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While they like to give lip service to being the party of small government, and moan and groan about government over-reach ad nauseum, the GOP is the worst offender for unwarranted intrusion into the lives of citizens minding their own business.  The right is obsessed with controlling our sexual and gender identity, sexual orientation, and reproductive choices, attempting to variously criminalize those decisions, or to make them for us.  These are things which largely cannot be legislated, as gender and sexuality, and individual body autonomy are intrinsic and inherent parts of each human being.  The GOP, particularly the MN GOP, must get out of our bedrooms, our bathrooms, our locker rooms, and our pants.

It should be an accepted premise of government that any legislation that interferes with the free will and action of citizens should serve a demonstrated NEED for such legislation.  In the case of the transgender and bathrooms, there have been more instances of Republican politicians arrested for sexual misconduct in bathrooms than there have been documented incidents, much less arrests or convictions, of transgender persons behaving inappropriately or illegally.  One of those GOP pols, Larry Craig, was arrested right here in Minnesota, at the International Airport.


As noted by the Intellectualist:


According to Media Matters, there haven’t … been any reports of men ‘pretending’ to be transgender to gain access to women’s spaces and commit crimes against them. You know who have been arrested in public bathrooms for sexual misconduct?Republican politicians.
Without even diving too deep, we found three GOP legislators who were picked up for lavatory indiscretions.
Their names: Larry Craig …, Jon Hinson, and Bob Allen.

We may need laws against GOP politicians using public bathrooms. By contrast, trans people are doing just fine.

It has long been my contention that not only are a number of conned-servatives are controlling, authoritarian hypocrites, but also that many are bigots, (bigotry being defined as “sincerely” believing broadly denigrating and factually false things about a broad group of people in order to in some way demean or discriminate against them). In the case of transgender people, American or otherwise, it is a fact that there have been more Republican members of Congress arrested for illegal sexual conduct in public bathrooms than there have been arrests of transgender people for either sexual assault or sexual harassment, both of which are the justification for transgender bathroom bill legislation.


The most recent example of that is HB 41, a bill introduce by three of the most consistently stupid members of the state legislature since the super star of MN lege stupid, Michele Bachmann, moved on to a larger public platform for embarrassment. Her most recent public embarrassment was the lie that President Obama had extorted foreign governments to walk in gay pride parades.  Because you can’t make up stupid, especially dishonest stupid, the way Michele Bachmann can.  Sadly all too often, when the facts are not on the side of conservatives, like Bachmann, like the authors of HB 41, they just make up stuff; worse they come to believe their lies.

From lgbtqnation:


Former Congresswoman Michele Bachmann appeared on the Family Research Council‘s “Washington Watch” radio program late last week to discuss the incoming Trump Administration.
In her appearance, which was captured by RightWingWatch, she denounced the State Department for forcing foreign government ministers to march in gay pride parades. It is unclear what she is referring to.

Financial incentives are withheld from countries unless they advance, for instance, the gay agenda. In a country that doesn’t believe in the gay agenda, the Obama State Department has said, “Look, you have to have a Gay Pride parade. You have to make sure that you can show us that ministers are marching in this Gay Pride parade.” What? The US government is telling another government, “You have to have Gay Pride parades”? That’s unbelievable! “You won’t get your PEPFAR money, you won’t get your USAID money, unless you follow our radical social agenda”?

HB 41 is the latest effort at a bathroom bill, a bill to make life more of a living hell for transgender students.

From OnTop magazine:


Three Republican members of the Minnesota House have introduced a bill that targets transgender students.
The Student Physical Privacy Act (HF 41) seeks to “protect and provide for the privacy and safety of all students enrolled in public schools and to maintain order and dignity in restrooms, locker rooms, changing rooms, showers, and other facilities where students may be in various states of undress in the presence of other students.”
It defines “sex” to mean “the physical condition of being male or female, which is determined by a person’s chromosomes and is identified at birth by a person’s anatomy.” The bill would designate restrooms, locker rooms, changing rooms and shower rooms for the “exclusive use by students of the male sex only or by the students of the female sex only.”
The bill’s authors are Representatives Duanne Quam of Byron, Steve Drazkowski of Mazeppa and Eric Lucero of Dayton.
Introduced on Thursday, the proposed legislation has been referred to the Education Innovation Policy committee.


