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

 

nonplussedbyreligion:

christiannightmares:

Newt Gingrich says the unemployed ‘sit at home’ and ‘do nothing’ and that unemployment benefits violate the Declaration of Independence (Found at Right Wing Watch)

Let’s overlook Gingrich for a second here and listen to the applause of his faithful followers.  Who are these people and where do they work?  Clearly they’re not one of the people I know personally with advanced degrees who were unable to find work in their fields, or any other field until recently.   They’re obviously not one of the many who are under-employed.  People who lived within the means of their previous salary only to find themselves having to work jobs that don’t pay nearly as well just so they can survive.  Of course there are those that sit at home and do nothing while they collect unemployment benefits.  However, to make this kind of asinine blanket statement, and to have it met with such applause, proves just how disconnected both Newt and his supporters are.  Un-freaking-believable. ~ Kim

underthemountainbunker:

…
99percent > 1percent: Quick Roundup on the Weekend Occupation
OccupyPhilly:

Occupy Seattle PhotosHundreds come out to ‘Occupy GR’ (Grand Rapids, MI)‘Occupy Wall Street’ rally spreads to downtown Casper, WYFolks Come Out To ‘Occupy’ Idaho FallsOccupy Wall Street: Hundreds march in DenverUPDATE: 32 Arrested in Occupy Des Moines ProtestOccupyDC gains support as it heads into second weekOccupy St. Louis! + video
Agent Provocateurs: Editor admits to ‘infiltrating’ D.C. protest to undermine ‘Occupy’ movement And more on that: Conservative Writer Admits ‘Infiltrating’ 99 Percent Movement To ‘Mock And Undermine’ It
OccupyBoston:socialismartnature: “We the People … Occupy Boston” Sign put up next to the highway into Boston by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers – Local 103
OccupyWallStreet:
Fox News correspondent Geraldo Rivera attempted to report from  the Occupy Wall Street protests in Lower Manhattan today but was forced  to abort the broadcast after a throng of demonstrators led a rally of  anti-Fox jeers. The incident was caught on camera by RT’s Lucy Kafanov:

…
Clergy Members March Alongside “Occupy Wall Street” Protesters
National and local unions supporting / involved in OccupyWallStreet
Dems rally behind ‘Occupy Wall Street’ protest movement
Occupy Wall Street: List and map of over 200 U.S. solidarity events and Facebook pages (Daily Kos)

All of this is making the Teaparty rallies look like a total joke. Happy Monday!

underthemountainbunker:

99percent > 1percent: Quick Roundup on the Weekend Occupation

OccupyPhilly:

Occupy Seattle Photos
Hundreds come out to ‘Occupy GR’ (Grand Rapids, MI)
‘Occupy Wall Street’ rally spreads to downtown Casper, WY
Folks Come Out To ‘Occupy’ Idaho Falls
Occupy Wall Street: Hundreds march in Denver
UPDATE: 32 Arrested in Occupy Des Moines Protest
OccupyDC gains support as it heads into second week
Occupy St. Louis! + video

Agent Provocateurs: Editor admits to ‘infiltrating’ D.C. protest to undermine ‘Occupy’ movement And more on that: Conservative Writer Admits ‘Infiltrating’ 99 Percent Movement To ‘Mock And Undermine’ It

OccupyBoston:

socialismartnature: “We the People … Occupy Boston” Sign put up next to the highway into Boston by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers – Local 103

OccupyWallStreet:

Fox News correspondent Geraldo Rivera attempted to report from the Occupy Wall Street protests in Lower Manhattan today but was forced to abort the broadcast after a throng of demonstrators led a rally of anti-Fox jeers. The incident was caught on camera by RT’s Lucy Kafanov:

Clergy Members March Alongside “Occupy Wall Street” Protesters

National and local unions supporting / involved in OccupyWallStreet

Dems rally behind ‘Occupy Wall Street’ protest movement

Occupy Wall Street: List and map of over 200 U.S. solidarity events and Facebook pages (Daily Kos)

Why not occupy it? It's your country or whatever!

