Thursday, December 15, 2011

Freedoms are no Longer Free, AKA American Fiscal Theory

You thought your 1st Amendment freedom was free? Think again.

Scott Walker, governer of Wisconsin, already enacted a policy that charges protesters money to protest.

American government: Ohohoho, yes! We spent all this money on the military and corporate handouts, and then we tried to cut money from social programs to fund this, but then we got all these annoying protestors, so now if we can just charge the protesters money we can kill two birds with one stone! *evil cackle*

Gosh. I don't even have to try to make fun of the government anymore. They've made a caricature of themselves before I even got there..

Saturday, December 3, 2011

American Military Politics

The US seems to be planning to deploy 20,000 troops for "defense" against protesters.

This group is supposed to "quell civil unrest."

American government: Hmmm, yes. We have too much civil unrest, because we are spending insane amounts of money on our military and corporate handouts, while the working class gets poorer every year and social programs keep getting cut. How should we solve this "civil unrest?" Oooooh, let's spend MORE money on the military so we can squash the protesters!

Great strategy..

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Murder as Masculine

This post makes the very interesting point that men are more likely to be murder victims than women, except when those victims are a family member like spouse, parent, or child. But sibling victims are more likely to be male. What does that say about gender and murder?

Men also are more than 3x more likely than women to commit eldercide, and more likely to be the murderer when the victim is any family member or significant other. What does that say?

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Health Benefits of Protesting

I haven't been writing much here lately, but I have been visiting and helping out with the Occupy movement in Pittsburgh, PA. It's come a LONG way since the first week when the NYC protesters were being ignored by mainstream media.

Last month, while I was working at Occupy Pittsburgh, a reporter asked me about my views on the protest as a health psychologist. "Do you think it's healthy for these people to be protesting, out here in the cold weather?" she asked. I was pretty amazed by this question, since I have never been consulted as a scientist at a political event before. Well, not since my work on climate change anyway; this was the first time I've been consulted as a psycho-physiologist.

So, do I think it's healthy for the occupiers to be protesting out in the cold? There's a lot of levels to this question, but I would answer yes on most counts:

1. Socially: Protesters are angry about our government, and the protests give them a public forum to express that discontent. It's very important to be able to express anger in a constructive fashion, otherwise it can raise blood pressure, contribute to negative emotions and cause chronic stress. So yes, it's much healthier emotionally for the protestors to do their thing. Just think, if you could make signs and march around with a group of people shouting about what most upsets you in life, wouldn't you feel better?

2. Biologically: Protestors "out there in the cold" usually take care to prepare for the weather. Medic tents at most Occupy sites distribute blankets and warm clothes as needed, and can protect against other health crises that come up. If you wear warm clothes and stay active, being in cold weather is actually good for you. It raises your energy levels and the fresh air is good for your mood as well. A researcher who used to work in my office at Pittsburgh (Jeanette Garcia), actually reported that fresh air gives people "increased mental clarity, helps strengthen the immune system and helps your body establish its circadian rhythm," along with increasing metabolism, and being good for your skin!

Back in October, I would have said protesting was healthy for the mind and body of the Occupiers. But now, given the police brutality doled out with pepper-spray, evictions and tear-gases, I would say the protesters are taking a health risk. Not all the Occupy sites have experienced such a violent response; but Oakland, Seattle and NYC have reported the worst, and it looks like the trend may continue to spread. So overall, peaceful protesting is a healthy way to express your opinion, until the police attack protestors.

Monday, October 31, 2011

7 Billion People Need Birth Control

Maybe you've been hearing about the global population crisis? The UN has everyone in a panic because today we officially hit 7 million. Except, we didn't really. It's only an estimate and the US Census Bureau says we won't hit 7 billion till 2012 or later.

More importantly, the population growth is not coming from where you think:

The poorest, least developed nations are the ones pushing us towards 10 billion. Most of these countries are already overcrowded. So why do they keep having more children?

Lack of education, low expectation of survival, and no family planning are some of the main reasons. See, even the Christian Science Monitor, who you'd expect to be super pro-life, admits that;

"if all women had the capacity to decide for themselves when to become pregnant, average global childbearing would immediately fall below the “replacement fertility” value of slightly more than two children per woman. Population would then move onto a path leading to a peak followed by a gradual decline, possibly well before 2050."

My conclusion?

EAT THAT, ANTI-ABORTIONISTS. We wouldn't even have a population crisis if more women had free access to birth control!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Sexism Makes me Facepalm.