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MN lege: GOP makes a hater Senate Majority Leader

by Dan Burns on November 16, 2016 · 0 comments

gazelkaErstwhile Minnesota Senate Republican leader David Hann (R-Eden Prairie) lost his reelection effort, and Sen. Paul Gazelka (R-Nisswa) is the new guy. (The GOP has a 34-33 majority, pending a couple of recounts that are unlikely to change anything.) Gazelka is a head case.

Take his appearance nearly a year ago at the Now is the Time! Now is the Season! Jubilee! Chuck Pierce and Dutch Sheets, Duluth MN in Duluth, at which the state senator joined other Christian dominionists to pray for the Zenith City. (For a quick look into the mind of Dutch Sheets, check out his Baal Teachings, which equate LGBTQ people with demons; someone should find out in Gazelka–who in 2010 grabbed the endorsement from the MNGOP’s only openly gay legislator–if he agrees).
(Bluestem Prairie)

I don’t know that there was a lot of thought put into this. Mostly I figure that Gazelka wanted the job when it unexpectedly opened up, and he gets along with most everyone in the caucus, so they gave it to him.
It’s not like most people even know, much less care, who the state Senate Majority Leader is. But I will note that not long ago I would have mocked the MNGOP for putting an openly bigoted extremist into a position like this, given the longer-term political winds. Right now, I’m not so sure.


MCP’s: it’s who they are

by Dog Gone on October 10, 2016 · 0 comments

Image result for male chauvinist pig
There was a phrase which entered a broader national awareness back in the late 1960s and early 1970s, Male Chauvinist Pig. It was a slang term for misogynists, men who – Sincerely! – viewed women as inferior and inherently unequal to men.  While it has never completely disappeared from use, it is time to revive it again more broadly to apply to the 2016 election cycle. (The right insists sincere beliefs have a priority over everything else, because they are “sincere”, and therefore somehow special and exempt from law or public opinion.)


It is a fair accusation that in the 2nd Presidential Debate, Donald Trump hoped to distract those who were fleeing his sinking rat-infested ship of a campaign with his claim that he would appoint a special prosecutor to go after Hillary Clinton for her emails.  I suggest the ‘special prosecutor’ be issued the badge pictured here, since he (or she) would not be operating on behalf of all Americans, but only on behalf of the MCPs.


This relies on the classic civics and other ignorance of his generally poorly educated base of support. The President CANNOT appoint a special prosecutor; that is the purview of the Attorney General and the Congress. While Trump may assume he will get whatever AG he wants, no matter how incompetent, AGs, like Supreme Court picks, are only in office by confirmation of the Senate.


If Obama’s SCOTUS pick isn’t going through, you can bet that such an AG pick won’t be confirmed either.


But HEY! It makes a great DISTRACTION for toddlers and ignorant adults from that embarrassing scandal.  And there is much more scandal to come, beginning with Trump discussing his daughter’s breasts with Howard Stern, and then proceeding to give his blessing to Stern calling Ivanka Trump a “piece of ass”.  Because apparently women, even one’s own daughters, are just pieces of meat for male gratification, not real and equal human beings.



I am shocked, SHOCKED, that in the midst of so egregiously lying through his teeth, that Pence was not fried in his tracks by a bolt from heaven.


Hillary Clinton is correct when she describes substantial numbers of Trump supporters (and therefore Pence supporters) as deplorables.


It does not matter if you are a hard working American or a religious American, IF you also are a hateful bigot.


You are a bigot if you try to deny the LGBT the rights to be treated as full and equal human beings.  LGBT people work hard too. You are a bigot if you are racist; you are a bigot if you support the many ways the right treats women as second class citizens.  You are a bigot if you have fear and antipathy towards immigrants and towards people of different religions than your own – notably Muslims, but in some cases on the right, also anti-Judaism.


Those things make an American a deplorable person; they do so because these people are harmful and unfair to other Americans.  There are Americans who genuinely suffer and are victimized by these deplorables, while their contributions are no better than those towards whom they are bigoted.


David Duke is one of those deplorable human beings.  Mike Pence refuses to call him out as a deplorable human being, or to call out his behavior and beliefs. Mike Pence uses the excuse that he is not a name-caller.


