Category: History

Creationist says NASA’s search for alien life is unbiblical. I’d be worried if it wasn’t.

Popular creationist Ken Ham has slammed NASA’s attempts to find for extraterrestrial life, saying that God has intentionally not created life anywhere outside the Earth, and calling it a “desperate attempt to prove evolution…”

Ham, who is the CEO and founder of the Creation Museum, made his comments in response to a group of scientists who suggested that within the next twenty years, space telescopes will likely discover other habitable Earth-like planets and possible extraterrestrial life.

“It’s highly improbable in the limitless vastness of the universe that we humans stand alone,” said Charles Bolden, the current administrator of NASA and former astronaut…

The scientists are anticipating the James Webb Space Telescope’s deployment to the Earth-Sun L2 point, where it will be able to investigate the atmospheres of far-off planets circling other suns.

“Sometime in the near future, people will be able to point to a star and say, ‘that star has a planet like Earth’,” added Sara Seager, professor of planetary science and physics at MIT…

However, Ham argues that believing in extraterrestrial life is simply not Biblical.

“Secularists cannot allow earth to be special or unique – that’s a biblical idea (Isaiah 45:18). If life evolved here, it simply must have evolved elsewhere they believe,” he stated, adding that Christians who believe the Bible is the inerrant word of God “shouldn’t expect alien life to be cropping up across the universe…”

“…You see, the Bible makes it clear that Adam’s sin affected the whole universe. This means that any aliens would also be affected by Adam’s sin, but because they are not Adam’s descendants, they can’t have salvation,” he continued.

“One day, the whole universe will be judged by fire, and there will be a new heavens and earth. God’s Son stepped into history to be Jesus Christ, the ‘Godman,’ to be our relative, and to be the perfect sacrifice for sin – the Savior of mankind…”

The usual two questions apply. Stupid or ignorant? I’d say, “both…with the addition of simple-minded”. Ham has consciously decided to ignore science – and that’s stupid. As a result, he works hard at being ignorant of measurable, verifiable fact.

Rejecting reality, ignoring science – justifying that approach because you put all your attempts to understand the world on a book written by a small religious committee in the 14th Century – is absurd. Even more useless, Ham rejects additional understanding of the real world acquired in the several centuries since.

As much as he blathers about reliance on that book as the sum of all he needs, he still relies every day on the products of science and technology to sustain his life at a level higher than the Stone Age.

Thanks, Mike

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US evacuates embassy in Libya

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I’m not certain even an evacuation would get me up in an OspreyPhoto by Shawn Valosin/US Marine Corps

The United States has shut its embassy in Libya and evacuated its diplomats to neighbouring Tunisia under US military escort after fighting intensified between rival militias in the capital’s streets…

Speaking in Paris, US Secretary of State John Kerry said that “free-wheeling militia violence” had become a real risk to US staff as clashes erupted around the embassy…

The evacuation was accompanied by the release of a new State Department travel warning for Libya urging Americans not to go to the country and recommending that those already there leave immediately…

Britain’s foreign office on Saturday also urged British nationals to leave by commercial means, due to “ongoing and greater intensity fighting in Tripoli and wider instability throughout Libya.”

American personnel at the Tripoli embassy, which had already been operating with limited staffing, left the capital around dawn and traveled by road to neighbouring Tunisia, according to spokeswoman Marie Harf.

The move marks the second time in a little more than three years that Washington has closed its embassy in Libya.

There’s no truth to the rumor that John McCain was seen in a rented Toyota pickup truck with a machine gun mounted in the bed – dashing off to Benghazi to rescue Darrell Issa who’s been supplementing his Wall Street investments as an itinerant arms dealer.

Florida ruling for same-sex marriage adds to list of victories for civil rights

A state judge struck down Florida’s gay marriage ban on Friday in the latest in a string of legal gay-rights victories that have nonetheless been put on hold for resolution by higher courts.

Circuit court judge Sarah Zabel in Miami-Dade county said Florida’s ban violated the constitutional rights to due process and equal protection, and offended “basic human decency“.

