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

 

"HE will not be mocked!!" | Congressional Stenographer Snaps, Rants on House floor

The politicians aren’t the only delusional people in the House:

Washington (CNN) – Amid all the chaos of the last-minute deal in Washington, there was an unusual moment on the House floor moments after the bill passed.

A House stenographer and well-known employee calmly took to a microphone and began screaming.


"Do not be deceived. God shall not be mocked. A House divided cannot stand," she said, according to a House GOP aide. After a few seconds, she was escorted out by the Sergeant-at-Arms, but an audio recording by Todd Zwillich of Public Radio International captured the rest of her rant.

"He will not be mocked, He will not be mocked, (don’t touch me) He will not be mocked. The greatest deception here, is that this is not one nation under God. It never was. Had it been… it would not have been… No. it would not have been… the Constitution would not have been written by Free Masons… and go against God. You cannot serve two masters. You cannot serve two masters. Praise be to God, Lord Jesus Christ."

House members and aides were surprised and unsettled by the scene.

"I don’t know, she just snapped," said a GOP aide.

CNN’s Dana Bash spoke with several staffers who knew the woman well.

"She’s a well-known person, she’s a perfectly nice person, a good colleague, somebody who’s respectable and dependable, and this is very surprising to everybody who works with her," Bash reported on air.

"The Sergeant in Arms didn’t try to stop her because she works there and that’s where she’s situated," Rep. Peter King, R-New York, told Jake Tapper. "And she actually went up behind the podium where the president speaks from. They thought she was going to hand something to the speaker, and then they realized."

Officer Shennell S. Antrobus of Capitol Police told CNN that officers have interviewed the woman and that she was transported to a local hospital for evaluation. Many officers knew her personally as well, a source said.

(Source: CNN)

On Monday, simply by doing absolutely nothing, the 113th Congress allowed the interest rate on student loans to double, from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent. That might be permissible if they were busy with more important things, like inventing a cure for cancer that’s also a source of endless clean energy. But they’re not even working this week.

Wonkbook: Is this the laziest Congress ever? (via wonklife)

Imagine the outcry had it been business loan rates that doubled overnight.

Congressional Support for a National Day of Reason

(Washington, DC, April 30, 2013)—Two members of Congress are offering encouragement to those taking part in National Day of Reason events on May 2, an observance that promoters see as a more inclusive alternative to the religiously focused, government-sponsored National Day of Prayer.

“The National Day of Reason celebrates the application of reason and the positive impact it has had on humanity,” Rep. Michael Honda (CA) declared in the Congressional record. “It is also an opportunity to reaffirm the Constitutional separation of religion and government.”

“I encourage all citizens to join in observing this day and focusing upon the employment of reason, critical thought, the scientific method, and free inquiry to the resolution of human problems for the welfare of humanity,” Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC) said in a statement.

This support takes on a new meaning this year in light of the recent controversy over the refusal to include secular representation at the official memorial service honoring the victims of the recent Boston bombings. The National Day of Prayer Task Force openly admits that its purpose is to represent “a Judeo Christian expression of the national observance.” Supporters of the National Day of Reason find this practice exclusionary…

Read more

missbananafish:

thewordunheard:

raptoravatar:

theoreticalgirl:

valerieagotlib:

ryanoshea:

Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, first Congressperson to officially describe her religion as “none,” is sworn in not on the Bible, but on the document she’s actually supposed to be protecting and upholding—the Constitution.
[Fun fact: James Madison remains the only president to take his oath of office on a book of laws, rather than the Bible.]

Love this. 

Also, she is the first openly bisexual member of Congress!

She’s also dispelling stereotypes about Creatively-Spelled Americans!

This is so awesome.

I bet Boehner’s hand got all hot and tingly when he picked up that book.

missbananafish:

thewordunheard:

raptoravatar:

theoreticalgirl:

valerieagotlib:

ryanoshea:

Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, first Congressperson to officially describe her religion as “none,” is sworn in not on the Bible, but on the document she’s actually supposed to be protecting and upholding—the Constitution.

