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July 3, 2011

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Ain’t no party like the Korean Worker’s Party cuz the Korean Worker’s Party don’t stop till all the students are shoved into forced labor camps

July 3, 2011

Best Korea had an amazing week. Someone – possibly a student – put up some anti-government graffiti at a wall near a university in Pyongyang. The state’s response was to shut down the city to interrogate passersby so they could find the perpetrator and lock them up in a forced labor camp. Ha, just kidding! The traitor to the Glorious People’s Republic and Our Dear Leader will definitely be executed if caught.

But since whoever wrote the graffiti hasn’t been caught yet, it’s going to be collective punishment for the college students. Anyone who’s going to university and isn’t graduating this year is going to be conscripted for forced labor for the upcomming 100th anniversary of Kim il-Sung’s birth. He’s still officially the head of state in North Korea, despite having died in 1994.

And for the next week or so, North Korea is going to head up the UN conference on disarmament. The conference has a rotating leadership, and now it’s their turn, apparently. Spencer Ackerman pointed out that the conference is already largely an ineffectual joke, so although it’s ridiculous for a country constantly threatening war with its neighbors to the south to be in charge of disarmament, it’s also pretty harmless.

Why cops are usually idiots

July 3, 2011

The answer is in a NY Times archived article from way back in 1999:

A Federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit by a man who was barred from the New London police force because he scored too high on an intelligence test.

Nice! We wouldn’t want a smart cop. Only ignorant dipshits need apply, please.

The judge referred to claimed the ruling didn’t violate equal protection under the law because the “No bookreadin’ types” rule applies to any applicants. So as long as any intelligent people are denied an interview for a job as a police officer in New London, CT, that’s “not discrimination.”

6 Fundamentalist Movies You Should Watch

July 3, 2011

Gates of Hell

I learned about this movie from Right Wing Watch, which is an organization that watches the right wing. And they watched the right wing pushing this movie, and it looks awesome.

Have you heard about how conservatives have been trying to sell African-Americans on the idea of being against legal abortion lately? They’re putting up these nutty billboards (some of which imply that blacks are a distinct species) and running goofy political ads on the radio. See, they’re not racist anymore! They’re really concerned about black babies and how letting black women have abortions is like genocide. And that breaks their hearts, They are very concerned about black people. That’s what they’re pushing. It reminds me of how neo-Nazis like David Duke will pretend to be so compassionate to the Palestinians, when in reality they’re clearly more motivated by hating Jews than anything else.

Anyway, since the billboards and radio ads can only do so much, they’ve decided to make a movie about their abortion/race war fantasies. In this movie, black people are finally convinced by the WorldNetDaily (Molotov Mitchell of WND is the executive producer of this movie) that abortion is really a racist genocidal conspiracy against black people. Nevermind that nobody’s forcing anyone to get an abortion these days, that doesn’t matter. The important thing is that if we don’t outlaw abortion, these scary BLACK guys are going to start shooting doctors and liberals and probably your mom, too. So you better do what they say already.

This movie also strives to solve a major public relations problem for the anti-abortion zealot community. I could be wrong on this, but I’m pretty sure that every single anti-abortion doctor-killer or attempted doctor-killer has been a honky. If you line up their mug shots in a row, it looks like what the Children of the Corn would be like if they were allowed to live past their 19th birthday. Gates of Hell seeks to racially diversify the hate-filled anti-abortion terrorist demographic. Since reality won’t do it for them, they’ll have to make a movie about how they wish black people acted when it comes to abortion, like how colleges Photoshop in Hispanic kids in wheelchairs on their homepages.

See, it’s not this guy who’s threatening those of us who want to keep abortion legal and safe:

Molotov Mitchell of WND has an impressive IMDB page

It’s THIS guy:

Gosh, I wonder why anyone ever though conservatives were racist?

The Life Zone

Bitches love Jesus... I'm gonna get those bitches some Jesus.

The Life Zone is a movie about women who were all having an abobo at the same time and were all kidnapped by some anti-choice terrorist good guys. So they lock al the women up in some underground dungeon and force them  to carry on with being preggo until the baby jumps out of her vagina or however that works.