Florida’s attorney general quickly appealed against the ruling. But Zabel said the slew of recent verdicts showed it was “increasingly obvious” it was impermissible to deny couples the right to marry solely on the basis of their sexual orientation, and that doing so served no governmental purpose.

“It serves only to hurt, to discriminate, to deprive same-sex couples and their families of equal dignity, to label and treat them as second-class citizens, and to deem them unworthy of participation in one of the fundamental institutions of our society,” she wrote.

Now, you can see ever more clearly why the Republican Party and their nutball acolytes are blocking affirmation of federal judgeships throughout Obama’s terms in the White House. No one expects him to appoint anyone other than moderate to traditionally-conservative judges; but, even that is too scary for right-wingers and theocrats.

Anyone with an understanding of law beyond 19th Century blood-and-thunder oratory is going to rule favorably upon all the issues Congress is too cowardly to advance.

It takes the Great State of Arizona 2 hours to finish killing Joe Wood

A convicted killer gasped on the gurney as the state of Arizona attempted to execute him on Wednesday, before being declared dead almost two hours after the process began.

Lawyers for Joseph Wood attempted to halt the execution in an emergency court motion, saying he had been “gasping and snorting for more than an hour”. The state attorney general announced Wood had died before the court could rule on the motion.

The developments echoed the botched execution of Clayton Lockett, who writhed and groaned on a gurney for nearly 45 minutes before eventually dying of a heart attack. The two-hour process in Wood’s case appeared certain to revive the arguments surrounding the death penalty in the US, as a shortage of execution drugs has forced states to use untried methods and unregulated drugs.

The office of the Arizona attorney general, Tom Horne, said Wood was pronounced dead at 3.49 pm local time, one hour and 57 minutes after the execution started…

The hours leading up to the execution were marked by a frenzied legal battle over the secrecy imposed by state officials on the source of the drugs. It was put on hold several times – first by a federal appeals court, then by the state supreme court of Arizona – only to have the stays lifted and the procedure go ahead.

One reason folks here in the Southwest call Arizona the Mississippi of the West is their politicians share that Southern Stalwart’s contempt for the value of any human life. Apparently an attribute shared by the folks who elect and re-elect the creeps running the state government and many of the flavors of incarceration much beloved of Old Testament ideologues.

Frankly, as a fiscal conservative, I oppose the death penalty for 99% of the cases it involves. It simply costs less to sentence a villain to life without parole. Even in a state like Arizona almost wholly in bed with for-profit prisons.

Israelis shell Gaza hospitals


In the Al-Aqsa HospitalMohammed Abed/AFP-Getty Images

Israeli tanks have shelled a hospital in the central Gaza Strip, killing at least five people and wounding at least another 50.

Al Jazeera’s Stephanie Dekker, reporting from Gaza, said according to early reports the third floor of the al-Aqsa Hospital in Deir al-Balah had been hit by at least three tank shells on Monday…

Al-Aqsa Hospital is the third to be hit by Israeli tank fire since Israel launched its ground offensive in Gaza four days ago.

Al Jazeera’s Dekker said the scene of the hospital shelling was an area “where a lot of people had been fleeing to”…”There’s extremely heavy shelling going on in that neighbourhood. This is an area you’d think would be relatively safe,” she said…

A distressed doctor at the scene of the attack told Al Jazeera: “We cannot do anything here for our patients, all the patients, all the injured in the emergency department.”

There were no known indications that the hospital was used by armed factions of Hamas…

That is the excuse the Israeli military always uses for killing civilians in any facility normally protected by international protocols.

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Remembering absent friends and more…

30 seconds over Tokyo

It’s been a tough morning.

Up early as usual. Because of my wife’s work routine, we’re usually up before 5AM. Habit runs right through the weekend.

