Thursday, November 4, 2010

Asshat of the Day - November 4th, 2010

Today's winner/loser - Mitch McConnel and his whole stupid party.

So, what's the first announcement upon winning back the House? Cooperation and compromise? Seeking to work with their Democratic colleagues in an effort to ride out the recession and improve America's ailing economy, infrastructure, and bloated department of defense?

BAAAA-haa-haa-haa-haa*gasp*-haahaahaa... hee.

No, no. They want to undo everything Obama's done. Despite the fact that he can veto any unreasonable motions. Despite the fact that many of the initiatives enjoy broad public support. Despite the fact that most of their goals (cut taxes and balance the budget without reducing services!) are mutually exclusive and fly in the face of logic.

So, Obama will veto any attempts to hamstring or remove his health care reform. Does this stop them?
In addition to proposing and voting on repeals "repeatedly" despite expectations that the President will not sign them, "we'll also have to work in the House on denying funds for implementation and in the Senate on votes against its most egregious provisions," he said.

No, of course it doesn't. They're willing to spin Congress' wheels for two years, wasting billions of dollars of taxpayer money.


(Incidentally, when you're spending twice as much on healthcare as one of your neighbours, and yet sit thirty-third on the list of lowest infant mortalities in the world, your health care system needs reform.)

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Asshat of the Day - September 8th, 2010

Today's titlist - one Terry Jones.

Despite sharing a name with a generally awesome individual, this Mr. Jones is quite clearly an idiot.
Despite denunciations from religious leaders, angry Muslim protests, the pleas of top U.S. generals and White House disapproval, a fiery, unrepentant Christian minister vows to burn stacks of Korans to mark the ninth anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Terry Jones, pastor of the Dove World Outreach Centre, a tiny, controversial church with only 50 followers in Florida, says he won’t bow to threats or entreaties but might listen to divine guidance.

“We have firmly made up our mind, but at the same time, we are definitely praying about it,” said Mr. Jones, who wears a pistol on his hip and says he has received more than 100 death threats related to his plans for an “International Burn a Koran Day.”

Now, I'm in favour of mocking religion at every turn, and condemning its evil acts. But this isn't a statement of protest, it's an attempt at constitutionally-shielded retaliation in a petty and vindictive fashion against people who, on the whole, had nothing to do with the events of 9/11.

And, beyond that, it's burning books. Not that various nutty Christian sects don't have a penchant for that particular act of depravity, but I find myself paraphrasing Sir Sean Connery: Mr. Jones, Bible-thumping morons like yourself should try reading books instead of burning them.


Thursday, July 15, 2010

Asshat of the Day - July 15, 2010

Today, it's a perennial favourite - the Catholic Church.

And why?
The Vatican today made the "attempted ordination" of women one of the gravest crimes under church law, putting it in the same category as clerical sex abuse of minors, heresy and schism.

So a priest who (for whatever reason) tries to ordinate a (presumably devout) woman into the priesthood gets the same punishment (ostensibly) as a priest who raped children. Or, at least, the punishment that such a priest should get.

Both the priest and the woman in this ceremony would be excommunicated. You know, the same punishment the Church visited on a nine year old who had an abortion after her stepfather raped her? And bear in mind that this punishment, in the Church's eyes, is condemnation for Hell, with no chance of parole. For trying to make a woman one of their magic chanty-people.


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Michael Bloomberg - Talks Big, Doesn't Deliver

So, this article.

Most of it, couldn't be happier. Lots of positive stuff there. Until we get near the very end...
Will the mayor himself be using one of the charging units on an electric car?

Bloomberg said he would like to drive around the city in a nonpolluting car. But, he noted, “There is not a fast enough and big enough electric vehicle. I typically have a lot of people with me. But, I would do it if I could because I believe in leading by example.”

Great job, jackass. Could've gone with, "I'm getting a Leaf/Volt/Model S as soon as it comes out!" Could've gone with "I use one whenever I don't have to travel with eight people."

Nope. "There is not a fast enough and big enough electric vehicle." Oh, I'm sure that just fills your citizenry with the desire to get those slow, tiny electric cars.