Their captor is some shady old man who leers on as the younger nurse-lady makes sure their pregnancies are going in the exact opposite way the women wanted. They all talk about abortion and have fourth-grade level arguments about it. And at the end it turns out that they were all in Purgatory the whole time to make sure their unborn babies would be able to go up to Heaven. Yay for massive simultaneous deaths during routine medical procedures!

But one of the women tried to induce a miscarriage during her pregnancy because she still believed that abortion is pretty awesome, so she goes to Hell. And  so does the nurse-lady, because she also died recently from committing suicide. And oh yeah, the captor turns out to be Satan.

The director of this movie is a former Republican judge and politician from New Jersey who had to quit because he kept on promoting his movies from the bench. I heard rumors that he would oftentimes sentence people to watch his movies, much like how  the senile Judge Wapner now sentences us all to drink his root beer. Anyway, this guy has another movie you may want to check out called “O.B.A.M. Nude,” which is about how Barack Obama sold his soul to the devil while in college and in exchange was given some mysterious power to turn the world into a socialist paradise for Satan. So that’s where he’s coming from…

Left Behind I-III

I have only seen the first two movies in the Trilogy O’ Kirk (We hardcore fans call it TOK for short on internet forums), but then again I haven’t seen any of the movies I’ve mentioned so far. Hey, this is about movies you should see, not necessarily movies I should see.

So way back in the day, Jesus promised he would return at the side of God  to kick the asses of the non-believers. St. John or whichever crackhead wrote Revelation took that  premise from Jesus and ran with it, elaborating it into a D&D-ish apocalypse fantasy. In the mid-19th century, some pastors merged in some passages from 1 Thessalonians and rapture theology was born.

But the rapture never happened. This made fundamentalist Christian authors Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins very sad and frustrated. They wondered: What if it really did happen? Hey, maybe it will happen, like, really soon! Wouldn’t that be awesome? LaHaye and Jenkins were getting all excited just thinking about it!

So they wrote a book about it. Then they wrote a few more books about it, and a few more. And then Kirk Cameron was all like, “Dudes! Let’s make some of these shitty books into unwatchable, straight-to-DVD movies!” And so it came to pass.

Cameron’s character starts off as a reporter for “GNN” who’s trying to find out where all those missing people have gone. Some people start asking him if he’s considered believing they all went to Heaven for the rapture. He hadn’t, but he takes that belief system out for a test drive, buys it, and it works out pretty well for him. He’s told that if he can bring 10 friends and family members in to start selling Amway products Christianity themselves, then he can definitely expect to achieve financial independence in 3 easy steps go to Heaven the next time Jesus sweeps his favorite people up into the sky.

Buck Williams also discovers that the UN Secretary General is the antichrist. GNN has a strict disclosure policy for when you are reporting on someone you believe to be the antichrist, but it’s OK in this case because he can hide his anti-antichrist bias fairly well.

The way you get to activate antichrist mode in the Left Behind universe is to advocate peaceful solutions to the territorial disputes in the Gaza Strip. That’s what the UN SecGen does, and that’s how Buck finds him out. You see, when someone tries to settle international disputes in a non-violent way, that’s a sure sign that they’re evil. The Left Behind crowd can easily tell how good someone is by how many wars they wage. If only it worked the same way with the State of New York Department of Justice and drunken disorderly charges.

In the end I guess Kirk Cameron sneaks into the UN, gains the antichrist’s trust, and just kinda hangs out while God comes back to kick his ass. Because it’s not like either of them can do anything to change what’s going to happen. Supposedly this God person predetermined all of it. That takes a lot of suspense out of this trilogy. We all know there’s no chance the good guy will tragically (?) die after a cameo appearance by Cthulu. It’s just going to be Jesus guiding Mike Seaver through a fundie’s fever dream.

