Chronicling the follies of religion and superstition, the virtues of skepticism, and the wonders of the real (natural) universe as revealed by science. Plus other interesting and educational stuff.

"Tell people there’s an invisible man in the sky who created the universe, and the vast majority believe you. Tell them the paint is wet, and they have to touch it to be sure."

-George Carlin

“If people are good only because they fear punishment, and hope for reward, then we are a sorry lot indeed”.

-Albert Einstein

“Skeptical scrutiny is the means, in both science and religion, by which deep thoughts can be winnowed from deep nonsense.”

-Carl Sagan

The person who is certain, and who claims divine warrant for his certainty, belongs now to the infancy of our species. It may be a long farewell, but it has begun and, like all farewells, should not be protracted.

-Christopher Hitchens

 

undercovernun:

From The Christian Left:

Florida welfare drug testing results for 12 months.
Percent who passed: 98%.Cost to test: $178,000,000Percent who didn’t pass: 2%.Savings to the state from those 2%: $60,000.Total savings: negative $177,940,000.
Winners: drug testing companiesLosers: taxpayers of Florida

In what universe does this make sense?
Clearly, if you want to really Stick It To The Man, the thing to do is to move to Florida, collect welfare, and pee in a cup as often as possible.

Can I get a source for these figures? I can’t find anything about this $178 million.  I did find plenty of articles on the cost/benefit of the Florida drug testing program and they all agree that it’s a net loss for the state, but a net loss of only $45,000, a far cry from $178,000,000.

undercovernun:

From The Christian Left:

Florida welfare drug testing results for 12 months.

Percent who passed: 98%.
Cost to test: $178,000,000
Percent who didn’t pass: 2%.
Savings to the state from those 2%: $60,000.
Total savings: negative $177,940,000.

Winners: drug testing companies
Losers: taxpayers of Florida

In what universe does this make sense?

Clearly, if you want to really Stick It To The Man, the thing to do is to move to Florida, collect welfare, and pee in a cup as often as possible.

Can I get a source for these figures? I can’t find anything about this $178 million. I did find plenty of articles on the cost/benefit of the Florida drug testing program and they all agree that it’s a net loss for the state, but a net loss of only $45,000, a far cry from $178,000,000.

Florida Amendment 8 - Bullshit Religious Freedom

religiousragings:

I’m just signal boosting this to my Floridian followers.  Amendment 8 seems to be attempting to find a back door to allow public funds to be used to support religious institutions.  It seems to be pushing for the “religious freedom” to violate separation of church and state.

Florida Religious Freedom Amendment 8

The proposed measure would prevent individuals from being barred from participating in public programs if they choose to use public funds at a religious provider. Essentially, the measure moves to repeal the state’s ban of public dollars for religious funding, also known as the “Blaine Amendment.”

The measure requires 60 percent voter approval for adoption.

I’m surprised by the boldness of the bullshit here, and I’m also surprised that this made it even as far as being put on the ballot.  I also would certainly hope that it would be struck down as against the U.S. Constitution even if the thing does manage to get passed.

Still, it would save a lot of money and time if this piece of shit gets struck down by the voters.

tinfoilandtea:


Everything from water pistols to masks to metal pipes will be restricted. Under state law, however, local officials can’t prohibit guns around the convention site, even if they want to. RNC protestors won’t be able to carry placards, but they will be able to carry concealed, loaded firearms.
Buckhorn eventually appealed to Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) to use his discretion and make an exception to the state law in the interest of security and public safety. The far-right governor declined the request.

(Maddow Blog)

tinfoilandtea:

Everything from water pistols to masks to metal pipes will be restricted. Under state law, however, local officials can’t prohibit guns around the convention site, even if they want to. RNC protestors won’t be able to carry placards, but they will be able to carry concealed, loaded firearms.

Buckhorn eventually appealed to Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) to use his discretion and make an exception to the state law in the interest of security and public safety. The far-right governor declined the request.

