In a world dominated by magical thinking, superstition and misinformation, give yourself the benefit of doubt. This is one skeptic's view of the Universe.

"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

 

The Rev. Wright became infamous for those angry sermons in which he called America to task for its moral failures—for its treatment of Native Americans and African Americans, for the internment of Japanese Americans during World War Two, for all the myriad ways in which America—despite its self-identification as a Christian nation—has been decidedly unchristian in its approach to peace, justice, and economic equity. I am here today to testify that Jeremiah Wright was often both offensive and—theologically, biblically, doctrinally—right.

What if Jeremiah Wright is Right? (via azspot)

Never thought otherwise.

(via thereisnogod)

NATO spends $2 billion a week on the Afghanistan War while half the planet lives on less than $2 a day.

Andy Thayer (via occupyallstreets)

Will we ever have people in charge that know that this is fundamentally wrong?

lackofbelief:

For RobertLovesPi, at least, these are words to live by.  Please notice that this is not specifically atheistic — Hitch opposed ANY form of stupidity.  I do, as well.

lackofbelief:

For RobertLovesPi, at least, these are words to live by.  Please notice that this is not specifically atheistic — Hitch opposed ANY form of stupidity.  I do, as well.

cognitivedissonance:

We cannot stop now. Occupy or support the occupation. This is from Occupy Salt Lake. He fears that we’ll shape policy? Good.
We must send the message that we are not just in New York City, Chicago, Washington D.C., etc. 
We are everywhere.

cognitivedissonance:

We cannot stop now. Occupy or support the occupation. This is from Occupy Salt Lake. He fears that we’ll shape policy? Good.

We must send the message that we are not just in New York City, Chicago, Washington D.C., etc. 

We are everywhere.

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…

Jamie Leigh Jones Loses Rape Case

goodreasonnews:

Nearly five years after she was allegedly drugged and raped in Iraq by firefighters for Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg Brown & Root, Jamie Leigh Jones has lost her case.

Now 26, Jones said she was drugged with the date rape drug Rohypnol and brutally raped in 2005, while working at KBR facility Camp Hope in Iraq. She also told jurors that after the incident, she was imprisoned in a shipping container and prevented from calling family for help, and later had to go through reconstructive surgery on her chest and psychiatric counseling for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

But jurors in the case against the Houston, Texas-based company decided in the end that Jones’s sexual encounter was consentual, rendering other charges moot.

“We do think it’s a shame that Jamie’s entire personal history was dragged before the jury,” attorney Todd Kelly told the Chronicle, “when her rapist’s criminal history, including violence against women, was suppressed from them.”

Americans can’t win.

This woman needed reconstructive surgery after she was raped….I mean, after her consensual sex.

goodreasonnews:

muchtoocynical:

an-ominous-atheist:

anticapitalist:

stalinonthedrums:

anticapitalist:

hrtbps:

A well nourished Sudanese man steals maize from a starving child during a food distribution at Medecins Sans Frontieres feeding centre at Ajiep, southern Sudan, in 1998. (Tom Stoddart/Getty Images)

I call bullshit.
If the camera man was this close to this occurring, why didn’t he do anything?
Also, this clearly looks posed.
If you were starving and a rich poopyface came and stole your food, you’d beat the shit out of em in anger.
Or at least you’d yell and get some people who were around to help.
More likely than not, this was faked in someway.

This is a very famous photograph. If it were fake, it would have been confirmed somewhere online.

well in that case, the photographer is a cunt.
if you’re that close to this happening, and sit you sit there and take a photo…

How do you know the photographer didn’t help the starving kid after taking the photo? Maybe he witnessed something shocking occur, took a picture of it for proof that people really are that screwed it, and then kicked the thief’s ass or just gave the kid some more food? 

If this is real…

Tell me what is the greatest good that a photo journalist can do? Is it the greatest good for him to stop a crime or for him to take a great photo that exposes the conditions of many in Sudan raising awareness in a wealthy Western country and inspiring political/philanthropic action?
Does anyone know the history of photojournalism and the impact it’s had? Don’t be so quick to judge, folks. These horrors exist. It’s not the place of the photojournalist or any journalist to right the world’s wrongs, only to expose them.

goodreasonnews:

muchtoocynical:

an-ominous-atheist:

anticapitalist:

stalinonthedrums:

anticapitalist:

hrtbps:

A well nourished Sudanese man steals maize from a starving child during a food distribution at Medecins Sans Frontieres feeding centre at Ajiep, southern Sudan, in 1998. (Tom Stoddart/Getty Images)

I call bullshit.