But there’s still lots to learn from Left Behind, especially in how these people view nonbelievers. Basically, they think we’re all extremely stupid and shallow, that the only reason we don’t believe is because if we did we’d all have to confess our sins and submit before the Jesus and we’re all just too proud for that scene. It doesn’t seem to occur to them that maybe we don’t believe because none of the miraculous events in the books and the movies have actually happened. This is all meant to be fiction, right?

But maybe not. If you read the newspapers and do a little free association here and make a few leaps of faith there, it’s possible to link real current events to all this ancient mythology the Left Behind groupies seem to be so obsessed over. And that’s where this stuff starts to get creepy.

Expelled!

Expelled! is a creationist propaganda movie. It also gets pretty far into conspiracy theories and Holocaust revisionism, but mainly this is about creationism.

The filmmakers told their interview subjects that they were making a documentary about the intersection between science and religion. This is how they got people like PZ Myers, Richard Dawkins, Michael Shermer, and Eugenie Scott of the National Center for Science Education to speak with them on camera. Obviously I don’t have any problem at all with this deceitful tactic since we at The BEAST do this kind of thing pretty regularly. The problem… well one of the problems with this movie is selective editing. This is very obvious when you watch the film because the cuts are so fast and awkward that it’s as if Michael J Fox did the editing the old-fashioned way with a razor after a few days off his meds.

According to Expelled!, evolution isn’t accepted by relevant experts because there’s a lot of evidence supporting it, but because there’s a massive worldwide conspiracy of scientists which controls with an iron fist all the peer review literature and all the important positions in relevant fields. So it’s the same premise used by pretty much every other goofy conspiracy theorist, with a twist: If you disagree with Stein and his friends at the Discovery Institute, you sir are a NAZI because this anti-God conspiracy goes all the way back to Nazi Germany.

Yes, as a matter of fact I do got mittens.

The National Center for Science Education has a website devoted to debunking Expelled!, if you’re interested in the details of why Ben Stein is wrong about everything. Maybe you should read that before watching the movie, just in case watching the movie first causes you to start reading about the science in Ben Stein’s voice.

Four Lions

These gentlemen represent an existential threat to our way of life.

I’m going to have to cheat a little with these last two movies which focus on Islam. The ones mentioned earlier were made by the true believers themselves, but here they are the subject. Did I cheat that way because I’m an uncouth American who needs the movies I watch to be westernized for me to appreciate? Probably!

Four Lions is actually about four humans who aren’t lions at all. But they are Muslim wannabe terrorists living in England and planning a suicide bombing for Allah. Hilarity ensues.

We have this disturbing way of looking at Muslim terrorists here in America. It’s the same way they probably see themselves: as a grave, existential threat to Western secular democracy on par with the fascists during World War II. And if you suggest that maybe they’re just a bunch of criminal but laughable idiots who sometimes succeed but usually fail hard, then you’re disrespecting their victims.

It’s a lot like how people still believe in conspiracy theories about John F Kennedy’s death in that when something terrible happens, we ascribe an amount of meaning proportional to the amount of misery it’s caused, even when that connection is not supported by the facts. We don’t like the idea of someone as esteemed as Kennedy being blown away by some down-and-out loser who’s been rejected even by the Soviet Union. It’s much more comforting to believe that he died for brave principles and that he was taken down by one or another shady cabal of evil people with lots of power. Everything seems less random and fragile that way, regardless of the facts.

And in the same way, we’d like for the ‘bad guys’ in the Post-9/11 World news narrative/Michael Bay movie to be not just genuinely bad guys. We want them to be absolutely demonic and with superhuman powers. We can’t have them in court because they might say something which will somehow transform normal, rational Americans into Islamic extremists who want to let Khalid Sheikh Mohammed walk around NYC and plan more terrorist attacks. Because people can do that kind of thing with mere words, apparently.

If you believe in that perception of al Qaeda and others like them, then Four Lions is completely heretical. And what’s funny is that it will outrage Muslim extremists themselves too, and for the same reasons. It just doesn’t take terrorism seriously enough! If you want to laugh at Islamic terrorism, do it in the wake of a drone’s airstrike. It’s for some reason blasphemous to laugh at them for being gullible, ineffectual morons with goofy beliefs and embarrassing, mundane, interpersonal relationship problems.