This from the man who daily calls Hillary crooked Hillary, despite the lack of any corruption or other wrong-doing conviction.


This from the man who is on the same ticket as a man convicted of racism, and who is credibly accused of sexual harassment, sexual assault and rape, as well as a long history of rampant misogyny and ethnic bias, a promiscuous serial adulterer married to a porn queen, who engages in widespread fraud and corruption.


Oh, Mike Pence — BEWARE!  That much lying and hypocrisy could still get you that zap from above!  That goes for you Mike Pence, and the guy next to you, with the bleached, dead racoon on his head and the tiny but greedy grasping hands.


A h/t to TPT’s Almanac for the reminder of this very famous and historic HHH speech.


As we have seen, at their respective conventions, Republicans have not changed, and the conservatives among them – the only members they tolerate after repeated purges – are still opponents of civil rights and pro-discrimination.  Democrats are still the inclusive progressives, making speeches that hold up well across history.


It will be an embarrassment to conservatives as historians look back at this period that they were so regressive and so divisive, embracing all matters of discrimination and exclusion.  President Obama echoed Hubert Humphrey’s speech in Philadelphia in 1948 when he spoke about the arc of history.  It is a particular shame that we must continue to rely on our judicial branch to overturn voter suppression laws, like those which were just overturned recently in Wisconsin, Texas, Kansas and North Carolina.  Conservatives are still trying to keep minorities from voting — and shame on them for it.


Per the accompanying Youtube notes, this speech ranked 66 in the top 100 speeches of the 20th century.



Additional bits of history — this speech, like the ones this past week, were made in Philadelphia, 68 years ago. At that convention, instead of Bernie supporters, Conservative democrats walked out in protest to the addition of a civil rights plank that would correct the wrongs of Jim Crow. This makes it all the more poignant that this convention was addressed by a sitting black president.


You have to enjoy a sense of humor, and appreciate that fact is consistently stranger than fiction.


I recall the famous chair of the U of MN department of economics at the time, Walter Heller, opening one of his lectures with the line that all of the economists in the world laid end to end around the equator still could not reach a conclusion.  Well, as with the scientific consensus on global warming, it appears that an overwhelming preponderance of economists in the world likewise agree about the adverse results of Brexit.  And scientists agree (although they may differ on details) about the validity of the science of evolution.


The monument to ignorance, aka the Noah’s Ark theme park in Kentucky inappropriately funded by public $$$$ just opened…….wait for it…… severe storms and flooding.  One has to wonder, following the pseudo-logic of many Christians, if God was expressing his disapproval?


The Ark is part of the anti-science / pro-creationism propaganda circulated by Ken Ham’s Answers in Genesis  religious rubbish group.  The exhibit includes replicas of dinosaurs, two by two.


Bill Nye correctly expressed the following rational, reasoned, and well-researched point of view as to the perils of the Ark Creationism pseudo-science on children:


“The influence is strong. I spoke with a lot of kids (and took a great
many selfies). Almost all of them do not accept that humans are causing
climate change — and that is the Answers In Genesis ministry’s fault.
Through its dioramas and signage, the organization promotes ideas that
are absolutely wrong scientifically, while suppressing critical thinking
in our students — which is in no one’s best interest, conservative or

While it is possible the low turnout reported at the Ark monument to ignorance is the fault of bad weather, it is also possible that the Ark is one giant “turkey” as these projects go.  Bill Nye the science guy, a well-regarded proponent of science education and deemed one of our more successful science communicators noted:


“On a hopeful note, the parking lots were largely empty, and the ark building is unfinished. We can hope it will close soon.”


On July 10th we celebrated, if celebrate is the correct word for it, the 90th anniversary of the Scopes “Monkey Trial” in Tennessee over the legal ban on the teaching of evolution.  Scopes was initially convicted (he DID teach evolution) but the conviction was overturned.  It is appalling that 90 years after the Scopes trial, we are still fighting the same battles with the anti-science Bible thumpers.


Sadly, as we see with the silly Ark in Kentucky, as well as continuing efforts by the crazy evangelical right to insert creationism into public spheres and into the public square (on the public nickle), not only in Tennessee but elsewhere I am appalled at the poor state of science literacy in a large segment of our political spectrum.