I saw local news today about a "Milk Truck" that is patrolling the streets of Pittsburgh, giving women a special place to breastfeed in public. This is an art piece meant to raise public awareness about the unfair fact that many women have to breastfeed in uncomfortable "hideaways" like dirty restroom stalls, or use freaky breast pumps at home and then carry stale bottled milk for their infants to drink outside the home. Why do women act this way? Look at the comments by some men on this article:

"The breast is definitely over-the-top."

"The breast on the top is unnecessary. The name & paint scheme are sufficient. Also, getting rid of the breast might remove some stigma that some mothers might have about be associated with the giant tit truck and thereby help increase their business."

Stigma of the tit? These guys seem to be missing the whole message of this art, while ironically proving it's point: Breasts are not just for sex, censoring the breast unilaterally encourages women to feel SHAME about this part of their body.

This is part of a larger feminist issue; when women take ownership of their bodies it can freak people out. Like the new trend of cougars, middle-aged women with high sex drives. Sexually empowered women threaten many men, like our friend HUFF POST SUPER USER, tbot48:

"Must be something in the water were I live... The majority of the women I know talk a good game but won't sit down and play and it doesn't matter how much lobster you feed them..."

or Mr Bobo: "I think I actually spotted one of these mythical creatures recently. She was riding a Unicorn."

So, just because these guys are not personally getting laid they doubt the existence of women with high sex drives? Do they think that just because women enjoy sex and want it often, they are going to be openly out on the streets, sleeping with anyone who buys them dinner (and nekkidly riding unicorns)?

PUH-LEEZE, guys. Don't forget that women have the power to be discriminatory in who they sleep with, even if they are having sex every week. Maybe you're just not charming or attractive enough to net one of these power-cougars. For naively assuming all women who enjoy sex are indiscriminate sluts, you win a GOLD STAR AWARD.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Silent Protest

Have you heard of the 48+ hour occupation protest in New York City? Hundreds of hippies from all over the nation came to occupy Wall Street; to show their contempt for corporate irresponsibility.

But police stopped them and wouldn't let the protesters near Wall Street. They are now camping out in a privately-owned park, plotting their next move. It must be frustrating that although their protest plan, "Occupy Wall Street," was all over internet news, no public channels have mentioned the event on TV or radio. Even as they move into their second night of camping out in Manhattan, surrounded by police barricades...

See what one of the protesters had to say below:

He came all the way from Oakland, California. And the mainstream media can't even be bothered to report this. Bummer.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Texas Rewrites History: Part Two

Texas, how could you? Two years ago we were concerned about the religiously-biased advisors who were planning to restructure the Texas Social Studies curriculum to "emphasize the roles of the Bible, the Christian faith and the civic virtue of religion in the study of American history."

Now not only has that passed, but a whole bunch of important facts have been written out of the Texas history books. Like what?

1. George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams are no longer important founding fathers. The important ones are Christian thinkers like Benjamin Rush, John Hancock and John Jay. (To quote John Jay; "Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers. And it is the duty as well as the privilege and interest, of a Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers.")

2. That labor movement in the 1900s that got us worker's rights and trade unions? Not important anymore. Instead students will learn how "the free enterprise system drives technological innovation ... such as cell phones, inexpensive personal computers and global positioning products."

3. Malcom X was not an important historical figure; he will no longer be in textbooks. But instead Texans will study moral thinker Jerry Falwell, who believes that "feminists and homosexuals were partially responsible for the 9/11 attacks." would you like to go to school in Texas?

Friday, August 19, 2011

Galactic Internet is Here!

Finally, you will be able to Tweet or Facebook to someone in outer space. But they won't be real aliens, only rich snobs on Virgin Galactic's new space ship cruise.

SpaceShipTwo is a luxury tourist space flight, costing $200,000 a head. It doesn't go anywhere, only circles in deep space for "a few minutes" before returning to Earth. Some passengers may want to spend this time gazing intently at the wonders of outer space, making a $200,000 memory that will last forever. But I guess some other tourists just need to tweet live about how "shooting star meteorite so COOL OMG!"

Friday, August 12, 2011

Tanorexia and Tanning: It's Bad!