Oh yeah, they all die in the end.

The Infidel

In a way, The Infidel is a mirror-image opposite of Four Lions. While Four Lions focuses on the titular extremist characters who create humor by interacting with moderates, The Infidel’s main character Mahmud is a moderate Muslim who’s constantly befuddled by the extremist wackos he occasionally crosses paths with in his everyday life. His sister or cousin or someone is about to marry an extremist Muslim cleric he hates, and he’s gotta deal with that somehow. Even his own daughter randomly yells jihadist-y slogans about restoring the caliphate.

Then Mahmud finds out that he was adopted and that his parents were Jewish. So he’ll have to go through a crisis of identity where he learns how to say “Oy, vey” correctly and wear the tattered remains of a Yamaka he just burnt at a pro-Palestinian rally. And then there’s the matter of the radical cleric marrying into his (now Jewish, apparently) family. All this while poor ol’ Mahmud just wants to go on being a half-assed cultural Muslim who doesn’t go to the mosque or care much about politics, but loves to listen to cheesy 80s music and maybe has a drink every once in a while.

The reason you really should see this movie is because the next time some dickhead whines about how people are too afraid to mock Islam like they do Christianity, you can both watch this movie together and prove said dickhead wrong. The attacks on fundamentalist thinking in it are stronger than you’d get in a typical Christian-mocking movie or TV show, but it manages to raise serious concerns while keeping a sense of humor.

Fox wins the morning

April 14, 2011

… for their excellent coverage of this political suicide. Just in case the editors at Fox accidentally acquire a sense of shame and this gets pulled or edited, here is a screenshot (click to enlarge):

Stay classy, Fox! Next they’re going to start their own It Gets Better project for young Republicans.

This is my favorite part:

As of this writing, Fox has not been able to obtain reaction from the White House.

Maybe they were not able to obtain a reaction from the White House because they for some reason wouldn’t return their phone call about why the President obviously made this guy kill himself. Or maybe they were not able to obtain a reaction from the White House because nobody at Fox could live with themselves after making that kind of phone call. I’d like to think that’s what it was.

I rarely read news story comments, but in this case… Well, prepare to be dazzled by the mathematical skills of “pieareround:”

How very sad for the family but it sounds like the student himself was making a political statement. Apparently both his present and his future looked bleak. So is it connected to Obama’s visit? Let’s do the math. Based on your proposed budgets your overall party isn’t very good at math so I’ll help you. A Junior in college is about 20 years old or approximately 4360 days old. He picked the one single day that Obama was there. The odds of this not being related are 1/7300. The odds of it being related are 7299/7300. So 0.02% chance it was not related to Obama’s visit. 99.98% that it was. That fact it was within hours (hour?) of Obama’s visit makes the odds it was connected jump to 99.99994%. You Democrat trolls (Drolls?) think it was a coincidence? Why don’t you Donkeys take off your blinders and try using objectivity? Go ahead and look it up, the definition is still the same. Yes, you drolls would be screaming there was a connection if the same thing happened with Bush. Both the family and this country have my condolences.

Those fools think it was a coincidence! Obviously there’s only a 0.02% chance of that! It’s MATH!

UPDATE

What if everyone forgot about the National Day of Prayer, like almost everyone does every year?

April 7, 2011

They don’t really answer that question in this commercial, but the vague response seems to be this: Terrible things would happen, that’s what! OMG OMG WTF Be afraid!

This idea of the Christian God being like an abusive stepdad who threatens to kill his family if they don’t buy him a nice tie for Father’s Day definitely has its biblical basis. Some of the more modern Christians try to frame this as if God’s usually protecting us, and that when horrible things happen that’s just the physical world attacking us for being sinful and it happens as a result of God’s inaction. But then there’s Isaiah 45:7:

I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.

I still don’t get why people who believe in gods never seem to consider the possibility that God’s as petulant and childish as he appears to be in the Bible. If a real person made these kinds of threats, they’d probably be locked away. But when it’s an imaginary deity, suddenly they deserve worship. It makes no sense at all.