(Maddow Blog)

Zimmerman attorneys pull out of Florida case

Sanford, Florida (CNN) — Attorneys for neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman, who authorities say fatally shot an unarmed teenager in Florida, said Tuesday they have lost contact with their client and no longer represent him.

"He has gone on his own. I’m not sure what he’s doing or who he’s talking to," said legal adviser Craig Sonner. "If he wants us to come back as counsel, he will contact us."

(click link for full story)

Never say Republicans aren’t Very Serious about creating jobs…

underthemountainbunker:

… and looking out for the little guy. Because that had to be said.

“I’m on a quest to seek and destroy unnecessary burdens on the freedom and liberties of people. This is an example of Big Brother government. All that it does is prevent some dwarfs from getting jobs they would be happy to get. In this economy, or any economy, why would we want to prevent people from getting gainful employment?” Rep. Ritch Workman, a REPUBLICAN wants FLORIDA to reinstate dwarf tossing

It’s Florida, so. Duh. But how comatose or mentally ill do you have to be to actually vote for some guy named “Ritch” who thinks gainful employment is being born small enough to be tossed around by drunk adults? That right there is some 100% preemo, Teaparty American Exceptionalism.

Teabagger base, we are still not laughing ‘with’ you all.

underthemountainbunker:

image: paxamericana
…
If the audiences at the Teaparty GOP debates won’t convince people to vote, NOTHING WILL. 
Mother Jones tracks the evil that is the modern Republican / Teaparty:
At the Reagan Library debate in California, attendees memorably  broke into a spontaneous round of applause in support of Rick Perry’s  record on the death penalty.
At last week’s debate in Tampa, a handful of audience members  cheered the prospect of a man without health insurance being left to  die.
And [last night] in Orlando, a chorus of boos erupted when a gay  Army veteran [of the IRAQ WAR] asked former Sen. Rick Santorum if he  should still be allowed to serve the country.
Got that? The teaparty Republican base cheers death and boos an Army vet.
Look at what the people in these audiences value, and then consider  this: they show up to the voting booth. ALWAYS. Every time. They also  count on the left, liberal, progressive, moderate, “not them” voter to  stay home because of whatever current idealistic boo-boo or disappointment or ‘statement’ is being announced by ‘liberal leaders’ such as Ed Schultz or closet PUMAs like Jane Hamsher.
We can argue all day about what has possessed the people supporting the Teaparty GOP (*cough* Satan! *cough*), but this fact remains: these are the SAME PEOPLE who voted for George W. Bush. TWICE. They CAN do it again.

Please, Please vote. Let’s not let our cynicism condemn us. I’ve never seen a scarier crop of right wingers in my life and their supporters are more zealous than ever.

underthemountainbunker:

image: paxamericana


If the audiences at the Teaparty GOP debates won’t convince people to vote, NOTHING WILL.

Mother Jones tracks the evil that is the modern Republican / Teaparty:

  1. At the Reagan Library debate in California, attendees memorably broke into a spontaneous round of applause in support of Rick Perry’s record on the death penalty.
  2. At last week’s debate in Tampa, a handful of audience members cheered the prospect of a man without health insurance being left to die.
  3. And [last night] in Orlando, a chorus of boos erupted when a gay Army veteran [of the IRAQ WAR] asked former Sen. Rick Santorum if he should still be allowed to serve the country.

Got that? The teaparty Republican base cheers death and boos an Army vet.

Look at what the people in these audiences value, and then consider this: they show up to the voting booth. ALWAYS. Every time. They also count on the left, liberal, progressive, moderate, “not them” voter to stay home because of whatever current idealistic boo-boo or disappointment or ‘statement’ is being announced by ‘liberal leaders’ such as Ed Schultz or closet PUMAs like Jane Hamsher.

We can argue all day about what has possessed the people supporting the Teaparty GOP (*cough* Satan! *cough*), but this fact remains: these are the SAME PEOPLE who voted for George W. Bush. TWICE. They CAN do it again.

