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."
“If people are good only because they fear punishment, and hope for reward, then we are a sorry lot indeed”.
“Skeptical scrutiny is the means, in both science and religion, by which deep thoughts can be winnowed from deep nonsense.”
When the city of Pontiac, Michigan, shut down its fire department last Christmas Eve, city councilman Kermit Williams learned about it in the morning paper. “Nobody reports to me anymore,” Williams says. “It just gets reported in the press.” This was just the latest in a series of radical changes in the city, where elected officials such as Williams have been replaced by a single person with unprecedented control over the city’s operation and budget.
Gov. Rick Snyder put Louis Schimmel in charge of Pontiac last September, invoking Public Act 4, a recent law that lets the governor name appointees to take over financially troubled cities and enact drastic austerity measures. Under the law, passed last March, these emergency managers can nullify labor contracts, privatize public services, sell off city property, and even dismiss elected officials.
Schimmel got to work quickly, firing the city clerk, city attorney, and director of public works and outsourcing several city departments. City fire fighters were told that they would be fired if their department was not absorbed by Waterford Township’s. Schimmel has proposed putting nearly every city property up for sale, including city hall, the police station, fire stations, water-pumping stations, the library, the golf course, and two cemeteries.
Thanks to Democratic state Sen. Gretchen Whitmer and a shitload of bad national publicity, the religious exemption has been stripped from the anti-bullying bill working its way through the Michigan legislature. But gay groups are still unsatisfied, as the edited version of the bill does not specifically outlaw bullying based on sexual orientation or gender identity.“We are grateful that this legislation moves forward without the license to bully based on an outrageous religious exception, but that said, it won’t be effective,” said Michael Gregor, a spokesman for Equality Michigan, a gay rights group in Detroit that wants vulnerable groups enumerated in the anti-bullying bill. Dawud Walid, executive director of the Michigan chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, agreed that enumerations would strengthen the bill but said Muslims were still “relieved” that the Senate bill is likely dead.
Stand by for screams of outrage from the usual nutjobs. Michigan is one of only three states with no anti-bullying law. ~Joe.My.God