue at home and with no express desire to blog, only the strange compulsion to play video games and basically arse about. So instead of not reading new material by me, go read Yakaru comprehensively tearing Dana Ullman a new one.


Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Vatican's latest stupidity

Ah the Vatican, truly the largest shit stain in the underpants of humanity.

Of course, now the Vatican is seeking to 'clarify' these comments. When did 'clarify' become a euphemism for 'hurriedly back pedal from the blatantly stupid, outrageously bigoted or utterly offensive by lying, obfuscating or just flat out pretending they didn't say what they did'?

What a bunch of fucking ignorant ass monkeys. Just to review the current list of Vatican stupidity, here's where they stand on the child sex abuse scandals:

First they covered them up, for decades.

Then they pretended they were nothing but petty gossip.

Then they compared the criticism of the Church to the Holocaust and by extension the critics to the Nazis.

Then they went back to claiming it was nothing but petty gossip.

Now they are claiming that there is no problem in the Church or with the priesthood, it was all done because people are gay and gay people molest children.
Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone said:

Many psychologists, many psychiatrists have demonstrated that there is no relationship between celibacy and paedophilia but many others have demonstrated, I was told recently, that there is a relationship between homosexuality and paedophilia.

That is true. I have the documents of the psychologists. That is the problem.

Really? No. Don't be so fucking stupid.

But hey, the good cardinal was told so recently, so it must be true. I mean, we know from their having spent decades covering up child abuse that Catholic priests don't lie, don't we? And hearsay is definitely a good reason for condemning an entire group of people in public when you hold one of the most powerful positions of authority in the world.

Now, I admit I am not as important as the Cardinal, but I was told recently that Catholic priests eat babies and shag goats while drinking horse vomit, all as part of their ordination rites. You can take that to the bank.

But I digress, let me go back to the topic under discussion here. The Vatican, in its clarification, wants to make absolutely clear that it doesn't actually distance itself from the Cardinal's remarks, indeed it has the facts and figures to prove them. Allow me to quote the BBC article:

According to the satistical data collected by the Congregation for the Doctrine the Faith, "about 10% of cases were paedophilia in the strict sense, while 90% were cases of ephebophilia [i.e towards adolescents]", he added [Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi].

"Of these approximately 60% referred to individuals of the same sex and 30% of heterosexual character."

So, statistics gathered by the Vatican organisation responsible for helping cover up child abuse in the first place prove that the Church isn't the problem. Well, you could have knocked me down with a feather. With impartial data like that there is nothing left to argue about, right?

So, and just bear with me here, if not all of the cases of abuse can be classed as homosexual then homsexuality can't be the reason for these cases of abuse, can it? I mean, if homosexuality was the problem and if homosexuality and pedophilia were linked, wouldn't all the cases be homosexual and wouldn't they all be pedophilia? But they aren't, are they? In fact, the Vatican's own figures quite obviously disagree with the conclusion they are trying to make. 
So what is the common factor here? Oh yes, that's right - being a fucking priest. So, given the data that we have available we can safely say that 100% of the children abused in these cases were abused by someone connected closely to the Catholic church. Therefore, I was told recently, people connected with the Catholic church are more likely to abuse children than people not connected with it. The problem is not being gay, but being Catholic. 
This is true, I have the documents to prove it. Being Catholic, that is the problem.

And I'm also forced to wonder what the other 10% were, according to the Vatican, since 60% + 30% != 100%
And just in case you need it spelling out, here are some quotes from the study I linked to:
Members of disliked minority groups are often stereotyped as representing a danger to the majority's most vulnerable members...
In a similar fashion, gay people have often been portrayed as a threat to children...
In recent years, antigay activists have routinely asserted that gay people are child molesters...
It has also been raised in connection with scandals about the Catholic church's attempts to cover up the abuse of young males by priests. Indeed, the Vatican's early response to the 2002 revelations of widespread Church cover-ups of sexual abuse by priests was to declare that gay men should not be ordained...