All of this is making the Teaparty rallies look like a total joke. Happy Monday!

underthemountainbunker:

…
For #OccupyWallStreet, an immodest proposal: forgive the debt of the 99%
So my immodest proposal is simply this: Individuals and  households in the bottom 99 percent who owe debt to any large financial  institution that received federal government support during and after  the 2008 crisis should see their debt forgiven. That would  certainly stimulate the economy, as most people would suddenly find  themselves with a great deal more money to spend on iPads (and food, and  clothing, and housing, and healthcare). The debt can be forgiven by  decree or if the government really wants to it can step in to pay it  itself; I don’t much care either way. (Though it’d be nice to see it  just wiped off the books, to enrage the banks.)
Let’s wipe the debt of the 99 percent off the books, tell the financial sector to eat it, and get on with our lives.
— Alex Pareene | A proposed demand for Occupy Wall Street
Would that be fair? Sure it would.

REMEMBER AFTER 9-11 WHEN BUSH TOLD US TO GO SHOPPING, to “enjoy life, the way we want it to be enjoyed“. Who do you suppose that benefited, exactly? He and his rich friends knew exactly what they were doing:
Median wages grew too little over the past  30 years to drive the kind of spending necessary to sustain the  consumer economy. Instead, increasingly exotic forms of credit filled  the gap, as the wealthy offered the middle class alluring credit card  deals and variable-interest subprime loans. This allowed rich investors  to keep making money and everyone else to feel like they were keeping  up—until the whole system imploded. -– Study: Income Inequality Kills Economic Growth

NOW THIS:

Using 2007 figures, sociologist  William Domhoff points out that the top one percent have five percent of  the nation’s personal debt while the bottom 90 percent have 73 percent  of total debt. — The Top 5 Facts You Should Know About The Wealthiest One Percent Of Americans


I’m inclined to agree with this idea. I know anyone with a conservative bone in their body probably does a spit-take to that, but I hear me out.. The banks got their bailout from US. They should be out of business all together by the rules of the free market! I feel like we paid them the money we owed them, at least the equivalent of the difference between what our houses are worth and what we owe them. They could start by lowering the balance on all upsidedown mortgages to the current value of the house. And then, the student debt would be next, this is where I think the government should pay. Forgiving most or all student debt would be a huge economic stimulus. 

If the banks had to go in front of The Shark Tank or Dragons Den (If you watch BBC) or another group of venture capitalists and say “look, we are about to loose everything, we need a loan to save our business and you are our only hope”, those VCs would own their fucking asses, outright. The terms of that bailout would resemble indentured servitude. The VCs would get a cut of everything the bank brought in, forever. Instead, they walk away with balanced books and looking to collect from us, the very people who balanced the books for them, all of the same debt that they were relieved of already, plus penalties.

underthemountainbunker:

For #OccupyWallStreet, an immodest proposal: forgive the debt of the 99%

So my immodest proposal is simply this: Individuals and households in the bottom 99 percent who owe debt to any large financial institution that received federal government support during and after the 2008 crisis should see their debt forgiven. That would certainly stimulate the economy, as most people would suddenly find themselves with a great deal more money to spend on iPads (and food, and clothing, and housing, and healthcare). The debt can be forgiven by decree or if the government really wants to it can step in to pay it itself; I don’t much care either way. (Though it’d be nice to see it just wiped off the books, to enrage the banks.)

Let’s wipe the debt of the 99 percent off the books, tell the financial sector to eat it, and get on with our lives.

Alex Pareene | A proposed demand for Occupy Wall Street

Would that be fair? Sure it would.

REMEMBER AFTER 9-11 WHEN BUSH TOLD US TO GO SHOPPING, to “enjoy life, the way we want it to be enjoyed“. Who do you suppose that benefited, exactly? He and his rich friends knew exactly what they were doing:

Median wages grew too little over the past 30 years to drive the kind of spending necessary to sustain the consumer economy. Instead, increasingly exotic forms of credit filled the gap, as the wealthy offered the middle class alluring credit card deals and variable-interest subprime loans. This allowed rich investors to keep making money and everyone else to feel like they were keeping up—until the whole system imploded. -Study: Income Inequality Kills Economic Growth

NOW THIS:

Using 2007 figures, sociologist William Domhoff points out that the top one percent have five percent of the nation’s personal debt while the bottom 90 percent have 73 percent of total debt. The Top 5 Facts You Should Know About The Wealthiest One Percent Of Americans

I’m inclined to agree with this idea. I know anyone with a conservative bone in their body probably does a spit-take to that, but I hear me out.. The banks got their bailout from US. They should be out of business all together by the rules of the free market! I feel like we paid them the money we owed them, at least the equivalent of the difference between what our houses are worth and what we owe them. They could start by lowering the balance on all upsidedown mortgages to the current value of the house. And then, the student debt would be next, this is where I think the government should pay. Forgiving most or all student debt would be a huge economic stimulus.