Hey, Mike. Big enough for you? Fast enough for you? Yeah, it's in the prototyping stage. You're the Mayor of New York. You don't think they'd be willing to work out a prototype-model lease for the publicity alone?

Great job.

Asshat of the Day - July 14, 2010

Today's contender is the Western Media as a whole.

Alright, folks, listen up.

Bristol Palin is not news!

The Quitbull and her spawn were a good bunch of clowns to trot out back during the election campaign... in 2008. We're done. Don't give the family any more attention, and let them drop back to being the nonentities they were before McCain made (one of) his fatal mistake(s).

I mean, seriously. I expect this kind of thing from Faux News (and even they put it in their entertainment blog), but the Guardian? Reuters? CN-freaking-N and the G&M?

Seriously, folks, don't give these folks the time of day.

Update: The BBC?!?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Asshat of the Day - July 13, 2010

Today's contender, once again, the Government of China.

What's so wrong about making people use their real names online?, you might ask. After all, Blizzard's doing it. Well, yes. And look how that turned out.

But beyond that, there's a difference in terms of the motivation behind the actions. Blizzard's aborted Real ID system was meant as a means of making its forums more civil - the idea being that without the protection of anonymity, users would be less inclined to be impolite.

China, on the other hand (emphasis mine)...
In an address to the national legislature in April, Wang Chen, director of the State Council Information Office, called for perfecting the extensive system of censorship the government uses to manage the fast-evolving internet, according to a text of the speech obtained by New York-based Human Rights in China.


Wang said holes that needed to be plugged included ways people could post comments or access information anonymously, according to the transcript published this week in the group's magazine China Rights Forum.

"We will make the internet real name system a reality as soon as possible, implement a nationwide cellphone real name system, and gradually apply the real name registration system to online interactive processes," the journal quoted Wang as saying.

This isn't a push for civility. It's another brick in the Great Firewall of China, a bit more muscle behind the stranglehold the PRC has been trying to clamp on freedom of expression and information for its citizens.

And it's an Asshat sort of thing to do.

Determinedly Evil Misogynistic Bastards

The Iranian justice system at work.

Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani was to be restrained at the center of a mob of twenty or thirty other human beings, who are then to bludgeon her to death with hurled stones. Surely, she must be a monster to warrant this treatment. What did she do? Murder infants in their cribs? Pour poison into the water supply? Wrong on both counts. She "committed adultery while married". Now, I was under the impression that one had to be married in order to commit adultery in the first place - apparently, in Iran, pre-marital sex is also adultery. It's just a hundred lashes if it's pre-wedding, death by stoning post-.

Human Rights International, Amnesty International, and other groups raised an international outcry. And the Iranian response?
"...the verdict will be carried out regardless of Western media propaganda.”

I'm a big fan of live and let-live. But they're not letting this woman live. They're going to murder her through an excruciatingly unpleasant method. And why? Because she did something upsetting to their world view, and they have to keep women complacent, obedient, and scared.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Mystical Möbius Magic!

Every so often, it becomes clear to me that the web, in addition to being an incomparable shopping resource, a research tool, and a time-waster nonpareil, is a cesspit of inanity and willful stupidity.

Case in point.

Now, I grant you, the parent site, ArticleClick, does not exactly stand out as a paragon of academic excellence. However, you'd think they'd have some system of rating articles that would get this one relegated to the very depths of its servers.
Mobius jewelry can help remind us that we do not have a clear perception of the world around us. Given that this mysterious shape has only one surface, it stands as the perfect example for the Creator, who created everything that surrounds us from Himself.

Mobius jewelry also reminds us of our dualistic perception of right and wrong. This is because when you cut the strip in two, you will have a larger Mobius strip, which shows that when you view the Creator through this perception, you end up with illusion.

There are many mystical attributes which can be conferred to Mobius jewelry pieces. It can be offered as a gift to the one you love, because it is the perfect symbol of unity. With this you will offer the promise of a great and fulfilling life together.

Now, the spelling and grammar errors throughout the article aside... *ahem*
  • There is nothing mysterious about the Möbius strip. It is a non-orientable, ruled surface. It can be described mathematically. Its various properties are well-documented. Speaking of which...