The distinction between a victim's gender and a perpetrator's sexual orientation is important because many child molesters don't really have an adult sexual orientation. They have never developed the capacity for mature sexual relationships with other adults, either men or women. Instead, their sexual attractions focus on children – boys, girls, or children of both sexes...

For the present discussion, the important point is that many child molesters cannot be meaningfully described as homosexuals, heterosexuals, or bisexuals (in the usual sense of those terms) because they are not really capable of a relationship with an adult man or woman. Instead of gender, their sexual attractions are based primarily on age. These individuals – who are often characterized as fixated – are attracted to children, not to men or women...

Other researchers have taken different approaches, but have similarly failed to find a connection between homosexuality and child molestation...

The molester was a gay or lesbian adult in fewer than 1% in which an adult molester could be identified – only 2 of the 269 cases (Jenny et al., 1994)...

The researchers found that homosexual males responded no more to male children than heterosexual males responded to female children (Freund et al., 1989)...

However, each of them failed to prove the alternative hypothesis that homosexual males are more likely than heterosexual men to molest children or to be sexually attracted to children or adolescents...

Reflecting the results of these and other studies, the mainstream view among researchers and professionals who work in the area of child sexual abuse is that homosexual and bisexual men do not pose any special threat to children.

So the sleazy lying bastards in the Vatican can go and fuck themselves with rusty pickaxes. Here's a free piece of advice for the Vatican:

If you don't recognise the problem, you are never going to fix it - stop blaming everyone else and accept your responsibility.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

How to link directly to a comment in Blogger

OK, this will almost certainly not be news to a great many people but I just figured it out for myself so I'm posting it here.

Since I've started commenting on blogs I've often struggled when trying to link directly to a Blogger comment in long threads (I tried for instance to link directly to some comments in the Gun Control thread on this blog in a new blogpost but it didn't work). You can get the url for a comment by clicking on the timestamp and then copying and pasting this from the address bar into the 'A href...' html tags - but previously when someone had clicked on the link expecting to go directly to the comment in question they would find themselves merely staring at the top of the blog post the comment was made on and they would still have to scroll down to find the comment in question - which completely missed the point.

However, the Recent Comments widget I use from Beautiful Beta and Hackosphere manages to do it with no problems (probably edits the text string to remove unwanted characters) - click on the author's name and it takes you directly to the comment, but in the other similar widgets I've experimented with you still end up at the top of the blog post, not the actual comment (for instance, look at the recent comments widget on the Bronze Blog). Checking a couple of other blogs you'll see the same thing happens - but the urls are different from the ones generated in the recent comments widget I use, they're longer.

So, click on a timestamp for a particular comment and you get a url that looks like this:

Which you can now use to link directly to a Blogger comment using the 'A HREF=' html tag, but it didn't used to work.

Click on the author name in the recent comments widget I use and it looks like this:

and it goes directly to the required comment.

But if I use some of the other recent comment widgets the urls generated look something like this:

Yet they are all for the same comment. The first will now take you to the comment but didn't used to, the second to the actual comment and the third just to the top of the blogpost - most recent comment widgets I've found use the third format - the one I use chops the text string to get what is needed.

The timestamp url now seems to work, otherwise you can chop out the 'comment-' part of the third url, or chop out everything from the first url from and including the '?' up to, but not including, the '#' when creating a link to a specific comment in a blogger discussion.

Not earth shattering and no doubt most already know this, I just thought it was weird because this didn't work six months ago and not being able to link to a comment directly was a pain in the arse!

Arrogance on display - religious license plate frames

It's not that I think having a license plate frame with a religious message on necessarily makes a person arrogant, it's the type of message they choose to display. So two days ago whilst driving to work I saw one that read:


And my first thought was "What an arrogant prick."  Well, actually, my first thought was probably "Wish I didn't have to go to work today, I'd rather be doing something else and getting paid for that instead, like being a virgin converter or something cool like that." But it was probably soon after my first thought upon seeing that particular license plate frame.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Self confessed murderer jailed for life - so why am I surprised?

Ordinarily this really shouldn't be news or of interest - a case of someone who confessed openly in court and elsewhere that they deliberately planned and prepared to murder someone before finally carrying out the act seems to be open and shut, the conviction just a formality. Right?