Please, Please vote. Let’s not let our cynicism condemn us. I’ve never seen a scarier crop of right wingers in my life and their supporters are more zealous than ever.

underthemountainbunker:

…
With an annual salary of $174,000, some members of Congress feel they aren’t paid enough
A few lawmakers have suggested in recent months that despite a  $174,000 annual salary, generous health care and pensions, and perks for  things like travel and mail, being one of the elite 435 ain’t always  what it’s cracked up to be. And when you calculate the hours they put  in, the pay isn’t stellar either, they say.
[…] Are times really so tough that even members of Congress are struggling to get by? The numbers suggest otherwise. A recent analysis of congressional pay found that members of Congress earn about 3.4 times the salary of the  average American worker. Using that standard, members of Congress are  among the highest paid legislators in the developed world.
Are members of Congress paid enough?
Hilariously, the Congressman complaining the loudest is Teaparty Freshman Steve Southerland (R-FL). Way to go, teaparty… you know how to pick ‘em!

He said his $174,000 salary is not so  much, considering the hours a member of the House puts in, and that he  had to sever ties with his family business in Panama City. Southerland  also said there are no instant pensions or free health insurance, as  some of his constituents often ask him about in Congress.
“And by the way, did I mention?  They’re shooting at us. There is law-enforcement security in this room  right now, and why is that?”

It’s a very sad tale. Maybe some celebrities will get together and do a telethon for Congress.

Tea Party irony: Hate government, government jobs and gov. spending; Dedicate your life to getting gov. Job and not only refuse a pay cut, but ask for a raise.

underthemountainbunker:

With an annual salary of $174,000, some members of Congress feel they aren’t paid enough

A few lawmakers have suggested in recent months that despite a $174,000 annual salary, generous health care and pensions, and perks for things like travel and mail, being one of the elite 435 ain’t always what it’s cracked up to be. And when you calculate the hours they put in, the pay isn’t stellar either, they say.

[…] Are times really so tough that even members of Congress are struggling to get by? The numbers suggest otherwise. A recent analysis of congressional pay found that members of Congress earn about 3.4 times the salary of the average American worker. Using that standard, members of Congress are among the highest paid legislators in the developed world.

Are members of Congress paid enough?

Hilariously, the Congressman complaining the loudest is Teaparty Freshman Steve Southerland (R-FL). Way to go, teaparty… you know how to pick ‘em!

He said his $174,000 salary is not so much, considering the hours a member of the House puts in, and that he had to sever ties with his family business in Panama City. Southerland also said there are no instant pensions or free health insurance, as some of his constituents often ask him about in Congress.

“And by the way, did I mention? They’re shooting at us. There is law-enforcement security in this room right now, and why is that?”

It’s a very sad tale. Maybe some celebrities will get together and do a telethon for Congress.

Tea Party irony: Hate government, government jobs and gov. spending; Dedicate your life to getting gov. Job and not only refuse a pay cut, but ask for a raise.

tinfoilandtea:

cognitivedissonance:

Uh-oh. Looks like Florida’s mandatory drug testing for taxpayers is costing the taxpayers more than they’re actually saving.
Governor Rick Scott had praised the program when he signed it June 1st of this year, proclaiming, “It’s the right thing for citizens of this state that need public assistance. We don’t want to waste tax dollars.”
However, the numbers are not adding up. From WFTV:

Just six weeks after Florida began drug testing welfare applicants, WFTV uncovered numbers which show that the program is already costing Central Florida taxpayers more than it saves. 9 Investigates’ reporter George Spencer found very few applicants are testing positive for drugs. The Department of Central Florida’s (DCF) region tested 40 applicants and only two tested positive for drugs, officials said. One of the tests is being appealed.
Governor Rick Scott said the program would save money. Critics said it already looks like a boondoggle. “We have a diminishing amount of returns for our tax dollars. Do we want out governor throwing our precious tax dollars into a program that has already been proven not to work?” Derek Brett of the ACLU said.
DCF said it has been referring applicants to clinics where drug screenings cost between $30 and $35. The applicant pays for the test and the state reimburses [the applicant] if they test negative. Therefore, the 38 applicants in the Central Florida area, who tested negative, were reimbursed at least $30 each and cost taxpayers $1,140. Meanwhile, the state is saving less than $240 a month by refusing benefits to those two applicants who tested positive.