I figured to watch the start of the German Gran Prix. Had it set to record so I could check back through the race after it was over. But, I started to look around to see what else was on TV this early. I certainly wasn’t going to watch the news. Guaranteed it would be them dangerous furriners killing each other in Ukraine; brave little Israel killing Arabs in self-defense at a rate of 200 to 1; crowds of white Americans demonstrating our freedom by massing to keep children fleeing North towards our border from crossing into the Land of Liberty.

I don’t recall the channel; but, there was 30 SECONDS OVER TOKYO…the story of the shock raid by a few American bombers that took off from an aircraft carrier in 1942 to bring the war started by Japan – home to the Japanese nation. You can read about the raid any number of places. The movie is pretty accurate.

It became harder to watch than I thought. I saw the movie when it came out in the autumn of 1944 at our neighborhood movie theater. My sister and me, mom and dad. Four of my uncles were still overseas in the war. One of my older cousins was missing in the Pacific.

I didn’t remember General Doolittle’s speech to the pilots and crew before they lifted their B-25 Mitchell bombers off the flight deck of the Hornet. So, it took me by surprise when he finished by explaining to the airmen this would be the first time American pilots bombed a city. Yes, these were military targets; but, innocent civilians were inevitably going to be killed and injured. Anyone who didn’t want to take part in what some would feel was murder of the innocents could step aside and no one would think the worse of them.

And I had to cry.

First and foremost, all the emotions of those days of war flooded back into my heart and mind. People I loved, people I didn’t even know. Tens of thousands dying horrible deaths around the globe from England to Asia and the Pacific. Then, I couldn’t help but reflect on what our nation has become; how hardened and distorted our culture has become – we now only describe the murder of innocent civilians as “collateral damage”. We can send in pilotless drones to fire missiles at our enemy du jour and maybe only kill a few members of their families. Guilty of being kin to evil men. What have we become?

I couldn’t finish watching the movie. I got as far as the Ruptured Duck, one of the B-25s crash-landing in the ocean just off the coast of China – as did all the planes after the mission. Running out of fuel near China or the Soviet Union. Crashing into the sea or just inland. Most of those who flew the attack survived the mission.

In what was called one of the worst war crimes of the century, Japan executed 250,000 Chinese civilians along the coast because some had aided our airmen to survival and eventual safety.

BRICS nations found bank to rival Western-dominated World Bank and IMF

The so-called BRICS countries agreed to form an international development bank with aspirations to challenge the dominance of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

Leaders of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa said Tuesday that the New Development Bank will start with $50 billion in capital and $100 billion as a currency reserve fund for liquidity crises…

Still, the BRICS bank, which could add more member nations, represents a bid to expand the influence of the BRICS emerging markets and act as a counterbalance to institutions run by the U.S. and other developed nations…

As developing countries began playing a larger role in the world economy, their leaders repeatedly complained that they have not been given correspondingly larger voices in international financial institutions such as the World Bank and the IMF, both based in Washington. The U.S. typically appoints the World Bank president, and European countries appoint the IMF chief.

“International governance structures designed within a different power configuration show increasingly evident signs of losing legitimacy and effectiveness,” said the official statement signed by the BRICS leaders, who met in Fortaleza, Brazil, on Tuesday. “We believe the BRICS are an important force for incremental change and reform of current institutions toward more representative and equitable governance.”

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Chinese President Xi Jinping and South African President Jacob Zuma hammered out some of the final details before signing the agreement Tuesday.

Among the terms are that the bank will be in Shanghai, its first president will be from India, and the first chair of the board of directors will be from Brazil…

Analysts expect that other countries – like Indonesia, Mexico or Turkey – will join the bank over time. Certainly, they and their neighbors have no shortage of conflicts with restrictions important to the fiscal bears directing the IMF or the World Bank.

I doubt anyone expects either of the banks under the thumb of the US [and to a lesser extent, the EU] to modernize, to actively support the developing nations in any goal beyond being a source of cheap labor, raw materials, for Western corporations.