  • When you cut a Möbius strip in half, you do not get a larger Möbius strip. You get a strip with two full twists in it, which has two edges and two sides. And this is not any more indicative of the presence of a Creator than the fact that cutting a stick in half produces two thinner (or shorter, depending on how it is cut) sticks. (Although, biblically, they tried something like that.)

  • There are no mystical attributes to the Möbius strip. Mathematical attributes, sure. Interesting attributes, certainly. But there's nothing magical about a strip of material with a half-twist.

The Sounds of Silence

Recently, there's been a lot of hue and cry about cars getting quieter - most specifically, from the advocates for the blind.

Now, this article, and the advocates, are absolutely undeserving of an Asshat of the Day, because they're not being idiots. It is a genuine concern. I think, however, that it is misplaced and possibly selfish.

Noise (particularly constant noise like traffic) is actively detrimental to the public health. It works against productivity. It's even been suggested that it increases the risk of heart attack.

The benefits to cutting traffic noise out of city life are substantial and self-evident... and, I think, outweigh the benefits to the vanishingly small proportion of the population who are blind. According to the CNIB, more than 50% of those individuals who are registered as legally blind in Canada were blinded by macular degeneration, glaucoma or cataracts - all conditions commonly found in the aged. This means individuals who would be poorly suited to avoid a car (even if they heard it coming), if the driver weren't aware.

And that's one other argument I have - dodging cars on the road should not be the responsibility of the blind. The onus should be (now and in the future) on the driver to be aware of those around them, sighted or no.

So I think that noise-making technology would defeat one of the more pleasant side-effects of the conversion to electric cars - peace and quiet in our cities. And I don't think it's worth it.

Thursday, April 22, 2010


In an update to a much earlier post of mine...


A Call to Action

And we're back! (Hopefully more permanently.)

But the first reason I'm back and writing is a missive to anyone who reads this blog.

Recently, Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty was making good moves regarding sex ed. Teaching that homosexuality, in yourself or others, is normal? Excellent! Explaining both the mechanics and consequences of sex before children start having it? Fantastic!

Naturally, some people started shrieking. McGuinty appeared set to hold the line against the Catholic schools...

And then he caved.

So. If you're an Ontarian, write to Mr. McGuinty, and let him know that caving is the wrong thing to do. If you're not an Ontarian, write to Mr. McGuinty and let him know that he's giving his province a black eye before his country and the world.

And, to save you time, I even have a form letter for you:
Mr. McGuinty.

Over the past few days, I was impressed by the new sexual education plan you and your party put forward. It seemed logical, sensible, and meant to address the problems children face in the modern era, rather than some outdated 60s-era "health class". Children are growing up faster in this day and age, and too often parents are unwilling (or unable) to educate their children before their peers or bitter experience does it for them. Your party's plan is an excellent step to bring this part of Ontario's education system up-to-date.

However, today, I am unimpressed. Don't shelve the plan. Don't cave to religious groups who want to keep our youth in the dark so they can warp their minds with regards to their bodies and their sexuality. Stand firm, hold the line, as you have been doing until now.

Please, show that Ontario is a forward-thinking and progressive province... and that the Liberal party of Ontario isn't willing to let children remain in the dark in order to assuage a vocal minority who fear losing control of their minds.

[Name here]

Get on this, folks.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

The Raving Loony - Blaming the Victim

Really, I think I've tapped into an inexhaustible source of idiocy, here.

Today, we get this gem from dear Justin: The Greatest Evil Ever Known.

And what, you say, breath bated, is this great, inhuman evil?
The greatest evil is not the driver of evil acts. The greatest evil is the power to stop known evils, and refuse to, whether the intentions for doing so are evil or good. Allowing a known evil to exist and grow when you have the power to stop it is more evil than the actions of the known evil.

For this reason, the most evil man in history can be named: Neville Chamberlain.

That's right. Neville Chamberlain is the Superdevil.