Tanning releases opiods, the same addictive chemicals in morphine and heroin. Frequent tanners experience withdrawl when they don't get these opioids, just like drug users!
Most tanners report mood enhancement, relaxation and socialization while soaking up the sun. But tanorexics become very competitive about tanning, and may actually hate their skin and view it as untolerably pale, in the same way anorexics view themselves as hatefully fat even when they're starving. Tanorexics experience the most serious withdrawl symptoms, which include intense anxiety, nausea, and jitters. Since UV light from the sun and tanning beds creates a feeling of euphoria in the brain, it's also likely tanners feel depressed when they are removed from their lights for too long.

Since any tan at all is evidence of sun damage, and tanners continue to ignore medical risks, this has led many dermatologists to push that UV light tanning addiction be recognized as a substance abuse disorder. And just like any substance abuse order, we already have celebrity posterchildren. Wikipedia says "notable figures known to have suffered from tanorexia are Christine Swanson, Jordan Cohen, the British celebrity chef Heston Blumenthal and the cast of the MTV reality show Jersey Shore."

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Class Warfare, Now With Sharks!

Is it still Shark Week? Because I think I found a new way to celebrate AND solve the problem of America's rich; who are apparently "less empathetic, less altruistic, and generally more selfish" than everyone else.

Wouldn't this make a great reality TV show? We could call it "Sharks Vs Sharks."

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Economic Rumble USA

Neutral economic facts in America are hard to come by these days. On one hand, you have our liberal commentators, who say 40 million Americans are living on food stamps (~12% of the population) , and that the middle class is disappearing. This side tends to blame the 400 billionaries who "own" Congress, and says things like, "if you don’t have a job, it is in part because Cheney cut taxes on the super-rich and made it impossible for the Federal government to ameliorate the economic straits of the middle class with various programs. This problem just got worse, with the budget deal this year." So, the rich are to blame for all our problems, and "we increasingly look like a Third World robber baron country with a few rich at the top and luckless peasants toiling below."

The other side says "the rich create jobs and that taxing them would hurt the economy." Some conservatives even go so far as to say that it's the unemployed's fault they have no jobs, because "GDP is now higher than it has been in the entirety of U.S. history," so the 10+% unemployed we have now must just have been working useless jobs before. "The fact that the United States has pre-crisis levels of output with fewer workers raises doubts as to whether those additional workers were producing very much in the first place." They recommend the jobless retrain or otherwise adapt to our new society, because the old jobs are not coming back.

How can these two sides coexist? They seem to be completely at odds and both vilifying the other side. If your job was outsourced or downsized, and then you were told it's your fault, how would you respond? Similarly, if you could make more money with less workers, why would you hire more people?

Yet even with all this animosity, Americans show no sign of protest or revolution. Alternet has some theories that we're just too fearful, over-medicated, financially stressed, brainwashed, distracted or plain dumb to organize a fight.

The new budget only increases these problems, by preserving all tax breaks for the ultra-wealthy while cutting from everywhere else. Education, Medicare, Social Security, even the military are all up on the chopping block. Exact cuts still remain to be determined.

Instead, if we just undid the Bush-era tax cuts, we wouldn't have to cut so much other stuff:
But, can we raise taxes without fueling the class wars? Raising taxes actually doesn't scare millionaires away, and it might make more sense to tax the rich than the poor. Not only are the rich, well, RICH; they are the only ones benefiting from the current economic climate. If we try to tax the middle class that is already suffering or cut more benefits from the poor, we might finally find their breaking point.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Texas: Now Unquestionably the Reddest State Ever

When I wrote about Hell-On-Earth heatwave disasters last week, I thought I was being clever. Now there's an actual RIVER OF BLOOD in Texas, and I'm afraid that we'll see a plague of locusts next. Seriously, what the frick? I don't believe in the Bible but when The Weather Channel starts sounding like the the End of Days, you have to take note.

This Red River is not actual blood, but a bacterial sludge fed by dead fish and oil runoff pollution. Intense drought and heat lowered the San Angelo water so much that it became stagnant, unable to move. While the water evaporated, the pollution stayed behind, and the remaining muck was too toxic to support the fish. As they all died, their rotting corpses robbed the water of oxygen, which made it a perfect environment for the Rosy-faced Chromatiaceae bacteria.