[Fun fact: James Madison remains the only president to take his oath of office on a book of laws, rather than the Bible.]

Love this. 

Also, she is the first openly bisexual member of Congress!

She’s also dispelling stereotypes about Creatively-Spelled Americans!

This is so awesome.

I bet Boehner’s hand got all hot and tingly when he picked up that book.

When the Bible is a science book …

Students in this country are to be commended. Recent tests showed they ranked 17th out of 34 countries in science.

That is a remarkable feat when you consider the attitude of our legislators.

The latest news from the legislative-science front involves U.S. Rep. Paul Broun, a Republican from Georgia. He spoke at a church banquet last month. He denounced scientists and said the earth was about 9,000 years old.

The church posted his speech on its website.

“God’s word is true,” he said, “I’ve come to understand that. All that stuff I was taught about evolution and embryology and Big Bang theory, all that is lies straight from the pit of hell. And it’s lies to try to keep me and all the folks who are taught that from understanding that they need a savior.”

Presumably, he was taught some of that stuff in medical school. He is a doctor.

More to the point, he is a member of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee.

British crown, more popular in the American colonies during the Revolutionary War than Congress today.

British crown, more popular in the American colonies during the Revolutionary War than Congress today.

abaldwin360:

barticles:

abaldwin360:

Our Tax Money™ going to deadbeats…

And after everything Democrats did to help re-elect George W. Bush! Man, what a bunch of ingrates! <wink>

You can’t tell me you can’t see the difference - the obstructionism shown by republicans in the past few years is unprecedented.

abaldwin360:

barticles:

abaldwin360:

Our Tax Money™ going to deadbeats…

And after everything Democrats did to help re-elect George W. Bush! Man, what a bunch of ingrates! <wink>

You can’t tell me you can’t see the difference - the obstructionism shown by republicans in the past few years is unprecedented.

realitydoctor:

breanieswordvomit:

divineirony:

Universal healthcare for life*.
 *only applies to congressmen.

You’re welcome assholes

No. Just no. Congresspersons pay into the Federal Employee Health Plan just like every other goddamn Federal employee. This is just like the rumour that Congresspersons get a lifetime pension after one term. I just hate stupid shit like this. All it does is feed the partisan bickering. Hate them if you wish, but know what the fuck you’re talking about first.

I gladly stand corrected. This cartoon is not quite accurate and I jumped to conclusions. So I did some checking on the FEHP benefits: 


(From FactCheck.Org)

&#8220;…Like other large employers, the government pays a large share of the cost of coverage. On average, the government pays 72 percent of the premiums for its workers, up to a maximum of 75 percent depending on the policy chosen. For example, the popular Blue Cross and Blue Shield standard fee-for-service family plan carries a total premium of $1,120.47 per month, of which the beneficiary pays $356.59. Washington, D.C.-based employees who prefer an HMO option might choose the Kaiser standard family plan. It carries a total premium of $629.46 per month, of which the employee pays only $157.36.

In addition, members of Congress also qualify for some medical benefits that ordinary federal workers do not. They (but not their families) are eligible to receive limited medical services from the Office of the Attending Physician of the U.S. Capitol, after payment of an annual fee ($491in 2007). But services don’t include surgery, dental care or eyeglasses, and any prescriptions must be filled at the member’s expense.

House and Senate members (but not their families) also are eligible to receive care at military hospitals. For outpatient care, there is no charge at the Washington, D.C., area hospitals (Walter Reed Army Medical Center and National Naval Medical Center). Inpatient care is billed at rates set by the Department of Defense…&#8221;

So, it should say 100% of the 249 congressmen voting to repeal health care have 72% of their healthcare paid for by those Americans. 