Unfortunately, no.

Good grief - just shut up

They really just don't get it do they? Now we are back to the whole scandal being nothing but "petty gossip of the moment". I guess they had to go somewhere when comparing it to the Holocaust didn't work for them, so backwards is natural for an outdated and archaic organisation that has defied the modern world for most of its existence. Go with what you know.

Why don't these clueless idiots do us and themselves a favour and just shut up? Everytime they open their mouths they make themselves seem even more morally bankrupt and out of touch. Actually, on second thoughts, maybe they should keep talking and eventually everyone might begin to understand just how corrupt the Catholic Church is, in almost every sense of the word.

I mean really, the Pope has the nerve to claim that humanity needs a "moral conversion". Sorry, but the last person I am going to take advice on morality from is a Catholic priest. Any claim to moral authority the Catholic Church or any representative of it could make became laughable a long time ago.

Here's one tiny example of how moral the Catholic Church is. The Pope's personal preacher claims the criticism of the Church is akin to "the most shameful aspects of anti-Semitism" in a sermon delivered before the Pope (although predictably the Vatican claims the Pope knew nothing of the content of the sermon before it was given - which if true would make him at least utterly incompetent given the current position of his Church) - then the Vatican claims that this isn't actually the official position of the Vatican - and then L'Osservatore Romano (the official Vatican newspaper) prints the full text of the 'criticism = The Holocaust' sermon on its front page! Lying is meant to be a sin, isn't it?

Of course, now Cantalamessa is scrambling to pretend he didn't really mean what he said and he is engaging in the current round of half-arsed Catholic apologies. He even says that of course you can't compare the current attacks on the Church with anti-Semitism.

Even though that is exactly what he said in his sermon.

How confusing.

Apparently you can't really take a Catholic priest at his word for anything. Don't take my word for what this parasite said though, go read a Catholic's annotated translation (and this guy is full of shit too). Cantalamessa claims that he only meant to point to the use of stereotype and passing from personal responsibility to collective guilt. Of course, he could quite easily have done that without once comparing this to the most shameful aspects of anti-Semitism, couldn't he? Do they really think people are that stupid?

"Oh, when I said what I said I didn't really mean what I said or actually believe what I said either, obviously. My apology for not meaning what I said when I said it can be taken absolutely seriously though. Gospel, even. God's honest truth, I absolutely mean it this time."

Why won't they all just fuck off?

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Ryan's back! Go read him

Ryan's back after a break from blogging - go check his blog out, I guarantee it will be interesting.

Friday, April 2, 2010


Just when I thought the Catholic Church and/or those representing it couldn't possibly sink any lower, they come back to surprise me.

Pope's precher compares abuse row to anti-Semitism.

It's almost beyond words. Almost.

Just say it aloud to yourself and think about it for a minute:

The Pope's personal preacher says that the criticism of rapists and the systematic cover up of their crimes, along with the valid enquiries into who knew what and when and what they did about it are the same as "the most shameful aspects of anti-Semitism", in the eyes of the Vatican. And what are the most shameful aspects of anti-Semitism? The Holocaust, surely? Criticising the church for covering up rape is the same as the Holocaust.

Two weeks ago
I started writing about this, specifically I was writing about how I felt Cardinal Sean Brady's apology for helping cover up child abuse was almost certainly bull shit. An apologist showed up and reacted as if they couldn't quite understand why I might not think Brady was sincere. Then we had more revelations about Brady and his baffling reception from his congregation in Armagh. Then the Pope claimed that the criticism coming the Vatican's way was nothing but "petty gossip". Now the Pope's personal preacher thinks it is ok to compare criticism of the Church with anti-Semitism.

And people want to ask me why I don't think the Church and its mouthpieces are being sincere when they apologise?

Here's why - one week ago the criticism being levelled at the Church for systematically covering up the very large and very real problem of child rape committed by priests was dismissed by the Pope as nothing but "petty gossip". Now, on Good Friday, the Church wants us to believe it is so serious it is equivalent to centuries of oppression, discrimination, genocide and hostility.