So, although not actual blood, the San Angelo Reservoir is looking pretty scary. The worst part? These Red Rivers lead to a Red Lake, which actually provides DRINKING water for San Angelo and its surrounding communities in Tom Green County. I haven't heard of anyone turning on their tap and screaming bloody murder, so the drought must have kept this reservoir from reaching the pipelines. SO FAR. God only knows what will happen the next time a rainstorm hits Texas.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

CAPTCHA Ads Create Zombies

Solve Media has created an advertising method that makes life easier--ads that actually save time as you view them. Remember those annoying CAPTCHA checks on the internet? You click to submit something, and out of nowhere there's a fuzzy mess of alphabet soup saying you must copy ALL the letters EXACTLY, to prove that you're a human being? Well, you're not the only one who has trouble with those. Solve Media thinks that web users would rather copy a brand logo instead of garbled text--and so far 650,000 clicks a day are proving them right.

These captcha ads can be completed twice as fast as the traditional captcha, and they're a lot less stressful. With corporate CAPTCHA, the days of squinting and puzzling through Salvadore Dali scrabble-puke are over!

So now, unlimited posting is only a few slogans away. To prove you're a real human, you'll ironically have to act like a consumer zombie. Mindlessly quote the corporate motto in front of you, and you'll be able to pass safety checks online. As an added bonus, you'll remember the logos without even trying! By requiring you to read and repeat their message, the CAPTCHA slogans implant themselves in your memory 12 times deeper than a regular banner ad. With interactive learning technology this strong, we could be teaching people all kinds of useful facts.

Instead, our information overload may cause the first real consumer zombies; sleepwalkers who stumble out of bed murmuring "There's nothing like a Dr.Pepper...RRRGH," while they roam the dark night, searching for a can of soda.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

America: Stubborn to a Fault?

Why hasn't the Budget committee been able to save us from default yet? CNN reports that political polarization is handicapping the U.S. government. "People have to cooperate for the system to work," but there are too many special interest groups now, all competing with one another. The current rules "encourage small interest groups - including ideologically charged ones - to capture major political parties as well as Congress itself." Anyone who doesn't pander directly to their supporters risks losing funding and votes.

Look at Representative Darrell Issa, Republican of California, who "gave an interview to the Wall Street Journal in which he suggested that he might further the conservative agenda through an occasional compromise. That provoked a tirade from Rush Limbaugh, which then produced a torrent of angry e-mails and phone calls to Issa's office. Issa quickly and publicly apologized to Limbaugh and promised only opposition to Obama."

Well, Americans don't like compromise, is this really any surprise? We are some of the most stubborn and single-minded citizens in the world. Just look at the original colonists, who created a new country rather than compromise with their leaders. And today look at our high divorce rates; we don't seem to compromise well on a social level either.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Mother Nature Raises Hell this Summer

The North-American heatwave has made many cities more hellish than usual. Whether it's Pennsylvania roadways turning into bubbling tar pits or ozone-smog choking people in DC, the last two weeks of summer have been a little challenging.

"In this heat, it's not just about discomfort," said Latoya White, a health worker in the capital. "For many people it's about survival." Indeed, besides heat stroke and dehydration, Harvard recently published research showing hot weather raises the danger of heart attack.

Air conditioning is one way to escape the heat. But what do you do when your AC fails? Many units in Oklahoma have stopped working because "the units aren't really built to handle this kind of heat for this prolonged period of time." I've seen units failing in New York for the same reason. My parent's compressor actually burst even though they only cool to a modest 78 degrees Fahrenheit.

Don't try to flee to Canada either, because their central countryside is being ravaged by hundreds of wildfires:

These fires are being caused by increasingly hot weather, drier conditions and DAILY LIGHTNING STRIKES. These fires are so bad, they're polluting the air across the Great Lakes in Minnesota.

As if that's not scary enough, this heatwave actually gets worse at night. "While the current heat wave has recorded 12 all-time daily highs so far this month, it also has registered 98 all-time overnight highs," said the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. NOAA went on to report that "when temperatures overnight do not cool to levels that provide relief, it increases the stress on people without air conditioning, on livestock and on crops" and that this is "consistent with what we would expect in a greenhouse-warmed world."

Given all of the above, it's very hard to accept this weather as "normal climate progression." Instead, it really feels more like Hell-On-Earth.


It's becoming more nightmarish to follow the U.S. Budget Negotiations. The August 2nd "doomsday" deadline is rapidly approaching. (Doomsday is when the Treasury loses borrowing ability and we risk a budget default.) And since bratty Congress hasn't been able to agree enough to pass anything, the "debt ceiling negotiators" have a new solution:

What's so great about Super Congress? Well, they will be able to pass laws super-fast without having to be too accountable to the public. "This 'Super Congress'...isn't mentioned anywhere in the Constitution, but would be granted extraordinary new powers." Any new laws they approve will be fast-tracked through both chambers of "Little Congress" (our current House + Senate), where regular "little" lawmakers could not amend their laws, only give each an up or down vote. And those "little" votes are less powerful than today's votes. The proposed Super Congress only ever needs 51% to pass any law, and they don't need presidential approval (i.e. vetos have no effect on them).