Now, I don't think Mr. Chamberlain is the brightest light who was ever lit. I think he was, historically, a bit of an ostrich. His policy of appeasement has been roundly criticized by historians, and the Munich Accord was inarguably a bad move.

However. He did lead England into World War II when Nazi Germany's aggressive actions continued. He was a prominent member of Churchill's War Cabinet. As a politician, he was talented.

He was also a man astride a very difficult position. By the time his policy of appeasement came into play, Nazi Germany had a full-swing military industrial build-up in place. There are those who argued that he should have done more to prepare England for war, but it's difficult to blame a man for hoping not to send thousands of his countrymen to die in a ghastly, total war. To hope not to have to annihilate cities, killing women and children in an attempt to stop the war from killing millions more.

All this, of course, is secondary to the enormity of Justin's statement: he's calling Neville Chamberlain the most evil man in history. No. No he is not. Not even close.

The theory that "Allowing a known evil to exist and grow when you have the power to stop it is more evil than the actions of the known evil." means that every one of the passengers on the 9/11 planes were guiltier of the attack than the terrorists. That passers-by when a robber runs out of a bank may as well have stolen the money themselves. That every German who didn't join a fifth column during World War II was more vile than Hitler or Goering.

I'm sorry, but that dog won't hunt. Chamberlain was perhaps guilty of being foolishly hopeful in the face of the evidence - again, it's hard to blame him, given the eventual death toll and massive property destruction that resulted. But worse than Hitler? The most evil man in history? No. Now go read history, Justin. You know. The subject you have trouble with.

Asshat of the Day - March 6th, 2010

Today's Asshat of the Day? Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
[Ahmadinejad] added: “The Sept. 11 incident was a big fabrication as a pretext for the campaign against terrorism and a prelude for staging an invasion against Afghanistan.” Mr. Ahmadinejad did not elaborate.

I don't deny that the Bush administration made hay of the 2001 attacks, nor that they launched a highly inadvisable war as a result of those attacks. I don't deny that some of the methods and actions taken in the course of this war were/are reprehensible, and denigrated both the United States and its allies.

I do think that the "9/11 was an inside job" people are lunatics. There is no way - no way - that something like this could be kept quiet in today's world. If the government sets out to kill thousands of its own people, cripple its own most powerful financial district and plunge itself into war, enough people will find out that it will leak. Someone will get wind of it, and if they do, or if any of the things in the highly public investigation ever turned up false, it would be all over the news. It would be the story of the decade, if not the century.

And Ahmadinejad, in this case, is just like Kim-Jong Il. He's screaming off-the-wall things in an effort to get the world behind him, when he doesn't really understand how the world outside his own borders thinks. If he were condemning the US for its techniques in prosecuting the War on Terror, while simultaneously allowing that it is necessary to oppose terrorism, he might be listened to. But in spouting off conspiracy theories in an attempt to paint the US administration as Machiavellian monsters, he just comes off as a lunatic.

Oh, and an asshat.

Monday, March 1, 2010

The Raving Loony - Liberals and Physics

In the first of what will probably become a semi-regular series, this post will mock Justin, of the Raving Loony, a blog we've mocked before. Repeatedly. And then, unable to handle being called on his own ignorance or tendency to present bias and opinion as fact, he surrendered the field.

But some time ago, he returned. Given his sensitive feelings (and a disinclination towards shooting fish in a barrel), I've largely laid off so far. But then he went and tweeted, and right out in public, too:
Liberals do not understand basic physics. Energy input and output must be equal. This means that man made climate change is impossible.
Ah, finally, a denial that makes sense! Why didn't I realize this before? Clearly, all the energy in Earth's atmosphere comes from the Earth. Human fires, lightning, volcanoes. That's where it's coming from. It's not coming from that massive ball of fusion at the center of our solar system.

I mean, if it were, there'd be some sort of balance between the energy pouring onto the planet and the heat that radiates back out into space. Balance determined by the composition and thickness of the atmosphere. And if that were the case, if humans were to pour gases into the atmosphere that would make it better able to trap heat, we could well be responsible for the definite warming trend observed on our planet.

It's a good thing that the earth is a closed system, with no energy streaming in from any nearby solar furnace. Otherwise, Justin's tweet would make him look like an idiot.