One has only to look at what is proffered as arguments against anthropogenic global warming (or to look at how often it is necessary to explain what anthropogenic means as a preface to holding a conversation) to appreciate the willful ignorance.


I am an unabashed science geek, a nerd; I spent a part of my last weekend binge watching a DVD from my local library on various scientific debates in paleoanthropology.  I particularly enjoyed the parts about how some sections of DNA respond differently to mutation that those which represent characteristics ‘under selection’.  While enjoying binge watching science, I couldn’t help but feel disconnected from so many people I know and interact with on a daily basis.


The DVD and accompanying brief book is part of the Great Courses series; this one was The Rise of Humans: Great Scientific Debates, presented by John Hawks of the University of WI, Madison.  While this particular presentation dates from 2011, and is therefore already out of date in a few respects, the combination of the sciences of Paleo-anthropology with molecular genetics.  The application of molecular genetics provided new understanding of when and how species diverged using fossil remains.


What struck me so strongly in the larger context of the anti-expert, anti-‘elite’, anti-science message which I viewed on right wing blogs in the context of dismissing the conclusions of economists about the outcomes of Brexit in the UK, and in attempting to discredit scientists working on global warming, was the notion that we can AND SHOULD ignore people who actually know things, who study things, and who do practical as well as theoretical work in their respective fields.


The DVD lecture by Dr. Hawks began with the scientific controversy over Ramapithecus, as to where it belonged and ‘when’ it belonged in the primate family tree.  Molecular genetics demonstrated that it was too old to be a direct human ancestor, but rather belonged elsewhere and further back in time than hominins (humans and those species closely related).  How the debate reflected the scientific process was as illuminating as the specifics of the debates.


In that context it is worth noting that the Pew Research Center study in 2014 and 2015 on Religion in Public Life found :

Roughly six-in-ten respondents in the 2014 Religious Landscape Study (62%) say humans have evolved over time, while about a third (34%) say humans have always existed in their present form, similar to other recent Pew Research surveys.
…Among those who believe that humans evolved, there is disagreement over whether this evolution has been due to natural processes or guided by a supreme being. A third of U.S. adults believe evolution has occurred due to natural processes, while a quarter say a supreme being guided evolution.
About two-thirds of Catholics (66%) and mainline Protestants (65%) believe humans evolved over time. By contrast, most Jehovah’s Witnesses (74%) and evangelical Protestants (57%) and about half of Mormons (52%) reject this view, saying human beings have always existed in their present form. Atheists (95%) and agnostics (96%) in the survey nearly universally say humans evolved over time, and most believe that evolution has occurred through natural processes. Majorities of Buddhists, Hindus and Jews also hold this view.
Overall, respondents with a college degree are more likely than those with less education to say humans evolved over time due to natural selection. However, the impact of education varies across religious groups. Members of mainline and historically black Protestant churches, Catholics and religious “nones” with a college degree all are more likely than their less well-educated counterparts to say humans evolved over time. But evangelical Protestants with a college degree are no more likely than those without a college degree to say humans have evolved.

Conservatives would argue that moving a species represented by the fossil record to a different organizational position in understanding evolution would completely discredit all studies and conclusions in the sciences of evolution.  It does not.  Understanding how scientific debate and new science research result in some changes — but also result in confirmation of other findings — is an important part of science literacy that is antithetical to what passes as reasoning about science information on the right.  Sadly that is apparently missing, or is deliberately denied and ignored on the right in what appears to be willful ignorance.


Rather the right consistently engages in magical thinking, in extreme confirmation bias, and in denial of anything that does not comfortably fit their world view, which is appalling intellectual dishonesty and folly for determining policy decisions for the nation and the world.  Instead we have 56% of Republicans in Congress (more on some days) denying man-made global warming, evolution, and basic macro-economics.  Only a handful of states do not have climate deniers in their delegations to the House or Senate.  Are these politicians expressed beliefs sincere?  Nah, I would argue they don’t care one way or the other what the truth is, they just find it profitable to pander to ignorance.  Because those same voters are for smaller government – even though there is no evidence that smaller government serves the country or the citizens well, nor is there objective evidence that our government has been too large.  And those same voters will act passionately but not rationally on regressive cultural attitudes regarding minorities — be it equal treatment of women, of the LGBT, or ethnic minorities.