If the camera man was this close to this occurring, why didn’t he do anything?

Also, this clearly looks posed.

If you were starving and a rich poopyface came and stole your food, you’d beat the shit out of em in anger.

Or at least you’d yell and get some people who were around to help.

More likely than not, this was faked in someway.

This is a very famous photograph. If it were fake, it would have been confirmed somewhere online.

well in that case, the photographer is a cunt.

if you’re that close to this happening, and sit you sit there and take a photo…

How do you know the photographer didn’t help the starving kid after taking the photo? Maybe he witnessed something shocking occur, took a picture of it for proof that people really are that screwed it, and then kicked the thief’s ass or just gave the kid some more food? 

If this is real…

Tell me what is the greatest good that a photo journalist can do? Is it the greatest good for him to stop a crime or for him to take a great photo that exposes the conditions of many in Sudan raising awareness in a wealthy Western country and inspiring political/philanthropic action?

Does anyone know the history of photojournalism and the impact it’s had? Don’t be so quick to judge, folks. These horrors exist. It’s not the place of the photojournalist or any journalist to right the world’s wrongs, only to expose them.

Cheerleader who wouldn't root for athlete that raped her loses case

an-ominous-atheist:

socialistexan:

pintu:

kevinnj:

doaskid:

socialismartnature:

The United States: a country that “normalizes” rape at the highest levels.

—-

A Texas high school cheerleader who was kicked off the squad for refusing to chant the name of a basketball player -the same athlete she said had raped her four months earlier -lost a U.S. Supreme Court appeal Monday.

A federal appeals court ruled in September that the cheerleader was speaking for the school, not herself, and had no right to remain silent when called on to cheer the athlete by name.

wow. fuck this country. i mean that.

I did a shit ton of research about this entire case, expecting not to know both sides of the story, but it turns out I did. Dude is a fucking rapist and his victim was forced to cheer for him during a game. It is that simple. Not only is he not in jail for his crime, but he is still on the fast track to becoming a future scholarship athlete. 

Sickening.

I just threw up a little. This is completly horrifying.

Uh, MY question is why would ANYBODY cheer for a rapist: HE should have been kicked off the team! He should be in jail!

cwnl:

fuckyeahdrugpolicy:


A man who is dying from cancer and claims he grows cannabis for medicinal purposes has been remanded on bail, pending a psychiatric report.
Peter Davy, 51, faces charges of possession of cannabis, cultivating cannabis, importing cannabis seeds and unlicensed possession of a rifle.
He and his wife, who has MS, both claim they use the drug to relieve their pain.
Davy is threatening to go on a hunger strike if he has to go to jail, and his supporters staged a peaceful protest outside the Timaru District courthouse this morning. Read more
FREE PETER DAVY




There goes that senseless drug policy at work that crazy cwl keeps ranting about.

cwnl:

fuckyeahdrugpolicy:

A man who is dying from cancer and claims he grows cannabis for medicinal purposes has been remanded on bail, pending a psychiatric report.

Peter Davy, 51, faces charges of possession of cannabis, cultivating cannabis, importing cannabis seeds and unlicensed possession of a rifle.

He and his wife, who has MS, both claim they use the drug to relieve their pain.

Davy is threatening to go on a hunger strike if he has to go to jail, and his supporters staged a peaceful protest outside the Timaru District courthouse this morning. Read more

FREE PETER DAVY

There goes that senseless drug policy at work that crazy cwl keeps ranting about.

The high ambition, therefore, seems to me to be this: That one should strive to combine the maximum of impatience with the maximum of skepticism, the maximum of hatred of injustice and irrationality with the maximum of ironic self-criticism. This would mean really deciding to learn from history rather than invoking or sloganising it.

Christopher Hitchens, Letters to a Young ContrarianWORDS THAT WERE:   (via cocknbull)