In the future, Justin, do your homework before announcing your revelations. I know you have trouble with homework, but, you know, try.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Asshat of the Day - February 25th, 2010

Today's Asshat of the Day is the entire freaking state of Utah, particularly its Legislature.

Why? For criminalizing miscarriage. Now, as explained here, that means that a woman who obtains an illegal abortion from someone other than a licensed physician could be charged with conspiracy to and complicity in first degree murder - with a penalty of life in prison.

A woman who causes a miscarriage through negative behaviour (for example, excessive drinking, drug use, some sort of violent activity) could be charged with negligent homicide or manslaughter.

This is absolutely a case of a) blaming the victim, and b) insanity. It is yet another step in removing a woman's control over her own body. It makes suppositions about fetal development that are not broadly acknowledged, nor supported. And as with most of the worst laws, it makes innocent people into criminals.

The initial link was correct; in doing this, Utah has become, amazingly, even worse as a state. And the Asshat of the Day.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

A Dangerous and Evil Man

Normally, when I or my co-bloggers encounter idiocy, irrationality in the face of evidence, or other, similar behaviour online, we accord its author with the ridicule and refutation that comes with the dubious honour of the title of Asshat of the Day.

Not in this case.

The more I read that has been written by this man, the more I am convinced that he is dangerous, heartless, conscienceless, and, if he isn't, in fact, clinically insane, evil. I will say this again - if he is not entirely out of his mind, he is an evil man, and I consider virtually everything he has done to be a detriment to mankind.

This man is Andreas Moritz.

Brought to my attention by Pharyngula, as so many are, he is, as is detailed in the story itself, a hypocrite, a woo-meister, and a snake oil salesman nonpareil. But that's not even half of it.

He is an AIDS denier. He is a homophobe (p. 339, and, in fact, most of the rest of the book) disguising himself as someone concerned for people's health. He is a con-artist, creating symptoms in healthy individuals. He thinks (and espouses the idea) that cancer is caused by negative thoughts. For this reason, he argues against chemotherapy. Or antiretroviral drugs. Or pharmaceuticals of any description. Oh, and it should go without saying that he's opposed to vaccinations.

His websites, books, and articles are a bizarre and horrifying blend of The Secret, Kellog's Sanitarium, folk remedies, snake oil, and what can only be described as blatant fraud. (For instance, his river rocks as healing implements, available for sale!)

I leave you, gentle readers, with this. I can't imagine how this man tricks people into thinking he's healing them. He makes me sick... and I've never even met the man in person.

Not Asshat of the Day, but simply, purely, a blight upon humanity.

Aftertouch: Orac weighs in.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Asshat of the Day - January 11th, 2010

Today's Asshat of the Day? Iris Robinson.

Regular readers (or those who know me) know that I have no problem with sex in general. Moreover, as long as there's consent, I do not object to anything two (or more) adults choose to do together. (Or even two or more minors.) To borrow from Spider Robinson, I don't object to anything consensual that doesn't involve "former people or former food".

So do I object on principle to Mrs. Robinson's (*snort*) sexual peccadilloes? No. I imagine her husband may even have known about them and simply stayed quiet. I do object to the potential abuse of an authority position, given that she was supposed to care for the boy.

I do object to the fact that she apparently appropriated public funds to pay for his affections - not that she paid someone for sex or intimacy, but that the money she used for this purpose wasn't her own.

But most of all, I object to hypocrisy. And that, she's got in spades.

She claims to be a "god fearing" woman, and has stated that she considers homosexuality "an abomination", after an attack was made on a gay man in her constituency. Moreover, she condemned child sexual abuse by saying "There can be no viler act, apart from homosexuality and sodomy, than sexually abusing innocent children." While she later claimed that, effectively, she wanted to say "even" in place of "apart from", this hardly mitigates the homophobic nature of her comments.

Her homophobia is based on her born-again Christian background (naturally)... which would also heartily condemn adultery. So, as we often must say to the born-again crowd: you can't have it both ways. Either condemn others, and adhere to your own rules, or keep your trap shut.