With promotion of ignorance, with the promotion of propaganda which can be defined as meeting the two criteria of being factually false, AND promoting emotional response rather than critical thinking,  the right has developed a rank and file that is easily deceived and even more easily manipulated into voting for bad decisions, bad policy, and destructive attitudes that are actively harmful to significant sectors of our nation.  Too often as with Brexit, as with Global Warming, and as with promoting anti-science Creationism, there is also self-destructive voting.



image courtesy of Imagine magazine
NOT an actual photo of
TN State Rep. Jeremy Durham

It has long been my contention that conservatives give lip service to the Constitution, but do not in practice support the content in that Constitution.


The continuing hypocritical efforts of conservatives, particularly those who are southern evangelicals, demonstrate equally a desperate desire to regulate the lives of others, demanding conformity to their own beliefs, while not themselves behaving consistently with those beliefs.  We have the interference in the lives of other people, while not managing one’s own very well, in the example of Tennessee’s own state representative Jeremy Durham, pervert for Jesus.


Evangelical Tennessee
State Rep Jeremy Durham Is ‘Banished’ From Capitol Complex After THIRTY
FOUR Women Accuse Him Of Inappropriate Sexual Behavior

Lawmakers in Tennessee have ‘banished’ a state representative by moving
his office at the state Capitol complex after more than three dozen
women have accused him of inappropriate behavior.
Rep. Jeremy Durham’s office is being moved to the ground floor of a
building across the street from the Capitol, House Speaker Beth Harwell
announced Thursday.
According to Attorney General Herbert Slatery’s memorandum to Harwell,
he is investigating Durham’s ‘pattern of conduct’ toward women after 34
current and former lawmakers, lobbyists, staffers and interns allege
that he made sexual comments, used his position to obtain personal
contact information from women, try to meet women alone, involve alcohol
in his interactions with women and inappropriate physical contact with
them while working at Legislative Plaza, CBS News reported.

I have to wonder if Jeremy Durham will have any office when the next election cycle comes around in Tennessee, not even one across the street.  But then again, by promoting the anti-LGBT bathroom harassment bill, he might get in good with those other pervy and ignorant conservative Evangelicals again.  They go in for a lot of forgiveness so long as one conforms and grovels sufficiently, as we have seen in the past.
The establishment clause of the Constitution requires no preferential treatment of religion. That is simple enough, yet conservatives tend as a group, over and over, to attempt to replace democracy with theocracy.



We see it in the mediocre legislators of Tennessee who are persisting in trying to give preferential treatment to the Bible.  Thurs. (April 14th) Gov. Haslam vetoed an attempt to make the Bible the official book of the frankly mediocre at best state of Tennessee.



But the conservative religious extremists in government are hell-bent on pushing this through anyway, and don’t give a tinker’s damn about the provisions of religious freedom in the Constitution.


From the Raw Story:

The lawmakers who sponsored the measure vowed to hold a vote that
would overrule Haslam’s veto. A simple majority in each legislative
chamber would overrule his decision.
“According to polling, 62 percent of all Tennesseans favor making the
Holy Bible the state book in order to recognize its significance from a
historical, economic and cultural standpoint,” the House sponsor,
Representative Jerry Sexton, said.
“Senator (Steve) Southerland and I are prepared to move forward with a veto override and we plan to do exactly that.”

Because Tennessee is, apparently, not dumb enough or second rate enough without that next step?  Seriously, this is a state legislature which has far more important and far more legitimate issues with which to properly concern itself than forcing their religion on people.


It made an interesting cab ride recently where my driver, whom we’ll call Tom, knowing I do research especially fact checking, asked me if it were true, as he had heard on right wing talk radio (an occupational hazard of cab driving apparently) that four out of the five first presidents had been either ordained as clergy or held a degree in religion of some kind, and therefore that was the reason we have “In God We Trust” on our money and “under God” in the pledge of allegiance.  And no, none of those first five presidents were particularly religious; in fact George Washington is on record as never having taken communion and rarely attended church, and the other four were Deists.