While they don&#8217;t get free universal healthcare for life, they are trying to repeal (without a comparable replacement) a healthcare bill that makes employers provided healthcare and provides gov. subsidies for people to purchase their own insurance while they themselves get 72-75% of their premiums subsidized by their employer, the government. They sit on an island of secure healthcare provided to them by the government, most likely the result of federal employee unions, while trying to destroy both. Oh, and the salaries they use to pay their remaining costs is 100% tax payer money. There&#8217;s some irony in there somewhere.

realitydoctor:

breanieswordvomit:

divineirony:

Universal healthcare for life*.


*only applies to congressmen.

You’re welcome assholes

No. Just no. Congresspersons pay into the Federal Employee Health Plan just like every other goddamn Federal employee. This is just like the rumour that Congresspersons get a lifetime pension after one term. I just hate stupid shit like this. All it does is feed the partisan bickering. Hate them if you wish, but know what the fuck you’re talking about first.

I gladly stand corrected. This cartoon is not quite accurate and I jumped to conclusions. So I did some checking on the FEHP benefits:

(From FactCheck.Org)

“…Like other large employers, the government pays a large share of the cost of coverage. On average, the government pays 72 percent of the premiums for its workers, up to a maximum of 75 percent depending on the policy chosen. For example, the popular Blue Cross and Blue Shield standard fee-for-service family plan carries a total premium of $1,120.47 per month, of which the beneficiary pays $356.59. Washington, D.C.-based employees who prefer an HMO option might choose the Kaiser standard family plan. It carries a total premium of $629.46 per month, of which the employee pays only $157.36.

In addition, members of Congress also qualify for some medical benefits that ordinary federal workers do not. They (but not their families) are eligible to receive limited medical services from the Office of the Attending Physician of the U.S. Capitol, after payment of an annual fee ($491in 2007). But services don’t include surgery, dental care or eyeglasses, and any prescriptions must be filled at the member’s expense.

House and Senate members (but not their families) also are eligible to receive care at military hospitals. For outpatient care, there is no charge at the Washington, D.C., area hospitals (Walter Reed Army Medical Center and National Naval Medical Center). Inpatient care is billed at rates set by the Department of Defense…”

So, it should say 100% of the 249 congressmen voting to repeal health care have 72% of their healthcare paid for by those Americans.

While they don’t get free universal healthcare for life, they are trying to repeal (without a comparable replacement) a healthcare bill that makes employers provided healthcare and provides gov. subsidies for people to purchase their own insurance while they themselves get 72-75% of their premiums subsidized by their employer, the government. They sit on an island of secure healthcare provided to them by the government, most likely the result of federal employee unions, while trying to destroy both. Oh, and the salaries they use to pay their remaining costs is 100% tax payer money. There’s some irony in there somewhere.

axioa:

barackobama:

Three days for Congress to get its act together to prevent student loan rate hikes for over 7 million people. Give ‘em a nudge.

Please do something! I’m going to college soon and this will not help me. 

axioa:

barackobama:

Three days for Congress to get its act together to prevent student loan rate hikes for over 7 million people. Give ‘em a nudge.

Please do something! I’m going to college soon and this will not help me. 

Congress hereby declares that the right to life guaranteed by the Constitution is vested in each human being.

The Life at Conception Act, an amendment introduced by Sen. Rand Paul • Gumming up the works of an otherwise non-controversial bill about flood insurance. The amendment to the bill also “ensure[s] equal protection for right to life of each born and preborn human person.” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid stated he would not allow a vote on the amendment, and asked other GOP senators — who, incidentally, are the major supporters of this bill, even without Paul’s amendment — to deal with their colleague “on their side of the aisle.” An incredible hail mary for pro-life policy.  source (viafollow)

What the fuck republicans?! Attaching a personhood amendment to a Flood Insurance bill? Have you no dignity? If your ideas doesn’t stand on their own and require being obscured by unrelated legislation, you have shit ideas.