So, does this sound like a good idea to you? It's not like the the regular Congress we have now is particularly heroic. I mean, Republicans want to extend the debt ceiling just long enough to have it fail pre-election season, while Democrats want to extend it just a little bit longer, till post-election. That's why they can't agree to pass something before financial doomsday. So now we're being held hostage to create a Super Congress to save us from disaster?

It feels more like a Super-Villain Congress. And I'm not the first person to think lawmakers with unlimited power would be dangerous. You've heard the saying that "absolute power corrupts absolutely?" Well, this whole message board seems to agree that "any new branch of government, especially one with 'extraordinary new powers' scares the hell out me. No thanks!"

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Cut Wealthcare

As the US tries to balance their budget, we have some words of advice from crazy liberal Senator Bernie Sanders: "The Republicans are suggesting that we balance the budget on the backs of the sick, the children, the elderly, the poor, [this] is morally unacceptable, and economically a very bad policy. Especially at a time when the richest people are becoming richer."

He also states that social security is paid for by it's payroll tax, and does not actually contribute to the national deficit. Is this true? I don't know because I'm not a budget expert. But I DO know that most liberal Americans don't want social benefits cut, they want THESE things cut:

In the words of one Keith Olbermann fan, "CUT WEALTHCARE, NOT HEALTHCARE."

Friday, June 24, 2011

Wax your Daughter, Save for College!

It must be confusing growing up in America these days. Sexting is illegal, yet waxing for preteen girls is now a trend. So girl-children's bodies have to look sexy, but they are not allowed to share this sexiness with anyone else in any way.

Why should a tween girl worry about primping an area of her body no one is supposed to see? Well, one salon owner informs us that "Virgin hair can be waxed so successfully that growth can be permanently stopped in just 2 to 6 sessions. Save your child a lifetime of waxing... and put the money in the bank for her college education instead!"

Eliminating future work while saving money? What American could pass on a chance like this?! After all, college IS ridiculously expensive. And it's not like there could be any downside to the procedure...

Teaching young girls that pain equals beauty and social acceptance, that's a great lesson. You're never too young to learn how to change your body to please men! Some prudes disagree, of course, like children's advocate Dr. Levin, who believes, "Girls shouldn’t be taught so early to focus on how they look and that things like money, makeup and looking good buy happiness, instead of the skills that they possess....Should parents feed into that negativity or create an environment to help girls resist it?"

But if parents learned to teach their daughters that we can be worthy of love without cosmetic procedures, how would the beauticians feed their own children?

Monday, June 20, 2011

America is Pro-Life...and Pro-Unplanned Pregnancy?

LifeNews has a wonderful way with statistics. They can take data that shows 76% of Americans support legal abortion, 50% of Americans favor the current legal status of abortion, and come back with a headline that says AMERICA IS PRO-LIFE.

How do they do this? Well, it's all based on a Gallup poll that can be viewed directly here. Originally Gallup asked people to support 1 of 3 categories; abortion legal in any circumstances, abortion legal in some, and abortion legal in none. When split this way, 27% favored legal in all, 49% favored legal in some, and 22% favored legal in none. So only 22% were for banning abortion.

Gallup then fixed the stats by splitting the middle category into those who wanted abortion legal in most circumstances, and those who wanted it to be legal in only a few. In this way they got 10% of voters wanting legal abortion "under most circumstances," and 39% wanting it to be legal in "only a few circumstances." So now they can say that 39% + 22% = 63% of Americans support no or severely limited abortion.

Does this mean America really is Pro-Life? Well, you can split the stats anyway you want. You can say that only 22% of Americans favor banning abortion completely. 50% of Americans DO want to allow abortion in "some circumstances." And this is what we already allow (our circumstance being abortions up until the third trimester.) So half the country wants NO change to our abortion policy.

Even when looking only at the extreme views, MORE (27%) Americans favor always allowing abortion rather than never allowing abortion (22%). So any way you cut it, most Americans don't favor a change to our abortion policy. But Gallup biased the results by splitting up the middle group. The lesson: If you split up the majority of a group, you can transform their consensus into a series of conflicting categories, hiding the true majority opinion.