I’m not at all shocked by this, and the ACLU is planning to file suit. Oh, and they’re also saying to Rick Scott: “We told you so.” Literally. 
The sad part? These measures scare people off from applying for benefits. If people test positive for drugs, it means two things: Either they ingested that substance at least once, and maybe only once, within the testing window - or it’s a false positive. Here’s a short list of things that can cause a false positive:
Poppy seeds: (Opioids)
Cold medications: (amphetamines)
Wellbutrin: (amphetamines)
Tricyclic antidepressants: (amphetamines)
Zoloft: (benzodiazepine)
Daypro: (benzodiazepine)
Quinolone antibiotic drugs: (Opioids)
Sustiva (prescribed for HIV): (cannabinoids)
Ibuprofen: (cannabinoids, barbiturates, phencyclidine [PCP])
Foods made with hemp and hemp oil: (cannabinoids)
Effexor: (phencyclidine)
Vicks Inhalers: (methamphetamines)
Zantac: (amphetamines)
Ultram: (phencyclidine)
Over-the-counter cough medicine containing dextromethorphan: (Opioids) 
Huh. So drug tests aren’t infallible and they’re not saving Florida any money? As the ACLU points out, Florida should have learned this 10 years ago, when they tried this program and had to dump it for cost reasons.
I’ll indulge the governor for a moment, though. Let’s say there’s parents who have used some kind of drugs in the period before the test. Why deprive children of quite possibly the only support they’ll receive because their parent(s) may or may not have used drugs voluntarily or involuntarily in the testing period? I’m not comfortable with that thought, and any other person with an iota of compassion should not be thrilled with that proposition either.

Things that happen when you stereotype people in poverty…

tinfoilandtea:

cognitivedissonance:

Uh-oh. Looks like Florida’s mandatory drug testing for taxpayers is costing the taxpayers more than they’re actually saving.

Governor Rick Scott had praised the program when he signed it June 1st of this year, proclaiming, “It’s the right thing for citizens of this state that need public assistance. We don’t want to waste tax dollars.”

However, the numbers are not adding up. From WFTV:

Just six weeks after Florida began drug testing welfare applicants, WFTV uncovered numbers which show that the program is already costing Central Florida taxpayers more than it saves. 9 Investigates’ reporter George Spencer found very few applicants are testing positive for drugs. The Department of Central Florida’s (DCF) region tested 40 applicants and only two tested positive for drugs, officials said. One of the tests is being appealed.

Governor Rick Scott said the program would save money. Critics said it already looks like a boondoggle. “We have a diminishing amount of returns for our tax dollars. Do we want out governor throwing our precious tax dollars into a program that has already been proven not to work?” Derek Brett of the ACLU said.

DCF said it has been referring applicants to clinics where drug screenings cost between $30 and $35. The applicant pays for the test and the state reimburses [the applicant] if they test negative. Therefore, the 38 applicants in the Central Florida area, who tested negative, were reimbursed at least $30 each and cost taxpayers $1,140. Meanwhile, the state is saving less than $240 a month by refusing benefits to those two applicants who tested positive.

I’m not at all shocked by this, and the ACLU is planning to file suit. Oh, and they’re also saying to Rick Scott: “We told you so.” Literally

The sad part? These measures scare people off from applying for benefits. If people test positive for drugs, it means two things: Either they ingested that substance at least once, and maybe only once, within the testing window - or it’s a false positive. Here’s a short list of things that can cause a false positive:

  • Poppy seeds: (Opioids)
  • Cold medications: (amphetamines)
  • Wellbutrin: (amphetamines)
  • Tricyclic antidepressants: (amphetamines)
  • Zoloft: (benzodiazepine)
  • Daypro: (benzodiazepine)
  • Quinolone antibiotic drugs: (Opioids)
  • Sustiva (prescribed for HIV): (cannabinoids)
  • Ibuprofen: (cannabinoids, barbiturates, phencyclidine [PCP])
  • Foods made with hemp and hemp oil: (cannabinoids)
  • Effexor: (phencyclidine)
  • Vicks Inhalers: (methamphetamines)
  • Zantac: (amphetamines)
  • Ultram: (phencyclidine)
  • Over-the-counter cough medicine containing dextromethorphan: (Opioids) 

Huh. So drug tests aren’t infallible and they’re not saving Florida any money? As the ACLU points out, Florida should have learned this 10 years ago, when they tried this program and had to dump it for cost reasons.

I’ll indulge the governor for a moment, though. Let’s say there’s parents who have used some kind of drugs in the period before the test. Why deprive children of quite possibly the only support they’ll receive because their parent(s) may or may not have used drugs voluntarily or involuntarily in the testing period? I’m not comfortable with that thought, and any other person with an iota of compassion should not be thrilled with that proposition either.

Things that happen when you stereotype people in poverty…

Doctor Gets Court Order to Confine Pregnant Woman Against Her Will

veggielezzyfemmie:

sexualtictactoe:

itsjustsummer:

With issues like the Stupak Amendment and Nevada’s Personhood Initiative in the national spotlight, I am aware that a woman’s right to choose whether or not to carry a fetus to full-term is under attack.

What I didn’t realize, perhaps naively, is that her right to choose how to carry a fetus is also under fire. Last March, Florida resident Samantha Burton was in week 25 of her pregnancy when she paid a visit to her doctor. Burton was showing signs of potential miscarriage, so her physician ordered bed rest. Burton explained that, as a working mother of two toddlers, bed rest simply wasn’t a viable option and then proceeded to ask for a second medical opinion. Seems reasonable, right?

Her doctor, however, was having none of that. Rather than refer Burton for the desired second opinion, he instead felt it necessary to contact state authorities, who then proceeded to force Burton to be admitted to Tallahassee Memorial Hospital against her will and undergo any procedure the doctor felt like prescribing. When Burton had the audacity to request a change in the hospital in which she was being treated, the court denied her request. Three days into her forced hospitalization, Burton miscarried.

Never mind that there is actually no scientific research to support the claim that bed rest helps prevent preterm birth and that even the American College of of Obstetricians and Gynecologists does not believe it should be routinely recommended. Never mind Burton’s very real concern for the care of her two small children. Never mind the psychological, physical, and financial toll this takes on her family. The only thing that mattered to the doctor and the government was that they got their (ultimately ineffectual) way.

Oh, and did I mention this case gets worse? Burton (with help from her pro bono lawyer and the ACLU) sued the State of Florida claiming it — duh — violated her constitutional rights. The court ruled against her, claiming that that State was merely maintaining “status quo” in the situation. Hmmm. I never knew forcing a woman to bed rest in a hospital was status quo. Perhaps I’ve been ill-informed.

It is scary to think that the government feels it can negate the bodily autonomy of pregnant women for any reason, let alone for something like this. Where does this stop? If a doctor lacking scientific support can force a woman into a hospital of his choosing for the tests of his choosing, what’s next? Certainly it seems as if the bar has been set pretty low in terms of the criteria needed to override a woman’s freedom to make informed decisions for herself.

Burton’ lawyers filed for appeal and the case is now being heard in Florida’s First District Court of Appeals. Hopefully, this time the court will acknowledge the bodily autonomy of pregnant women and reverse the lower court’s frightening and potentially dangerous ruling. I shudder to think of the consequences of the earlier decision being upheld.

This is complete and utter bullshit!  When the hell did a woman’s uterus become public property??  Please let me know, and I’ll make sure I pave a parking lot next to mine.

W. T. F.

LKAJFLJSDLKFJSKDJ WHAT THE FUCK LSKDJFLKSDJFSLDKFJSD

(Source: summerslens)