*Come on, her name is Mrs. Robinson.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Asshat of the Day - January 7th, 2010

Today's Asshat of the Day is a paired prize, since both recipients are interested in much the same stuff: Bono and a french governmental panel.

Let's start with Bono.

"A decade's worth of music file-sharing and swiping has made clear that the people it hurts are the creators — in this case, the young, fledgling songwriters who can't live off ticket and T-shirt sales like the least sympathetic among us." And he alleges that "rich service providers" are reaping "the lost receipts of the music business."

The musician claims the technology is available to track and prevent illegal downloading, noting efforts in China which limit its populace from freely accessing the internet.

Um. Words, failing me. First, no nation on the planet has had any luck curtailing filesharing. Your best bet is to go with the iTunes or Amazon download models and charge people on a per-song basis, while maintaining massive libraries in order to compete. Second... you're holding China up as a sparkling example of how the internet should be?

Next, the French:
How to help prop up the ailing music industry? Tax Google, suggests a new report commissioned by the French government.

The report, handed to Culture Minister Frederic Mitterrand on Wednesday, says Google, Yahoo! and other Internet portals should be slapped with a new tax on their online ad revenues in France to fund the development of legal outlets for buying books, movies and especially music on the Internet.


The plan “seemed inevitable to us, if we want to maintain a certain pluralism in the culture world” and prevent the “endless enrichment of two or three world players who will impose their cultural formatting on us,” Patrick Zelnik, a record producer who helped lead the mission, was quoted as telling Liberation newspaper.

Again, there are few words. Taxing Google to repay recording artists for the theft of their music is like taxing the Yellow Pages to pay the families of victims of gun violence - because, after all, the bad guys look up pawn shops in the Yellow Pages to buy their guns! Moreover, as Mark Mulligan, an opponent to the idea, commented:

“Where does it start and stop? The argument is that Google has culpability for declining music revenues because people start searches for illegal files often by Google,” said Mark Mulligan, vice president of Forrester Research. But “what about the computers? Because without the computers people wouldn't be able to download. And then what about the electricity that powers the computer?”

Culpability only extends so far. Jack Thompson was a particularly egregious example of that, back in the day - suing Sony for producing the game system on which someone played a game that might be associated with a subsequent crime. This is no different. It's a transparent tax-grab from the people with the deepest pockets, to subsidize an industry which needs to reinvent itself, not depend on legislation to protect it.

Additionally, the proponents of the idea seem to be concerned about the dilution of France's culture through downloaded music (the majority of which, I imagine, is coming from the US). I'm sorry, monsieurs, but taxing Google ain't gonna stop it. People can acquire the same stuff through legitimate means - or through clients like Kazaa, Limewire, and other file-sharing programs, the way they do right now.

For trying to put shackles on something that has no limbs, Bono and this french panel share the title of AotD.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Asshat of the Day - January 5th, 2010

It's a new year, and SamsonEffect has challenged me to post at least twice a week.

Let's see if I can manage it! Now, with that said, let's get on to our asshat of the day: PM Stephen Harper.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper says Canadians aren't really concerned about allegations that the government engaged in a cover-up over the abuse of Afghan detainees.

"I think polls have been pretty clear that that's not on the top of the radar of most Canadians," Harper said in an interview with CBC-TV correspondent Peter Mansbridge.

To borrow an internet meme:

It's not the top of the radar for most Canadians, is it, Mr. Harper? First of all, je suis canadien, and it's certainly a big point on my radar. (Granted, it's just one of the ways you're dragging our country's name through the mud, but it's a big one.)

But more than that, your concern with the detainee scandal is whether it's the top priority of Canadian citizens? Not, for example, the damage our soldiers' reputations will take. Not the damage our country's reputation will take. Not simple decency in obeying the international laws concerning prisoners of war and proving we're better than those who would seek to cow us by acts of terror. No, your concern is poll numbers.

Attempting to dictate our opinions to us, M. Harper, and in so doing further illustrating your own power-grubbing, heartless nature - that earns you the title of Asshat of the Day.

For further reading, check out Scott's DiaTribe on the subject.