So most Americans want to allow abortion under some circumstances. But most Americans also support severely limited abortion. Can all of this be true while America is still Pro-Life? Rest assured, it can all be true. It's just that we have to really think about what "Pro-Life" means.

Remember, we can hide the true majority opinion if we split up a group into conflicting categories. In America, we have "Pro-Choice" and "Pro-Life" categories. Both positive sounding terms. But they're not really that clear and distinct, because pro-choice people could also be pro-life in many circumstances. The difference is that pro-life on a political level means everyone has to be pro-life, all the time, or be criminally responsible and morally wrong. So really, we might rename the Pro-Life position "Pro-Forced Birth" or "Pro-Unplanned Pregnancy."

I wonder how THAT would bias the statistics? If Pro-Life means abortion is NEVER legal, under any circumstances, that would mean only 22% of America supports it (according to this poll). America is not THIS kind of pro-life. But if we allow pro-life to mean allowing abortion only under a few circumstances, without defining exactly WHAT those circumstances are, it's much easier to include the majority of Americans as pro-life.

So it seems no one really wants to have abortions, but most people feel it should be allowable in certain circumstances. There is our general consensus. Now if we could just leave the law to allow for that, American could move on from this whole issue.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Gay Stipend Part of Giant Gay Conspiracy in Massachusetts

Cambridge, Massachusetts, has the rest of the state talking. "In a move that may be the first of its kind in the country, Cambridge will soon begin making payments to same-sex married public employees to defray the cost of what local officials have called a discriminatory federal tax." While certain companies (like Google) already pay their employees this sort of stipend, Cambridge is the first level of government to do so.

Why would Cambridge be the first place for this to happen? Previous mayor, E. Denise Simmons, pointed out that "Having marriage equality yet an unequal tax burden keeps [certain] married couples on the margins, and marginalization in a lot of ways is seen as a level of discrimination."

But why should the state or even a single city have to pay this difference? Current Cambridge Mayor, David Maher, explains that the "City of Cambridge once again stepped up as a leader in civil rights and took steps to mitigate this tax inequity...This action is the right and fair thing to do until the federal government addresses this issue." He also noted that he doesn't expect to see other cities follow suit soon, because it "requires the expenditure of funds."

So, why would the Mayors of Cambridge think this was worth spending funds on before anyone else? Could it be that, they support gay right because...both mayors mentioned in this article, are gay. Yes, it's true. E. Denise Simmons was the first openly lesbian African-American mayor in the United States. David Maher came out during his term last summer. Heck, even the Mayor before Simmons was gay; Kenneth Reeves was the first openly gay African-American mayor anywhere in the United States! (source)

So, you can see Massachusetts is only spending money on gay people because their government is gay. They don't care about the greater good of society at all, only helping gay people. Heck, probably everyone in the whole state is gay! That means all the other things in Massachusetts that we thought were great are probably just gay scams too. Like Harvard, that's totally gay. And having the lowest divorce rate in the nation? That's probably gay too.

P.S. I know some of you are looking at California and thinking, but isn't that a really gay state too? How come they don't have a low divorce rate? But remember, California is not nearly as gay as Massachusetts. California revoked gay marriage in 2008 (via Prop 8) because over 50% of that state did not support gay marriage. Meanwhile, Massachusetts' state motto is; "By the sword we seek peace, but peace only under liberty." I mean, swords and liberty, what's more gay than that?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Bees are Back!

Remember last year, when we were worried about bees dying from cellphone radiation? Well, bee populations have continued dropping globally due to other dangers including pesticides...UNTIL NOW.

"Voice of the people" global champion has collected 1,000,000+ signatures and has already got one government to read their petition on why bee-killing pesticides need to be banned. Right now, the French Agriculture Minister is looking at this petition and hopefully deciding to enact the ban requested, which might be a good idea since 200,000 of those activists who signed the petiton were French. After pushing the petition in France, Avaaz plans to take it to the European Union and then all around the globe!

Wow, can we remember the last time a petition actually changed anything? Way to go, Avaaz.

Honduras Saves Money by Cutting Education

Honduras, in the grasp of a new military power since 2009, has followed through on it's promise to cut the country's education budget.

How did it do this? Well, first take $100,000,000 from the teachers' pension fund, then lower salaries for all your teachers. If the teachers complain or protest, take away their right to unionize and strike. See? It's easy.

Even when those pesky teachers keep protesting, you can just threaten to end the entire public school system and use charter schools instead.