No, I can't imagine why I might not be taking any Church or Church official's apology seriously.

Of course there's so much wrong with this comparison it isn't even fucked up. I'd have to invent a new word to describe just exactly how wrong this comparison is. Here's the main problem:

Anti-semitism is directed against Jews because of WHO THEY ARE. The current criticism of the Catholic church is because of what it and a great many of its officials DID.

They are not even close to being similar, and if you can't understand why then there is really no point in trying to explain it to you - you're a clueless fuckwit with the intellectual capacity of a small wood splinter who probably thinks the Jews had it coming anyway, what with them killing Jesus and all.

For the simple minded and dull witted I'll spell it out though.

1. The criticism is not aimed at all Catholics in the way that anti-Semitism is aimed at all Jews. The criticism is aimed at the rapists, those who enabled them to continue raping, those who helped cover up the crimes and those who are now making excuses for all of the above. It is not directed at all Catholics - comparison fail.

2. The criticism is just that, criticism. They're just words. Many of them, including my own, are vitriolic and harsh, but it is nonsense to compare even abusive words with centuries of physical violence, genocide and oppression - as the idiot preacher and his letter writing 'friend' do. There have been no state sponsored or widely spread and co-ordinated physical acts of violence, oppression or discrimination against Catholics over this - comparison fail.

3. The mysterious letter writing Jewish friend (I'm sure the Pope's preacher would say he isn't racist either, I'm sure he would reassure us he has black friends too) compares the criticism of the Church with the "more shameful aspects of anti-Semitism". And what are the more shameful acts of anti-Semitism? You'd have to say the Holocaust, wouldn't you? Does any of the verbal criticism directed at the Catholic church remind you of the state sanctioned industrialised slaughter of millions? No, didn't think so - comparison fail.

And what does this comparison really say? That raping children and getting caught covering it up are the same as being Jewish? Is that really the message the Vatican wants to spread? Is it saying that Catholic's are about to be subjected to pogroms? Is it saying that Catholics are about to be herded onto cattle cars and transported to industrialised death camps? Is it saying that the critics are somehow comparable to the Nazis or those who carry out anti-Semitic attacks? Is it saying that the poor victimised rapists and those who enabled their actions, covered them up or made excuses for them are just like the victims of the Holocaust?

 If it is, then it is so far beyond ridiculous as to be beneath contempt and worthy only of ridicule, derision and scorn.

Still believe the Catholic church is officially sorry for this?

From apology to 'valid if sometimes extremely rude criticism is petty gossip' to 'valid if sometimes extremely rude criticism is as bad as the worst aspects of anti-Semitism,' in less than a week. From pretending to feel sorrow for its actions to comparing itself to victims of the Holocaust? If the Church truly felt sorry it would not now be trying to portray itself as a poor victimised and oh, billion strong fantastically rich organisation exposed for what it really is, would it? It wouldn't be trying to compare its critics to the Nazis (who else do you think of when you think of the worst anti-Semites?), would it?

And do you really think this wasn't run by the Pope and his advisors first? Seriously? And do you think this attempted portrayal of the Church as marytred victim comes on today as just coincidence (you know, the day when Jesus was supposed to have been crucified)? Is anyone really that naïve?

And let's face it, this is still about the Church not quite believing that people are ready to defy it, stand up to it and expose it for what it is. It can't believe people didn't keep their mouths shut. It wants people to think that those victims and their supporters are the ones in the wrong. The Church can't quite believe that it isn't 900AD anymore. This is a vile attempt to strike out and portray the Church as a weakened victim being set upon from the outside, it is a pathetic attempt to rally supporters.

I didn't think Catholic officials could possibly sink any lower than a great many had already. Boy was I wrong.

I predict some hurried back tracking from the Vatican - its been taken out of context, it's a mistranslation. I'm sure there will be plenty of excuses, and more than a few apologists.

Let us all hope that this is the beginning of the end of the Catholic Church.

Edited to add:

Of course, you could have predicted the outrage - and the Vatican's response. "Oh, well that isn't our official view." Fine, fire or censure the preacher then - prove it.