Germany 1 – 0 Argentina

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Mario Goetze scores the winning goal, 111th minute, 2nd of double overtime

I’m exhausted. The end of one of the best World Cups I’ve watched since [I'd say] 1982. Plenty of real sports columnists, proper football fans will write pages of stuff I’ll appreciate as much as you may.

Let me congratulate the German team, their coach, the national coaching scheme that brought them to this victory.

Political animal I am, let me note in passing a completely unremarkable moment in the stands photographed at the beginning of the match. Vladimir Putin sits next to Sep Blatter, Dilma Rousseff next to Angela Merkel. With the exception of Blatter all leaders in their own nations, all preparing for the BRICS Summit which starts tomorrow morning in Brazil.

The agenda ranges from trade to the establishment of a $100 billion commercial bank for the BRICS nations. Xi Jinping will probably kick in the lion’s share from China.

The folks in the photo below realize they all have something to gain in sorting economic and political futures together. Most educated adults in the world outside the United States are aware of the same. Our government, our nation continues down the primrose path of a dying imperial nation, a standard we took up from the Brits after World War 2. Our nation, our people, the TweedleDee and TweedleDumb parties that represent our wishes, our “style”, haven’t any more clue about what’s going on in this crowd than Fox & Friends or some Tea Party candidate in Texas. Football, economics or foreign policy.

The folks in the photo – know that.

Watching TV — discover your home belongs to a serial killer — WTF?


Gosh – that house looks familiar

A Missouri woman found out that her $810-a-month dream home in Ferguson was actually a nightmare after seeing a documentary about serial killers on the A&E network.

After watching the show, Catrina McGhaw discovered she was living in the home that serial killer Maury Travis used as a torture chamber.

Authorities believe Travis killed between 12 and 20 women and that many of them died in the basement of the home. He hanged himself in jail in 2002.

McGhaw was freaked out by what had happened in the basement and she was even more rattled when she realized the house’s dining room table was the same one seen in crime scene photos.

Perhaps that shouldn’t have been a surprise, because as is turns out, McGhaw’s landlord is the killer’s mother.

“When she showed us the house, she said you can have this table if you want,” McGhaw told KMOV. “This whole basement was his torture chamber and it’s not okay.”

After confronting her landlord about the house’s history, McGhaw will be breaking her lease thanks to some help from the St. Louis Housing Authority.

Eeoough!. Makes for some interesting dreams, eh?

Some terrible tips for women courtesy of 19th Century Fox

FoxBullshit

Fox & Friends…recently produced a litany of advice for young women that could have been ripped from the pages of a 1950s home economics textbook. Here are a few of the most egregious examples of Fox-approved tips for women:

“Don’t talk too much.”

Over the course of the interview with Hewlett, women are told to “keep their voices down” and avoid “talking too much” no less than four times… Call this the anti-Sheryl Sandberg mantra. Instead of asserting their right to actively participate in workplace discussions, women should refrain from “dominating” the conversation and be sure to monitor the volume and tone of their voices…

“Keep your husband happy.”

In the depressingly simple world of “Princeton Mom” Susan Patton, marriage is the be-all, end-all goal for women. Once you’ve found a husband, your job is to do everything in your power to nurture and care for him, making sure his needs are being met. Even though women comprise 47 percent of the US labor force, and 73 percent of working women hold full-time jobs, it is still, for some bizarre reason, their responsibility to offer their husbands a drink and cook them a meal at the end of the work day.

Never mind that women also spend almost twice as much time as their spouses on childcare each week. Fox’s hosts happily reinforced this sexist message, with Doocy asking Patton “When did it happen when men and husbands became doormats?” Because we all know asking a man to help out around the house or cook dinner is the pinnacle of emasculation. Even more disturbingly, Patton warns against ending relationships that aren’t working out because of “how difficult it would be to replace him.”…

RTFA for more – you’ll have to decide whether to laugh or barf.

19th Century Fox says: don’t talk, look pretty, focus on your family, don’t push for equal rights, and care for your husband. Stupid or ignorant? Your choice!

Thanks, SmartAlix