After all, no good government wants free-thinking, successful teachers, do they? Honduras teachers are referred to as "the only working class that ever truly developed."

Where is the Money Going?
Well, since the education cuts, salaries for both the military and the police have increased. But, that's understandable after all the extra work the Police are having to do while fighting these protestors. The Honduran teachers will not give up, even when they are being teargassed, killed and beaten by the Police.

And IMF, the organization that gave the Honduras government $200 million in exchange for their promise to cut education, says this sequence of events is "broadly in line with expectations."

Friday, March 11, 2011

Democracy in Crisis

Hearing about popular vote being overturned in Missouri yesterday is yet another blow that makes the average American voter feel powerless. This time, a 52% vote to PROTECT PUPPIES being raised for profit was shot down by state legislature. Apparently, even if people create a proposal, get it on the ballot and get a majority of voters to support their proposal, state lawmakers can vote to never let it see the light of day. This can happen even when 76% of voters support the proposal!

What are voters to do in this situation? Fox News asked us; why vote at all? Indeed, many Americans already agree with this way of thinking. Only about 50% of Americans vote in national elections, compared to 80% in other "democratic" countries. Researchers at University of Rochester tell us that more Americans talk about politics than people in comparable countries, but we don't vote because we don't trust the government. Our faith first dropped in 1974, when every democracy around the world trusted their leaders more than us, except for Italy. Since then, our faith in national government has only declined.

Why is this happening? Maybe because, "85% of Americans believe corporations have too much power in our government, and people have too little?" That's what Sandy Haski from talks about in the video below. It shows an increasing corporate influence over American elections since the 1800s.

The only problem now is, how can we really pass laws to limit corporate power? If public proposals can be overturned by legislators, and all current legislators were elected by corporations, we seem to have a roadblock.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Don't Post that Video!

Don't share a copyrighted video on your site, because now you can get arrested. Brian McCarthy is a 32-year-old Texan who ran until he was arrested by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement last week. let users watch videos that were not supposed to be free, including sports and pay-per-view events. By embedding these videos on his site, Brian only linked to someone else's copy of the vid, he did not possess the file anywhere on his web space. He did allow users to watch pirated videos without leaving his website. Brian made $90,000+ a year from advertisers on his site.

By doing this, Brian managed to upset the UFC, WWE, NFL, NBA, and NHL who were supposed to be charging to broadcast these events. He now faces up to 5 years in prison.

Should Brian be going to jail? Copyright infringement is normally a civil offense, NOT criminal. But Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is claiming it's criminal this time because Brian profited off the distribution of illegal content. This is a stretch in the power of ICE, because no one has been arrested who didn't actually host pirated content before.

Now, what Brian did at is something like building a house with windows where you can look out and see something illegal. He then let people into this house for free and encouraged them to watch the illegal goings-on, while making a profit from advertisements in the house. He is only the secondary offender and has not created the illegal content himself. Really, Brian's crime is promoting free information while finding another way to make a profit. And now ICE says that is a criminal offense.

If Brian goes to jail, its likely more people will get arrested or fined for embedding copyrighted videos on their site. writes, "it should worry almost anyone who has a website and has ever embedded videos. I have, for example, frequently embedded YouTube videos on this site -- and some of those videos might have been infringing. On top of that, I make some money from advertising on this site. Does that mean I now face criminal liability? I certainly hope not, but that seems to be the incredibly chilling message that ICE is sending. It immediately makes me question if I can ever embed another video without first getting explicit permission from the copyright holder."

While we all laugh at the fact that "ICE" is "chilling," let's think about this. The internet makes it very easy to share information. Do we want to change that by arresting people for sharing certain kinds of information? Internet censorship is already on the rise. Countries and schools can block any site deemed offensive or inappropriate. If we don't stop censorship at some point, how soon until we are all forced to "see no evil, speak no evil, hear no evil?"

Monday, February 7, 2011

Men Experience Discrimination

Men are now targets for profiling all around the globe, as the Wall Street Journal reported last month.

Men everywhere claim they are being treated as predators, pedophiles and rapists when they have done nothing wrong! Things such as changing a baby's diaper, stocking underwear in a store, and rescuing a child in danger have earned men beatings, dirty looks, and even legal attacks. When it is not legal for a day care center employee to change a baby's diaper, simply because the employee is a man, how is this helping anyone?

This is blatant discrimination and it's totally unfair. Treating all men like they are criminals, before they have done anything wrong? Why are we making innocent people suffer just because of their biology?