That last sentence was brought to you by Captain Obvious.

Egypt v. Mississippi

April 7, 2011

Today is apparently Beating Up On Mississippi Day. I just found these two recent polls, one from Egypt on peace with Israel and another of Mississippi Republicans on whether or not interracial marriage should be legal. The anti-miscegenation law in Mississippi has been repealed since 1967 by the Supreme Court (Loving v. Virginia).

It’s not a controlled experiment, obviously, but this could be a pretty good test on which region is more modern and progressive and open to embracing people who are different from them.

The good news is that 60% of Egyptians supporting maintaining peace with Israel and 50% support the secular Wafd Party. And the bad news?

Remember that’s only the Republicans in Mississippi, so it’s not necessarily representative of the entire state.

So far I haven’t seen any quotes from someone who votes for “illegal” justify it by saying that people can do what they want as long as it doesn’t go against the Bible, but would you really put it past them?

Wisconsin supreme court election

April 7, 2011

So it looks like that nice union thug lady defeated Scott Walker’s boyfriend David Prosser in the state Supreme Court election this week by only 204 votes. And our friend Governor Walker (@GovWalker on Twitter – send him an uplifting message, please) is throwing a hissy fit over it:

Gov. Scott Walker said this afternoon that the spring election results show there are “two very different worlds in this state.””You’ve got a world driven by Madison, and a world driven by everybody else out across the majority of the rest of the state of Wisconsin,” Walker said at a press conference in the Capitol.

The thing about these elections is that they deal with numbers of votes, and wouldn’t you know it but we actually have access to those numbers. So did “everybody else out across the majority of the rest of the state [excepting Madison]” vote for David Prosser? That would be pretty amazing, wouldn’t it?

But we don’t have to speculate. Here’s a map of the election results, county-by-county:

I count only three counties in one tiny corner of the state where the turnout for Kloppenburg was 35% or less. On the other hand, there are four counties with more than 65% for Kloppenburg, divided into two groups at opposite ends of the state.

Walker seems to imagine that the votes of people who happen to live in lightly populated areas are somehow worth more than the votes of those evil city-dwellers. Unfortunately for him, it just doesn’t work that way.

He also seems to want to believe that the population of Wisconsin is rigidly divided along rural/urban lines, and judging from this map that’s also clearly not the case. There are liberals and progressives out in the sticks and there are conservatives in the cities. But that kind of nuance scares politicians like Scott Walker who like to use this “two worlds” rhetoric to rile up their base. In fact, the “vast majority of the rest of the state” is very close to being 50/50.

UPDATE: An early recount result has Prosser up by 40 votes.

UPDATE II: And now Klopp’s up by 70something.

UPDATE III: A Waukesha county clerk named Kathy Nickolaus found votes on her laptop which may or may not have been added to the statewide totals, which would put David Prosser up by around 7500. If that’s the case, then there probably will be no recount and the conservatives will keep their hold on the WI Supreme Court.

Mississippi town bans fortune telling

April 7, 2011

The Meridian, MS town council has for for decades banned fortune telling, no doubt because it was such a popular place for fortune-telling types. But recently someone tried to open a business which would challenge that ban, and the town council decided to stick to their guns. The esteemed stateswoman Mary Perry explains the rationale for her decision:

“I read my Bible, too, and it talks about fortune telling and so forth,”

For those unfamiliar, the Bible is this religious text which is split into two sections. You’ve got the Old Testament and the New Testament. The Old Testament is mostly about fortune telling and the New Testament covers And So Forth.

Perry continues with her brilliant legal analysis:

“Everyone has their own opinion and can do what they want but I try to follow what is legal and within my heart, and after praying about something. I kind of go with that”

There should be some kind of mechanism which automatically removes people from office when they vote against letting people do what they want and then explain their decision to not let people do what they want by saying that people can do what they want.

Maybe she meant that everyone can do what they want as long as what they want to do is run for office to overturn this weird prohibition. Probably more likely is the possibility that she’s just puking out word salad and has no idea what the actual sentences coming out of her mouth mean.