If the banks had to go in front of The Shark Tank or Dragons Den (If you watch BBC) or another group of venture capitalists and say “look, we are about to loose everything, we need a loan to save our business and you are our only hope”, those VCs would own their fucking asses, outright. The terms of that bailout would resemble indentured servitude. The VCs would get a cut of everything the bank brought in, forever. Instead, they walk away with balanced books and looking to collect from us, the very people who balanced the books for them, all of the same debt that they were relieved of already, plus penalties.

underthemountainbunker:

“There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own. Nobody.” ~ Elizabeth Warren

Tremendous reminder for those who want to argue that liberals are ‘jealous’ of the success of the wealthy or that ending Bush’s tax cuts for the wealthiest 1-2% is somehow unfair. Watch Elizabeth Warren break it down so everyone can understand.

Transcribed for your reading pleasure:

Elizabeth Warren (at 0:50): I hear all this… well this is class warfare, this is whatever… No. There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own. Nobody. You built a factory out there — good for you!  But I want to be clear: you moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for. You hired workers the rest of us paid to educate. You were safe in your factory because of police forces and fire forces that the rest of us paid for.  You didn’t have to worry that maurading bands would come and seize everything at your factory and (have to) hire someone to protect against this because of the work the rest of us did. Now look: you built a factory and it turned into something terrific, or a great idea — God Bless! Keep a big hunk of it. But part of the underlying social contract is that you take a hunk of that and pay forward for the next kid who comes along.

via: vruz

underthemountainbunker:

Video / transcript: President Obama’s jobs speech & reactions from Krugman and O’Reilly

TRANSCRIPT of the speech here

FACT SHEET: The American Jobs Act

PAUL KRUGMAN’S comments on the jobs plan:

O.K., about the Obama plan: It calls for about $200 billion in new spending — much of it on things we need in any case, like school repair, transportation networks, and avoiding teacher layoffs — and $240 billion in tax cuts. That may sound like a lot, but it actually isn’t. The lingering effects of the housing bust and the overhang of household debt from the bubble years are creating a roughly $1 trillion per year hole in the U.S. economy, and this plan — which wouldn’t deliver all its benefits in the first year — would fill only part of that hole. And it’s unclear, in particular, how effective the tax cuts would be at boosting spending.

Still, the plan would be a lot better than nothing, and some of its measures, which are specifically aimed at providing incentives for hiring, might produce relatively a large employment bang for the buck. As I said, it’s much bolder and better than I expected. President Obama’s hair may not be on fire, but it’s definitely smoking; clearly and gratifyingly, he does grasp how desperate the jobs situation is.

But his plan isn’t likely to become law, thanks to Republican opposition. And it’s worth noting just how much that opposition has hardened over time, even as the plight of the unemployed has worsened.

[…] leading Republicans are basically against anything that might help the unemployed. Yes, Mr. Romney has issued a glossy, well-produced “jobs plan,” but it might best be described as 59 bullet points with nothing there — and certainly nothing to justify his assertion, bordering on megalomania, that he would create no fewer than 11 million jobs in four years.

The good news in all this is that by going bigger and bolder than expected, Mr. Obama may finally have set the stage for a political debate about job creation. For, in the end, nothing will be done until the American people demand action.

BILL O’REILLY’S comments on the jobs plan:

During an interview with White House press secretary Jay Carney, Bill O’Reilly criticized President Obama for using investor Warren Buffett as an example of the unfairness in the tax code. Obama, in his speech on jobs before a joint session of Congress, said that “Warren Buffet pays a lower tax rate than his secretary — an outrage he has asked us to fix.” O’Reilly took exception that remark, suggesting that it was an “apples to oranges” comparison because Buffett pays mostly capital gains taxes while his secretary likely pays mostly income tax.