We have been stuck (for the moment) with “In God We Trust” and “under God” because President Eisenhower (I DO like Ike, as Republican presidents go) made a deal with a group in politics known as ‘the family’, the same bunch of people who started the National Prayer Breakfast.  They are the same group who tried to get the death penalty for being LGBT in Uganda with pseudo-science.  So, we have the family influence continuing in politics, pushing an extreme form of religion, after their early success; but we also got the Interstate Highway Program which dramatically contributed to our success post WW II.


I’d call that a barely fair tradeoff of good (the highway system) for evil (crackpot religious conservatism).



Kim Davis and the religious right wing nuts claim they have somehow ‘won’ in their fight to deny marriage civil rights to gay couples. Losing is a series of decisions that the bigot beliefs of the religious right don’t entitle them to special privileges to hurt other people.

And the other big ‘win’ came nearly two weeks ago; Kentucky is going to have to pay, and pay big, for their bigotry under the false label of religious freedom to discriminate and hate.  From the AP and WCPO news, there is this little nugget underlining that loss for the right:


Kentucky to pay $1.1 million in same-sex marriage case
LOUISVILLE, Ky. — A federal judge awarded a team of Kentucky attorneys more than $1 million for their role in the landmark United States Supreme Court case that struck down bans on same-sex marriage.

The state will have to pick up the $1.1 million tab.

In 2014, U.S. District Judge John Heyburn ruled the state’s ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional. Attorney General Jack Conway refused to appeal. But former Gov. Steve Beshear hired outside attorneys to continue defending the ban.

The case, and others like it, made its way to the U.S. Supreme Court, which effectively legalized same-sex marriage last summer.

Jessica Ditto, spokeswoman for Gov. Matt Bevin, a Republican who took office last month and opposes same-sex marriages, said in an email Wednesday evening that the governor’s general counsel is reviewing the ruling.

“We are pleased that the court did not award any bonus attorney fees and eliminated certain fees and expenses that the court deemed unnecessary,” Ditto said.

Federal law mandates that losing parties in civil rights cases pay the winning side’s attorneys’ fees and expenses.

Now the right likes to deny and lie when the facts are not on their side – as is the case here with who won and who lost.

If you follow the lame logic of the evangelical crazies, those like Michele Bachmann (who has been strangely silent for a while) or lunatic fringie Sarah Palin, then the recent east coast blizzard that shut down the coastal states with snow must mean God, aka Jebus, does not support those who are anti-abortion.

Readers here may remember the push-back in 2011 when Bachmann asserted, as an example of right wing ‘magical thinking’, a form of mental illness:

“I don’t know how much God has to do to get the attention of the politicians. We’ve had an earthquake; we’ve had a hurricane. He said, ‘Are you going to start listening to me here?'”


Hello anti-choicers? Apparently God just slapped you down with his fluffy white wrath in unmistakeable terms, clearly intending to block your efforts. Not a peep out of Bachmann or Palin on the topic. Shutting down early and being stranded on a turnpike is not ‘winning’, it is not an endorsement of your position from God.


The Rochester Post Bulletin reports that State Rep. Duane Quam, R-25A, plans to push a “religious liberty” bill that would legalize discrimination as long as said discrimination comes from the discriminator’s “sincerely held religious beliefs”. The bill isn’t yet on the House web site. Post Bulletin reporter Heather Carlson says it’s 56-word bill and describes it thus:

The legislation is broad, stating simply that “no person, organization or entity shall incur a civil or criminal penalty for refusing to provide a service, or refusing to allow the use of property or facilities for any activity that is prohibited by or is against the person’s, organization’s or entity’s sincerely held religious beliefs.” Quam said the legislation would protect people of all religious faiths from violating their beliefs. All too often, he said, individuals are seeking out religious individuals who own businesses and forcing them to go against their beliefs.