...Oops, wait a second! I forgot that this attitude is totally outdated in America, and NOT politically correct. My TV already told me that profiling is ok, and even recommended for public safety! We need to profile American males to protect ourselves from attacks just like we need to profile Middle Eastern Americans to protect ourselves from terrorism. Thereby if you protest the profiling of men in America, you are helping the terrorists!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Global Warming Can Now Be Blamed for Everything

Tired of all the snow hitting your home this year? Well, at least you can blame it on global warming.

It's true: global warming not only means death by heat, but death by snow as well. Al Gore explained it all earlier today when he said,
"increased heavy snowfalls are completely consistent with what they [scientists] have been predicting as a consequence of man-made global warming...In fact, scientists have been warning for at least two decades that global warming could make snowstorms more severe.

Snow has two simple ingredients: cold and moisture. Warmer air collects moisture like a sponge until it hits a patch of cold air. When temperatures dip below freezing, a lot of moisture creates a lot of snow.”
Man, those crazy liberals and their global warming panic. First we have to worry about heatwaves, hurricanes and drought, and now we have to worry about snowstorms? How many problems could one bad thing possibly cause!? What's next, death by angry polar bears?

Pffft. Global warming is just a string of coincidences that have no greater meaning. The record-breaking snow totals across the US this winter are just a coincidence. People in Hartford, Connecticut, worrying about their roofs collapsing because the city got over FOUR TIMES the record amount of snow last month? Just a coincidence.

It also means nothing that this year had the hottest Arctic Currents in 2,000 years.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Bridalplasty Wins A Gold Star

America, the land of opportunity, freedom plastic surgery? Well, only if you defeat your rival brides-to-be on public TV! Keeping the same body you got engaged with is for losers! For teaching us this, the show Bridalplasty wins a Gold Star straight from my heart.

Bridalplasty also wins because it encourages women to run with syringes and uses the phrase "injectable party!" That sounds fun for all the wrong reasons.

Major Kudos to Modern Lady for effectively mocking this show. I can't give any better feedback than what she says here:

Cosmetic surgery compared to an angel's voice? Great, now I have to worry about this movie becoming a reality, too.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

RIP Net Neutrality

The tiered web access deal being plotted by Verizon and Google is bad news for all internet users.

Yes, of course it's bad news for the freedom loving hippies who will complain about the loss of net neutrality and the fact that their web content is now being censored.

But, did you know its also bad news for God-loving Americans? Three years ago, Associated Press showed that similar web filtering was used by Comcast to BLOCK ACCESS TO THE BIBLE online.

Well, I guess we can always look to the upcoming Free Internet to save us all. Oh wait, the FCC decided to block that too. Despite support from over 70,000 people and "300 local, state and federal officials from all 50 states," the FCC decided granting ad-supported free Wireless internet to the public was "not the best policy outcome." What could be a better policy outcome? Well, right now the FCC is planning to auction this extra bandwith (known as the AWS-3 bandwith) to already existing service providers to "bring additional spectrum to market so the wireless ecosystem can continue to provide our consumers with the most innovative industry in the world."

Now I'm not really sure but I thought the words auction, market, consumer and industry were not supposed to be what motivates a federal agency. But maybe the concept of public good is something that will die out along with the uncensored internet.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Americans Low On Science, High on God

Fox News Bill O'Reilly doesn't know where ocean tides come from. Last night, he stated that God must exist because, "Tide goes in, tide goes out. Never a miscommunication. You can't explain that!"

Stephen Colbert takes the time to mock and refute this in his video here:
The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Bill O'Reilly Proves God's Existence - Neil deGrasse Tyson
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Stephen also takes the time to teach us where ocean tides actually DO come from (AKA the Moon's gravity). Which is good because, how many Americans actually know where tides DO come from? If Bill O Reily can claim that "YOU can't explain that" it means that he thinks most Americans really don't know anything about gravity or the moon AND that he can use that ignorance to his advantage. I learned all that moon/tide nonsense in 7th-grade science, so I'm kind of scared to think that this knowledge is utterly absent from a large percent of our country.

Well, I guess you really have two kinds of Americans here. Ones who know science, and ones who have blissful ignorance tied to faith in God. Certainly Bill O'Reily is leading Americans to become the later, but he isn't alone with states like Indiana and Texas changing their school policies to include more censorship, and more focus on the benefits of God.

But hey, isn't faith better than a little useless science trivia? I may know where the tides come from, but how has that really improved my life?