His criticism is off base. Taxes on “capital gains” are taxes on income derived from capital, as opposed to income derived from labor. Both capital gains taxes and income taxes are taxes on income. O’Reilly is wrong to suggest Buffett and the president are being misleading or unfair.

O’Reilly and the rest of Fox “News,” and radio entertainers like Limbaugh, count on their audience to be of the “low information” variety. They even have a club:

underthemountainbunker:

Roundup: RWNJ Faux Outrageous Outrage of the Day — Jim Hoffa Jr. and Union Thuggery!
TBogg: Pearls Were Clutched. Sphincters Were Clenched –  Jimmy Hoffa Jr. makes reference to “son’s-of-bitches” and immediately  teabaggers and Republicans and conservatives and rightwing bloggers  think he’s speaking specifically about them (guilt? … deeply guarded  family secret?  …  mom really was a bitch?) and so they get the vapors  and now they are super totally  not going to vote for the black guy.

Oh noes! Not Breitbartoacalypse II?
TPM: No regrets — On calling Republican members of Congress “sons of bitches” in a speech on Monday, Teamsters President James Hoffa tells TPM he would say it all over again.
All fun aside, this is the REAL issue — doctored video and lies:
MMFA – Matt Gertz: Fox Doctors Hoffa Speech To Fabricate Call For Violence — Right-wing bloggers misled by dishonest Fox News video editing are  attacking Teamsters President James Hoffa, Jr. for supposedly urging  violence against Tea Party activists during a Labor Day speech.  Conservatives are also attacking President Obama, who appeared at the  event, for “sanctioning violence against fellow Americans” by failing to  denounce Hoffa. But fuller context included in other Fox segments makes  clear that Hoffa wasn’t calling for violence but was actually urging  the crowd to vote out Republican members of Congress.
Charles Johnson: Fox News Deceptively Edits Video to Smear Teamsters Pres. Hoffa — Absolutely blatant lying from Fox — Fox News aired a flat-out dishonest, edited version of Hoffa’s  speech, deliberately doctored to remove a crucial point and make it look  as though Hoffa was calling for violence and civil war.
See Fox “News” edited clip and ABC News unedited clip…
An actual, unedited transcript of Hoffa’s remarks:

We got to keep an eye on the battle that  we face: The war on workers. And you see it everywhere, it is the Tea  Party. And you know, there is only one way to beat and win that war. The  one thing about working people is we like a good fight. And you know  what? They’ve got a war, they got a war with us and there’s only going  to be one winner. It’s going to be the workers of Michigan, and America.  We’re going to win that war.
President Obama, this is your army. We are  ready to march. AndPresident Obama, we want one thing: jobs, jobs,  jobs… That’s what we’re going to tell him. He’s gonna be … and when he  sees what we’re doing here, he will be inspired. But he needs help. And  you know what? Everybody here’s got to vote. If we go  back, and we keep the eye on the prize, let’s take these son of a  bitches out and give America back to an America where we belong.

Hoffa was talking about VOTING OUT the sons of bitches? Oh, my. Obama has a responsibility to tell Hoffa he owes a quarter to the cuss jar – but THAT’S ABOUT IT.

underthemountainbunker:

Roundup: RWNJ Faux Outrageous Outrage of the Day — Jim Hoffa Jr. and Union Thuggery!

TBogg: Pearls Were Clutched. Sphincters Were Clenched – Jimmy Hoffa Jr. makes reference to “son’s-of-bitches” and immediately teabaggers and Republicans and conservatives and rightwing bloggers think he’s speaking specifically about them (guilt? … deeply guarded family secret?  …  mom really was a bitch?) and so they get the vapors and now they are super totally  not going to vote for the black guy.

Oh noes! Not Breitbartoacalypse II?

TPM: No regrets — On calling Republican members of Congress “sons of bitches” in a speech on Monday, Teamsters President James Hoffa tells TPM he would say it all over again.

All fun aside, this is the REAL issue — doctored video and lies:

MMFA – Matt Gertz: Fox Doctors Hoffa Speech To Fabricate Call For Violence — Right-wing bloggers misled by dishonest Fox News video editing are attacking Teamsters President James Hoffa, Jr. for supposedly urging violence against Tea Party activists during a Labor Day speech. Conservatives are also attacking President Obama, who appeared at the event, for “sanctioning violence against fellow Americans” by failing to denounce Hoffa. But fuller context included in other Fox segments makes clear that Hoffa wasn’t calling for violence but was actually urging the crowd to vote out Republican members of Congress.