Carlson quotes Quam saying, “The principle should be government shouldn’t be making you do stuff you don’t want to do”. Yep, we all hate it when the government makes us do stuff we don’t want to do. I hate stopping at that stupid stop sign at the intersection down the block. I have places to go! If you don’t like how I drive, pick a different street! Damn nanny state.
That’s assuming he drafted it himself. Pardon my lack of shock if “drafted” or “authored” turns out to mean the usual conservative ideologues’ practice of sticking a legislator’s name on an ALEC model bill.
Presumably as Quam is “drafting” his bill, he’s thinking just about legalizing discrimination against gay people, whose existence challenges some people’s religious beliefs, and I have a feeling such challenged people includes Quam. However, from the bit quoted, maybe to be revised once the whole bill can be seen, Quam “drafted” something very broad. As worded, any sort of discrimination would be legal if whoever discriminates claims a sincerely held religious motive. What’s the test for “sincerely held”? I guess take the discriminator’s word for it. Is it aimed at gays? Probably, though the people who used to ban non-whites from their restaurants and motels used to claim religious justification for their racial views. Not that they don’t claim religious justification still, but the law doesn’t back them anymore. Quam would protect white Christians from such government intrusion. “White Christians”? He didn’t specify that, but does anyone really think that Jews refusing to do business with Christians or blacks refusing service to whites is going to go over well with the people who back “religious liberty” bills?


the dread “BLOOD MOON”
courtesy, Getty Images

Yup. There it is. The big bad scary “Blood Moon”. I walked out and took a look at it this evening (Sunday), and at the lunar eclipse. There were even a few bats flying around — whoooo, scary! (NOT)


Now I can check that off the back page of my bucket list, if my bucket list was as long as War and Peace, which it is not. It was a passing minor novelty, an event of interest so long as I had nothing more pressing or interesting to do. (If you are pressed for time, I would encourage skipping the serious stuff, and head down to the fun videos at the end of the post.)


Too be fair, one of these blood moon eclipses came through in 1982; I also got a good look at Halley’s comet when it came through in 1984, and Hale-Bopp in 1997 as well, out in a rural area relatively clear of light pollution, and that was interesting, but not something to produce an adrenaline rush.  Even with exceedingly modest visual enhancement, it was not exciting, although I admit that having had access to a serious telescope for astronomy classes spoils one for some forms of naked-eye celestial observation.


There has been a lot of silly anti-science-based hype about the blood moon, the ‘super’ moon, and the eclipse.  It is prevalent in the crazy fringe religious righties who have hijacked the GOP via the Tea Party.  It appeals to the “end days is comin’!” anti-science ignorati, those who constitute the base for the likes of Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum, Rick Perry, Ben Carson or Mike Huckster-bee. They are defined by superstition passing as religion.


They thrive on scaring the crap out of people, mostly by making up things which have no significant or substantive foundation in objective reality.  In other words, they thrive on right wing propaganda.


It’s time we stop letting the superstitious and ignorant anywhere near authority above the level of making the potato salad for small gatherings. When fact differs from faith, faith is wrong, and fact and reason should supersede stupid or fantasy based, no matter how often or loudly someone is tossing around the word Jesus. If you read that last sentence as dripping with scorn, you would be correct.

From the Inquisitr:


Astrophysicist Neil DeGrasse Tyson: Super Moon won’t be that super

There’s a lot of excitement about the “super blood moon” on Sunday night — a total lunar eclipse that will give the moon a reddish appearance. The excitement centers on a few different ideas. One is the notion expressed by some religious groups that a blood moon is tied to Biblical prophecy. More widespread is simply the anticipation of seeing a really amazing celestial sight.

Unfortunately, those who are hoping for a spectacular once-in-a-lifetime view may find themselves disappointed.

What’s more special about this moon than the appearance is timing, or rather, the frequency with which the type of lunar eclipses we refer to as a blood moon are currently occurring. Specifically, when four blood moons occur at approximately six-month intervals. According to NASA, while lunar eclipses of one type or another occur about twice a year, a tetrad of blood moons is much rarer. There will be a total of eight this century.

Neil deGrasse Tyson, astrophysicist and science promoter, discussed the blood moon on Twitter today, explaining that while it will appear larger than usual, it won’t be much larger, and that the color won’t be as deep and bloody red as many may expect from the name. [tweet below]

11h11 hours ago

Resist the Hype: The size of today’s “Super” moon is to next month’s full moon as a 16.07 inch pizza is to a 16.00 inch pizza

For some believers, the event is even more special, as they connect it to biblical prophecy. The Red Moon Rapture website lays out some of these prophecies, and how one group of believers feels that they connect to current events. Specifically, all four of the blood moon events in this tetrad fall on or quite near important events in the Jewish calendar, and the group believes it could be a sign that the Rapture is imminent. As with most rapture predictions, though, this largely comes from a few outlying groups, not from any mainstream belief systems.