Look at this fucking Chilean bike race

April 7, 2011

A truly inspiring story of bipartisanship

April 6, 2011

Rachel Maddow on shutting down the state-run press in Libya

April 6, 2011

I’m still trying to get caught up from stuff that happened a week or so ago, so you’ll have to bare with me if you’ve already heard about this.

MSNBC host Rachel Maddow usually does a decent job at reporting. She definitely has a perspective, and it’s usually completely in line with the Democratic Party line. Sometimes she criticizes them for giving in too much to Republicans and for being the wimps they are, but more often than not her editorializing crosses over into the same kind of partisan propaganda you get at Fox.

So it’s pretty weird for her to have a guest on where, through her questions, Maddow appears to take a more authoritarian position. But that’s what happened when she had MSNBC military consultant Jack Jacobs on her program. Here’s what she asked him:

One of the things that people have questioned is if the U.S. has this high level of electronic capability, why is Libyan state TV still on the air? Is that not one of the things they would want to shut down?

Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting points out that this idea of taking out the state press in a country with which the US is at war is the same kind of thing Fox advocated during the beginning of the invasion of Iraq in 2003, along with several examples. The style in rhetoric is different, but the message is the same: Hey, we’re here to liberate you people, but the first thing we’ve got to do to free you from this dictator is to shut down news organizations we don’t happen to like. Once you only have the press we like, then you’ll really be “free.”

The FAIR report above is in a sense a little unfair to Maddow in comparing her to people advocating bombing journalists. The context of her discussion with Jacobs was the military’s ability to jam communications. The context of the Fox comments was bombing and killing journalists. The former’s called prior restraint; the latter’s a war crime. One means that some people can’t do their jobs, the other means that people end up getting killed. Still, it’s disappointing to see MSNBC cheerlead so enthusiastically for war in the way they have been lately.

What Fox teevee people say when they think they’re off-camera

April 6, 2011

SPOILER ALERT: It turns out that Cal Thomas is a total dick then, too!

Fox was planning on running this segment about how NBC supposedly didn’t cover that story about how General Electic didn’t pay any taxes last year. GE is the parent company of NBC, so on its face it looks like this would be a good example of the business side of NBC interfering with its news side. But the problem is that whoever was planning that segment didn’t bother to check to see if that was actually true or not (as it turns out, it wasn’t).

So it was apparently up to guest Jim Pinkerton to do the fact-checking for the staff of the show, while the cameras were already rolling. The rest of the guests basically ignored him and went on with the segment, almost as if the segment were scripted and Pinkerton had just made a bad impromptu joke. Then someone off camera calls “Cut!” but the cameras are still rolling, so we all get to see how Fox deals with the facts being wrong for their show in the middle of them making their show.

The best part by far is when Pinkerton points out for the second time that NBC Nightly News covered the story the previous night, and Cal Thomas still doesn’t believe it , so he asks Pinkerton if he actually saw it. It turns out he did. I half expected Thomas to start throwing a temper tantrum right there, insisting that he didn’t see what he saw.

Fox for some reason uploaded the full video, including the off-camera parts, and then pulled it. But you can’t delete something from the internet, so here it is:

Shit my co-workers say

April 5, 2011
  1. “I’m going to draw a cock and balls on his car every single day.” A few days later in the parking lot I saw whoever said that was making good on their promise.
  2. “My girl lost her job, then decided to go back to school. But she doesn’t have any health care, so I said, hey, we might as well get married.” I told him that was very romantic and that it sounded like every little girl’s dream. He agreed without realizing that I was being sarcastic.
  3. Two guys talking: “So you got the reserved spot this month?” “What?” “You know, the reserved parking spot.” “What? Oh… Yeah, I did.”
  4. Two other guys talking: “Hey, tell your brother I said hi.” “What for?”
  5. “And then he said, ‘Oh, you thought I meant a real pearl necklace?'”

Einstein vs. Stephen Hawking rap!

April 5, 2011

OK as far as I can tell this is not MC Hawking (whatever happened to that, anyway?), but it’s still awesome.