Charles Johnson: Fox News Deceptively Edits Video to Smear Teamsters Pres. Hoffa — Absolutely blatant lying from Fox — Fox News aired a flat-out dishonest, edited version of Hoffa’s speech, deliberately doctored to remove a crucial point and make it look as though Hoffa was calling for violence and civil war.

See Fox “News” edited clip and ABC News unedited clip

An actual, unedited transcript of Hoffa’s remarks:

We got to keep an eye on the battle that we face: The war on workers. And you see it everywhere, it is the Tea Party. And you know, there is only one way to beat and win that war. The one thing about working people is we like a good fight. And you know what? They’ve got a war, they got a war with us and there’s only going to be one winner. It’s going to be the workers of Michigan, and America. We’re going to win that war.

President Obama, this is your army. We are ready to march. AndPresident Obama, we want one thing: jobs, jobs, jobs… That’s what we’re going to tell him. He’s gonna be … and when he sees what we’re doing here, he will be inspired. But he needs help. And you know what? Everybody here’s got to vote. If we go back, and we keep the eye on the prize, let’s take these son of a bitches out and give America back to an America where we belong.

Hoffa was talking about VOTING OUT the sons of bitches? Oh, my. Obama has a responsibility to tell Hoffa he owes a quarter to the cuss jar – but THAT’S ABOUT IT.

You gotta look people in the eye and tell ‘em they’re irresponsible and lazy… Because that’s what poverty is, ladies and gentlemen. In this country, you can succeed if you get educated and work hard. Period. Period.

Fox news host Bill O’Reilly

I used to own a business and have been in senior positions at other businesses, and I know many others who have started and operated businesses of all sizes. I can tell you from direct experience that I tried very hard to employ the right number of people. What I mean by this is that when there were lots of customers I would add people to meet the demand. And when demand slacked off I had to let people go.

If I had extra money I wouldn’t just hire people to sit around and read the paper. And if I had more customers than I could handle that — the revenue generated by meeting the additional demand from the extra customers — is what would pay for employing more people to meet the demand. It is a pretty simple equation:

you employ the right number of people to meet the demand your business has.

Dave Johnson for Campaign for America’s Future (via drinkthe-koolaid)

I fail to see how paying people not to work is going to reduce unemployment. I think the compassionate thing to do is make it difficult for people who don’t have a job so they go out there and hustle to find one. People need an incentive to find jobs. If they can’t find work, they can start businesses and create jobs. If the government makes it comfortable for people to not work, that opportunity will be exploited.

Wyoming Rep. Kendell Kroeker, R-Evansville, encouraging the Wyoming State House to vote down $38 million of federal unemployment benefits in the name of compassion. Kroeker claimed he has had people turn down jobs at his Casper business because they would rather draw unemployment. Uh, huh… 

Posted on his Facebook page later:

We did something good today - we just killed a bill that would have extended unemployment benefits. Killing a bad bill is a great feeling.

This flashback from February reflects the current theme in the GOP - it’s them lazy unemployed, and damned unions takin’ all yer money and jobs. Probably illegals, too. Never mind tax cuts for the wealthy and corporate subsidies. The Bush tax cuts had eight years to generate job creation. Nada.

As an aside, anyone else realizing how liberal Richard Nixon really was, even compared to Obama?

(via cognitivedissonance)

Um.  Is it that hard for these politicians to accept that the state of the economy is not the people’s fault, it’s the fault of banks and the government and companies and a whole shitload of other stuff not really having to do with the public?  Therefore they really shouldn’t be punished for this crap?

In regards to that last bit about Nixon: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/We_are_all_Keynesians_now Also, wage-price freeze.

(via questionablenerdlygoodness)

uh I am on unemployment right now. A measly $1480 a month. For some perspective, my rent is $880. If I was offered a job, I highly doubt my reason for turning it down (if I did indeed turn it down, highly unlikely) would be so I could continue the movie star lifestyle I’m living on this unemployment.

(via drinkthe-koolaid)

The Republican party’s famous last words: “I fail to see…”

(Source: thewyonews.net)